Decluttering and the Buy Nothing Day Free Market!

So every year around this time, I go through my home and attempt to declutter a bit. This is done partially with the intent of helping keep my pack-rat-ish tendencies under control, but also with the side benefit of helping other people. You see my Kiwanis club (and other Kiwanis clubs and the local CKI clubs in Edmonton as well) has been hosting the Buy Nothing Day Free Market for the past 7 years (and this year will be the 8th year of this event. It's a great event where people bring in things they no longer want/need (useful things, of course) and people pick up items that they do want or need. I'm always happy if I rid myself of more than what I bring home from the event (and more happy if I bring home maybe less than 10% of what I bring in).

And over the years I've picked up some rather awesome stuff. Greeting cards, books that I had been meaning to read, the occasional CD, sometimes a clothing item or two, and some kitchen ware have been some personal finds that I've been rather happy with! Quite honestly, I never know what I'll find one year to the next. And that's part of the joy of this free event that serves the community at large. No money exchanges hands but a lot of useful goods do.

I really love seeing the smile on people's faces when they find something that they really want or need. Once a woman outfitted her whole family with winter gear from the market, and they were new to Canada let along Edmonton. I've seen students really happy to be able to outfit their kitchens with items so they could spend their limited resources elsewhere. Others have found good gag gifts for holiday exchanges or sometimes great games or craft materials. And I've seen family and friends benefit from the opportunity to declutter or to pick up great items.

I benefited this year from a friend who will be bringing some of my items to the market in her car. This meant that when I started going through and weeding my bookshelves and other supplies in my house (I'm not done yet!) I was able to strategize how much I'll be able to carry to the event I've got some good hardcover, softcover, graphic novels, comic books, fiction, and reference books coming to the market this year. That plus a bunch of miscellaneous items and my house will be just that little bit less cluttered.

I realize I STILL need more bookshelf space for the books that I do have… but my shelves do look happier. Generally I only rid myself of books that I doubt I'll ever reread or recomend to someone else. Personal favourites don't leave my library though there are some rather great items going to the Free Market this year. And media of various forms will be leaving my home for the market as well. Pretty much the same weeding criteria was used (with the exception of format — some items I've since acquired in more modern forms).

I have yet to go through most of the other rooms of my house to declutter but I like to think that this is a great opportunity and hope that I don't make too many rash decisions! 🙂