Most freeing thing you've decluttered? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-08-2010, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm curious about your experience: what's the most freeing thing that you've let go of? What have you given away, thrown out, donated, or otherwise released that has had the biggest impact on your life?
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:00 PM
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i would say the first one that *really* felt great was when both DH and i decluttered--got rid of--all of our high school, college, and graduate school books, papers, and whatever other clutter from that we had.

it was as if a lot of emotional baggage from that time was released with all of the recycled books, papers, and whatever else. it was *so* liberating.

and right now, we feel incredibly abundant and blessed. we currently own 23 boxes of books, two boxes of kitchen supplies, and one chair--all in storage--and 12 bags of our necessities (clothes, son's toys and instruments, computers). we sold our house, all of our furniture, and we will sell our car too before we leave for New Zealand.

while we know that we will be picking up possessions as we move forward (we'll eventually buy a house, perhaps a car, and of course furnish that house), what we also know is that each purchase will be a mindful, specific purchase.

we started the process of only buying what we really wanted about 2-3 years ago. we found that we really wanted high quality items that would last, and so we would pick what we wanted, save up to pay cash, and then take good care of that item. what we noticed is that things like clothing (though we do need to replace some of it currently) tends to last 5 or more years. The higher the quality, the longer it lasts, the better the value. it simplifies everything for us.

so right now, we feel *incredibly* abundant in our lives, even though we possess very little right now. we are staying with friends (who are graciously letting us stay for free), and we will be house sitting once we get to NZ (at least for a time--which is also free housing).

we will figure out how much things cost (food budgeting, etc), and then we will carefully purchase what we need when we know what we can afford.

it's been a powerful experience, letting go of everything.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:08 PM
 
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good question . . . i've 'released' many large items, like furniture, but i was using them and i replaced them, so i don't feel like they made a big impact on my life even though they were physically large. the thing that has been the most freeing is letting go of the 'someday' storage. the baby clothes, the unfinished craft projects and supplies, the clothes i hoped to fit into again, and the randomness like my china dolls and grandma's knick-knacks. i was hanging onto them out of a sense of guilt and/or because they were worth something, but they were doing nothing for me. now those clothes are being worn, dolls are being adored, and the fancy crap and the craft supplies are being put to good use. i kept the (few!) treasures and let go of the rest, and realized it was like a fricking dead weight! i actually need to do this again . . . really badly!
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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A lot of "heirlooms" that were basically given to me to keep forever and ever, no matter what. I had 3 huge bins of stuff, that while were nice things, were not me nor did I really want them. I tried to give them back and it was a HUGE mistake. I finally let them go after saying a little karma prayer and donated them. It was very freeing. It was stressful because it was like I had to take care of something I did not want and was constantly worried about them breaking or having to store them with care. And yes, I broke a very old teapot...and that was the freeing point for me.

Another huge declutter were things from my life prior to moving out---I seriously felt like the energy was draining me as I was trying to move forward in my life. It was like my old life was gripping me. The only thing I kept were some drawings that I put in a huge frame (I picked out my absolute 10 favorite) and they now hang nicely in my sons room. It's all I need.

Recently, it's been the baby clothes. DS is now into almost big boy clothes. I kept a small box with his coming home from the hospital clothes, a few favorite t-shirts and his first pair of Converse sneakers. I did make a little blanket for his animals out of his clothing...he loves it and it is special all around.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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The microwave.I love that it's gone!And I love that when I mentioned it to my husband(thinking he would never go for it)his reply was "get rid of it".

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Old 01-08-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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I'm curious about your experience: what's the most freeing thing that you've let go of? What have you given away, thrown out, donated, or otherwise released that has had the biggest impact on your life?
The sofa and chair that was bought for us by my inlaws when we got married. (we picked it out and they paid for it). We didn't select something that was very good quality, it was dirty and stained, had been almost completely distroyed by my kids and cats. (They were frequently used as a potty chair/litter box!). I kept it in the garage for a while, thinking that I would try to re-cover them and salvage what was left of them. But then the winter was fast approaching, and I just decided one day to put them out on double-up trash day.

I went outside when the garbage truck came, and I watched him crush all of them right there in front of me. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to let go!
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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My ex- husband. Lol.

Seriously, I went through and sorted out a lot of memorabilia. I was a packrat before I joined the military. So many moves will whip the sentimentality right out of you!!

This last move I went through tons of boxes and got rid of a bunch of things I'd been keeping just because they had a distant memory attached. There were things I kept, but only those things that were part of what I consnsidered "milestone" memories.

I felt so much lighter afterwards.

Next I'm going to tackle all the baby clothes I've been keeping...12 big bins of stuff that has to go.

Other than that I don't have much...I'm pretty minimalist when it comes to things in the actual house.

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Old 01-08-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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My old guitar. I haven't played since high school but I dutifully moved it with me and stored it for over 15 years (I just dated myself). It was a gift from my dad. The lessons were something I never really liked (5th - 12th grade). I didn't play much even back then except what I had to. But it was a big deal for my dad who always wanted to play and hoped I'd be musicaly inclined. I finally put it on craigslist this summer and sold it really inexpensively to a very nice pastor that wanted to use it for music lessons with kids that didn't have their own instruments. His experienced eyes saw where it was starting to get damaged from not being used or taken care of. But he got a beautiful song or two out of it before taking it away.

It's always been one of those things that just stares at me from a corner. Poking and saying I should WANT to play. I should enjoy playing. I shouldn't waste the years of lessons. But now it's with someone that makes great music with kids that WANT to play! And the minute he took it out of the house, I heaved a sigh of relief. That was one thing I was very very happy not to move with me into my new life. Shoulda-coulda-woulda things are not allowed.

Oh, and I haven't told my family---but they live 5 hrs away and what they don't know won't hurt them!!! Maybe some day. They won't really mind---it's self-imposed guilt. But since I never play, it just doesn't come up. :-D Maybe someday they'll ask "whatever happened to..." but I doubt it.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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[QUOTE=HappilyEvrAfter;14902443]My ex- husband. Lol.


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Old 01-08-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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The portable dishwasher. It took up so much room in the kitchen!
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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We took 20 bags of clothes, blankets, towels etc. to homeless shelter. We are getting ready to move in a few months and I'm sick of lugging so much around! I know it will be used by them!

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Old 01-08-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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i would say the first one that *really* felt great was when both DH and i decluttered--got rid of--all of our high school, college, and graduate school books, papers, and whatever other clutter from that we had...
Me too. I get so emotionally attached to information and then when i go through old stacks of paper that I haven't touched in ages by then the info is out of date or completely meaningless. I'm learning! I also like having just a few nice quality things than a lot of junky things. That applies to clothes, towels, dishes, cookingware, flatware, etc.

OP, to answer your question. Every time I get rid of an old futon or toy it's just as liberating. It all weighs down on me the same.

Awesome SAHM to 5-yr-old son,3-yr-old girl and a baby girl. Blog about my home http://azaleastudio.blogspot.com
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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Aww I was going to say my Ex-Husband!! (AND all of HIS stuff!!!)

Seriously, it was very freeing to get rid of the stored boxes and bins of action figures, baseball cards. He was a bit of a pack rat.

It was also freeing to get rid of the big TV - granted I replaced it. When the big TV broke, I scaled down - got a flat screen, mounted it on the wall. It takes up so much less space than the huge TV and it's stand.

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Old 01-08-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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I immediately thought about how when I gave away a pile of clothing that was too big on me a wonderful woman showed up with a bag of clothing that would fit me and dd1. I did end up with less yet what I had was useful. Decluttering and good karma all at once.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
i would say the first one that *really* felt great was when both DH and i decluttered--got rid of--all of our high school, college, and graduate school books, papers, and whatever other clutter from that we had.

it was as if a lot of emotional baggage from that time was released with all of the recycled books, papers, and whatever else. it was *so* liberating.

and right now, we feel incredibly abundant and blessed. we currently own 23 boxes of books, two boxes of kitchen supplies, and one chair--all in storage--and 12 bags of our necessities (clothes, son's toys and instruments, computers). we sold our house, all of our furniture, and we will sell our car too before we leave for New Zealand.

while we know that we will be picking up possessions as we move forward (we'll eventually buy a house, perhaps a car, and of course furnish that house), what we also know is that each purchase will be a mindful, specific purchase.

we started the process of only buying what we really wanted about 2-3 years ago. we found that we really wanted high quality items that would last, and so we would pick what we wanted, save up to pay cash, and then take good care of that item. what we noticed is that things like clothing (though we do need to replace some of it currently) tends to last 5 or more years. The higher the quality, the longer it lasts, the better the value. it simplifies everything for us.

so right now, we feel *incredibly* abundant in our lives, even though we possess very little right now. we are staying with friends (who are graciously letting us stay for free), and we will be house sitting once we get to NZ (at least for a time--which is also free housing).

we will figure out how much things cost (food budgeting, etc), and then we will carefully purchase what we need when we know what we can afford.

it's been a powerful experience, letting go of everything.
This is my favorite post...ever.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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Old notebooks, diaries and other sentimental paper junk.

Thanks to this thread I attacked them today and reduced but 2/3 it's not everything yet but it's what I was able to handle at the moment. I know next time I'll be a little better at it.

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Old 01-08-2010, 08:26 PM
 
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:41 PM
 
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Over the past month, I have donated over 800 pieces of children's clothing. I had enough stored to open my own "For Boys Only" resale shop! I purged 450 pieces in December & the rest last weekend. I was able to give them to friends & they will select what they want & donate to others.

I actually was so overwhelmed with the amount of clothing items, I stood in my dining room & cried. I am now the proud owner of one plastic bin of each sized needed for my son. It was super hard work, but worth all the space I gained.

A doula who married a cop & became a mama to 3 boys: G 12/22/00, my rainbow baby B 2/2/07 and L 2/10/10 my CBA2V baby, waiting for my little caboose late February 2013 & always remembering my two angels 2006 & 2012.

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Old 01-09-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Over the past month, I have donated over 800 pieces of children's clothing. I had enough stored to open my own "For Boys Only" resale shop! I purged 450 pieces in December & the rest last weekend. I was able to give them to friends & they will select what they want & donate to others.

I actually was so overwhelmed with the amount of clothing items, I stood in my dining room & cried. I am now the proud owner of one plastic bin of each sized needed for my son. It was super hard work, but worth all the space I gained.
Freaking awesome. Well Done!

I really wish I could think of something(s) I've donated that made a big impact, but can't recall anything specific. I know getting rid of furniture I don't like is always good.

I also know that I want to own barely anything, and the more stuff that goes out, the better I feel mentally. I feel a calm, a deep peace... and like my life is open with space and time to do whatever the heck the world has to offer (without having to move around, think about, clean and take care of stuff in my way, distracting my brain and using my energy!).

We are planning to pack up our little suv with the things we'll need the most, and drive 4,200 miles to Fairbanks in May. Most everything around me will be given away or sold. We have a couple huge pieces of furniture that are great, but will not be coming with, and I am very happy about that. All I need before we go is two sleeping pads that slip into our Big Agnes double sleeping bag, so we'll have a ready-made bed anywhere.

 
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Hi - I am new - but something I did recently was get rid of all the dvd cases and put the dvds into nice dvd holders. We had bags of plastic. It felt so good to get that space back. I love this thread.
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Old 01-09-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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Hi - I am new - but something I did recently was get rid of all the dvd cases and put the dvds into nice dvd holders. We had bags of plastic. It felt so good to get that space back. I love this thread.
Oh man, I remember that. About three years ago I couldn't take it any more, and my dd and I (she was 1 at the time ) took all the dvds out of the cases, and I am still shocked at how much space all those cases took up, when they covered the entire living room floor in a huge pile! It was insane. I donated all the cases, and I gave away two garbage bags of dvds that we'd either never watched ever, just plain sucked or we'd watched once and never watched again. Now we still have tons of dvds in a couple big cases, and we have seriously watched 2 or 3 movies out of them all since I did that. No kidding! Dd's movies are a different story, though. We've watched tons of Molly movies.

I would've sold them at the time if I'd known better, but I thought it was okay to donate everything we didn't use or need. I've always been a sahm and haven't worked since I was 18 and met my husband, so at the time I didn't really "get" the money thing. He was -pissed- when he found out a year ago that I donated tons of dvds. Like, he wanted to practically get a divorce. I had donated his old clothes too, etc. I never did any of it maliciously or anything of course, I was just kind of dumb about it all, and was selfishly doing what I thought was best, without ever realizing I was being so selfish and thoughtless. I still feel terrible about it, after I found out how it made my husband feel. I've always just wanted to make our home nice and clean and clear, since the nesting business in my brain kicked in a couple months before we had our dd. I'd never thought about the "stuff" in our home ever, before then. I have learned many things and matured a lot in the last year though, and everything's cool now. I am aware of everything I think and do now! And I don't ever -touch- any of dh's things!

 
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Old 01-09-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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Over the past month, I have donated over 800 pieces of children's clothing. I had enough stored to open my own "For Boys Only" resale shop! I purged 450 pieces in December & the rest last weekend. I was able to give them to friends & they will select what they want & donate to others.

I actually was so overwhelmed with the amount of clothing items, I stood in my dining room & cried. I am now the proud owner of one plastic bin of each sized needed for my son. It was super hard work, but worth all the space I gained.
That's amazing! Good job, momma.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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A few years ago my big 4 bedroom + garage house was completely packed to the gills. It was overwhelming and horrific. The first major thing I decluttered was my wardrobe and master closet. I went from an embarrassing amount of clothes/ shoes/belts/purses and JUNK to hardly any. Once that was done I loved looking in my closet. The rest of the house was a wreck and while I was working on it that one organized place helped keep me motivated. I went on to declutter about %75 of our stuff and we downsized to a much smaller space. Our lives are so much simpler and happier because of that one place I started.

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Old 01-10-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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The one that has the biggest impact day-to-day is our microwave. Makes such a difference having that patch of counterspace which is rare in our kitchen. though I do miss the quickie meals and heat-ups. I donated it to my former office where it would get more use.

Other big ones:

highschool yearbooks- literally 50+ pounds probably, but weighed more in emotional baggage. I felt even better that I could recycle it.

wedding gown- I felt guilty having something perfectly beautiful and useful wasting away in an enormous box for the rest of my life. Went to a great cause: http://bridesagainstbreastcancer.org/#donategown

I think finding a proper home for things that are no longer appropriate in your life makes the process more fulfilling.


wanted to add:
I read an article by Gail Blanke who has a book called "Throw Out 50 Things", which I did, and having that list of 50 things to look back on was very empowering. Her website has a downloadable workbook to guide you through it
http://www.throwoutfiftythings.com/page/workbook-1

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Old 01-10-2010, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm loving reading everyone's experiences. Thank you!

Of recent things I've decluttered, letting go of my favorite book has been so freeing. I had read it cover to cover multiple times and referenced it hundreds of times. After a decade of use, I knew it inside out. I finally realized that I'd internalized what I was going to learn--the book was inside me and I could let it go. It felt so good!
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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Hi - I am new - but something I did recently was get rid of all the dvd cases and put the dvds into nice dvd holders. We had bags of plastic. It felt so good to get that space back. I love this thread.
Welcome to MDC!

Great thread. I feel a release and a lightening every time I donate another box full of stuff.

However, I had a particularly emotional experience a couple of weeks ago when I finally decided to donate all my old law books. They are a little bit out of date now, and if anyone is going to get any use out of them they need them NOW, not in 5 years. I haven't practiced law in a couple of years, and I am not going back to law practice anytime soon. It was a very symbolic moment for me -- the transition from career to SAHMing.

Love this thread, love this forum!

coolshine.gif Mama to DS ('06), DD ('08), and DD (9.18.11).

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Old 01-10-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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This is interesting to me because I cannot think of the specific thing which I let go of, that gave me that "aha moment"

You know, where you dreaded it so much but when you finally let it go, it felt so wonderful- and whatever the huge fear was did not happen~ like you didn't die lol

I know I had that moment, and it is interesting that I cannot remember what the actual object was...proving to me it could not have been all that important after all kwim

Great thread!
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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I thought of one!

Cigarettes! Quitting smoking was the all time best and most freeing thing I ever did- it was also one of the hardest
(and if you never smoked? You can count that as one of the best ever decisions you ever made!)
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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Of recent things I've decluttered, letting go of my favorite book has been so freeing. I had read it cover to cover multiple times and referenced it hundreds of times. After a decade of use, I knew it inside out. I finally realized that I'd internalized what I was going to learn--the book was inside me and I could let it go. It felt so good!
I've never read anything like that. Thank you for sharing it, because - what a concept! That will help me a lot.

 
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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A huge couch we kept because "it was worth soo much"

We ended up finding a nice free one on the side of the road...THAT DIDN'T SMELL LIKE PEE!

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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