Operation Declutter

MichaelChallenge, Giving, How to, Misc24 Comments

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Operation Declutter

I’ll admit it.  I have A LOT of stuff.


No, it’s not as dramatic as Hoarders…there’s no dead cat and dried out fish bones buried underneath a crusty pile of clothes!

However, over the last two decades of my life, I have accumulated way too many things.  It’s time to pare this down and do some spring cleaning!

Thus, it’s time to launch…

Operation Declutter

Primary Goals and Key Results for Success
  • Make Life Simpler by Purging Unneeded Things
  • Donate What I’m Able To & Help Others
  • Reclaim Wasted Storage Space in My House
  • Make Some Extra Cash & Invest the Proceeds

Phase 1 – Strategize


Some people just like to dig into things.  I don’t.  I feel it’s a lot more efficient to strategize first, figure out where you’re going, why you’re going there, and then go for it all out.

Since I’m dealing with a lot of “stuff”, I’m going to first create some lists to get a general organizational system in place… i.e. what goes where!

Three Piles of “stuff” to Purge:

  1. Stuff to Sell
  2. Stuff to Donate
  3. Stuff to Throw Away/Recycle

Phase 2 – Execute


Phase 2 is relatively easy to do.  You’ve already made the decision and figured out the actions required.  Now’s the time to just do them and become as efficient with your time as possible.

There’s no need to haggle over a few dollars when negotiating an item for sale.  The goal is to purge! 🙂

Phase 3 – Invest the Proceeds


Who knows how much I’ll be able to accumulate from selling these things, but I’m guessing I can get a minimum of $1000.

Whatever the case may be, I’ll track these funds separately and see if I can grow it aggressively for your and my entertainment.  I’ll call it the experimental O.D. Fund.

Time Frame


Although I’d love to have this done and completed yesterday, I also have other responsibilities as a Stay-at-Home Dad.  So, I plan on giving myself 3 months to work on this project and purge the majority of the “stuff”.  My goal will be to have a final dollar count of the sold items by the end of August so I can begin the investing experiment by September… update to follow.

Let’s Go

With that said, it’s time to start Phase 1.  I’m thinking the best approach will be to begin categorizing.

  1. Books
  2. Computer Equipment
  3. Networking Equipment
  4. Electronics
  5. Clothes
  6. Furniture
  7. Office Supplies
  8. Misc
Places to Donate

My go to place to donate unwanted items is Goodwill.  They are great at taking most things and will give you a receipt for tax purposes.  They also have document destruction at some of their locations, so I may try to tie one of these visits together with that.  (If you’d like to see how I already manage my paper clutter, check out this post)

For books, you’d think that libraries would be a good option.  However, depending on what you have, they may or may not want your items.

Where To Sell?

It’s been awhile since I sold anything on Ebay, but that’s always an option.  I also know that Craigslist is an active marketplace to liquidate items and I’ve used them before in Vegas when I had to get rid of furniture quickly.  Finally, I’ve noticed a few apps pop-up recently that help you to sell unwanted items.  Maybe I’ll look into a couple of those.

I could always do a garage sale as well.  But, I’m thinking that will take too much effort.


For re-saleable books, I know there is a secondary marketplace I could participate on Amazon.  However, I’ll need to do some further research in that area to see if it’s worthwhile.


Readers, any thoughts on the best places to sell things?  When’s the last time you had a major purge of “stuff”?  How did you feel when you were done?   



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24 Comments on “Operation Declutter”

  1. We are currently doing a purge of a lot of our things that we have been working at over the last few weeks. Our main objective is to get rid of things. I am trying to sell some things when I believe it is worth my time (mainly through eBay/Craigslist) but we have quite a bit that we will be donating to Goodwill and other local places. It feels great so far to get rid of so much! Good luck as you work through your stuff!

    1. Yeah, that’s the thing, Thias… trying to balance the sale of certain things without wasting too much time! I can’t wait to start purging. I know it will feel great. 🙂

  2. We do a pretty good job of this every year – our neighborhood has a huge garage sale weekend with hundreds of houses participating and it draws people from all over. It definitely gives us a good opportunity to get rid of stuff. I would, however, like to dig a little deeper and try to get rid of even more things we don’t need to try to simplify a little more.

    — Jim

    1. Oooh… I’m jealous, Jim! It sounds like the perfect opportunity with your neighbor’s garage sale.

      Do you find yourself decluttering consistently over time, or doing one or two large cleans/organizations in a given year?

      1. I’m pretty much a neat-freak and hate clutter so it’s pretty ongoing for me. Mrs. R2R is not as organized as I am, but she usually gets on those kicks once or twice a year and when she does – watch out! I love when she gets on a roll decluttering – it’s like a tornado of organization passing through!

        — Jim

  3. i dont like selling or throwing books, I have a full shelf of books, i want my own room surrounded by books, or maybe i want to raise my kids seen that.

    1. Andy, I used to want to keep every book I had too. But, after getting so many books, I’ve run out of space! Luckily half of the newer books are digital and don’t take up any space. I do think it’s a good idea to expose your kids to as many books as you can as early as you can. The love of reading is priceless.

  4. We’ve been trying to declutter lately too. Goodwilll *is* a good place to donate, but I can’t help but mention the Buy Nothing Project. We use it a lot around my house, both for donating and getting things we need.

    “Free” is always better than paying. While Goodwill is cheap, it isn’t free. That’s one advantage the Buy Nothing Project has. No big stores to maintain, and no staff to pay. Efficiency ftw.

  5. Hey Michael – good luck with the decluttering. We have already started down that path as we are moving in a little over 2 weeks. It has already involved selling on Craigslist and two trips to Goodwill. I just wished we had done it before we decided to move. The garage and storage areas feel so much less cluttered.

    1. Good luck with the move, Jeff! Yeah, I’ve definitely cleaned stuff up before a move and always think to myself, “Why didn’t I do that earlier so I could enjoy it more?” I actually have a couple boxes I never emptied since moving a couple years ago. 😉

  6. Good luck, it can feel overwhelming, or at least it is for me. I’m doing mine in zones /rooms rather than categories. It is highly satisfying when done. I’ve sold a few things but mainly donated stuff. And instigated a 1 in 1 out rule with kids toys and books.

    1. PE, I like how you’ve broken it down into zones also. It definitely helps to make it more manageable when you can chunk it into bite sized pieces.

      My wife and I were so good with the 1 in 1 out rule (in the beginning)… somewhere along the way though, it just exploded! I need to get that into check too. 🙂

  7. Good on you for getting rid of things Mike! I must admit I’d be tempted to give my stuff away unless I knew it was quite valuable, then I’d potentially go E-Bay, which is maybe a bit old -school haha 🙂

    All the best with the cluttering!

    1. Jef, I think it’d be much easier if it were things that I could just give away or “junk”. I do however have numerous items that are just sitting around but are somewhat valuable which has made me slow to react (and causing this build up of “stuff”). I know it’ll feel great on the other side. 🙂

  8. Embracing the LEAN lifestyle, one of the first steps is 5s – sort,set, shine, standardize and sustain. Agree that organization and decluttering is a must, after my last move last year I was able to get rid of quite a bit, much of which I ended up donating due to time crunch of the move however.

    1. “Sustain” is where I think we’ve faltered. It’s a slow build up that just creeps up on you and then all of a sudden you’re drowning in stuff!

      Part of Operation Declutter is also to set a good example for the kids so they don’t pick up bad habits.

  9. My town has a Facebook swap and sell page. It is really popular and things seem to sell quickly if they are priced right.

  10. We are engaged in the same activity. I have never been good at throwing things out or donating. I would sometimes bag things up, but then Ms. Financial Slacker would need to pull the trigger and get rid of the bag.

    That’s one of the nice things about moving. It forces you to decide what to keep and what not to. Problem is we have been in our house for 10 years. You can accumulate lots of clutter in 10 years.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Dave. Yeah, it just creeps up on ya, huh?

      I think after this initial Operation Declutter initiative is up, I’m going to actually schedule in some follow-up maintenance events to ensure it doesn’t sneak up on us again. I don’t feel like moving anytime soon. 😉

  11. I like your organized approach, especially since you give yourself a reasonable time-frame. Good luck!

    1. Good luck, GS! I just signed up for an Amazon seller account to see if I can offload some of my sellable stuff. We’ll see how it goes!

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