Day 21: Clutter: How To Get Rid of Someone Else’s Stuff

2,100 things gone, only 7,900 things to go

I read somewhere that the best way to lose twitter followers is to use the word bored in your tweets.  As in: “I’m sooo bored!”

I wonder how the social media people feel about the words overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated.

And yesterday went so smoothly.  I started the day’s round up in the kid’s bathroom cupboards and, before I knew it, I had 100 things in the bag.

Compared to last few days – yesterday was one big yawn.

No ooohs and aaahs over the transformation.  No shrieks of laughter or recognition on finding something I’d long since forgotten.  No, gripping Squirrel’s arm crying: “Honey – the house!!”  (I admit, we’ve had a few heady moments decluttering the kitchen and living room.)

None of that.  Just a few broken toys, old first aid supplies and some shampoo bottles ready for the big blue bin.

So I must have been ready for a little excitement today because I chose to take a stab at my white whale – the storage room:

Here’s where the twitter killers come in.

Clearing out the storage room was overwhelming, exhausting and frustrating – and I’m just talking about one shelf.

Why?

Because I started with someone else’s stuff.

Squirrel’s to be exact.  He brought a few things from his office at the old house and I just about lost my mind trying to separate the treasures from the trash.

So I came up with a few guidelines to follow of you’re trying to sort through someone else’s clutter.

1) Trust yourself! I can’t tell you how important this is.  I got myself all tied up in knots over a box of manuals.  What if I throw out a manual for something Squirrel wants to sell later? The thing is, I’ve been recycling my manuals since I discovered most manuals are available online.  This brings me to number two:

2) Use Your Computer! Just about every manual ever written is recorded online. I found the manual I was looking for on the website Scrib’d (download yours for free if you upload something else to the community).  Three other great sites are usermanualguide,  manuals online, and retrevo.  So throw those space hogs in the recycling bin and move on.

3) Use Your Computer Again! There were four stereo speakers, two receivers, three cell phones!, a TV box, two computer speakers, and a printer in my storage room.  What to sell, what to recycle?  Google your item and you’ll find out pretty quickly what it’s worth.  Turns out the speakers I found are selling online for about $100.  And the receiver is fetching upwards of $300.  Aside from the obvious ebay and craigslist searches, you may want to check out used vancouver and canuck audio to price and list your treasures.

4) Box Personal Items:  Let’s face it there are things we can never assess the value of for another person.  The receipt for Squirrel’s 1990 plane ticket to Europe.  A videotape of the 1994 World Cup final. So far I’ve managed to fit these items into one box. If it gets too full, I’ll sort through it and take digital pictures of the mementos so Squirrel can enjoy them without taking up a full shelf in the storage room. A slideshow of memories might even make a good milestone birthday gift.

5) Make a Recycling Plan: Apart from a few goodies, most of the stuff I find is worthless.  That doesn’t mean it has to go in the trash.  Know your recycling resources so you can sort as you go.  My recycling depot requires corrugated cardboard and mixed paper to be sorted and recycled separately so I taught my four year old what to look for and he helps out.  The assortment of electronics, computer hard drive and speakers, mouse, keyboard, non-cellular phones etc. can be recycled at my local Return-It Depot.  Fortunately, the three cell phones I found can be recycled across the street at the Changes Recycling Centre.  For a list of cell phone or battery collection locations near you check out Call2Recycle Canada.  Knowing where it all will go before you start can make the decluttering process much less stressful.

6) Know When To Quit:  I hardly have to count anymore.  I know I’ve gotten rid of 100 things when I can’t make decisions anymore, my son is begging me to play Mouse Trap, and I’m sweatier than I want to be without actually working out.  I throw in the towel!  So what if I only got one shelf cleared in the storage room.  There’s room to work in there now and there’s 100 more things to get rid of tomorrow.

2,100 things into my challenge, I can assure you that each decluttering session makes the next one easier, and easier, and easier…

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2 thoughts on “Day 21: Clutter: How To Get Rid of Someone Else’s Stuff

  1. My boyfriend and I have a pact. I don’t declutter his stuff and he won’t declutter mine. Sometimes it’s hard to keep this pact, but after a slow start he’s been great about letting things go as well.

    I stumbled upon your blog yesterday and am in total awe of your challenge and commitment to purge 100 things a day. That’s a lot! Sometimes I can hardly part with five. Count me in as a regular reader!

    • That’s great you have a pact! It’s so hard sorting through someone else’s stuff. Sometimes the best option is to let them take care of it. Sounds like your boyfriend is following your example.

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