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Old 07-15-2012, 02:04 PM
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The De-Clutter and Clean Up Support Thread


FIRST THING: I want to keep this thread POSITIVE and UPBEAT. It is meant to be encouraging and helpful. Please refrain from judgmental or disparaging comments. Thank you.

I'm trying to keep on track with organizing my crap and cleaning the useless out of my home and felt a need to share with folks out here. I was humming along, at the very least maintaining what I had cleaned up from week to week and continuing to make slow progress but then...

... then came the Great Heat Wave.

Sorry, folks, I don't do heat very well and our air conditioner, while very satisfactory for a normal Indiana summer, was struggling to keep up. Between heat exhaustion and having to basically shut down most of the house and live in the bedroom on the worst days the whole cleaning and organizing project just sort of shut down.

Anyhow, trying to get back on track here. Some of the recent positives:

- I have been able to maintain the front/living room at the level it was when we did the Big Clean Up in this thread

- In addition to the usual once a month trip to the recycling place with the pop and tin cans we've also taken a busted air conditioner (our old one) and a few other items in order to get some money for our old useless but recyclable crap. I'm now trying to take at least 1 extra item beyond just cans every time I go down there.

- Got the receipt/paper tracking better organized, as well as getting rid of about two garbage bags worth of no longer needed paper.

The next Projects planned are to:

- Get that spot between the front room and the kitchen microwave cleaned up/organized so I can get that upright freezer I've been wanting for food storage. In addition to being a useful item, I can then move the microwave to on top of that, freeing up space in the kitchen that will become the Bird Residence with storage underneath. This will be more organized, require less shifting of stuff when I want to get into the storage, and open up floor space.

- Clean up the "laboratory" sufficiently that I can use the workbench for my craft projects. The "lab" used to house my spouse's work stuff. We have since rented some space for him to set up his business and (we hope) make money off it.

But hey, it doesn't have to be all about me - I figure anyone else struggling with the cleaning/clutter/hoarding issues should be able to drop in for chatting/support/whatever. So join in. Post your successes - even if that's just maintaining because avoiding backsliding is as important as making progress. Post your current/planned clean-up projects. Give other posters a pat on the back. Tell us what you threw out this week or donated to charity. I know I'm not the only one out here, so let's have a (clean, neat, non-cluttering) party!

:::: throw confetti:::

Um... er... WHOOPS!

::: runs to get broom and dustbin :::

In case anyone is interested, some prior threads on the subject:
Tackling the Mess in the Front Room
Organizing Bank Stuff
Ask the (hopefully soon-to-be-former) Hoarder/Clutterer
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:18 PM
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We donated about 8 bags worth of boy's clothing and <in good condition> toys a couple of weeks ago, in preparation for a move. We've thrown away at least 10 big, black garbage bags worth of CRAP in the last week or so, and I predict many more in the near future.

While I hate moving OUT, I love moving IN, as it's the one time I get to really set up everything just how I like it, before we clutter it all up again.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:38 PM
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Taomist:

"...the one time I get to really set up everything just how I like it, before we clutter it all up again..."

I hear you there.

Rapacia
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:22 PM
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I'll take any good stuff you have.

Seriously though, I've got a huge dumpster in my yard right now, and I can't believe how much stuff we have to throw away. I think the idea of filling that dumpster has given me the impetus to get rid of all the useful stuff I have. Useful stuff, but unused, and likely to stay unused forever. So now if I get rid of it all that stuff I have plenty of room to store lots of new useful stuff that I'll acquire.

So yeah, send me any good stuff you have, I'm making room for it.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:39 PM
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Tripolar: I love your handle! Rapacia
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:23 PM
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I am slowly working on this year's resolution to reduce my possessions by half. Very slowly. This heat wave has been brutal for working on the house. I do have a couple of things ready to go from the basement for bulk garbage day (a mattress and box spring I said I would store for a friend for a summer, four years ago). I also have lots of bags of clothes for the Goodwill. I do not need that many clothes. Books and kitchen stuff are in the keep column. I do need some bookshelves, though. I think that might be my August building project.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:39 PM
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I'm facing a lot of indecision about what to do with baby stuff, right now. Because if we're going to have a second baby then we should keep stuff so we don't have to buy it again right? But dang. That attic is getting full.

The two main issues are clothes and toys. Toy-wise, I am only keeping the ones that got played with the very most. I figure there will be a steady stream of new toys for a new baby; I'm not worried about not having enough *snerk*.

Clothes, though. I mean, even if we are lucky enough to have a second baby, who says it'll be the same gender? Who says it'll be born in the same season? Is it really worth it to keep anything at all?

I've settled on a middle ground of keeping the gorgeous coordinated stuff that I bought her and love... and donating all of the mismatching and sometimes crappy stuff she gets as gifts. Worst comes to worst it'll sit in the attic a while then I'll sell it on eBay. Baby clothes don't really go out of fashion all that quick.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:55 PM
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I just throw out a bunch of crappy alcohol that I had been storing for a decade. And I took a BIG bin of electronics to a recycling shop.

I have more decluttering to do, but it's a good start.


-D/a
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
- Got the receipt/paper tracking better organized, as well as getting rid of about two garbage bags worth of no longer needed paper.
Suggestion: Instead of collecting paper copies of bank statements, credit card statements, utility statements, etc., download the PDF versions of these documents. Virtually all large companies make electronic copies of the statements available on their websites, and you can usually get several years worth of back statements as well. I recommend creating a folder for each account and then naming each file as YYYYMM.PDF so that they can be easily sorted.

As for the receipts, I mark four envelopes with the fiscal quarter (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec) and then put all of the receipts I receive in the appropriate envelope. I save these envelopes for a year or so, and then shred them, on the assumption that I won't need to return anything after that time.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 07-15-2012 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Suggestion: Instead of collecting paper copies of bank statements, credit card statements, utility statements, etc., download the PDF versions of these documents. Virtually all large companies make electronic copies of the statements available on their websites, and you can usually get several years worth of back statements as well. I recommend creating a folder for each account and then naming each file as YYYYMM.PDF so that they can be easily sorted.
^ Already did that.

My problem is that between both the small side business I have and my spouse trying to start a business we wind up needing to purchase items that DON'T have the PDF/download option but the paper still needs to be retained for tax/business purposes. And my accountant says we need to retain them for awhile just in case we ever get audited. THAT is what needed organizing.

Oh, and in April we kept every single receipt for every single purchase no matter how small as part of analyzing our budget... but every single one of those we didn't need to keep was shredded and out the door by May 15. So I'm giving myself a pat on the back for that.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:38 AM
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^ Already did that.

My problem is that between both the small side business I have and my spouse trying to start a business we wind up needing to purchase items that DON'T have the PDF/download option but the paper still needs to be retained for tax/business purposes. And my accountant says we need to retain them for awhile just in case we ever get audited. THAT is what needed organizing.
When it comes to documents, the best purchase I ever made for peace of mind was a sheet-fed scanner that automatically produces searchable PDFs. I have a Fujitsu ScanSnap, but there are other options out there, including one called the NeatDesk. Every piece of paper coming into the house goes through the scanner and then gets shredded (unless it's particularly important to keep a paper copy for a while, like certain receipts or tax documents), and the results are kept on our computer and securely backed up online. Anything I need I can print out again, or just email the PDF without having to scan it on-demand.

It's worth ten times what I paid for it, solely from the time/space savings. It only takes sitting down for ten minutes once a week to take care of that week's paperwork, and not much longer than that to make a dent in our backlog of archived paperwork (a thirty-minute scanning session can take care of several file folders' worth of paper).
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:47 PM
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When it comes to documents, the best purchase I ever made for peace of mind was a sheet-fed scanner that automatically produces searchable PDFs. I have a Fujitsu ScanSnap, but there are other options out there, including one called the NeatDesk. Every piece of paper coming into the house goes through the scanner and then gets shredded (unless it's particularly important to keep a paper copy for a while, like certain receipts or tax documents), and the results are kept on our computer and securely backed up online. Anything I need I can print out again, or just email the PDF without having to scan it on-demand.

It's worth ten times what I paid for it, solely from the time/space savings. It only takes sitting down for ten minutes once a week to take care of that week's paperwork, and not much longer than that to make a dent in our backlog of archived paperwork (a thirty-minute scanning session can take care of several file folders' worth of paper).
This is basically what I came in to say. I just finished moving and for a while I went through all my paper and spent a good deal of time thinking about whether I could get rid of it or not. Having the ScanSnap eliminated all of that dithering. I even scanned all the childhood art of our nephews and nieces. There are (a very few) things where you need to keep originals. I just scanned these and added a note as to where the original was (lockbox, file cabinet). There is also a whole category of stuff that you need to keep for a short time and scanning works great for that. At least when you need them you can find them. Dealing with paper in this way does add a whole new level of importance to backing your shit up, but it is well worth the effort. Of course all you have done is to replace hoarding with digital hoarding, but it leaves your house a lot cleaner.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:17 PM
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Of course all you have done is to replace hoarding with digital hoarding, but it leaves your house a lot cleaner.
Which reminds me: My backup XP computer was running terribly slowly till I went through the masses of downloaded photo files and cleaned out a lot of them. I always download my digital camera to that computer as well as my primary one (both have backup external hard drives), and then to a third just-in-case computer. Chucking a bunch of the raw files broomed out multi-megabytes of useless files. The machine speeded way up!

Lately it's been slow again, so I've gone back to weed out more photo download files, plus brooming out programs I no longer use. The difference is obvious.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:32 PM
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Of course all you have done is to replace hoarding with digital hoarding, but it leaves your house a lot cleaner.
And this is why my blogging name is Digital Packrat.

There just has to be a Fujitsu Scansnap in my future, but for now I use a flatbed (I really got it for photos and slides.)
Obviously some of what I scan is the usual dull stuff that I have to keep whether I like it or not - bank statements, tax records, that sort of thing, but some stuff I scan because I think I'll want to be able to look at it later - magazine articles, sections from my alumnae publication - and then I realize the material can't even hold my interest while I am scanning it - so what makes me think I'll ever want to look at it later? But I scan this stuff anyway, because, in my mind, that's what I have to do to let go of the hardcopy. I'm trying to figure out how to skip this step.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:01 PM
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Smart Phone "Scanner" Apps!


Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingRat View Post
When it comes to documents, the best purchase I ever made for peace of mind was a sheet-fed scanner that automatically produces searchable PDFs. I have a Fujitsu ScanSnap, but there are other options out there, including one called the NeatDesk. Every piece of paper coming into the house goes through the scanner and then gets shredded (unless it's particularly important to keep a paper copy for a while, like certain receipts or tax documents), and the results are kept on our computer and securely backed up online. Anything I need I can print out again, or just email the PDF without having to scan it on-demand.

It's worth ten times what I paid for it, solely from the time/space savings. It only takes sitting down for ten minutes once a week to take care of that week's paperwork, and not much longer than that to make a dent in our backlog of archived paperwork (a thirty-minute scanning session can take care of several file folders' worth of paper).
I will see your NeatDesk Scanner and raise you an iPhone app (although I'm sure there are Android/Windows versions galore). The freebie that I use all of the time (like several times a week) is called GeniusScan (for iPhone). Basically it let's you take a picture of any document and store it as a PDF "in the cloud" - on Google Docs, Evernote, Dropbox, or several other places, or locally on your phone to transfer to your main laptop/desktop 'puter.
I use this app not just for random receipts, but flyers I see and want to review later, notices I must remember, even the hours of operation signs at businesses I frequent. But most often, I use it for holding on to my kids' 3 & 4 star artwork (keeping only the very creme of the crop and sending other goodie to grandparents). For other paper keepers, I strongly recommend getting an app like this, it's so freeing... Mentally as well as freeing up physical space and time that'd eventually be spent to declutter the stock piles.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by McCallBLaw View Post
I will see your NeatDesk Scanner and raise you an iPhone app (although I'm sure there are Android/Windows versions galore). The freebie that I use all of the time (like several times a week) is called GeniusScan (for iPhone). Basically it let's you take a picture of any document and store it as a PDF "in the cloud" - on Google Docs, Evernote, Dropbox, or several other places, or locally on your phone to transfer to your main laptop/desktop 'puter.
I use this app not just for random receipts, but flyers I see and want to review later, notices I must remember, even the hours of operation signs at businesses I frequent. But most often, I use it for holding on to my kids' 3 & 4 star artwork (keeping only the very creme of the crop and sending other goodie to grandparents). For other paper keepers, I strongly recommend getting an app like this, it's so freeing... Mentally as well as freeing up physical space and time that'd eventually be spent to declutter the stock piles.
I have CamScanner on my android; there may be others as well. While it's not as good as a real scanner, it's useful for small-volume documents when I want to get 'em scanned in a hurry and don't have the time to go to the desktop computer and do it for real. I think I've got it set up so that it automatically goes up to Dropbox.
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:33 PM
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I watch Hoarders for inspiration. I do NOT want to end up like that.
I break it down into small pieces, even if just doing one drawer at a time.
I was in the process of getting all my art, crafting, sewing, etc supplies together.
I'm on hold now because my sister and bil (and their 3 dogs and bird) moved in 8 months ago, supposedly for 2-3 months. Can't get a thing done with them around. They took over the guest room, moved my mother's, her bf's and my stuff to the basement and porch
It's overwhelming right now. We have 5 adults, 1 teen, 4 dogs and a bird in 1350 square feet. I just go in my bedroom/office and shut the door. Looking forward to when I can move the office stuff back to the guest bedroom and organize the porch into my craft area. Hell, I'm just looking forward to the day I can get to the porch without stepping over her three dogs, squishing past the 40 pound containers of dog food without knocking over the bird cage or tripping over the laptop power cord. Or walk down the hallway without knocking all the mail off the bookcase.
Sorry, it's hard to be positive when you are the one who wants to clean out and organize and you're overcrowded.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:39 AM
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I watch Hoarders for inspiration. I do NOT want to end up like that.
I do that too.

We just moved into a larger apartment at the end of June. I still cannot believe how much stuff we pulled out of our previous place, a quite small one-bedroom (we're now in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom. Even though it's only the two of us plus the cat and the bird, we do appreciate the extra space, and having two bathrooms is at times quite useful for a household of more than one).

I've got all the boxes unpacked, and someone from my local Freecycle is coming tomorrow to take at least some of the empties off my patio. I still need to hang pictures, finish neatening up the storage room so we can get a table in there for sewing/crafts/electronics/etc., get a shelving unit (we already own it) into DH's computer area (currently using plastic drawer units), and get under-the-sink areas under somewhat better control (this task will probably require buying or building shelves to put in).

OTOH, it's quite clean, since this place is a lot less cramped and in better condition to begin with (very little in the way of inherited perma-stains). Friday, I went through and cleaned both bathrooms and the kitchen, dusted and vacuumed our bedroom and the living room, and vacuumed the second bedroom. The last is currently a storage area, with intent to add hobby work area as we get more settled. Garbage went out and things like dishes, catbox, and birdcage have been attended to today, so while it's not House Beautiful, it's at least reasonably acceptable. Now to KEEP it that way and improve on it a bit.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:42 PM
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Sahirrnee:

"I watch Hoarders for inspiration. I do NOT want to end up like that...it's hard to be positive when you are the one who wants to clean out and organize and you're overcrowded."

God, do I ever get it.

Rapacia
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:37 PM
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I am a terrible clutterer. But I recently decided to try and get it under control.

I made one simple rule: Each day I have to make the house a little less cluttered.

Very small incremental changes, but changes none-the-less. I figure if I can make this a habit, it will slowly get better - and at the very least it won't get worse.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:10 PM
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Working on cleaning out the basement. Our place is pretty fine but the basement has a lot of old stuff from our previous place, plus a ton of stuff left by a sister-in-law a few years back after she was evicted from the flat upstairs. She'll occasionally insist that she'll deal with it, but claims poverty/lack of time/etc. Considering that she just moved with the help of a moving company and didn't bother to send them over to get a second load from our basement? Yeah...

I threw out a couple bags of garbage (actual garbage!) that SIL left in the storeroom in the basement, then grabbed a couple big boxes of our old books and drove to the nearest Half Price Books. It's really easy to deal with - just bring in the books, tell them your first name, and hang out for maybe 15-20 minutes while they check over what you have and figure out what to offer you. I got $29 cash for a couple boxes of action novels, horror novels, some literature paperbacks, and cookbooks. I'm bringing more next weekend!

I think at the end of the summer/early fall, I'll order a dumpster from Waste Management and totally clean out the basement. We have so much old stuff - old chairs (ours and SIL's), old futons (given to SIL by us), all kinds of crap that really just needs to get out. It's going to cost about $450, but really that's the most sensible way to get rid of all that junk.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:40 PM
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Just wanted to add that I'm a big fan of the UnFuck Your Habitat page, which I think I encountered via the SDMB. It's like a motivational cleaning page without any cuteness. Love it!
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:46 PM
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Ferret Herder:

Thanks for the link. It looks pretty darned good.

Rapacia
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:39 AM
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Working on cleaning out the basement. Our place is pretty fine but the basement has ... a ton of stuff left by a sister-in-law a few years back after she was evicted from the flat upstairs. She'll occasionally insist that she'll deal with it, but claims poverty/lack of time/etc. Considering that she just moved with the help of a moving company and didn't bother to send them over to get a second load from our basement? Yeah....
This would make me LIVID, and I don't know why you put up with it. Why not give her a clear ultimatum?
"We really want the room ourselves, this was only a temporary arrangement, and you've moved now. Your choice: either we get the room cleared out and all stuff carried to Goodwill by the end of then next two weeks, or you come and get it before that."
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:50 AM
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Here is a recent thread for inspiration: in which StarvingbutStrong wards off a clutter invasion much like the one you are facing now.

Secondly, the important thing is to keep the initiative. You don't ask her to come and get the stuff within two months; she already has had that opportunity and she hasn't done that.
No, you have to arrange something with goodwill or a mover to come and get it. So if your SIL does nothing, the problem will be solved anyway.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:25 AM
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This would make me LIVID, and I don't know why you put up with it. Why not give her a clear ultimatum?
"We really want the room ourselves, this was only a temporary arrangement, and you've moved now. Your choice: either we get the room cleared out and all stuff carried to Goodwill by the end of then next two weeks, or you come and get it before that."
She's a freaking mess, basically. Usually a nice gal but dealing with depression, on-and-off (under)employment issues, currently in the middle of a separation and probable divorce from her second husband that she's too ashamed to talk about the reason for. (Trying to not make this too Google-able here...) The person who told us the probable reason isn't always a reliable source, but claimed the trigger was a pretty violent, could-have-killed-her action that triggered this, and we did see him acting irrationally angry earlier that day. He's possibly off his meds and has a mental illness that could potentially lead to this kind of behavior if he stopped his meds.

So yeah, we've been bugging her on and off in better weather, but we would get lots of "geez, of course you want your basement back, but you're kicking her while she's down" bad karma with the family if we pushed it right now. Frankly, we've been lazy about cleaning out the basement, so it'd be pretty douchey to demand "now now NOW!" at this moment.

Plus, in temps ranging from 90-100+F (about 32-38C) plus high humidity lately, I don't want to clean out our basement now! It sucks! Hauling a couple boxes of books out there was bad enough. I need time to separate out our stuff from hers so there aren't any mistakes or excuses.

So I just posted a "Whoa, I guess I need to get a dumpster for this basement, but the weather sucks so I'm gonna do this in the fall" post on Facebook and commiserated with a few friends about the whole process. Not just to get the wheels turning in her brain - I wanted to see if anyone in my area had better suggestions for trash removal options. Then in a month, it's going to be the direct message to her, explaining my plan for the following month.

I just hope it'll be better weather once fall comes. Yuck!

I doubt there's anything worth salvaging among her stuff down there. It's a not-particularly-finished basement, and time/bugs/moisture has taken a toll in spots, plus there is lots of stuff that's literally trash (garbage bags, empty cardboard boxes, packing materials). I'm not going to pay movers; if she wants to set up movers to take some stuff away, I'll accommodate it as best we can. My plan is for a dumpster.

Anyway, the basement is the end of a long process of evicting her stuff. The basement is out of the way so it was easy to ignore, plus it was only last month (IIRC) where we discovered the storeroom in back not only had stuff put in it, but actual garbage (dry, thankfully) bags in it. I was willing to ignore random crap for a while but that was it for me.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 07-17-2012 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:08 AM
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Ferret Herder, thanks for the explanation. Not that you owed me one,

Yours is a real-life story on how clutter plays a part in someone's (your SIL) life. I wonder what would be better for her. Is it pleasant for her to know her stuff is still there? Or does she feel bothered by still having to do the sorting out? Maybe she feels guilty for imposing on you and not having her own things in order? maybe she misses some stuff, like papers she needs for her divorce and that cost her money because she doesn't have the info /proof at hand?

Maybe it would be therapeutic for her if you went throught her stuff together and had a good talk while doing so? I don't know.

You're obviously just being nice to her, I just don't know what would be the nicest thing to do and how much tough love is in order.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:43 PM
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Khadaji:

You're absolutely right. A little every day. I'm giving you a mental hug!

Rapacia
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:27 PM
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Hi Everyone!

<waves at thread>

I'm decluttering in preparation for a possible move. In the past couple of weeks, I have been going through my entire file cabinet and sorting everything. I am going through box after box of 'miscellany' and either filing, recycling, or tossing it. (I found things like some writing I did in 1993 that I totally forgot about.)

My goal is to get EVERYTHING sorted, for basically the first time in my life. I used to be close to a class-2 hoarder (paths through the junk, but nothing rotting), but that was several moves ago--I've gotten a lot better.

I've sorted all the papers into "art", "personal", and "business". I'm doing back taxes. I've found all sorts of things...
  #30  
Old 10-03-2013, 03:44 PM
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Sunspace:

"My goal is to get EVERYTHING sorted, for basically the first time in my life."

This is also my wish.

"I used to be close to a class-2 hoarder..."

God. I never thought of a classification system for hoarders. I'm afraid how I may be classified...

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  #31  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:29 PM
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Sattua, regarding baby clothes: if you think you'll try for another baby, keep onesies, nightgowns, socks, and t shirts. Those come in handy, and babies don't care what color they are. Everything else? Take photos of Baby wearing the really cute stuff. Keep two containers near the dresser or laundry. (I hang cloth shopping bags on hooks in my laundry room.) One container is for outgrown items to keep, the other is outgrown and get rid of. When a bag or box is full, it leaves the area - either packed and labeled in storage, or out the door to the charity shop. The chances that items from this baby will fit another in the right season are slim, and the chances you'll drag them out, sort by size and season, and reuse these items is even slimmer IME.

Similar for toys and gear. Keep a few small toys, if you have the space. Keep only the gear you find extremely handy: the sling that suits you to a t, the pack and play that gets plenty of use and works nicely as a toy bin for a bigger kid. Everything else should just cycle right out the door at regular intervals. It's too easy to wake up one day to an overwhelming pile of Baby stuff that has taken over all of your storage space.
  #32  
Old 07-15-2012, 06:20 PM
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for the first time since i bought the unit in march, the kitchen sink was cleared and scrubbed! i bought a nice new sink thingy from the m&m store, and wouldn't put it in the sink 'till i scrubbed it.

my motto is always have a reward!
  #33  
Old 07-15-2012, 07:19 PM
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Yes, I need to join this. I'm really struggling at getting things taken care of, and put away. I've got a lot on my plate now, so it's really hard.

I'll post more later.
  #34  
Old 07-15-2012, 07:28 PM
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+1 for UnFuck Your Habitat.

I find that one of my biggest obstacles is the feeling that I'm not getting anywhere. So I keep a spreadsheet with a running tally of what I have gotten rid of, and this is handy at tax time, because I track what was sold, donated, recycled, or tossed.

I blog my efforts here, which gives me a place to put in words why I am getting rid of whatever. You know how the organizers on those hoarding shows recommend taking photos of things to help you get rid of the item itself? That goes in the blog, too.

Most recently I got a Technotrash box from Greendisk so I can get rid of the cables, power cords, adapters, broken speakers, etc.
  #35  
Old 07-15-2012, 06:15 PM
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We're in the process of cleaning and decluttering now. I've also lost a lot of momentum in the heat, but the baby needs a room so we have no choice but to push on.
I've found our clutter is mostly of four categories: 'I could use this someday', 'This has good memories', and 'someone else might like this' but I never got around to selling or donating it, and books.
So I donated all the sell/donate stuff, because selling is too much work right now, and a distraction from the real job. I pared down the mementos to what really mattered (i.e. what had emotional value and not just 'I remember when I used to play with this'), gave myself strict guidelines on books and fabric, got storage bins for art stuff and kids toys and, well, we've got half our bedroom and the storage room (to be daughter's new room) cleaned out. Rest of the house still to go... We'll have a clean house eventually! Motivation - safe baby!
  #36  
Old 07-15-2012, 10:30 PM
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This thread is inspirational. Just what I needed. I used to move frequently, which kept me from getting too cluttered. Then, I bought a house. There's so much space to hide stuff I don't need! I've been here 10 years now and have really just begun the de-clutter task.

Yesterday, I cleaned the tops of the cupboards in the kitchen (eww, grease and cat hair) and threw out a couple of useless items I stored up there and added a couple of others to the giveaway pile. I also added plastic sheeting to make my next scrub up more of just a replacement job. Today, I began cleaning the inside of the cupboards and dumping foodstuffs that are way past their use-by date. Unnecessary utensils will go on the giveaway pile.

I hope I can keep this momentum up. It feels good.
  #37  
Old 07-16-2012, 12:57 AM
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The local trail-riding association held their annual fundraiser tack sale a couple of months ago, and I donated four jamful trash bags of various horse gear to the sale. My basement looks so much bigger now that much of the walls have become visible.

Books, now; books are much harder. I take a couple dozen to the recycling collection bin now and then, but it barely keeps up with the new ones coming in.
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Last edited by EddyTeddyFreddy; 07-16-2012 at 12:58 AM.
  #38  
Old 07-16-2012, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by EddyTeddyFreddy View Post
Books, now; books are much harder. I take a couple dozen to the recycling collection bin now and then, but it barely keeps up with the new ones coming in.
^ This is why I'm trying to buy the new ones as e-books. Less clutter.
  #39  
Old 07-16-2012, 04:19 AM
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My husband is moving back home with us after four and a half years in an apartment three hours drive away for work. He JUST came home with a stuffed carload, and reckons there is at least another four to go. So I'm on this declutter bandwagon, too! Just got to persuade him to part with stuff now....
  #40  
Old 07-16-2012, 06:56 AM
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My own house wasn't very cluttered to begin with, plus one of the objectives when I redid the kitchen was "get more storage space in the kitchen so I can stop storing dry goods in the living room closet".

But I'm helping Mom with some decluttering: objectives for the next few months include taking home the two Encyclopedias I want (great-grandpa's Universal History and one which is very, very good on historical information; the Bros have already said they don't want any) and finishing scanning her old pics. I've already finished cleaning up the scans of the first batch of old pics (task to do with Mom: identify each one properly). And I understand that the encyclopedias nobody wanted are already in the trash, the Bros have been taking them down to the paper dumpster one heavy book at a time.

Another portion of the Decluttering For Mom Project includes buying a gizmo... record-player to mp3 converter. Among other things, getting those transferred to mp3 means she'll be able to listen again to those records whose copies to tape have broken down or which never had them in the first place; right now they're just taking space in her storage room.

Last edited by Nava; 07-16-2012 at 06:58 AM.
  #41  
Old 07-16-2012, 08:11 AM
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Does weeding my garden this morning count as de-cluttering? It does make the vegetables more productive, and I do grow a substantial portion of our vegetable food...

On the table for today:

Working on the bathroom in my spouse's workspace (we got 1200 square feet for $100/month for 1 year.... but the low low price is partly in exchange for doing some improvements on the space. Like making the bathroom functional again).

Sorting through the plastic containers (I find I have to do that about every 6 months) and sanitizing the keepers and tossing the ones that are deteriorating. This will also help with the future freezer spot, 'cause that's where they're currently stored.

Breaking down boxes and moving the shipping supplies to the spouse's workspace. Of course, tossing any that won't be needed or are damaged.

Trip to the recycling center (it's that time of the month again) with the aluminum cans + 1 other item.
  #42  
Old 10-03-2013, 03:49 PM
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Broomstick:

In my opinion, weeding TOTALLY counts as decluttering.

Rapacia
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  #43  
Old 07-16-2012, 08:25 AM
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Super good idea for a thread!

One thing about moving all the time is you begin to see your stuff less as a collection of cherished objects and more as a bunch of crap you have to haul around in boxes. One thing about unemployment is you have a lot of time to clean.

So, I'm cleaning. A little bit every day. One of my big issues is losing things all the time, so I'm trying to make a specific place for every single thing in the house.

-Bought a canvas over-the-door shoe holder for my bedroom. It's hanging over the back of the closet door so you can't even see it unless you close the door. I love not having to search the entire house for a particular pair of shoes.

-Cleaned out the Spare Room, which was so badly cluttered that I basically left the door closed all the time. The contents of the boxes themselves aren't quite organized yet, but at least everything looks tidy from the outside.

-I'm a sentimental fool. I had three large boxes of crap from my childhood and college, including like 8 yearbooks. I saved two yearbooks (one jr. high and my senior year), went through every single thing as ruthlessly as possible and managed to condense it all into a single bin.

-Trying to get a handle on my desk clutter. Put a small wicker basket near my desk, that's my ''Inbox." Husband puts my mail there so I don't leave it on the end tables in the living room, and when I sit down to work I know exactly what needs to be done. I also keep my ''to do'' list in there so I can easily jot things down or complete them as I go along.

-Now in the habit of making my bed. I do it every morning when I wake up. It makes a huge difference in how inviting the bedroom feels.

There is still much to be done. But I'm pleased to say overall the house has maintained an appearance of tidiness for going on four weeks now... the things that are left are the hidden things.

*****
As for the person wondering how to organize receipts, we have a pint-sized accordion file (this exact one) with a label for each month of the year, and a separate label for Major Purchases (electronics, furniture, anything in the hundreds of dollars range.) I save my receipts in my purse, put them in my inbox when I get home, and when I sit down to work I file them in that month's slot. When we get to the next month, we throw out last year's receipts. Easy peas.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 07-16-2012 at 08:29 AM.
  #44  
Old 07-16-2012, 08:29 AM
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Thanks for the baby stuff advice, Lacunae. Now that I have the favorite little-baby toys packed away (things like rattles, plastic links, crinkly books) I will stop keeping toys. I mostly had anyway... I probably take a load of toys to Goodwill every other month. I hope that by the time she's able to realize and object, her toys will have gotten smaller.

Last edited by Sattua; 07-16-2012 at 08:29 AM.
  #45  
Old 07-16-2012, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sattua View Post
Thanks for the baby stuff advice, Lacunae. Now that I have the favorite little-baby toys packed away (things like rattles, plastic links, crinkly books) I will stop keeping toys. I mostly had anyway... I probably take a load of toys to Goodwill every other month. I hope that by the time she's able to realize and object, her toys will have gotten smaller.
Note: around here, Goodwill no longer sells toys or baby items (this started when all the Chinese toys were being recalled due to lead content.) You may need to find another charity shop if the ones in your area are the same.
  #46  
Old 07-16-2012, 09:08 AM
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Ugh, we're trying too - I just took our rugs to be cleaned and I'm considering finally biting the bullet and having our wood floors refinished, which would definitely make me clean up the living room! I came back from a bridal shower in another state this weekend to find that my fiance has been working hard on it, which is sweet and kind of amazing, and I felt so bad I actually cleaned up the kitchen! So that's something. A start.
  #47  
Old 07-16-2012, 10:20 AM
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It's one of the mornings that my daughter is at daycare, which is when I'm supposed to be house cleaning. I had just scrubbed the place for my mother-in-laws visit, so I was thinking "what could possibly be ready to be cleaned again???"

Fortunately, I have a system. I've broken housecleaning into discrete chores and written each on an index card. I keep them in a holder on my bathroom shelf, where I can't ignore them. When I'm ready to clean, I start going through the cards, doing each task as it comes to the front of the pile.

Oh my. The bathtubs were filthy. It was time to dust again already. Trash bins needed emptying. Toilets needed scrubbing. I am glad I have a reminder system.

I've got big, intermittent tasks set on repeat in my Google calendar, btw. Index cards are for the small frequent stuff.
  #48  
Old 07-16-2012, 10:23 AM
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I'm not sure what I can do about my mom (age 79), who yes is a clutterer, but this sounds like a good place to bring it up. She has always had said tendencies, but they have gotten worse as she has gotten older, and my dad dying 12 years ago probably didn't help either (as he would get on her butt about it-tho of course he wouldn't lay a finger to actually help her). And now she had that stroke earlier this year and is apparently feeling more fatigued than ever. She is a snowbird and both places are pretty awful at this point-she will be forced to sell at least one, and I don't know what to do to help when the time comes, as she constantly refuses my offers, saying that only she "knows" where to put things and what to keep. Any advice is appreciated, tho I'm not sure what else I can do frankly.
  #49  
Old 07-16-2012, 10:26 AM
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I'm loving these ideas.

Oh, and we started washing the sheets every week. As students, it wasn't exactly, er, a major priority in life. I didn't realize how easy it was to just pop them in the washer with the towels. I'm even trying to learn how to do hospital corners. It's like I'm officially a grown up now that I make my bed every day. This is going to sound really bizarre, but I'm starting to enjoy doing laundry. And just cleaning in general.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 07-16-2012 at 10:27 AM.
  #50  
Old 07-16-2012, 10:42 AM
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I love to do laundry. Very little effort, very big reward, warm nice-smelling fabric and I get to SORT STUFF! YAY!

I hate to scrub floors though.
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