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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

^ 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.

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.

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…

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!

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.

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!

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!

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.

+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.

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.

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.