When the urge to declutter hits, I want to know how to get rid of clutter now.
Like, right now.
I want to get rid of clutter fast. The fastest way to get clutter out of my house is to donate. If a place will pick up and take whatever I have without making me sort out clothing from electronics, they can have it.
I know, though, that many people aren’t quite ready to give their clutter away. I was that person for many years, so I’m sharing what I have learned about how to get rid of clutter.
There are two ways to look at this. Do you want to make the most money possible or do you want to get things out of your house?
For years, I looked at the monetary value of every single item in my home. I was an eBay seller. It was more than a hobby for me. I had around 20 auctions running every single week.
I did well on eBay and had a good time doing it. The problem, though, was that because I saw the financial potential in every piece of kitsch, I had a hard time getting rid of it.
If I’d seen something sell on eBay for $20.00, but mine didn’t sell for $9.99, I wanted to hang on to it longer and try again.
Which meant it stayed in my home longer.
Usually, much longer.
Here’s the thing. You can earn more money by selling items online, but you have to put a LOT more work into getting rid of them. And they stay in your home for a LOT longer. (Here’s a video I made about selling on eBay.)
Over time, as I built Decluttering Momentum, my desire to get stuff out of the house became stronger than my desire to make money from that stuff.
I began to place value on empty space.
On the livability of my home.
How to Get Rid of Clutter
Pros – Best way to get what an item is truly “worth” monetarily. (This explains how to quickly check value on eBay.)
Cons – Tons of work to examine, photograph, research, describe, list, manage auctions, and ship items.
Pros – Quicker and easier to list items than eBay. Good for large items that you don’t want to ship.
Cons – Still have to photograph, list and describe items. Also must arrange pick-up times and be careful about safety issues when meeting strangers.
Local re-sale shops and events:
Pros – Can get lots of things ready and out of your house at one time.
Cons – Most of these shops and events have specific requirements. For many, items must be on hangers and/or items must be in perfect condition so it’s important to find out their requirements before taking your things to them. I’ve known quite a few people who had a lot of their stuff rejected by re-sale shops. Also, they generally only take certain categories of items, so getting rid of clutter all at once isn’t possible.
There are quite a few online groups that allow you to post items others might want. Freecycle.org coordinates groups where only free items can be listed. Search (or ask local friends) on Facebook for (Your City’s Name) Garage Sale or Swap or Resale or Buy, Sell, Trade.
Pros – You can post anything that’s allowed within the rules of the group. In many, you can even sell or give away ambiguous stuff like “scrap metal” if you have broken fans or grills. Someone may want it!
Cons – Corresponding with potential buyers/takers and coordinating pickups can be a big pain. And again, safety must be considered when meeting strangers. And honestly . . . I get too tempted by the things others offer, so I can’t be very involved in these kinds of groups.
Pros – A garage sale can be a wonderful motivation to get a large amount of purging done on a deadline. People pay you to carry stuff away from your home. Items don’t have to be perfect. The buyer is responsible for examining items, so you don’t have to write out detailed descriptions of what you’re selling. (Read my blog series on How to Have a Successful Garage Sale.)
Cons – They’re a lot of work. Weather or other outside factors (like road construction at the entrance to your neighborhood) can significantly affect your success.
How to Get Rid of Clutter Fast!
Donation: (My favorite!)
Pros – Donating is the best way to consistently move clutter out of my home. It is the very best way to get rid of clutter fast! Donating prevents the garage or any other space from becoming a Holding Area for
Cra Clutter. In the U.S., donations to some charities can be used for a tax write-off.
Cons – You might be giving away something that is worth money. If that freaks you out, read this. Different donation places have different rules about what they will and won’t accept. It’s best to know before you haul things there.
If you stress over what happens to your stuff after you donate, listen to this podcast interview I did with Goodwill Dallas.
Hire a Junk Hauling Service
If you are completely overwhelmed, or just don’t have the physical ability to move your clutter out of the house, you may need to consider hiring a professional junk removal service. A junk hauling service takes things away. You tell them what to take. You have to make the decisions, but most will do the lifting and the hauling and the getting rid of stuff. Search the name of your town with the words “junk removal” and you’ll find options in your area. Be sure to ask for an estimate of their charges before you commit, and ask what they include as part of their service to be sure it fits your needs.
And last but not least . . .
The trash can.
This one is difficult for people like me. As optimists who see potential and value in all things, accepting that NO ONE will ever love or use an item again . . . is hard.
But it’s okay. Chances are . . . if an item makes your head feel like it’s going to explode, it will make someone else’s head explode as well. Spare them. Throw it in the trash.
Here’s the thing. With the emphasis on green and sustainable living, NOT throwing things away can become an obsession. I can’t handle that obsession. I donate what I can, but after that I’m okay with trashing/recycling things with the knowledge that as I change my personal view of stuff, ultimately I’m becoming less wasteful overall.
Note: Many thrift stores sell torn or stained clothing by the pound to rug-makers. If you’re purging clothing, just stuff the imperfect items into a separate bag and label it as Torn or Stained Clothes.
If you are completely overwhelmed by the clutter in your home, you need my book: Decluttering at the Speed of Life. In it, I explain the mindset changes that will help you make real progress and teach my non-emotion-based five step process for making decluttering progress (and only progress, never a bigger mess) in any amount of time you have.