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  • The First Step Toward De-Stressing: Declutter

    I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately. My to-do list is a mile long, which is nothing new. But I’m finding my situation particularly distressing because I had found a happy place, mentally, when the whole hospitalization/illness thing hit and I just haven’t been able to get back to that happy place since.

    A good way to describe my emotional state right now is weighed down. And when I get this way, I find decluttering to be extremely appealing. The literal removal of excess weight helps me feel mentally lighter.

    I’m at the point where I’m tempted to just pile everything into the car and drop it all off at Goodwill or Salvation Army. Without documenting or itemizing for taxes. The stress relief might be worth foregoing the deduction.

    But then I think about the medical bills that I have to pay in the next one to two months, and the effort I put into saving money by shopping smart. With the amount of stuff we have to give away, I’m guessing we’re talking a tax deduction that’s worth a couple hundred dollars all told. I don’t want to give that money up.

    So posting might be light for a week or two as I make time to document the items that I want gone from my house. Maybe I’ll even find some items that will make for a good giveaway :)


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    The Fine Line Between Frugal, Green, and Clutter-free

    I’ve actually been thinking about this topic for a while now. Most of the time, being frugal and being green go together. If you’re frugal, you generally buy fewer items, you drive less often, you reduce, reuse and recycle. Because of this, your home is also generally less cluttered.

    But as I declutter my home, I find that the line between these areas becomes very fine. There are many things that I might need someday. It wouldn’t be frugal or good for the environment to have to buy them new all over again. But keeping these things around makes my home more cluttered. It also increases the possibility that I’ll forget I have these items and buy new ones anyway.

    I’m still finding a balance that works for me. But I would love any tips you have to share, because this is definitely an area that I struggle with.

    What do you do with old toys?

    I usually donate things that the kids have outgrown to Goodwill, but they’re not taking toys anymore due to all of the recalls. So now I’m not sure what to do with the five bags that are currently sitting in my upstairs hallway. Here are the ideas I’ve come up with so far, none of which are as effortless as simply loading up the car and heading to Goodwill:

    1. Find a different charity to take the toys. While this seems rather obvious, I’m not sure where to start. I’m going to ask around, though.
    2. Have a garage sale. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy because we don’t have a front yard (we live in a townhouse). Some friends have mentioned doing a group yard sale at one person’s house, which may or may not happen.
    3. Give them to or swap toys with a friend. I’ve tried this but can’t find any willing takers. I suppose some friends might want one or two pieces, but it would take way more time and energy than I have to dole the toys out a few at a time. One alternative I’ll consider is hosting a swap party, though again, I’m not sure where I’ll find the time and energy for that.
    4. Sell them on eBay. I just don’t think the return will be worth it.
    5. Take them to a consignment store. Unfortunately, I’m pretty confident only a few of the toys in the bag would be consignment-worthy. There are a lot of small toys in there, like rattles, links, and such.
    6. List them on a site like Freecycle or Craigslist. I’ve never used these sites, and I’ve heard both good and bad things, so I’m hesitant.

    I’d love to hear more suggestions, so if you have any, please leave a comment or send me an email at cfoblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

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