Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On Decluttering

It's very fashionable right now to de-clutter and to embrace minimalism. Books like Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing have been on best-seller lists for more than a year (though I haven't read it!). And earlier this year, I vowed to de-clutter too.

I know myself to be a collector (hoarder H. might claim), and as I go through my closets and drawers, I'm asking myself - why am I keeping this? What does this mean to me? Sometimes I keep things because, simply, someone gave it to me and I feel like it's some kind of betrayal to get rid of it. Sometimes it's because it brings back a memory - so I'm asking myself 'do I need this item to access that memory?'. More often than not, I don't.

Random Biggie applique.

In recent weeks, I've been pulling clothes out of my closet and drawers. Those, mostly, have gone to Goodwill.

I'll tell you a brief story about why I donate to Goodwill - it's not that good a story, but hey. The Salvation Army is much closer, and in fact there isn't a Goodwill store convenient to me at all. I used to take things to the Salvation Army, but last time I went, I asked where the donation bin was (it had moved), and I overheard a woman who worked there say to her colleague "I get so aggravated that they walk in right past the bin and ask where it is...", obviously referring to me and my question. My question that related to making a donation to them. I was so in shock at how rude this was, that I left and have never stepped foot in any Salvation Army, to buy or donate. I wrote to them too, to complain, and they never responded. So! Goodwill gets my donations exclusively, and my money.

Anyway, long story there. Still bitter, obviously.

Last weekend I donated two blue Ikea bags (you know the ones...) of clothes, bags, some shoes, a curling iron (even though I have curly hair...)

Then I went through my drawers of stuff. Everyone has a junk drawer - I have about 6. I've organized all my files of household instructions (by kitchen electronics, computer stuff, baby stuff...). I threw out tons of useless stuff, however I am still holding on to a collection of vintage cell phones - circa 2003-2014. Not sure what to do with them - donate? Toss? Does anyone want a Motorola Razr?

Finally, I have been selling junk on eBay. In my mind, this should be fun, but it's hard. I've made about $100, and I still have some active listings that aren't moving (stop watching, start buying you people!).

One of the oddest things since I started this mass de-cluttering, is that I actually do feel lighter. I have never believe that stuff they say about your things affecting how you feel, but I do - I feel better knowing that the corners of my closet aren't piling up with dusty old shoes and that my junk drawers are organized. It makes me feel rested, and also, strangely, in control.

I still have a lot of stuff. I'm pretty sure I can/should sell a few more things off the 'Bay, and that I could make a few more donations (do I need 12 black tank tops...?) And I haven't even tackled the de-cluttering of my books - something I become more open to every time I think about packing those dusty bad boys up and moving them out of the apartment.

So, a work in progress, truly, but progress nonetheless.


  1. I think you can drop old phones off at a phone store for recycling. or look into charities. I remember reading about a girl in the US who collects old phones to send to soldiers with prepaid cards so they can phone home. or something like that

    1. I need to look into this - do they want phones this old? And do you need to clear them pf pics & text messages, or do they do it for you? I just don't know.

  2. Donate and sell as much as you can before you move. Then after you move, take the money you made from selling your old junk, and the money you saved from not paying to move your old junk to buy new junk. it's basically a win-win situation


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