Selling Verses Donating Your Stuff

When I first started getting rid of stuff, I had a preference for selling over donating. Why give something away that could make me some cash?

Partly this was because I was unemployed and living with my Dad, but also it was because I still had a very strong attachment to my things and I needed to somehow feel that I was getting compensation for getting rid of them.

Selling things, however – as anyone who’s ever done it will know – takes quite a lot of time. Whether it’s a card in the newsagent’s window, a listing on eBay or the rumor mill of family and friends, there is a big time investment. Descriptions, photos, thinking about pricing, and then collection or packaging up the item to send, or even dropping to someone else’s house… it all adds up.

Donate excess stuff and get a clean room

As time went by I found I would hoard things to sell.

Because my primary method was eBay, I’d end up with piles of things in the corner of a room that needed listing. That pile would grow and grow, and it would be in the way and clutter up the floor. It would turn into an annoyance.

Of course, I was always grateful for the cash that I got back.

Once I had children though, selling things became even more of an inconvenience. Not only did I seem to have negative time once my first baby came along, but said baby also enjoyed rummaging around among my selling-pile in the hope of finding a tasty morsel to put in his mouth.

Eventually, on maternity leave, I sat down and thought realistically about the time it took me to photo, list, wrap and post each item (with a baby in tow) and I realized it was working out to less than minimum wage for low-value items.

And there was one other big realization:

As long as I was spending all my free time trying to sell things, I wasn’t spending my free time achieving anything else.

So I stopped. I decided that unless the value of the item secondhand was upwards of $30, or the item itself was particularly unusual (and thus might be appreciated by someone with interest in that sort of thing), the best option was just to donate it.

Once I started doing this, I discovered something else.

I got a sense of something good from giving things away that I could have made money on.

A lot of things I bagged up and took to charity shops. It felt good to know for example that I was giving away decent clothes that I hadn’t worn for one reason or another. Someone, somewhere, would get a great item at a second-hand price.

But the best feeling came from the things I freecycled. Freecycling is one of THE fastest ways to get rid of stuff you no longer need.

You list the item on the site and within an hour or so you hear from a couple of people who can come and collect it, usually that day.

More space after donating clothes

I have never used Freecycle other than to list our items, but I’ve heard rumors that a lot of the stuff on there is barely in a usable condition. Stinky old sofas and broken furniture can end up being advertised just so that the owners don’t have to take them to the tip.

I don’t know accurate that is, but when I Freecycled our things, people came to our house to collect them, and they were so genuinely grateful. We gave a large fridge freezer away to a couple who were so astonished; they seemed hesitant to take it because they thought it wouldn’t work when they got it home.

We gave away items of furniture that were well looked after, but we had decided we simply didn’t have room for. I passed on a $200 fish tank and stood. Each time someone came to collect, they were so happy.

It was a great feeling.

And it saved so much time.

Which meant we were moving faster towards our goal of having a house with much less. A more streamlined and less cluttered existence. And that was worth more to me than the money that we could have got for the item.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend that you give away your car, but if you just bag up all those unworn clothes and donate them, wouldn’t it feel good to know that someone out there would benefit?

I think so.

A Simple System For Cleaning Laundry

We are a family of four, and we have a lot of washing.

My children are 4 and almost 3 at the time of writing, and there are still many days where they require a change of clothes half way through. They also need fresh pajamas almost every day because they can’t yet keep breakfast confined to the clothes

Add to that the hubby’s daily work shirts, towels, tea towels and uncountable pairs of pants and socks… well, you get the picture.

I use a really simple laundry system in our house.

This is how it works:

  1. We probably have fewer clothes than you would expect. This means keeping on top of the washing is a priority, so it never gets left.
  2. We have three labeled baskets for washing: dark colors, light colors and whites. I never have to pre-sort (I always hated sorting through piles of dirty clothes to make sure that a red sock didn’t go in the whitewash – enough – gone are those days!).
  3. I put a load on most days, first thing in the morning. I check the baskets and take one downstairs with me when I go for breakfast.
  4. Everyone in the house knows where dirty clothes go. Even my two-year-old.
  5. I wash everything at 40°, even the dry cleaning. Generally, I try not to buy clothes that have special instructions. If something doesn’t survive its first wash, it’s not tough enough for our house.
  6. I tumble dry everything on low, or hang it on the line if the weather allows.
  7. As soon as it is dry, I fold everything carefully into a basket. Shirts get put on hangers slightly damp. I rarely iron.
  8. Clothes get put away the same day (Hmm. OK. Sometimes that doesn’t quite happen).

That’s it.

I never feel that the washing is a chore or bind. In fact, given the result (fresh, clean clothes almost daily), for the effort (a few minutes each day), a part of me actually likes getting it done.

By eliminating all the things I hated (doing all the washing on one day, leaving clothes in bunched up piles to iron later, sorting through heaps of dirty clothes, checking washing instructions), it has turned drudgery into a happy job.

So there you go. Minimalist laundry 😉

Give Yourself Room To Grow

You know that feeling… when you can’t seem to breathe for all the demands on your time and the stuff that needs doing.

Whether you work full time, study full time, or you’re a stay at home parent, life is busy. It asks so much of us, not just in the form of family commitments, social events, and our career or life-calling, but also in the form of life maintenance. By that, I mean all the subsidiary tasks that you have to deal with to function like a (reasonably) normal human being.

Clean till it shines

Vacuuming tile floors, washing, ironing, tidying, paperwork, bills, letters, repairs, gardening, fixing, phone calls, errands, post, holidays… you get the idea.

When you can’t seem to find a moment to take a deep breath and enjoy the sounds of everything around you, maybe what you need is to have less in your life.

Less possessions, less commitments, less distraction, less baggage.

Just, less.

When you fill your world with stuff, and you spend your days rushing around getting things done, you are working at full capacity.

That book you dream of writing?
That instrument you’ve always wanted to play?
That country you want to visit?

None of those things can happen in a life that is already full up.

Something has to give.

Which is why I am such a big proponent of minimalism. I know what it is like to live under layers of clutter (both physical and emotional), but I also know the wonderful peace and freedom climbing out of all that stuff can bring.

Having less physical possessions will save you time and create space in so many ways – less cleaning, sorting, organizing, maintaining, tidying and washing. Less lost items, and faster and easier access to all the things you do have.

Using plastic containers to store items at home

If you reduce the things in your life, you will discover an empty space, one that can be either cherished for what it is, or filled with something you have always dreamed of doing.

By reducing the clutter and commitments that you have, you can find the time to do something else – something more meaningful.

When you finish a 40 hour week at work, or your kids finally fall asleep at 8 pm after an exhausting 16 hour day of looking after them, do you want to turn to piles of paperwork, piles of laundry or piles of toys?

Imagine something else.

Imagine that at the end of your commitments, at the end of your workday, there is space for you. Space you have created because you took away all the things that were not a priority for your time or energy.

How would that feel?

This isn’t just a fantasy; there are real concrete steps you can take to make your life simpler, starting today, right now.

Action Points

  1. Clear out all the rubbish in your home, especially paper items(newspapers, magazines, junk mail, catalogs, etc.)
    If you can’t bring yourself to throw things out, try boxing them up and putting them in the loft, or garage, especially old “hobbies” that you aren’t currently spending time on (learning a language, building model planes, jewelry making, etc.)
  2. List all your current projects and commitments and be 100% honest about whether you want to spend your time on them. If they are not serving your goals or increasing your happiness, let them go.
  3. Reduce the number of trips, and the time, that you spend at the shops. Shops are full of things designed to tempt you into parting with your cash. But if you can’t find the time to use what you already own, why do you need more?
  4. When decluttering in the home, focus on clearing floors and surfaces for the biggest impact. Not only do clear spaces make a room feel lighter to be in, but they also make cleaning and tidying away much easier.
    Don’t be afraid to let things go. Feel good about giving to charity or passing things on for free. You are helping someone else and yourself, so everybody wins.
  5. Life is busy. And that is a good thing. But don’t let the busy-ness of it stifle the ability to create a life full of things you enjoy.

By letting things go, you give yourself room to grow.

10 Ways Life Is Easier With Less

1. Finding things is easier. When surfaces and floors are clear, and things that belong together are kept together, losing your passport, your keys or other important items rarely happens.

2. Keeping things tidy takes less effort. There is less stuff to get into a mess in the first place, and the things you do have are all easily put away. Getting something out is easier because you don’t have to shift a mountain of other things out-out of the way to get to what you need.

3. Cleaning is faster. Cleaning (a job most of us want to spend as little time as possible on), is super-fast when you don’t have to pick up and move things out of the way. Clear surfaces just need a wipe over that takes seconds. Floors can be easily hoovered or mopped. You can whizz round, get it all done, and then go out and do something you want to do instead.

4. Packing for holidays is stress-free. When you limit the number of things in your life, you not only have a greater appreciation of what you need on a day-to-day basis, but one circuit around the house will enable you to collect up everything you need for a trip in no time.

5. It’s easier to be spontaneous. Our things (and our commitments) are a responsibility. The more things you have, the more time you need to spend on them. If you have less, it is easier on a sunny weekend morning to decide that you will spend the day at the beach, because the demands on your time at home are minimal. There is less cleaning, tidying, and general maintenance, which frees up your free time to do whatever you want.

Mop and bucket for cleaning

6. It’s easier to focus. A clear space allows your mind to fully concentrate on the job at hand. Whether that is writing, organizing digital data, painting the bathroom or just reading a book.

In a simple and clean environment, you won’t suffer from the constant distraction of visual reminders of things that you need to do, fix, arrange, tidy and clean up.

7. You spend less. When you break the habit of shopping for things you don’t really need, it frees up income. One of the great things about owning less – by choice – is that helps you make better decisions on what you bring back into your life. It is easier to see through marketing and advertising gloss, and to know whether you really need something.

8. You do more. You will eventually reach a point where the balance tips and you have cleared away enough that you start to gain time. When this happens, you’ll need to fill that time – and as long as you don’t fill it with more stuff, this is the point at which you will make big gains as far as working towards a life you truly love goes.

Now you will have the time to take up rock climbing, genealogy or a chemistry A-level. And you can do so with full focus and no distractions!

9. Bye bye, overwhelm. You know that feeling: when you’re running late, you’ve got a deadline on a project you’re not going to make, the house is a mess, you’ve run out of dog food, there’s no milk left in the fridge, and your mother is coming to visit in the morning.

That kind of overwhelm is symptomatic of too much stuff and too many commitments. When you simplify your life, by reducing both physical possessions and time-commitments, you give yourself space to breathe. Overwhelm dissolves and leaves you facing a clear path ahead.

10. You feel happier. Lack of control is one of the biggest causes of stress. We can’t control what life throws at us, but we can be careful curators of our space and time. When you clear the decks and give yourself room to breathe, you are exerting a level of control over your environment that gives you mental peace and allows you to focus on other things.

Have less, and do more!

Decluttering Time Not Space

When I first started decluttering and sorting through everything I owned, I was a traditional hoarder.

I made great progress at first, but eventually, I got stuck. I still had a lot of stuff – more stuff than I wanted – but I didn’t seem to be able to pare it down any further.

Decluttering books no longer helped me. They told me to ask questions like:

Is this useful or beautiful?

But if I followed their rules, everything in my house needed to stay. But I still had a house full of stuff. Too much stuff.

I remember wandering from room to room, wondering why I didn’t seem to be able to let anything else go. It all seemed so important, so useful.

It took me a lot of thinking time to solve this problem, but eventually, I realized that although I was no longer hoarding things that I never used, I was still hoarding.

I was hoarding things that took time, without the time to do them.

I was hoarding projects and hobbies.

Things like scrapbooks, non-fiction books covering topics I was interested in, and other ‘equipment’ such as gym balls and shot glasses and cocktail shakers.

The use of all these items depending on something I was short on. Something that we all tend to be short on.


To create scrapbooks, I needed time to sit and work on them.

To use my books, I needed time to sit down and read.

To use the gym ball, I needed to set aside time to exercise in my house.

To use the shot glasses and shakers, I needed time to hold some kind of drinks party (with two under-fives in the house?!).

I realized that although all these things were useful, practical items, there was still no point in keeping them if I was never going to have the time to use them.

But telling myself:

I might have time in the future.

Was the time-equivalent of the old excuse:

But I might need it someday.

Save time on cleaning

Time is a factor that is often overlooked when it comes to sorting through your things. Or, it is only mentioned with regards to commitments like meetings, talking on the phone and watching TV.

But the fact is, your possessions also take up your time. If something you own is not something that you use regularly and functionally (like the plates you eat your dinner from or the shampoo in your bathroom), then it requires a time investment from your ‘free’ time.

A time investment that you could be putting to use in one of a million different ways.

So it turns out there is another question you should bear in mind when you are sorting through things in your life:

What do you want to spend your time on?

Action points

  1. When you are decluttering and having trouble letting go of something, ask yourself if you are holding onto the item because you plan to set aside the time to actually use it.
  2. Be realistic about your time. Are you actually going to make time (in your already busy schedule), to do this project or activity? For example, are you really going to repaint and stencil the side table? Are you really going to read the complete works of Thomas Hardy? Be honest with yourself.
  3. Bear in mind that you should be spending your time on the things that bring you the most joy and the most personal satisfaction (from what you work on, to how you play). If you spread your time too thin, on too many different projects, you won’t get the best out of any of them.

How Cleaning Can Help Get Rid Of Allergies

Cleaning your house regularly can help keep your allergies at bay. Some cleaning techniques like shampooing the carpet or using cleaners that are heavily scented can make your allergies worse.

8 Cleaning tips you could use to keep your allergies at bay

1. Remove clutter from your house.

Piles of clothing or boxes are capable of attracting and keeping dust and other allergens. Those piles of boxes or clothes are also capable of hiding roaches and other bugs like dust mites. Therefore, remove all the clutter from the house thus reducing chances of dust collecting.

2. Vacuum twice or once a week

If you are allergic to dust and other allergens, make sure your house is vacuumed once or twice a week. Shark and Dyson vacuums clean efficiently removing allergens. Also, make sure your vacuum cleaner consists of a HEPA filter to suck even the tiniest of the allergens when you use a normal vacuum cleaner, chances are, you vacuum the dust off the floor or any other surface then you release them back into the air. Some of these dust particles are so tiny that they pass through a regular vacuum and that is why you still suffer from your allergies even after vacuuming twice or even thrice a week.

3. Wear a mask when cleaning

Wear a mask when you are cleaning to reduce chances of you breathing in the dust. Once you are done, leave the house for a few hours so that you can reduce your exposure to the allergens that might still be hanging in the air.

4. Do not use scented detergents and cleaners

Fragrances in cleaners and detergents are allergy triggers. It is best advised to avoid them at all costs if you want to keep allergies at bay. Fragrance-free products are good for people with allergies.

5. Clean bedsheets in hot water

Washing bed sheets with hot water help in killing dust mites. Just make sure the water is hot for up to 130F or even more because no dust mite can survive such heat. For kids who have allergies, it is advisable to wash their bedding and stuffed animals with hot water-the the same temperature.

6. Keep the bathrooms mold free

Keep the tiles clean by scrubbing them regularly. Clean the shower curtains regularly as well; occasionally you can toss them into the washing machine. Most important, keep the bathrooms well aerated.

7. Use a damp cloth when cleaning

Cleaning guide

When you use a damp cloth, you will trap the allergens with the dampness instead of scattering them into the air. By doing so, you reduce chances of you inhaling that dust or the allergens or some dust particles settling back to where you had cleaned.

8. Other things you might need to consider keeping allergens away

Some of them are not cleaning, but they will help to keep allergies at bay.

Get rid of horizontal blinds or drapes because they trap a lot of dust; use roll shades instead.

Stop using rugs and carpets of you can help since they trap a lot of dust and this dust is what causes allergies. Also, if you must have rugs, make use of small ones that can be tossed into the washing machine. If you can help it, get tiles, vinyl or hardwood floors since they are easy to clean and they don’t retain dust.

Take your shoes off before you enter the house; by removing your shoes at the door, you reduce chances of getting dust and pollen into the house.

Keep pets out of the bedroom; if you are allergic to pets or dust, keep pets out of your bedroom. In fact, keep pets out of your bed.

Use air condition instead of opening windows: when it gets hot, instead f opening your windows, it is best if you use the AC. With an AC, you will get fresh air from the outside, and the best thing is that the AC will filter dust, pollen, and other triggers.