Clutter becomes clutter (even in organized spaces) (which ours is not always), when it is no longer serving a purpose. Clothing that we no longer choose to wear is clutter. Craft supplies that are not going to become finished projects in my home are clutter. Kitchen items that I no longer use are clutter.
About two or three times per year, I go through closets and cabinets. I check in with our stuff to see if it is still serving a purpose. Stacks of things usually form. Letting go is as easy as bagging it all up and dropping it at a charity shop...or as difficult as organizing a yard sale. The goal is simply to connect our outgoing stuff with new owners who will use it. I know that if my stuff goes directly into the thrift arena, it may not sell and may eventually clog the economy of another country...or simply end up in the landfill.
Obviously, my primary goal needs to be prevention. Unnecessary purchases are ill advised. Even with great vigilance, however, stuff does come and go. Clothes are outgrown by growing children. Well-intentioned purchases are sometimes unsuitable. Things outlive their usefulness in one place.
Here's what I did this time to connect my outgoing stuff with new owners:
-Tried to sell a few things on Ebay (brand name items), Etsy (vintage items + craft supplies), + Craigslist (bulky pieces). I set a time limit + if things don't sell in a couple of weeks, I donate them. I need to keep this stuff moving.
-Finished a few unearthed sewing projects. A pillow cover for Jo, a yoga bag for Julia, some pillow cases + a jumpsuit for me.
-Craft supplies that don't sell will be donated to a craft supply resale shop. Some were donated (mailed) to The Social Justice Sewing Academy.
-Made some useable bags out of scrap fabric instead of dumping it. Donated them. Added the tiny scraps to my rag bag of spent fabric (spent cleaning rags, threadbare sheets, holey intimates) + brought that bag to Goodwill to be donated for rags, insulation, etc.
-Tried to sell a few of last year's homeschool textbooks + other books on Amazon (checking to see if they are worth more than about $7) or Ebay. If they didn't sell in a few weeks, tried selling them to Half Price Books (best when you have a bag full) or donated them to the library book sale.
-Cleaned kitchen cupboards + made plans to use up lingering ingredients in the next week. I try to do this monthly.
If we had a lot of games, puzzles, or unused coloring books + supplies, I'd look for some to donate to Houston Emergency or equivalent Florida organization. Take a look at their list for other inspiration. This could be great motivation for children to look through their things while thinking of children who lost all of their books + toys due to flooding.
I recently read Carmella's twist on William Morris. William Morris said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or beautiful." Carmella adds, "Is it useful or beautiful for our lives right now?"
I don't need to hang on to that which could be useful or beautiful to someone else right now.