getting rid of your stuff part two: donate

Donating is a great way to clear your clutter.  It’s easy, it’s green (it’s basically recycling, right?), and it can feel rewarding to give your unused things to someone who really needs it.  You can donate almost anything, but generally it needs to be in good working used condition.  There are many many places that will take your unwanted things, here are a few of them:

  •   Goodwill.  Goodwill will basically take anything in decent condition.   Clothing, accessories, shoes, household items, appliances, furniture, books, toys, etc.   The website will show you the nearest location/drop-off.
  •  Thrift Stores.  Thrift Stores are also a great place to donate your gently used items.  Many thrift stores are either privately owned or,  in the case of my town, many support a certain charity or church.
  •  Local Shelters.  Homeless shelters and women’s shelters are also great places to donate items.   I’ve donated clothing (specifically jackets), toiletries (opened and un-opened, they will take it all), and food.  Contrary to what I thought, our local homeless day shelter will take opened food, extra food from a bbq, opened half-used shampoo bottles, etc..  They are in that big of need that they really aren’t picky.  At that time I had about 10-12 opened shampoo/conditioner bottles because frankly, I was wasteful and was trying out different kinds to find one that worked.  I kept all these barely used bottles because I didn’t want to just throw them away, but I never planned to use them.  I felt a little weird about donating half used bottles, but atleast they didn’t go to complete waste.  Check with your local shelter to see if exactly what they are in need of and what they will accept.  You should be able to do a Google search of local shelters and give them a call.
  • Give to Friends and Family.  Do you have a friend in need?  A neighbor?  A family member?  Ask around, mention what you have to give to friends and families.  I bet someone you know could use your stuff.
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getting rid of your stuff part one: sell

Ok, so you’ve decided to give this minimalist thing a shot.  You’re sorting through your stuff, deciding what to get rid of, and you’re doing awesome! 

Your drawers are cleaner, you can actually find that shirt you’ve been looking for in your closet for months now, your car finally fits in your garage.  But wait a minute!  What do you actually do with all this decluttered stuff besides throw it all away(which I do not recommend unless necessary)? The boxes, the trash bags, the giant iced tea maker you just had to have but only used once in 5 years?

One great way to get rid of things and make some extra cash is to sell your stuff.  Some of you may not need the money and therefore selling your stuff is not worth the time, but others can look at their excess stuff and new minimalist lifestyle as a way to make money!  Here are some basic examples of where to sell your stuff:

  • eBayI’ve sold many of my gently used items on eBay.  Things like name brand clothing (GAP and Banana Republic do well, even used!), household items like Starbucks mugs, shoes, accessories, and most recently a Disney “Fox and the Hound” plate from my childhood.  Make sure to do a little research and check to make sure it’s worth selling beforehand.  You will need to open an eBay account, Paypal account, and link a bank account.
  • Amazon and Etsy.  Amazon is a good place to sell books, cd’s, dvd’s, and various household items.  There is no fee to list, but unless you pay a monthly upgraded fee, you can only list what is already in their catalog.  You will need to open an Amazon seller account and link a bank account.  Etsy is a great place to sell handmade and vintage items.
  • Craigslist.  Heavier items like outdoor toys, appliances, large household decor, etc., are better (and much easier) to sell on Craigslist.  You may not have as much virtual traffic as eBay and you will have to meet the buyer face to face, but I know many people who have made a good chunk of change selling their stuff locally.  Also, it’s free to list items and is a fairly easy process. 
  • Yard Sale or Swap Meet.  Don’t forget about the good old fashion garage sale!  Drag all your crap out to the driveway, put some signs up and put a garage sale listing on Craigslist, sit back and sell.  You may not get top dollar for your things, but it’s a good way to make some extra cash and get rid of a bunch of stuff in one day.  You can even go a little extreme and take all the unsold stuff to Goodwill.  There’s no sense in dragging it all back in the garage, is there?  If you live in an apartment like I do, you can either sell your stuff at a friend or family members garage sale or go to a swap meet.

 

 


5 reasons to become a minimalist

1.  Create more physical and mental space.  Minimalism is generally about reducing possessions to only what you need.  Creating more physical space and in result, creating more mental space.  Pairing down possessions is the start of minimalism, but it’s really a state of mind.  Less possessions= more space, more time, more money, and more mental clarity and peace of mind.

2.  Gain control of your finances (and sanity).  I speak from personal experience on this.  Money issues can ruin relationships, send you into a state of constant worry or even provoke panic attacks.  Heading towards minimalism really does quiet your money noise and give you control over your financial situation.  Since I’ve chosen to live a more minimalist life, I have stopped obsessing about money.  I’m not on the trail of mindless consuming and buying everything I possibly can anymore.  Thus my money noise is fading day by day.  I still have a lot of debt and not a lot of savings, but I’m not stressed anymore about it.  Money is not my main focus.

3.  Go green!  When you move in the direction of a minimalist lifestyle, you automatically lighten your environmental impact.  Whether you have simply cut down on consuming stuff or have gone more extreme and sold your car, going green is inevitable with minimalism.

4.  Strengthen relationships.  When you don’t have so much stuff to obsess over, acquire, worry about, keep clean and organized, etc., more time is available to cultivate personal relationships.  Relationships are so much more important than material things.  Your stuff can’t hold your hand or laugh with you at the movies, or go for a hike (well technically I guess it can, but you know what I’m saying).  People are what matter, things are not.

5.  Find what you love.   What are you passionate about?  Do you even know?  It’s very typical for people to get so obsessed with acquiring money and things, that they can’t even answer those questions.  Once you have shifted your focus to a less-materialistic minimalist mindset, you will have the space and time to find your passions.   Take that yoga class, sign up for that art course, start the small business you’ve been dreaming about but never thought was possible.  Stop focusing on things, and start focusing on the present and find what you love.


be a minimalist with your words

A reminder to myself:

Stop talking and start listening.

When you find yourself about to gossip, say something negative, say something bad about someone else….just keep your mouth shut.

You don’t always have to speak.

Say only what will add value, bring positivity, provoke creativity and inspire.

Listen with sincerity and gratitude.

Do not just wait for your turn to speak.

Be a minimalist with your words.


5 easy things you can do this week to become a minimalist

1.  Pick a drawer, a closet, a cabinet, a corner…some space in your home/garage/workplace.  Remove everything.  Only put back the essentials.  Recycle, donate, and/or toss the remaining.

2.  Clean out your purse or wallet.  It’s amazing how many receipts, pennies, rewards cards, and if you’re like me….exta junk!  can pile up inside.  After you’ve minimalized down to what you truly use (do you really need to be carrying around 50 pennies and 20 store discount cards?), vow to clean out unnecessary items every day.

3.  Unsubscribe from 5-10 email subscriptions.  Last week I took about 10 minutes and unsubscribed from about 20 email subscriptions from Borders Rewards, GAP, etc.  Not only does my inbox stay tidy, but I don’t have the urge to shop and spend money on unnecessary things.

4.  Practice meditation or yoga for 20 minutes.  What does this have to do with minimalism you ask?  My belief is that a minimalist lifestyle is not just about clearing out physical clutter, but mental clutter as well.  Yoga and mediation are fantastic ways of calming and clearing your mind.  My yoga classes are my therapy, my workout, my peace of mind.

5.  Pick one goal or task you would like to accomplish, and start working towards it.  No matter if this is small, like finally taking the donations to the Goodwill truck, or big like starting a home business, pick a goal, focus all your energy on it, and take steps to accomplish it.  This is the minimalist approach to accomplishing goals and it works.  Too many goals at once can be too much pressure and stress.  It can be very easy to throw up your hands and say “Forget it, I’ll never be able to accomplish all this!”.  Pick one goal, and start taking the necessary steps today.


free Yoga Zone instructional videos on Hulu

If you have been wanting to practice yoga, but don’t want to shell out the money for a class or dvds, check out these free Yoga Zone instructional videos on Hulu here.

Currently there are 33 videos to choose from so no matter if you are a beginner or an intermediate, there will be a video for you.

A few of them are instructed by Alan Finger, featured in the yoga documentary Enlighten Up! which you can also watch for free on Hulu.

Enjoy!  🙂


minimalist check-in and changing habits

 

Here’s a quick post to give an update on my “minimalist” progress.  it’s been about a month since I decided I wanted to make some big changes in my life, and head towards a minimalist lifestyle.

I’ve gotten rid of about 3 Toyota Yaris size car loads of stuff, all donated to Goodwill.  I’ve been selling on average about 5 items a week of stuff I already have, and have most importantly, have not purchased any new non-consumable items.  Hello progress!

Letting stuff go has been liberating in so many ways.  My apartment stays much cleaner because everything has a place now, there’s nothing extra thrown about.  Well, I guess that’s not entirely true.  I notice that I always seem to have way too many dirty dishes for one person and my small kitchen still seems to get cluttered pretty quickly. 

Also, I still have too many clothes.  I admit that I have a hard time letting go of them because they are mostly like-new and everything I’ve kept so far, I’ve kept because I like.  I definitely want to work on this until I only have the clothes I love and laundry isn’t such an ordeal because I have so much stuff to wash. 

So my next minimal-izing goals are to keep working on decluttering one clothing item and now, one kitchen item per day until I get to a point where my kitchen and my closet are full of items I use regularly and love.  ( I realize that it may be weird to love kitchen items like a  spatula but you get my drift right?)

The second phase of my minimalist journey is to change my habits.  The first habit change I’ve decided to tackle is waking up early.  I’m not a morning person but I’ve always wanted to be.  Instead, I’m a “wake up at the last possible minute, rush around frustrated getting ready for work, and ultimately being late for work”.  It’s not exactly a “zen” way to start the day. 

So my goal is to start waking up at 6:00am.  Easy for many, but not for this girl.  Today I woke up at 6:50am like usual and rushed to be at work by 8:00am.  My plan is easy and I think I first read about it on “Zen Habits”.   I will set my alarm 10 minutes earlier each morning until I get to 6:00am.  At night, I will get in bed 10 minutes earlier as well.  Easy!  (Well, sounds easy atleast.)

So in 5 days I should have conquered this habit change.  Do you have any habits you’d like to change?  I would love to hear about them in the comments section.