Decluttering: Getting It OUT is Sometimes the Hardest Part!




Did you declutter this week? I’d love to hear about your successes and struggles!

As this Decluttering Mania Week comes to an end, don’t forget the most important part.

Get it OUT. Like, totally out of the house.

I’ve become pretty good at recognizing clutter, purging spaces, and loving having less in my home so I can actually maintain it more easily.

But somehow, the actual getting it out of the house is such a struggle. Especially since we no longer have a lovely donation service making monthly pickups in our neighborhood.




So this week, we loaded up the Suburban and my husband drove to the nearest donation place to drop it off.

Don’t skip this step. I’d skipped it a few too many times, and we had quite the load to haul.

If you’re not sure what to do with your donations, here are some ideas:

  1. Load it up and drop off at your nearest Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other charity thrift store. I like this option because it’s under my control. If I want it gone NOW, this is the way to go.
  2. If you’re not sure where to take things, ask your local friends on Facebook where they take their donations. You most likely have a friend who knows where to go.
  3. Join a Facebook garage sale group and ask if anyone knows who picks up garage sale leftovers. If you find someone, ask if they want ALL your stuff, even if you didn’t have a garage sale. Just be clear that they “must take all.”

The feeling of all that stuff being GONE is shockingly lovely. Really. As someone who once thought stuff (in large quantities) made her happy, I’m still astonished at the physical lightness I feel once all a lot of that stuff is gone.

If you’re not there yet, don’t worry! ANYthing you do to get stuff out of your home, even if the Donate Boxes sit in the garage for a while, will improve your home and your life.

If your home needs an overhaul or even if you just feel like you need to reset your mentality on managing it, you need my book: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. It’s available wherever books are sold. Find out more here.

Join in on 30 Days of Decluttering Inspiration (free!) here. 

Also check out these decluttering strategies:

How to Get Started When You Don’t Know Where to Start

What Baskets are Really For

Finding Storage Space in Your Home

How to Declutter Without Making a Bigger Mess

How to Not Get Distracted from One Decluttering Project by Other Decluttering Projects

Decluttering Momentum – a podcast

Containers and Limits and How They’ll Change Your Life – a podcast





--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    Check out Give Back Box which lets you ship for free to your nearest Goodwill. You can even schedule the USPS pickup when you print the shipping label.

  2. 4

    If I stop and carry something to another room then I see something there that I need to do or move and I wind up going from room to room and never get one room completely clean. I bought five clothes baskets and labeled them for each room. When something belongs in another room, in the basket it goes. Then when I am ready to stop for the day,the boy’s get their basket and empty it, then return it and I empty the other baskets and take them back to the room I am working on.This is what is working best for my deslobification process at this time. Maybe one day I will be able to do it like you do but not right now.I’m taking it one day at a time and making progress and that is what matters. The credit goes to you for getting me started. Thank you.

  3. 5
    Laraba Kendig says:

    I’m in a decluttering frenzy and made a trip to a local thrift store a few days ago. It is so good to have those items out of my basement, though I’ve found more to give away in the last few days. I agree that lightening up the house is so wonderful. This morning, I pulled out an old CD player that’s been taking up space on a shelf in our study. Having that extra space for toys and books is so awesome.

  4. 7

    Getting things out of the house is just as hard for me as decluttering. I have the classic perfectionistic tendency to want to dispose of my stuff “properly and responsibly”. I want useful things to get further use and recyclables to be recycled. There are so many recycling and donation options in my area that I get paralysed. Time to get off the dime and just do it, even if some of my cast off treasures end up in landfill!

  5. 8

    So, this has become my New Year’s resolution: even if it’s just a little decluttering, it goes to the van and the next time we are out, it goes to Salvation Army (which is less than 2 miles from my house) I have boxes that sit around forever before they get donated and usually only after my husband points out to me (several times) the boxes are still here (thank you slob vision) So, I will be making the conscious effort to get it out ASAP.

  6. 9
    Melissa Middleswart says:

    One thought–try to find some place better than Goodwill, since that is a for-profit place, as I understand it. You know Salvation Army is doing good things for people, with your donations. Probably some other ones local to you–here, we have boxes everywhere so that we can donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters of our county (they take them to a larger place in Kansas City, 90 miles away, and then our local group gets money for those donations). We also have a local Ministry Center which takes clothing donations.

    • 10

      Is ‘Goodwill’ an actual branded charity? I just thought it was a polite term for any charity run opportunity shop

      • 11
        Melissa Middleswart says:

        Yes, it is, at least here in the U.S. I just googled to be sure as we’ve not had that option here for a long time. I knew I had read that they were a for-profit so after your response, I checked my facts and found that the thing I had read about them was not correct. You need to google and read the Wikipedia post yourself. Keep going thru to the later parts of it. What I read has been debunked, HOWEVER, their CEO gets a huge amount of money and was called on that and apparently agreed to take less–still a very high amount, I thought. I guess that’s why I think Salvation Army is more of a reputable and true charity. But anything that gets your unused stuff out, and hopefully to a place where someone else WILL use it, is always good.

        • 12

          Thank you. I had no idea. (I’m in Australia – things just aren’t the same here)

          • 13
            Melissa Middleswart says:

            Ah, no wonder. I tend to forget that people all over the world read this blog. 🙂 But your question caused me to question, and I learned something, which is always good. 🙂

  7. 14
    Mari Craig says:

    Hello Dana! This is my first comment on your blog, even though I had bought the ’28 days’ ebook waaay back when, preordered your book (and gobbled it up when it was out!), and recently have been listening to your podcast non-stop while doing housework! ?

    So first of all a huge big thank you for all your marvellous work, it has been of invaluable help and encouragement!

    I am originally from Romania, but my husband is Scottish, and we live in Scotland with our young daughter.

    When I was a child my family lived in a flat – or apartment I should say? ☺ It was very-very cluttered and it was difficult to know what to do with things that were actually not needed anymore, short of throwing them out. There were absolutely no charity shops or yard sales (it was still in Communist times, but things didn’t change much even after the Revolution). If the items that needed discarding were still functional, it felt very wasteful and downright awful to just put them in the bin.

    I also just simply did not have the ‘information’ about how to declutter, and was attached to things and overwhelmed by them in equal measure. Living (surviving!) in an ocean of clutter was very difficult and unpleasant and I believe contributed to my later struggles with depression and anxiety.

    I thank God for my Scottish home and wonderful people like your good self and certain Japanese ladies who are helping me change my ways and not let our present house go the way of my old apartment!! ?

    Here in the UK there are countless charity shops all around, so people can easily choose what good cause they want to support with their donations of clothes and household goods! We usually donate to the Salvation Army: they have these big sturdy bags called ReBags, and we always have a few on hand, and keep putting things in as per the ‘decluttering lifestyle’! ☺ When they are full, we load them in the car and take them over. For every bag of donations they give you a little stamp worth £2 on a loyalty card! Very good system ?

    I have been in a strong decluttering mode for a while, and listening to your podcasts while working has helped a lot, as I was saying! Yesterday I did our pantry cupboard and kitchen counter. Today I’m doing the backdoor built-in cupboard – an even bigger job, but I’m feeling brave, armed with know-how, and your energizing words in my ear! ?
    Here I go! Lots of love from Scotland,

  8. 16

    I am so glad I found your blog! Someone (I can’t even remember who) linked to your 10 things post, and of course I saw this one too. My husband (who is a Cleanie) once *threw away* my give away boxes because they had been sitting in the entryway for, um ,too long. (a year?) That’s when I started looking into the “we’ll pick it up for you” people.

    Just this week, I had printed out a “how to do a brain dump” list, and the first thing was – dump all the physical stuff that is out of place into a box to deal with later. I literally wrote on this paper – “I feel like I need to dump the entire contents of my house in a box like that, how on earth am I going to start?!?!?!” Your concept of putting something away where it goes right now, instead of making a “to put away” pile, so you can stop at any moment. Is. BRILLIANT!!! It is exactly what I need. I’m also going to go through with the one white trash bag and one black declutter bag in the most visible places. Thank you so much!

  9. 17

    I like giving to the Salvation Army or Purple Heart for the Vets. And they even come to your house and pick up your stuff. Only a phone call away. Purple Heart even took some furniture. I sat it out on my patio with a label and they came and got it. Very friendly nice folks.

  10. 18
    Pamela McCall says:

    The urge to declutter at the New Year is indeed strong. I woke up on New Year’s Eve with bronchitis – completely down. On New Year’s Day, I couldn’t keep from decluttering a drawer in the master bath when I could hardly stand up after my shower! As I was carrying the bag of trash to the bin, hubby got on to me for being out of bed. Then I realized the NYD bug is stronger than the bronchitis bug. HA

  11. 19

    I have a charity that picks up donations. It helps a lot. But I still have problems getting things ready for pickup because I feel I have to go through everything one at a time to make sure it works, isn’t broken, clean etc. I don’t want to burden the charity with my trash. But it takes a looong time to go through everything carefully so I put if off. I don’t want to throw everything out because I don’t want to contribute to the trash problem and there may be so me things that are worthy of being donated. So how an I get through this obstacle to donating?

    • 20
      Mari Craig says:

      Hi Sharon! I’m the same, I want to only donate things that are genuinely still good, and I hate putting stuff in the trash when I feel it could still be of use. Maybe set aside 30 minutes (or less) at a time and tell yourself: ‘Let’s see how many things I can get sorted in this interval!’

      Dana’s principle of ‘what a difference 5 minutes can make’ has helped me a lot recently, not only with pick-up and decluttering, but also keeping the bathroom and the kitchen clean!

    • 21

      The Goodwill here says it does not mind broken appliances or electronics. They say they either repair the goods or they recycle them for the copper, etc, that is inside. So I don’t worry about things not working when I donate them.

  12. 22

    Removed 6 boxes of perfectly good clothes–some several sizes ago.
    Hubby took those away–wherever, to whomever, who cares, they’re gone.
    Have two more boxes and 3 bags ready to load today. It’s a start.

  13. 23

    Getting stuff out really, really an be the hardest part.

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