As difficult as it is to make the decisions, it is important to follow through with removing those items as soon as humanly possible. The longer they sit in your home, the more likely it is that you take items out of those boxes again and place them in a spot where they no longer belong. You will probably start second-guessing a number of decisions that took a lot of strength to make, and THAT is the road that leads to regret and unhappiness. Therefore: make sure those boxes are taken away!
There are many ways to get those things out of the way, some more radical than others, some simple in practice yet hard on the emotions, others more time-consuming but potentially rewarding. Let’s look at some possibilities.
The most obvious choices for your beloved things are these:
Giving to charities. Many items you choose to let go will be easy to give to a charity shop: clothes, shoes, books, DVDs, CDs, paintings, frames, kitchenware, jewellery and decorative items are common items that charity shops are mostly happy to receive. Usually they tend to have little storage space, so smaller items are more likely to be taken off your hands. However, some charity shops take furniture or bulky items, and some even come to pick those up from your home. Make sure to call or check their websites and you’ll know right away.
Recycling/upcycling. I have seen a lot of clients in the thralls of ideas of upcycling, mending or general beautification of things they want to hang on to. In my experience that rarely happens: those things have been with them for a long time and so far the drive to fix things has been non-existent – why would it suddenly happen?
However, there are places like repair cafés or local community centres where volunteers are around to assist you in fixing up things, or repairing stuff. If you are realistically going to try that out, give it a go. My advice is this: put a hard date for that to happen and if you go beyond that date, let go of the item for what it is – a piece of unused rubbish that will never be fixed.
Gifting to someone. If you have items that you’d rather give to someone, by all means do! There is one caveat, though: be clear about the difference between giving a gift (where the receiver actually enjoys to receive that thing) and dumping a valued item on a friend and expecting them to keep it for you. The point of a gift is that your ownership ends. Full stop. The friend is free to do what they want with it, even ditch it!
My trick is this: I have a box of things I want to let go and whenever I have visitors I encourage them to look if anything catches their eye. Once the box is full, it goes to charity, though.
Selling stuff. I have come across lots of people who felt their belongings were too valuable to ‘simply give to a charity shop’, they wanted to make a bit of money out of those items. Never overlook the difference between decluttering and selling: decluttering is about making space by removing what no longer serves while selling is about keeping things until they are sold. You can see the conundrum: those who want to sell may end up with things that linger (and clog up space) for an undefined period of time.
My professional experience with clients who wish to sell is this: either they find that their items are worth a lot less to potential buyers and they keep hanging on, or the selling process proves to be too complicated and they give up. Either way, the stuff stays where it was and decluttering fails.
Recycling centres. The quickest and easiest way to shift those boxes is to take everything to the recycling centre. There, I said it. You’ll agree that this may be quick, but it is far from painless. You may find it harder to part with certain items if you know they will end up on a pile of rubbish, and that is without considering the options for recycling properly, giving it to someone who might want it. Just thinking about the environment will give you the shivers, I’m sure. As I said: ‘quick and easy’, but only if you REALLY want to get rid of things without further consideration. However, some items will have to go down that route as there is no other place for them.
Whichever way you choose to let go of your items and remove them from your home, remember that this process is primarily about letting go! Find the quickest way you can live with and never look back. You take your decisions during the process and it’s wisest to keep yourself from second-guessing those decisions. Good luck!
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My mission: help clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.