Two years ago, our family was moving across the country again for the fourth time in a year. I was pregnant with my third child, and pretty much over the packing/unpacking process. Since we were in a sort-of career crisis at the time, and weren’t even sure where we would end up permanently, I made the decision to just sell all of our stuff and found a furnished apartment. We sold everything that wasn’t sentimental, and only brought what we could shove into our minivan.

When we first moved into our rental house a year and a half ago, it was with five small boxes, an arm chair and a mattress. So, how is it possible that I already have clutter?! Stuff is like magic. Since I have space for it, the chase lounge just got moved to my bedroom when we bought a new couch. Our garage has been filled with various half-projects that we found at thrift stores or that friends were throwing out: a broken bunk bed with mattresses, a small sailboat, three ladders, lawn chairs (to be honest, I have no idea how these even got here), several million plastic containers and totes, and garbage bags full of clothes the kids have outgrown. WHY do I have all of this junk? It took an entire afternoon to empty the garage and sell or give away what was in there.

It’s amazing to me that just by virtue of having too much space to put things, that we acquire things. I keep looking into cluttered closets and overfilled junk drawers, and I am shocked that this happened in just over a year. Imagine how much stuff we were carrying around during our cross country moves!

Since selling 3/4 of the kids’ toys, clothes, and craft supplies that were all broken, too small or useless, the house is suddenly less messy and the kids are playing quietly in their room. Without the need to sift through so much stuff, they are having more fun and fighting less.

Even if you’re not ready to downsize completely, it is a huge relief to just get rid of the piles of stuff that you’ve collected, and as a bonus, almost ALL of it can be sold on eBay and make your family thousands of extra dollars, or donated to a thrift store to support a local charity. No matter how you get rid of it, everyone wins. The secret? Let go. Just make the decision to downsize and take it one closet/shelf/area/box at a time. As soon as the money starts rolling in, it will incentivize you to keep going!

Author

Tashina Monk is a hyperbolic know-it-all with three kids, a life partner and a cat. She writes on family topics including becoming debt-free, traveling, and healthy, conscious living.

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