Posted in Clutter

Turning Clutter Into Cash

When I get rid of clutter, I want to be rid of it, to not see it again, sometimes because I’m afraid I’ll change my mind, and other times because I just want to consider my decluttering effort a job that’s done and can be checked off my list.

But I did invest in all those things at one point, and I can see why it would be wise to sell some of the things I’ve decided to give up instead of just donating them wherever. This article about turning clutter into cash has some great ideas. Will I do it next time? We’ll see! How about you? Have you done this before, and was it worth the effort?

Posted in Clutter, Smile

Give While You Live

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man named Percy Ross who decided to devote the rest of his life to giving away his money. With some secretarial help, he read letters he received from people who wanted some of his cash, and decided whose situations were most worth supporting financially.

Those letters were part of a syndicated column that I used to read. One of the things I remember him saying repeatedly was “He who gives while he lives, knows where it goes.”

This isn’t just true of cash; it’s also true of stuff. We all have treasured possessions, our own or inherited from people who were special to us, that we just can’t give up. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but what will happen to those items after we pass away? What if our heirs drop those items off at the Goodwill, or worse, hurriedly toss them in a dumpster because our house needs to be emptied and sold by a certain date?

The answer to this dilemma, of course, is to give those items to people we care about before we die. Rather than let things remain stored away or just collect dust, we can give them to people who might actually use them.

Yes, it’s hard to part with such items. But you can always take photos of them so you can look at them when you wish; meanwhile the actual items might go on to have a little longer useful life and become valuable to someone else. Sure beats having your treasures wind up in a landfill.

Posted in Clutter, Simpler Living, Small-House Living

When Decluttering Isn’t

I always thought decluttering meant ending up with less stuff. At least that’s how I do it. But buying organizers for 30 different tea bags or repackaging food that already comes in perfectly good containers seems wasteful to me. If you have less stuff, you’ll have less to organize (and to buy organizational systems for!)

It’s all about freedom; the less stuff you have, the less time you spend organizing it, so you’re free to do what you really want to do (unless you really want to organize tea bags, in which case, knock yourself out!)

Posted in Clutter

She Just Keeps Stacking

I have a relative who easily qualifies as a hoarder. She has stuff everywhere: stacked up against furniture, stacked on the counters, stacked in closets. She keeps all four bedroom doors closed when we come over; I can guess why. Behind her shower curtain (yes, I peeked) is a stack of wet towels piled as high as my hip.

That word stacked is significant here. She has run out of places to put things so she just stacks them wherever she can. I find it very alarming. I think it sets off my claustrophobia to see so much stuff at one time, all those stacks.

Once when we were visiting, a bunch of stuff suddenly fell off the top of a bookcase, startling everyone. She was embarrassed, and I felt bad for her. That was a few years ago, and there is still a stack on that bookcase.

Back when I had a big house and lots of kids, and lots of their clutter in addition to my own, I was not a stacker. My counters were fairly clear, my end tables uncluttered, and my bookcases topped by one or two decorative items. You would never know that I had a lot of stuff because it was all in my basement. I regularly cleared out the living areas, but having no time to go through everything, just put it all in the basement and the crawl space.

This worked fine until we suddenly sold our house and had less than a month to get out. There was no time to go through anything, much less everything. We lugged it all out of the basement, into trucks, and off to storage, then spent the next couple of years going through it, and eventually selling or donating the lions’ share of it.

It’s not as though I forgot all that stuff was down there. In fact, I used to dream about burning everything in the basement so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. The problem was that I knew about 10% of the stuff was either important papers or treasured keepsakes. I just never had time to find those things until I was forced to.

This is the problem with my relative. She is not a particularly busy person; she doesn’t work and her kids are grown. She just hasn’t been forced to deal with her clutter. And so she continues to stack it to the ceiling. *Shudder*