One thing that I tend to do is purge. A lot. Why do you think the garage is so full? I was putting everything out for yard sale fodder!
Before you can even get around to organizing, it helps to remove any excess you don't need or want. This can be a tedious process if you let it be. It's actually quite simple if you don't think about it! A lot of times we dwell on certain items. You don't like it anymore, but you're having a hard time getting rid of it. Maybe you remember how much you spent on it. Maybe you bought it "just in case" you may need it. I like to remember this: It's a waste if it isn't used by someone! That means if you're not using it, give it to someone who will! I can even tell you who may want it!
- Don't linger. Make snap decisions.
- If you haven't seen it in 6 months (not counting seasonal items), it goes. This applies to cookware (don't kid yourself. If you hate juicing, just sell the juicer and get an ice cream maker... you know you want to!), clothing, home decor items, etc.
- If it doesn't fit, donate it. This really goes for women. Why do we hold on to clothing that we know will not fit us any time soon? It just depresses us. Just donate it and get some clothes that fit you well. Remember: only the person wearing the item will know the size of it. It's just a number.
- When in doubt, hide it. This goes well for children and husbands. Kick out your kids for the day and go through their toys and clothes. Make sure only the clothes that fit are in the closet and dresser. Go through the toys and toss any that are broken or missing major pieces. Donate toys that are too young for them. If you're afraid they may notice they're missing, put them in a big black trash bag. Put a piece of packing tape on the bag with the kid's name and current date. If that child hasn't noticed the stuff is gone within 3 months, donate it. Do this with your husband's clothing as well. NEVER LET THEM LOOK IN THE BAG! If your child or husband says, "Oh hey, have you see my..." tell them you'll look for it and go get it out of the bag. I speak from experience. Once they see that bag, they will want everything in it and your hard work goes down the drain.
- Leave the sentimental stuff for last. Hopefully you will be so empowered by the time you get to it, you'll have an easier time making decisions! If that doesn't work, consider getting a large plastic storage tub for each member of the family. Put super sentimental items in the tub (baby's first outfit home, your medal from running a 10k). Any keepers have to fit solely in the tub. This will keep you from saving every scrap. Plus, it'll be like a time capsule for your child when they move out... and takes up little space!
So now you have huge pile of stuff that needs to go elsewhere. What should you do?
- Craigslist/ebay anything with a value higher than what you expect at a yard sale. Exercise caution by never meeting someone alone and if possible, never in your home.
- Consignment shops can help with big items like good quality/excellent condition furniture and decor, antiques and memorabilia, name brand/high end clothing, purses and jewelry. Pay attention to consignment fees/commission.
- Have a yard sale if you have a good amount of items that range from small to large.
- If you're looking to clear your home (you're moving, you're starting fresh and want it all to go) consider having an estate sale. Everything will be up for sale. Companies will help organize it for a fee.
Another option is to donate! Many charities now offer pick up options. You can place your used items out on your sidewalk and they will come pick them up. Some even will pick up from apartments!
- If you have a lot of building materials, you can donate them to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.
- Clothing and shoes are always appreciated at homeless shelters.
- Work/dress clothes can be accepted by not only women's shelters but Dress For Success programs. Check to see if any are in your area.
- Formal gowns and suits can be donated to your local high school or church. Some students cannot afford formal attire for prom or homecoming. These can be handed out to any student in need.
So what about me? Well, we had a yard sale last month, so my purge pile is pretty small. I have this pile of dress clothes to go to our neighborhood women's shelter.
Hopefully these tips help you out a bit. I love purging! It makes room for better stuff, of course!