How to seperate yourself from old things

Has another year gone by in which you have bought a bunch of new things? Does the closet get a little bit fuller every year, is the dresser more crowded, does the basement feel more and more like a store room? Then the question arises: "Do I really need all this?" But how does one proceed to create lasting order? And where do the old things go? We show you how to tackle tidying up.

Tidying up: The right method

There are many possible approaches. One that has come into focus this year is the "KonMarie" method of Japanese bestselling author Marie Kondo (hence the name). According to this method, you should follow these steps to declutter successfully.

1. Categories

The first step of the tidying up Process is dividing your belongings into five different categories:

  • Clothes
  • Books
  • Paper (course materials, forms, fliers, …)
  • Small stuff (figurines, make-up, electronics, …)
  • Memorabilia

You should definitely follow a chronological order in your Marie Kondo-style clean-up campaign, because you are working with unimportant things to which you are connected with great emotion. This will make organizing easier for you.

 2. Everything in one Heap

Now take all the things in one category and put them in a pile. The purpose of this approach is to get in touch with all your belongings and see what has accumulated in your dressers over the years. It’s all too easy to forget those favorite, old jeans, which although long too short, are still in the closet.

How to seperate yourself from old things
To part with old things, you first have to gain an overview of all your belongings.

3. Question of Pleasure

Now comes the special aspect of this method: You take each piece of the compiled pile in the hand (yes, each one) and do not ask yourself the question "Do I still need this?" but "Does it spark joy?". Yes? Then it’s worth keeping that object. But if you hesitate, you do not need it anymore. Therefore, it can be given away. However, that does not necessarily mean that it ends up in the garbage.

How to seperate yourself from old things
Once you have organized everything carefully, you only need a little discipline to keep order.

4. Putting Away

After you have worked through a category, you need to arrange the remaining stuff back where it was. But this time with a system: Each piece is allocated to a fixed place, which helps maintain the newly created order in the future. After use, you always put the thing back in its place, thus avoiding clutter.

 5. Continue to Comply

The KonMarie method is a lifestyle, a philosophy. You should only surround yourself with things that make you happy. Releasing old things not only frees your home, but also your mind – do you like the things around you, are you happy? Sounds logical, right? Therefore: In the future, only buy things that you really and honestly need. Besides yourself, you also do something good for the environment: saving resources.

What to do with the old stuff?

Now that you have successfully tydied up, what are you going to do with the sorted-out stuff? There are different  possibilities:

Give Away or Donate
Do you know someone who would enjoy the old jeans? Or somebody who would like to read your unwanted books? Giving things to acquaintances is a great and fulfilling way to start the new year. Maybe you do not personally know anyone who could use the things, even if they are still good? No problem, organizations such as Caritas regularly carry out collections for old clothes as well as furniture.

How to seperate yourself from old things
Perhaps you can find a person who will take over some books from your collection

Similar to donating, you can bring your old, still useful stuff like records, books, CDs and clothes to your local Brockenhaus. If you have furniture left over now that you’ve been busy cleaning up, most Brockenhouses also offer a handy pick-up service for free.

Are you short of cash? With plenty of online marketplaces, things can be easily sold with a little luck. For example, via, or, most recently, directly via Facebook. Or you can choose the more classic variant of selling: participating in a regional flea market. In this way, your old things can make someone else happy.

How to seperate yourself from old things
Flea markets and second-hand shops are practical ways to earn money with useful things.

Of course, there are also things that are simply ready for disposal. An outdated, broken radio; old cosmetics and so on. It is high time that you dispose of them. If possible, take the items to a disposal and recycling depot. In Switzerland there are such facilities in many places. The positive side effect: In this way, beautiful new things are made from your old items.

Even if the project of mucking out is time consuming: After you have separated from your old things you will feel better prepared for the new year. Surrounded with things that are really important to you, you are now ready to start a new year full of sustainable, intelligent consumer decisions. Without any fear of having your closets bursting at the seams.