The departure point

The departure point, the staging area, the sorting space… whatever you want to call it, having one certainly makes decluttering more organised. This is the space where your chosen ones, that is the items you want to get rid of are moved to prior to their final departure from your home. This makes the initial decision making precess easier without the complication of dealing with an immediate removal. The system works like this…

  1. Chose an item you no longer which to have cluttering up your home.
  2. Remove it from the space where it usually lingers.
  3. Place it in the departure point until you are ready to do whatever it takes to rid it from your home.
  4. At the appropriate time you move these items on to their next destination. Which might be a car boot sale, a thrift shop, to the post office for mailing to its ebay highest bidder, to a friends house etc etc.

Choosing your departure point

I try to limit my departure point to one particular area, which for me is a shelf in the garage. I have a spacious two car garage but not everyone is that fortunate. If you live in an apartment or small home you may want to use a shelf in a cupboard, a box by the front door, a space in your laundry or even the trunk of your car. Due to space restraints or convenience it may be wiser for you to have one place for donations and a different place for items you wish to sell and another for items you are handing on the a friend or relative. Perhaps you’ll even want a place to store items you have separated from the herd, so to speak, in order to decide whether you are really ready to part with them. It is entirely up to you but I really think it is helpful to choose your space or spaces and stick to it/them for the sake of good organisation.

The area your departure point takes up will vary depending on..

  • How much space you have to begin with.
  • How large or numerous your declutter items usually are.
  • How many categories you wish to separate them into. This might be sell, donate, return or give to family or friend, for consideration.
  • Whether you share your space with other people that may or may not be family members.
  • How often you can get to your donation point.
  • If you bother to sell items or just give them away.

My garage shelf has two boxes and some extra space for larger items that don’t fit in the boxes. One box is for donations, one is for items I plan to sell. Naturally things that are past being useful bypass the departure point and go straight into their respective bins, either garbage or recycling.

The items I am considering decluttering but haven’t fully committed to yet get put in either the sell or donate box depending on what I am likely to do with them if I decide to declutter them permanently.

My designated clutter departure point

To be honest though, due to me performing a little reshuffle in my craft room while around the same time my husband and son both did a some decluttering of their own my departure points have spread all over the place at the moment. My situation is complicated by the fact that I photograph everything for my blog. This a an example of why slow decluttering is much less messy.

Decluttering gone wild

In a nut shell. Decide on an area to store your clutter prior to its ultimate departure. This keeps your rejected items neatly rounded up and away from your keepers until you donate, sell or rehouse them. Then when the time is convenient send them on to their final destination out of your house. Then revel in the joy of living with less while you continue to divide and conquer.

Today’s Declutter Item

Once you learn to digitise most of your paperwork you find you don’t need all the stationary that goes with it. So this three hole punch is off to the thrift shop.

Three Hole Punch

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when Iโ€™m slow


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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. I find that I am not patient enough to make a lot of money from the stuff I have decluttered. I like to get it out of the house and not have it hanging around to tempt me to bring it back in. I like the idea of a departure point and especially one that is out of sight and out of mind. Maybe I am too lazy, but I think it would be easier to let go of things sometimes when we know we can get some money for them.

    • I agree Spendwisemom,
      sometimes I wonder why I bother trying to sell some stuff and also sometimes I look at things and go “I can’t be bothered dealing with selling this I just want it out of here”. It feels good to give things to charity too. I get the full benefit of that by taking it to the thrift store on the day I work there and watch it go out the door before my shift is even complete. That is very satisfying.

  2. Thank you for showing your departure point! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mine consists of:
    – a shelf with books listed in the internet to sell
    – a shoebox next to the door with all other items.

    I’m usually selling only books, most other items go either to friends (I know some with a constant lack of kitchenware and tableware) or to the thrift store. As I pass by the thrift store at least three times a week (it’s a 5 minutes walk), I drop small amounts there ever so often, so my departure box is rather small (I want to be able to carry the stuff easily after all). If for some reason the box is full of stuff originally intended to go to my friends, but we haven’t been able to actually get it there for a few weeks, I eventually drop it at the thrift store anyway.

    When I started decluttering about 14 months ago, the departure point was way bigger, but recently the decluttered items are fewer and smaller, so the shoebox is more than sufficient.

    • Sanna, now that you mention it, there is a box of books under my husbands desk that he has listed of the internet for sale and some die-cast aeroplane models. So my departure point is even more spread out than I thought. I will be glad to get to the thrift store this week to offload some of it.

      It is handy for you having a thrift store so nearby. I wish the one I worked at was only down the street then I wouldn’t need the car to get there.

  3. Hi Colleen,

    I was storing all of the departure items for the thrift store in my dining room, but that is the only room in the house where all of the furniture is nice and matches, so I have moved it to the basement.

    My son recently cleared out a ton of trash to the dump for me (he had procrastinated this job all summer and fall and just did it last weekend) and I now have miles (seemingly) of empty space down there. It’s unfinished, so most people would fill it up with junk. My goal is to get it so that it is completely organized, with all the things I want to keep, but need to store, on shelves. I am getting much closer to that goal.

    I was decluttering at a much too rapid pace and would get discouraged because it was so overwhelming. I have gone back to your one thing a day and find it is much easier to part with just one thing than to try to do a whole room or just one drawer even. I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of girl, so going slowly goes against the grain, but I think it really helps if you don’t try to overdo it. This morning, I cleaned out the area under my sink in the master bathroom. It only took a few minutes and results were extremely satisfying.

    Thank you, as always, for the inspiration to keep decluttering until my house is the way I would like for it to be!

    Chelle
    http://www.lifeonthedomesticfront.blogspot.com

    • Good for you Chelle, both for getting that basement cleared and for realising that doing too much can be overwhelming and puts you off making progress. While doing this post on the departure point I realised I need to back off for a few days and concentrate on getting the stuff out of here too and doing some more ebaying. My problem was reorganising half of the craft area while hubby did a bit of major decluttering at the same time.Well I am off to the thrift store tomorrow so that will free up some breathing room.

      I am so glad you are back on track Chelle and I hope that you realise, as I have had to do at times in the past, that all or nothing isn’t always an efficient or manageable way of doing things.

  4. My point of departure is in our dining room (that isn’t ever used as a dining room as we prefer to eat together in ourliving room which is much nicer space) Dining room is used for drying clothes/storage on shelves and in the near future hopefully using my scroll saw for making stuff.
    So it all sits in a box in there, though when I am having a big purge it over spills big time.
    I have a large box of stuff I cleared out this weekend that I hope to take in my shopping trolley when I am next near the hospice shop. A lot of it is ‘ stuff that wasn’t obviously clutter until I looked at it properly and realised I don’t care enough about it to keep any more: glassware/ a jug/servingbowls/etc.
    Things that need taking to the dump,like a broken tap/broken phone etc get stored in the shed until we have enough to make it worth the trip.
    I sell big stuff on ebay, but mostly I donate as I procrastinate so much with selling and I just need stuff out of the house to feel the relief of it gone. I have got rid of a lamp and a ‘dryer for drying jumpers flat’ through freecycle this week – neither good enough for a charity shop but still a lot of use in them.
    I so love getting this stuff out of our home.

    • Hi Katharine, reading yours and some of the other comments this morning has inspired me to move some of the ebay stuff into the charity box. I am a little tired of procrastinating over selling too and just want it out of here. It will be fun to see how well it is received by the customers at the thrift shop tomorrow.

      • I think a flexible approach to the end goal is what is making us sucessful de-clutters Colleen.

        • Too right Katharine. It is all about being flexible, being able to change out approach when necessary when we realise what we are doing is futile. If we didn’t have that we wouldn’t have made any progress at all.

  5. I’ve had a departure place in my closet for years. (We have a large walk in closest.) I bring a nice sized box from work and keep it in the corner and when it’s full I can just take the whole box in and drop it off. I donate everything I want to get rid of, because like others I just want it gone. Plus I think it helps for when I might be tempted to buy something I don’t really need if I remember all the things I’ve given away because I no longer want them.

    • I like you way of thinking Lisa S. Learning from your past spending indiscretions by giving away the stuff and not realising any monetary return is a good lesson.

  6. A very good post. I have two departure points. For things that are going to friends right away I have a place next to a bookcase where I will put a sack of things–but only for a few days. If it is anything else it goes out to the back shed. I would like to eventually get some shelves for that shed because that would make it easier than having things in boxes. Our church has a yard sale twice a year so I save things up for that. The money goes for mission causes.

    • Hi Deb J,
      perhaps you should keep an eye out on Freecycle for some shelves. I wonder how much money the church has made from your stuff over the last few years Deb. You should feel good about that.

      • Yes, I do feel good about giving my stuff to the church. I know that it can be used and they get more money that way than if I tried to just write them a check. AND, I don’t have to worry about trying to sell it. With my physical issues I just can’t do it.

        • Since you’re so active in the church, maybe someone there will have some shelves for you. Do you have a bulletin board? Just word of mouth might do it. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

  7. Forgot to add that we decluttered a lot of things over the holidays. I didn’t think to take pictures.

  8. I always have a box/bag going in the bottom of my closet for the thrift sotre. For things that I am selling, after I take my photo, I either put them back where I found them until they sell or I leave them right beside my desk. Nothing stays too long. It either sells or, failing that, goes into the thrift store box. We also give a lot of clothes to the girls across the street, and Audra has a bag in her closet for clothes that she’s outgrown.

    • Hi Cindy,
      I was actually given some shorts by a friend the other day. I was going to swap them out for some heavy cotton ones I own but the friends shorts were a little too big so I think they will be off to the thrift store tomorrow. My friend knows me well and said to take them to the thrift shop if they didn’t work for me.

  9. Most of what I declutter I either sell on ebay/etsy or give to friends. I have 4 boxes of weeded out items to go to friends right now. I should get on that after work.

    I find etsy is a good way to offload items that are older (say that My Little Pony from 1985, 1960’s drinking glasses) with minimal struggle. I only list on ebay if the item does not fall within etsy’s rule parameters.

    • Hi Rebecca, I see you are new here so let me extend to you a very warm welcome. I have never thought to sell used items on Etsy. I think I am going to have to check that out. I believe they have just begun an Australian version of Etsy, is that true? Funny you should mention 1960’s drinking glasses because I am trying to sell just that on ebay for the thrift store at the moment. I sometimes do this when something like that comes through that we think will sell for more on ebay rather than in the store. I bring it home, sell it and then put the money through the resister at the thrift store as a donation.

      • What is Etsy?

      • I do believe the “vintage” category was a more recent addition. More or less the item needs to either be 20+ years old or a handicraft/artwork, or supplies to make handicrafts or art (like say, bead caps, scrapbooking stickers, yarn) It only has fixed price and the items can be in your store for 3 months before they expire.

        I would say as an “unclutterer” I’m less concerned about getting the absolute maximum price for my things and more content just to price it about market average and plop it on etsy where it can hang out in my little store for a few months. I use ebay for items that aren’t allowed on etsy or that I just can’t determine the average market price for where having auction bidding might be worth it (then use craigslist for heavy items for local pickup and freecycle as the last resort) I think anybody can set up an etsy from any country but there aren’t as many language mirror sites ( I think it’s French, German, English and Dutch) so there is less overall traffic than ebay but I find I generally get my items sold for a price I’m content with. I know you mentioned you do crafting and this is a good way to offload extra craft supplies ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope that helps.

        • Hi Rebecca thank you for that info on Etsy. I have often thought about setting up and Esty shop as an outlet for my craft but I have just never gotten around to it. What name do you use for your Etsy shop so I can go over and see what you are selling. So you ship all over the world and how do you work out the postage costs for that?

  10. I decluttered a 3 hole punch last year – to work! I bought it when work had 3 hole binders (that I used) now I don’t use them in this office. In any case, if people do, they’ll now have a nice newish 3 hole punch! I have a lovely two holer at home, and in my desk at work, and that suits me.

    I have a departure bag, which worked well in my old room, but in my apartment, it looks messy. Once the scooter is back, the buffet will be clear of excess scooter stuff, and hopefully I can slide a cardboard box in, and it’ll be tidier. Otherwise, I have paper bags with stuff for others, and that stays on the buffet, or beside, the remind me to take them wherever (home, friends etc).

    Seems I’m the departure point for a friend. They are a trash it type, so I take whatever they offer and say ‘if I don’t want/use it, I’ll get rid of it (knowing I’ll freecycle or charity over trashing) and they seem happy with that. At the moment it’s a wine rack, a TV (well that’s a diff story, but still) and plates that were my grandmas – they’ve been everywhere man! I’m happy to have the plates and not buy paper/plastic for my housewarmings…

    Can you believe ebay, something I sold didn’t work anymore, so I happily refunded, but told him to keep the item – silly thing is sending it back to me! Agh, boomerang clutter erk!

    • Sounds like your departure point is a work in progress for now but that will sort itself out once your life finds its new normal. What a waste of postage sending the item back to you, crazy man.

      • Agreed (postage)!! Dropped off some stuff in a charity box, as I tossed the ‘out’ bag in the car this morning. The other items are on freecycle or to be on ebay. Gentle encouragement here helping!

  11. Hi Colleen,
    I have just discovered your wonderful site. It has inspired me to get my house in order!
    I’m curious about how willing your thrift store about taking items like 3 hole punches?
    I just dropped 2 bags of beautiful items (childrens clothing & bed linen, plus clothes I’d bought and never worn) to Vinnies – they were not very grateful and made me go through every item before they decided what they would take. Didn’t even say thank you! I’m sure people use them as a dumping ground especially at this time of the year but I was shocked. Back to selling on ebay for me!

    • Hi rds, may I extend to you a very warm welcome to 365 Less Things and thank you for dropping in to introduce yourself. I am always curious as to how people find their way here so please let me know.

      A friend of mine visited the thrift store I work at one day when I was not there and she said she didn’t get a word of thanks either. I let my manager know and she said she would do her best to make sure that doesn’t happen in future. I make sure I thank each and every customer that drops something off. I give a very special thank you to children who come in with their parent to drop of their toys. A little encouragement goes a long way with everyone especially children. I am sorry you had a bad experience and please don’t let it discourage you. Perhaps you were there on a bad day, not that there is really any excuse for bad manners. We don’t check through peoples donation before we let them leave the store either. We take the good with the bad. Unless they bring in something obvious the we aren’t allowed to accept like cots & prams without the safe tickets, wheelchairs and microwave ovens just to name a few. Actually I have a story about a microwave coming up for my Simple Saturday post this weekend.

      To be fair though it costs charities like Lifeline and Vinies many thousands of dollars a year to discard donations that should never have been given to them in the first place. Stuff that really wasn’t in a sellable condition. Not to mention all the stuff that people pile up next to the charity bins that get ruined by the weather. This happens simply because they don’t want to have to deliver it to the store or dispose if it themselves. One day a lady dropped of a bag of very nice barely worn undergarment to the thrift store when I was on shift. All was going well until I came across some underpants. For obvious reason we don’t accept used underwear but one of these pair actually had an unwashed lady stain inside. I make sure that everything I donate to the store is in clean and good condition.

  12. It feels like we’ve had a case of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and aliens have switched my husband with a completely different person. Until yesterday, my departure point was one of those plastic 7-drawer storage units. Now the heap heading to town includes my little bag with a couple of pairs of gloves and then his stuff – 11 shirts & a pair of pants for the thrift store, 2 sleeping bags and a whole box of skeet shooting stuff for a friend’s son. He’s given me permission to dispose of unused electric blankets, two crocheted afghans. Now he wants to tackle the extra towels and sheets in the linen closet. WHO IS THIS GUY???
    P.S. He told me to tell you this… ๐Ÿ™‚ W

    • Oh Wendy B, now I think he is just showing off. I think he has been reading my blog on the side to see what we say about him. I have to say I now put my handbag away in the correct place every time since I made that deal with him about his keys. I hope he is living up to his end of the bargain. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      But really, WOW! That is an awful lot of stuff for him to relinquish. Good on him and good for you. Maybe one day he would write a post for me about his transformation. Do you think that might happen? I would love it! ๐Ÿ˜€ Will you ask him for me?

      • Don’t believe everything you read.

        There are monsters lurking in the nether reaches of the house, stealing my stuff and ensuring it disappears without any doing on my part, or my knowledge.

        This is all a plot, and that evil Colleen is doing everything she can to subvert our home. Not anyone else’s, just ours. She’s turned Wendy into a recycle/reuse/abuse maniac.

        Ian – in an empty house with no more toys.

        • Hi Colleen, as you can see from the above, you wouldn’t WANT a guest post written by Ian!!! What he sat down to tell you is, No, he doesn’t read the blog, and YES, he does put his keys away (most of the time). On occasion he also forgets to take them with him!

          He isn’t really ready to deal with the WHY of his sudden spurt of decluttering. In discussion last night he admitted that the last couple of years of ill health have made him feel somewhat vulnerable (we hope that surgery in a few months will fix him up), and talking about the challenges my ancient uncle will face if he decides to move into a seniors’ home gave him more of an impetus to get rid of junk. Anyway, we have a long way to go and I’m careful not to push. I’ll just take it a step at a time. W

          • Hi Wendy,
            I know that you aren’t pushing no matter what Ian tries to make out. He is so cheeky! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sometimes facing the realities of getting older isn’t so nice but reality it is unfortunately. Even in my forties there are things I would never contemplate doing again and my decluttering was mostly initiated with the thought of my husbands early retirement in mind. We want to travel and the less there is tying us down the better. Last time I went to visit my in-laws I helped clean blinds and windows but the amount of stuff we had to get through to get to the windows was just not practical a their age. The more stuff you have as you get older the harder it is to care for it all and the area it is inhabiting. If that was all I had learned from this blogging experience it would have been the most important lesson.

            I hope the Ian’s operation goes well and he is feeling more spritely when it is done.

        • LOL Ian.

        • Ian you are such a rat. You know you are the one making the decisions on what you relinquish to your beautiful wife. Don’t worry we aren’t trying to attack your male ego, us women think you are fabulous so who cares what other men think. I am sure, from what wendy tells us, that you still have plenty of toys to keep you busy. You are always out of town anyway enjoying nature. There is far more wonderful things out in the wild than in the nether reaches of your house. You must be familiar with capture and release so just think of the people benefiting from the stuff you are letting go, people that may have to go without otherwise. What a beautiful and generous person you are. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Colleen: I don’t know how you can use beautiful wife and rat in the same paragraph. It appears to me you’ve not seen a recent picture of Wendy .

            However, I’ll leave it up to you which of the above two words is the most apt description.

            Also, my Male Ego is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Which is good description of the volume/number of belongings I have left, after the beautiful rat ravaged this house. (I don’t think we’re finished, either. There are still many boxes in the basement, and not all are mine.)

            There is one positive note coming from W’s association with all of you… The library had an “extra books/discard” sale this week and we came home empty-handed for the first time in 4 years (usually its 3 cardboard box-fulls). (per day and 3 visits per sale)

            So long I feel retribution marching down the keyboard.

            Ian

            • Darn right you see retribution marching down the keyboard. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Oh my, oh my you are really pushing your luck now. I hope you do the cooking in your household or else I would be really careful about what I eat if Wendy sees what you have written. I don’t know what Wendy looks like and I don’t really care she comes across as beautiful to me and that is all that matters. It is you that I was referring to as the rat and you know it you cheeky thing. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

              Now one minute you are telling me you have no belongings and then in the nest sentence you are telling me you have boxes full of them in the basement. See that is how much you care about your stuff, you don’t even know what is there.

              See what good we are doing for you, you didn’t have to lug any boxes home from the book sale. I suggest you stop picking on your darling wife or she might revert back to her previous ways and then you will be poorer and have a sore back lugging boxes.

              Actually Ian you aren’t fooling me one little bit I know you are just a big softy and you love all the space opening up around you in your home. And I know Wendy has not forced you into getting rid of anything. You have been converted and that is all there is to it. So happy decluttering big boy we’ll make a minimalist out of you yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

              • Well, I made it through the night… Ian

                • Hi Colleen. Thanks for the morning laugh – for both of us.

                  As you can tell from reading between the lines, Ian is a still bit nervous about this de-cluttering business (and really nervous about having every person in the entire world able to read about it). He’s made huge strides from a year ago – from ‘dig-in-the-heels’ to ‘cooperation when asked’ to now offering to release things voluntarily. The reasons are many, just as the reasons for keeping stuff are many. The progress we make is what counts, verbal jousting matches notwithstanding!

                  By the way, the Monsters in the Basement admit to de-cluttering his rollerblades without permission, but he only found out when he suggested we de-clutter his rollerblades! W

                  • Ha ha I knew that monster might have been just a little naughty here and there. My rollerblades got decluttered in America because some vermin got into the garage and chewed the straps off them. Must have been sharpening its teeth.

                • You were just lucky I guess. Perhaps you have some worthwhile qualities after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would say there are a lot of them actually including your sense of humour. It’s been fun sparring with you. Drop in anytime my friend.

                  I have to admit I still have plenty of toys myself and my husband and son have a weakness for computer and camera gear and motorbikes. So decluttering doesn’t mean you have to go without it just means to narrow down to the things you actually use and love.

          • Certainly not Colleen,lol, I’m keeping him well away from any hint of an organised army of de-clutters out there in the ether, or sedition in the ranks!

    • Wow! Keep him going while he’s in the mood. You never know what he might get rid of you’ve been angling to get rid of for ages. Grin.

  13. Thost three-hole punches actually drive me crazy. At one point we had several roaming the house. Now we only have one and it stays in one spot and gets ’emptied’ of its contents every-so-often (ok, that really means when I use it!). I’d like to totally get rid of the darn thing, but we use it too much and would truly miss it and have to replace it (ever drop one on your toes and then have it not only cause pain but explode its contents all over the RUG???!!!! gotta LOL!!!).

    Right now I know I’ve got two things hiding under my bed for departure. So I’m gonna go get it and put it in the bin near the front door. THANKS for the reminder! ๐Ÿ™‚

    p.s., Colleen, we’re still in Europe for a few more weeks…

    • Ouch Annabelle, I don’t think I would want one of the punches to fall on my toe. They are heavy and messy.

      I think about you and your family and the big move often and I hope it all goes well. If you find you aren’t settling back home as well as you thought you are welcome to email me and I will be your long distance shoulder to cry on. I remember coming back to Australia wasn’t nearly as smooth, emotionally, as we thought it would be so I would be full of sympathy for you my friend.

  14. ah, I am so envious of all your departure points in good order! I used to have one, too, but at the moment the whole flat seems like a departure point … At least the things I brought from my parents house are gone through (for now. After the declutter of things I would not bother to bring here and drag up the stairs there were some more things to go the sell pile and some old papers for recycling that needed to be looked through first. The rest … well, rests, I guess. Not ready for that, yet.) 80% of it is boxed up and stacked in one corner but with some furniture emptied out for sale and more decluttered things I need to sell or go through piling up (place needs to be at least 1/3 empty in two months to make boyfriend’s move in as smooth as possible because he HATES disorder. And stuff in general. And the fact that he is moving in with me instead of a new apartment … but one new job (him), moving two households, moving in with the partner for the first time, all that in a city with a difficult (and expensive) rental market: I saw a couple too many stress factors here …. )

    Okay, I got totally off topic here … sorry. And then last night my parents called telling me they dug up more stuff that’s mine ;-( I don’t even really know what it is but I already know that there will be at least some sentimental stuff that I will take home with me. But I really hope that most of it can be purged … However, I am so proud of my parents that they start on something clutter related that I’ll volutarily trash my place even more than it is at the moment to remove my stuff asap. I still hope all the decluttering I am doing will eventually rub off onto them and being with them sorting through MY stuff might teach them some decluttering skills they can use on their stuff later.

    • Well ideealistin I think you really needed to get that all off your chest. You really are in the thick of it at the moment. Still cleaning out your old clutter as the your clutter from your parents house piles up against the walls. Then the boyfriend moving in soon. All scary enough without him being fussy and frazzles from all his upheaval. I wish you all the best with the transition my friend. I hope all this decluttering from your parents house does encourage them to try to reclaim more of their space by getting rid of some of their old stuff. Fingers crossed!

  15. Sabrina from Italy :

    Hi Colleen,
    I’ve been reading your blog for months now, but it’s my first comment. First, I want to thank you for this blog because it is very inspiring and one of my must-reads every day! Second, I apologize in advance if I make any mistakes, but English is not my mother language. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m quite new to decluttering, I’ve started only a couple of months ago and in a very un-programmed way: I have a full time job and I like to spend my free time doing quite a few different activities (one of them is now decluttering!). But in this short time I managed to select more than 100 items, in just a few areas of the apartment. So much more to go, and I’m so excited!

    My main problem is how to get all the selected stuff out of the apartment. I have a couple of thrift stores near home, but here in Italy they work quite differently than in the USA or Australia, because they only accept some things, so quite a few times I was rejected perfectly good clothes (because they were not fashionable) or books (too old, they said: 1989 editions). Also, they don’t give you money right away. They wait until the item sells and then they send you a note, you go and collect your money (usually 50% of what they made from the sale). Not really convenient! I guess than in Australia and USA you don’t get money for what you bring to the thrift store, so that’s why your system is so different.
    I also tried the announces on Ebay (easier than auctions) and I sold a couple of things but it doesn’t seem so popular. I’m going to try normal auctions but I have been lazy and not set up my account for that yet… must do it ASAP ๐Ÿ™‚ Then I use Freecycle and I donated quite a few thing to charity.
    The fact is I still have quite a few things – even bulky ones! – that I want to try to sell on Ebay. The apartment is quite small (about 65 square meters) and for now I have a carboard box on the floor in the dining-living room, and one box plus a few bags in the bedroom (on the floor and under the bed). Some stuff is my husbands’, his main hobby is photography and he wants to sell the related stuff on dedicated forums. But he’s even lazier than me on this side! So for now I had to stop digging for new items to declutter, until we get rid of what we already selected. I wish I had an out-of-the-way departure point like you, but we have no garage and only a small closet (box room) that’s already full. I must really give myself a move and start using Ebay for real, or decide to give all to charity!
    Sorry for the long and mostly pointless comment, and thank you again for this great blog!!

    • Hi Sabrina,
      thank you so much for your kind words about my blog and may I extend to you a very warm welcome to 365 Less Things. And never mind your mistakes with the English language, you have managed to make less than I would in comment of that length. You will soon come to learn that I make plenty of mistakes and English is my first language.

      I am glad you have had such great early success with your decluttering. Well done. It is a shame however that you are finding it difficult to find simple ways to finally get rid of it once you have chosen the items to declutter. I wish I had move advice but I am not familiar with what methods are available in italy. Every country is different and even areas are different within countries. I will post your comment on this Fridays Favourite post and hopefully one of your fellow countrymen will come forward with some advice for you. I just googled Charities in Italy and found this web site that list charities by city http://www.charity-charities.org/Italy-charities/Italy.html . I hope that helps.

      The stores that reject your items are probably what we call consignment stores. They sell stuff for you to make a profit while out thrift stores are purely donation only. Some thrift stores are even particular about what they take too.

      Selling your decluttered items will nearly always slow down the process of getting rid of it. Taking photos, listing, waiting, selling, mailing all takes time unfortunately. It is a shame you are having to stop decluttering for now until you can sell things but if that is how it is so be it. Don’t be discouraged by this, getting the items out is all part of the process no matter what method you use. The key is not the buy more stuff you don’t really need in the meantime that way you won’t be starting all over again later.

      I wish you luck my friend and hope everything you have sells quickly.

    • Hi Sabrina,
      There is still a small gain to donating to thrift stores in the USA: your donation is tax deductible.
      I am not familiar with Italy, but in some European countries they have a craiglist equivalent (there is no fees to list your item and no shipping since it is local pickup). You might want to check if there are swap stores (or swap events) in your area. It is especially useful for clothes. I also have seen second hand clothes at local markets.
      And don’t worry about your English, it’s really good. Better than mine who has lived in the USA for 13 years!

      • Sabrina from Italy :

        Thanks Natalie and Colleen for your kind words and your help.
        As for charities, I found one that suits me not far from my place, so if I want to donate I know where to go. Natalie, I know there is a Craiglist for Rome too (it’s where I live) but I heard it’s not so active and I have not tried it. I used Ebay Announces that is similar but it didn’t work so well anyway, so I guess I can try Craiglist too. And I use Freecycle too, so as for free exchange I’m pretty ok. ๐Ÿ™‚ Right now I’m left mostly with stuff I’d like to sell. I’m going to give it a try this weekend, but as Colleen said it takes time to see the results. It’s just a matter of patience, something I am not famous for ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again for your support!

        • Hi Sabrina from Italy,
          we have craigslist here in my town too but like yours it isn’t popular so I don’t use it. Your Ebay Announces sounds like our gumtree.com but I have never used that either, I really should give it a go. I think the key to selling fast is trying different methods and finding out what works best in your area and also developing the most efficient system that speed up the listing process for you.

          • Gumtree is good in some ways, I’ve found coaches, and I’ve found dining chairs (the first is really sports coaches, not couches). it’s a UK thing too, Gumtree. But it’s not great for selling books (though I think they are hard to sell anywhere!)

            I’m glad Sabine has found a charity place, so if the selling gets too much bother, at least she has a back up. I too found/find it hard to ‘donate’ when I’m in Europe (once every two years, I have a ‘take it, wear it, or leave it’ ultimatium, so at the end of the holiday, there’s a few things to ‘go’.)

    • Hi Sabrina, I’m Paola and I’m from Terni (so very near Rome).
      I’ve been following Colleen’s blog for a couple years now (as well as other great blogs about minimalism) and at last have decided to start my own blog to share these ideas in italian too. That’s how I’ve found out that there is plenty of beautiful italian blogs about this subject!!
      http://minimalitaly.blogspot.com/ in the right sidebar, the list “Io seguo…” there is a list of my favourites.
      In Italy many options are not available or are not working as overseas, but there are still options worth trying, read for example these posts from Laura:
      http://www.minimoblog.it/2011/10/28/post-decluttering-1/
      http://www.minimoblog.it/2011/11/08/post-decluttering-ii/
      Personally I hate selling and specially don’t like Ebay at all…I prefer donating to charities or friends. Recently I’ve brought a lot of stuff to the local thrift store: let’s see if it works….
      Good luck with you decluttering!

  16. Love this post. ๐Ÿ™‚ Departures points are so important to me. That’s how I can declutter without even thinking about it. Most of my boxes are hidden in a big closet in my home office – actually they fill that big closet!, but I also have a couple elsewhere. For instance, I started having one in my closet, and it helps a lot. When I get dressed, if I run into a piece of clothing that I think I won’t wear anymore, I just put it in the box. So easy, it takes less than a few seconds. Cindy, thanks for that tip, I will do that in my kids’ room as well. Why did not I think about that? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Maybe in a year, when most of my excess stuff will be gone, I’ll be able to have just a few small boxes like you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Today, I have my Jetta car trunk half full and 3 stops to make to unload everything. That represents my last 4 months of decluttering. I finally found a place that accepts kids’ toys.

    I am still looking for a place that would recycle worn out shoes instead of putting them in the trash. If anybody know of something in California, please let me know.

    • I forgot to say that I know about Nike reuse-a-shoe program, but they only accept athletic shoes.

    • Hi NatalieinCA,
      those departure points sure do make the job of selecting easier. I have a mini one on the edge of my kitchen bench this morning. On my way to the thrift store I am going to see of the craft store up the street is open and I will drop of some supplies I no longer want and can’t be bothered selling. I bet you are looking forward to your trunk being empty at the end of the day and to having the stuff finally gone for good. I love the idea of putting a clothing declutter point in your children’s room. I imagine they know what fits and what doesn’t and making it easy for them to cull the too small stuff will encourage them to take care of it themselves.

  17. Thanks for your kind words and your encouragement, Colleen. At the moment I feel so stuck, actually worse: like moving backwards. Deep inside I know it is not true because I have been really getting rid of things last year, not just shuffling them around. And though I have aquired things it was much more conscious and overall much less than it used to be. Feeling so weighed down by the amount at the moment probably only means that I started seeing it …
    Your blog is inspiring great changes.

    • Hi Ideealistin,
      you have a lot on your plate at the moment sweetie so take it easy on yourself. Sometimes life just happens all at once and it sends us into a spin. Just ride it out my friend and you will be fine. If in the end things don’t seem to be sorting out by themselves you make a stand and take control. Remember one thing at a time, one moment at a time, one decision at a time…

      • Wise words from Colleen idealistin. Mid transition is probably the most stresful bit, and the darkest hour is before dawn and all that. Just keep going, one thing at a time as Colleen says.
        I look around the room I am sitting in right now and feel there is much still to do, whilst at the same time knowing I have done a lot.
        I need to clear the results of the latest purge before I do anything else… I need to clear the results of the latest purge before I doanything else…

  18. My most convenient departure place is on top of the large chest freezer in our kitchen.

    I divide things into bring-to-family-member, bring to recycling, bring to thrift shop, etc.

    This makes it easy for my husband to see what needs to go. If I put the items anywhere else, it’s too easy for them to be overlooked as we head out the door.

    This way, we conserve gas because we’re getting rid of stuff at the same time we’re heading out to do other errands.

    • That is a smart move Becky, I like to put things where I won’t miss them to if I am dealing with them very soon. Just this morning I had an extra departure point on the end of my kitchen island. Next to it was my to do list, that way I was sure to get done what had to be done today.