Combat Clutter and simplify with LOVE. Less really is more.
Identify what is important to you and then eliminate what’s not.
Take it a step further by editing what IS important to you.
Studies have shown that people are happier when they spend money on, or receive as a gift, an experience rather than a material item.
Most of us have too much stuff in our lives. Are you ready to clear away some of your excess baggage?
Start with one room (or if you have a lot of excess, one drawer) and get rid of the clutter, junk, broken appliances, dust collector and trinkets.
Organize items into 3 piles:
The STAY PILE. Anything that gets placed in this category must meet these requirements:
L is for LOVE: You LOVE everything about it.
O is for OVER AGAIN: You would spend money on it all over again, right now.
V is for VALUABLE: An item that is worth a lot of money now (not necessarily the purchase price).
E is for EFFECTIVE: It’s USEFUL, WORKS PROPERLY and MAKES YOUR LIFE EASIER.
Use the LOVE acronym as you go through your items. If an item belongs in another room, immediately take it there and put it away.
The TRASH PILE. Anything that is not working, not lovely, and not saleable, not even worth giving to charity. For example, clothing or linens with stains or holes; food storage containers that are missing lids; outdated baby toys or products; expired foods/vitamins/medications. Bag these up immediately and take them to the curb.
The SELL PILE. Anything that is in good condition may be worth something to someone else but doesn’t fit your LOVE criteria. There are many ways to sell things and some are better than others depending on the item.
Here are a few suggestions for where to sell your items:
Large, fragile or heavy things are difficult or costly to ship. Try craigslist.org. Classified ads lack pictures and word space and often come with a price – I’d skip those and try craigslist for a few weeks for the sale of an automobile, boat, RV, ATV or motorcycle.
If you want to sell non-vintage items less than 20 pounds and smaller than a breadbox, try eBay.com. Learn how to list your item using their step-by-step instructions. Or, become a master seller with this system. I suggest including at least 3 pictures per item. People who are very interested will email you for more if they need them. Make sure you charge enough to account for shipping. Even something lightweight can cost $8.00 or more to ship across the country unless it’s as small as a book or DVD.
If you have an abundance of media to unload such as books, DVDs, movies and games, one of your best bets will be Half.com. This is a very straightforward way of selling. You just enter the ISBN or UPC number and condition of your item and they fill out the rest.
You link your Half.com account to your PayPal account and get paid twice a month via direct deposit. The buyer pays for shipping and handling. You can use an “on vacation” feature if you will be out of town, and managing inventory is quick and easy.
If you are an antique collector or have been holding onto Grandma’s heirlooms for years, you may have some high-demand items. Vintage or homemade items are hot commodities on Etsy.com.
If you have a collection from 1980 and earlier (home décor, collectables, jewelry and designer clothing in good condition are all hot), I strongly urge you to open an Etsy store. It helps if most of your items have a theme and you can brand your store. Pick a catchy name and list away!
The biggest tip I can give you for Etsy is this: take good pictures with natural lighting. Make your item photos look like artwork you would hang in your home. You pay 20 cents for each item to be listed in your store for four months, so you can edit and renew at any time if items are not selling quickly.
OfferUp Now is a service that you download on your phone, take a few pictures and write a description (use speech to text for listing quickly) and go live. People in your area will now be able to search and view what you’ve got for sale and contact you with questions or to arrange a pick up.
I don’t generally recommend garage sales unless you are doing a multi-family event and you market it well. If you live in a neighborhood that does an annual sale then when the time comes, go through your house and see if you can scrape something together, but don’t hang onto items for the purpose of selling at the yearly garage sale. They are very rarely worth the time and effort.
Include food and drink stand at your garage sale – these are the big moneymakers. Base your menu on the time of year and offer something unique and different.
Skip the lemonade and offer cold bottled water and coffee. Hot dogs and sauerkraut in a crock-pot is a welcome sight to hungry shoppers; why not also offer some fresh fruit for the health-conscious customer? Whatever doesn’t sell is something you can eat for dinner.
Get your kids to sell the food while you tend to the garage sale; people rarely turn children down because it’s a good learning experience for them.
Resist the temptation to buy other items at the other garage sales going on next door, and certainly don’t bring the unsold goods back in your house. Transfer them straight to your car and make a trip to Goodwill.
After all, if you were putting it out to be sold, you don’t need to bring it back in do you? I promise you, it will feel great to not drag it back in and make room for it.
Look at it this way: if you needed to lose some fat and finally took off 10 lbs, would you set it aside in a corner of your house just in case you need it again? Um, no. You wouldn’t miss it and you sure wouldn’t actively chase it down.
Remember, money is a trade for time and possessions. The less you own, the less time you spend cleaning, finding, fixing, moving, worrying about, and fighting over it. This also means you spend less money cleaning, fixing, buying things to accompany, insuring, replacing and upgrading all your stuff.
The time you spend on things is time you can never get back. You can sell something and get the money from it, but the time is gone. The 2 hours you spent straightening up before you clean could have been spent doing something meaningful.
There is nothing wrong with having things, but do your things own you?
Always stick to this rule: if something comes in, something must go out. Do this after clearing out your excess and you will never have another clutter problem.