Getting Rid of Stuff

I’ve been having fun decluttering my world. I made a little internal pact that every day for a while I’d fill some bags and bring them to Village Merchants, a nearby 2nd hand store. I’ve learned a bunch through this effort. Village Merchants, for one, is more than just a 2nd hand store – it’s a hub of my community – and also the merchandise there changes almost daily = 2 pairs of almost new shoes $16/a piece!

2. I’m getting down to a level of stuff that includes more things I actually use on a daily basis. And, I’ve removed many things that I’ve been carrying around for a long long time – I feel lighter without them in my space.

3. I look forward to my daily routine of the walk to the place. It takes me by Richmond Elementary and the school kids there playing in the playground – what a joy – the squealing laughter has been a nice reminder of play, youth, vibrancy, etc.

4. I’m excited to figure out what goes in tomorrow’s collection because I feel I have a long way to go to really get to the cleared space I want to live in.

5. This all reminds me of my early days of helping Freecycle get started through building up FreecyclePortland in 2003. The joy of passing along precious things to new friends. (Wow, I just learned that the group has almost 50,000 members – hoo boy!)

I think part of this decluttering urge came from visiting some homes in the end of 2015 which were very Zen-like. Max Ribner’s place has almost no tschotchkes in it and being there for one of the Kilikina Chocolate events in December was such a joy. My living space doesn’t look all that different from all the de-cluttering I’ve done, but I think with a few more trips, it will.

I’ve also noticed something else that’s surprised me. I’m now looking at a higher proportion of things that actually have meaning to me. Which means focusing on them, more.  Massage tools, prayer flags, plants, tarot cards and the book shelf full of un-read books.

I’m also excited to learn more about decluttering and the beneficial effects that it probably has on one’s psyche – because I feel I’ve just begun the journey.

If you have any thoughts on decluttering, please share them below. I’m curious what you know, what you think, what you’ve learned and where I might go from here 🙂

Thanks, and happy new year! Happy New Year

Update: 10.2017: Death Cleaning – it’s a thing!

And more 10.20.17 – Clutter is Bad even if you’re not a Hoarder

1.13.2020 – Here’s a great article on Decluttering.

4.20.2020 – Another great article on the topic out of the UK!


  1. Harriet Matter-Jones says

    I commend you for clearing clutter. A great feng shui. As you may know, I sold my four BR house in Multnomah Village last summer (2013) in order to move back to Europe where I will live now forever, unless a big cosmic surprise awaits me. In order to that I sold basically everything I owned. I moved back from Europe to Portland in 2002 with furniture and 400 boxes. I returned with 27 boxes and 3 suitcases. Most of the boxes where things my daughter asked to keep in the family, like my collection of Christmas decorations, my art books, some art and some special dishes, her childhood stuffed animals, and other stuff of this nature. I rid myself of 9 leaf bags of clothes and shoes, my beautiful collection of Kuan Yin’s, and other sacred altar type objects, my Persian rugs, and lots of great things I truly loved. I gave a lot away and I had some yard sales (helped by my intrepid friend Mark Nedleman). I lost thousands of dollars. It was very liberating to be sure. I am now in the process of being reborn in many ways, as I self-identified with my beautiful stuff and beautiful house so so much. I have done this about 5 times in my life actually. You asked people to talk about their experience. This is one of the most powerful things a person can do in my opinion. It is profoundly spiritual and life altering. But you have to be ready. If it is forced upon you by fires, floods, or war, well that is a subject for another post, right? Take care Albert of the Ideation!

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