“Clutter drains your energy – and you don’t realize it till it’s gone. Every item in your home has an energy to it. When items go a long time unused, unloved and uncared for, they become stuck, stagnant energy that actually physically drains you of your energy.”
~ Ariane Benefit
This week is National Clean Out Your Drawers Week. Okay, I made that up. But seriously, this is a great time of year to do this.
- The weather is still too cold to do much outside, but we are all itching for the activity of spring.
- Getting rid of excess stuff saves time in your daily life. How long does it take to find a new battery in your house?
- You can make money from all the great things you find, and who couldn’t use a few extra bucks these days?
There are a few guidelines that will make the process easier:
- Start small. Instead of getting ambitious to clean out all your drawers in one day (and making a mess of your house), split the project into bite-sized pieces. One drawer a day or 3 every weekend is a good start.
- Make a list of of people/places to donate or sell. This will keep your mind focused as you go through the process. For instance, knowing that your friend Susie has just lost a lot of weight and is in need of clothes will make donating much easier. Or all your spare office equipment would be a great find for an entrepreneur looking for supplies on Craigslist.
- Have bins with you when you start – one for trash, one for recyclables, one for items to sell/donate, and one for items that should be stored somewhere else. Use a bag for the trash and laundry baskets for the others. If you pile it first you may run out of steam before you finish, leaving a big mess.
- Make a decision on every item in 3 seconds. If you have to talk yourself into reasons to keep the item, you are just justifying it. You know within 3 seconds if you really use it.
- Ask your friends if they want to do the same thing. You can band together to swap clothes, household appliances, children’s toys, or organize a group yard sale in a few weeks.
I’ve been cleaning drawers for a couple of days and keep asking myself “what was I thinking?” Why does someone with stick-straight hair need curl activator? And why do I still have my last 2 cell phones?
Below you will find a list of places to donate and sell your items. We have had great luck on Craigslist, even to advertise free items for people to pick up (box of cords, anyone?).
Sell your stuff:
- Craiglist is free. Be sure to get cash instead of checks.
- eBay is for the more serious seller or if you have eccentric, valuable, or hard-to-find items. You can also find vendors in your area who will list and sell your items on eBay for a small cut. eBay charges a fee.
- Newspaper ads. Buying ads these days usually means you get online ads as well. This is an option if you do not have an active Craigslist community in your area.
- Consignment shops will sell your gently used clothing and accessories. Many people are shopping at consigment shops now to save money and still look good.
- Take your books to a used bookstore. You can get money for your books or a store credit to fund your reading expenses for the next year. A great way to keep your house clutter-free.
- Band with your neighbors for a monster yard sale, though make sure everyone does their part in pricing their items and setting up or you’ll be left with a lot of work.
Recycle/Donate your stuff:
- Earth911 has information and resources to recycle everything from batteries to mattresses.
- Battered women’s shelters can use those travel-sized toiletries you collect from traveling. They also use old cell phones because they dial 911 even without a service plan. Remember, when these women leave they often walk out with nothing.
- Homeless shelters can use your bed linens, blankets, coats, gloves and clothes.
- Donate your old eyeglasses to the Lions Club. They clean and classify the glasses for distribution to needy people around the world. Another option is to get your old glasses tinted to make a pair of prescription sunglasses.
- Do you really need all those bags and backpacks? Consider donating backpacks to foster children (and throw in some school supplies) and use your bags for grocery shopping. It will keep you from accumulating all those plastic bags at home.
Do you have any tips to share? Please leave them in the comments.