Guest post from Sara of Traveling PhoBlog WriPher:
If there were a competition for de-cluttering, I’d be the winner. I picture a Biggest Loser-style competition. Confetti would fall onto my smiling face immediately after they shouted “Sara Bell, you got rid of 91% of your personal belongings. You are the biggest de-clutter-er!”
No, really. I got rid of 91% of my personal belongings.
My husband and I love to travel, so we decided to move into a trailer and travel all over the U.S and Canada. At the time, we lived in a two-bedroom condo with a garage so we knew we’d have a lot to get rid of. We just had no idea just how much!
Here’s how we did it…
1. Get rid of multiples.
Do we really need two TVs when only one of us actually watches TV? No. Then do we really need two DVD players? No. Since our laptop plays DVDs and our Xbox is always hooked up to the TV, do we need a DVD player at all? No.
Do we really need a desktop computer when we are usually just on the laptop? No. Do we really need two bookshelves when neither is completely full and one is a little rickety? No. Do I really need five of the same-sized sauce pan when there are only four burners on my stove any ways? NO.
Once you’ve done that, congratulate yourself!
2. Get rid of the things you don’t/won’t use.
That vase was a gift but I think it’s ugly. I have hated every book I’ve attempted to read by that author, yet I still have three more of his/her books on my shelf. That dress hasn’t fit me since I was in high school. I don’t know whose that is, but I’m pretty sure it’s not even mine.
All of it has to go!
3. Get over it.
Yes this part is the hardest part, especially for me since I am a very sentimental person. I was crying during half of my de-cluttering process because I felt guilty for getting rid of things someone gave me.
I had movie ticket stubs dating back to 2002. I had sweaters I’d hated from the moment I’d unwrapped them, many with the tag still intact. I had colorful scribbles drawn by kids whose last names I couldn’t even remember. I had 24 notes from my little sister-in-law, even though they all say the exact same three sentences on them.
When I couldn’t bring myself to throw something away, I’d tell my husband. Some of the things he’d look at and say “See if your parents will store it.” Some he’d look at and say, “Just keep that.” Some he’d look at and say “You’re joking, right? Throw that away right now.”
If you can’t throw a lot of it away, have a friend or family member do that with you. They don’t have the strange emotional ties to the object that you do, so they’ll be able to logically see if it’s something you’ll regret throwing away or if it’s garbage.
4. Sell that junk!
We gave our friends and family members a lot of things — especially our furniture. We put many of pricier items up on Craigslist… and we had a big garage sale. Anything we couldn’t sell we either gave to Goodwill or threw away.
We didn’t bring anything back into our house once it was out in that driveway.
5. Don’t buy more.
Now I’ve trained myself not to buy things I don’t need. 91% of my belongings were things I didn’t really care about getting rid of. 91% of the things I’d spent money on were things I didn’t mind throwing away.
I don’t buy clutter anymore, so I have more money to experience life with. I don’t have a ton of clutter all over my tiny little trailer, so I don’t have much tidying up to do and I don’t really feel any stress in that area. I de-clutter again on the first of every month… but I have to tell you, I de-clutter less and less every month and I think you will too.
Sara Bell is a 20-something currently residing in Prescott, Arizona. When she isn’t bargain-shopping or cooking, she loves reading, writing, knitting, and photography. She and her husband recently moved into a trailer so they can travel the U.S. in it. You can read about their adventures on her blog, The Traveling PhoBlogWriPher.
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