A Step-by-Step Guide to Clearing the Clutter and LetGo
If you venture into the depths of my childhood home, you will find a lifetime’s worth of games, furniture, books, toys, and memories. Every item sitting in the dust and dark has an important story to tell—or at least one may think.
The truth is, half of the things tucked away in the bowels of our home don’t hold a special place in my parents’ hearts; perhaps the memories that are associated with those things are what holds a special place in their hearts. The things, though, really only waste space and my parents’ time when the moment comes to sort through all of the items.
Surrounded by decades worth of packed-away objects, sifting through them all seems daunting. However, freeing yourself of unwanted goods will leave you feeling liberated and accomplished. Think of the task as a chance to uncover old memories and rediscover cherished treasures.
Struggling on how to start? Follow the recommended steps below to begin your downsizing journey.
Step One: Sort
Depending on how much stuff is sitting in your home, the first step can be intimidating. No one wants to dig through a room of boxes filled with things that have not seen the light of day in years
Remind yourself of the final product and imagine a clutter-free and organized space. Make the task feel like an adventure and plan a time to sort through your things with a spouse, friend, or other family member.
Once you have a time set aside to go through your belongings, start by creating two piles- one to keep and one to leave behind. When sorting through your items, measure their worth based on three things.
You probably have some pretty good reasons for why you chose to keep items packed away for so long. Many goods hold a special place in your heart. But, if you find yourself having no attachment to certain items, you two should probably part ways.
If you come across an item that you are unsure of, I suggest getting a second opinion. Something that might not have much meaning to you could be very important to another family member.
If you find yourself having little to no sentimental attachment to an item, think about its monetary value. Do you have items that will become more valuable over time? Consider holding onto them, as they may be beneficial to keep them in the family. If you are ever unsure if you should keep or sell something, ask for a second opinion.
Items with high monetary and high sentimental value should most likely be kept because in most cases, sentimental value triumphs. While old family heirlooms could sell for a lot of money, the connection your family has with them is priceless.
If an item has little sentimental value and monetary value, I suggest that it be donated, sold, or recycled.
Time of Last Use
If you find yourself struggling to decide whether or not to keep an item, try to remember the last time you used it. If the item has little sentimental value and you haven’t used the item in over a year, you are not likely to use it again, so donate or sell it.
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Step Two: Sell
Once your items are sorted, revisit the “throw away” pile and determine which items should be donated and which should be sold. When making the decision, monetary value will come back into play. You can bring items to a pawn shop or pursue online selling sites, such as Craigslist or Ebay, to see how much your items are worth.
Several different apps exist to make the sell step a lot easier. Try LetGo—an app similar to Craigslist that allows you to buy and sell locally. Simply download the app, create an account, take a picture of your item, upload your sale, and wait for the item to sell. LetGo customers can buy and sell electronics, furniture, home decor, cars, and more.
If you have items that aren’t worth much money but are still in good condition, consider donating them to a local shelter or another charity. Keeping in mind that not all charities are created equal, you might want to consider using Charity Watch to help you determine the best place to donate your items. Charity Watch is an independent watchdog organization that researches and evaluates the efficiency, accountability, and governance of nonprofit organizations. Each organization is given a letter grade based on a robust set of criteria.
Step Three: Store
Once you have said goodbye to some of your things, the next task on your list is to begin storing everything you decided to keep. Everything should be placed with purpose. Whether you find a place in your home to display some of your long-lost items or you decide to tuck them away in storage somewhere, keep everything organized.
Consider renting a storage unit or ask your children and family if they would like any of your items. You will free up space while also keeping precious pieces in the family. When packing things up, put similar items together. Label every box and take inventory of the things you kept so that when you are searching for something in the future, you will know exactly where to look.
You can make the most of your old family photographs by transferring them onto your computer using a printer with scanning capabilities. Refer to your printer’s manufacturing instructions for exact instructions on how your machine scans. For the future, start working on a digital scrapbook! You can avoid the clutter of printed photographs while also keeping your memories easily accessible.
Downsizing will allow you to rediscover hidden memories and free yourself of items you have no attachment to.
Need some help setting up the LetGo app? Or maybe with selecting which charity to donate your items? Ask a Pup! We’d be happy to help!