where our clutter went

over the past 1.5 years since we became minimalist, we have removed countless boxes of clutter from our home.  each box that leaves our home seems to allow in an extra breath of fresh air.  here is what we have done with our old clutter:

1.  we turned it into money:

  • garage sales – not the best return on investment, but what you sacrifice in money you gain back in time and convenience.  set-up a few tables, slap on a few stickers, and watch total strangers take clutter off your hands.
  • ebay – the world’s largest marketplace.  ideally, we test out items on ebay before we put them in the garage sale.  it takes more time, energy and computer skills, but the financial return is worth it (sometimes).
  • craigslist – we have found craigslist helpful in selling some of our larger items such as furniture and vehicles – where shipping would be a problem.

2. we helped somebody who needed it:

  • goodwill – countless boxes of books, clothing, and home decorations have been delivered to our local goodwill.
  • pregnancy centers – because of our stage in life, we have given plenty of quality baby and maternity items to help out young mothers through our local pregnancy center.
  • refugee resettlement programs – our local program gladly accepted the quality bedding, linens, and cookware that we were discarding to be used helping a refugee begin a new life in a new home.

3.  we recycled when possible.

  • landfill recycle center – our local landfill offers the opportunity to drop off items that are still usable.  these items then become available for anyone to take them home with them.  it is similar to the concept behind freecycle, it’s just easier and more convenient.

4.  we threw things away.

  • garbage – if a different home could not be found, the garbage man gladly threw our black plastic bags into the back of his truck.

no matter where it ended up, whether in our bank account, in another person’s home, or in the landfill, the important thing is that the clutter is no longer in my life!  and it no longer need to be in yours either.

help us out – have we missed any options?  can you think of a different new home for our old clutter?

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

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

Follow on TwitterLike on Facebook


  1. says

    It aggravates me when I try and clean out my old room at my parents’, because all that JUNK inevitably makes its way back into my room and it looks like a freaking mess again.

    It’s because my parent’s won’t let me sell or throw away hangers (lots of them), and want to keep everything, even though they keep telling me to clean the hallway with my junk and to THROW IT OUT!

    But then they go and put it all back because they can’t bear to let one hanger go.

    Now, I’m taking the stuff, packing duplicates and bringing them to BF’s family who doesn’t have the resources to get the kinds of things we get in Canada… Kind of like shifting clutter :\


    Just the other day I said to him: “Does your sister want an apple corer?”

    He said: ” She wants everything.”

  2. says

    We repurposed items. In our NAPO Chicago chapter, we’ve talked about re purposing items in our homes. For example: using old tupperware to organize linen closet contents. You can wash them out and easily label them.

  3. Christy Z says

    eBay was an expensive disaster, so almost all of our stuff went to the thrift store. The proceeds from that thrift store help a local office that helps refugees and that is something near to my heart.

    I took a long time to be ready to get rid of all my kids baby clothes…it was emotional for me to admit they were growing up and their baby years ere gone. They were 7 and 11 when I finally faced the mountain of boxes and I did it in a way that blessed me more than I expected.

    I found the few precious items I wanted to keep and kept those. Then I e-mailed all of my Moms group friends and friends with preschoolers and told them I was putting on the tea a specific afternoon and they could take whatever clothes they wanted. I hauled up all the boxes and got to hang with my girlfriends, handle my kids outgrown clothes with dignity and really help some friends. Seeing those clothes get new life on my friends kids has made me feel very proud and thankful. It solved a major problem for me and did it in a way that treated my kids and my friends with respect and creativity.

  4. says

    i use book mooch to get rid of books, before that i either gave them to people i knew or took them to goodwill. i’ve also sent books to Gotbooks.com but that was before i found out about bookmooch.

    i try to recycle anything i can. i’m to lazy to sell most things, unless i am upgrading something like my bike. i sold it for 80 and bought a folding one that takes up a lot less space. i’ve used free cycle a few times but its a huge hassal and i prefer just going to goodwill. if we had the landfill thing like you i would probably do that too.

  5. Christy Z says

    PS – wonder if you’d consider addressing something – toys.

    My kids are 13 & 9. They get so much stuff from their grandparents and that’s another post. ;) I go through books and toys regularly and purge but now that they are older I am tryong to involve them in the process. I want them to feel in control and not resentful because I’m making unilateral decisions about their stuff. . My son is pretty good at figuring out what he doesn’t need and can part with, but my daughter (who is also on the functional end of the autism spectrum) wants to hang on every speck of stuff even pre-school toys. I have tried to reason with them, helping them understand that their excess can bring joy to kids without, but they can’t get past their own attachment or value of it. I can only get them to move some “less-played-with” toys to the basement (their rooms have their few most favorites).

    Once stuff goes to the basement it rarely if ever gets played with. If after 3 months of something sitting there do I just make a unilateral decision and thrift store it, or how do I handle this? I don’t want to disrespect my kids by going behind their backs and getting rid of stuff, but no matter how much de-cluttering we do, the toys always seem excessive and it’s hard to get them to part with things. We’ve stemmed the flow coming in as much as we can without stifling the grandparents or the kids freedoms with their allowances, but I’m trying to figure out how to discern how to handle this.

  6. says

    My take is that as a parent I’m there to teach lessons and establish consequences – not always be the good guy. So the lesson here is that if the toys are not touched in three months, they go out of the house to be played with by someone who will really love them. You might put a date on the family calendar – Basements toys leave today! – so that they can also take some responsibility on keeping track of the time. Ultimately, the parent’s job is to train kids to be self-reliant, good time and stuff managers and understand that their actions have consequences. This may be a small lesson in that arena.

    P.S. Are your kids doing their own laundry yet? It’s not brain surgery and it’s a fabulous way to get them to keep track of their clothes and get you out of the “Mom, where’s my shirt?” routine!

  7. says

    I’ve given quite a few things to friends and coworkers, and also found freecycle to be a good choice. I give plenty to Goodwill, but with freecycle I can be sure I’m giving the item to someone who wants it.

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Weekend Links, 7/25 | July 25, 2009

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *