Decluttering in an Uncertain Economy - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 41 Old 02-20-2010, 07:58 PM
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Amyamanda, it may surprise you to find that I also have many things in my home that would allow us to be more self-sufficient should the need arise. I live in an area that is prone to hurricanes. What I was trying to point out is that while you can prepare for various situations, there may be things for which you can't prepare. Perhaps I've grown a garden because times are tough and I want extra food for my family. I can't always ensure that the weather will allow my crops to thrive, or that someone won't come into my yard at night and harvest my crops. Yes, having a back up plan is important. I heartily advocate it. However, I think as mothers it is very easy for preparedness to cross over into fear and worry as our natural instinct is to protect our children . No one wants to see their child cold or hungry. We've been without power and water at different times. We did fine as we were prepared. Teaching your children how to deal with such things is important. If they are able to entertain themselves without electronic devices, consider yourself ahead of the game.
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#32 of 41 Old 02-21-2010, 04:32 PM
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I'm so glad you started this thread, because I'm finding a bit of a conflict between the philosophies of frugality and simplicity. I was in the process of getting rid of pairs of jeans in the act of simplifying, when I realized that I haven't changed sizes in ten years, the jeans I have will eventually wear out, so why not keep the extra pairs? They fit in my dresser and the dresser takes up the same amount or room when it is full vs. half-empty. On the one hand, I want to make sure my belongings are well-used, well-organized, and well-loved, but the blogs I read devoted to simplicity are often focused on what I call "simple and sustainable consumerism." It's all about buying lots of stuff (from hip organic clothing and toy stores, etc.) to create a simple and organic "lifestyle."

There has to be a balance! This is my new quest.

Sandy (41), Mama to Oscar (Feb 2009) and Aria (April 2012), infertility and miscarriage survivor brokenheart.gif 11/25/10 and brokenheart.gif 6/22/11.

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#33 of 41 Old 02-22-2010, 12:56 AM
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Something I didn't see mentioned yet is that perhaps some of the stuff you are saving now "in case" could be put to use right away?

I can't think of any great example but what if you've got a hand crank coffee grinder in storage, how about decluttering the electric one and using the other one as your regular one? Or making concrete plans to switch to wood heat so that the wood stove can be put to use next winter? Or getting rid of an electric popcorn popper because you have one in storage that doesn't require electricity (we did that).
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#34 of 41 Old 02-22-2010, 11:30 AM
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This is why I have an enormous linen closet full of old sheets and towels, while we pretty much use two sets of sheets and towels consistently. They're all from my mom when she moved, they don't "match" our bedrooms/bathrooms--but they're perfectly good! It seems wasteful to get rid of them, and what if some day......

Also, my DH lost his job two Octobers ago-we were lucky that he got rehired by that December but it really scared the pants off me. And if hadn't gotten rehired, those sheets might have come in handy at some point. Or not.

I actually think better storage is probably the answer, so you can hang onto useful things but have them out of the way for every day.
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#35 of 41 Old 02-22-2010, 12:00 PM
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To be sure, you can replace it later is certainly a romantic notion. By that logic, everything in my house can be disposed of save for my pets and kids. Well, I guess I could replace them if I wanted to as well. I went through that, and still go through that. The issue of disposing of replaceable items, not pets or people, that is.

But...could I afford to replace a box of anything? Absolutely not. I have a big box of office supplies from my last job. If I had to replace everything in there, and it is all spares, I couldn't afford it. A stapler, box of scotch tapes, you name it. I could afford one thing here and there, but not the whole box.

For me, it comes down to what is consumable, really. If I am going to use it eventually, because what I have now will wear out or wear down or otherwise get consumed, I pack it away. If I won't get around to using it until the kids have kids of their own, I will probably dispose of it in some manner.

I can always steal pens from banks and plastic utensils from KFC. So those don't count. And what I do dispose of, I make sure I do it in a responsible way as to harvest the most karma in the future. Good luck. And if you ever need a spare 1000 paperclips, pm me.
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#36 of 41 Old 02-22-2010, 02:20 PM
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I am kind of in the school of, if you give you receive. We have had many experiences where we shared whatever we had with others.

Whether its giving a panhandler tickets at a taste (where you buy tickets for food) when he asked for spare change which I had none of. DH asked if he needed to buy tickets and he said yes. DH gave him 5 tickets, enough to buy something to eat there. As we were leaving a few hours later, we found we still had a few tickets left and gave them to another family. We were also stuffed and didnt spend any more than normal on tickets.

We always have enought to share whether its a few pairs of shoes that my older daughter outgrew and dd2 could use down the road. We gave another family 5 pairs of size 10 shoes for their dd. We could have saved them for dd2, but they had recently lost his job and needed help.

The same with clothing, food etc.

We are far from minimal, but we do keep a pretty clutter free home. It makes thing more simple, organized etc and I find that if I store things, its out of sight, out of mind and we may forget we have it. Besides, I would be doing something better by passing it on then letting it sit in my garage for years where it could become damaged. We also like to park our cars in the garage.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#37 of 41 Old 02-22-2010, 02:48 PM
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I think my best trick is to not ask "Can I use this someday?" and instead ask "Will I definitely use it someday?" I am working towards minimalism but I find this line of questioning really helpful in deciding what to keep. For kids clothes I do keep several sizes in advance bought at thrift stores and organized into tubs in my son's closet by size. I figure 50 cents for a T-shirt that I know will cost 10-15 times that amount retail is a great return on investment and I *know* he will wear it. I keep toys and other stuff decluttered so that I have room to store these.

We also recently decided to keep a few "maybe" items like a $80 queen-sized air mattress. Even though we have a guest bed and several couches we could imagine situations where friends with kids are visiting and an extra bed would be helpful. So its going to be stored under the guest bed with its pump. I also keep extra towels and linens and blankets in the guest room - that way I always have something clean and ready-to-go for people who stay.

If you really think you will use these items then definitely keep them and I love the idea of incorporating them into your life now if you get a chance.
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#38 of 41 Old 02-24-2010, 03:39 PM
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When you are decluttering, you inevitably go too far once in while and have to re-buy something that was disposed of. In my case, this has happened a couple times out of a few hundred disposals. The items I did have to re-buy had a purpose, gewgaws have never had to be re-bought.

If I'm wrong 1% to 2% of the time I don't mind. If you want to keep all the old clutter for insurance, then you would still be cluttered up, nothing would change. If you really need something and have disposed of it, go buy, borrow or rent one and don't fret over it, just be thankful for the other hundreds of items you got rid of.

Voluntary Simplicity is not about living low, it is about choices and balance. You get out what you put in with VS. If you do not cut back enough on the complexities that rob you of living life, then all you have is your same complex life back that you started with.

If you cut out too many complexities and are unhappy or bored, don't worry, you can always add them back. We suffer from no shortage of stress and complexities of living, especially if you have a family. Life gives us plenty of problems for free.
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#39 of 41 Old 02-24-2010, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
Kathy, I love your list. And you're right - it takes a committment of organization or it won't work. LOL, I just realized this forum IS called "Decluttering, ORGANIZING, and Simplifying." Truly, if I was not inclined to be organized, it would not make sense for me to keep things like I do.

And I totally love your #1 about stress. I guess the stress of me replacing things is pretty high for the foreseeable future.
This is how I feel too! I do not want to get rid of my children's clothes even though they have outgrown them. I have done that before only to change my mind and decide to have another child. So for me I am mostly storing kids stuff. I really hate buying the same exact thing (seeing as baby clothes, maternity which don't really change) twice- or in my case three/four times if I were to get rid of something.

I just need to invest in rubbermaid stock. I would be a billionaire.
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#40 of 41 Old 02-24-2010, 06:24 PM
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Haven't read the whole thread, but I think it's perfectly possible to have an uncluttered home while storing plenty of extras "just in case".

Blogging about renovations in our first home
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#41 of 41 Old 02-24-2010, 10:43 PM
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I'm like roundabout with my thinking, and perhaps I'm even like the op but the op just has more room (I live in a small two bedroom apartment). I will hold on to things of significant value, sentimental or otherwise, if I think I may use it one day and I have room. I'm sure that my dd won't wear every outfit I buy ahead of her, but even with the few things I end up passing on I end up saving significant amounts of money. And it's not being wasteful because there are always going to be other baby bundles someone wants to dress up!
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