advice

Ask UfYH: Get That Stuff OUT of Your House!

Q: I find that a lot of times I stall out on tasks that require me to actually leave the house (taking an enormous pile of crap to Goodwill, etc.). Do you have suggestions about that, besides “just do it”?

A: Sometimes, it seems like getting rid of stuff is both the easiest and the hardest task all at once. It’s pretty easy for many of us to bag up a bunch of stuff to throw out, recycle, or donate, but actually getting it out of the house is where so many of us leave the task uncompleted. The least aggravating way I’ve found to deal with it is to attach the “getting rid of” task to something else that you would have to do anyway. Need to drop clothing off at the donation bins? Make it part of your grocery trip. You need to go to the grocery store with some frequency, so make taking your donation bags part of that errand.

Lots of people have difficulty taking their garbage out in a timely manner to wherever it is they need to put their garbage so it gets collected and taken away. Make taking the garbage out a part of your leaving the house routine: find keys, put coat on, get purse, and grab the full garbage or recycling. Once you’re already leaving the house for work or school or errands, the detour to take the trash out will add only a few minutes, if even that.

Q: I have this tendency to save every appliance/computer/whatever box JUST IN CASE. Is that necessary?

A: Nope. Wait, wait, wait, everyone. All you box-savers are all up in arms right now, I can feel the disturbance in the force, but hang on. I only advocate saving original packaging in these circumstances:

  • You’ve had the item for less than two weeks and aren’t sure if you’re keeping it/if it works properly.
  • The item will spend more time in storage than in use. For example, I have a GIANT coffee percolator that gets used maybe two or three times a year, and the rest of the time, it lives in its box — from 1981, what can I say? They don’t build things like they used to — in my garage. My everyday coffeemaker? The box has long since been recycled since the item is in use on a regular basis.
  • It’s a really delicate and/or fragile and/or expensive piece of equipment that will need to be moved with some frequency.
  • You have room to keep the original packaging.

“But what if I move?” you ask. Well, yeah. You probably will. But you don’t need original packaging in order to pack. You can work wonders with moving boxes and supplies and not concern yourself with keeping boxes for all eternity.

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[E] Rachel

I punctuate sentences with Oxford commas, and I punctuate disagreements with changesocks. Proud curmudgeon. Get off my lawn.

2 thoughts on “Ask UfYH: Get That Stuff OUT of Your House!”

    1. My dad was also a “JUST IN CASE” box saver.

      Meanwhile, I’m more of a “That’s a perfectly good box I could use to mail something in. At some point.”

      I’m not saying it’s good that I do this… It’s less “JUST IN CASE” and more “I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF.”

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