We’re six days into this challenge, and it’s probably time for a little motivation. If you look around and feel overwhelmed, remember: We’re just getting started. There are 25 days left to make progress.
Before we get into decluttering the big stuff, let’s talk about how you can get rid of the things you decide to declutter. Today’s challenge is to pick one of the following clutter-disposal methods and employ it within the next week.
Craigslist.org is best for larger items that would be hard to mail to a buyer, like appliances, furniture or bikes. It’s free to post items for sale on Craigslist, and takes only a few seconds to get started, but you’ll have to meet a local buyer to exchange the item. Check out this guide for Craigslist advice and safety tips. Earnings potential: $$$.
eBay.com is best for smaller items of some value — say electronics or brand name clothing. You can sell just about anything, but you’ll have better luck with items that are new or in excellent used condition. It takes a little longer to get acquainted with eBay than with Craigslist, but it can be a cash cow if you’re decluttering higher-end goods. Earnings potential: $$$.
Etsy.com is the place to sell handmade items or things that legitimately qualify as “vintage.” If you have a hobby that has generated a lot of stuff (think knitting, jewelry making or woodworking), you can sell your creations on Etsy. Earnings potential: $$.
Online consignment stores are good for selling high-quality clothing, especially if you don’t want to spend the time to list it on eBay yourself. Try a consignment site like Twice or ThredUp. They send you a prepaid shipping bag, you load it up with items on their approved list, then get a check in the mail a few weeks later, whether or not the items have sold. Earnings potential: $$.
Yard sales are a lot of effort, and unless you have tons of furniture or large items, the payoff can be low. They’re best used as a motivator (especially for kids) to collect things to get out of the house. If you do host a yard sale, try to time it with a neighborhood-wide event and be sure to advertise it for free on Craigslist under “garage sale.” Earnings potential: $.
If you’re just interested in getting your clutter into the hands of someone who can use it, here are some ways to give it away for free:
Curb alerts — Just put it all on your curb. People will take almost ANYTHING. Furniture and outdoor kids toys are sure bets, but we’ve had luck with mismatched cups, used sewing patterns, broken electronics, etc. Putting an alert on Craigslist or through a community like Freecycle will help too.
Charities are perhaps the easiest way to get rid of clutter. For concierge service, check out organizations such as the Vietnam Veterans of America, or the Lupus Foundation. They’ll pick up items left outside your home (weather permitting). For a more immediate declutter, find your nearest Goodwill. Or, check out this comprehensive list of charities and the items they accept: 101 places your clutter can do good. Our favorite is Brides Against Breast Cancer, which takes donated wedding dresses to raise money for cancer patients.
Beyond charities, frugal friends may appreciate free cast-offs, as long as they’re in good condition. If you have children, find a parent whose child is just a bit younger than yours and establish a system for hand-me-downs. If a friend is facing tough times financially or is trying to pay off debt, see if he or she can use any of your items.
A swap party can also be a good way to recycle items among friends. You can do a book swap, a clothes swap, or even a toy swap — whatever needs refreshing in an economical way. To cut clutter, be sure to come home from the swap with less than you brought. Here are some tips on hosting a swap party.
Do you have other methods that have worked? Share them in the comments. And let us know which one you’ve chosen for your decluttering this week!
**Need motivation? Visit our Facebook page. Our community of fellow declutterers can help you decide to what to keep and what to ditch. **