I just have to let it go...

We have so much stuff in this house, and it’s mostly mine. I’ve decided that as hard as it may be it’s time to let it go. I found a great website that helps categorize donations, so I’ve been working through the house room by room.

It is so hard to do! Here are some of the things that run through my head;

I paid a lot of money for this
We have good memories of reading these books together (especially the kids’ books)
I bet I could make a lot of money selling this in a garage sale
I sort of still like this item

…and so on. I do usually have a garage sale every year and we make pretty good money at it, plus it can be fun. Last year we made almost $400 which we used over the remainder of the summer as our ‘fun money’ - you know, movie tickets and gas money to go up north and so on. Good times.

So far I’ve dropped off donations at the Salvation Army eight times. It’s close to our house and I’m just trying to do a little at a time. Last trip was my daughter’s stuffed animals that were languishing in the basement. She is 19. She didn’t even want to look (do we ever outgrow the thought that we will hurt our stuffed animal’s feelings when we give them away?), so my son and I went through them. I ended up keeping four of them.:smack: Well, I did donate a couple of dozen, so that’s something, right?

Right? {crickets chirping}

Today it is books, and it is very difficult for me. I love to read, and books make up a large part of the clutter around here. I realize that our home will be more inviting without the extra clutter and we’re not reading Truck Trouble or Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and my 13 year old has lost interest in his Simpsons comic books. My daughter isn’t too likely to read her American Girl books, either.

After I drop off the stuff at the Salvation Army, I never feel guilty… more like a strong sense of relief. It’s just sorting through the stuff that’s difficult.

Right! You’re doing what you can, at a pace that doesn’t freak you out, and you’re giving it to a good cause. It sounds like you are doing it by choosing manageable categories, and that’s an excellent way to tackle a large project.

When Hallboy was younger, he had a ton of stuff he’d outgown and was stuffed under the bed/on shelves/in the closet/in a box in the basement, etc. He didn’t want to part with ANYTHING, not even the stuff he’d forgotten he had, or never used (my two cardinal rules for getting rid of things). I finally explained to him what happened with the stuff that went to the Salvation Army–some of it was sold in the store (we’d actually bought some stuff there), and that money went to help people who needed it, including to support the Salvation Army summer camps for kids. (It just so happened that both he and both Hallgirls had been to summer camps sponosored by SA in the past.) I also told him that the people who bought stuff at SA were ones who went there because they needed items, and that by donating the things we no longer used, it was “recycling”. All these were concepts that he was familar with.

Pretty soon, he was the one dumping things into boxes to go to SA that he no longer needed or wanted.

I think it helps to think of things as going to someone who will need or use them, and that they won’t be spending the rest of their useful life in a land fill, and that the money being raised by reselling the items goes to a worthy cause. Every time I haul a load off to SA, I feel a part of me lighten inside. It sounds corney, but I do.

I’m not a pack rat in the least, but I recently needed to replace my grandmother’s omelet pan. I hadn’t realized the bottom was no longer level because until we moved, we had a gas stove so it didn’t matter. Here with a stupid flat cooking surface, it does matter.

Donating my grandmother’s omelet pan was difficult, but I decided that somewhere someone else, perhaps a woman, really needed a decent omelet pan and wouldn’t be bothered by the bottom being all rounded. And in my heart of hearts, I know I still have my grandmother’s memory etc–anyway, the point was someone else is now going to use and (at least in my version of the story) cherish that pan.

I feel your pain. We’re moving out of Alaska next year, so we’re getting rid of a ton of stuff. My biggest pain is liquidated much of my coin collection on eBay. My wife’s pain is in sorting through and getting rid of books.

Whew! C’mon, man. Can’t you at least do that by a window, or something?

I’m really good at letting go of stuff. I love the feeling of dropping off a big load at Goodwill. However…we have two small suitcases full of old stuffed animals and we can’t seem to say goodbye to a single one. I remember the very day Mom bought us those beanbag Kermits…

I just scared the dog, by laughing.

There are now six bags in the car, plus a floral arrangement. I know that someone with kids will enjoy these books - they’re in great shape. I also went through some clothes. Two bags full - out the door!

Now is a good time to do this stuff, when it’s so nice outside. It’s not a hardship to drive up to the Salvation Army and donate. When it’s cold out I’m less likely to do it.

I’ve decided that for every room I clean (or shovel) out of lots of stuff we no longer use, I will bring in one or two new things, or do something to ‘refresh’ it. Still working on the living room, but when I’m done it’s getting a fresh coat of paint and a new lamp. Of course, I will donate the one we have right now! It’s seen better days.

I feel for you. I have a horrible time letting things go. I have boxes upon boxes of old toys and action figures that I should get rid of but haven’t yet, mostly because the thought “They might be worth something someday!” keeps running through my head. That and “I can’t get rid of Michaelangelo, he’s like a brother to me!” :o

I have a metric shit-ton of… just stuff, all of which needs to be confined to my (admittedly massive – 24’ x 30’) bedroom. My boyfriend is moving in October 1st, so in an effort to make him more comfortable here (he’s very minimalistic) and make space for his small about of belongings, I’ve been going through stuff, almost all of which is still stored in 18gal plastic totes due to a recent move.

I, too, sorted through my stuffed animal collection. I ended up keeping enough of them to completely fill a 6’ x 2.5’, 5 shelf bookcase. :smack: I’m 23.

But I did decide to donate enough of them to fill two 40-gallon trashbags, so that’s progress made, right? I also threw out a few regular trashbags full of stuff, and was able to fill two plastic totes of “stuff to donate”. My “collection of sentimental bullhonkey” (which includes notes people wrote to me in highschool that I’ll never read again, my first car’s airbag, and an 11 year old bag of candy) was reduced to 1 plastic tote. The rest of the stuff was reduced to 5 totes of things I need to figure out where to put.

So I got rid of a lot, but could do much better. I’ll let go of it all eventually – I think as I get older, my attachment to objects decreases.

I’m pretty sure it was here where I read about someone helping her husband stop hoarding stuff by having him take photos of the things he gets rid of. I think that’s a great idea.

I could do better, too.

I went into the Salvation Army. Ooohhhhh… pretty! It’s a huge, brand-new store. I escaped with a new pair of shoes, new pair of socks, gloves for my husband (also new), and a zippered makeup case.:smack:

Well, I got rid of six big bags and brought one small one home. That’s progress. Yeah, I keep telling myself that.

Should’ve sold it on eBay as “hypothetical treasure.”

If it feels better to you to give stuff away in person, I highly recommend Freecycle.org (give away anything, just list it and people will come pick it up), and www.paperbackswap.com (for books, you mail them out and people will send you new books in return, or if you’re trying to reduce you can sell off the book credits you earn).

My husband and I are planning to move back to Tennessee (from Texas) and what gives me stomach acid is not trying to find a new job or house or even trying to sell this house. No, what gives me the most anxiety is the thought of getting this house ready for sale. I don’t even know where to begin or when I’m even going to have the time. We just have so. much. crap.

once again another plug for operation paperback. books for troops, in tents, boats, ships, far flung bases. and yes, they do take kids books, they can use them on family webcasts, so military parent can read to kidlet at home. i’ve been able to let go of many books by thinking “this will help someone escape from being in a tent, in the sand”.

i’m with you on the clear out. know anyone who needs multiple settings of avon’s cape cod collection?

in some ways stuffed animals are harder than books to part with. hhhhmmm, perhaps i’ll add an animal to a book shipment!

Where the heck did all of this stuff come from, anyhow? I guess I need to quit going to all of those garage sales. This is like gaining weight - it creeps up on you and then one day you realize that there’s a problem.

I keep telling myself that if we don’t use something or even especially like it, then the time has come to get it out of the house. That’s a good theory when I’m sitting at work thinking about cleaning out the closet, but it’s surprisingly difficult to actually do it. Then, when I donate a load of stuff, it feels great! I’m not sure what happens in between the I’m-going-to-do-it and the this-feels-good-to-get-rid-of-stuff.

Probably just procrastination and laziness.

Ha! I’m with you. Two boxes went off to the Sally Ann today. I, too, have crap galore (and treasures, too). I hate throwing away something if it can still be used–especially books and clothes. Donating it is just so much better. It’s recycling.

I also like popping into thrift stores, too. But that doesn’t solve the problem of accumulating stuff…