How to Get Rid of Stuff Painlessly

November 12, 2013

One of the things that brings me great joy is getting rid of stuff. I’m not sure what the opposite of a pack rat is, but I’m it. A trip through the donation drop-off line helps me breath easier. It’s like therapy.

I generally operate from the idea that if it hasn’t been used in 3 months or so, it should go (a few seasonal items excluded).

The problem is, no one in my house shares my love of purging things.

On the contrary, most of them nearly keel over at the thought of parting with that broken toy from the fast food restaurant, the pile of itty bitty teeny tiny pieces of cut paper that looks suspiciously like trash, or that bouncy ball that defies the law of physics and bounces everywhere except where normal people expect and is sure to smack someone in the eye.

I used to announce when I was going to get rid of something. Silly me. Now I just use an “on the way out” box. Do you have one?

When I find something around the house that bothers me, or I have to pick up multiple times a day, or isn’t otherwise bolted down in some way, I simply sneak it into my closet and put it in my “on the way out” box.

No one knows about this box. Hopefully they will not read this post.

I put the item in the “on the way out” box where it lives until my next trip through the drop-off line. Until then, unless someone specifically asks for said item, it just quietly disappears. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s one of my mottos.

99% of the time no one misses anything, but for the 1% of the time someone does and they ask me if I’ve seen it, I enjoy the added benefit of being a hero when I make it magically appear.

Temporarily of course.

18 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Stuff Painlessly”

  1. Charlotte Witts

    I love knowing I’m not the only one- thank you. I have an ‘outbag’ also hiding in the closet and it works miracles too. There’s no better form of therapy. Everyone- get rid of your stuff! x

  2. I do this myself and I couldn’t agree more about the thrill of releasing unwanted, unused and unloved stuff from our house! I am pretty minimalist with my own belongings (my husband is also pretty pared down) but it is tricky with the kids. We talk lots and lots about how they have so much and so many kids have so little. That being said, I make executive decisions about their clothes and books that have had their day. Those just get chucked into the outgoing box that lives by our front door. Clutter feels really stagnant so it’s important to keep it moving…OUT. 🙂

  3. I am 100% anti-hoarder and I love your tips. My husband naturally likes to hold on to momentos, but thankfully has begun to understand (through various moves) that getting rid of extra stuff around the house is a wonderful thing (Insert happy HAPPY smile.) Sharing!

  4. Haha! I guess I do this too. I have a garbage bag hanging from a nail in the garage, right out the kitchen door so I can drop stuff into it and no one notices! Since I like to shop thrift stores, I take a bag in every time I go to Value Village because I get a coupon that I can use during that visit. With four kids, there’s always stuff that can go! I need to get rid of more though.

  5. Amy, I share your passion and love of keeping things simple around the house by cleaning out. (I even threw out my passport one time! Long story!) I’ve never given my spot a name or thought about it, but I too, do this by quietly placing something in my closet until it’s time to leave for good. Our life is so much smoother when we keep things continually cleaned out and only keep what we use on an almost daily basis.

  6. I love this post and idea. I feel that removing unneeded, unused items not only removes chaos and allows better organization but also leaves a vacuum that the universe naturally wants to fill with that which we desire. Win-Win!

  7. What a great idea! We already have a spot to put paper (all kinds), plastic containers, and plastic bags to take to the recycling. (Here in Israel, there are recycling containers almost every two blocks–a huge metal bin (about 6 feet high) for plastic containers, with special slots on the sides for plastic bags, batteries, and CDs) stands next to a container for paper–which get emptied a couple of times a week by the city.) Having an “on the way out” box would be a nice addition–just need to figure out where to put it.

  8. Amy, I love this post. Especially when you say “The problem is, no one in my house shares my love of purging things.”

    I am so organized but I can’t be as organized and on top of things since I have two teenagers.Some days it is just crazy. BUT . . . I still try. I love my husband and kids dearly . . . but I am pretty much the leader on this organizing and purging thing.

    Every so often I will say to my boy: Just throw 10 things away in your room. It is amazing that he brings up a shirt that hasn’t fit him in 3 years! P.S. I am such a fan of yours, but now even more so. We are so connecting on this purging point!

  9. Ha! Ha! Too funny. I have one of those boxes, too. I have 6 kids, a husband, and a dog, so there’s never a shortage of STUFF. It usually works pretty well until a couple of months after I’ve done away with something, my husband asks, “Honey, have you seen XYZ?”

    Umm . . .

    1. Christina Nelson

      I used to have that box. If my husband said “Do you know where my (?) is?” If it had already been given to the Goodwill, I could honestly say “I have no idea.” Sort of honestly

    2. I also have 6 children, husband, and a dog. Things in my house also disappear if they haven’t been used or asked for!

  10. Amy, thanks so much for your tips – about blogging and life! I love your new web design. I notice that you a have “trackbacks” listed in your comments – haven’t seen that before. Could you please tell us more about how to set that up in WordPress, either here or on Blogging with Amy? Thanks!

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