For most people who have the ability to read this blog, we live in a world of excess. A TV in every room and more cars than there are drivers. Especially in the United States. We have super-sized fast food meals, venti coffees, California-king beds, Hummers and cable TV with 500 channels. We have been sold the idea that the more we have, the happier we’ll be. We need to fill our lives with stuff to make menial tasks easier and to fully entertain our short attention spans. The reality is, simple living might actually make you happier in the long run.
These obvious items such as SUVs and TVs are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to decluttering. There are so many other less obvious items that can be done away with, which you will likely never even notice are gone. If you are trying to get toward living in a smaller home or are just trying to declutter your life, here are some suggestions on items that you can lose without negative affects.
The first and most obvious place to start in the decluttering process is to go through your clothes and get rid of items you don’t wear. Anything you haven’t worn in the past year should be automatically put in the donate pile. Anything that you don’t see yourself wearing again or items you just don’t like that much should be donated as well. You’d be surprised how many people hang onto every piece of clothing they’ve ever bought even though they don’t wear them, don’t like them or they don’t fit anymore. Save yourself space and give someone else the chance to wear any clothes that are still perfectly usable.
Then, of course, there are the items that are just no good anymore. Clothing that is stained or torn should be put into the pile to be recycled, reused and repurposed. There is no reason why any old, worn out clothing items should go in the garbage. Cotton t-shirts can be turned into rags or they can be cut into strips and put into your first aid kit. There are so many uses for old t-shirts that I wrote a whole blog post about the subject that you can read RIGHT HERE.
Now some people might get mad because they are old school book lovers and hate the idea of using eReaders. I’m not suggesting that people get rid of all of their books and do their reading exclusively on a Kindle. If that is something you are comfortable with, by all means. There are a lot of great books that are available exclusively as ebooks, but if you still like reading paper books, that’s okay as well. What I’m suggesting is that you get rid of the books you no longer need. If you’ve already read a book and it’s been sitting on your self for years, it’s probably a safe bet to let it go. Some people have books they read and re-read every year and you should definitely keep those, but the travel guide about Hawaii you keep because you dream of a tropical vacation there doesn’t need to take up space. Pick up a new, more current version once you’re sure you’re going. Letting go of emotional attachments to ordinary objects is going to be key if you are striving for simple living through the decluttering process.
There are many options on what you can do to get rid of books you don’t need anymore. Give them to friends and family who are interested in reading them. You can donate them to schools or libraries. You can even sell them, especially if you have some older books you think might be worth a pretty penny. Don’t just hang on to them because you want your house to look like a library.
CDs & DVDs
Look, it’s a digital age and we don’t need shelves of discs lining our walls. When I was a teenager I had a rack with 400 CDs on it and it was my pride and joy. Today, I have my entire catalog of 1,680 albums on my computer. I have them there, backed up to an external hard drive and uploaded to the Google Play server. I have all of them in three different places and it takes up almost zero space in my home. I have another external hard drive I keep movies on which I play through a media player to my TV. Otherwise, our family watches mostly streaming movies and TV from Netflix, Hulu and Crackle.
How many late night commercials are telling you just how much easier your life would be if you just bought a brand new Kitchen Gadget 3000? And let’s be honest, you’ve bought a few of them. We all have, but some of them just don’t work out like we’d hoped. They collect dust in a cabinet or worse, they sit on the counter taking up valuable real estate. Donate them or sell them online. There are more than enough other people who might want to give it a shot.
The other thing to consider is whether or not you’re using your regular appliances to their full potential. Do you have a fancy toaster oven than you only make toast in every once and a while? Donate it and get a smaller toaster that just makes toast. Do you have a big espresso maker but you only ever drink black coffee? Yard sale it and get a more efficient, compact drip coffee maker. You’ll free up some space and use less energy by not powering a device that has 17 options that you never use.
What are some of the things you got rid of to help declutter your life and how did you deal with the loss? Leave your story in the comments!