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Minimal effort for maximum decluttering
Old 08-12-2019, 02:15 PM   #1
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Minimal effort for maximum decluttering

42 single male currently rent. I am thinking of buying a house as my primary residence but I don't want to take all the junk that I have accumulated over the past with me. Is there a guideline on how to declutter so I can get rid of them?


The value of the stuff I have are probably totaling around 5 grand. They include some hard drives (~12TB spread out in small physical drives), a digital keyboard, one ebay cheapest acoustic guitar, one also inexpensive electric beginner's guitar with junk AMP, two pressure washers, one foldable bicycle for teenagers, paint supplies, new/used car parts for 96 Accord, lots of out-dated electronic gadgets (handheld GPS that don't do maps, distance measurer that uses batteries, plumbing and electric parts for household. You get the idea).



Anyway most of the stuff is brand new. I have already thrown away a new muffler and drum brake sets to the scrap metal yard. Still need to throw some more out so I don't have to deal with them when I am moving out.


I don't do yard sale but I can try craigslist. It does take a long time to get results.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:30 PM   #2
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https://www.thespruce.com/declutteri...e-home-2648002

There isn't a one size fits all solution. It took us years to declutter, but we enjoyed it.
  • Sold quite a bit on eBay and NextDoor, never a craiglist or garage sale fan.
  • Gave quite a bit to friends, neighbors and charities.
  • And threw away the rest, also quite a bit.
Never regretted getting rid of anything (OK, I shouldn't have sold my chopsaw for 20 cents on the dollar, but that was our only mistake). We sold over a hundred items between eBay and NextDoor and netted over $8000 despite eBay's now exorbitant fees - well worth the effort.

And we're way more discriminating with everything we buy now, another benefit to decluttering, it's therapeutic!
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:32 PM   #3
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I'm going to doubt that 5 grand number. A lot of that sounds like junk that nobody would want. It's not brand new anymore, you've owned it. Just throw away that stuff like the out of date electronic gadgets. Hard drive memory is a lot cheaper than when you bought it. Consider donating some of the working stuff with limited value. Sell the auto parts to a junk yard, because unless you happen to find someone with a 20+ yr old Accord who needs them, you're unlikely to ever sell them yourself. Go with craigslist or ebay for anything you think you can get enough money to make it worth your while, but be realistic. Keep in mind that your purchase price has no real bearing on what things are worth now.

And stop buying stuff you don't need. Why do you have two pressure washers?
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:38 PM   #4
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I've been thinking about this recently, with downsizing in prospect. We have a fairly large house full of items collected 'because they might come in handy' but which are basically junk. And then there are the things that we definitely want to keep.

Has anyone ever done this:

1. Mark all the definite-keep items. Maybe collect them all in one room, or move them to the new downsized residence.
2. Engage a house clearing firm to deal with the rest.

Obviously a more expensive approach than Midpack's. But I don't think I'd have the patience to sell piles of junk on Nextdoor and/or Craigslist. Blow that dough.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:48 PM   #5
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You can hire a junk hauler, or rent a dumpster. Not sure about the rest of your house, but for my mom, I hired 3 dumpsters, over a period of 15 years. Some were quite large.

Another idea is to call Salvation Army or a local charity...often times, they will pick up for free, if the stuff still has value.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:51 PM   #6
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My process.... have I used this item in the last year? do I reasonably expect to use it in the next year? is it particularly valuable? does it have sentimental value?

If yes to some then a judgement call whether to keep or not.

If not keeping, then either sell, give away, donate, recycle or trash depending on the circumstances.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:18 PM   #7
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Step 1: Put it in your car/truck/van
Step 2: Pull in to your goodwill store
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
My process.... have I used this item in the last year? do I reasonably expect to use it in the next year? is it particularly valuable? does it have sentimental value?

If yes to some then a judgement call whether to keep or not.

If not keeping, then either sell, give away, donate, recycle or trash depending on the circumstances.
Pretty much what we did. You have to be decisive to declutter, indecision is the root cause of clutter...

At the peak of our clutter, we'd open boxes together from various closets, the basement, garage, etc. and go through each item and make a decision. When DW would hesitate, I'd ask when was the last time you used it - and the answer was sometimes more than 20 years ago.

There were a few items we noted either 'I was wondering where that was' or 'I didn't realize we still had that, why did we keep it.' There were even a couple instances where we'd bought a replacement for something we tried and tried and couldn't find (until decluttering)...

And we recently relocated 700+ miles, that led to a second, more serious and more rapid decluttering! I wasn't about to pay to move "stuff." And we moved from a house with a basement to one without - that's a lifestyle change (sadly ended my woodworking hobby ) ! The charming young couple (with a 3 YO & 8 MO) that moved in next door to us less than a year ago where we used to live made a killing on all the stuff we gave them, a freezer, gas grill, washer & dryer, wheelbarrow, lots of furniture, tools/yard implements and lots of misc stuff in perfect nick. We hadn't forgotten what it was like starting out when we didn't have any money, like them.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
Step 1: Put it in your car/truck/van
Step 2: Pull in to your goodwill store

+1
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the suggestions and comments. I am the OP.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
And stop buying stuff you don't need. Why do you have two pressure washers?

The first pressure washer had a leak due to user error. The company received my complaint did not bother us to return it and just sent me a new one. Later I realized it was just the faulty quick connector so that was the story that I ended up with two washers.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post

At the peak of our clutter, we'd open boxes together from various closets, the basement, garage, etc. and go through each item and make a decision. When DW would hesitate, I'd ask when was the last time you used it - and the answer was sometimes more than 20 years ago.

There were a few items we noted either 'I was wondering where that was' or 'I didn't realize we still had that, why did we keep it.' There were even a couple instances where we'd bought a replacement for something we tried and tried and couldn't find (until decluttering)...



I moved to the US from Asia ~17 years ago. Soon as I started making money here even before I graduated, I bought stuff like there was no tomorrow. Now I have budget and a goal to save over 70% of my income for FIRE, and want to stay mobile in the future (cross country after retirement). That changed my mentality about material ownership and with the abundant climate change articles in recent years (search "This Land Is the Only Land There Is" from Atlantic that was released past week" made me realized that I was one of the bad guys who over-consumed things. This guilt is currently driving me to get a different, much simpler, minimalist life.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
Step 1: Put it in your car/truck/van
Step 2: Pull in to your goodwill store
Kind of, our Goodwill store has an every growing list of items they won't accept. When you pull in someone is there to "help" you unload.. in reality they are checking everything and won't take it if it breaks the rules.
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:02 PM   #12
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We emptied our 1300 sf condo in a few days:

1. Multiple trips to Goodwill
2. Multiple trips to consignment store
3. Bulk pickup garbage day
4. Kept only a pickup truck load
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:17 PM   #13
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Two parts to decluttering... physical and emotional.

We're in our last house. Instead of trying to get rid of the stuff, when we move to the independent living apartments in our CCRC, we'll pick the few necessities, call waste management... and let them go at it. Anything and everything. Tried a yard sale two years ago... never again.

One phone call and the problem's solved. mentally at peace.
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:57 PM   #14
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I just realized my mentality of hoping to declutter without me putting into effort is the very mentality I try to get rid of.



People buy junk simply because it is convenient: It's convenient to buy, it's used once, and it will never be taken out of the storage until it's thrown away in perfect condition. All because we want to save time and have the experience of _blank_.



I think being minimalist also means I need to change my mind and once I put in the effort and learn that how much it takes to remove the stuff I caused, I will be more careful and selective in my future purchase journey.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:29 PM   #15
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I only want my personal clothing, bedroom furniture and kitchen items. Everything else can be gone and I wouldn’t miss it. I can easily buy new furniture to suit my new surroundings as needed.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:07 PM   #16
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I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Marie Kondo “Joy of Tidying Up” approach. She has a very specific process that makes sense to me. Instead of going room by room, group like items together from all rooms. Clothes are often the easiest to start on. Get rid of things that are worn out, don’t fit, are out of style, etc. Then organize so all like items are visible and together, instead of storing like items in different locations. Many more tips if you read the easy reading book.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:22 PM   #17
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After my parents died (2 houses) and one aunt died (big house), I ended up with more "stuff" than I could promptly get rid of. We ended up with garages full of furniture and personal items--covering six single car garages. The parents and aunt had some really good high quality furniture, however.

I've put an immense amount of time hauling junk to the dump--about 1 load per week for a year. Then my daughter closed out her house and brought all her furniture here--covering my double car garage. She's been working on throwing out things this week.

We're absolutely bombarded with other people's stuff, and we're sick of it. We're actually considering moving to another city to a smaller house to force our home to be fully cleaned out. My life goal is to get a car in my garage.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:57 PM   #18
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I used to enjoy following a frugal forum that no longer exists (probably because many of them got rid of the internet ) But the one thing that stuck with me from that forum was to get rid of 7 things a week. Could be something as simple as a receipt or envelope or a large item. One a day or 7 items on one day, any way you wanted but 7 per week. It's a simple approach and works well for me when I feel the need to declutter.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:08 AM   #19
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My wife and I aren't minimalists, but we try to live uncluttered lives as much as possible. Our move to Europe a decade a ago was a milestone in decluttering.

After her father died, she and I cleaned out and sold his house in Florida. I remember finding boxes of old telephone bills from the 70s, neatly bound together with rubber bands. And old used checks, etc. All this stuff had been moved from his home in the Northeast twenty years earlier! It boggles the mind.

In the garage we found an old Samurai sword! We gave that to the junkman who came to clear out the stuff that couldn't be given away. I also remember that we had Goodwill come over twice with a large truck to take away 92 boxes of stuff (kitchenware, barware, pillow cases, knickknacks, books, etc.) that none of the children/relatives wanted or could use. We spent a week there and probably slept no more than 5 hours/night. We were lucky that the buyer was a fledgling snowbird from NYC and wanted ALL the furniture. Dodged a bullet on that one.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:57 AM   #20
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Craigslist is hit and miss with alot of email collecting scammers that respond to your adds. I have sold alot of bigger items (cars/trucks/tractors/parts), but it seems to take awhile , while EBAY is mostly overpriced, and difficult to get local interest.

On household items, you will have far better luck in a hurry with Facebook marketplace, or Facebook trash/treasure forums. There is quite a daily turnover of adds, so you may need to repost what doesn't sell to get towards the top of the list.
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