Don’t Just Declutter, De-own.


“Owning less is far more beneficial than organizing more.” – Twitter / Facebook

We are a culture drowning in our possessions. We take in more and more (holiday, birthdays, sales, needs), but rarely find opportunity to discard of it. As a result, our homes fill up with more and more stuff. And because we believe the best solution is to find organizational tools to manage all of it, we seek out bigger containers or more efficient organizational tips and tricks. But simply organizing our stuff (without removing it) is always only a temporary solution. By definition, organizing possessions is an action that must be repeated over and over and over again.

At its heart, organizing is simply rearranging. And though we may find storage solutions today, we are quickly forced to find new ones as early as tomorrow. Additionally, organizing our stuff (without removing it) has some other major shortcomings that are rarely considered:

  • It doesn’t benefit anyone else. The possessions we rarely use sit on shelves in our basements, attics, and garages… even while some of our closest friends desperately need them.
  • It doesn’t solve our debt problems. It never addresses the underlying issue that we just buy too much stuff. In fact, many times, the act of rearranging our stuff even costs us more as we purchase containers, storage units, or larger homes to house it.
  • It doesn’t turn back our desire for more. The simple act of organizing our things into boxes, plastic bins, or extra closets doesn’t turn back our desire to purchase more things.  The culture-driven inclination to find happiness in our possessions is rarely thwarted in any way through the process.
  • It doesn’t force us to evaluate our lives. While rearranging our stuff may cause us to look at each of our possessions, it does not force us to evaluate them—especially if we are just putting them in boxes and closing the lids. On the other hand, removing possessions from our home forces questions of passion, values, and what’s truly most important to us.
  • It accomplishes little in paving the way for other changes. Organizing may provide a temporary lift to our attitude. It clears a room and subsequently clears our mind, but rarely paves the way for healthy, major lifestyle changes. Our house is too small, our income is too little, and we still can’t find enough time in the day. We may have rearranged our stuff… but not our lives.

On the other hand, the act of removing possessions from our home accomplishes many of those purposes. It is not a temporary solution that must be repeated. It is an action of permanence—once an item has been removed, it is removed completely. Whether we re-sell our possessions, donate them to charity, or give them to a friend, they are immediately put to use by those who need them.

Removing possessions begins to turn back our desire for more as we find freedom, happiness, and abundance in owning less. And removing ourselves from the all-consuming desire to own more creates opportunity for significant life change to take place.

As you seek to get your home (and life) organized, challenge yourself to remove the unneeded things in your home. Rid yourself of the extra weight in a permanent manner. Carry a trash bag from room-to-room. See how big of a donation pile you can make. Or help eliminate debt by selling them. It doesn’t matter so much how you remove them, as long as you do. For it is far better to de-own than declutter.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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    • Shawn says

      First off,great article written by this author-Bravo!

      For me,I’m at the other end of this spectrum.Since I am now unemployed,and newly married (bad combo)I am constantly on the search for anyone who is looking to discard any or all of their items they no longer need or want.In the past,when I was employed I used to do this as a ” side hustle” to make some extra money,I’d go to garage sales or I’d simple come across stuff that people were throwing out to the curb,clean them up and resell them.For people who do this for a living,there is big money in this business.

      I didn’t exactly come here to ” advertise” myself,but why not ” throw” myself out there. I’m in NY on the Queens border to be precise,if any of you here reading this are looking to rid yourselves of any items I would certainly take them off your hands.I don’t own a brick and mortar store or anything like that,its just me,one guy who will personally come and take whatever you would like to get rid of.

      If you would rather make some money off the items you have,I suggest;a yardsale,listing your items on free sites like craigslist or like the author noted,donate them to charity.

      Anyway,my name is Shawn and if interested and in the Ny area and want to simply just downsize and get rid of items asap you can email me @

      Oh also,another idea is that you could put your items in certain stores that offer ‘consignment’ meaning they take on your items,and if they sell any of them,they get a piece of the profit.In most consignment situations it’s a 60/40 split,with you getting 60% and they getting 40%.


      • Ann says

        Oh Shawn. How I wish you were in the South of the UK.
        I have piles and piles of stuff, bin liners galore, and a loft and garage fit to bursting.
        We are moving house and after almost 40 years in our house it’s high time it all went.
        I’ve donated every single thing so far to local charity shops and I’ve no desire to make any money out of my tat!
        Good luck and I’m sure that you will come across people, like me, who will donate their unwanted items.

    • kgough says

      Well I cant get rid of other peoples stuff so I have decided to box it up tag it and forget it. If they remember it and want it fine but I am refusing after this time of touch and organizing everyones stuff to stop. Not to sound witchy but I am tired I want to be a minalmalist. Here’s to making me happy which in turngives me more time to be happy with other people and not unhappy with their stuff.

    • Philip says

      Minimalist – n- min-uh-mul-list,

      One who has no desire to succeed or advance and will do as little as possible with few or no goals in life.

      SYNONYMS – homeless, lazy, unmotivated

  1. Kelly says

    Kgough, who are these people using your home ad a storage facility? Don’t just stop more things from coming in, reverse the process. I say give these disrespectful individuals a deadline to remove their possessions or they will be donated or discarded -THEN FOLLOW THROUGH! This is tough love, Sweetie. Take control of your home and your life. Some people may not like it, but they have to deal with it. The good news is that you have the power here. Grab it and live the minimalist life life you desire. I’m rooting for you!

  2. Jen Endsley says

    Great article! I tend to be a minimalist in some things but certainly need to look at all areas in my life. I enjoy the picture in my minds-eye where I am looking at all of my possessions on the lawn and, as people walk by, I hand them things that they could use. Instead of them being in my closet or cupboards, they are being used by others. Used by others, not kept where they are unused.

  3. cheryl says

    people that hoard or are as they prefer to be consumers, dont have any desire to own less. they will buy more with what ever it takes. they are deep rooted from prvious lives, ancestors. I have a hard time living with one. if there is a help for this type of behavor, please email me. why dont the people that need the help read these articles

  4. sue says

    what is especially a burden are other people fixing to offload their junk. i don’t want it, or them to ever darken our door, ever again. Peopls are inconsiderate, they think if you’ve a shed it’s a free storage facility. Where’s my shotgun!

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