According to a UCLA study, the average American home holds some 300,000 items, including 139 toys, 438 books and magazines, and 32 pairs of shoes (that’s a lot of Chuck Taylors, guys!). The same survey found that the average American woman owns 30 outfits, up from just nine ensembles in 1930.

Perhaps to keep up with their mountains of stuff, the average size of an American home has ballooned from 983 square feet in 1950 to 2,480 in 2011. Even with our pantries, attics, basements, bonus rooms, and mudrooms, there’s still not enough space to keep up with our contemporary consumerist tendencies: The U.S. feeds a $24 billion storage unit industry.

Maybe it's better to get rid of some of that junk, and in the process, shed stress too?

How you start the great unloading varies as much of the kind of possessions you might want to shed. You can offload unwanted clothes by reselling them, dump romance novels by donation, or shuttle an entire household’s worth of stuff with an estate sale. Read on for advice on it all, plus strategies for decluttering your castle.