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Simplify My “Stuff”

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Kiplinger has an article out this month called Stretch Your Paycheck where they point out eight ways you might be able to trim your expenses to make your money go a little farther. I’m a fan of these types of articles, even if some of the ideas are reused, because it can give you a few good ideas on the things you can trim out of your life.

For example, the simple idea of “Get rid of your stuff” is powerful because it’s not something you often think about. If you think about what you do on a day to day basis, how many of the things in your house do you never touch? How many articles of clothing have you not worn for over a year? Have you consider selling or donating it? What about those old cell phones you no longer use?

I’m going to do a simple exercise that I made up right now – I’m walking into each room and finding one thing we don’t need and getting rid of it somehow (sell, barter, donate). I’m not going to do a fire sale on all my stuff, I’m going to “simplify my stuff” the same way I simplified my finances: one step at a time, one account at a time.

Every week I will get rid of something small and eventually we’ll get rid of all the things we thought we needed but don’t actually need.

What do you think?

{ 10 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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10 Responses to “Simplify My “Stuff””

  1. I assume you’ll be doing this while your wife is out of town?

    Either way, kudos. If your household is like mine, it really is astonishing how much stuff sits untouched for months, then years, and if you’re not careful, decades. The way I think of it, when you declutter you’re simply purchasing order and cleanliness (for a great price.)

    Selling your useless stuff is good. Donating it is good. And if you live in Nevada like I do, taking large enough objects into the desert and pumping them full of bullets can feel pretty awesome, too.

  2. daenyll says:

    I used to simply get tired of the clutter and take a weekend and attack a room, getting rid of anything in the junk category and rearranging things, returning things to other rooms where they really belonged but somehow had migrated. Then a month or two later I’d pick another room.

  3. markG says:

    Great posting! I look forward to seeing more

  4. Shirley says:

    Three years ago we did exactly that. If something hadn’t been used in the past year, out it went. Mind you, with raising five kids here and ‘storing’ the overflow from them and my parents’ downsizing and then deaths, the total cleanout is not yet quite finished… but we’re getting close.

    We have done it slowly, one room at a time, but oftentimes it has not been easy.
    The biggest hurdle to overcome seems to be sentimental attachment, and the second is the legality of how long to keep important papers of the deceased.

    The reward is nearly indescribable… letting go of clutter and finding breathing room.

  5. Exs says:

    I tend to do big purges (2x/year) than baby steps and try to follow the one thing in-one thing out rule (doesn’t always happen, hence the purges).

    Sell (consignment shops, used book stores, craigslist, stoop sales): clothes/accessories, furniture/household, books
    Give to family/friends: same as above
    Donate: same as above (if no takers) and everything else (including cell phones to AT&T, which gives them to military personnel; greeting card covers to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which makes them into new cards to sell; magazines to library or schools for art projects)
    Recycle: electronics (like beyond-help laptop, PDA, and iPod) to e-waste events in the neighborhood
    Barter: traded an extra coffee machine for a knife sharpener and extra wine glasses for a food mill

  6. cdiver says:

    Nothing but a bunch of hoarders we are.

  7. cubiclegeoff says:

    I try to do this occasionally, but things I want to get rid of, are not always the things that my wife is willing to part with. But we’re slowing losing the junk.

  8. Lulu says:

    I recently started donating the clothes that I have not worn in a long time. It is hard for me because I grew up poor and having to make things stretch PLUS I hate shopping for new clothes…so I have found that I held on to clothes I had not worn in two or more years ‘just because’. I am taking it step by step and have a bag for donations and once I put something in the bag I don’t touch it again!!!!!

  9. fairydust says:

    I want soooo badly to just get rid of everything, to the point where I half jokingly (half seriously) talk about taking a blow torch to it all. We decided to finally do some painting and reflooring in our house and have used that as motivation to get rid of as much as we can before those projects start. But even after months of selling, donating, freecycling, and even throwing away entire rooms full of crap, to the point where we really should be seeing some decluttering success, all I see when I look around is more crap we haven’t gotten rid of yet. I lose sleep over it whereas DH, the packrat, is soooooo reluctant to let go of anything he might need 23 years from now, on a Thursday, if all the planets are aligned, and it’s a leap year with 2 Friday the 13ths in it. So it will probably always be a somewhat stressful ongoing battle for us, but I do agree that baby steps over time with occasional big-tackling projects seems to work best.

  10. deb says:

    3 simple words…LESS IS MORE !


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