It’s a daunting task. After endless neglect and an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, that special room in your house that’s been used to store everything from old clothes to “some day I might need that” items must be cleaned out – once and for all! You know that no contractor is going to step foot inside until you’ve de cluttered the entire space from top to bottom. But with years and possibly decades of accumulated junk, just getting started feels like a Herculean undertaking. How do I get rid of all this stuff? Who on earth besides a hired professional is going to haul this away? Well, before paying top dollar to hire a junk removal service, here are some helpful tips on how to downsize without dipping into your own pocket.

  1. Toss, Keep, Sell

A good first step after taking the plunge is dividing all your items into three categories: toss, keep and sell. Is there an old couch that looks like it’s straight out of the 1970s? Probably a good idea to just toss it. Are there any items you no longer want but may be of value to someone else? If that’s the case, then try your luck at selling. And finally, if there are items you can’t part with, mark them under keep and find some other place in your house to store them efficiently.

  1. Try the front curb

You would be amazed at what people will take from your curb. And not only will they gladly haul it away for you, it’ll be gone before you even know it. Let’s say you have an old, broken treadmill that no longer works. You think no one will touch it with a ten-foot pole but there’s always someone driving around looking to melt down the pieces for scrap. So put some of the junk you’ve marked as “toss” to the curb (usually right before garbage day) and give it twenty-four hours.  It might shock you what disappears.

  1. Giving it away for free online

That dining room set that’s been out of style for years may seem tacky to you, but for a starving kid in college — at the price of zero dollars — they’ll gladly take it off your hands. Advertise on sites like Kijiji and Craig’s List as well as college sites in the ‘Free’ section and hopefully, your used furniture finds a new home besides the dump.

  1. Selling it online

Likewise, if the item is tagged under ‘Sell,’ you can also post ads on the two sites mentioned above for free (for a premium, your ad will appear at the top of the page for greater visibility). Just keep in mind that according to one survey, these were the most popular items put up for sale:

  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Games and Toys
  • Appliances
  • Jewelry and Accessories
  • Sporting Equipment, Collectibles and Electronics

Therefore, you need to be aware that you will face competition online so price based on solid research and not sentimental value. If time is of the essence, you may need to list below the average in order to achieve a quick sell. Also, to make your ads stand out from the rest, try bundling multiple items in a lot (e.g. 25 World War 2 books for $25!!).

  1. Garage sale

Alternatively, organizing a good old fashioned garage sale on a Saturday morning is another great way to unload all of your junk at once. Some tips include advertising your sale on local and social media sites while making sure the signs around your neighborhood lead potential customers in the right direction (neon signs, address & hours in bold and arrows pointing traffic to your house).