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When you are tossing


DawnM
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What is your "rule?"

 

I am horrible at getting rid of stuff.  Just horrible.  

 

I keep thinking I may need it, might use it, etc....

 

Help me get rid of all of it.....except my mementoes, and my clothes that are too small because I will get back in to them, and my extra fabric that I promise to use some day, and the extra 20 bottles of shampoo no one likes, but will use if we need to.

 

You see my problem.

 

Thanks!

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I think it's helpful to think about WHY you can't get rid of things. Are you sentimental? Are you worried you will need something in the future and find you have gotten rid of it? Or is there some other reason? If you are sentimental, choose a few items that you truly want to keep and take photos of the rest. As for "I might need it someday" chances are, 99% of it, you won't. In my case, it's a cross between procrastination and feeling overwhelmed looking at the big job...so I break it down into small bites. I do one room, or even one section of a room, without thinking about the whole thing.

 

Envision what you uncluttered space will look like. Wouldn't it be a huge burden lifted from you, to not have to take care of, store, clean around, all that stuff?

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I am of the opinion that this will someday be our kids' job... unless we move between now and then. ;)

Thus the question, "When I'm gone, would I want someone going through my stuff coming across *this*?"

 

Or, "If I kick it tomorrow, who will have to deal with my mess?"

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I don't have a rule but every so often this is how I get rid of stuff that my inner pack rat wants to keep.

 

Toiletries--re-purpose them.

Shampoos and body-washes can be used as laundry detergent or hand soap.

Combine all the 1/2 bottles shampoos into one bottle and let the kids use it

or donate it to an animal shelter/rescue.

or wash the car with it

or wash the windows with it

 

Do NOT pick the least likely use for the shampoo for your situation. If you KNOW that you are going to be doing laundry or washing the car this weekend, then just use the shampoo there. If you drive past an animal shelter once or twice a month, then put it in the car and drop it off the next time you go.

 

Take all the 'opened' but not being used rolls of paper towels, toilet paper, kleenex tissues, etc and put them in the bathroom or the closet. Put them in the FRONT of the closet. Use that pack of stick notes you never use and attach a note that says 'use me first!'

 

Make a toiletry bag and put it in the car, take it with you when you travel or go to the park so that you have paper towels, soap and tissue with you.

If you know someone who travels a lot ask them if they want the stuff--they can use it to refill their travel size bottles rather than by more.

 

Clothes

1) One person at a time, wash EVERYTHING but as you wash each load, go through the clothes and those that are being worn or WILL be worn within 10 days, put away properly. right away.

anything that is not being worn ask yourself why isn't it being worn?

  • Did you gain/lose enough weight that it doesn't fit right? Donate it.
  • Did you forget about it that article of clothing? Donate it.
  • Do you have a similar it that you like more? Donate it.
  • Has it been out grown?

Do you have extra blankets, curtains or linens that aren't being used? Donate them. Don't think, donate.

 

When you are going through your clothes ask yourself are the clothes worn out--Either put them in the sewing project trunk or just trash them immediately. At the end of the month go through the fabric trunk again and get rid of just 2 pieces--either by using them in a project or by trashing them. Are your boys interested in learning how to sew? How to dye clothes? If so, let them have 1 week to do something with the item--even if it is just an experiment that gets thrown away, other than that, just throw it away/burn it in the trash pile.

 

Red cross, homeless shelter, church, foster family, youth camp, it doesn't matter where DONATE THEM!

 

Paper Mess -- well, if I go any further I'll feel like a hypocrite as my clutter is 90% paper at least. :blush:

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I think part of it was how I was raised.  In Africa, we knew things we had brought were not replaceable there.   Silly, since I have lived here so long.  But there is also the feeling of not wanting to have to buy it again and waste $$.

 

Dawn

 

 

I think it's helpful to think about WHY you can't get rid of things. Are you sentimental? Are you worried you will need something in the future and find you have gotten rid of it? Or is there some other reason? If you are sentimental, choose a few items that you truly want to keep and take photos of the rest. As for "I might need it someday" chances are, 99% of it, you won't. In my case, it's a cross between procrastination and feeling overwhelmed looking at the big job...so I break it down into small bites. I do one room, or even one section of a room, without thinking about the whole thing.

Envision what you uncluttered space will look like. Wouldn't it be a huge burden lifted from you, to not have to take care of, store, clean around, all that stuff?

 

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In all seriousness, our place is large enough that we don't get rid of much and I have no apologies.

 

Obvious trash goes, of course (broken/worn out/expired, etc).  It either gets burned (paper), recycled (all that can be), or composted.  The few items that don't fit in a category get tossed in a garbage can and taken out periodically.

 

Clothes my boys have outgrown that don't make the trash category get donated to a local thrift store.

 

Anything else gets saved in our attic or in hubby's workshop.  It's amazing how much of it we actually DO use at some point - even cardboard boxes or various metal/nails or things.  Hubby's a great handyman and my kids are creative.

 

My grandmothers started us on saving anything still "good."  Both lived through the Depression and the War(s).  One thing I absolutely loved was seeing MY kids play with some old toys she kept through the years - the same ones my mom played with.  I have saved some and given my boys explicit directions that they aren't to EVER sell them should something happen to me.  They've enjoyed them enough that I'm sure they won't.  They might fight over who gets to keep them...

 

I have no regrets.  There may be things here that those who come after might not want, but certainly not anything I'd be ashamed of anyone seeing.

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Would I miss it if it were gone?

 

This week, I got rid of a trunkful of Christmas stuff! I had been hanging on to ornaments from my childhood that I had never liked in the first place and that would not fit on our tree. I feel really good that they're gone.

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We often hang onto old ways of doing things...the mentality of an earlier time of life that made sense then but doesn't now. You might need to replace something you've gotten rid of someday...but chances are you won't even miss the vast majority of it. I have rarely missed anything I've donated.

 

Would it help to think of the people who will be blessed by your donations? I read this once and repeat it to myself: keep the river of giving flowing.

 

I think part of it was how I was raised. In Africa, we knew things we had brought were not replaceable there. Silly, since I have lived here so long. But there is also the feeling of not wanting to have to buy it again and waste $$.

 

Dawn

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With regard to clothes that don't fit at the moment, but you hope to lose enough weight to wear some day:

 

There's nothing wrong with saving a beloved, favorite outfit, or a couple of "intermediate size" items, but for the most part, when you finally achieve the weight loss you want, those clothes will no longer be in style - at all.  Reward yourself for losing weight by buying new clothes and bless someone else by donating clothes that are still somewhat in style.

 

Anne

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I think part of it was how I was raised.  In Africa, we knew things we had brought were not replaceable there.   Silly, since I have lived here so long.  But there is also the feeling of not wanting to have to buy it again and waste $$.

 

Dawn

 

I never lived in Africa, and I still feel that way, lol!

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Clothes you haven't worn in a year.

Anything that's been replaced, like the shampoo no one likes.

Anything you might use or fix. Because you won't.

Anything you have two of, like black pumps or red sweaters.

 

Before you start get angry. I'm completely serious. It makes the difference of "I might use this" to "Why do we have so much ****!" You'll get rid of more. I always declutter something when I'm PMSing. The computer, closet, junk drawers. It keeps me from decluttering my husband.

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It's grown easier and easier for me to toss things over time because I cannot think of one instance when I've missed something that I've tossed.

 

For kids, if it's not in good enough condition to be passed on or does not have sentimental value, it's donated or trashed (depending on condition).  If we've changed climates, and it's unlikely we'll need mittens or whatever, I donate them.

 

For me, if it's books/magazines that I doubt I will reread, then they're donated/recycled.

 

Most paper stuff I recycle.  I have a bin for each kid for each school year that I save the best examples of work.  The rest I recycle.

 

I really do think the "when in doubt, throw it out" is good advice.

 

 

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I am of the opinion that this will someday be our kids' job... unless we move between now and then.   ;)

 

I know you were kind of joking, but as one of those "kids" who had that job, I can tell you it's emotionally draining. My mother had trouble getting rid of things and it was very difficult for my brother and me to go through all her stuff to weed out the junk. After having to do that, I am determined not to burden my son and stepson with such a job.

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We have a large house too and that has been part of the issue.

 

We are strongly considering moving now for a variety of reasons and it now is a bit cluttered and messy, which doesn't bother me too much if I am not showing the rest of the house to anyone, but to sell it, this is TOO much stuff.

 

We have filled the garbage cans so no more tossing until after Monday, although we can still fill bags.

 

Dawn

 

 

In all seriousness, our place is large enough that we don't get rid of much and I have no apologies.

 

Obvious trash goes, of course (broken/worn out/expired, etc).  It either gets burned (paper), recycled (all that can be), or composted.  The few items that don't fit in a category get tossed in a garbage can and taken out periodically.

 

Clothes my boys have outgrown that don't make the trash category get donated to a local thrift store.

 

Anything else gets saved in our attic or in hubby's workshop.  It's amazing how much of it we actually DO use at some point - even cardboard boxes or various metal/nails or things.  Hubby's a great handyman and my kids are creative.

 

My grandmothers started us on saving anything still "good."  Both lived through the Depression and the War(s).  One thing I absolutely loved was seeing MY kids play with some old toys she kept through the years - the same ones my mom played with.  I have saved some and given my boys explicit directions that they aren't to EVER sell them should something happen to me.  They've enjoyed them enough that I'm sure they won't.  They might fight over who gets to keep them...

 

I have no regrets.  There may be things here that those who come after might not want, but certainly not anything I'd be ashamed of anyone seeing.

 

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When I have trouble like this, I find it helpful just to get rid of just one thing in each category: 1 shampoo, 1 piece of clothing, I piece of scrap fabric, 1 book (gasp). Also, I don't throw it away. I donate it to a thrift store, even if I know noone will want it and it will end up in the trash anyway. I don't have to see it in the trash. It's psychologically easier. A week later I do it again. It gets a little easier each time. It doesn't matter how you do it. One thing from each room works also. It doesn't feel as traumatic as purging, especially since you start by getting rid of what you want the least. After a while you begin to feel lighter and  you even begin to enjoy getting rid of stuff.

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Love it, use it, or out it goes!!

 

Would I purchase this if I was at a store right now?  It has meaning, but would a photo preserve the memories?  Could another person or relative use and love it more than me?  Would it *really* be that tough to replace if I got rid of it and found out later I need it?

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I know you were kind of joking, but as one of those "kids" who had that job, I can tell you it's emotionally draining. My mother had trouble getting rid of things and it was very difficult for my brother and me to go through all her stuff to weed out the junk. After having to do that, I am determined not to burden my son and stepson with such a job.

 

This.  I have had to purge relatives' items and it is exhausting. 

 

 

Also, if you don't have the space you do not need it.  If you only have room for 12 magazines the thirteenth *has* to go. 

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I don't have time for one thing from each room per week.  Today I think we bagged about 100 items (not all large) and it still looks and feels over-run with stuff.

 

Dawn

 

 

When I have trouble like this, I find it helpful just to get rid of just one thing in each category: 1 shampoo, 1 piece of clothing, I piece of scrap fabric, 1 book (gasp). Also, I don't throw it away. I donate it to a thrift store, even if I know noone will want it and it will end up in the trash anyway. I don't have to see it in the trash. It's psychologically easier. A week later I do it again. It gets a little easier each time. It doesn't matter how you do it. One thing from each room works also. It doesn't feel as traumatic as purging, especially since you start by getting rid of what you want the least. After a while you begin to feel lighter and  you even begin to enjoy getting rid of stuff.

 

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 Not really.  I threw the junk away......it is the other stuff I have a hard time with.

 

I just didn't realize 16 year old had so much junk!

 

Dawn

 

 

It sounds like you solved your own problem.

 

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I have two things I keep in mind. 

 

First, would someone else need this more than I do? So, say, the 20 bottles of shampoo. Is there a homeless person that REALLY NEEDS shampoo, and has none, and you are not even using it? If so, donate rather than keep. 

 

Second, can I reasonably afford another if I need it? So, if I have clothes that don't fit in my closet, could I realistically afford to buy new ones if/when I lose weight? Even used? Do I have friends that would gift me clothes? If so, get rid of them. Donate them to someone that NEEDS them right now. (see rule above)

 

Third, if I catch myself thinking, "but I might...." I get rid of it.

 

Honestly, keeping that clutter is a sign of fear. Fear you might need it, that somehow you won't be able to provide for yourself in the future so you have to hoard now. Let go of the fear. Trust God/The Universe/Your community to provide if you need stuff in the future. Until then, live in the now. If you don't need it NOW, get rid of it. 

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I was told that if you couldn't easily find it, it doesn't matter if you "might someday use it." So, unless your stuff is super-well-organized, get rid of the excess and organize what you are sure you will use.

 

On the other hand, my in-laws are super-organized and gave us a stack of newspaper clippings over 20 years old about things to do in our new city... many area codes have changed, the coupons are no longer good, and the information is useless, so we tossed it for them. :-) 

 

Also, we had an episode of five boxes of baby/toddler clothing getting mildewy. Since then, we pass on any clothes we possibly can and have received more than we have needed.

 

Emily

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THANK YOU all.

 

We are going through oldest son's bedroom today. We had to stop because we don't have more room in the trash bin, but we at least have a plan.

You've motivated me! We had one dd move out recently and we are playing musical bedrooms. I need to get one room emptied and move my youngest son in there, and set up my sewing room in dd's former room.

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I didn't read everyone else's response, but I'm not a packrat.  We move every few years and that always inspires a major decluttering.

 

Here's my rule:  Just throw out the toiletries you hate.  No one will ever use them, ever.  Besides, shampoo isn't expensive and kids like that cheap Suave scented stuff anyway.  The only one who likes toiletries is you and you hate these.

 

As for clothes, go through them all. Put the ones with stains or holes in the trash. Put the ones that are too small for you in a pile on your bed.   Put sentimental items in a storage box, but try and limit yourself to three sentimental items. The ones that are the right size, hang in the closet but put the hangar backwards (hook from the back).  When you wear them, put the back with the hangar turned in the correct direction.  In three or 6 months you'll easily be able to see which clothes you love and which you hate.  If you have a handful of things you only wear for certain occasions they get a pass (ie: the dress you wear to funerals, the dress you wear to warm and cold season weddings, a few cocktail dresses, etc).  Limit those to 5.

 

Go through the pile on your bed that's too small.  Are the clothes even still in style?  Are they timeless and high quality?  If you got down to that size would you wear any of them?  Wouldn't you rather just have a shopping trip to celebrate your smaller size than save all this junk?

 

As for everything else, is it something you've used in the past year?  If not, is it something you could afford to replace if you needed it in the future? Is it something you would replace if you lost it?  Was it free or a mistake to purchase it and you're just keeping it in case it might be useful?  If so, throw it out.  Don't throw good time after bad money.

 

Stuff is cheap.  The part of your life you spend maintaining useless stuff is precious.

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I'm in the midst of downsizing so much, my garage is currently a mess. 

 

I'm trying to keep in mind, I may want to move in the future and I need stuff two people can lift. 

 

I also have hoarders in the family and I don't want to live like that. 

 

I am also sentimental and can tell you the story about every accessory I own, it's hard. 

 

I finally have all my clothes in one closet (except winter coats) - that's a real achievement for me. 

 

I guess the biggest thing is to remember it didn't all come in at once, it won't all go out at once either. One closet, one category, one room at a time is the way to go. Don't beat yourself if you feel like you "fail" and bring something home. 

 

I've also made lists of things to sort, items I really need, and things that would be nice to have but aren't necessary for happiness. 

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We have a large house too and that has been part of the issue.

 

We are strongly considering moving now for a variety of reasons and it now is a bit cluttered and messy, which doesn't bother me too much if I am not showing the rest of the house to anyone, but to sell it, this is TOO much stuff.

 

We have filled the garbage cans so no more tossing until after Monday, although we can still fill bags.

 

Dawn

 

Ok, maybe one of the big differences between us and many others is we simply don't buy much "stuff" to start with...

 

As I'm reading here... donate extra bottles of shampoo?  Who has those?  We only have what we use and I'm continually reminding others that when we are getting low it had BETTER be on a shopping list.  Two pairs of similar shoes?  Not here.  Clothes with stains or holes?  Those are used around the barn or out doing yardwork.  Once they're no good for that they hit the burn pile.

 

We do have lots of books... and we have most of the old games and videos (some of the latter did get donated).  We ought to figure out what to do with those I suppose.   But I'm content not doing that now.

 

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Hmmm......some things I feel more at peace having.  Other stuff really just hasn't been gone through for a long time.  The stuff that is just junk I haven't gone through is just time consuming and takes a while to sort though.

 

The stuff I feel at peace having I am trying to just organize.

 

But there seems to be a 3rd category and that is the one I have the most trouble with........the clothes that don't fit me, the fabric I fully intend on using someday, just not in the last 10 years it has been sitting here, that sort of stuff.

 

Dawn

 

 

Do you feel more peaceful keeping all this stuff or would you feel more peaceful having the space all this stuff is taking up?

 

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Another problem (came up today) is that I have the kids go up and start working on their stuff and the next thing I know they have found a game that hasn't been played in 5 years and start playing it!  :lol:

 

And then there is my Aspie, who has trouble getting rid of anything.  He has a table full of legos he doesn't want me touching.  :glare:

 

 

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I do have a friend who is RUTHLESS with tossing.  She has offered on many occasions to come help me, but I am afraid our friendship may not last through the process!  However, I am getting closer to phoning her up to come on over.

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Hmmmmm.......my husband may be gone by morning.

 

 

"Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." --William Morris.

 

Words to live by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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What is your "rule?"

 

I am horrible at getting rid of stuff. Just horrible.

 

I keep thinking I may need it, might use it, etc....

 

Help me get rid of all of it.....except my mementoes, and my clothes that are too small because I will get back in to them, and my extra fabric that I promise to use some day, and the extra 20 bottles of shampoo no one likes, but will use if we need to.

 

You see my problem.

 

Thanks!

Here are a few guidelines I use:

 

* if stuck on monetary value of something, "I might need it" thinking, "one day I might" thinking, etc., I focus on how crazy abundantly we live and how much it will make someone's day if I can be "crazy generous" in giving things away. Yeah, one day I might make a blanket on the Lap Loom

I bought for our Around the World study, but since it has been sitting in a box in the basement for nine years, I'd say odds are not good. Meanwhile, there is surely a homeschooler who would be thrilled to get something so lovely. Be crazy generous. It opens the Universe to supply your needs in return.

 

* sentimental stuff: I'm not an extreme minimalist, so personally, I don't think it is bad or wrong to keep some tokens. The problem for many people, is difficulty categorizing what is important enough to keep and what does not matter. One thing that can help is envisioning the long-term future of an object. How cherished is it likely to be in twenty years? In forty? Another exercise to try is imagining if your house burned down or was flooded -which things would you grieve over losing? So, if my Honor Roll certificate from the 8th grade burned up, I would be sad about it for about twelve seconds. But if the birth momentoes from my baby girl who died were lost, I would be very affected. I'm never tossing my baby's things unless they were ruined beyond recognition, but lots of papers and awards and such, while kind of fun to look at, are not important to keep.

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This particular friend is a bit ruthless.  I am afraid she will try to talk me into giving away my grandmother's afghan.   

 

Dawn

 

 

I did this for a friend, who couldn't let go of any books. We halved her book collection and our friendship survived :)

 

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