After watching the A&E show Hoarders with Mr. Saver the other night, I took a look around our house to make sure we weren’t holding on to anything we didn’t need in the hopes that we’ll use it “later.” These people had piles of magazines, papers and just stuff they had no use for. Broken appliances that they never get around to fixing — one lady had cat carcasses lying around, while another guy had food in his fridge that expired more than two years ago. Would YOU eat it?
Take Inventory and Reduce the Clutter
There are a number of ways to go through the items in your home and get rid of unwanted or unnecessary things. Once your home inventory is streamlined, you’ll have a better idea in the future of what you really need. For example, don’t buy new towels if you don’t plan to get rid of the old, ratty ones.
Kitchen — Go through the spice rack and the pantry to make sure all food is still good. Anything past an expiration date should be tossed. Even items such as dressings and soups that have a “sell by” date aren’t good for too long after. Take stock of what’s in the refrigerator, too, and toss anything that’s old, moldy or just not smelling good anymore.
Closets — I’m guilty of stuffing closets with items I don’t have a better place for or things I may use at another time. Check your linen closets for old bedsheets and towels that are no longer in good condition, and toss out anything that has lost its usefulness.
Bathroom — Go through your medicine cabinet the same way you went through the kitchen pantries. Especially with medicine, toss anything that’s past the expiration date.
Home Office — This is the one room that gets a bit out of hand for me, because I hate to file. Create a filing system for your paperwork and bills, and shred anything you don’t need, like junk mail or things with your address on there.
How to Unload Your Unwanted “Stuff”
We’re pretty good about paring down our possessions when we need to, but for the most part, we don’t collect things. I shred junk mail, toss magazines once the magazine rack gets full and periodically check our pantry items to make sure nothing has expired. But once you’ve collected the clutter, here are a few ways to get rid of it.
Sell or donate your books. One of my favorite websites is Cash4Books.net. Because you can immediately find out how much they’ll purchase your books for — AND pay the shipping — It’s much easier than putting books up for sale on Amazon or eBay. Alternately, you can see if your local library, hospital or homeless shelter are looking for book donations.
Have a yard sale. Gather up the things you no longer need or want in your home and put it out for sale. Post an ad on Craigslist or your local message board for free. And get a permit from your town if you need one. Customers will try to haggle with you, but that’s part of the fun. Just don’t use price as an excuse to hold on to that trophy lamp for another 10 years.
Donate your clothes. It’s hard to recoup the cost of clothes — even wedding dresses, while expensive, have little to no resale value, unless you you’re luck enough to find that bride who doesn’t mind wearing a dress secondhand. Instead, box or bag up your unworn clothes to take to the Salvation Army, Red Cross or shelter.
Sell old appliances and furniture. Again, Craigslist is a great place to put up an ad. Make sure you mention whether or not that dryer or air conditioner is working and describe any furniture damage so you and potential buyers don’t waste your time. Even if things aren’t working, many people will pick up metal items to resell as scrap. And wood furniture can always be refinished.