The Peaceful Easy Feeling that Comes with Decluttering

A few weeks ago I got a wake-up call that wasn’t exactly intended for me. Our friends Matt and Sharlene got the call that his 92-year old aunt had died. As the executor of her estate, this did not catch them by surprise. The surprise came after a long flight when they opened the door to their late-aunt’s home.


As they described what they were facing in a home stuffed to the brim with stuff, vicariously I was right there with them—overwhelmed by the enormity of the accumulation of clutter. What to do? Where to start? At that moment in my heart (and now publicly) I renewed my pledge to my husband and children: To the very best of my ability and as God is my witness, I will never leave a mess for you to deal with.

Admittedly, I am a clutter bug and I know why. I believe that everything I own has value. That means I must keep it. The struggle is real. Those books I’ll never open again or my old mobile phone that won’t hold a charge—they have to be worth something to someone. Right?

Or how about that box of video games? They still look good even though we don’t have the game station that goes with them. And that computer monitor. Sure, it’s small-ish and old, but it still works (I think). I can’t throw it out. All those movie DVDs! They cost a lot of money. And on and on it goes from the garage to the basement—every room has the potential to become a clutter magnet. 

Here’s the truth I confront every day: No matter my perceived value of stuff I no longer use or need, those things are losing value every day I hang onto them. Right now, today, I need to determine how I can turn all of these things into cash. Impossible? Not at all.

Over the years I have explored realistic ways to turn clutter into cash. And I’ve figured out ways to do it. Still, the truth is that not everything can be sold. So what I cannot sell, I donate. What is not good enough to donate I turn my head the other way and throw into the trash. The heartbreak is momentary—replaced quickly by a  wonderful feeling as clutter turns into clean and orderly.

Which brings me to my favorite company that pays me cash for some books, CDs, DVDs, video games, electronics and old mobile devices—Decluttr. Notice I said “some.” Decluttr doesn’t buy everything, but they buy a lot! And they pay the shipping fees to send boxes of stuff to them. Even better, once that box arrives they send me a check the very next day.

Even when Decluttr offers me say, $.40 for a book I think is worth $40 (yeah, I’m like that), I know that book is not headed for the landfill. It will eventually end up in the hands of someone, somewhere who will value it greatly and actually read it. Same for CDs, DVDs, video games, electronics and mobile devices I will never ever use again (I was really surprised to learn Decluttr pays as much as $450 for a mobile phone).

Go visit Decluttr to see how it works (easy, peasy!). Notice the option you’ll have to  download the Decluttr app to your smartphone. That’s what I did. Now I just open the app and scan barcodes on stuff. Or answer a few questions regarding an electronic device. It’s fun!

In an instant the app tells me if Decluttr wants to buy it and the price they’ll pay. Or if it’s an “Oops!” I put it into the donation box and just keep going.

Once I hit at least $5 total on my Decluttr app, I put those items into a box—any box—print the prepaid mailing label on my computer printer (it just shows up in my account), close the box up and off it goes to Decluttr central. Within days, here comes a check in the mail. Or I could opt to be paid via Paypal.

Decluttr does more than buy my stuff. The way I look at it, they pay me to keep my home and my life organized. That keeps my mind at ease.

I just love that peaceful, easy feeling of knowing that I have a place for everything and everything is in its place. Something tells me you do, too.

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9 replies
  1. Janie Dale
    Janie Dale says:

    Before you decide to throw something away check out joining
    Set up an account and join a group in your local area, or in my case there’s four different groups in my area so I’m a member in all of them. You can post items you no longer want/need and then other members contact you about taking it. You can also post a request for something you need (it’s wonderful for new parents needing clothes, etc).
    It’s not tax deductible, but you’re helping someone else in need and keeping it out of the landfill.

    Mary, I have to add how much I enjoy your column. It’s made a big difference in my life in so many ways: financially, cooking, planning for the future. I look forward to your email every day.
    Thanks for all you do.
    Janie D.

  2. Dianne G
    Dianne G says:

    I’ve always found your advice to be good, but sometimes things sound too good to be true. When I checked reviews of this company, the BBB doesn’t have a very good opinion of them. One of the reviewers indicates that the parent company has a lot of issues, too. Have you used them a lot? And always had good success? Do you send very large packages to them?

    • Dianne G
      Dianne G says:

      Sorry, I meant to include this link –

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      Are you fully aware of what BBB is all about? BBB. Better Business Bureau. BBB cannot be trusted. Their “positive” ratings are more often than not “bought” and the negative ratings are the result of companies not wanting to pay off the mobsters over at BBB. I do not trust BBB. TrustPilot reviews are a much better indicator:

      • Dianne G
        Dianne G says:

        Thank you, Mary. I’d not heard any bad thinngs about the BBB and for many years, it seemed that they were sort of the Good Housekeeping stamp of approval when they gave a good rating. I will check out TrustPilot. Thanks again!

  3. Mary Hunt
    Mary Hunt says:

    Thank you Janie D … for your loyalty, support and very kind words. I have so many awesome readers and I count you in that very special group of people.

  4. Betty Thomas
    Betty Thomas says:

    Great information! One question though Mary, is there something we need to do with old cell phones to insure security before we pass them on to Decluttr?

    • maxhalberg
      maxhalberg says:

      Hi Betty, read this post for some more info:

  5. yehudit
    yehudit says:

    Declttr is available only in the US. For those of us outside the US, an option is used book stores. My hobby is history and I enjoy perusing the shelves of these stores to buy books that are no longer available in regular book stores. They also buy books. At least once a year, I take a large stack of books I no longer want or need. Most of them give me a credit slip. If I return home with, for example, two books, they still take up less room than the ten books I just got rid of. Last year, a visiting granddaughter helped carry the books, and got rewarded with the credit slip, which she used immediately.


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