Where Does All The Decluttered Stuff Go?

Hello, I'm Daisy, a recovering hoarder who's finally decided to tackle her stuff in a big way.

And since bringing you all along for the ride helped keep me accountable, I started No Mess Mondays every last Monday of the month: a real honest "No, I do not tidy before I snap these photos." walkthrough as I go from hoarding to minimal living in my home.

It's been ugly. It's been funny. And ultimately, it's been all-around awesome.


If you walked into my home this month, you'd stumble on boxes.

A box at the door, two boxes in front of my closet, boxes, boxes, boxes.

It almost looks like I'm moving. (I'm not, by the way, though longtime readers know I'm on the road a lot!)

I'm continuing to declutter --- deciding what stays and what goes --- but old stuff has to go somewhere, right?

And I don't want that somewhere to be places that don't need or want my stuff. That would be a waste and with the environment the way it is, I don't want to add to that problem.

So what am I doing with the things I no longer want?

old-stuff.jpg

I sell them.

I do this for most brand-name things. I take photos, list them online, find buyers, and ship them.

I've also joined garage sales in the past but I find online selling is easier for me to do.

Why make all that effort vs. giving them away?

I can make money.

Anything spent on something you and I already own is a sunk cost. We can't get it back most times as secondhand items lose their monetary value quickly.

With that said, money's money. Even if we almost never can get back what we spent, making some money from old stuff is still worth doing when those things have good resale value. 

Someone will keep using my stuff.

This is a big one for me.

I have gotten rid of things through the years by dropping them off with whoever and wherever will take them.

But when you and I are not careful about where our old things go, that often means they still end up in a landfill --- just in a roundabout way.

With all the perfectly useful things that are already there, I'm not ok with that.

When I sell things, it often means whoever bought them will use them. And that's a better alternative.

Tip: Want to sell stuff online but don't know how to start? The Luxe Strategist has a great guide on How To Sell On eBay Better Than Anyone Else that's helpful even if you're planning to sell your items on other sites.

I contribute to charity.

Another option is sending stuff to charities with causes you and I believe in.

I usually do this for things that are like new or gently used, but don't necessarily have a high resale value.

It's also best to make sure the charities you and I give to could actually use those items. Some charities specify exactly what they need (linens, canned goods, etc.) so send them items they'd find helpful.

Tip: Unsure about how legit a charity is? Check out their ratings on watchdogs like Charity Navigator. You can also check online for more info on charities you're curious about, or call around your neighborhood or church to see what people you know recommend.

I give to friends and family.

I touch on this a bit when I talk about how to get unstuck when clutter's overwhelming, but occasionally, we have things we no longer want that other people around us do.

Like how my sister gifted me old clothes that I now wear often.

Or how my old camera became my cousin's new favorite for day trips.

Like with charities, there's also the fine line where we end up gifting our friends and family things they don't want. But some of our stuff can make the people around us happy.

Tip: Have a swap party with friends! Just pool your old stuff together, have some snacks and music, and make a fun night of swapping items with people who would enjoy taking those things home. You can also do what I did: letting friends help me declutter in exchange for things they want out of the "give" pile (+ dinner, my treat!).

I repurpose and use it up.

Our Next Life's Use It Up challenge last year resonated with me. They committed to - you guessed it - using up and repurposing things they'd otherwise get rid of for a year.

If we knew this thing was going straight to the landfill when it leaves our hands, would we treat it differently? Would we try harder to get more use out of it?
— Tanja Hester, Our Next Life

Because as much as it stings, our donations and recycled things often end up as trash even with our good intentions.

Plus, since we're all about down-to-earth minimalism here, I want to be practical too! Throwing out my old stuff when it isn't worn out is the opposite of that.

This means some of the stuff I no longer need are either being used in different ways or used up. Off the top of my head, here's a few ways I've done this:

  • Shampoo from almost-empty bottles in my bathroom has become soap to clean my brushes.
  • The Doc Martens of my university days are being worn everyday this winter instead of buying new waterproof boots.
  • Dishes for parties I never use in the kitchen (because I never throw parties at home, go figure) have become trays for my perfume and jewelry in the bedroom.
  • Used paper has been tied together into makeshift notepads so I can write on the opposite side too.

Don't get me wrong, friends; I still believe in minimalism and decluttering. I just don't believe in wasting stuff.

Whatever I can't find a home for somewhere else gets repurposed and used up instead of just throwing it out.

Tip: Look at your old stuff with new eyes. Are there ways to use them differently that would still fill a need in your life? Can you repair them so they're as good as new? Or at least, can you use them up before you let go of them? The internet's a great resource for repurposing ideas, by the way. (Just google repurposed items ideas and you'll see what I mean!)

So that's where all my old stuff is going, friends! I continue to declutter and tackle my hoarding habit, but I'm also more mindful of how I get rid of things.

Curious about how the rest of my decluttering journey is going to go?

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