I have a confession… it took me 2 years to get a box of clutter out of the house.

Yes, me, the one who has a decluttering course and helps moms to get organized at home. The one always banging on about throwing stuff out.

I wanted to share with you why I got stuck because maybe you have a similar issue and what finally changed to make me get rid of it all.

Let’s start at the beginning…

Remember 2020, that year we were all stuck at home? Well during one of the lockdown sessions, I honestly can’t remember which one, that year is a bit of a blur, to be honest. Anyway, at some point, I did what many folks did and had a good declutter. I cleared out many toys, books and clothes that we had outgrown or no longer needed, generally, I’m pretty good at throwing stuff out.

I did manage to get rid of quite a decent amount, either selling or giving things away. But then I was left with a massive box of English books. And this is where the problem lay…

Someone might want to buy them

Yes, that was what was stuck in my head. I had convinced myself that someone out there in Facebookland wanted them. The problem was listing them all and posting them on various selling groups took a lot of time and effort.

I am a big one for looking at how much my time is worth and so the job would get bumped often because I could be doing something more profitable with my time. And so the box sat there.

And then it started to grow, not literally but things kept getting added to it. Clutter that I removed from the kitchen, and more clothes that we no longer needed. And so by the start of this year, it was not just a box of books, it was becoming a clutter mountain, and it was getting bigger.

And it was doing my head in!

The mental switch that changed everything

Friday morning, I did the vacuuming as usual, and as I have done for the last 2 years, tried to vacuum around the clutter mountain, using a few choice words, just like every other week. But then I stopped.

I thought to myself, isn’t it wasteful that all this stuff just sat here? I’m not going to make money from this lot so wouldn’t it be better just to pass it on somewhere so at least someone else can make use of it?

Now, if I were back in the UK, I would have just taken it all down to the charity shop years ago. But we are in Japan and we don’t have charity shops, not out here in the sticks anyway.

So the choice:

  • Take them to a recycling shop
  • Bin them

As a book lover, I don’t have the heart to just bin books. So we took them to BookOff, and here is where I had another mindset block to deal with. BookOff is a business so they want a good deal, but they really do pay a pittance for what they take off you and this really bugs me.

Get over yourself Jo!

So I did, they took everything, all the books, clothes and kitchen clutter.

I did separate the clothes to recycle or could be sold (in good condition).

They gave us ¥700 ($5) for the books and ¥30 ($0.22) and ¥150 ($1.10)

Basically, by the time we had paid for coffees whilst we waited we just about broke even!

Financially, not great but energetically, it feels so good to finally have them out of the house and into the world, where hopefully someone will stumble across one of those books and it was just what they wanted and at a much better price than if they ordered from overseas.

What happened to the rest of the clothes?

We took a big bag of clothes to H&M too where they have a recycling scheme, they don’t have to be H&M labels, they don’t even check. But they do give you a ¥500 discount voucher to use the next time you shop there. UNIQLO also collect used clothes to recycle too. Yay for throwing stuff out!

All that Is left now is this… the actual box!

The lesson from throwing stuff out…

The big takeaway from this is that sometimes you need to let go of what you think should be fair or should happen and instead look at things from a different perspective.

Numerous times I have been in BookOff and stumbled across some great finds, especially English books. I have scored some amazing bargains, we have also found things like snowboard wear for a fraction of the cost if we had bought them new. So now, I am returning the favour and maybe sometime this week, someone will wander into the shop and get super excited about one of our books.

And I get to reclaim that chunk of space in the spare bedroom that has been hogged by the book/clothes mountain for so long!

Looking for more decluttering help?

If you struggle with decluttering, happens to us all (even the decluttering queen herself, Marie Kondo, although kids seem to be her downfall!) I do have a really simple program to follow, just open an email every 2 days and do what it tells you to. It’s low-key, broken into baby steps and easy to create as a habit, find out more about Clear The Clutter here.

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