Every summer it was the same story. My sister in law would call me and we would talk about having a garage sale. I took the next few weeks going through some of the rooms in my house grabbing a few things here and there that I didn’t like anymore and I would spend hours and hours pricing everything, getting it all organized in the 102 degree garage, blocking off an entire Saturday to sell it, messing with a nickel here and a dime there, and when all was said and done, having about $150 dollars to show for it. I would load all of the unwanted stuff up and go donate it. Some of the stuff would actually end up back in my house. The next summer, the cycle repeated.
Does this story sound familiar?
So before I give ya’ll some tips for simple decluttering and what to do with your stuff you don’t want, here’s a little back story on why I decided that selling my stuff in a garage sale just wasn’t for me.
When I was diagnosed with MS in 2017, I felt like I had this huge realization. I was sick of taking care of so much stuff. I read minimalism blogs, watched documentaries, listened to podcasts, and read books. Then I got to work.
When we moved to a different house, I REALLY got rid of a lot of stuff while I was packing but it was still too much stuff for me. In January of 2018, I did a challenge to get rid of even more stuff called the “Minimalist Game.”
That first few months of decluttering, I went to donate things at my local Savers store SO much that they knew me down there and asked me if I was getting rid of everything I owned. 🙂 I could have had a big garage sale but I knew I would barely make anything and didn’t have the time to price everything with a new baby.
Then I started a weekly challenge to myself on my Instagram, called “Minimize Monday” which I will talk about a little more in a minute. I decided that I would never want to accumulate enough stuff EVER again to need a garage sale. I decided that the next time my stuff was being sold in mass quantities, I would be dead.
I have learned so much about getting rid of my stuff and I know it can be hard and emotional. I’m going to give you 5 tips for getting rid of your stuff, where to take it, and when to sell it and when to just donate it.
1. Set aside a scheduled time to declutter each week or month. I have created “Minimize Monday” and every Monday I choose one small corner of my house and I take a “before” picture before I start working. Then I take everything out, clean if needed, and then take about 15 minutes to declutter, organize, refold, and get rid of things I no longer use. I’ve been doing this for over a year now and I keep a mental list of what area I will do next and I ALWAYS get rid of something each week. Setting aside a scheduled time to declutter means that your house will never get completely out of hand. After I am done decluttering, I take an “after” picture and I post them on my Instagram Stories to keep myself accountable.
2. Decide what is worth selling or if you should just give it away or donate it. I have sold items in the past without having a garage sale. There are lots of apps like Let It Go where you can sell items locally. You can also put it on Facebook or Instagram and sometimes people will want it. I always check with friends if I am getting rid of something large like a bed and I can either sell it or give it away to them. My friends almost always take the stuff off my hands and it helps them out too so it’s a win win. If the item is older, slightly damaged, or just not worth the hassle, give it away or donate it to a local charity or a place like Savers.
3. Create a challenge for yourself. We all love finishing a challenge or checking off a list of things to do. Create a little challenge for yourself like “find 25 items you want to donate in one day” or “declutter this drawer in 10 minutes.” When we create these small, achievable goals AND you create a new challenge every week or month, you will surprised at how much easier it gets and how great your house will start to look and feel.
4. Have a designated area OUTSIDE of your home for donations. I put everything that I’m going to donate in one place in my garage and then I load it into my car and donate it to my local Savers when I drive by. The key is the get it OUT of your house. Don’t keep it in your house because it will end up back in your drawers and cabinets. You will change your mind…so get it in your car and to the donation place of your choice fast.
5. Quit buying more stuff. I saw a quote recently saying that today’s “must haves” are going to be next year’s “donation pile.” I have become a very picky consumer which annoys myself sometimes but I don’t buy something unless I REALLY like it and could see myself using it many times or for years to come. I might go shop at 5 different stores, not find what I want, and go home empty handed. My husband and I will research large purchases for weeks or even months sometimes but we always end up with what we want. If I do buy something and I get home and don’t like it, I box it up and take it back. Don’t ever let inconvenience keep something in your house that you don’t want. We have even done a “no spend month” where we didn’t buy anything besides groceries for an entire month and that really made us realize how much stuff we had been buying.
I hope these tips will encourage you to take time each week or month to declutter one drawer, one closet, or one room and keep your home under control. Our homes are supposed to be a place or relaxation and rest, not a huge storage unit for all of our stuff.
Let me know in the comments below if you think any of these tips will help you have WAY less garage sales in the future?