I think we’ve all heard, a million times over, how much stuff you can accumulate with a growing child in your house. Now imagine there’s two children. And that you have received tons of hand-me-downs from generous friends and family. And that your husband hates to waste anything and refuses to get rid of things that could still be useful to someone out there. And that you have a basement where you can throw anything you’re not using. And finally, imagine you’ve lived in your house for over five years and the piles of STUFF have glommed into one giant mess of JUNK that you haven’t touched in at least a year.
We did a massive decluttering three years ago (and then again last year) when we decided to reclaim our basement as a playroom/guest room/study. (Yes, we did it once, then were overcome with STUFF yet again, so we did it again.) The process is daunting, time-consuming and exhausting… but oh so worth it when you have all that stuff out of your house and you have a whole extra living space because of it. And maybe even some extra cash or tax write offs!
Here are the ways we got rid of stuff we weren’t using.
D O N A T I N G
- To friends or family. This is my favorite way of getting rid of stuff because you still get to see it being used, and you’re helping friends and family. For me, that’s better than money, especially because most of this stuff came to me out of the generosity of other friends and family. I am careful to ask friends with children (or expecting children) exactly what they need, and then I tell them to look our stuff over and decide what they want. I have a few close friends who have kids a size or two behind ours, and they’ve basically told me they want anything and everything. So I basically just hand it over! Also, I’ve learned over the years that this is the only way I feel good about passing on items that were gifts.
- To a specific cause. Our veterinarian’s office held a huge yard sale and donated all proceeds to local animal causes, so we loaded up our first huge batch of stuff and made a big dropoff. Not only did we feel good about helping them support their causes, but we also didn’t have to deal with sorting and bundling for a different kind of donation dropoff.
- To a donation center. I know that many people out there have a preference, but we chose a Salvation Army dropoff center close to us that quickly provides receipts for tax writeoffs. When it comes to getting tons of stuff out of the house at once, convenience is key for me.