What to Discard2018-12-28T01:52:48+00:00

What to Discard
as a Minimalist

Minimalism is often seen as having less.
I’ll help you learn what to discard and how to discard it.

Possessions. They’re probably the first thing you think of for minimalism. However, you can get rid of more than just possessions. If you get rid of distractions, bad relationships, jobs, and things that aren’t enhancing your life, then you’ll have more time, space, energy, and money for what’s important to you. So how do you get rid of stuff?

If you know what’s important, What to Add, then it’ll help you decide what to keep and what to get rid of. If something isn’t supporting or enhancing one of your top 5 priorities you should probably get rid of it.

Steps that
worked for me

1. Clean / Organize
2. Easy / Big Stuff
3. Repeat

Clean

Clean and get rid of junk first. If you have clothes all over, hang them up. Trash all around, throw it away. Ripped up pieces of paper, get the important details off them and recycle them. The simple act of cleaning will give you have more space for what you like.

Organize

Organizing may help at this time, but if you want get rid of stuff first then it may not be worth organizing stuff you’re just going to get rid of. Minor organizing while cleaning is suggested. Definitely do not buy storage containers to organize your stuff at this time. Use the ones you already have. Containers often become places to hide junk. Until you’re down to only the items you’ve personally decided to keep, don’t consider more storage options. Only get them to organize things like similar crafting supplies, or as a way to display collections aesthetically.

Discard

You should start by getting rid of the easiest and biggest items first. You’d be surprised how removing these things will motivate you to do more. Once you realize you don’t miss anything you’ve removed that’ll further encourage you to get rid of other things that you originally thought you needed, but don’t. Easiest and Biggest doesn’t include favorites, sentimental items, things you often use, or things you really like; if you start with those you’re not going to get anywhere.

Easy stuff

Get rid of easier stuff first. Don’t get hung up on the harder stuff, such as sentimental possessions or items related to your hobbies. Easy stuff may be a junk drawer or that old ____ you were going to get rid of, but never found the time. Something you’re not using or haven’t used in a while, get rid of it. Is it broken, trash it or recycle. Maybe you’re done reading, watching, playing something and you don’t plan to again, bu~bye. If you have old cables, phones or unused electronics laying around, some businesses will pay you to take that clutter. Would you rather have money or junk, sell it or recycle it. And the elusive items you, “might use eventually”, unless you come up with a use and act on it, get rid of those. A simple rule I like to follow; If I can get it easily for under $10, and I’m not using it, then get rid of it. It may take a while of getting rid of things to realized you don’t miss them, but the added space and sense of freedom is worth more than a few bucks if you need to rebuy. More often than not I’ve heard from people that they never needed any of those “might use maybe” items.

Big stuff

If you start with big stuff it’s a huge motivator seeing the space you’ve gained. Big stuff will help you learn how and where to get rid of stuff quickly (second hand shops, collectors, thrift stores, or online), open up a lot of space, teach you that you don’t miss anything, and everything else will get easier to part with. Big stuff is anything that takes up a ton of space. Typically this is collections or furniture. If you have a huge clothing, CD, DVD, game, comic, or antiques collection; consider paring down. Some of these items you’re not going to wear, watch, read, or listen to again. If your collection is so big you can’t put it in a single shelf unit, then there is space to be saved. If these relate to your favorite hobby come back to them later. Typically we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, likely you can get rid of some easily, stuff that doesn’t fit, or you’ll never wear. If a chair is broken either fix it or get rid of it, don’t think that you’ll eventually fix it; make time to fix it this month or get rid of it. If you have tons of furniture in a room and every time you think about reorganizing you don’t know where fit everything, then there is space to be saved. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you need to use it (or keep it).

Repeat

You can pretty much just continue these steps, clean, organize, easy stuff, big stuff, repeat. What you’ll find is when you get rid of stuff you won’t miss it. I haven’t missed anything I’ve gotten rid of in the past 9 years. I’ve never rebought anything I’ve gotten rid of. Ine 9 years I only know one guy who rebought 1 cable, but got rid of over 30. Some of the things that you thought you’d never get rid you’ll eventually toss. Some of the things you considered selling you’ll simply donate, because it’s not worth your time for a little money. Some of the hardest things become easy to discard especially if you digitize your nostalgia. Some things in boxes you’ll take out and display, because you actually like them.

Be Prepared

It often helps to have boxes ready to organize things as you remove them. Having a trash can, box for recycling, box to donate, and misc box for harder stuff to sort later can be very useful. You don’t want to get hung up on where to put stuff as you’re organizing and discarding. That can slow down the momentum and at worse stop all progress. Depending on what you’re organizing you’ll need different things. When organizing your clothes a bed, mirror and bag (or 10) to fill and donate might be enough.

Having Trouble? Start Small

Start with a single…
Dresser drawer see if all the clothes fit comfortably
Junk drawer once you get rid of the junk then organization is key. A place for everything and or for everything a place
Drawer in the kitchen do you really need 7 spatulas, or would 2 or 3 different ones suffice?
Room you barely use see if you can make room in it for future decluttering. A place to put stuff to test if you miss it before removing it

Where to Discard

Where do I get rid of my stuff?

Selling takes the most time, but may be worth the money
Donate Quick and easy way to get rid of things, and it helps others out!
Quick Solution Go to a second hand store(s), sell whatever they’ll take, then donate the rest.
Recycle and Repurpose what you can
Trash is trash, throw it away

Sell

Collectors will take BluRays, DVDs, CDs, Records, Video Games, Clothing, Collectables, China (plates), Coins, Cards, or Antiques

Second Hand / Used Stores Furniture, Appliances, Electronics, Clothing, Books CDs, DVDs, BluRays, Video Games.
ie. Plato’s Closet for women’s clothes

Garage Sale sell anything

Friends see if they want to buy some of your old games, CDs, clothes, etc

Sell Online

Amazon sell anything
Bonanza sell anything
Ebay sell anything
eBid sell anything
Etsy for selling handcrafted, vintage, custom, or unique items

Craigslist sell anything locally
Facebook Marketplace sell anything locally

Donate

Thrift Store a quick and easy place to donate a ton of different items. They’ll take almost anything. Please avoid giving them junk/trash.

Second Hand Store

Charity

Church

School 

Friend

Trash / Recycle

Recycle or Repurpose everything you can. What can be recycle varies too much by location to give hard and fast ideas here. A place in Michigan/Indiana will even pay your church or school to recycle, like Paper Gator.

Trash is trash get rid of it

What
Discarding
looks like
in reality

1. Clean
A. Start organizing stuff instinctually
B. Get distracted by stuff
C. Put stuff in a box that you will sell/donate
D. Forget about stuff or say to yourself, I’ll do it later
2. Finally Get rid of Easy / Big Stuff
A. Sell it on Craigs List
B. Donate it at a thrift store
3. Organize / Clean if you left a mess
4. Assess if you like the space
A. Like the space – move on to another
B. Don’t like the space – repeat above until you do
C. Still Don’t like the space – move to another (because that one is just too hard, hehe)

More Than Possessions

You can get rid of more than just possessions. If you don’t like your job, or certain people stress you out, or you want to move out of your city or country – Those are things you can get rid of too. You don’t have to keep lousy jobs or friends. You can get rid of the mentality that you need to buy the latest gadgets; you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. If you have other priorities that are more important than getting a new gadget (TV, phone, console, car), then spend your time, money and energy on those and not the gadget. You can get rid of many of society’s expectations. If you’re filling your life what that is important to you, your priorities, then you’re doing all you need to do.

What are your Priorities?

To go any further it helps to know your priorities, What to Add. Anything outside of your priorities may be the easiest to discard. Is cooking a priority? If no, then you can probably simplify your kitchen to a few pots, pans, plates, knives and maybe a couple specialty items for things you make often.  Follow the steps as before, clean, organize, get rid of biggest and easiest items, repeat. After getting rid of things you can test out the space, see if it’s working for you or against you. If it’s still working against you then it’s time to get rid of more.

What do I do about _______?

More topics and ideas on what to discard. 

TL;DR

Figure out your top 5 priorities, then discard anything that doesn’t enhance or support them. Start discarding easy and big items first to motivate yourself.