Downsizing: 5 Things to Do With All That Extra Stuff

There’s a new popular practice circulating where people take things they own, particularly clothing and seldomly used items, where they hold the item and ask themselves if they love it. If they don’t toss it. This practice is designed to rid people, particularly hoarders, of clutter.

This is supposed to make room for more flow in your life and brings in new, more desired stuff. The truth is, we (especially Americans) buy things, perhaps with good intentions, wear that thing or use that thing sparingly, and put it away to be forgotten.

We often attach the positive memories of the time we use or wore that thing to it, making it difficult to ditch even if it now only collects dust. In today’s world where we have apps for sharing everything from rides to clothes. Because of this our old programming of scarcity and hoarding no longer serves us. As we rid ourselves of unnecessary things, the question remains, what do we do with all of that extra stuff?


Giving your stuff to organizations like The Salvation Army, GoodWill and the Youth Ranch are excellent ways to declutter your life while providing useful items for less fortunate people and funding charity. Some of the items you donate will be given directly to those in need.

Others will be sold and the proceeds used to house and feed the needy and distressed. Sometimes items like furniture and materials become part of housing projects to shelter the homeless and displaced. All of these situations benefit greatly from donations. And if you have old items that you no longer use and will likely never use, those items can be useful to others.


If you feel like some of your stuff is just too valuable to simply give away, consigning it to a store can be a way to make some extra money. You know you no longer want or need the item, but it is a quality item that someone would pay for, you can sell it through a consignment shop.

You will pay the store a percentage when it sells and you get the rest. Consignment shops have become vogue among young hipsters and shopping for used items is often prefered to new, because it reduces our environmental impact and has a kitchy feel.

Garage Sale

Sometimes our clutter is just too much to take away to a store or even donate. Having a garage sale or yard sale allows you to get rid of stuff without having to move it (except maybe to the garage or yard).

Once again, your old stuff can bring in some extra cash and when you are done, you have less stuff to load up and taken to Goodwill. This can also be a fun and social activity. Some people are essentially professional yard sale shoppers. They wake up early on Saturdays to scour their local sales. Having people milling around in your yard opens up the opportunity to engage people, maybe sell some Kool-Aid and get rid of unwanted stuff.


Nowadays, yard sales almost seem old fashioned. When you can simply post a picture and a price on an app like Craigslist, people often show up with cash in hand. You don’t have to set up elaborate tables of items to sell. You just sell each thing a la carte and people come and take it away. Again, you get rid of your clutter while stuffing your pockets with some extra folding money. And with smartphones, you don’t need to be a techie to post an item for sale. It is intuitive and easy.


When you really can’t part with certain things, but your main living area doesn’t properly accommodate your stuff, storage can be an effective way to declutter your space. Items used seasonally or seldomly, but still valued can go into storage and they are there for you when you need them.

You can also cycle items in and out of storage. Winter clothes go into boxes then into storage during summer. When winter returns, vice versa. This frees up closet space and keeps your house from resembling a second hand store.

If you love it, keep it. If you keep it, use it. If you don’t, consider these five methods of decluttering your life. It will bring flow into your world and open up space. It also makes it easy to find the items you are looking for because they aren’t buried beneath stuff you never use. This all improve our moods and emotions. Our contributions help spread our abundance around to the less fortunate. And we might even have some fun and make some extra money along the way.

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