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How do you eliminate clutter when two packrats move in together? I can’t count the mountains of stuff I’ve thrown away, donated or just given away over the last twenty years. My boyfriend shares my bad habit of thinking “that might be useful someday.” We live frugally, getting the most use out of everything. After five years under the same roof, something has got to go.

I made a vow at the beginning of the year to reduce the amount of stuff we have. We’ve sold some items – what two-person household really needs three refrigerators plus two upright freezers? To be fair, we do have a home-based food business.

It felt good to sell my broken down car and his old truck that’s been sitting in pieces for three years for scrap. We loaded all of our CDs into our laptop and took those along with 10 boxes of books, albums, DVDs and VHS tapes to Half-Price Books.

How do I get rid of the rest of this junk?

Donate to a local charity

My first choice is our local Interchurch Social Services. In addition to running a thrift store, they provide clothing, food and household items to families in need. While they don’t have a lot of room for books, the agency is willing to take things you might not normally consider donation-worthy.

Do you know that collection of hotel-sized shampoo and soap in the linen closet? When a family in need has to choose between food and being clean, those small bottles mean they can have both. As someone who has experienced a house fire, I know what it means to have to start over. The extra dishes, cookware, and utensils that are clogging my cupboards will help someone rebuild their kitchen.


A few years ago, my boyfriend found a great deal on a kegerator. While we never actually bought a keg of beer, it came in handy for cooling large pots of homemade stock. When the compressor died, it wasn’t worth the cost to replace it.

There’s a man in our area that takes old appliances for scrap. All we had to do was set the contraption out by the road and he picked it up for free.

All those wine bottles we collected thinking we would someday make our own wine? We’ve not yet bought the winemaking equipment and the bottles have found their way to the recycling bin.

Yard Sale or Flea Market

As I’m sorting through all this junk that I think has a second life, I’m putting a price tag on it. As soon as the weather breaks, I’ll put out my sign. We’ve sold some things at the flea market for the last two summers. Full-time dealers told us they go to yard sales on Saturday to find cheap deals and then haul it to the flea market on Sunday to sell for a profit.

They won’t hurt my feelings if they buy everything I have.

Give it away or throw it away

After the yard sale, there’s only one step left. I know that I can’t bring anything back into the house. If it seems like there might still be living in something for someone, I’ll list a curb alert on Craigslist. If not, into the trash it goes. Since there are items that are too big for you to get rid of such as your furniture or any other household items, in that case, you have philly furniture removal which is an affordable furniture removal service that you can hire. 

I only wish the trash man came on Sunday evening to avoid any second thoughts.