Help Wanted – Decluttering

December 9th, 2014

Decluttering is a much bigger deal than most people realize. In the last 9 months, two of my clients downsized from houses to condos. In discussions with them, several things became apparent about decluttering: it is very hard work, it is really hard to get rid of stuff and you will have a lot of stuff to get rid of.

My wife and I are also planning to downsize to a condo in the next 6 to 12 months. Keeping in mind that it took me 6 months and thousands of dollars to empty my parents’ house, we have started carting things to the curb, donating as much as we can to different organizations and carrying boxes of books to Sunnybrook Hospital.

We are encountering several challenges:

  • We have a garage with a lot of garden furniture, bicycles and other odds and sods that will need to go.
  • We have a garden shed with a lawn mower, garden tools, hoses and sprinklers, fertilizers and other chemicals that will need to go.
  • My wife and I are avid readers and have been collecting books for years. I estimate that we have over 2,000 books on shelves throughout the house and that 90% of these will have to go. The thought of all these books ending in a landfill site is heart breaking.
  • Our house has 9 rooms and three bathrooms. The largest condo we have looked at so far had 5 rooms and two bathrooms. The smallest was 608 square feet! We are going to have to dispose of almost half of our furniture.
  • In those condos, it was striking how small the rooms are and, in many, how few cupboards there are. We are not certain that we are going to be able to keep our rugs, which would be very painful. Some of our furniture will be too large to fit into the condo.

Clearly, we have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn. If you have any tips or suggestions for us, please send them to me. I am interested in web sites, organizations that help you get rid of furniture, consignment stores and any other techniques that can be used to facilitate decluttering.

I would like to develop a list of the “techniques” available in southern Ontario in general and the GTA in particular.

If you (or your friends and family) have any decluttering stories or resources you can share, please email them to me at I will compile them into a resource list to share in future articles.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.