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What should I do with my stuff? Stay or go

What should I do with my stuff

It can be a big stumbling block for aspiring declutterers – what should I do with my stuff?

What should I do with my stuff?

Basically you need three piles: (1) yes/keep, (2) maybe and (3) no/discard.

What should I do with my stuff?
(1) Yes/keep

These are items you use often, and/or love dearly. In a cluttered home they are often found on bench tops, dining tables and even the floor. They have been squeezed out of the cupboards due to frequent use and the accumulation of other stuff which is shoved into your storage over time.

Keep them aside while you declutter. They deserve better than a messy spot on your desk. Ideally you will go though your cupboards, make room for what’s important and re-integrate the keepers into a rightful spot. If you are just starting out you might want to check my beginner’s guide to decluttering.

What should I do with my stuff?
(2) Maybe

Haven’t used the popcorn maker for a while but think you might when movie nights start up again? Wondering how you’ll feel about that jacket when the weather gets colder? Not sure about the black heels now you almost never go to the office? (hellooo Covid!)

Or you have stared at this item for so long you have no idea if you love or loathe it? Decisions are hard.

Pop it in the too-hard basket for now, the maybe pile.

Put a repeating reminder in your calendar to revisit this pile every week or month, and set yourself a use-by date. You can either discard anything not used by this date or at least make a more final decision then.

What should I do with my stuff?
(3) No/discard

To begin with you might want to make one big No pile to be further sorted later, or you can distinguish as you go – into what will be sold, donated, recycled and binned.

When fatigue sets it you’ll want to light a match to all of it, but trust me on this, and break it down further:

  • Sell – Set yourself a lowest acceptable price for your sales. For me, $5 per item is not a worthwhile proposition but if you enjoy the process and are saving your pennies, $5 could be quite acceptable. Or you might be the kind pf person who won’t spark up Marketplace for less than $50. A quick Google will give you an idea of what sale price is possible before you list. I find it much easier to do a big chunk of sales at once, but if you like to quickly photograph with your phone and list as you go – fantastic. More info about selling is here.
  • Donate – Maybe you have a recipient in mind, e.g. a friend or relative? If so pop a sticky note on it and put it aside. Otherwise you can list things online free of charge or specifically assess what you’ve got. If you have a big pile of bedding and towels you can donate to an animal shelter, and a high volume of office wear can go to a workplace-integration charity. More about specific charities here. But if you don’t want to get too granular, rest assured that there are op shops everywhere. Pulling things onto your footpath can work but I prefer not to put soft items out unless it’s a fine day and I know they’ll go, because if they get soggy nobody will be able to use them. Residents who put their couches and mattresses outside in all weather for weeks on end – shame on you.
  • Recycle – Most council recycling centres will take e-waste (electric appliances, CDs, computer equipment and cables), batteries, light globes, paint, cardboard and much more. Some collect polystyrene and soft plastic. It’s worth checking with them. You can also find specific recycling programs at libraries, supermarkets and Officeworks.
  • Hard rubbish – This is my least favourite but it’s definitely the easiest. A load to the council tip might be necessary if you have lots. Or just do the walk of shame on bin night like I do with multiple bags of household detritus.

If you need hands-on assistance, reach out and get in touch.

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