Junk creeps up on almost anyone. Your once empty garage and basement go from clean and tidy to full of stuff in no time at all, and usually you do not even realize that it happened. Have no fears, however: you can get rid of your junk and keep it away. Follow these steps to get rid of junk in your life and enjoy a clutter-free life in its place!
1. Turn that junk into cash.
As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” And this is true! One way to get rid of junk is to go through it to see if you can sell anything. You might have luck at an antique market with an item you thought was completely useless, for instance.
Garage sales are the time-honored tradition, but Craigslist, Kijiji, and other online sales sites have made it easier than ever to turn your house into a market place. What is the harm in putting up a free advertisement to see if someone has any interest in the junk you have? That just makes sense.
2. Find those treasures in the junk.
Do you have an old table in your garage that you’ve been planning to refinish? A lot of junk is stuff that has been gathered with grand ideas in mind. If you’re going to act on those big plans, power to you. But you need to get on it. If not, it might be time to get rid of those projects in waiting. Who knows: someone else might have the same vision as you but they are actually ready to do it. If this is the case, you can sell your junk as is.
3. Prioritize your junk into categories.
Figuring out what is actually junk is part of the problem. Do you really need that old chair that you’ve had since your university days? Or is it sitting collecting dust in the basement, likely to never see the light of day again?
Separating the sentimental from the useless is a good starting point. We sometimes end up overly attached to things that don’t work anymore or that have become entirely outdated. It’s great that you’ve got that cassette player from your old Camaro- but do you have any cassettes, or even any car that you could put it into? Be realistic, and be harsh. Material goods are highly replaceable, after all.
4. Experience success by starting small.
Getting rid of junk is like eating an elephant. You do it one bite at a time! By the time you’re overwhelmed with junk you might want to throw your hands in the air and give up. But tackling one box a day or one area of the house a week will give you a sense of accomplishment while getting rid of that junk. The advantage here is that you don’t need to set aside a lot of time: it will go slower if you do not, however.
You likely have some free time on the weekend, so use this time to go through your garage or your basement and figure what is important. One of the best ways to do this is to work in teams. Have your spouse help you, or your kids or grandkids. You would be surprised with the amount of work people will do for a few dollars!
5. If small is not working, it is time to go big.
Try to block off an entire day to declare war the junk in your life. Hold no bars. Going big helps because when you look at the big picture, it becomes apparent that you might not actually need certain items that you have been holding onto for so many years. When you’ve sorted through a lot of stuff already, it’s easier to make decisions as to what is truly important and what you can part ways with.
6. Call in the pros to get the job done right.
If you live in the city and drive a hatchback, this is likely enough space for 99% of your normal usage. If you have a big pile of junk that has accumulated, however, it would take a lot of time and trips to the dump to get rid of it. People with small vehicles or no vehicle at all tend to hesitate to get rid of junk for this exact reason.
There are lots of services that will come to your place (for a fee) and help you get rid of that junk. These services are almost always worth the money. The team that comes can help lift heavy objects and move a lot of things really quickly. You don’t even need to gather it all together necessarily: just point at things in the basement, garage or wherever else they may be hiding and they’re gone in the blink of an eye.
7. Check with your municipality.
Many cities have large garbage collection days, or “community recycling” days where you can leave old furniture at the curb for anybody to take. This is particularly helpful for those items which can find a second home in someplace that isn’t your home. And you don’t have to spend any money to do so! Everybody wins.
Getting rid of junk is only half the battle though. It’s really important to start getting into habits to avoid getting the junk to build up in the future. A two-pronged method is useful here. First of all, you might have a have a tendency to say no more often than not when it comes to offers of furniture or other things you are not sure you will use. If you need a new couch, great, but if you don’t, don’t take it.
Secondly, once a year you should perform a clichéd spring cleaning. If you haven’t used an item for a year, it could very well be that I don’t actually need it around. If you aren’t sure, try to separate it into a two year pile. If you’re not using something in two years, chances are pretty good you won’t be needing it for the next two years, so it could be good to get rid of it sooner rather than later. Get rid of that junk now. And work to stop it from coming back in the future. And that’s how to get rid of junk from your life!