So much of what cluttered up my house was absolutely free or wildly inexpensive. The towels I mentioned were hand-me-downs. The shoes I rescued from my sister's cast-off pile (that were half a size too small!) didn't cost me a cent. Something in me didn't want to see these things get wasted, so I rescued them. Never mind that they could have been put to better use elsewhere. I stockpiled them anyway.
In my experience, free or cheap items pile up quickly. If I am committing my own money, I am more discerning. I have gotten better about delaying the purchase until I find something worthwhile. But I have a hard time saying no to hand-me-downs. Likewise, I used to feel this pressure to find a home for anything I got rid of. It would stay in my house until I thought of someone who might be able to put it to use somehow. Now, as I declutter, I want to be mindful of that tendency. I don't want to pass on my clutter to others anymore before ascertaining if they really could use it or actually want it. The charity this article mentions, A Wider Circle, sounds like a great solution.
This is just the reminder I needed to jump back in to my tidying. Tomorrow I will share my strategy for tackling paper.