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  #201  
Old 03-05-2013, 10:23 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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The Joy of Less

Has anyone here ever heard of ''The Joy of Less''? This book lit a fire under my ass like nothing I can explain. Since I started reading it, I have been obsessed with de-cluttering the house. Saturday, instead of going out for my birthday, I chose to declutter. Five HUGE boxes to Goodwill just from the kitchen and living room alone. My husband, who is a natural minimalist, has been elated with my complete turnaround. We now have nothing in the kitchen or living room that we don't use on a regular basis. We probably reduced our possessions in those rooms by about half.

Next is the bedroom, which has been the dumping ground for miscellaneous crap for too long. I keep waking up and I just can't stop thinking about it. I went through all of my clothes last night, got rid of about 75% of them. Yes, 75% of them. They don't fit me, and I'm tired of feeling crappy every time I look at clothes I can't fit into.

I have forced myself to be absolutely ruthless in my appraisal of whether to keep something or not. Have I used it in the last year? If not, out it goes, regardless of how ''nice'' it is. I gave away a set of 10 very expensive crystal wine glasses we received as a wedding gift 7 years ago, because my husband is allergic to wine and we never use them. Many nice dishes and crystal vases are all gone. Gave away my food processor, because I never use it. Gave away about half of my books, because I have a Kindle now anyway.

This book has some great ideas that are inspiring me to think creatively. The most helpful...

Inner Zones, Outer Zones, and Deep Storage. It's pretty simple, keep the stuff you use the most often in a very convenient location, stuff you use periodically in a reasonable to reach location, and stuff you rarely use (like Christmas decorations or something) in Deep Storage. I think to some extent I've thought like this, but never with as much conscious effort. For example, I now have a drawer with just a handful of utensils that I use almost every day (can opener, kitchen shears, etc), and a separate spot for utensils I use more periodically or rarely.

Modules.
Keep all the stuff for a given activity in the same general area, so it can be easily accessed and easily put away.

One In, One Out.If you bring anything new into the home, you must get rid of something comparable.

Base Wardrobe Colors. Pick a base color for your wardrobe, and a complimentary accent color, and make that the basis for your wardrobe. Eventually you'll have a bunch of stuff with the same color theme so you can mix and match with impunity, and you won't have to keep a bunch of extra clothes, shoes, purses, etc. But remember - one goes in, one goes out! I think this is genius! For my base color, I'm trying to decide between black or brown. I have roughly the same amount of each color in my closet at present. I can't afford all new clothes and it seems like that would be a waste of money anyway, but little by little I'll swap out the older stuff with newer stuff following my color theme.

Slippery Surfaces. Think of all surfaces as slippery! They can't hold onto objects that are placed on them. When you leave a room, all surfaces should be clear.

Wow, this is so much fun. I would have never imagined in a million years that getting rid of so much stuff would make me feel this good. We move a lot and it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon, so next time we move we will have about half of what we usually do to haul around! Awesome.

I told my husband that if he finds I've left anything out of place, he is officially invited to put it on my bed. He is, of course, delighted.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 03-05-2013 at 10:25 AM.
  #202  
Old 03-05-2013, 10:51 AM
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You know, I read a post like the one above and I think: no, actually I don't feel good for de-cluttering to that extent. After spending a day doing a deep cleaning it's likely I feel physically ill (frickin' allergies!), and I might go through days, or even weeks, of mental distress.

I think that's a very important difference people such as olivesmarch4th don't get about people like me. Clearing out all that stuff actually makes me feel bad for awhile. Almost disoriented. I have days/weeks of fearing I threw out/gave away something I'll later find I need, wake-up-at-2am-in-a-near-panic level of distress. It's not rational, I'll be the first to admit it's not rational, but it's still there.

Yes, after awhile I start to feel better about it. I do feel better when things like my kitchen and dishes are clean which is probably why, no matter how cluttered my house has been, those items have always been done. I do, however, have an abnormally strong attachment to material objects.

So while, yes, I've read The Joy of Less frankly a lot of the suggestions cause anxiety just reading about them, much less doing them.

For me, it's been a long, slow process of slowly desensitizing myself to the distress-causing types of de-cluttering and cleaning, a slow process of treating my rebellious mind that yes, it IS worth the distress of doing this because in a week or two I'll start to feel better. Oh, and finding out I really need to cover up and breathe through a heavy duty dusk mask while cleaning due to physical issues. I can't help but think it was years of feeling ill/unable to breathe after cleaning that started this vicious cycle in the first place.

That said, my best friend is here and we'll be spending some of the next few days working on my house. As she told me, I have made considerable progress these past few years and in a few more I'll get to where I'd like to be. Better yet, I'll have dealt with some of the root causes and develop better means of dealing with the problem and maintaining good habits.

It's sort of like maintaining long-term weight loss - it comes easier to some than to others, some folks have conflating issues, but in the long run it's not so much how fast the weight comes off but that you maintain a healthy weight. Likewise, it's not so much how fast I de-clutter my house but that it stays de-cluttered once it's done.
  #203  
Old 03-05-2013, 11:16 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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So while, yes, I've read The Joy of Less frankly a lot of the suggestions cause anxiety just reading about them, much less doing them.
This is a really good point. The book is not written for people who have emotional issues with cluttering and hoarding. It's written for people like me, who are typically lazy and messy and who never really sat down and thought about the practical purpose of having so much stuff. I feel worse when I'm surrounded by clutter than when I am not. I'd say it's more to help people who buy too much stuff just to have more stuff, who need to let go of the constant need for consumer stimulation. For me it read like a pragmatic how-to manual, not a hierarchy of anxiety exposure activities. I apologize if I was insensitive to that.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 03-05-2013 at 11:17 AM.
  #204  
Old 03-05-2013, 02:18 PM
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Hmm... mostly I was trying to make the point that there is no one-size-fits all solution.

Actually, that book does have some useful concepts, but how I interpret inner zones, outer zones, and deep storage might differ. I know people who have off-site storage units and swear by them for their deep storage needs, but I don't think it would be a good idea for me. I do think the "module" concept is valuable and I'm trying to implement it. On the other hand "slippery surfaces" won't work for me for much of the time - when I'm doing my artwork/leatherwork/other projects I can't just bundle everything into a drawer, the process often requires things like extended drying times so items have to be left out. That doesn't mean chaos gets a free reign, one can leave such surfaces in an orderly state even if not clean.

Half the battle is finding out what the source of the clutter is, how one got into that state. That will then dictate the path to effective solutions.

Oh, and today we cleaned out under the sink, cleaned the kitchen cabinets, and did the closet purge. Actually I got halfway through the entire closet and my friend said - that stuff in the back, are you going to purge that, too? I said no, I'd had enough for the moment. But I'd pulled out two laundry baskets of clothes I can part with, which leaves notably more room for what's left and I'll call that a victory right now. It's progress, and I'm not upset over it. I want to stop while it still feels good and do another purge in about six months. I'm slowly training myself not to fear this. Although next time it might be putting some of the stuff into the rag bag rather than Goodwill, I've got some work clothes in a frightful state.

We'll probably do more after lunch and a nap - we were all up to around 2 am last night/this morning catching up, having a great dinner, and so forth so us all being old farts a nap is in order. So... later more purging/cleaning. Then I'll be cooking dinner for everyone and we'll probably watch a movie on the TV.

She offered to help my spouse with his clutter. He doesn't need help deciding to throw stuff out, he needs help actually moving the stuff due to weakness and disability. So she may be hauling some stuff to the dumpster under his direction later, or we both will if there's anything that requires two people.

Not that that is the whole of her visit, we're doing a lot of fun stuff, too, but she helps other people tackle their household issues, she derives some definite satisfaction from helping out friends that way.
  #205  
Old 03-05-2013, 03:45 PM
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To me, there's such a thing as too minimal. To me, "minimalist" can feel very cold and stark.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:22 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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olives, loving the ideas that you have brought out from that book. They are exactly the way I look at things!

Except the wardrobe thing. I am all about bright colours. I couldn't possibly just have one set hue. What I do instead is keep my colours to my top half and pick a neutral bottom that they all go with.

(Though I also religiously go through my closet twice a year when I go through the kids' stuff. Anything that doesn't fit, goes. Anything I don't like, goes.)
  #207  
Old 03-06-2013, 02:33 PM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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To me, there's such a thing as too minimal. To me, "minimalist" can feel very cold and stark.
I'm trying not to go overboard. It's not that I can't have anything at all on the surfaces, I just set a limit of like two or three things. For example my end table now has two photo frames, a tissue box, and a clay jar where I put my cell phone so I don't have to look for it all the time. I want a home that feels ''lived-in'' as well. I'm trying to go with that quote, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." This leaves room open for aesthetic appreciation too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by perfectparanoia View Post
Except the wardrobe thing. I am all about bright colours. I couldn't possibly just have one set hue. What I do instead is keep my colours to my top half and pick a neutral bottom that they all go with.
I might like this idea better. The book said something about accent colors too, for example brown hues as a base color and cream as the accent. Then go crazy with accessories to add color. That was the idea. Frankly I'm a pretty boring dresser, I feel best in earth tones and don't really have very high expectations for clothes. I could see this not working at all for a fashion maven. I'm a little bit excited because I got an Amazon gift card for my birthday and I might actually spend it on a couple of new pieces of clothing. And at that time I'll throw out a couple old ones, of course. I just really like the idea of being able to go into my closet and know that I will look good/feel comfortable in every single thing on the rack.

I'm almost finished decluttering the bedroom. I never realized how huge it was until I cleared all that stuff out. After the bedroom is the 2nd bedroom, then the bathroom, then the hall closet. And that's it.
  #208  
Old 03-06-2013, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by olivesmarch4th View Post
For my base color, I'm trying to decide between black or brown. I have roughly the same amount of each color in my closet at present. I can't afford all new clothes and it seems like that would be a waste of money anyway, but little by little I'll swap out the older stuff with newer stuff following my color theme.
It doesn't have to be a single color/shade. My redheaded cousin has a ton of stuff in grey (marengo and light grey) and black; I've got tons in dark blue (navy or denim) and in white. And like perfectparanoia, I have most of my bright colors in my tops, from T-shirts to coats. The reason certain colors and items are called "basics" is that they're combinable with many other things.

Last edited by Nava; 03-06-2013 at 02:40 PM.
  #209  
Old 03-06-2013, 06:13 PM
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Today, in addition to a sweep of the garbage cans, we purged some more of the clothes, bagged the Goodwill clothes, bagged pop cans for the recycler, made up another bag of scrap metal for the recycler, a large bag of books for the library, got another shelf up in the "third room" and reorganized some of the stuff in there.

Then we went out for lunch.

Then everyone wanted a nap

We'll be doing more this evening but it's already looking better. We'll be planning some running around type errands for tomorrow (like... a trip to Goodwill, to the recycler, to the library...)
  #210  
Old 03-06-2013, 07:36 PM
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I'm not going to be home much tomorrow, so trying to get at least essentials done today, with little energy. Laundry today so DH isn't going to be worrying about clean clothes tomorrow when I'm wiped out, prep food for tomorrow so it can be zapped and eaten, etc.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:40 PM
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Got rid of FOUR more bags of stuff for the garbage, from the kitchen mostly, and filled up the compost bucket with things like expired flour. Reconfigured the corner of the kitchen I eventually want to put a freezer in, moved the bird cages there, and scrubbed the floor thoroughly. Also put more stuff from the living space into the "third room" for storage. Yay us. Did trigger a bit of my asthma but got right on it.

So far, physically, I'm feeling OK (which is a major thing for me and cleaning, as anyone reading my cleaning threads knows). This time the whole reconfiguration of space thing and tossing a lot of this stuff is not bothering me, so I think I'm making progress on the emotional issues, too.

Still far from perfect, but Progress Has Been Made.

Still have one more day before I have to go back to work, and one more day of emotional/moral support. I think, however, we'll be doing more errand running tomorrow, as the streets should be in better shape. (The snow, however inconvenient for driving, was exceedingly pretty, though)
  #212  
Old 03-07-2013, 12:57 PM
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Over the last few months I cleaned out the kitchen nook, have cleaned 1/2 of the bedroom floor.

BF doesn't help because he'll pile stuff on a side table, some of it will fall on the floor, and he won't seem to notice, but will simply pile more stuff. Lather, rinse, repeat.

There's still a lot to do, and I get a mild anxiety attack throwing out stuff, but I set a goal (fill one box with clutter and go through it, put away, throw away, give away, or shred) and make myself do it despite the hyperventilation. And I'm picking an area and working on it til it's clear. First it was the kitchen. Now it's the bedroom. It's hard, but I keep in mind what other peoples' houses look like, ie, tidy, clean, and remind myself that my place is not the norm, nor an acceptable environment to live in. And I feel so much better when I've gotten rid of stuff. But my house is in such a state it's overwhelming. And like I said, when someone else is adding to the entropy it doesn't help.

My achievement this week: I cleaned under the bed Tuesday. Go me!
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:49 PM
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Bookshelf purge this morning.

So... three bags of books for the library. One large bag of clothes to goodwill. Now I have to go to the bank, hit the grocery store, and my friend is insisting we doing the laundry today to catch up on everything not yet washed.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:16 PM
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Finally, there was a sunny day on the weekend!

Our garage had become a dumping place for...well, lots of stuff that didn't belong there. Now it's cleaned out and the kids can get their bikes and such in and out (theoretically) without bashing the car.

And my husband and I wrote down the tasks that we are each responsible for and made a weekly checklist. The house is tidy and I have clean underwear that I didn't wash for the first time in months! (My husband is supposed to be in charge of laundry.)

Additionally, hubby is now in charge of tidying the main floor (though I do a lot of it while cooking dinner). He finally gets why I am so frustrated with the kids just dropping things EVERYWHERE. He actually chastised them for it. Unheard of.

There was one decluttering failure this weekend, though. I had to get out the spring shoes and my son's crocs are just...missing. WTH? They should all be in the same place. Very confusing. I have probably put them somewhere they don't belong and will find them after summer is over and they don't fit him anymore.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:03 PM
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I've set a new high watermark for getting my house in order. There are actually NO messy rooms downstairs. The laundry backlog is less than a week's worth. Most of the upstairs is neat as well, and the rooms that ARE messy, are not "dirty", they just need to be picked up. But maybe I'll try to tackle that this week sometime. Would be awesome to get all the way to 100%, even just for one shining moment.

All but one of the bathrooms are clean.

I was pretty much cleaning up all day today, and now my lower back is hurting something fierce. But it's clean!
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:07 PM
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I took a big bag of clothes that I didn't want or couldn't take in to fit me to the thrift store and replaced it with four good articles of clothing that fit and that I will wear. My closet looks so organized now!
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:08 PM
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Due to various issues my cleaning program got a bit derailed. Well, that happens. I am happy to say, however, that we have maintained the progress already made. That is, we have not accumulated more stuff to fill the spaces and have maintained what order was instated.

This, despite a MAJOR incident of roof damage and flooding, job loss, and an on-going legal issue involving unpaid wages that is taking up some time. So, yay me, it seems that even if I'm not moving forward much at least I'm not backsliding, either. This is huge for me. It also means that it's worth it to expend the energy to keeping moving forward, even if slowly, because once this place is decluttered and clean up I should be able to keep it that way!

Most recently, I started working again on the "third room" and got another bag of garbage out of it. I am EXTREMELY aggravated over it, though, as quite a bit of stuff in there is my husband's and it's a PITA to drag him over to it so it can be gone through/moved/stored/tossed as appropriate. We've had a couple of tiffs over it as well as tight finances these past couple months.

Have also properly bagged those magazines that have my published words in them. Since I intend to keep them they should be kept properly. I think I'm at the point to toss all the others, though, the outdated ones. There are definitely some going to the recycler next trip, I've managed to "divorce" myself from them.

It's still slow and frustrating.

Oh - and I've switched jobs and my new boss is even more of a hoarder and slob than I am. I mean, it's to the point that when he tells me to clean up and organize some shelves in the shop he has to leave the room. He appreciates the clean up/organizing but it clearly distresses him. Even if nothing is thrown out just shifting things around is a problem for him (which he "solves" by having the employees do this while he's out of the room - a clumsy work-around but it does work) Oh, and the shop has been there 60 years, some of the stuff strata are near geological. It both reassures me I'm not alone and oddly enough inspires me to NOT to that at home!
  #218  
Old 06-24-2013, 04:07 PM
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Wow. I'm going to have to subscribe to this thread. It's been going for awhile, and that's what it takes to fight the clutter. Keeping at it. You are all very inspiring.

I always had the most difficulty getting rid of things that other people had given me, over the years. Last year and the year before that collided with stuff from dead people. I found out that it was easier to let things go if I wrote about them and/or took pictures. So I started a blog. It may not be interesting to anyone else, ever; but it's helped me go through a lot of things.

Which is good because the stacks got a little high once or twice. Looking back lets me feel happier about the current state of affairs. But not too happy. There are still more than a few boxes that have not reached their final state. And I'm not going to think about the house repairs, now.

Deep breath. Next round.
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:52 PM
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Posting to subscribe.

I have the problem where I tend to assign feelings to inanimate objects and other associations with them making it harder to part with them. I also have problems with the idea of throwing stuff away that can be recycled or donated. So I tend to collect that stuff in an area until I have enough to take somewhere.
  #220  
Old 07-01-2013, 05:54 PM
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I just got rid of a stack of folders full of medical/insurance records nearly twelve inches tall.

Big deal, you say, you're supposed to keep medical records.

Yeah, but these were for my father. Who died in 1977. What are the odds I'd be asked to prove that a given bill was properly paid THIRTY FIVE YEARS later??
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:45 PM
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Posting to subscribe, as well. I've begun a huge clean out of our house trying to prepare for future renovations.

In the past month I have removed enough stuff, via Goodwill, Freecycle, or Craigslist, to furnish a small apartment, decorate it with knickknacks and pictures, and clothe the inhabitants.

I feel pretty good about it, too! The best part is knowing that I've not brought much of anything back into the house. I've even got my husband on board, and he's been cleaning out the cellar and backyard storage. The biggest haul-away was turning my youngest's room from an elementary school kid's room to a middle school kid's room. My two oldest are officially out of the house, so a lot of their junk is now either gone with them or sorted/sent to deep storage.

I've worked really hard at repurposing things, too. An old, very solid wooden toy box has been refashioned into a storage bench for the back patio. Mismatched wooden chairs painted bright colors and sealed for the patio, too. My style is a bit quirky and eclectic, so it works for us!
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:56 PM
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As usual, I always hope to get more done over a weekend and wind up disappointing myself. I am trying to make my expectations of myself more realistic.

This weekend I cleaned out the piled up laundry in the back hallway. It's where we keep the baskets/hampers but, like so many other things, at some point it careened out of control. I have one basket left and about a half-dozen pillows back there still but the 4 blankets, backlogged laundry, and cleaning rags got taken to the laundromat today (my car only holds so much, so when it was full the rest got left in the hallway). Also, what was left in the linen closet, which leaked last week during our torrential rains and high winds. It's all clean now, and will be sorted into keep, donate, and use-for-rags. So, step forward this week.

Discovered a used book store near where I work. Yes, they still exist! I asked the owner if he'd be interested in books. He said not at the moment, but when he was ready to start acquiring more he didn't deal in store credit or anything of the sort, he buys books. Cool! Maybe I can unload my Dark Shadows books and a few others I no longer want. Either that, or the library when I get to the point I can purge a few more.
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:28 PM
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This came across my Facebook feed today

How Clutter Affects Your Brain (And What You Can Do About It)

Some interesting things to think about.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:02 PM
Sarabellum Sarabellum is offline
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I feel like I'm winning the clutter battle over here, lately... it's hard to keep things moving in the right direction, but I'm working on it every day.

*Only a few day's worth of laundry backlog
*One day's dishes in sink
*Whole of downstairs, including the laundry room of despair, are neat and orderly.
*Upstairs is looking pretty good - all bathrooms are clean, kid's rooms are in reasonable shape.

Only the garage and my husband's office are still notably cluttered.
  #225  
Old 07-15-2013, 01:15 PM
Whitney Harper Whitney Harper is offline
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One time at my apartment the maintenance had to come into my apartment for an emergency water leak, and I was really, really embarrassed because of the clutter. I have a rule now, that I will keep my apt. clean enough (not perfect) so that if maintenance had to come in unexpectly it would look OK.
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:07 PM
jerseymule jerseymule is offline
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Originally Posted by Yllaria View Post
Wow. I'm going to have to subscribe to this thread. It's been going for awhile, and that's what it takes to fight the clutter. Keeping at it. You are all very inspiring.

I always had the most difficulty getting rid of things that other people had given me, over the years. Last year and the year before that collided with stuff from dead people. I found out that it was easier to let things go if I wrote about them and/or took pictures. So I started a blog. . .
Thanks for this idea; I think it will help me to photograph or otherwise commemorate stuff that I got from people over the years, and then throw out the stuff I never use. One of my friends is coming to town in about a month to help me get rid of stuff. I'd like to get rid of some of it on my own before he arrives. Otherwise it seems just too overwhelming (he will only be in town for one weekend).
  #227  
Old 07-15-2013, 02:36 PM
Algher Algher is offline
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Just finished a clean-up re-org of my home office. Finally got rid of serial cables, power sources for computers I don't own anymore, chargers for cell phones that I don't carry, paper that won't go through a laser writer, kids craft crap and scrapbooking stuff we don't need, etc.

Put together a box to give to the elementary school this Fall, another box for the electronics recycling folks, a ton in our recycling bin and some in the garbage.
  #228  
Old 07-15-2013, 05:00 PM
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I stumbled upon a new way to defeat the ever-encroaching clutter: Don't have any extra money to spend on non-essentials.

The probable age of retirement is getting close enough that we're finally taking the idea seriously, to the point of taking some actions to getting our financial house in order. When our income drops with retirement, we don't want to have to worry about making installment payments or facing credit card balances. One of the decisions we made last summer was that every penny except what we had to spend on essentials would go to paying off all our debts. No new books/videos/games/gadgets/hobby stuff. No new clothing except replacing worn out undies/socks, things like that. No paid for entertainment. Brown bagging instead of bought lunches. All the usual cutbacks.

Sounds dire, doesn't it? But just about everything is now paid off! Even the mortgage should be gone within another six months.

But what it also meant is that for an entire year I haven't brought anything new into this house except for stuff -- food, laundry soap, toilet paper -- that is immediately going to be eaten/used up.

The nice side effect is that even though I haven't been as diligent about decluttering as I should, what I *did* resulted in visible, permanent improvements. As in, those 3 boxes of books I donated to the library sale gave me enough empty shelf space that ALL those books that used to be stacked on top of the shelves, and on the floor beside them, and squirreled away in corners now are properly shelved. I can now vacuum without having to shift piles of books! This is great!

And replacement piles aren't breeding because, Hey, the library wants their books/mags/vids back.

So there you have it: the got no money to spend method of keeping your house decluttered.
  #229  
Old 07-15-2013, 06:35 PM
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Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Certainly, cutting down/cutting off the inflow of stuff into the home has helped my clutter problems considerably.
  #230  
Old 07-15-2013, 07:45 PM
Sarabellum Sarabellum is offline
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Conversely, throwing money at the problem can help as well. In the form of housekeepers and cleaning services.
  #231  
Old 07-16-2013, 10:24 AM
gwendee gwendee is offline
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Yesterday my cluttering prevented my son from getting his learner's permit. I have one drawer of files that I've managed to keep relatively organized. I went over teh DMV website to see what documents we'd need. I was able to grab his birth certificate and SS card, and off we went.

It wasn't until very far into the process the third person who looked at it noticed that it wasn't a certified copy, but an informational one.

I know that I have a certified copy. I've had to present it in some court dealings with his father, and a few other times. I'd been doing so well with that one drawer I was sure I'd put it back. Now I can't remember what the last time I had it out was. But I'm having a vague notion that it might be in a green folder.

After the disastrous trip to DMV I tore up the house, trying to get all the stashes of paper into one central location.

Haven't found it yet. I did find a check made out to me for $68 from 2010 (void after 60 days). I'm so mad at myself and sad for my son and I don't even know where to start. I made some progress last night, but not enough.

This is as dark as I've ever felt about it.

Part of my problem is that I have the problem at my business and at my home, and once in a while I'll take a box of work papers to the house planning to sort them. And I have a lot of personal things (bank statements and such) mailed to work because of my mail stealing neighbor. So things are a jumbled mess, and sorting papers (except for buried checks) doesn't yield income so it's lower on the list.

Uggh.

Back to paper mountain. Thanks for letting me whine.
  #232  
Old 07-21-2013, 01:05 PM
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Let see, I seem to have a weekend where

1) I am not dealing with an immediate crisis
2) I am not sick from from a heat wave
3) I am (mostly) caught up with the daily chores.

Hm... time to tackle another problem. I'm thinking maybe I should hack away at the paperwork piles...?
  #233  
Old 09-02-2013, 01:56 PM
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Partly due to suing a former employer (they decided they didn't need to pay their employees anymore and can't understand why anyone is upset over that ) I have to organize some paperwork. So, this morning, I just started hacking away at the piles.

I now have things sorted into broad categories (banking, retirement, medical, employment, etc.) and made extensive use of the shredder and trash can.

I have two garbage bags of discarded shredded documents, envelopes, advertising flyers, and the like. TWO GARBAGE BAGS! Out the door! Out! Out! Begone!

This does not, of course, mean things are perfect but I feel I made a substantial dent in the problem, I can see the top of my kitchen "desk" again, and I now have in one place the documents I need to get to my lawyer for my lawsuit.

What a relief!
  #234  
Old 09-02-2013, 03:46 PM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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I need to post/subscribe to this thread for inspiration and moral support. We are beginning the process of moving, and I'm determined not to move the clutter. Fortunately, I have a good time frame, and can sort and box and move a lot out of the way as I go, and put things away on the other end as it arrives at the new house. My mother is absolutely desperate to "help," and I'm equally determined that she not. She is (a) far too fond of unloading her own hoard at my house*, and (b) too anxious to do it nownownownownow, and leave me feeling like a stranger in my own home, with unfamiliar boxes piled everywhere.

I will not have anything in my new home that serves no purpose to my family. It's beyond time, and the only way I can accomplish this is to be a completely ruthless control freak, and probably piss off my mother. Woo.

*True story: my mom has been banned from going into the dumpster area at her local Goodwill. According to her, they throw away too much "good stuff." And they may, but I'm tired of having that shit dragged to my house!
  #235  
Old 09-02-2013, 08:58 PM
sunstone sunstone is offline
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Over the last six months I've been able to whip two disaster areas into shape. They've been total messes for the last 10 years! But I finally got tired of not finding things. Yes, I'm talking about the two most used areas: my desk and my workbench/garage.

First was the desk. Cleaned up the top, and then started on the drawers and paper files in the cubby. Took everything out, threw away lots, and organized back into plastic boxes that fit into the desk drawers, or for papers, the file cabinet at the end of the desk.

Then came the garage. Bought bins and two rolling metal shelved carts, and organized/junked the whole place, except for the work bench. Next phase: build a wooden heavy duty work bench with space for a mounted vice, power outlets, and extensions to support long pieces being worked on. Then two new tool multilevel boxes. Sorted tools into 16 different drawers by function, and made a master list that is posted for users to located whatever specific tool is desired.

And the great part is that I've been able to maintain the organization! The next challenge is to get my wife to actually use the organization already there, and return items to the correct place. I feel really OCD and proud, and life is much easier when I am working on my frequent projects.
  #236  
Old 09-03-2013, 06:14 PM
rocking chair rocking chair is offline
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things are a bit derailed, i'm moving items from one storage unit to a smaller one. 12 boxes to go through this weekend. oy! i started sneezing on box #9.

stuck at 9. arghghghgh.
  #237  
Old 09-03-2013, 09:57 PM
jabiru jabiru is offline
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I've been sorting, tossing, decluttering and cleaning like a maniac for the past two weeks. This afternoon, I'm going back to work for a rest. I'd like to be able to say that everything on The List has been crossed off but what would I do with my next lot of annual leave if that were the case?
  #238  
Old 09-04-2013, 07:04 AM
AaronX AaronX is offline
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Since this thread is revived, I'll post something I wanted to post that helps me. There's a philosophy in manufacturing called "just-in-time". You'd think that the way to a reliable process is backup and redundancy, right? This philosophy is just the opposite. It strives to keep as little stock at each stage of production as possible. Surprisingly, this reduces waste, saves money, and even leads to higher quality products. Toyota is one of the pioneering companies of this idea.

Since one of my sources of clutter is buying things "in case" I need them, I try to tell myself to buy things only when I need them, even if that means I'll pay more because they aren't on sale, etc. Hopefully this will be useful to someone else.
  #239  
Old 09-06-2013, 11:59 AM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Originally Posted by Lacunae Matata View Post
I need to post/subscribe to this thread for inspiration and moral support. . . .
It works! The emailed updates lead me back here and I get inspired to ask myself, what's the next thing I could be doing right now.

Of course it helps that the inspiration happens while I'm not doing anything but reading email and checking things on the internet. So it comes while there's opportunity time open.
  #240  
Old 09-06-2013, 12:51 PM
Sarabellum Sarabellum is offline
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I've been able to maintain most of my progress these last few months.

One night, a friend of mine (who also had laundry backlog) and I loaded up her van with as much laundry as it would hold (a LOT!) and took it over to a laundromat, where we stayed til close, folding and chatting. We just filled up every empty washer in the place. I even brought blankets and comforters and quilts and washed them in the industrial-sized washers. I knocked out 24 loads in a few hours that night, and since then I've been able to keep up, more or less.

Now I'm starting to think about my garage. It's bad. I'm going to tackle it when the weather's a little cooler. October, maybe. Right now I'm just trying to work out a game plan. It's going to be a big job, though. Basically we've got one car bay full of random junk about knee-to-waist deep.

Yikes.
  #241  
Old 09-06-2013, 08:52 PM
Emily Litella Emily Litella is offline
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I'm posting to subscribe too. Just reading through the last few pages has been inspiring, and I really, really, I mean really need help. I am seeing a shrink though and my depression from last year is mostly gone.

I'm in a two family house with a basement and it's pretty bad. I've got:

1. Dad's stuff on the first floor. He was a hoarder with the little pathways through the rooms. He didn't let me into his place in the last 5 years he was alive. He died in January of 2012. I'm the executor of his estate, but thank goodness it's pretty much settled. I became the homeowner a couple months ago. 1-800-got-junk are my new best friends when I can afford them, but my town does free pick ups.

2. Mom's paperwork. My parents were divorced back in the 80's. Mom went into a nursing home a few months ago. I recently had to clean out her place and put it on the market for the Medicaid claim. I steeled myself to not be sentimental about her things because I don't have room to keep anything.

3. The basement. Grandparent's things that my Dad never got rid of. A ping pong table that was set up in the early 1970's and is piled high with enough junk that's it's sagging. The back half of the basement/laundry area is finally cleared.

4. My apartment on the second floor. I have clutter but I can walk around in here.

I saw myself heading down that slippery slope into hoarding like my Dad and I'm fighting back. I do the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, clean the kitchen and bathroom, but everything else is stacks of papers, books, CDs and DVDs. I never seem to post anything on CraigsList or eBay, but that's the plan.

The hardest part seems to be fighting the part of myself that says "I worked hard all day, I deserve to sit around and relax", my inner little brat that says "I don't wanna". How do I give myself a kick in the butt to get myself going?
  #242  
Old 09-06-2013, 09:15 PM
Emily Litella Emily Litella is offline
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Okay, just came across FerretHerder's and FaerieBeth's links. They look promising.
  #243  
Old 09-10-2013, 02:01 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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. . . The hardest part seems to be fighting the part of myself that says "I worked hard all day, I deserve to sit around and relax", my inner little brat that says "I don't wanna". How do I give myself a kick in the butt to get myself going?
One way to fight this, that works for me sometimes, is to give yourself permission to only do 10 or 20 minutes of work and to agree to call that a success and feel proud of yourself for it. Because those minutes will add up, making every time you can do just that much a mini-triumph.

I've found I'm more likely to do it if I've defined the thing (or several things) that I'm going to do in my next mini-stint; and if there's an obvious difference over time. My next mini-stint is taking the stack of donatables from the living room to the van. Even if I don't do it all at once, I'll see clear space for each item I shift. Taking the van to the thrift shop will be a separate mini-stint.

And I'll say 'thank you, Yllaria' when I've done whatever next bit I've done, cause that's motivating for me. I used to have to actually say it aloud to get the feeling. Now I just have to remember to pause and glow.
  #244  
Old 09-10-2013, 02:55 PM
Wile E Wile E is offline
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I'm in a vicious cycle of amping up and getting a bunch of stuff done for a couple days, then work, social life*, health issues** put a stop to all that and then the clutter creeps back in to the areas I've already tackled while I am at a standstill.

*social life: I usually only get a couple days a week to see my boyfriend and since it's my days off when we see each other that means it also takes time out of working on my house. I will not have him help me because that never goes well and I end up very angry at him. Example: This past weekend he "helped" by brushing some cobwebs off the ceiling, hit the hall light and broke the light bulb making more work for me because now I have to find something to get the broken bulb out. My plan for the day after he left was to clean my hall closet which is pretty much impossible in a dark hallway. So it was easier to just be annoyed at him and not get anything done. Then I ended up annoyed with myself because I could have just put a portable light in the hallway and worked.

**health issues: Fibromyalgia pain, menopause fatigue and craziness, back problems and severe dust mite allergies limit how much I can do at a time. Usually the harder I push myself the longer I am wiped out and don't get anything else done. I am trying to at least do a couple small things when I feel this way, dishes, a load of laundry, sort some papers, etc. But that doesn't always work.

I'm posting here with the hope of getting myself amped up again to start cleaning.
  #245  
Old 09-10-2013, 04:41 PM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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One thing I learned, that's probably really really obvious to everyone else: the only way to clean and organize the desk is to move everything off the desk. Otherwise, I sat there being constantly distracted by the magical computer full of internets! Yes, I still need to do some fine sorting, and tackle my mom's taxes and part 2 of Tony's AFLAC claim, but I have e-receipts and on-line bank records, so I shredded a mountain of old utility bills and bank statements. I don't need them! Everything else is in properly marked file folders, neat and accessible. Woohoo!
  #246  
Old 09-10-2013, 05:42 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Okay, just came across FerretHerder's and FaerieBeth's links. They look promising.
Huh, I decided to click into this thread for the heck of it and also because we're paring stuff down due to an upcoming move, and I see this. (What did I link to? )

We just have had some clutter, and some stored stuff, nothing bad. We'd been cleaning out stuff slowly, but now we may end up in an apartment instead of a house, so we're offloading a lot of things we ended up with by default, that seemed to be maybe useful someday, etc. Goodwill is totally our friend right now; there's one not far away.

I just can't do Craigslist or EBay for our stuff because I know I'm not going to be bothered dealing with it. I don't want to set up meetings, I don't want to box and ship, so fuck it, giving it all away or throwing it all away. If I tried to get money for it, I know I'd slack.

We got a monstrously huge and heavy bedroom set pushed on us by a friend of the family years ago, and since there's no way we're moving it, if no one we know wants it, I'll probably call Got Junk and have them haul it out.

If you just can't seem to get to the donation center or sell things, try throwing some stuff out. Even if it's a waste or "perfectly good." Hopefully it'll inspire you to get rid of things and at least something will be gone.
  #247  
Old 09-10-2013, 08:42 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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broke the light bulb making more work for me because now I have to find something to get the broken bulb out.
I did this once successfully with half a potato. Good luck.
  #248  
Old 09-11-2013, 12:16 AM
Wile E Wile E is offline
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I did this once successfully with half a potato. Good luck.
I had I tool for removing broken light bulbs and lost it (somewhere in the clutter, probably). I know the potato trick but that would mean taking time to go to the store and remembering to buy a potato. I did buy some potatoes last time I went grocery shopping but I got them to eat and they are the tiny baby potatoes.
  #249  
Old 09-11-2013, 10:25 AM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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I had I tool for removing broken light bulbs and lost it (somewhere in the clutter, probably). I know the potato trick but that would mean taking time to go to the store and remembering to buy a potato. I did buy some potatoes last time I went grocery shopping but I got them to eat and they are the tiny baby potatoes.
I find pliers work well. Just make sure the light is not plugged in!
  #250  
Old 09-22-2013, 06:04 AM
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Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Well, another set-back - during the most recent rainstorm monsoon we had another Epic Ceiling Leak which resulted in emergency deployment of buckets and mops (and admittedly some sobbing on my part - thank Og we had a plastic drop cloth otherwise I would have lost at least half my book collection). Stuff got hurriedly re-arranged and shoved into corners and there is now a heap o' messy rags piled up/hung up until I can get to the laundry mat.

On the bright side, all but one of the prior leaks were successfully mended by the landlord but apparently he missed that one in the back of the roof...

This is NOT the way to Clean Up Your House.

So, this weekend instead of forward progress I will have to be doing some reworking lost ground.

On the upside (I'm always looking for an upside) the stacks of old magazines have gone, in my mind, from my precioussssss... preciousssss to get this crap outta here! Yes, I think I am psychologically ready to toss 99% of them (I am keeping the ones with my published writing). So, in addition to Continued Monsoon Clean Up I will be stacking them up to take down to the recycling center on my next trip (usually first week of the month). Yes, I am still big on recycling. It's because for some reason I find it much, much easier to take crap to the recycler than to simply toss it and that is the way I've gotten a lot of stuff out of the house. It works.
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