How to de-clutter

If you aren’t using your things, get them into the hands of people who will! The goal: only hang on to items that serve you now.

Here are eight starting points:

  • Bedroom Starting in a corner, clear off one surface at a time. Donate what you don’t want to organizations such as WIN or My Sister’s Closet or sell via VarageSale or FaceBook.
  • Home office Clear everything off your desk except your computer. Choose three items you must have within arm’s reach. Sort the rest into three piles: review, donate, toss. Take old computers to a second-hand shop or recycle your unwanted electronics.
  • Kitchen Look for “forgotten” things tucked away in hard-to-reach places.
  • Garage, carport or storage locker See if your neighbours are interested in your unused bikes and sports equipment. Or snap photos and post for sale online.
  • Camping, BBQ equipment Offer for free online. (Clean goods go faster than dirty ones.)
  • Anything with wheels Post vehicles on autoTrader and engine-less wheels on Used(your city), VarageSale, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Kijiji.
  • Closet Local shoemakers may be able to use parts of shoes in reasonable shape. Did you know you can recycle your eyeglasses? You can also do away with unwanted items in your wardrobe by hosting a clothing swap, when able to do so safely. The rest: Consign, sell online through second-hand marketplaces or donate to local charity thrift stores.
  • Pet goods Rescue organizations need animal transport crates, old towels, leashes and dishes.

Great, close-up photos are key to successful online transactions. Create a descriptive, enticing post. Be sure the stuff you’re selling is in season.

The Toronto Tool Library and the Vancouver Tool Library let people borrow items for a nominal annual membership fee. Many meetup groups host “Fix it” or Repair Cafés — consider organizing one for your neighbourhood. A block garage sale/BBQ is a way to both socialize and reduce waste.

Ultimately, bring less into your home. In her book A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy, Sarah Lazarovic’s “Buyerarchy of Needs” puts “use what you have” at the top, followed by borrow, swap, thrift, make and finally buy. Switch your thinking from “I want that. Where can I buy it?” to “Do I really need that?” and “Can I find it another way?”

Clearing space in our homes — and minds — feels great! Here’s some reading material to help:

  • Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
  • The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees
  • The life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo
  • Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker

Got tips to share?

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