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Tips for Clearing Out the Stuff

Updated on September 21, 2015

Often closets, garages, and attics are full of stuff. Shoes that are never worn any more, toys that never get played with, or junk that just simply needs to be thrown away. We keep these items for various reasons, but often none of them are very logical. Imagine having all that space back. Imagine not having to rearrange the garage in order to get your bicycle out for example. Clearing your closet can do more than just make space though, and I will touch on that and more. So heres how you clear out the unnecessary things and keep it that way.

Keeping It From Coming In

Marketing and advertising departments are quite good at their jobs. The commercials and ads help to convince you that you need their product. As Steve Jobs said, “people don't know what they want until you show it to them.” I’m here to say you don’t need it. You may want it, but believe me you don’t really need it.

There have been plenty of times I was walking around a store and something caught my eye. I think to myself, “I could really use that for ____(fill in the blank)”. So I decide to buy within those first couple of seconds of seeing the item. But as I walk around the store longer I start to think about my impulse buy. “How often will I really use this?” “Is this something that I really need or would it just be nice to have?” “Where will I keep it?” More often than not, I am able to see my urge to buy as an urge that will pass.

Those are the questions that we should reflect on when we feel a flit of excitement in the store. Just think about your potential purchase after the initial rush of “the buy” passes, and you will be able to be more practical. There clearly will be times where your purchase makes sense, but more often than not you are able to get along just fine without it.

Getting the Stuff Out

Overcoming the urge to buy is one thing, but another problem is getting rid of the stuff that has already accumulated. I know plenty of people that are physically unable to fit anything else in their closets or basements. Their saving grace was the invention of the Space Bag, but I’m sure there are plenty that have run out of room even with a closet full of Space Bags.

The first step for any successful clean out is to realize you don’t actually need the clothes, toys, shoes, etc that are packed in the overflowing closets and attics. If you can’t get to this point mentally, then there is no reason to continue reading this article. Next the question needs to be asked: “When was the last time I even used this thing?” If you haven’t even thought about it in the last year, then it’s a good candidate for getting the ax. Your have survived the last 12 months without it, so could you go the next 12 years without it?

I know a guy who moved to a new place over a year ago, and still had some boxes that he hadn’t unpacked. So instead of unpacking it, he just threw it out without even looking at what was inside. His reasoning was he hadn’t needed it since moving in so it couldn’t have been all that important.

Another good one to ask yourself is: “Is there someone else who could benefit from it?” Usually there is someone who could actually use the thing that is just lying around your place for years. One example is donating to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. That way you don’t have to spend the time trying to sell it, and you can still save money through tax deductions.

Additional Tips & Tricks

Hopefully you are now empowered and excited to start clearing out all that clutter. Sometimes the questions that you should ask aren’t enough to determine what really needs to go. Here a couple of ideas to help you distinguish:

1. Turn your hangers backwards - Go through your closet and turn around all of the hanger. The trick is that in a year or so you will easily be able to see what articles of clothing you haven’t worn in the last year.

2. Don’t get all sentimental - One of my biggest problems is I attribute some type of sentimental value to the objects. Even though I never wear that shirt I bought in Chicago, I bought it in Chicago and thats why I keep it. A little bit of reasoning usually brings me to the conclusion that this doesn’t make sense. I never wear it and plus I have plenty of photos to remind me of the trip so I don’t need some shirt.

3. Clearing your space clears your mind - This final point is actually the biggest reason why you should act right now on all that you just read. Imagine not having to worry about that pile of stuff that just sits around collecting dust. Its amazing to see how freeing it can be to clear out your clutter. A tidy house helps to free your mind. Personally I am able to focus much better when my area is clean and clear.

So in conclusion, by simply asking a couple of questions and taking a few actions, you can break the chains of the Stuff that are holding you down. Decluttering will free up space, clear the mind, and helps to keep your hard earned money in your pockets. So clear out and break free.


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