De-cluttering guilt - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 09-30-2010, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need to de-clutter. I'm starting to feel like we belong on the show Hoarders. Junk has accumulated on every available space--breakfast bar, entertainment center, end tables, dressers. But the problem is: if the junk leaves my house, where does it go?

I have a giant trashbag filled with old hangers (the department store kind.) And yet, I can't bring myself to put it in the trash because...do I really want to be responsible for 200 hangers in a landfill? No, I do not. I have a box of decorative pebbles and shells that I feel bad about throwing out. But these aren't really things that can be re-homed...can they? Is there anywhere I can take these things instead of just throwing them in the trash?

And if the solution really is to just throw things away, how do you get over the guilt of putting things that *could* be useful, given the right situation into a plastic bag that will take up space in a landfill forever?

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#2 of 15 Old 09-30-2010, 02:57 PM
 
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I'm going to direct you to my thread . It's called Messy Moms.....

Yes, you need to throw them away. As for the hangers, right now or as soon as you are home go and get the bag and see if the dry cleaners will take them for you, if they won't then go and put them in a garbage wherever you are, do not let them back into your house. As for the little treasures, either decorate a space in your yard/neighborhood with the shells and rocks or toss them. Your home is not a garbage bag. Don't collect them again, and don't take hangers from stores when offered, or from dry cleaners, ask for things to get folded.

As far as the guilt, it is hard, but so is storing junk in your house. I find that having to throw things away makes me more environmentally friendly now and in the future because I look at things and wonder if buying it or bringing it home just means it is something I am going to have to toss later. Most of the time it is so I don't take it, like bags and tissue from stores, flyers, stuff like that. I am making my present and future footprint much small after having to deal with my bad ways from the past. Get rid of it and don't look back.
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#3 of 15 Old 09-30-2010, 05:28 PM
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i absolve you of your guilt.

thinking logically, the waste happened when you brought that stuff home, not when you choose to get rid of it. until you get rid of it, you are simply making your home the landfill site.

an alternative may be to take it back to the store (or a store) and see if they recycle hangers. if they don't, then just let it go.

and then, moving forward, do not create waste at the point of sale. do not bring department store (or any) hangers home. when purchasing clothes, carry your own bags, ask to have the hangers removed before bagging your own clothes.

in our home, we are working on a waste area: plastic produce bags. some months ago, i purchased some cloth ones. i keep them with our grocery bags, but my husband forgets to use them. he wastes when he forgets, not when i throw them away because they are not recyclable. i'm upset when they are brought into the house, because i have to close the loop on that waste, creating more trash.

so, there you are. the waste is done, you are just finishing the loop. either the trash fills your house, or it goes out.
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#4 of 15 Old 09-30-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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with those specific examples, yes actually i think you could freecycle them! however, when you desperately need to do a large-scale declutter (as in, it's not just a big bag of hangers and a box of pebbles and shells - it's everything all over your house) . . . it is 100% okay to trash it. it is, essentially, trash (in your eyes) and it's not okay for your house to be the landfill. the first thing to declutter is the guilt!
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#5 of 15 Old 09-30-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Novus View Post
And yet, I can't bring myself to put it in the trash because...do I really want to be responsible for 200 hangers in a landfill? No, I do not. I have a box of decorative pebbles and shells that I feel bad about throwing out. But these aren't really things that can be re-homed...can they? Is there anywhere I can take these things instead of just throwing them in the trash?
I dropped off a heap of hangers along with clothes I got rid of at the local St Vincent de Paul and they happily took them. Even decorative shells and pebbles might be taken by a charity store such as St Vincent de Paul.

It is great that you have a social conscience, however if your home is getting to the state of being eligible for hoarders, then right now your priority should be saving yourself, not the world.

For now, give yourself 'amnesty' from worrying about where your things end up, until you have your home and life under control. There is time later on for being more careful about where your things go.

SAHM to three
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#6 of 15 Old 09-30-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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uuuuuugggggghhhhhh I have this problem too, and here there is no thrift store. I hate throwing away things that could still be used, but with no thrift store, there is nowhere to donate them, and so I have a box of perfectly-useful-but-I-do-not-need-them dishes, and some shoes that do not fit, and a handbag I never used, sitting in the veranda waiting for me to figure out some sort of action to take. And two dishdraining racks in the kitchen that I don`t want to use but don`t want to throw out, and... aagggghhhh!! you now what I mean. I`ll be watching this thread for help getting rid of them

for pebbles and sea shells - sprinkle them at the edge of your garden? scatter them near the corner of a park for kids to find and bring home their own treasure?
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#7 of 15 Old 09-30-2010, 11:34 PM
 
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for pebbles and sea shells - sprinkle them at the edge of your garden? scatter them near the corner of a park for kids to find and bring home their own treasure?
I like the park idea! I must admit I thought she meant by decorative that they had been painted or decorated in some way, but if they are just seashells or pebbles 'au naturel'..then yes in the garden or the park sounds like a good idea.

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#8 of 15 Old 10-01-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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Thrift stores will take the hanger. The ones near where I am are always looking for hangers. If no one wants them let them go. Ive started to take the clothes off the hangers while Im waiting in line to pay for them and then telling the clerks I dont' want the hangers. I can't stand department store hangers (maybe its just me but the ones I get are always breaking on me) so I won't keep them. Why have something you have no use for?

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#9 of 15 Old 10-01-2010, 04:03 AM
 
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My view is that you can send the stuff to the dump now, and live a clean and pleasant life. Or you can live miserably in the dump (the cluttered house) your entire life, and your stuff will be taken to the dump when you die anyway.

It's not right for you to condemn yourself to have a miserable home, _forever_, as punishment for acquisition mistakes that you made in the past. And it is forever - if you require yourself to find just the right home for everything, recycle everything, the decluttering will not get done. Ever. It just doesn't work that way.

Accept the mistake. Accept that you weren't perfect. Don't wait for the moment when somehow you find a way to undo the mistake, undo the past, become perfect. That moment will never come.

Perfection is not a prerequisite for having a life. Be imperfect, throw the stuff out, and in the future, try to be a little better. Not perfect, just a little bit better. Perfection isn't possible, and as long as you demand perfect, you won't be able to do better, because you'll be frozen, unable to move past your mistakes, unable to ever have a life.

Throw the stuff out.

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#10 of 15 Old 10-01-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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"acquisition mistakes" - i love it! i love crayfish.
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#11 of 15 Old 10-01-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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I have the SAME problem. This thread is really helpful.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#12 of 15 Old 10-01-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post
"acquisition mistakes" - i love it! i love crayfish.

great thread! I wrote somewhere in this forum about my environmental guilt before. yep, yep, yep. don't wait until you're infested with brown recluse spiders to get rid of that crap like I did! you are NOT the landfill!!

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#13 of 15 Old 10-01-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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How about stick it all outside with a big "free" sign for a few days and then throwout whatever is left? We constantly put out free boxes (like almost weekly and sometimes more often) and it gets snatched right up!

me, dh and 2 boys = our family (oh and a cat...who is also a male...lol)
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#14 of 15 Old 10-04-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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My view is that you can send the stuff to the dump now, and live a clean and pleasant life. Or you can live miserably in the dump (the cluttered house) your entire life, and your stuff will be taken to the dump when you die anyway.
That's a great way to think about it, thank you for that!

OP, maybe you'd like this site: www.flylady.net. She also talks about perfectionism (and the need to let it go) a lot.

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#15 of 15 Old 10-05-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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I love my stuff. I love finding cool stuff at the thrift store.

The big BUT here is that houses only hold so much nicely. Your kids are making their memories in your home. It needs to be neat enough to have friends in. And once the kids are grown... you want them to make nice homes with their partner of choice, right? How can they do this is they've never seen you do it?

Get started and keep going, OP. For the kids!
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