Insight News

Feb 07th

Style on a Dime: Got (too much) stuff?

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pileofclothesThe other day I went into my daughter’s closet and found clothes scattered all over the floor.  Most of the clothes were dirty, but some were clean and they were all mixed in together.   Needless to say, mama was hot (and not in the good way)!  When I asked my daughter about this big mess, she did not have a suitable answer-there really was none.  She had already been warned about the consequences of not putting her clothes away properly.  This time I was really fed up.  My solution to her wardrobe mismanagement?  It was two-fold: First I decided to make her wear the same outfit to school for the rest of the week.  My goal was to help her understand that it was a privilege to have more than one outfit to wear to school-and that it should not be taken for granted.  Second, I decided that she probably really had more than she needed (it’s called the too-much-stuff-syndrome)-it was time for an intervention.

I have to tell you that my baby was pretty upset at first, but as I explained the principle behind my decision, I could see her begin to accept this lesson with humility.  I realize that this won’t be the last time that her floor is littered with clothes, but hopefully I am teaching her the importance of maintaining an orderly space and resisting the urge to accumulate stuff.  Plus, decluttering is hot right now (in the good way)!  So if you are drowning in a sea of clutter and want some tips on how to lift the load, just keep reading.  Not only are there ways to unload unnecessary items in your home, in some cases you can be paid to do so, and that sounds like a winning combination.

Too Much Clothing? If you have clothing in excellent condition, that can add up to extra cash in your pocket.  Take it to a consignment store like Turn Style (they accept more than just clothes).  For kids’ gear go to Once Upon a Child, where they give you cash on the spot.   Of course if you prefer to avoid the (possible) consignment hassle, there are many non-profit thrift stores that would be happy to take your donation.  My favorites are Salvation Army and Goodwill.  If you are on the fence about letting go of clothes that you rarely wear, ask yourself “have I worn this in the past year?”  If the answer is no (and it’s not your special party outfit) then get it out of the closet.

Too Many Books?  If you have books or magazines that are just sitting on your shelves collecting dust, take them to Half-Price Books.  Be prepared to spend about twenty-minutes in the store while they look over your items and then make you an offer (which you are not obligated to accept).   What I also really like is that even if they choose not to buy any of the items that you bring in, they offer to recycle them for free, so you don’t have to lug books back home.  

Too Many Old/Unused/Broken Electronics?  Has your basement or spare room become the electronics graveyard?  There are websites that offer to buy old cell phones and computers, but check them out thoroughly and proceed with caution.  For computers try or and for cell phones consider   If simply clearing your space would be just as valuable, participating Best Buy locations offer free recycling of phones, televisions, and computers!  Note: Microwaves and console TV’s are not accepted.  Remember to call ahead to verify details.     

I think that my daughter was relieved when I thinned out her closet and drawers.  She might have even enjoyed her one-outfit-week, although she’d never admit it. I would guess that most of us, have found ourselves inexplicably holding on to material things that are of little value.  Instead of remaining burdened by growing piles of rarely used items, reclaim the space in your, home, garage, and (most importantly) your mind by giving, selling, or otherwise recycling.  Even by taking small steps in this positive direction, you can yield notable benefits.  Enjoy!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.    Matt 6:19-21

Marcia Humphrey is an interior decorator and home stager who specializes in achieving high style at low costs.  A native of Michigan, she and her husband, Lonnie, have three children.


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