Use It Or Lose It!: How To Get Rid Of Stuff From Your Home

My Grandmother had many famous quotes...well, famous to me, one of which was, "Use It Or Lose It!". This simply meant that if you had anything that was of no use to you, and held no purpose for you...get rid of it! It also meant taking care of yourself, and staying active, physically and mentally. I'll address that another time, cause' today, I'm gonna talk about junk!

Whenever I asked my Grandmother how to get rid of junk, she would say, "Throw it in the alley, that's what I do!" I finally told her, "Grandma, there's no room left in the alley because of you!" She laughed. The point is, when you bring many new, or new to you items, in your home, AND your home is then bursting and brimming with with too much STUFF...something HAS to go! While it may be difficult to rid yourself of acquired possessions, it is a task that MUST happen!

I started getting up early on Saturday mornings, and while my son was still asleep, I'd shout in my loudest voice (...well, my usual voice is LOUD), "Use It Or Lose It!"

My son would awake with a stir, and started scrambling!!! It was FUNNY to watch him half-asleep making attempts to salvage his stuff! If anything was on the floor, that wasn't floor, carpet, or furniture, it was getting out of the house! I had no mercy, and made no apologies! You may think my methods were unfair, but if ever you stepped on a toy in the middle of the night while going to the bathroom, then you understand my point, and did he! So, my son would gather things (after salvaging what he could), I gathered things, and we headed for the Goodwill. It helped my son to appreciate the importance of being charitable...AND TIDY!


Here are a few suggestions for parting ways with the frays:

Give to friends, neighbor or relatives - This is ideal when you know people really well, and you don't mind them in your home. Everybody, ain't somebody to be all up in your space! And yes, I meant to say it JUST LIKE THAT!!!!

Barter with a tradesman, when you're having work done on your home (for a reduced or even wash of the price)- You may have something of value that's worth the cost of a small repair. Or perhaps you have a talent that you can use in exchange for the service...I'm talk'n bout' decent stuff folks...ya'll nasty!!!

Arrange a swap party at your home - Send out invites to friends, relatives, etc, and ask that everyone bring items in good condition, clean and bug free...yeah, that's right! We're talk'n bout' swapping stuff...AND bugs ain't one of em!!! Just be sure to swap for something that you can really use.

Take it to a dumpster, and run like h-e-!-! - No, don't do that, it's illegal, and you can twist your ankle trying to get away! All you'll end up with is a hospital bill and a citation!

Set the item curbside with a FREE sign - I have a couple of things in my home from FREE signs. Now admittedly I was a little hesitant with this one. It has to be curbside, or in an alley, and not close to the house. If it's on the property then I pass. This option may not work for all jurisdictions.


Sell your items at a local flea market - You can rent a table at a flea market for a nominal fee. Price your items fair, and be willing to negotiate. Use your earnings towards a needed expense, savings, or treat yourself to something that you won't eventually need to get rid of.

Sell your items on eBay, amazon, craigslist, etc. - Please exercise care when taking pictures. You want your items to sell don't you? I have seen crappy pictures on all of these sites. The picture can denote the quality of the item. If the picture looks crappy, it may be considered that the item isn't as valued as you claim.

Post a flyer in your local grocery store -I haven't done this one, but I've seen it all my life...well at least since I could read and notice things. If you're comfortable with ANYBODY call'n your phone, then pop goes the weasel...get to popp'n...I mean sell'n!!!

Place your items on consignment - This is a great option for anyone who wants to make a profit, but does not have the time for a direct sale. Consignment stores basically maintain a percentage from the proceeds of the sale, and you get the rest.

Have a yard or garage sale - Get your table, stickers (or tape) and markers ready. If you have a clothes rack, use it! Arrange your items neatly and with appeal. If they have appeal, they WILL SELL! Be sure to get plenty of bills in different denominations, and coin change. Be willing to negotiate your prices. Remember...USE IT OR LOSE IT!


Recycle - Recycling is an easy, and environmentally friendly way of getting rid of excess newspaper glass, plastic, etc. Many municipalities offer free collection of your recyclables. Check your area for recycling centers.

Donate to charity - Goodwill, Salvation Army, Veterans of America, Purple Heart, etc, are all great organizations to haul your wares to. Many offer collection services right to your home. This saves on gas, time, and possibly multiple trips.

Arrange a Bulk Trash Pickup for items beyond repair - Most municipalities will pick-up items from a pre-arranged call or online request. Contact your local government office for details.

Contact a company or person that specializes in hauling - This solution is ideal for the person who has items that are in excess of a bulk trash pickup. Bulk trash services offered by your City's government, limits the number of items. Although this option is fee based, it's worth having many items removed all at once. (See option for bartering).

Repurpose Your Items - Now this is one of my favorites!. I love re-purposing, and have a knack for using what I already have in creative and inventive ways.

Call ME...I can be there in five frugal minutes - Come on...ya'll know me, the frugal female with finesse!! I should be on speed dial on ALL of your phones...some of your phones!

Getting rid of excess items from your home doesn't have to be a challenge. More than anything, you have to be willing to part with things that you no longer have a use for. I enjoy re-purposing, and even I have to let go of things from time to time. Unlike my Grandmother's suggestion, and I listened to her MOST of the time, don't ever, ever throw it in the alley...unless you arrange for a bulk trash pick-up first...okay! Now everybody shout, in your loudest voice...USE IT OR LOSE IT!!!

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Comments 19 comments

KALIFAH 5 years ago

I'm am sooo going to be calling you! I'm ready to lose just about everything in The Abyss - including my ever-lovin' mind! Great article. And you're right about the dumpster. There's one about 150 feet from my house, and I know the minute I go over there, I'm getting the Blue Light Special (aka - police citation). Love you, Babygirl! ?

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

?...I have got to get the mirror, and as soon as I get a truck, and someone I trust to help me move it...I am SOOOO there! If that mirror gets's gon' be some clouds on a sun-shiny day!!!

I truly appreciate you stopping by, and leaving a means the world to me!

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UrsulaRose 5 years ago

I so LOVE reading your Hub Articles and this one is another beauty ... well done!

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks UrsulaRose! I'm especially glad that you enjoyed it, and am overjoyed that you stopped by AND left a comment!!!!

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

Love it. I've been on a "use it or lose it" kick lately myself. I'm using the 6 month rule I read in another hub; if I haven't used it for 6 mos, it goes. Thanks for motivation to keep going, imatellmuva:)

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

kimh039, motivation is key! Letting go is a release, and a relief! Thanks for stopping by, AND leaving a comment. Happy Use It Or Lose It to ya'!!!

Lene Lynn profile image

Lene Lynn 5 years ago from Glendale, AZ

Hey girl! Great article! I have one more idea...there is a site called that is most cities in the U.S. (I think so, anyway!) and you can post items on there to give to people FREE. They can come pick them up at your place or you can meet them somewhere for them to get the stuff! OR you can post an ad stating YOU want to get something from someone ELSE for free! I got clothes and scrapbook material from there a few times and it's a great way to trade things with people! :) Great to see you posting a couple hubs again! :)

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks Lene! I totally forgot about Do you mind if I edit my hub, and add that as another option? Thanks for check'n me out!!

docbruin profile image

docbruin 5 years ago from USA

This is a great hub! Junk is sneaky. It will creep up on you and before you know it, something you thought you needed (seemed like a good idea at the time), has turned into JUNK! You had only turned your back for a second and now it's JUNK! I agree that you have to become good at recognizing junk in its "pre-junk" state! Thanks for your hub!

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks docubrin for the comment! My father was soemone who was quite resourceful, but also someone who claimed a need for everything that he owned.

Unlike him, I recognize when enough is ENOUGH, and regularly part with items that I no longer have a use for. AND YES, junk has a way of accumulating, and before you know it, you open a closet and things are tumbling on your head!

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

I hate junk and excessive amounts of things. But somehow, I think things multiply overnight. I have put free things on items at the curb and they will be gone within hours. This works especially well on garbage day because there are people who drive around looking for these types of unwanted items. I have also had garage sales and given donations. I have also found that teachers like any toys, books, or games that are in good condition for their classrooms. And the library will always take books. I just wish I instituted "use it or lose it" days where everyone learned to scramble around and pick up; sadly, tidiness is not a lesson that was well-learned in my home.

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Hi ktrapp, Good to hear from you. Donating to the library or a school is an excellant idea. I used to take magzine's to Doctor offices, because I tired of reading about Golf and fishing. I am thankful for my Grandma in many ways, and "Use It Or Lose It!" was one of her specialties!

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

I once had a friend who couldn't make herself take ANYTHING to she'd bring her castoffs to my house, knowing I didn't have a problem donating stuff I didn't need or wouldn't use.

I'm also a die-hard curb shopper. As a matter of fact, that's where I got the wicker rocker I'm sitting in as I type. It was only missing one of the rockers. Not my problem that the people who put it out there didn't have enough sense to have a replacement made. Actually, most of my furniture and other "stuff" came from a curb or an alley or from next to a dumpster in a "good" neighborhood. tee hee! ;D

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

Since I need to get my house in order before family comes to town for Thanksgiving I am pretty sure I am going to have a "use it or lose it" Saturday very soon!

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

JamaGenee, you and I see eye-to-eye. Or rather dumpster-to-dumpster. I am unashamed, and actually get many compliments about my homes decor. If only they knew...wait a minute...THEY DO NOW!!!

ktrapp, THAT'S THE SPIRIT!Just imagine all the space you'll have for more new junk! (KIDDING) Or...or things that you'll come across and can possibly re-purpose for your Thanksgiving decor. I am determined not to buy a single solitary item for Thanksgiving...well except food of course.

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 5 years ago from South Carolina, USA

Ima, as usual you hit the nail on the head in your own unique way. As a mom of three kids, I can testify to how hard it is to keep junk under control. As someone else mentioned, I have had great success with Freecycle. The trick is not to succumb to the receiving end of Freecycle... But I really needed that Vera Bradley garment bag and those two sets of snowman dishes! Great hub!

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks DIY...I just sent off a donation to Salvation Army.

I got rid of dishes, simply because I had too many, and tired of folk grab'n a clean plate to keep from washing a dirty one. I got rid of mugs for the same reason.

Thanks for your comment...YOU'RE AWESOME!!!

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

Well look who's back. So glad to see you! Anyway, you might just be telling your age. I just feel like we gather things up over the years til it gets to be too much. When I was young, I never worried about too much crap. I was busy gathering it. Now, I have a pile in the basement for a fabulous yard sale. Only trouble is, I've been accepting donations from other people trying to get rid of their stuff, including the cute chair my neighbors set out with a free sign and I am going to paint and recover it...sure I am.

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Hey "D"!! I'll tell my age...cause chile', I'm a good look'n slick 47!!

I am constantly boxing up thing to donate. I have one now that I'm adding to for another Salvation Army Pick-Up.

I want to get my house to the point where I have what I need, and any additional are things that I use for seasonal purposes, crafting, sewing, etc.; things that I will absolutely have a need for, but not on a regular basis.

I am someone who likes to have my home visitor ready, and tire of cleaning and tidying those things that I have not used.

Only once...twice have I given soemthing away that I wish I kept. So, considering the 100's of items that I have given away...I won't let that stop me from "Parting Ways With The FRAYS!"

I sent you an email "D"...holla' back.

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