Chances are you would grab your spouse, your pets, your children and other family members to get them out. Your "things" would just sit in the house to be engulfed in flames and destroyed. This is an exercise in what is truly important to you. So looking around your home right now, I want you to think about if your house did catch on fire and everything was destroyed and you are at the point where you had to replace what you want in your new home.
Look at your possessions and ask yourself:
Would I replace this?
Would I buy this item again?
Do I use this?
If the answer to all these questions are no, then the item needs to go. You paid for that item (or may still be paying for it) so if it's not something that you use or would buy again, you can either sell it, donate it, return it or give it away. I have done a ton of decluttering and have made money off the items that I no longer loved or would use and put it towards my student loans. Every time that I think that I am done decluttering, I always find more things that I have no use for.
Selling Your Items:
- I use Amazon to list my items and then go to the post office to ship them off. Easy. I love Amazon
- I also use a local consignment shop for clothes, shoes, purses, odds and ends items like home décor that I will never use again. Be careful here though, you want to make sure that the consignment shop has been in business for 5 years or longer. I once used a local one where I dropped off a ton of clothes and shoes, only to go back 2 weeks later with more items and found their door locked tight with a sign that said "Thank you for your business for the past year." I won't be making that mistake again anytime soon. So just be careful where you choose to consign.
- You can also have a garage sale if you choose. I have never had one because I have watched other people have garage sales. It is a way to make quick money, but not a lot of money. If you list an item for $10, someone is bound to offer you 5 cents for it. I have seen spousal arguments at garage sales and exhausted looking faces. This isn't worth it for me, but if you feel like a garage sale is the way to go, by all means, try it.
- You can donate your items to Goodwill, a local homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter or an animal shelter. You can choose where your donations go. I donated my wedding dress to goodwill last summer. I wore it once and know that I will never wear it again so I would rather donate it so someone else can use it. I had the dress preserved so I donated it in the box and the man that I handed it to was in total shock and asked me if I was sure at least 4 times and I said "Yes" each time. A wedding dress is not an item that I would replace if my house caught on fire. My memories of that day are preserved in my head that I can tap into anytime I want.
- If you bought something recently and had to pay for it with a credit card and are having buyer's remorse then the item needs to be returned. Check to see what the store's return policy is and find the receipt and return it. Get it off your credit card. If you aren't going to use it, it has no business being in your house taking up space.
- You can give items away to family members, friends, whoever you want. I have some bulky items like an entertainment center stand that has been sitting in my basement collecting dust over the past 3 years that is in excellent condition that I am putting out of large item pick up day in my community. I would probably get $10 for it at a garage sale (or more likely 25 cents), but having one of those is not worth it for me, so to the curb it goes.
I know with the exercise at the beginning that some people would be grabbing photo items and family heirlooms and that is your personal choice. I am in the process of scanning all my photos so they are digital and then uploading them to Dropbox for storage so everything is digital so I will never lose my photos in a fire. If my house is on fire and I have time to either grab a family heirloom or my dog, my dog would be my choice. Everything is else is just stuff.