Now that it's warming up, it's a great time to go through those closets, shelves, garages and cabinets for "stuff" that's begun to own you, rather than the other way around. Here's what we've done ourselves (and also what our neighbor did before redecorating her place) to lose that decor gut:
1. Using some coloured Post-It notes, designate your "absolutely must keep pieces". Grandma Gertrude's antique curio cabinet or that awesome Saarinen Tulip Armchair, alongside other major pieces and daily use items, should get designated with this first colour.
2. Use a secondary colour of Post-It notes to mark those items that you use occasionally and will consider getting rid of. Things like that popcorn maker you use a couple times a year or those knick knacks from your travels that don't really have much sentimental significance or use. This second tier are things you'd consider letting go, but aren't sure.
3. This third group is where the fun begins: the donate or sell items. You don't have to mark these...just start a pile or throw them into a large box. Old clothes, CDs you no longer listen to (burn them), appliances, sporting goods, bedding, etc....be vicious. Trust me, you do not need to hold on one more day to that Wilson Phillips commemorative mug.
Now, go back to category #2 and at least take 25% of those items and add them to pile #3. No if's, and's or but's (except your butt hauling that stuff over). This is the hard part for many people, who tend to start making excuses. But this is where you start making a difference, because pile #3 is usually filled with stuff you're obviously and willing to giveaway without much pressure. It's the stuff designated in group #2 that will result in a lot more room (and possibly money).
A few years back we used this method to clean out our apartment of years of accumulated "stuff", organizing a party/garage sale with our friends, where we spent three separate weekends BBQing, hanging out and ridding ourselves of the possessive baggage of "stuff". We made $600 selling these things we didn't even want nor need anymore, and it certainly helped when we moved from a 800 sq. ft. apartment down to a 600 sq. ft. place without a garage, all the while not looking like we were cramped in. And till this day, we hardly remember any of those things we strangely held onto for so long.
In the coming weeks, we're planning another yard sale with our friends and neighbors. We have hundreds of CDs we've burned and are ready to part with (small scratches prevent an Amoeba trade-in), alongside some of our clothes (both my girlfriend and I not only thinned out closets, but also our waistlines this year), so we hope to use that money for more important needs (haha, I've made an argument for an ice cream maker, but that's debatable). We hope you follow suit and put yourself on a decor diet using that easy process above.