The Many Ways to Declutter


Some of us our born ‘tossers’ and some of us are not. My son takes after me – whether it’s apples, toys, books, sticks, or kleenexes – more is more to him! I see him either marrying an incredibly organized woman someday or being on a hoarders show.

He’s like this though because he sees so much potential in EVERYTHING. He’s optimistic, imaginative and eager to make the most out of life – with anything and EVERYTHING he can find.

Why get 2 apples when you can get a bucket?

Why take two toys to bed when you can fill your bed to the point of not being able to lay down any more?

I have learned to love this about him. However, I don’t want him to end up struggling through clutter someday so he’s learning decluttering methods (about at the same speed as me sometimes), but I am an enthusiastic teacher!

Decluttering 101 

1. Just Toss
The fact is, this is the easiest. I know it’s not always the best for the environment, but sanity is sanity. If you have space in the garbage can this week, but will have a Goodwill box sitting by your door for a month before you get to the thrift store to donate – just bite your lip and do it!

I used to hate throwing anything away that could be reused, but when it came down to my family’s well being or my donating it rather then tossing it, I began to change my perspective. It’s not right for me to make them walk around my thrift store donations until I can get over there.

Also, if something was a gift, the giver is much less likely to see the item in the garbage can then given away.

Someday, I’ll have everything under control enough that I don’t need to toss as much, but for large purges, just do it. It is also harder to dig something out of the trash then to pull it out of the donation box!

2. Donation

  1. Thrift Stores
  2. Sentimental Items can be given to family members.
  3. Church. My husband brought a lot of his theology, counseling and commentary books to church for our church family to pick through after he finished seminary. Most members had vastly smaller libraries then we did so it was a blessing to them. He also brought his old sound system set that was better then the church system.
  4. Consignment Stores and Websites give you store credit for donated items.

3. Sell
Pick an amount that any item is worth selling for. (My amount is $10.) If it’s not worth $10 on eBay, Amazon Market, or Craigslist, it is not worth posting it, dealing with prospective buyer correspondence, packing it up, sending it, and dealing with seller feedback.

4. Use Up or Give to the Kids to Use Up!
I used to save EVERYTHING that had any sentimental strings at all. I’d save food items until they went bad, body washes until they smelled funny, and stationary products until the kids pulled them out and destroyed them.

I have now realized the joy in just using things up! Not only to I get to use them — but then they are gone to make room for other wonderful things.

-I just used up the beautiful gift store tablet I was rewarded last year for team leading at my husband’s seminary.

-I just threw away the blue koala that I had as a baby because the kids yanked the nose off and lost it…somewhere, but I did have the joy of watching them play with it for 6 months prior.

-Soon I’ll throw away the stuffed duck my mom brought me when I was on bedrest in the hospital that I dressed in my little preemie boys’ onesie and set on my nightstand to remind me of the little baby I hoped would soon wear that onesie. For now though, the kids are playing with it every day.

-I let the 2 year old and 3 year old play with old jewelry for several months and finally just threw it away. Yes. A lot of it was sentimental. The Easter necklace I received at 13 – my first ‘grown-up’ necklace that was now missing multiple pearls, the giraffe shaped earrings that I loved at 12 but would never wear as an adult, the Africa-shaped necklace from a friend, a few other hand-made pieces by friends that never matched my style but were too ‘special’ to toss all brought my children HOURS of enjoyment before finally being pitched as they were broken (in ways that only toddlers seem to be able to come up with).

I recognize that ‘getting rid of stuff’ is kind of basic, but the heart behind letting go of stuff is something I’ve been learning in the last few years. It’s not a natural thing for me to hand over a 29 year old blue koala to my little kids, but I’m realizing that the importance of ‘letting go’ of things is bigger then ‘stuff.’

Decluttering has been a spiritual journey for me. Letting go is part of moving forward. It’s an appreciation for the past blessings without being tightfisted over them- so I can open my hands to reach for what God has next.


2 thoughts on “The Many Ways to Declutter

  1. Bethany

    Hi, I came across your blog a couple days ago while reading about my new discovery of minimalism. I was quickly drawn to your blog in particular because of your Christian perspective, your tendency to keep anything and everything (way too familiar for me), and also because we have the experience of premature babies in common. I’ve been perusing your archives on minimalism, and I especially appreciated this post. I look forward to reading more of what you have to say!

    1. Admin Post author

      Thank you Bethany! Your words are very kind and mean a lot. I’m happy to (digitally) meet you! It’s a blessing to be able to fellowship with other moms of whom I share a heart for Christ and a more simple focused life.

      You’ve had a preemie baby as well? It is an experience that’s hard to explain to anyone who has not gone through it. My preemie just had his fifth birthday last week so I was thinking about writing about it. There is so much emotion surrounding that time that even now I’m not sure I can put it into words – though I think it would be healthy for myself (and maybe others) when I can.

      I hope you continue reading and commenting! I enjoy hearing from you!



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