We all have lots of stuff, despite the fact that right now it's very IN to be minimalist. I am not against stuff, but I am against "junk" and "junky stuff." My favorite minimalist gurus advocate purpose and joy. Do the items you own serve a purpose and bring you joy?
Downsizing for a move will make you take a good hard look at all the stuff you have and forces you to ask these questions. There are two types of people: those who can easily part with stuff, and those who can't. We all know which category we fall into. My husband and I are opposites in this regard. I can get rid of stuff all day long but he always thinks we might "need" it later.
Regardless of which type you are, if your move is necessitating a downsize you'll just have to do it.
Traditionally there are three piles for those who are downsizing. KEEP, DONATE, TRASH.
Us eBayers though, I find, will have a voice nagging us when we go to donate something;
"You could sell that you know, it's worth probably $30 on eBay."
If you plan ahead enough, and don't feel incredibly stressed out - definitely sell some of your higher dollar items that you are downsizing.
I do feel incredibly stressed out though, and the idea of listing a bunch of my "junk" on eBay makes my stomach turn. (I much prefer to buy someone else's junk and sell that - yes I understand this is counterintuitive but if you're a fellow reseller I'm sure you're with me on this.)
So I've alleviated the guilt of the "you could get $10-$30 for that on eBay" items by donating them directly to organizations that will get the BEST use of them. Here are some examples:
Old Blankets, towels, sheets - Animal Shelter
Nicer Blankets, towels, sheets - Women's shelter/Homeless Shelter
Toys, books - and organization like Samaritan House which helps to put women and children into stable environments.
Clothing - the trickiest of all, can sometimes be donated directly to shelters, Winter items are often collected by churches, and of course pass clothes on to friends and family with children slightly younger than yours
Baby stuff - to your pregnant friends, or friends who have pregnant daughters, or pregnancy crisis organizations
Tools/Garage items - Habitat for Humanity
Pantry items that cannot be moved - A Local Food Pantry
And of course donating to thrift stores is fine too (and much easier).
What I've done is started a yard sale box in the garage, Animal Shelter box, friends/family box (items I want to return or give to family, like the dress you borrowed from your sister last year, or that special heirloom baby bonnet) etc. Then, if you know you're going to be driving by the food pantry that day, you can grab the box and drop it off.
How do you manage donations (even if you're not moving)? Do you have a hard time getting rid of "stuff"? What are your tips for a big downsize?
What other organizations have the most direct need for household items?