There's a Digital Path to Help Painlessly Declutter Your Home

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — One of the more popular television shows today is Hoarders, which shows vividly how accumulating too much stuff can ruin lives and turn nice homes into clutter-filled disasters that threaten the physical and mental health of their occupants.

But you can see how it gets so bad: A study from Listia, a Mountain View, Calif., used-goods marketplace service, says 80% of people get "stressed" when decluttering their home, and 20% even say they'd rather be struck in traffic than have to thin out their possessions. Another 10% say they'd rather have a tooth pulled.

Fret not. There are some tried-and-true methods of simplifying your home and your life, some as easy as going online. 

Listia starts by pointing to shared-economy networks to get rid of old or unused items. 

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Seek out a local Facebook group page, LiveJournal or Patch classifieds to let your community know you have an old, but still usable dining room table looking for a new home, for instance. Or go onto your local Craigslist or Freecycle page, again to let people know you'll be leaving a box of tools or kitchen supplies at the corner of your driveway.

You can also use popular decluttering websites such as Yardsalessearch.com or Yardsales.net to announce garage sales that can put cash in your pocket and clean out your home.

There's more direct online advice on how to declutter your life at dedicated websites such as Unclutter.com, which offers tips on thinning out a hoarders' home or just an overstuffed wallet or pocketbook. For a more spiritual approach, try Zenhabits.com, which offers some good advice on simplifying your life.

"While there's no doubt decluttering can be stressful, sharing-oriented marketplaces are making it easier, safer and more rewarding than ever to find new alternatives to extract value from unused items in your home," says Gee Chuang, CEO and co-founder of Listia. "More and more users prefer communities like these not only to declutter, but also to connect with others."

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Whether you go the minimalist route online or through old-fashioned techniques such as going to the town dump, the same rules for decluttering apply: 

Make sure you spend one-half-hour per day choosing which items are heading out the door, then pack them up and move them out, either for pickup from an online source or to get them elsewhere on your own. 

Or try the "Oprah" method - the talk show superstar gets credit for this strategy - and get rid of old clothes by hanging all of your clothes in your closet with the hangers reversed. Pull your clothes out to wear them as needed. When you're done, put the clothes back with the hangers in the opposite direction. Within 90 days, you'll know which clothes you wear and which are gathering dust and need to be removed from your closet and home.

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