“Getting rid of perfectly good items may seem wasteful, but that’s not where we went wrong. It was wasteful to purchase it. Now we are just acknowledging it.” – Rachelle Crawford
One question that seems to plague most people when they are preparing to start on their decluttering journey is simple: “what the heck do I do with the things I am going through?”
I remember the first time I decluttered something. I sat there, surrounded by my things, and had no idea what to do with all of it. What do I keep? What do I donate to Goodwill? What should I simply get rid of?
For many, may years, I was someone who kept things in case I wanted to use it in five years or maybe wanted to look at it again. My husband tried to get me to live more minimally but I just wasn’t ready. I sat there, looked around my home and knew I would be happier with less but was holding on tight to what I had.
Read: There Are No Rules To Minimalism
So for me, trying to figure out what to do with the items was completely overwhelming. As time went on and I continued decluttering different parts of my home, it eventually became second nature to me.
Each and every one of us have reasons and excuses for keeping things in our home for longer than is necessary. For not wanting to part with certain things and thinking you need them after they have served you and your home.
If you are having a difficult time deciding what to keep, donate or get rid of after you are done decluttering, I want to help! Let’s start off with four questions to ask yourself about the items.
When was the last time I used this or is this something that serves me today?
Am I just keeping this for sentimental reasons or “just in case”?
Would I buy this today?
Is this something I could make money off of?
Each of these questions are meant to get your thoughts moving and for you to have the opportunity to reflect on how you feel about the objects. Take your time, really think about these questions and be completely honest with yourself.
Next, let’s breakdown a few guidelines for deciding what you are going to keep, donate, sell or get rid of!
What you should donate:
Deciding to donate your items is honestly the quickest and easiest way to get those decluttered items out of your home. Your local thrift stores or Goodwill are two of the best places to donate items to. Have you ever heard of the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Thrift stores are the perfect example of this being true! Something that may not serve you anymore could be just the thing someone else is looking for.
So, what items should you donate? Anything that is gently used, clean, has all of its parts and still works. Items such as gently worn baby clothes, shoes, bags, small kitchen appliances, wall decor, wooden furniture, sets of dishes, cooking utensils, books, cookbooks, photo albums, frames, board games and toys can all absolutely be donated.
What you should try to sell:
Okay, this is a tough one for me. When I first started decluttering and was trying to figure out what to do with the items that no longer served me, I immediately thought of selling them. I know people who have sold a ton of things on Facebook and have made enough money to re-decorate and pay some bills. So the thought of maybe making some extra cash off of the items I didn’t want anymore was appealing.
Yes, I have been able to sell two or three things but personally for me, the time it took to post the items and keep up with them made it not worth it. If you are thinking of selling your items on Facebook Marketplace or Letgo, I would stick to a few guidelines.
Items that are still in the box, haven’t been used before, are gently used with minimal scratches or are very clean have a good chance of being sold. When you post them for sale, make sure you accurately describe the items, set a good price and either meet someone at a public place and have someone with you!
What you should keep:
When I first started decluttering and going through my home, my first instinct was almost always to keep something. I am someone who has a history of having a hard time getting rid of things. (The complete opposite of my husband who LOVES throwing things away!) It has taken me a few months to finally be able to not pick everything up and immediately want to keep it!
There are a few kinds of items that I will forever keep. That I will always put in the keep pile during my decluttering sessions. Items such as jewelry from a loved one that can’t be replaced, old photos that can’t be digitized, a few of my daughter’s outfits from when she was a baby, her christening dress, special things from school and cards from my husband over the years will always stay with me.
This will look different for everyone! If you are having a hard time deciding, save it for the next time you are going through. My rule of thumb is to keep it unless I know I won’t miss it because once it’s gone, you can’t get it back!
If you use it daily, keep it. If you have used it in the last month and you know you will use it again, keep it. It is completely up to you. Slowly work on letting go of more each time you declutter!
What you should throw away:
Last but not least is deciding what to throw away! This part, for me, is the easiest. If it doesn’t get donated, kept, or sold, then it gets thrown away or recycled. Things like broken appliances, stained baby clothes, opened beauty products, loved toys and games with missing pieces are some of the items that tend to find themselves in the trash bin.
Try not to over complicate things for yourself and don’t judge yourself for how little or how much you are getting rid of! This is your journey and yours alone. Embrace it and enjoy it!!