Sunday, May 23, 2010

Getting Rid of Excess Crap

This past Saturday was "the big move"-- my fiance brought most of his (fully-furnished) apartment to my (already-too-cluttered) condo! This has meant a furious couple of days of CULLING my crap RUTHLESSLY. (Perhaps I should have started earlier... um... in addition to being cheap I'm also a terrible procrastinator!)

My place was originally furnished through family hand-me-downs (some heirlooms, some just extra junk!) and street finds. Many of my things I can't just get rid of because my mother would absolutely murder me (not that she has the space to store them either, sigh). So those, we work around. The others, though, to the curb they go! And as far as clothes, I am applying the "do I really LOVE this?" rule. It's amazing how many things can be pitched if love is the criterion, not just "like" or "think I might wear someday." I bagged up and brought at least 20 full bags to the garage for charity pickup (I have neither the time nor energy to attempt making any money off of any of it).

Er, pardon my thumb in the corner there but WHOA! Look at all that crap.

For smaller amounts of crap, I recommend dropping off at your local Goodwill (make sure to get a receipt for taxes!) or one of those drop-boxes in parking lots (no tax write-off there, though). If you've got a lot of crap and no car, like me, you can contact any of several charities who will come right to your house and grab it to sell in their thrift stores, leaving a blank receipt for you to enter your estimated fair market value, so you can save some dough and do good at the same time:

Vietnam Veterans of America
AmVets (pickup only available in certain states)
Salvation Army (OK, kind of a freaky religious cult but whatever floats your boat)
Big Brother Big Sister (no furniture though)
Lupus Foundation
Brides against Breast Cancer (donate your dust-gathering gown for a good cause! This one's by mail)

These are just a few examples; you can probably find another service for a pet cause of your own with some simple googling.

Other options are craigslist, if you actually want to make a few dollars and you have the patience to email back and forth and wait for people to show up (not I!) and freecycle, and of course the classic "leave-it-on-the-curb-until-some-enterprising-person-makes-off-with-it." Or maybe you could host a swap with your friends! Or a yard/tag/garage sale (depending on which area of the country you live in-- aren't regional colloqiualisms fascinating??) if you have the fortitude.

I realized in this process that I really need to stop buying things that are "almost" perfect. I mean, I knew that, but honestly, so much wasted money is represented in these bags: no matter how inexpensive any given item is, I didn't need any of them and they were never really worth my time or the expenditure. No more of that!

What's your favorite way to get rid of stuff you don't use anymore?

Happy culling!

4 comments:

  1. Applying the love it criteria is such a good idea. A rail is a clothes rail - sorry xx

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  2. Great recommendations! We live in the tiniest apt, and are currently trying to purge all of the stuff that we have accumulated! I have listed a bunch on craigslist, and taken the remainder to thrift store drop off sites! Good luck with the move! :)

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  3. We were forced to do a major purge 3 years ago when my hubby took a work assignment in Ireland. Goodwill really lucked out as we brought carload after carload of excess stuff. I was ruthless with my closet, dishes (many from our wedding that I had never even used or liked) and other garage stuff. What a chore but I felt great afterwards - like a huge weight had been lifted! : )

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  4. You did a great job! I can't be bothered with selling things also. If I need it gone, now out it goes.

    I like to donate to the local Women's Crisis centre. Even children's items have been taken over if there is the need.

    Everything that now comes into my house has to pass these tests. Need it? Love it? Can't live without it? Then I go ahead with the purchase. This has helped immensely with all kinds of clutter.

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