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I love the idea and the look of minimalism.  It’s clean, sleek, and shows that you value experiences over things.

And I would like to think that I am somewhat minimalistic because:

  • I don’t have cable (but do have Neflix)
  • I don’t shop very often (I only try to buy something for myself every other month because of the shopping ban)
  • I don’t have that much stuff (or maybe I do!)
  • I live in an apartment that is less than 500 square feet, I don’t need very much space to feel comfortable
  • I value experiences over things (the key characteristic of minimalism, might I add)
  • I idolize those that can manage to lifestyle deflate

However, to be honest I don’t think I really am much of a minimalist.  I certainly own more than 100 items (according to some, that might make you a minimalisst), my drawers are full of stuff (even with my recent summer purge).

How to Declutter

I haven’t had a chance to read the book by Marie Kondo yet “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” but my friends have informed me that it involves pulling everything off the shelves and reviewing each piece one by one.  Marie Kondo is a professional organizer in Japan (what an amazing job, appeals to the organizer in me!) and her book has created a cult following of her organizing methodology.  Her book is a New York Times best seller.

So analyzing joy-sparking involves reviewing and assessing and touching the item to see whether that item sparks joy.  If it doesn’t spark the aforementioned joy, then get rid of it.  She recommends going to each section of your home in an organized and systematic fashion, and analyzing each item for joy sparking, and then decluttering the item.

As simple as it sounds, decluttering can be hard!  It can be hard to say goodbye to things that we attach ourselves to, which is why she apparently says to throw away pictures and photographs last!  Apparently we don’t attach ourselves to things, but we actually attach ourselves to the emotion rather than the item.

My Decluttering Goal

When I have stuff scattered around I feel more stressed.  I don’t like clutter.  I don’t like taking a while to look for something.  Sometimes I feel like my brain doesn’t work as well as it should when there’s clutter around.   I also misplace things more often with clutter around (of course).

Since we will be amalgamating two 500 square feet apartments into one for the next year or two, I will need to do some serious decluttering (and so will he, though he has less stuff than I do), asap.

So for my decluttering goal, I will give myself until the end of the year (or about 3 months) which is December 2016.

With my decluttering goal, I hope to:

  • Get rid of any clothes that don’t spark joy and whittle my wardrobe (and collection of shoes down).  In fact, I have a pair of Zara heels I bought in Spain that I have NEVER worn because I can barely walk in them.  But they are beautiful to look at.  Does that count as sparking joy? Haha
  • Free up my book shelves in my living area for more storage or get rid of the book shelves entirely to have room for future-husbands computer area.  I barely use any of the books on my book shelves.  They really seem like that are just for decoration.
  • Clean out the shelves I have of clutter and throw away anything that I don’t need or use, even knick knacks that I ‘might’ use in the future
  • Get rid of any vases (i have like 10 different vases) that I don’t need because how often do I really have fresh flowers (they are nice, but not something I have all the time)
  • Make use of storage so that clutter isn’t so visible
  • Clean out my pantry and declutter my kitchen counter
  • Clean out my coat closet and shoe rack

One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Treasure?

Getting rid of stuff is also good for the wallet!  Just make sure you meet the person in a public, safe place!  Here are some places to monetize your junk disposal.

  • Varage Sale– Kind of like a virtual garage sale.  You snap a picture and write a few words.  Linked to your Facebook account so that you can have your identify verified.  My friend made $400 on Varage Sale this summer selling her unwanted items!  There’s an app for it that is easier to use than the website.  I’ve sold two items on Varage Sale so far, and I find that it is similar to Craigslist.  The great thing is that you know you’re not selling to some creepy person but a real live person!  There’s high security with Varage Sale.  You have to be approved in your neighbourhood first by a moderator.  The other benefit about Varage Sale is that you can just leave your items to be sold (e.g. in a friend’s backyard or your backyard) and the person will come and pick it up and leave the money in an agreed upon area.  Very much focused on the honour system and it seems to work well.  Of course, you can choose to meet the person you’re selling the items to as well.  A lot of people sell clothes online with Varage Sale and it seems to work well.
  • Craigslist– Craigslist is the king of selling stuff online, however it’s always annoying when you get the “Is this still available” message and there’s no follow through.  I was able to make about $450 this summer selling unwanted items on Craigslist, and even bought my new (well,  it’s a new old bike, it was less than a year old) bike off Craigslist for about $30% off the usual price in stores.
  • Consignment shops– I find that consignment shops (in Vancouver anyway) are becoming more and more picky and they often reject the clothes I bring (maybe because I don’t alway wear designer clothes).  Also, you have to schedule a specific time and when one works 9-5 it can be difficult to find time during the day.
  • Ebay– Ah the originator of selling stuff online.  I’m not a fan of eBay much anymore because of the shipping costs.
  • Poshmark– With Poshmark, you can sell your unwanted clothes online but this is only available in the United States. Tradesy, another designer second hand site, might be available to Canadians to sell online.  I have never used them so I’m unclear whether they are a good choice.
  • Your own garage sale– of course, if you have room in your front lawn (or have a front lawn), you can have a garage sale.   In the past my friends and I made about $800 at one garage ale in less than five hours.  In the rain.

The above are great options to sell your clothes online and each have their pros and cons.

Hopefully I get to reach my decluttering goal by the end of the year!  I know it is going to be a difficult process, letting of of things.

Readers, how do you declutter?  Have you tried any of these places to sell things online?  Do you have any tips on how to declutter?

Article comments

Lorraina says:

Yes, you must keep those Zara shoes because they give you joy when you look at them! I have a similar thing and it’s a dress that isn’t even my size and I knew i’d never be able to diet into it. It was marked down from over $100. to $11. I absolutely fell in love with it instantly knowing it was a wayyyy too young and Bohemian style for me and I don’t even wear dresses! But you know; that dress is just so special; I’ve been enjoying it for about 8 years now. It’s the only article of clothing that’s made me happy every single time I look at it and for $11. that’s a pretty good thing.

Alan says:

When I let sell or give away something that I had an emotional attachment to I just simply take a photograph of it before I let it go. I will always hsvr thr photo of the item to glance at.

Alanna D says:

I find the bidding wars sites around the lower mainland to be the most effective, moreso than craiglist as there are rules about bidding and pick ups. There is also a website called TrendTrunk which is an app/website to resell clothing, particularly those un-used zebra shoes you mentioned. Also if you are a traveller, i save a box of shoes & light clothing items to take to Cuba or send with my friends who are heading there. To declutter your toiletries and make up, look up the Shoebox christmas campaign happening here in vancouver for women on the DTES.

Young says:

@Alanna D- Cool thanks haven’t heard of Trend Trunk!

Lee says:

You can have big brother call you to set up a pickup everytime they are in the neighbourhood (every 3-4 weeks). We usually have an accumulating bag of perfectly usable (but not worth trying to turn into $) that just disappears when the truck comes to pick them up from our porch! Forces us to generate a bag to donate when the call comes, and keeps our home less cluttered

Young says:

@Lee- I love the clothing donation bins, and keep a bag of clothes to get rid of in my car and when I see a donation bin I just drop it off.

Money Beagle says:

Our basement is ground zero for clutter in our house, and I’ve gone through so many stops and starts to try to get things sorted out that I’m about fed up. Maybe the winter and being inside more will give me more time over the next few months.