Out with the Old
Owning things is all about balance. Too little and your day-to-day life doesn’t flow well, but too much can make your home feel cramped and your thoughts feel cluttered. Almost everyone can benefit from auditing their possessions and scaling back on what they own. Doing so can make a house appear cleaner and more open, and can really streamline your regular activities around the home.
“Out with the old, in with the new” always starts out with optimistic intentions, but in reality, deciding what to keep and what to ditch can turn into a tug-of-war between your sentimental side and your practical side, especially if you’ve accumulated quite a collection of stuff over the years.
The surest and fastest way to complete this sort of cleaning-out process is to get organized from the get-go with a clear plan of how you’re going to handle the selection process. Write your plan down if you need to, and have your Keep, Donate, Trash and Upcycle boxes ready and labeled at the start.
The Selection Process
Making justifications for keeping everything will inevitably lead to rooms cluttered with ages-old Halloween costume pieces, 26 more screwdrivers than you need, toys with dust-lined wheels, and dated décor.
Every household has its own standards for what goods to consider keepers. Sometimes it’s nothing more than what it absolutely need to get by, while others hold onto things with sentimental value. It’s up to you to decide what you want to keep – and why.
But the entire point of de-cluttering is to keep only the things that have value to you, whether that value be material, sentimental or functional. If you’re planning on moving any time in the near future, cutting back and cutting down makes the moving process go much, much smoother. When undertaking a major streamlining project, think about what it is you genuinely love and genuinely use – these are the only things that absolutely must stay.
General rule: If you haven’t thought about it or used it in the last year and don’t plan on using it in the next two weeks, get it out of there.
The Removal Process
One of the most meaningful ways to unload your excess home goods is also one of the simplest: You can give new life to just about anything in good condition by donating them to reputable, local donation centers or to others in your community who may need them.
For a little extra cash, you can also try selling furniture, home entertainment systems and other valuables either online or at a resale shop. Just remember, you’re most likely to find a buyer through one of these outlets if the product in question is in good condition.
Yard sales are bargain shoppers’ gold, so this is another viable option if your neighborhood allows it. If you happen to have neighbors similarly looking to unload some of their own possessions, partner up and make a large event of it. Get traffic by posting “Multi-family Yard Sale” signs on major streets near your neighborhood.
Where to Donate
Just an FYI about the places where you’re planning on donating items: Make sure to visit their websites or contact them before dropping off what you’d like to give, as they may not accept certain item based on surplus or no real need. No matter what, your donations need to be clean and in working order – no stained clothing, cracked wall mirrors or rusted-out wagons.
Some of the most desired items accepted by local and national organizations are:
- Housewares (décor, kitchen utensils, furniture etc.)
- Electronics (especially cell phones and computers)
- Linens and blankets
- Movies and music
- Athletic equipment
- Unopened makeup
- Unused craft kits
- Rain gear
- Unopened personal care items (hair products, cotton balls, lotions, toothpaste etc.)
- Unused art supplies
- Office supplies (pens, pencils, notepads, calculators etc.)
- Jewelry and watches
This is by no means a comprehensive list of what these organizations want. However, they are some of the easier to donate – not to mention most commonly found around the house come cleaning time!
Research or ask around to see which of the following nonprofits in your community could really use what you have to give:
- Places of worship
- Community centers
- Homeless shelters
- Women’s shelters
- Veteran’s organizations (for soldiers both at home and abroad)
- Child advocacy organizations
What Gets Trashed (or Upcycled)
Don’t feel bad for throwing away an item that’s too worn out to be of real use. Few consumers and nonprofits will bother paying for repairs, especially if they can find similar used goods in better condition.
In the case of broken electronics, seek out the nearest recycling center specializing in e-waste. Simply throwing out a busted television, cell phone or printer can lead to serious environmental damage because of the metals involved in the construction process.
If you’re particularly crafty, however, some bits and pieces of a too-broken-to-sell-or-donate item may be salvaged for a creative project. Gears from a watch beyond repair can find life in a new pair of earrings, for example. If the pages of a hardbound book are too musty to read, but the cover remains in good condition, use it as a decorative items or a stowaway box in which to hide small items in plain sight. Children can make a craft project out of almost anything, so plan an imagination day with them to see what they can come up with for your seemingly ordinary old items. There are thousands of DIY options for upcycling things you don’t need anymore, so seek them out!
Consult the Experts
Max Movers Inc. has served the Houston community since 1989. We know how to help you streamline your life and reduce clutter to ensure a quick, painless move. Contact us today to ask about our packing, unpacking or interior design services.