If you have ever moved, you are familiar with the concept of a home purge – literally going through the entire house and getting rid of things you don’t want to have to pack and move. While it’s sometimes difficult to get rid of certain things, by the time you’re done, you feel lighter, freer and more organized. It’s a good feeling, which is why you should consider purging your home once a year. When you declutter your home, you declutter your mind. It can be liberating, rejuvenating and sometimes exhilarating. It can also be profitable.

The toughest part for most people is deciding what to get rid of, which is made more difficult when you don’t quite know what to do with it. Here is a practical guide for purging your home that will help you make the tough calls, while finding your unwanted stuff the perfect home.

Ask Yourself the Tough Questions

A proper home purging should encompass the entire house – your closets, your drawers and cabinets, the garage and, if you have one, your storage unit. You may want to do it all at once (set aside the whole day) or in short bursts (30 minutes at a time targeting small area of your home). Regardless, you need to take a practical approach when deciding what to toss and what to keep. The best way to do that is to pick up an item and ask yourself three questions:

  • Is this something I really need?
  • Would I even miss if it was gone?
  • When was the last time I used it and when will I ever use it again?

Another way to look at is by asking yourself if you lost everything you own in a fire, would this be an item I would buy with my insurance money? The idea is to come to terms with the true value of the item and whether it is simply taking up space.

The Four Box Method

Next, set out four large boxes and label them “Donate,” “Toss,” “Sell,” and “Store.” For items that you have decided to part with, you now have a place to put them temporarily.

You need to evaluate each item to determine its optimum value – whether it is something someone can use but would be too much trouble to sell (donate box), whether it is junk and should be tossed (toss box), whether it is something that might have value to you in the future (store box), and whether it is something someone would be willing to purchase (sell box).

Getting Rid of Your Stuff

Now you’re ready for the final purge steps.

For items you want to donate, you can simply take them to the local Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity ReStores or Salvation Army center. For larger items, Salvation Army will come to your house to retrieve them. Be sure to collect a receipt so you can report your donation as a charitable contribution on your taxes.

For the items you want to toss, you can either take a run to the dump or call your waste management company to schedule an extra pickup.

Making Purging Profitable

For the items you want to sell, you have a number of options depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it. You could try for a clean sweep by having a garage sale. If you advertise your garage sale in the newspaper and with well-placed signs, you will have people showing up at your house at six in the morning, so be prepared.

Alternatively, you can post your items on Craigslist. You may want to do this for any higher priced items. People responding to the post will probably want to come by to see the item, but they are usually more serious buyers.

During your purge, you may have come across a pile of gift cards from prior Christmas’s or birthdays which you have no intention of using. Although they don’t take up much space, they are still clutter. More importantly, they can still bring in some cash for you through an online gift card exchange. Depending on the brand name on the cards, they can worth as much as 95% of their stated value. For example, a Walmart card will be worth more than a Jelly-of-the-month gift card. Sites like Cardpool.com and Raise.com make it extremely easy to exchange your gift card for cash or for other gift cards you can use.

For your top quality items, you could take them to a consignment store. You drop the items off (or they will pick up large furniture items) and they do the selling for a percentage of the selling price.

Your storage box could go on a garage shelf or to a storage unit. Just keep in mind that your storage box is really just those items you couldn’t decide on – kind of a purgatory for your purging. You will want to include your storage boxes in your next purging when you might be able to make a more permanent decision.

This is a guest post by Patty from Working Mother Life.

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


Leo Tat · 07/09/2017 at 22:18

I believe having fewer belongings clears the mind. Also, there is less risk of clutter too. I have a garage full of things that I have not used for years. If it’s not been used for years, it logical I don’t need them. I like your four box method. I’ve meant to clear the garage in a while, just lots of procrastination. It’s particularly hard with kids to live a minimalistic life.

Kathryn · 28/09/2017 at 20:52

I try to do this twice a year in our house to get rid of old toys and clothes that the kids no longer need. But, I use eBay to sell what I can and find it so much easier than selling it locally.

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