A guest post by Jessalynn Jones of Doable Simplicity
Inside: Learn how you can declutter and give joy to others in the process. You can feel really good about letting things go!
Decluttering can be really hard when you feel like you are throwing away perfectly good things. You may feel guilt about the money you spent.
Or you might feel bad about how little you used the item. Maybe it is still in really good shape and you don’t want to just toss it. You may even feel guilty about adding more trash to the landfills.
But what if you could declutter and give joy to others? That might just turn the painful act of decluttering into the joyful act of giving. And when you declutter and give joy to others it becomes addictive!
How can you give joy to others with your decluttering efforts? Here are four incredibly fulfilling ways I’ve discovered that you can declutter and bring joy to others.
Declutter and Give Joy to Others Who Will LOVE Your Stuff
For me, decluttering has been more of a slow burn than an instantaneous decision. I recently finally did the biggest, most meaningful declutter of my last two hold-outs. Clothes and books.
My love of books has been lifelong. I had held on to my favorite, beautifully illustrated, children’s books because I loved them so much.
But, the problem was, I loved them so much that they sat hidden away and unappreciated for years. Every time I saw them I felt sad and guilty that I wasn’t giving them the attention they deserved.
They no longer gave me joy even though I wanted them to. So what did I do?
I thought of a little girl I know who loves to read. I texted her mom right away (before I lost my nerve) to ask if she would like to have the books. She said yes and I dropped them off!
Within the week the little girl sent me the cutest thank you card. She told me all about why she loved each book. It made me feel so happy that I had stopped being greedy about the joy those books gave me and passed on the joy to someone else!
I have done many closet cleanouts before. But the hardest part of decluttering clothes was letting go of my own creations.
I have been sewing my own unique dresses since I was 15 years old. Those creations of mine were very special to me.
Every time I decluttered my closet before, the dresses I made would get a pass. They were my babies and they weren’t going anywhere.
The thing is, I hadn’t worn some of them in a long time and some of them didn’t fit anymore. My style has changed and my dresses deserved better than that.
I know two young girls who are about the right size and have two different styles. I decided to split up my dresses to match each of them and passed them on.
They were thrilled and they look adorable in them! My dresses have a new life and it makes me feel so good to give that joy to others.
Is there something you no longer use that you have been holding on to? Is there someone else that it would bring great joy to? Ask them if they want it. It may bring them joy and give your beloved items a new life!
Declutter and Give Joy to Others Who Need Your Stuff
I clean houses for a living. One day I learned a beautiful lesson from a little boy and his mother. The mother mentioned to her son that he had a lot of toys he no longer played with.
Then she asked him if he would like to give them to an orphanage or the playroom at the hospital. That sweet little boy was thrilled with the idea!
Most kids, and adults for that matter, would be more hesitant. We tend to make a lot of illogical excuses to keep our clutter.
Do you have a lot of extra clothes, kitchen tools, linens, or shoes that you could donate to a local charity, women’s shelter, halfway house, or orphanage? Did you know that dog shelters are always in need of old towels?
Also, many services for those with disabilities are constantly looking for craft supplies. Do you know someone who is just starting out and needs furniture or tools or other house-wares?
Connect with others in your community by joining your local Buy Nothing group. It’s a great way to find people who can make use of the things you no longer need or love.
Think about it. There is probably someone that really needs your extra stuff and it won’t be junk to them!
You will feel a thousand times better about letting go of your stuff when you give it to someone in need.
Turn Your Stuff Into Something That Will Bring Someone Joy
A lot of things aren’t really something anyone you know would love or need. That doesn’t mean they aren’t hard to get rid of. We hold onto things for so many reasons.
For example, I had a few more books. Yes. We are back to books. I have a favorite series that I love to read again once in a while and I had all 20 of them in ratty old paperbacks. Because I knew I would read them again I had kept them.
But the last two times I read the series I got them from my library so I could read them on my e-reader. So I decided that it was time to let them go.
I thought I’d take them down to our local used book store which gives you credit back when you donate. But then I wondered what I would do with the credit since I prefer my e-reader these days.
I knew someone that still loves real books though. My best friend is a voracious reader and a loyal patron of the bookstore.
I decided to donate all those books and a few more and put the credit under her name. She had just lost her grandmother and her brother within weeks and it felt great to be able to cheer her up that way.
I also got to do this in a roundabout way by selling my parents’ clutter on Facebook Marketplace. They begged me to keep some of the money for the work I had done but I refused. Instead, they were able to use that money to buy iPads, which they use often.
How could you do this?
What about you? Are there some creative ways you could convert your old books, movies, games, and CDs into credits your friends could use?
Could you sell some clutter and give the money to someone who needs it? Is there a charity you could put that money toward? Maybe you can use the money you make from selling stuff to buy a nice dinner or even take a vacation?
Could you get crafty and turn old useless things into meaningful and useful gifts? While your friends and family might not want your stuff you can still find a way to use your decluttering to bring them joy.
Sell Your Clutter: It Might Bring Someone Else Joy
I know a lot of people that say you shouldn’t sell your clutter. I agree with them to some extent. It can slow you down to sell your stuff. So you need to know when to throw it, donate it, or give it away.
But if you need some extra cash and want to put in the effort you can easily sell most of the things you declutter on Facebook Marketplace. Last summer alone I sold over $1,500 in mostly small items when we were decluttering my parents’ home.
So how does selling your stuff give joy to others? I have been very surprised at how much joy my old stuff has brought to others. Through Facebook Marketplace you put your stuff in touch with the people that need it.
For example, a single mother with an autistic son bought two large rugs for almost nothing so that her son would have a soft place to play outside.
Another woman contacted me about some pans I had. While setting up the pick she told me she had just been displaced and had nothing. That gave me the chance to put some beans, rice, and canned goods out for her too.
A hippy from Colorado was thrilled to buy my mom’s old harpsichord.
Another man was ecstatic about finding our old camcorder. It was identical to one he had so he could use the battery from it and put it on his. That enabled him to recover lost videos of his little brother who had died.
In the end, selling stuff on Facebook gave me a lot of joy because I was able to bring joy to others. Just remember that you are trying to re-home your stuff and be reasonable about the prices!
You may even be inspired to give some things away. That will give joy to you and to others too!
Declutter and Give Joy to Others When You Finally Let Go
Now that I have discovered how I can declutter and give joy to others I am addicted to letting go! It has helped me to finally break through the barriers and excuses of sentimentality and guilt.
Decluttering has actually helped me to show ones I love how much I am thinking about them. I have also become more aware of the needs of others.
It even makes me feel a little more conscientious about how I am disposing of these items instead of just filling landfills.
When you struggle to declutter remember that you can give joy to others when you stop greedily hoarding things that no longer bring joy to you. Pass on the joy. You will be happy you did.
What are some creative ways you have disposed of things you have decluttered? Has something you no longer loved ever brought someone else joy? I would love to hear all your great ideas and stories in the comments below!
Jessalynn Jones writes her blog, Doable Simplicity, with the goal of helping you find the version of minimalism that is just right for you. She wants minimalism and simple living to make your life more enjoyable as it helps you reach your big-picture goals!
Sign up on the form below to get weekly decluttering and simplifying tips sent straight to your inbox! You’ll also get the free Decluttering Jumpstart which includes 100 easy items to declutter and 12 high impact areas to declutter in 10 minutes.
I have loads of beautiful Crystal. Vases, baskets-sets of glasses. Do you know anyone who would want these. My family doesn’t
You could try your local Buy Nothing group. You never know what people may want or find useful :).
There may be a hospice or church near you that operates a “second-hand” store. Our local store is called Rescued Treasures, and it helps support a rescue mission. Hope you find a place to take your crystal & fine things!
I had a surgery earlier this year (elective) and I started selling my high end workout gear on Poshmark to offset the cost of buying some new gear that would fit post op. I also started using advice of another minimalism publication that I follow to set rules on my selling side hobby- give yourself 30 days to have it up for sale and then donate. My cousin is running transitional housing for recovering/abused women. They need everything and anything! I just recently sent her a bunch of make up palettes I wasn’t using. I get the best feedback from the items I have sent her.