Two weeks into our commitment and our family is starting to get to the crux of what we really need. We sold off almost all of our furniture, gave away boxes of things to anybody interested, and packed our storage unit so tightly, there’s barely room for air. It wasn’t easy. I caught my son trying to pack a toy he literally hasn’t touched in three years. Letting go of the material items is difficult, especially when you associate them with good times and best friends.
Reality Sets In
The realization that you can’t display the enormity of your family photographs and artwork on the walls because there’s not enough wall space…that you can’t store hordes of clothing that you “might” wear…that you can’t plan on having all of your varied cooking accessories at your fingertips…well, that can be depressing. Downsizing, even if only temporary, can make you feel like the joys of your world are dying. But that’s the point. Purging or even storing away your possessions helps you let go of these material objects that shouldn’t have a bearing on your happiness. Time to let go!
Tips on Getting Rid of Stuff
There are many ways to donate or sell your belongings. If you’re downsizing slowly for personal benefit you can take your time with buyers. However, if you’re in need of a quick purge, you don’t have time for auctions, boutiques, and the like. Here are the best tips I’ve discovered for a faster purge.
- Facebook Marketplace– This is one of my ways to find new homes for household items, toys and more. You can post to multiple groups (up to 10) at once. People come to you to buy the items. You don’t have to deal with shipping, packaging, or fees. It’s very straightforward and most items move very quickly.
- Local Thrift Store– Most thrift stores make a profit off of your donations, but at least the items go to a home and not the trash. They usually take stuff no one else will- like stuffed animals. You may even find a thrift store that uses their profits to support local charities. (I have learned that the for-profit stores buy their items from larger charitable organizations like the Veterans, Lupus, etc [see next]. So there is some charity work taking place here.)
- Curbside Pick Up– They come to your house and pick it up. They sell the items to places like thrift stores to make money for their organization. The thrift shops in turn, mark up the price to make a profit. You may have even received a postcard from them letting you know that they’ll be in your area on a certain date. Some of these organizations are Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Lupus, Boys & Girls Club, United Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, etc.
- If you don’t have a favorite charity or you don’t know who to call, one of these websites will help find one for you and schedule a pick up.
- If you’re creative or resourceful, you can find places in your community that could use your items.
- Dog Shelter/Pound- Our town dog shelter takes donations of blankets, towels, toys, leashes, collars, and food. I dropped off a giant box of old blankets and got a very warm thank you.
- Health Centers- Our local health center social workers take donations for their clients to make them feel more comfortable and welcome. Baby blankets, throws, children’s games, books, etc.
- Other Places- There are many companies that will pay for your bookshelf items. It’s easy to enter the items and see what they’re offering. I have used these two with success and satisfaction:
- BookScouter – buys used books and textbooks by searching up your item’s ISBN number. You select the vendors that will pay for your books, the books ship for free, and you get paid.
- DeClutter – They buy CDs, DVDs, Books, Games, Legos, and Tech. Scan or weigh your item to see what they will offer. They even have an app so you can do it with your phone. Ship for free and wait for the payment.
Tips on Getting the Sale
- Make sure your item is clean!
- Put some effort into taking a good photo of your item if it is required. Make sure the item is well lit, doesn’t have clutter around it (very distracting), and is shown from different angles or positions (open, closed, etc.).
- Be honest! Always let the buyers know if your item has been repaired, needs repair, or has any damage (even minor). Give a good description of its condition- like new, great, worn, some wear and tear, etc.
- If your item is from a non smoking household and/or with no pets, you should let the buyer know. This is a selling point!
- When establishing a price, think what you would pay for this item. You can not base price on what it cost you or would cost to replace in the store, especially not the sentimental value!
- Make sure you post or list your item when you will have time to communicate and meet with buyers. Many sales happen right away, so be prepared. You will get the most responses within the first two days.
Next week we move in to our Tiny Home! We’ll find out if we were able to downsize enough. I’m a little worried, but there’s still a few more days to pack up and let go. Thankfully, summer will be too distracting to care about what’s going on inside. Do you think you could downsize into a Tiny Home? Let me know.