When my in-laws moved to a different state, the real challenge came when we cleaned out their garage and started minimizing stuff for the move. “Where do you want me to start,” I asked my mother-in-law while looking at her very packed garage.
She thought for a while and spent a good ten minutes telling what not to touch. I couldn’t touch those vintage items because she was going to get appraised. I couldn’t touch those boxes because my father-in-law needed to do through them. Opening up a cedar chest sent her into a huge sidetrack of memories as she looked at her grandmother’s wedding items. She could surely never part with those.
It’s been a few months since that day, and even though my in-laws made the move, the garage still looks the same. They were able to keep their items stored in the garage while renting out the rooms in the home.
Does this scene sound familiar to you? If you’ve ever tried to help someone with a lot of stuff (aka a hoarder), then you know how hard it is to actually get anything done. Everything they own has potential value or sentiment, yet no progress is ever truly made on what items get sold or donated.
If you’re guilty of this, or know someone who is, here are some easy steps to take to overcome your hoarding habits.
The Frugal Side of Being Clutter-Free
I consider myself the opposite of a hoarder. I enjoy having an easy-to-clean home where each space is maximized for living, not storage. I know many people struggle with the battle of clutter, and I’m here to give you some encouragement today. The more clutter and “stuff” you get rid of, the more freedom and money you will have.
Here are a few examples on how shedding your hoarding ways can save you money:
- You don’t have to pay for extra storage space
- A clutter-free garage means you can actually park your cars and extend their value (I live in a desert, and the heat and sand damage is tough on my car)
- It’s easier to find stuff, which saves time and money, because you won’t have to replace items you already have due to misplacing them
- Your house will sell faster when you show your home without clutter
- Too much clutter can lead to a lot of dust, which can mean having to pay for more allergy medicine
- A decreased chance of falling or injury
Four Steps to Ditch Your Hoarding (and Costly) Habits
So how do you keep your hoarding habits at bay, especially with the holidays fast approaching?
- Keep Life Simple: Stuff can accumulate over the years, and before you know it, you have multiple dish sets, a closet full of towels, and at least a hundred pieces of clothing and accessories. When I first started cutting down my wardrobe, it was hard to get rid of things. But the truth is that I only wore about 25% of my wardrobe, and my closet was always a mess because there were too many things to keep organized. Getting rid of items is hard, but when I cut my wardrobe down 60%, life was so much simpler. Now, I spend less time doing laundry, deciding what to wear, and keeping my closet and room clean. Once I purged my husband’s closet too, we decided to have a yard sale. We brought in a couple hundred dollars, but the best part is that cleaning is a lot easier now.
- Don’t Give Into Guilt: Many people hang on to items because they don’t want offend the person who gifted it to them. Or perhaps it’s hard to sell something at a yard sale when you paid good money for it a few years before. If you let this guilt hold you back from getting rid of an item, it will hold you back from getting rid of a closet full of unused and unwanted items. I’m not talking about hurting people’s feelings intentionally, but if something’s not getting used, then it doesn’t belong there.
- Redirect Bad Gift Givers: This is a hard subject to talk about because you don’t want to offend family members and friends, but you also don’t want to be stuck with a lot of unnecessary stuff. Personally, I think it’s a bigger insult to stick a gift in a garage unused than to return it for something you will use it. When family members and friends ask what to get my family for Christmas, I stick with the essentials I know will get used. I also direct individuals to give the gift of their time versus a material gift. For example, I suggest they spend quality time with my daughter and get ice cream together instead of buying her a toy.
- Don’t Procrastinate on Junk: I’m good about getting unwanted stuff out of the house and into the garage with the purpose of selling it. However, if I don’t put a deadline on following through with that intention, and then it just clutters up the garage for way too long. Set a note in your calendar to list an item for sale or have a garage sale by a certain date. Otherwise arrange for a donation truck to pick up your items. I would much rather make a little bit of money off of my unwanted stuff, but if the items are taking up space in the garage, they’re better off being donated and not taking up room in my to-do list and thoughts.
Don’t wait for spring to declutter your life and get rid of your hoarding ways. Clearing out your closets and shelves is the perfect thing to do before the holidays. It’s really freeing to decorate a home that’s not overflowing with stuff.
Confession time; do you tend to hoard unnecessary items or do you enjoy a clutter-free living?
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