My son cleared out and cleaned out our garage in June of 2010. I wasn't around when he did it but I gave him full reign to do what he thought best with the contents within the garage. After he was done, it was like a white tornado had ripped through our garage and left the bare bones. It was so clean that we held a party in it.
He wasn't emotionally attached to any of the contents so he had a good eye for what was garbage, what may hold value to someone else and what we really needed within sixteen years of accumulation of "stuff".
I am not sure but I think I remember him telling me he put everything he deemed unnecessary onto the driveway, placed an ad on Kijiji "First come, first served, free-for-all". And what was left over at the end of the day went to the dump.
Quick, efficient, to the point.
He must have got rid of at least two truck loads of "excess". He swept out the garage, hung some Christmas lights, we rented a few tables and voila!
He did the same thing in our downstairs "play room". Whoosh! I stepped out of the house for the day and when I returned, I could barely recognize it was the same place.
Granted, I lost a few items I thought I "needed" (or could at least still use) during these massive house/garage cleaning frenzies but I promised my son if he took on the job for me, I would not hold him accountable.
He did the job and he did it swiftly. Like ripping off a band aid. The faster you do it, the less painful it seems.
My son seems to have little trouble paring his belongings down to a bare minimum. He lives in a 750 (?) sq ft home and if it isn't necessary, it doesn't come in the house. End of story.
My sister and her husband downsized to a much smaller home and by extension, their belongings. She also has a grasp of "what to keep and what to throw/give away".
My brother is the same. He even keeps his computer files clean as a whistle and deletes the excess as he goes along.
I think I'm a little more like my mom. She is a product of the Great Depression. You don't just throw things away that are still usable. Waste not, want not was the motto as they grew up. You don't have to open too many closets within her home to see she still holds onto that belief.
Thus, my conundrum.
I know I have too much "stuff". I know it with every fibre of my being. Whenever I open a drawer or closet or the garage door, I am overwhelmed. I am weighed down with material belongings.
Yet there is so much I have that I cannot simply donate to Value Village. "Household items and clothing" barely scratch the surface of what I am finding.
Impulse purchases, As-Seen-On-TV extravagances (that I regret "the morning after"), best intentions gone awry, Not to mention all that I have found within the garage and playhouse. None of this stuff fits within the confines of what they are looking for when they ask for donations.
So I have turned to Kijiji. Not like my son, who most likely does it in the most effective manner by just having a free-for-all on the driveway. I don't want to put my address out there for the world to see, nor do I want a collection of window shoppers wandering aimlessly on and off my property.
Instead, I have written numerous ads with pictures, descriptions and "like things together" so my customers get a package deal of things I deem to be related (and thus, get rid of a lot of items with one pick-up).
My excess is finding a suitable home. Someone who has taken time out of their day to seek out and find these items and then come and pick it up. I find this ever-so-much-more rewarding than dumping this off somewhere and abandoning said items.
I still have a box of household items and clothing that I will donate. I have another pile of toys I plan on putting on an auction site, with a starting bid of $1.00. These items hold some value and this way they go to the home who wants it the most. I have other miscellaneous items listed for sale.
I have soooo much farther to go in this downsizing event of the year but I find that making a game of it, finding homes for unwanted articles and making a little bit of cash on the side is pushing me forward.
Yes, I could have moved mountains yesterday, instead of only shifting the dirt around. Considering how impossible even this feat felt a few months ago, I will take this as a win. I have found a middle ground between turning into my mom and becoming as efficient as my son (and others) at keeping the excess down to a minimum.
One person's garbage is another person's treasure. As I make my way through the drawers within our home, I am finding lots of treasures. I am so glad to share them with the world!