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Unamanageability, fear and sadness surrounding decluttering. - Page 2

post #21 of 33

It sounds like me last year. Constantly cleaning, organizing, wishing for less but kept buying more.

 

In the past, I would spend months trying to sell items on Craigslist or ebay.  What didnt sell, remained. It was such a time consuming process that took a majority of my time. Then, like you, I would compulsively shop and not even want the packages by the time they showed at my door.

 

I realized I was addicted to the shopping cycle. I actually had to adopt a "one day at a time" philosophy to break it.  It was such a part of my daily habit and emotional make-up. I think because we live in such a consumerist society that the few people I tried to explain this to didn't get how debilitating this was on my life. They couldnt see that buying things can be an addiction the same as drugs.  They say that addiction is having too much of what you dont want - that was me.

 

As far as being attached to baby items, I cut swatches from alot of my baby clothes to someday make a quilt out of.  The box takes up less space. 

 

The feeling of just showing up at the goodwill with a van full of items is freeing.  It feels good to give away to people. Once you start, it becomes so much easier! I have reduced my clothing by 50%, kids toys by 75% (and noone has ever asked for the missing toys- they didnt even notice!!), household items brought to manageable levels.  What I ask myself when getting rid of something is whether my life will be in any way less if I dont have this thing.  Usually the answer is "no".

 

My ds is not onboard with becoming decluttered. He feels his things represent who he is- he views them differently.  THere is nothing I can do about this other than give him his own seperate space for his stuff.  I cant let that bother me.  However, he doesnt object to me downsizing everyone else's things.  He saw unhappy I was spending all my time managing our stuff.

 

Start small.  Go through a closet and have piles for trash, selling and donating. My criteria was anything worth less than $10 was donated.   Big items that sat on Craigs List for more than a month were donated.

 

Physical items are not worth you happiness!

 

Oh and something that really helped me was watching "The Story of Stuff" - its on youtube.

 

 

post #22 of 33

I am planning on using a portion of my pay from my seasonal job to get a quilt made from baby clothes from this company http://www.campusquilt.com/ .  I know it is expensive, but I don't want to regret not doing it.  I sold a lot of things at a consignment event, but have some left for my keepsake.  hug2.gifI know it's hard

post #23 of 33

I know how hard  it is.  Hang in there.

 

post #24 of 33

 

I don't know if this will help, but I've recently come to the conclusion that when people want to keep clutter, they want to keep it because... they want to keep it. They want to keep it similar to the way that they want chocolate, or coffee, or a drink, or anything that makes them feel good. They may _tell_ themselves that they want that coffee because they need a boost to get through the work day, or that they want the drink because it will loosen them up and help them impress people at dinner, but what it comes down to is that they _want_. It's not ego or superego, it's id - they _want_, not for any logical or rational reason, but simply because they want.
 
(Yes, I am visualizing Buffy in that classroom, in case you're wondering.)
 
Though in the case of clutter, it may not be as much as "want to keep it" as "don't want to get rid of it". But the "don't want" is just as irrational as the "want". Getting rid of it makes them feel bad, just as drinking that cup of coffee makes them feel good. And they don't want to feel bad. The id doesn't want to get up in the morning, or take medicine, or get rid of clutter. It doesn't want to feel bad.
 
I'm doing all this babbling to argue that you are not going to find a logical, rational, reasonable, well-thought-out reason for getting rid of the stuff. Because a big part of your brain doesn't want you to get rid of the stuff. It wants you to eat chocolate, and drink wine, and sleep late in a warm comfortable bed, and it wants you to _not_ get rid of your stuff. It wants you to feel good right this second, and it couldn't care less about next month's weight gain, tomorrow's hangover, this morning's angry boss when you stumble in after sleeping late, or tomorrow's frustration at your cluttered house.
 
So just as you don't trust the id with the other decisions in your life, you have to stop trusting it about the little decisions involved in decluttering, and start trusting your ego and superego about the final goal: Getting rid of stuff. When the id howls "You'll be saaaaaaad when that's gone!" you need the higher levels of your brain to tell it to just shut up. Or you need to console it with chocolate and happy music and promises of vases of pretty flowers on a pretty shiny clutter-free table.
 
("Giles, don't upset cave slayer.")
 
And, most importantly, you need that higher level of your brain to accept, "Getting rid of this specific item might be a mistake. The overall goal is not a mistake. This supports the overall goal, therefore I'm getting rid of it."
 
Decluttering hurts. If it didn't hurt, it would have already happened.
 
Now, I realize that I can do all the arguing I want, and I can convince you to just take the decluttering medicine, and your husband will jump in and sabotage the whole thing. So I fear that one of the things that may hurt is that you may have to engage in serious, firm, disagreement with your husband. 
 
I've largely passed through "decluttering hurts" and gotten to, "Woohoo! Hand me another trashbag!".  But my guy similarly objects to getting rid of things. One thing I have put my foot down on is that I don't even accept discussion on stuff that's exclusively mine, as opposed to his or shared - I _will_ do what I darn well please with my stuff. If you can do the same, it seems that that should give you decluttering work for a while.
 
Also, I divide storage into his space and my space. If I get rid of my stuff and my drawers or bookshelves or side of the closet are nice and sparsely filled, that nice sparse space is _mine_. His excess stuff is not moving in to that space. He doesn't try to move it in - he respects divided space, though he may not do the dividing himself - but even if he did, I would move it right back out again.
 
On the question of books that aren't at the "TV hoarders" level, I'd suggest Don Aslett's books on clutter, and _It's hard to make a difference when you can't find your keys_. I'm reading _The Secret Lives of Hoarders_; it does indeed address severe hoarders, but the motivations and fears that it addresses are relevant to less severe situations, and he does have one much less severe repeating example.
 
Crayfish
post #25 of 33

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post

 

When the id howls "You'll be saaaaaaad when that's gone!" you need the higher levels of your brain to tell it to just shut up. Or you need to console it with chocolate and happy music and promises of vases of pretty flowers on a pretty shiny clutter-free table.

 


ROTFLMAO.gif I love this...thanks Crayfish! 

 

You have really helped me get past a 'brain block' I have had about getting rid of clutter. thumb.gif

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

-What if we have another little girl/little boy and I need these baby girl/baby boy/maternity clothes?

 


I did that... got rid of everything because we weren't having anymore babies...  then had just one more :)  Honestly...  he has more clothes than my other two kids put together and I haven't paid one dime for clothes.  I got so many hand me downs that I have had to give at least half of them away and he still has more than he needs from 6 months until age 4 (at least).  People are very generous and I have found in my circle of friends, we are so happy to give our baby stuff to the next person who needs them.

 

Other than that... all I can say is start slow when you try to declutter.  I can do massive declutters now (and I love to), but when I first started, I had the same emotional attachment to stuff.  It has gotten easier for me and for my whole family...
 

 

post #27 of 33

Thanks for making this thread and to all who responded! I searched on here for inspiration. We recently downsized from a 1800 sq ft house to a 925 sq ft apartment (2 adults, 2 kids). I *thought* we did an excellent job decluttering as we moved, but we literally still had more stuff than fit in the apartment. Based on some of the suggestions, I made a written list of things I *did* want - everything else was either trashed, donated, or put in a pile for auction house (based on many PP's suggestions). Auction house is coming to get the stuff tomorrow and I feel AWESOME! love.gif

post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

I desperately want to declutter and live a streamlined life.  The time has come.  I buy things knowing while I am buying them that I will not like them.  Packages show up at my door and I am not sure why I bought them.  I hate coming home b/c all I do when home is move piles of crap: clean clothes, magazines, toys, dirty dishes, clean dishes.  I constantly fantasize about chucking it all to live in an RV with nothing but a few t-shirts and my Kindle.

 

I have a vision of what I want:

 

-No books, dvds, cds.  That's what e-readers and iPods are for.

-Very minimal clothes for everyone. (7 each tops, bottoms, underwear, socks, pjs?)

-1 place setting per family member.

-1 bath towel and hand towel per person.

-Very minimal toys: smaller amount of Legos, crayons & paper, doll?

-Small personal stash of memorabilia.

-Kitchen only has the tools and pans we actually use.

-Wedding album, baby videos, and family pictures on CD.

 

I can see it in my mind.  I want it.  But the thought of doing it makes me freeze with sadness and fear.  I get several repetitive thoughts:

 

-What if we have another little girl/little boy and I need these baby girl/baby boy/maternity clothes?

-There's nothing wrong with this _____.

-My dd is not a baby anymore and if I get rid of her baby clothes, it will be too sad.

-This will come back in fashion.  It always does.

-This was expensive.

 

Then dh and I have a fight about it, b/c I just want to rent a dumpster and put everything either in the dumpster or on a donation truck.  He wants to have a yard sale/give this ___ to his brothers/give this ___ to a friend.  This drives me nuts b/c:

 

-He will never actually have a yard sale.

-If he does, we have to keep the castoffs until it happens.

-If I see the baby clothes at the yard sale, it will break my heart.

-All the time and effort of rehoming items individually is ridiculous, considering we don't have time to even breathe.

-I feel that I will only have the strength to do it all at once, ruthlessly.

 

And then, voila, I get stuck in a depressive, sobbing spiral.  So if you have any thoughts, be gentle.  Most of these things, I can see objective answers to, but it doesn't help.

 



I haven't read the other replies, but I am reading this book, Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer and it has really hit a nerve. At first I started reading and was rolling my eyes...and then I I am sure my eyes got big. bigeyes.gif

 

 I wish I could get this person to come to my house and tell me why I can't seem to declutter properly or find out the "source" of my decluttering problem! I do know it's in my basement. Going back down there tomorrow to try again. lol.gif

 

As far as the baby things go...I have always felt really good about giving things to a local women's shelter or the social services department if that is how your state works. Women and children who need those things will get them. It makes it easier to let go of the tiny items. 

 

Not sure what to tell you about your dh. Mine can slow things waaay down, too. He's gotten better...he just told me tonight to get rid of things before he gets home, so he can't go through the boxes and pull stuff back out. thumb.gif

 

Good luck! I know it's hard. hug.gif


Edited by tinybutterfly - 7/19/11 at 8:40am
post #29 of 33

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by valsblondies View Post

What I ask myself when getting rid of something is whether my life will be in any way less if I dont have this thing.  Usually the answer is "no".

 

This is great! I read this and immediately tossed several things and feel fine! There are little trivial things I hang onto thinking "This is perfectly good". I mean, why would you donate an old bookmark? And it's perfectly good. But I don't use bookmarks. And my husband doesn't want it. Threw it out and won't miss it! Several things in my tote of "random crap I've been hanging onto" tossed without a second thought.

 

post #30 of 33

I sometimes get hung up on the idea that something is "worth" money, so I don't want to toss it. But I know myself and I know that craigslist or ebay is just another way to procrastinate. It creates extra work that won't get done and it's just not worth the small amount of money an item might fetch. So, now I donate everything and tell myself I'm doing a good deed for some needy person who could really use my item.  It makes me happy to declutter, it potentially will make someone else happy that finds it at the Salvation Army. Win-win!

post #31 of 33

Also: tax deductions for donating used goods should not be overlooked. Especially if you are doing a lot of donating in one year. 

post #32 of 33

I find that the disagreements about decluttering, and how to go about getting rid of stuff, is really frustrating.  My dh and I have very different styles, and they don't mesh very well, even though we both seem to want the same goal.  Our 'stuff" is stuff that is brought home, or kept because it might be useful someday.  Or, it's expensive to get rid of it, etc.

 

I, bottom line, do not want to spend my time or energy organizing, or managing, what i consider to be junk.  I want to do other things with my time, and I feel resentful of the constant organizing.  If we don't have it, we won't have to spend time maintaining it.

 

Working on lots of compromise here!  OP, didn't mean to hijack, but this is a hot button issue for me.

post #33 of 33

Quote:

Originally Posted by snanna View Post

Also: tax deductions for donating used goods should not be overlooked. Especially if you are doing a lot of donating in one year. 


If I'm reading the tax forms right, unless our itemized deductions are over $11,400 (married couple), I'm better off taking the standard deduction. I don't have anything else I'd itemize. I don't think I have 11k of stuff I can donate! Even though we donated our car last week.

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