The Great American Crap Schlep

by Katy on December 8, 2008 · 12 comments



I’m always so focused on the holiday gifts I’m buying for friends and family,  I forget that I’m receiving gifts as well.

I stand there on December 26th, staring down at all my new possessions and wonder :

Where does it all go?

This is especially true for kid gifts. I’ve always bemoaned the fact that everyone gives stuff to my kids, but no one ever gives them a place to put it!

So this year, I’m going to pre-empt this dilemma and go through the house with an eye to clearing out the stuff we don’t need or even want. This is hard for me, as I am unabashedly sentimental about objects. But I’m just going to be stern with myself.

C’mon Katy, this stuff makes your house look like crap!

I just  remind myself, that of all the hundreds of things I’ve given to Goodwill in years past, there’s never been even one donation regret. Ever. And just because someone gave something to me, doesn’t mean I have to keep it.

Not only will this clear space for all the incoming new stuff, but the house will be easier to keep clean. Not to mention the nice tidy tax deduction.

Come join my Great American Crap Schlep! Let’s see if we can clear our homes of the clutter. Who knows, we might even get rid of more stuff than we end up recieving.

Because it is better to give than to receive.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Madre December 8, 2008 at 2:51 am

I know you’re less than fond of her, but FlyLady several times a year has her acolytes do what she calls “boogie” their houses — and weigh it. Then they add it up. She has something like a half-million devotees, and they write in what they excavated, some of which is hilarious. Check her out, gang: She’s very helpful for the born-disorganized.


Jinger December 8, 2008 at 6:42 am

We have a wonderful shop in our neighborhood called Garbage Arts which sells upcycled items! I love the word upcycle! They also hold a clothing swap regularly. And since I am purging my ill fitting clothing, I plan to take it all to GAGA and add it to their swap table. My old T shirts, I am turning into newborn caps and cancer caps for charity. I try to repurpose everything to give my unwanted items a new life.


The Frugalista Files December 8, 2008 at 11:51 am

Sign me up! I have so many clothing items that I need to get rid of.


Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog December 8, 2008 at 12:31 pm

I’m in! I have been meaning to do this for awhile, and now is a great time to get started… thanks for the reminder!

Frugal Family Fun Blog
Good times on a budget!


carocoknits December 8, 2008 at 12:47 pm

I do so wish that we got a tax deduction up here in Canada for donations! Keeping our homes free of clutter is a constant process. There is always a bag waiting to go to Goodwill, and the more we have gotten rid of, the more we realize what we can do without. Like you, there has not been one item that we have regretted getting rid of. If we are given an item that is truly horrific (and it happens), we don’t even try to find room for it and then give it away later. It gets put in the bag and disposed of right then. We have tried to make our point that we don’t want any gifts almost to the point of being ignorant, but for some people that is considered unacceptable. The kids have also become quite good at judging the usefulness of the item and disposing of it appropriately. (I have even had one instance where I was regifted a basket of potpourri and perfume that was so horrid that I had to stop the cycle. I couldn’t even bring myself to give it to Goodwill, I had to dispose of it myself. I have the sneaking suspicion that I was the third or fourth recipient!) So, for me, everyday is the perfect time for decluttering (but I did take advantage and made my kids clean their room really good in preparation for the big day coming up!)


Wendy December 8, 2008 at 3:07 pm

“So, for me, everyday is the perfect time for decluttering (but I did take advantage and made my kids clean their room really good in preparation for the big day coming up!)”

carocoknits, I love it! I couldn’t stop laughing over your handling of the potpourri and perfume. Decluttering really is an ongoing process. Thanks for the reminder!


Jessica Wolk-Stanley December 8, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Great idea, Katy!

Since my son’s birthday comes two days before Christmas, we have all the more incentive. I have a spot in my basement where I stash Goodwill-bound bags (out of sight where no one has a chance to have second thoughts) and when I go, I grab the bags.


Elizabeth B December 9, 2008 at 1:53 am

Mom used to call this the Great Christmas Shovel-Out. 😉


Heidi December 9, 2008 at 10:21 am

I am always on the lookout for things that our home can do without. Clutter drives me crazy. My favorite way to get rid of excess junk is I’ve given loads of stuff away in the past few months, but it is an ongoing, year-round process. At least twice a year (usually when we move clothes around for the seasons) I go through my kids closets, and donate all the unwanted clothes (often with very little wear on them, since they are at the age where they’re growing like weeds).


Viki December 9, 2008 at 10:38 am

We try to “purge” our kids rooms before the holidays and birthdays. I have a box in the basement where I store the items for about a month before I donate them. That way if the kids truly miss something, they can keep it (its happened once in 5 or 6 years!). I’ll try to “purge” the whole house this year!


Christa December 10, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Hey, Thank You for this article. I read it this morning and it got me thinking, and now I have a huge box full of JUNK headed for Goodwill in the morning. I could probably do this once a month with as much stuff as we manage to accumulate.


Darcy December 13, 2008 at 1:03 pm

our family of four living in a 741 sq foot home has taught us how to purge, what is necessary, and what is worth cherishing. i love your idea of a great american crap schlep, as well as the catchy name. we’ll be participating!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: