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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › *Simplifying, Purging, Decluttering & Loving it & Doing it All Some More to Become a Happy Minimalist
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*Simplifying, Purging, Decluttering & Loving it & Doing it All Some More to Become a Happy...

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
Longest thread title ever. I just posted this is the Battle of the Stuff thread, and wanted to post my little ramble-y story in its own thread. Hope it helps somebody get a few boxes of junk out of their house.

I know this thread is about DH's being packrats and such, and since reading through this thread I've realized that my dh isn't -nearly- as bad as some ppl's when it comes to this stuff... but I just felt like I could offer some advice (or babbling, whichever you prefer to call this) for all the ppl posting here who are overrun with lots and lots 'o crap. My husband and I have been together for eight years, and I used to have a lot of stuff, and my husband used to have buttloads of stuff, but since our daughter was born 28 months ago, I've slowly decluttered and purged and decluttered and cleaned and moved massive amounts of STUFF out of our home and garage. I've donated everything, and have never kept track of exactly how much has gone, but I do know that it's been a beyond ridiculous amount.

Anyway, today our apt (just moved from a townhome) is shpick and shpan, and has just a handful of stuff in it - and it's all stuff we absolutely love and use all the time. Like three plates, four bowls, 6 towels, seven shirts each, two pants each, 10 toys, etc... you get the idea. Today I feel like I'm a minimalist and that's how I want to stay, because it makes my life incredibly calm, relaxing, clear and open to do anything we want to do. Since our dd was born I've slowly and surely come to my senses and have -seen- our society for what it is-- a crazy, consumeristic nutsos land, in my own werds, there. And I don't want a bunch of useless stuff living in my house! And I don't want to buy buy buy and go to malls for fun every weekend! I don't understand how I got here or why it wasn't sooner, or why most ppl aren't here (I go to friends' houses and there's crap everywhere that makes me crazy, because I am a little crazy, I shpose). It's very strange.

I've slowly gotten my (total packrat) husband to follow me along as I've slowly donated lots and lots and lots of our stuff. My dd and I are here at home most of the time, and dh's at work, so the girls live here the most, and we need a home that is neat and clean, and easy to clean, and a home that has space to play and be crazy, without fear of falling knick-knacks on our noggins and whatnot.

I've gone over and over our stuff (many times in the last 2 years) and just taken out and donated anything that isn't beautiful or useful. If it hasn't been used in the last six months, it's gone. If we buy something, two things must go. I call up Salvation Army and they send a truck and pick up the stuff. I don't drive, so this is the easiest way for me to donate it all. Every week, I come up with a bag or two to donate, and I keep a bag in the front closet ready for anything I come across that we don't need. My dd Molly loves to grab a "Donations Bag" and help go through the closet or toys or bathroom or wherever on occasion, and get things we don't want or need or love or use and put them in the bag.

I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it feels to be FREE! Not totally free of course, but freer than I've ever been in my life. It is so incredibly easy to clean, and to play and to do whatever we happen to feel like doing. I LOVE knowing exactly what we own and exactly where it can be found. I love having one or two things in a cupboard and that's it- clear space around everything. I don't have knick-knacks or random anything anymore. Counters and tables and flat surfaces are clear. I just wish everyone could experience how I feel about this. I read this thread and had to ramble about what we've been doing.

I have also -completely- changed how I see houses and what I thought I always wanted. A mansion? HA! I wish we only owned 10 things and lived in a much smaller apt (ours is 1100 sq ft). It's so weird to see home shows now and all the decorating and huge rooms and kitchens and giant bathrooms and who cleans all that space, anyway? :-p (The one thing I can't get dh to get rid of is the TV and $190/month cable -GAK. Yes, I watch Lost and occasional random HGTV shows, and my dh barely watches anything on it, and dd watches only Wallace and Gromit every Friday, but this is a whole 'nother story.. yeesh. I just want it gone forever, but this one seems hopeless :-()

I feel so trippy about how much my mindset has changed in just the last two or three months. No one -needs- millions of dollars or a huge house in the suburbs with two cars. I always thought that it would be so great to win the lottery and get that "dream home", but now I want to live in a yurt in Oregon and be self-sufficiant. THAT is my new dream. I'm from Seatown, I've got some good love for Oregon. Get me out of busybusybumblebees Va, please! :-p (We're saving up dosh and getting the frug out as soon as can be expected. ) Anyway, I don't want my stuff to own me, as it were. I don't WANT a mortgage! Ever!

One great book that I feel like everyone hanging out on this awesome forum should read is It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. I've posted about it before, but it's a fantastic book about decluttering all your Stuff, and it even has a section for you to "have your partner read", if they're the one with the holding-onto-stuff issue. Another book I'm still reading right now is Walden by Henry David Thoreau - all I can say so far is Read It. :-p

I think that's all I've got to say about this for now... Methinks I'll post my little Stuff Story in its own thread, only because I want other peeps to read it and maybe it'll help someone, and also 'cause I love this forum so much it's got it's own little spot up on my browser and whenever I get on the coopie (as dd calls it), I click Gmail and then MDC Organizing. I'm a little obsessed with this decluttering and organizing and downsizing and simplifying goodness these days. :

Search words like Simplifying, Simplify, Declutter, Minimalist and suchlike in this forum, that'll pop up some good threads to read. Also, I can't get it to come up on search right now, but google "10 Toys Tribe Mothering.com" and a great thread about minimizing toys will pop up. I also enjoy reading zenhabits.net - here is a link to the Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home (LOVE IT):


ETA: This was a good thread, too, it was fun for ppl who love to get crap out of their house, heh. And it's a great thread to read if you need help getting started- a lot of good advice from folks:

post #2 of 60
for sharing! I come here for inspiration to start decluttering and I really appreciate posts like yours . Of course I hate living in a cluttered apartment, but I think I need to shift and understand how good it could feel to let go of the clutter.
post #3 of 60
Great post!! I really want to be a minimalist, but I am the packrat..So it has taken me months to even get in the mindset that I just need to let go and move on with my life with less "stuff" in it! Thanks for the links too!
post #4 of 60
hmm..i googled 10 toys tribe mothering.com and I couldnt find it. Can you give a link. We are about to have a 1st bday over here and im getting scared.
post #5 of 60
Great post! I want to get there someday but I have come so far in my decluttering/organizing/minimizing journey I will rejoice with where I am knowing eventually I will get there. I too have a DH unwilling to change (Major pack rat and hoarder) and instead of seeing him as stalling my progress, I am hoping that seeing how great simplicity is, he will embrace it. When he came home last night, the apartment was a mess as I was moving things around (and discovering hidden clutter). I got sick and couldn't finish. The whole mood of the house when he got home and it was a mess reminded me of why I am trying to make it better. It is not fun living in clutter!!
post #6 of 60
Thread Starter 
post #7 of 60
Wow, I was sooooo happy to read your post today. DH and I bought land in Jan 2006 and we thought surely we'd be moving that summer. We packed up a bunch of stuff to get our house ready to sell. Then, of course, we didn't end up moving until the next summer. Meanwhile, another set of birthday's and Christmas came and all the Aunties and Uncles bought gifts and we ended up with just about the same amount of stuff. We are just getting to go through it all now and I keep driving truck loads and trunk loads to the free box. I've sold a couple things here in the TP and am feeling much better.

My hard times come from this:
  • finding toys with lots of pieces all over the place (legos)
  • not knowing what to do with camping stuff that we haven't used in years but hope to get back into it soon (DH was a hardcore camper before we got so busy building/remodelling houses)

Part of my problem too is having an unfinished house without proper storage in the kitchen.

I would love to hear more about fewer toys and I especially have trouble with getting rid of books that I use for reference. I suppose if I had a nice bookcase it would be better but really, please inspire me
post #8 of 60

Question on cable, exactly what does your dh think you guys need cable for? I bet there's an option besides paying $190/month (please tell me that amount includes your internet service

Yeah, if you grew up in Seatown, you'd Oregon all the good stuff, less than half the ice and snow.
post #9 of 60
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to note that I got rid of massive amounts of books about 7 or 8 months ago... I had a whole lot of them. All the Stephen King books and most Dean Kootz books, heh. I got rid of all those. I just kept going back to our book stash every so often and culling them, and ended up getting rid of pretty much everything! I figured I could always check out or buy another SK or DK book someday; I didn't need a million paperbacks taking up all that space. I only kept the ones I truly loved the most (The Hobbit; LOTR; Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves; It's All Too Much; Orbit; Natural Living; Mothering Your Nursing Toddler; How Children Learn; Walden (so far!), and Martha Stewart's Home-keeping Handbook are a bunch of favorites that come to mind!)... and I donated all the rest. So...

The items that *I* own are clothes, 20 or so books (just got the whole set of Harry Potter books today, heh- have never read them before), my acoustic guitar and my sewing machine. And my computer, I guess, too. :-p I have actually gotten rid of pretty much every sentimental/childhood thing I ever had with me. If I have something like that now, I can't think of it! It is incredibly liberating to not have any of that stuff! They are just things, not the memories. I can write down the memories to remember them better, and prefer not to have any Stuff like that in our home. I just don't need it!

Today I got all the toys my dd doesn't play with and bagged it up and we took it to the preschool on the same block as us (we moved to the city a month ago), and gave it to them. It was some really great stuff, but we just had entirely too many things. I've realized that our dd doesn't like to play with her toys when there are so many out (organized, but out in her play-space, heh); she'd just throw them around and not really play with anything, and start bouncing around/in/off the big couch cushions instead. We kept only what she loved the most- the toys she plays with every day. All her toys are in 5 small baskets lined up together (baskets from The Container Store):

-Musical Instruments
-Dress-Up stuff/doll
-Blocks, Wooden Trucks/car
-And her favorite things: Schleich animals, wooden animals, a fairy boy and fairy girl, Gnome girl (from Nova Naturals site), and Wooden play food (also from Nova)

And she has a separate area for Arts & Crafts, her other love besides little guys & animals - Chalks, Watercolor paints, drawing pads, paintbrushes, crayons, markers (Window markers work perfectly on Dry erase boards! Learned that somewhere on this forum recently.. ;^) ), molding clay, play-doh + play-doh toys, gluesticks, colored pencils, etc.

Re: Camping gear - I say keep the most expensive/not-easily-replaced items and donate the rest, and get that stuff when you need it down the road (It might be 8 yrs from now, who knows! :-p). Keep good sleeping bags (can be used for forts, of course :-p), tent (if you love it), and Coleman stove or what-have-you.

Well, anyway, I think that's about all I can think of to add atm. :-p I need some sleep! Hths

ETA: Oh yeah, cable includes phone + internet of course. ;-p But still, I wish we had no TV and no huge cable bill to pay. It would help us save money! Naturally... my dh's uncle comes over every Sunday or so and has dinner with us and my dh always needs the TV on then for some reason.. just to have things to talk about- whatever's on, I guess. But I hate having the TV on just any random thing when our dd's around, and one time my dh took a long nap and his uncle came over while dh was still sleeping, and I let him in and proceeded to go turn on the TV because that's what I assumed DH and uncle wanted, but his uncle said, "No no, please don't turn it on, I like it off if that's alright." And I thought wow, that's funny.. I had no idea he'd want it off... And it was like we had this same silent thought after he said that: "But dh likes it on every time, oh well" ... and then my husband woke up and came down and turned it on right away.. :-p Anyway, just kind of funny... I suppose I should tell dh about that. P.S. This uncle brings dd a toy every time he comes over!!! That's wonderfully thoughtful of him, but it makes me crazy and I don't feel like I can ever say anything about it. Le sigh. Oh, the pressure! Oh, the horror and insanity! I am spoiled rotten in every sense of the phrase. :-p

That is all.
post #10 of 60
post #11 of 60
Originally Posted by Danidama View Post
my dh's uncle comes over every Sunday or so and has dinner with us ...
wow, this is so sweet. 10, 20, 50 years from now... this is what will be important and remembered.
post #12 of 60
Originally Posted by Danidama View Post
I figured I could always check out or buy another SK or DK book someday
I only buy books that either I love to reread so frequently that it's annoying when they aren't at the library and books that are now out of print and aren't at the library. And I still have like 200 paperbacks.
post #13 of 60
Thread Starter 
Bumpin' my thread 'cause I feel like it. I like talking about this stuff. :-p (Uncle just came over a bit ago and brought Yet Another stuffed animal. Sheeshola! : ) . My husband has purchased a lot of STUFF in the last week and I feel like there is crap everywhere and it's driving my mind -crazy-. I just want to walk around and grab everything that's out and just throw it in a trash bag and donate it. That's seriously what I want to do. Maybe I'll do something like that tomorrow. . .
post #14 of 60
What an inspiring story. I often get the feeling like I'd love to just get rid of 3/4 of the stuff we have. But then I get all panicky about it. I've had a box of mugs sitting in my dining room, right by the door to go to goodwill, but for some reason, I can't make myself take them out the door and into the car. Ugh, it's frustrating. Dh is just as bad, when I get in the mood to get rid of stuff, he freaks out about what if we need it later? Seriously, lots of this stuff could go and nobody would know until it was gone and then he'd wonder why it was all gone.

Same with toys. Dd has sooo much and now with ds things come in at a horribly fast rate. I'm so afraid of getting rid of giving their stuff away and making them sad, but it's all just too much. We have 4 big rubbermaid tubs of toys in the living room right now. It's crazy because there is even more downstairs and they are only almost 2 and almost 7. :
post #15 of 60
OP, you lit the fire under my butt (it was still lit, but only smoldering, as I've slowed down my decluttering) and I'm throwing stuff in trash bags left and right now! (Stopped for a cookie and MDC break ) Keep sharing and inspiring us!!
post #16 of 60
Thank you for this post ... not only is it inspiring but it makes me want to get busy and start getting rid of STUFF!

I'm not a pack-rat really except for things that I know I'll use [yarn and jigsaw puzzles], those I know I'll use but somehow I keep collecting more and more of them.

Guess I'm afraid if the economy collapses, at least I'll have plenty to work on. *lol*


post #17 of 60
OP, thanks for recommending It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh; I found a copy at Walgreens drugstore for $5.99 and started it last night; it's AMAZING

All day long I've asked myself, "Does this item contribute to the vision I have of the way I'd like my life/house to be?" It is such a good tool.
post #18 of 60
oh i need this thread!
post #19 of 60
I love this thread! We are moving at the end of the month. My goal is to donate half of our things. I don't even want to move it to the new place. My house is ALWAYS a mess and I think this will be a huge change for us.

I'm trying to get the kids on board. I know they won't miss a large portion of their toys. We will be keeping a select few.

I'm getting rid of the majority of knick knacks and decorations. I'm keeping a few select prints for the walls. Less to dust!

I'm tired of having more clothes than we have room for. I'm going to seriously purge all of the clothing.

I thought about listing a lot of stuff on ebay but I just don't have the time and honestly, I think I will feel better if I just drop it off to donate it all and be done with it. The less drawn out the process, the better - for me anyway.
post #20 of 60
Thank you for posting your story. I looked and there are 5 copies of It's all too much at our library and they are all checked out!!!: So I am going to have to wait. The toys, the clothes, the junk are all driving me mad right now. I used to frequent here a lot while I was pregnant, but I stopped decluttering when it got really hard with a baby. BUT I need to start again. I have been looking for inspiration. And I think I found it in this thread. So thank you again. Hopefully I can get to it again. It felt so good getting rid of stuff before. Wish me luck
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