Clutter isn’t just an eyesore - dealing with it costs you time and money. In Australia the storage industry is worth over $1 billion.
Australia is also home to startup Spacer, which matches space in people’s homes and people with stuff to store. Co-founder Mike Rosenbaum says the average user spends about $250 a month renting space to store anything from nursery gear to sporting equipment to furniture.
So, how do we let go of this stuff that’s costing us over and over again?
Catching clutter is big news
Marie Kondo is Japan’s decluttering queen, and her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up has inspired many people to sort through their possessions and discard anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’. This means taking the time to pick up and consider each item you own, socks and all. Her ‘KonMari’ method leaves behind only meaningful things that enhance your life. She’s even launched a new show on Netflix, dedicated to helping hoarders mend their ways.
Check out Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
The next steps
No matter what method you choose to get it done, once you’ve figured out what you don’t need, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to give away, what you can sell, and what can be donated. Everything else needs to be disposed of, but thoughtfully.
TerraCycle offers recycling of most items - even the unusual stuff. Your local council may also offer a ‘hard rubbish’ program where you can discard household items and have them collected for free.
Charities will take some items, but it’s important not to treat this as a disposal service. They will be clear about what they are actually looking for and will generally only accept goods in decent condition. You can also keep an eye out for local Facebook groups or sites like Nextdoor that bring neighbours together - your trash could well be someone’s treasure!
Selling your second-hand gear can take some time, so be prepared. Many people will list their items on more than one platform, with popular options including eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.
Take good, well-lit photos, list your items accurately - including their age and any faults, and you’re more likely to have a sale that goes through. If a buyer turns up to find that the item isn’t as described, they’re likely not to proceed - and fair enough!
Living without clutter
Once you’ve cut the clutter, it’s time to examine the habits that got you to that stage. Interrogate each new purchase, remembering all the time you had to spend to get rid of everything you weren’t using. When you do buy, consider the quality of what you’re getting.
Learn more about Buy It for Life (BIFL)
You might even find that you can scale back the way that you live once you remove the stuff you don't need. If you’re renting, it might be time to downsize, rather than paying to house all the extras. Either way, you’ll enjoy the simple freedom that comes with being better organised.
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