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Starting to Declutter - need a pep talk & advice!!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Okay,... I have lurked on here a bit and been intimidated but have realized that my life is OVER if I don't start getting rid of stuff... the quality of life is just sinking in the piles of crap. So..... a big question to those of you who succeed... I always feel like I have to save stuff (poverty mentality from my mom, raised by her depression era mom) in case I need it later, and I don't like to waste, but I don't have the time to organize things. It might be little misc stuff like crafty things, or it might be the tons of toys and clothes from my 9-yo that I think I should save for my now 15 month old... (i mean, the style might just be horrible by then anyway, should I just donate it?)... the time involved in organizing and packing stuff away is a deterrent. I feel desperate like I  should just throw everything away, or burn the house down. :) Would love some advice on this kind of thinking and how to plow through!!!

post #2 of 12

Unless you anticipate being really broke, I'd get rid of it all  --  except for maybe the stuff that baby will use in the next year.  It took us 4 1/2 years to conceive our second child and it happened, of course, right after I got rid of the last of Milo's old stuff.  When I got pg, I had one onsie, one gown, and a 2T pair of jeans left.  All of the big stuff (swing, etc) was gone.  I really only had those three items.  And I have really not missed the stuff at all.  


A few years ago, before I had even heard of "decluttering", I knew we were going to be moving some time (like in the next year) and I decided to fill my garbage bin and my recycling bin every week, no matter what.  It was so awesome!  After a couple of months, I would be searching through the house to get rid of stuff.  I got rid of tons and I never felt bad about it later.  There have maybe been a handful of times where I thought, crap, I wish I had X now.  But having a livable home has exponentially outweighed the very few times that has happened.


The only toys I would keep, if I were you, would be like legos or nice blocks if you have any.  Those have always been good stand-bys for us and I've had friends who's kids are now teens or older bring them out when we bring our kids over and it's great.  

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

That is great - thank you! and I love the goal of filling up a garbage bin or a box for donation every week... etc.! I think i'm gonna keep "livable home" as a little mantra every time I'm thinking, oh, I should keep it....

post #4 of 12

Kinda right there with ya. I'm relatively minimalist by nature, but the hubby is more of a hoarder (we have old cell phones, with their boxes and all accessories, from 2003, for crying out loud... "In case we need them"... we've bought 6 phones AND changed providers since then!!!)... I'm coming to realize that I have boxes I still haven't unpacked from when we moved into this house in 2007. >.> I don't QUITE have the willpower to just "throw them out" without investigating, but I HAVE managed to talk hubby into streamlining some contents ("Can we maybe just keep the most RECENT cell phone, and get rid of the rest?"), so that's good progress.


I will say I recently started to tackle the office, which is a Massive Black Hole of Random Crap, and have felt some INTENSE satisfaction at filling up my garbage can with crap I've been trying to get out of my house for years. (Like the three extra big box monitors we had "just in case," and the six years of paperwork I really didn't need to keep.) I'm listing stuff for free on craigslist and setting it out on the porch and I just ignore it until someone comes to get it. And slowly but surely... I'm finding floor space. I can actually reach the closet. I have a whole shelf to put stuff on again!!


I would definitely get the kid stuff out of your house. It will be a LONG time until your 15-month-old needs to wear size 7 pants, and you can pick up a few pairs at a thrift store for $2. I think, comparatively speaking, your space and your sanity over the next five years is worth a few bucks down the road. =)


I'd recommend pulling out one or two big boxes and just start packing up stuff you know you are ready to get rid of (like kiddo clothes)... just keep putting stuff in the boxes, then seal them up and set them somewhere (like your porch!) and get rid of them ASAP. For me, it's best if I pick something up once, figure out what to do with it, do that with it, and move on. No "consideration" piles, no "scattering things all over the floor so I can see everything at once," just pick it up, decide, do, move on. It will pay off when you start to see naked space appearing where once there existed only piles of stuff. =)


Good luck!

post #5 of 12


Don't burn the house down.
Don't organize.
Do throw it out.
On "don't organize": The day will come that you've thrown enough out and it's time to organize what's left, but when you've thrown out enough stuff, the organization almost happens on its own. 
If you want to donate some of the stuff instead of throwing out it, donate it - but don't waste time donating every little thing to every possible recipient. A good winter coat and two boxes of other good warm winter clothes may be worth driving to the Good Will; two half-used packs of stationary and a Ziploc of pens are not worth five phone calls and three failed Freecycle listings and an extra drive to the one recipient that wants that stuff. If the main charity that you donate stuff to doesn't want something, throw it out.
As the child of a hoarder mother, and thinking about you having two kids, I'll say it all the more urgently: _get that stuff out of the house_. It's far, far more important to have a home that's clean, and visually peaceful, and where people can visit, and where kids can play, and where the parents are happy in their environment, than to have a bunch of extra craft supplies and toys. If someday you can't afford to buy what you need new, Freecycle and garage sales and resale stores will provide plenty of toys and clothes and whatever else you need.
Throw it out.
Edited to add: And I'm not saying you're a hoarder. I have no idea. I _am_ saying that clutter is really, really bad for kids and home life and family happiness in general.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 



you guys are hilarious!!!! it's like you're reading my mind!!!! ha hahahaha


yeah, of course I'm a hoarder, and so is DH. you guys are right about everything! The description of the ziploc of pens to three freecycle listings is right on! I'll quit sorting and boxing up the clothes, too. 


Also, DD1, who is 9, is begging me for an organized home. I feel horrible. Well, she also wants a fancy mansion, and an iphone - but the organization is legitimate and we all need it badly. The comments about how much our family REQUIRES this change is pumping me up. Now, if I could get this baby to get to sleep - oh, that's another forum :) - I'll get some energy! (though I did fill up 1 giant garbage bag today!)

post #7 of 12
I can relate. I have more than paths in rooms, but the kids always have random crap scattered on the floor. I just picked up my big kid's school papers from the kitchen floor, and now I see that the little one has her shape sorter and all of the little wooden shapes, a playdoh toy, a bowling pin, a book, a sweater, a tutu and an unopened bottle of mustard on my kitchen floor. Sigh. We have too much to manage, I guess. I have been really making progress, but it's not enough. I dream of getting rid of everything but what we truly need, but for some reason, I can't get rid of it all. But I have gotten more than 2011 things out. I did that challenge and finished by June.I might be up to 3000 now, but I stopped counting. Planning to do it again next year with 2012 things out. I go to search for stuff we can part with, and I come up short. I really just want to get it all out quickly and be done with it. However, I think I have to accept that it's going to take some time. And I need to work on it without getting so frustrated with myself.
post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by andromedajulie View Post


Also, DD1, who is 9, is begging me for an organized home. I feel horrible.

Just want to share with you, that after I finally decluttered my horribly cluttered 9 year old DS's room....which he had never once complained about...he turned to me and said "Mummy thank you for making my room nice for me". bawling.gif


I felt so awful that I hadn't done it sooner.  But soooo glad that I had finally done it!  Now he runs around his room playing make believe battles and having the time of his life!   Now he can have friends over, and I don't have to worry about what my MIL thinks when she goes in his room.

post #9 of 12

I would get rid of the clothes. I had stored some from my oldest and a couple of years later there were tons of stains that had since appeared, on clothes that I know had been fine.  I asked my Mom about it and she said that's common, she had a scientific explanation, just can't remember now what it was orngtongue.gif  Better to bless someone else who needs clothes for their child NOW than to hang on to them for so many years.  And karma will probably return you hand me downs that your little one can use now joy.gif


You can do this!  Just put one some peppy music and invite a friend over.  Make it fun and in no time your house will be all cleaned out.

post #10 of 12

Reading through this thread is giving me a little push to get something done today.  I do think having a clean and uncluttered place to play and hang out and do homework and such is important for everyone in the family.  I am aiming for the comfortably clean home, but I'm not worried about the baseboards or the grout or anything like that, just what will give our mental health a boost.  


I wish you luck in this, OP.  I'm not a collector of stuff or any kind of hoarder (though it scares me how much I can empathize with the people on that show!), but I am a SLOB and this taking care of the house thing goes completely against my grain.  But I feel like I may have turned a corner where now it's a little easier to maintain.  Like, a couple of days ago things were really kind of a mess here and it scared me because I hadn't had to deal with that much mess in a while, but I whipped it all into shape in about an hour.  It was pretty empowering to see that something really had changed.  So, I think as you're getting rid of stuff you really are progressing toward a different and better place and when you get there, life will actually be easier.  

post #11 of 12

1. Don't stress.

2. You CAN do this.


My steps: Starts in the preparation.


1. Pick up and take out ALL Trash. Have boxes labeled with keep, donate, sell and then the trash bag in each room.

2. Do NOT Try to organize as you go. This will come one you have place a hand on everything single thing.

3. Once the above is done, then sort like with like.

4. Decide the function of each room and what you want in there. Deep clean the room first then start bringing items in.

5. Organize each room with the sorted items. It's also a good time to go through and really purge again, if you have anything.


I set a timetable up to do, say one room each weekend, top to bottom. You will find as you organize one and keep it together, you can move faster on the others. It's just getting started that is the hardest part. Also, as you fill up those donate boxes, make a trip once a week to get rid of them, DO NOT HANG ONTO THEM!!! If you can't, put them on the curb with a free sign and off they will go, promise!!! : )


post #12 of 12

On your 'sell' box, write a date you want to sell it by, & if it hasn't been sold by then, toss it. I had been meaning to sell items for three years & was too lazy too, I wish I had had the courage just to clear it all out. In the end I donated the stuff I meant to sell. It needn't have cluttered up my space for three years! I am so annoyed with myself about that! Don't make the same mistake!

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