Our closets are filled with stuff. Our garages are filled with stuff. Our bookshelves and drawers are filled with stuff. 

As Americans, it’s almost second nature to acquire stuff – clothing, books, souvenirs, knickknacks, wall artdishware and a multitude of personal items. 

Millennials began bucking the trend about five years ago, favoring experiences over belongings. Now, minimalism has become mainstream. Everyone from first-time homeowners to retirees are decluttering and simplifying their homesJust flip on the TV and you’re bound to stumble across a home improvement or redecorating show where hosts are emphasizing simplicity. 

Minimalism isn’t about removing every painting to reveal barren walls or tossing tchotchkes off the shelves. It’s about having the right balance. It’s about having items that speak to your tastes and personality. 

Essentially, it’s about having the right “stuff” at this particular point in your life. 

Unlike some extinct interior design trends, such as wall-to-wall carpeting and popcorn ceilingsCOVID-19 helped affirm that minimalism is here to stay. Here’s why: 

  • Stuff costs money: The pandemic taught us that economic situations might change at any moment. Stock market drops can wipe away retirement savings in the blink of an eye. No industry is recession- or pandemic-proof, even government jobs and those requiring college degrees. Going forward, consumers will be closely scrutinizing their expenditures and building rainy day funds. 
  • Stuff clutters living spaces: Florida’s “safer at home” order forced many professionals to work from home, only to find themselves less productive. That’s because our brains prefer order, and researchers say clutter creates distractions, stress and anxiety. It’s also difficult to unwind with stacks of dirty dishes in the sink or piles of dirty laundry in the bedroom. 
  • Stuff isn’t important: That snow globe you bought on sale or free bobblehead you got at the ballgame just take up space and collect dustUnlike family or health, many household objects aren’t important. You likely walk past dozens of items daily without even noticing their presence. 

Once you’ve made the decision to declutter, it’s time to formulate a plan of attack. 

(1) Schedule it

Set a date and time to inventory and clean each room in your home. Otherwise, procrastination can derail ambition.  

(2) Set parameters

When deciding which items to keep, first identify if you have a personal connection to an item, whether you have used or enjoyed it recently and whether it has any value. 

(3) Trash vs. donation

If you no longer need or want an item, would someone else? Only donate items that other people may consider purchasing. While it’s true that someone’s trash can be another person’s treasure, it’s also true that someone’s trash can be another person’s trash.  

(4) Find a cause

In Southwest Florida, many nonprofits operate resale shops and thrift stores that welcome donations, which ultimately are resold to generate support for programs and services. Local causes include education, hunger, employment, housing, religion and more. Donating higher-value items allows your organization of choice to sell items at higher prices, thus raising additional funds to support the mission. Plus, donations often are considered tax deductible. 

When you’re ready to jump on the minimalism trend, please consider donating quality furniture, home décor, artwork, kitchenware, lamps, linens, DVDs and CDs, books and more, as well as all types of new and gently used ladies and men’s clothing, including accessories such as jewelry, purses and nearly new shoes. Call ahead to make sure a nonprofit accepts the items you want to donate. 

Every donation and sale allows nonprofits to accomplish their goals and enhance our community. 

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop.

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