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Bronze Conversationalist

How many of you are embracing minimalism?

Read today that the average American household has 300,000 items!  Don't have anywhere near that amount, but recently married and moved,  and my husband and I discovered we had more than we needed. There is a real freedom getting rid of what you don't use.

 

Would love to hear other minimalists stories.

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Regular Contributor

Stop most snail mail advertisements by contacting http://www.directmailpreferences.com/.  There may be a small fee, but the time you save will be worth it.

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Periodic Contributor

I process my mail every day, keep a donation box available at all times, hold a garage sale each year.  And in September 2020,  I went through my clothes closet - donating anything that didn't fit (size wise or lifestyle wise), then I turned all the hangers in the opposite direction that I normally hang them. When I wear an item, i hang the hanger in the opposite direction.  In September 2021, any hanger that is not reversed means I didn't wear that item of clothing for 1 year - into the donation box it goes!

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Bronze Conversationalist

Great resource, thank you for sharing that.  Keep the good ideas coming at The Girlfriend.  Christine

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Contributor

That website is not found.

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Bronze Conversationalist

@bj445   Living in a rural area, we get LOTS of little shoppers in our mail. I have BEGGED the mail person not to leave any here, but they say they have to because the post office has to distribute them.  I have even called the shopper mailing companies themselves, and they say they can't stop them from being distributed to individual households because they are mass mailings.  So I'm afraid direct mail preferences is not going to help me.  But thanks much for the recommendation, bj.  Much appreciated.  🤗

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Trusted Contributor

If something has accumulated a heavy layer of dust since the last time I used it, or the batteries are dead ~ out it goes!  😀

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Bronze Conversationalist

@ BertyBGone....  Hahaha!   I like the "or the batteries are dead."   Cute!

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Newbie

I periodically try to clean out my closet by giving to the Salvation Army the clothes that I no longer wear.  My youngest daughter is the best. Her friends ask her to go to their house and "throw" the clothes they really don't wear anymore but can't bear to get rid of.  I know she would find lots of things still in my closet that I should donate.

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Contributor

It really helps to research the places/organizations in your area that can use, resell, or otherwise employ your discards--then you don't feel quite so bad about getting rid of a still- usable item! Clothes and working household items are kind of no-brainers (Goodwill, ARC, other thrift stores, homeless shelters); books can usually be donated to either thrift stores or your local public library; office supplies can often go to schools. Some towns have organizations that are dedicated to repurposing in order to keep material out of the waste stream (e.g., Colorado Springs' "Who Gives a Scrap"), and these may take stuff you never dreamed you could donate! It's well worth an internet search to see what's available locally--if you know someone will take it, it's easier to give it up!

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Goodwill is listed as a profit-making charity and is not preferred for us to give donations. Salvation Army is very good, as the CEO makes very little. Purple Heart good. Hospital thrift shops also good in my experience.

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Contributor

Goodwill is a nonprofit organization and provides a lot of good programs in every community. It also provides jobs and is where I purchase a lot of the 300001 items I possess.

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Bronze Conversationalist

@KSAA676329 ,  300,001 hmmmmm.  That makes you ABOVE average. lol 

 

I love me a clothing haul from Goodwill.  But definitely getting more choosey about the quality, and take extra time to look over the material for stitching, stains ( especially underarms ) and "piling" that comes from wear and tear. My favorite clothing to get at Goodwill, would include leggings and workout tops. 

 

At one point, Goodwill was sponsoring a free computer lab at a women's organization I volunteer at, and that has helped countless women get back in the workforce.  Priceless!  If you have good quality work clothes, you can donate to a women's  organization to help wardrobe for interviews.  Christine

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Bronze Conversationalist

@. The owner of Goodwill is making a fortune off people who leave their unused items there.  He doesn't have to spend a dime for all the merchandise he gets, plus he makes money off all the sales.

PLEASE reconsider, and donate your items to a homeless shelter or the Salvation Army.  People who pick up items don't have to pay anything for them. And trust me when I say they will be most appreciated for your donation!

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Newbie

Goodwill is a nonprofit,  and uses the profit from clothing and goods sales to fund its health,  education and workforce programs. The CEO of salvation army actually makes a large salary in line with the size of the org, which is fine because these are complicated businesses.  SA has been investigated for discriminatory practice against non- Christians and had a number of staff turnovers 3 years ago due to their internal practices. 

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Periodic Contributor

Minimalism is so fun, it's actually fun to reduce, recycle and repurpose. I started working with women over 50 on how to purge and minimize their wardrobe contents. Simply identifying their style better, working within their own closet to learn how to use what they own and use it better and purge out all the extraneous. It's been a really fun and wonderful way to connect with women all across my region and now with ZOOM beyond to every point in the USA. A5D844C5-AD99-4789-B92F-5EADF98F2916.jpeg

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Community Manager
Community Manager

My partner and I regularly assess what we have, and we have a "one in, one out" rule. Clutter definitely affects my mental health negatively. I was flabbergasted by the fact you shared! 300,000 items is sooooo much!

 

Check out AARP Smart Guide: 27 Simple Strategies to Clear Clutter and Downsizing Tips for additional tricks and ideas!

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Bronze Conversationalist

Rachel, Thank you for the excellent article on decluttering.  It will keep me motivated and accountable.  Christine

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Super Contributor

I've made so many donations to American Vietnam Veterans, their truck can probably find its way to my house by itself.

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Bronze Conversationalist

Martin, I know what you mean.  When I was getting ready to sell my house, I think I had about 10 ( that's probably conservative ) runs to Goodwill to drop off donations.  I kept finding more things.  The more I donated, the more I wanted to donate. It's a great feeling! Christine

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Contributor

 it doesn't seem to work that way for me. The more I donate the more room I have to add to my other collections. I always have someone else take my things to Goodwill because I'm afraid I may buy back some of the things I took the last time.

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Super Contributor

I seem to be and didn't even realize it, I call it downsizing, and getting rid of things that aren't bringing me joy. Every day I pick an area in my apartment that just seems so cluttered and stressful and go through it.

Shari
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Bronze Conversationalist

When you are done at your apartment, you can come to my place and organize my garage for me!  Hahaha!

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Super Contributor

I would gladly do this for you if you lived closer, I actually love decluttering and organizing. 

Shari
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Bronze Conversationalist

You haven't seen my garage, Shari!   Lol!

I have tubs and tubs of papers and things that I grew too tired of going through when I moved into my new house 5 years ago.  It's not like I have things all over the floor, but I need to go through the tubs and throw things out or shred them.  I have the best of intentions, but when I see all of them it just feels like too daunting of a task.

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Periodic Contributor

That's why you only tackle one thing at a time, one box at a time.  Then quit for the day and do another one tomorrow !

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Bronze Conversationalist

That's a great idea....if you have the time to do that.

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Contributor

Here's an idea that helps me when paper needs to be GONE...place the papers in the sink, thoroughly soak them till they nearly dissolve, squeeze out the excess water. Now no one can read them and you didn't inhale paper dust. Doing large batches at a time, you're done in no time rather than spending hours in front of a shredder.   Now you can toss them or turn them under in the garden and the worms will love you for giving them bedding to rest in.    

Contributor

What a fantastic idea! I can not believe I have never read about it before! 

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Bronze Conversationalist

Patricia, That is brilliant!  I'm going to put that to use right away! Christine

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Super Contributor

May I suggest, just take one tub from the garage (if you are able to lift it) and focus on just that one tub. I understand being overwhelmed by them, my late husband was a paper saver and his model ships were another thing (which drove me nuts) so going through all of the paper was a bit overwhelming at first. 

Shari
Bronze Conversationalist

I thought I would take one tub a week during the winter and go through it.

How many have I gone through so far this winter?  NONE!  Hahahahaha!

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Contributor

If doing a whole tub is daunting, assign yourself to as little as 15 minutes a day. It adds up; it really does!

 

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