Lifestyle, Minimalism

Moving and Minimalism: More Than Just the Trash Can

Moving and Minimalism

As we’ve been downsizing drastically for our big move we’ve repeatedly run into issues with finding ways to get the junk out of our house. Here in Portland we get one trash can that’s picked up by the city every two weeks that we share with our two roommates, so we have to be very strategic about tossing items in there. Besides, I’ve seen Toy Story 3 and I always assume that objects are sentient just in case.

Here’s a list of the alternative ways we’ve been offloading those tiring material goods so we don’t have to stress about them anymore!

  1. The most obvious is of course city recycling and, here in Portland, composting. Growing up my parents put yard debris in the city trash can and it still haunts me to this day.
  2. Burn paper and paper goods. This goes double for documents with personal information on them.
  3. There are a number of places to donate your clothes, including Goodwill, H&M’s recycling boxes, directly to a local shelter or a Dress for Success Drive. Some places will even come pick your donations up from your house, which is nice for those without a car. You can also always try to sell them at a Buffalo Exchange or host a clothing exchange party.
  4. For books, Powell’s City of Books buys used copies online and in-store if you’re in the Portland area. They tend to not take textbooks, but the Prison Book Program might. Otherwise, Goodwill is great for books as well. I’ve also been sending my nephew some of the old books I’ve been holding onto since childhood for sentimental reasons.
  5. I’ve given a ton of yarn, fabric & craft supplies to the Knit for Newborns group I volunteer with.
  6. Amazon has also partnered with Give Back Box so that you can reuse your Amazon boxes to ship back used and reusable goods. I haven’t yet tried this one out but I’m intrigued.
  7. Host a giant yard sa – what’s that you say? You too have zero interest in giving up at least one full weekend of your life for that? Yeah, neither do I. Instead I’m offering up some of my quality but underutilized things (bread machine, electric fondue pot, etc) to friends in exchange for a bottle of wine that they can bring to my weekly dinners. Win-win.
  8. Stop buying food. Okay, so you probably won’t stop entirely, but make a list of what you have now and work off of that when building your menu for the next couple of weeks. I’ve managed to go without grocery shopping for nearly a month before because I realized how much non-perishables and freezer meat I had accumulated. Especially if you’re moving, who wants to take all 7 of your mostly finished pints of assorted ice cream to your new place? No one, that’s who. Now dig in.
  9. If you have access and proximity to the nice brand new young alumni from your alma mater, they’re almost always in need of new furniture and minorly less sketchy than Craigslist. I’ve also found that a few of my fiancé’s homesteader friends are often in need of the exact things we’re trying to get rid of.
  10. Google + “your city” + “item type” + “donate” = solution gold. You’d be surprised at what stuff places might want or need.

Many of these options will help alleviate the guilt of getting rid of your possessions that hold a bit more meaning. I had a much easier time donating some of my Mom’s crochet hooks (don’t tell her but I know I’m never going to be good at it) when I personally knew the group of people who would be using them to make cute tiny hats for premature babies.

What are some of the ways you get rid of your old possessions?

0 thoughts on “Moving and Minimalism: More Than Just the Trash Can”

  1. Thank you so much for tip #10 particularly. I have been cleaning closets and finding many craft items such as unused paintbrushes, canvases, glitter packs, beads… stuff I collected to eventually make “that project”. I googled the formula you wrote and immediately found a really cool scrap box foundation just a mile away from my house which accepts all sorts of craft donations. Now I can feel good about getting rid of this stuff!

    1. That’s amazing, I’m so glad you were able to find a good way to get rid of things like that that you were holding onto! I’ve definitely had a few pleasant surprises like that along the way as well. 🙂

  2. Coming here from apartment therapy (as I’m trying to purge stuff, and some advice actually works), and in real life from a small flat in a typical century-old Montréal triplex, where the supposed living room is my home office – friends tend to congregate in the kitchen anyway.

    Your advice was concrete and very good. Roommates are fun for a while, but I’m glad that the two – sorry, three – of you will have your own place.

    I’m considerably older than you, by the way – have been cycling for decades…

    1. I love Apartment Therapy, their articles on small spaces definitely helped convince me to finally move us into our current apartment and I’ve never been happier.

      I’ve definitely had to get into the nitty gritty of purging items to make it work though. I’m glad it’s been useful for others!

      I agree about using spaces differently than intended as well. Because of the location of our A/C unit (a luxury I haven’t had in almost 10 years) we set our bed up in the living room and have been using the bedroom as a bit of an office. I was a bit embarrassed at first when guests came over, but it’s been a great decision.

      I rode a (non-stationary) bike for the first time in 15 years this weekend! 16 hilly miles and two wineries, it was perfection.

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