Have trouble getting rid of stuff? 6 barriers + strategies to overcome them

Hazardous waste from our garage {not sure if kegs would be considered "hazardous"? Maybe "hazardous if wasted"...}

Take a look around your home or office. How much do you see that’s broken, not loved {or even liked}, not used or needs to be returned?

This “stuff” may seem innocent enough but it’s actually a huge drain both visually AND mentally. The good news: moving it out of your space will give you immediate satisfaction – something we all crave.

First, I’ll arm you with strategies to keep those pesky little things we say to ourselves from sabotaging our organizing efforts. Then, I’ll share good resources for helping you COMPLETE the job.

PART 1:  Break through: Six common de-cluttering barriers

“But I paid SO much for it!”  SOLUTION:  Difficult time letting go because you just see $ signs of what it cost you? That’s no excuse. If you don’t need or love, toss it. IMPORTANT: Note why it wasn’t a smart purchase and remember that next time you’re about to pull out your wallet.


“I’m overwhelmed just thinking about gathering all of the stuff to take to ______.”  SOLUTION: Designate a place for each category so it’s ready to go on a periodic basis {batteries, donations, returns- WITH receipts}. And speaking of receipts…
“I need to return these shoes, but now I can’t find that darn receipt!???!”  SOLUTION: Create an effective AND simple way to maintain receipts so you have them when you need them. This can save you quite a bit of time – and money. *****{I’ll share my easy + 98% foolproof way in the SOON-TO-BE-ANNOUNCED program I’d mentioned last week}*****


“I just can’t say goodbye…”  SOLUTION:  Emotional ties? This can be a tough one. Take a picture, then let it go. Keep only the “most specialist of special” things. {I’ve come up with some pretty neat ways to use stuff I just couldn’t part with – including my grandmother’s towels of all things!!! Will save that for another time!}


“I’ll haul it out NEXT week”… which turns into next month, then the month after…  SOLUTION: COMPLETE the job NOW!  Or, you’ll probably return to square one. With the added guilt of not finishing it before. None of us need that.


“I’ve trashed what’s trash. What do I do with the rest?”  SOLUTION:  See PART 2 – will share some good resources…


STEP 2:  MOVE IT OUT: Toxic Stuff, Paper & Everything Else

TOXIC: DO NOT trash in trash! Either recycle or donate {which I guess really is the same thing!} mobile phones, computers, paint + other chemicals, batteries, expired meds.


Just found out by clicking on resource link above I can drop these off at Lowes! I've had forever... {And the stock keeps growing - 95% of batteries in here are from the Wii. Seriously.}

PAPER Piles:

  • Important documents {that need to be shredded}: Have a home shredder handy for on-going use. Ton to shred at one sitting? Places like OfficeMax and your local UPS store offer shredding services.
  • The other paper: In addition to normal recycling, some hospitals take in magazines for waiting rooms – much appreciated by magazines lovers like me. {And if  you’re like me and have a hard time getting rid of magazines, check out what I did here: Magazines: What I did with one of my obsessions}

EVERYTHING ELSE:  Things that are still good – but for someone else, not you {clothing, furniture, electronics, other household items}. Two options:

OPTION #1:  SELL:  Whether old school {yard sale + consignment} or new {Craig’s List + eBay}, selling your stuff can bring in welcomed $’s. KEEP IN MIND: If you go this route, consider the time and energy it’ll take doing so.


OPTION #2:  DONATE: While doing something good for your {newly organized!} home or work space, you’ll also be doing something good for others – whether it be a friend or favorite charity. 


  • 1000’s of organizations would love what you’ve fallen out of love with: GoodwillSalvation ArmyDress for SuccessSoles4Souls …
  • Biggest obstacle keeping potential donations from getting where it’s needed? Figuring out the where/when/how logistics.  SOLUTION:DonateStuff.com makes the connection between people with usable items they don’t need and charities that can benefit from them. For most areas, they’ll either come pick it up OR send a (free) UPS pre-paid bag. How awesome is that?!

 “The vast majority of us collect, own, and store more stuff than we could ever possibly need. Loving, needing, and using what you have brings clarity and peace of mind, and it facilitates focus. It enables our physical and mental energy to be better used elsewhere.”

– Lissanne Oliver, SORTED! 


Leave a Reply