Unamanageability, fear and sadness surrounding decluttering. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 05-11-2011, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I desperately want to declutter and live a streamlined life.  The time has come.  I buy things knowing while I am buying them that I will not like them.  Packages show up at my door and I am not sure why I bought them.  I hate coming home b/c all I do when home is move piles of crap: clean clothes, magazines, toys, dirty dishes, clean dishes.  I constantly fantasize about chucking it all to live in an RV with nothing but a few t-shirts and my Kindle.

 

I have a vision of what I want:

 

-No books, dvds, cds.  That's what e-readers and iPods are for.

-Very minimal clothes for everyone. (7 each tops, bottoms, underwear, socks, pjs?)

-1 place setting per family member.

-1 bath towel and hand towel per person.

-Very minimal toys: smaller amount of Legos, crayons & paper, doll?

-Small personal stash of memorabilia.

-Kitchen only has the tools and pans we actually use.

-Wedding album, baby videos, and family pictures on CD.

 

I can see it in my mind.  I want it.  But the thought of doing it makes me freeze with sadness and fear.  I get several repetitive thoughts:

 

-What if we have another little girl/little boy and I need these baby girl/baby boy/maternity clothes?

-There's nothing wrong with this _____.

-My dd is not a baby anymore and if I get rid of her baby clothes, it will be too sad.

-This will come back in fashion.  It always does.

-This was expensive.

 

Then dh and I have a fight about it, b/c I just want to rent a dumpster and put everything either in the dumpster or on a donation truck.  He wants to have a yard sale/give this ___ to his brothers/give this ___ to a friend.  This drives me nuts b/c:

 

-He will never actually have a yard sale.

-If he does, we have to keep the castoffs until it happens.

-If I see the baby clothes at the yard sale, it will break my heart.

-All the time and effort of rehoming items individually is ridiculous, considering we don't have time to even breathe.

-I feel that I will only have the strength to do it all at once, ruthlessly.

 

And then, voila, I get stuck in a depressive, sobbing spiral.  So if you have any thoughts, be gentle.  Most of these things, I can see objective answers to, but it doesn't help.

 


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#2 of 33 Old 05-11-2011, 06:41 PM
 
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-What if we have another little girl/little boy and I need these baby girl/baby boy/maternity clothes?

 

If you do, you can replace the clothes quite easily; clothes are really very cheap in America. You could keep a couple of favourite maternity items just in case, but not all your things are necessary to keep.

 

-There's nothing wrong with this _____.

 

That's hard when something is 'perfectly good', but if you are not using this perfectly good item then maybe someone else needs it more than you?

 

-My dd is not a baby anymore and if I get rid of her baby clothes, it will be too sad.

 

It is really more sad to hold on to them, as they are bothering you and making you depressed. I know full well how baby clothes bring back memories and it seems that the thing you are holding is like holding your baby again, but in reality you are not, and holding onto bags of baby clothes will not turn back time. If you really want to keep something, just select one or two that mean the most to you.

 

 

-This will come back in fashion.  It always does.

 

Generally things take 20 years before they come back into fashion. Do you really want to clutter your closets for that long?

 

-This was expensive.

 

It really is hard when you know you have paid 'good money' for something, but if it is stopping you from achieving your dream, then that item is costing you even more than the cash you parted with. It is costing you your emotional health. Nothing no matter how expensive deserves to make you that miserable!

 

Regarding your partner being obstructive, I can identify as my husband always wants to hold onto things which I want to get rid of, but I just persist till he gives in, and he gets tired of being earbashed! LOL

 

You could easily toss the clothes without him knowing, to avoid having to see the baby clothes at a yard sale.

 

Try setting him a time limit for the yard sale...you could say OK if you really want a yard sale, then it has to be done by a certain date, say a month from now for example, and if he still hasn't done it, then you will hire a skip and toss it all.

 

I agree that the time and effort of rehoming items is really not worth the effort. For example I found stacks of new gifts I have kept, and if I list them on ebay then yes I may make some money but by the time I list them all and spend time packing and posting, and the cost of fees and final value percentages, it is not really worth the effort, so I am giving them all either to the children's hospital or to charity.


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#3 of 33 Old 05-11-2011, 11:38 PM
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I can understand where you are, and it's ok. 

 

The first thing that I want to put out there is this: what you think you want may not be what you want. It may also be exactly what you want, but you'll also have to negotiate it through one other human being -- your husband. :) That's ok, there are ways *through* to get the exact vision of what you want (which may or may not be as minimal as you have described) and what he wants too. 

 

I thought I would go point by point. Just for fun.

 

 

-No books, dvds, cds.  That's what e-readers and iPods are for.

 

I find that I am heading this direction, but DH is not.

 

He likes "thingness" and so to "give in" to that, he has kept his absolute favorite CDs, books, and and DVDs. I also kept my favorites. I had far fewer that I read over and over. Anything else, I use the library and I'm considering a kindle/reader (but I have no explicit need right now). None of my music is on CD -- it's all ipod. I don't really collect DVDs; I rent them.

 

What we own would probably take up one tall book shelf. 

 

-Very minimal clothes for everyone. (7 each tops, bottoms, underwear, socks, pjs?)

 

We do this; it's quite nice. It does mean things wear out more quickly, so you might have to replace them. But, if everything is mix-and-match, it works great. I have 56 items of clothing total. 

 

-1 place setting per family member.

 

We do this too. Works great -- we have so few dishes. :) I think we have a spare setting for a guest or two, but we usually just borrow dishes from a neighbor. :) It's nice having nice neighbors. In fact, our 'pot luck' Is really "bring your own table setting" and we provide the food. it's very funny. :D

 

-1 bath towel and hand towel per person.

 

We only do the bath towel per person. We don't use wash clothes or hand towels that often. That being said, we use one hand towel in the bathroom for a week (unless it gets really dirty), and we have two wash clothes that we use as we need them. 

 

-Very minimal toys: smaller amount of Legos, crayons & paper, doll?

 

God help me if my ILs send legos. But yeah, we are serious toy minimalists.

 

-Small personal stash of memorabilia.

 

Check! 

 

-Kitchen only has the tools and pans we actually use.

 

Yes, we do this too!

 

-Wedding album, baby videos, and family pictures on CD.

 

Yes. we use thumb drives.

 

-What if we have another little girl/little boy and I need these baby girl/baby boy/maternity clothes?

 

You will be ok. You will be able to replace these items at a good price -- particularly used. Amazing really.

 

-There's nothing wrong with this _____.

 

True! So someone else can use it!

 

-My dd is not a baby anymore and if I get rid of her baby clothes, it will be too sad.

 

This is normal grief. It's ok that something is passing away.

 

-This will come back in fashion.  It always does.

 

If you are not wearing it, someone else can.

 

-This was expensive.

 

Yes, I hate wasting money. I know how that is. But if you aren't using it, then it's just clutter.

 

Then dh and I have a fight about it, b/c I just want to rent a dumpster and put everything either in the dumpster or on a donation truck.  He wants to have a yard sale/give this ___ to his brothers/give this ___ to a friend.  

 

I highly recommend an auction house. This way, you can make some money, and do it all at once. You don't even have to go to the auction -- they'll just send you the money.

 

So, I would do it thus. Agree with your DH. If he wants to give X to a brother or a friend, then he can. But he must do it by the date that the auction house is picking up the various items that they are picking up. 

 

We did this when we did our massive purge (to move to NZ). After we gave things away, tried a yard sale (and made about $100, not worth our time or effort), made donations, and recycled/trashed what couldn't be sold, etc, we called the auction house. They set up a date and came and got everything. And that was that. Done at once. We were sent a check for several hundred dollars (there wasn't much left after we'd done everything before hand), and now I wish I'd just done that to start with. So easy. 

 

It satisfies the various needs -- your need to purge, his need to get money for things AND the opportunity to give it to his brother/friend/etc. If he doesn't do it by date X, then it goes to auction and that's that. Puts the responsibility on him, but gets it done.

 

Good luck with it all. :)

 

And then, voila, I get stuck in a depressive, sobbing spiral.  So if you have any thoughts, be gentle.  Most of these things, I can see objective answers to, but it doesn't help.

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#4 of 33 Old 05-12-2011, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am going to contemplate this.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

I can understand where you are, and it's ok. 

 

The first thing that I want to put out there is this: what you think you want may not be what you want. It may also be exactly what you want, but you'll also have to negotiate it through one other human being -- your husband. :) That's ok, there are ways *through* to get the exact vision of what you want (which may or may not be as minimal as you have described) and what he wants too. 

 


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#5 of 33 Old 05-12-2011, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you to everyone who replied so far.  I am going to think some more.  I had not considered the auction route, but I will look into it.


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#6 of 33 Old 05-12-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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thanks for your reply Zoebird, I'm going to try to commit 3 hours tomorrow morning to manage & declutter paperwork and books/written stuff ....

(a pile of which has been sitting on my computer chair for about 6 weeks at least, am using an uncomfortable chair in the meantime, I KNOW it is silly but Galatea 's heading is exactly how I feel ....unmanageability, fear and sadness ..... totally me too ...)

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#7 of 33 Old 05-12-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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I would also suggest Craigslist/eBay and maybe a book on hoarding.  Not like the hardcore hoarders that make TV shows, but just the we like to keep everything kind of person.

My DH sounded a lot like you and your partner and found the book Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding    to  hhelpful. It helps to address many of the thought that people have when it comes to stuff like why I'm a buying or keeping X. The yard sale thing really sounds familiar as well as I'm going to give __ to so and so. It's really very emotional going through things and that was the hardest part. My parents home is overwhelmed with stuff, it was hard for my younger sibling living in that (it wasn't as bad when I was growing up) and now there's so much that it is really hard for them to just enjoy the retirement years. This keeps me motivated to keep up with out stuff.

 

We did set up the time line as to when something had to be given away by. We donated almost everything and did a couple of craigslist for the bigger items. Actually the craigslist really helped cause often you think something is worth more than it really is and when you get no replys on there you start to say hmmm maybe that's not as valuable as I thought. For our time line we started with an item and DH had a certain amount of time to see if someone wanted it, then if no one did, he had to make a listing if he wanted to sale it, and finally anything not taken by others or sold was donated.

 

I'm not going to lie it took a long time to clear everything out but it slowly got better and better. Now not only do we have a streamlined house but we no longer feel the need to acquire stuff and getting rid of something is a lot easier now. It's totally worth it, Good Luck!


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#8 of 33 Old 05-12-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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And after you get all this done, you might find that your urge to shop has died. I think people sometimes keep buying more stuff because they are unhappy with their home, and the actual reason they are unhappy with it is that they have too much stuff, not that the home needs anything new. Also, after going through the enormous task of decluttering, you will not want to go back to where you were. You will find more joy in not buying than you did buying.

Lat you husband know that this is really important to you and follow the excellent suggestions given here!

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#9 of 33 Old 05-12-2011, 02:15 PM
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that is true in my experience as well. i really found other hobbies beyond buying. it made life good. :D

 

 

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#10 of 33 Old 05-12-2011, 02:34 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by MiniMum View Post

Also, after going through the enormous task of decluttering, you will not want to go back to where you were. You will find more joy in not buying than you did buying.

 


I feel like this nowadays...the thought of shopping just turns me right off. Unless I am shopping for something that is really needed, just browsing the shops for no reason has no appeal anymore.

 


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#11 of 33 Old 05-12-2011, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramzubo View Post

maybe a book on hoarding.  Not like the hardcore hoarders that make TV shows, but just the we like to keep everything kind of person.

My DH sounded a lot like you and your partner and found the book Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding    to  hhelpful. It helps to address many of the thought that people have when it comes to stuff like why I'm a buying or keeping X. The yard sale thing really sounds familiar as well as I'm going to give __ to so and so. It's really very emotional going through things and that was the hardest part.

 

So I checked this out on Amazon.  Are you sure it's not just for tv-level hoarders?  We just have too many clothes and toys.  No denial, really.  I've seen those shows, and we are not like that.  We can have our home party-worthy in an hour of work.  :-)


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#12 of 33 Old 05-13-2011, 12:14 AM
 
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I think that even people who don't compulsively save and hoard, can compulsively acquire. Buying things when you know when you are buying them that you are not going to use them, is compulsive, and at least I found that until you dig deep into the psychology of buying, you are unable to stop, even though you may be getting rid of things at the same time and not actually living in a huge mess... 

Honesty with yourself is essential.

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#13 of 33 Old 05-13-2011, 03:53 AM
 
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yeahthat.gif

 

We used the book as a warning of this is how it can be in 20, 30 years if you keep doing the same things, not that the house was overrun yet. Actually dh's place was very clean before I moved in (as long as you didn't open a closet or look under a cabinet). The issue was that he had a difficult time getting rid of things he no longer needed. Some of his thinking was very similar to hoarders and some of your phrases reminded me so much of those same explanations for why one buys/keeps things. I just was picking up books at the library and found that the ones on "clutter" you beat the clutter or organize your home didn't really do much to deal with some of the mental/emotional issues that were holding him back. Books labeled hoarding or compulsive __(shopping, acquiring, etc...) really delved into phrases (or excuses) commonly used by people who shop alot, like dealing with emotional shopping or getting rid of things that have an emotional attachment say from grandma or the kids. It was really noticeable in the one book I mentioned because it talks about things people do that tend to collect stuff that you wouldn't necessarily associate with clutter. I would just see if you can get any library books that may help, we went through a bunch some helped and some were useless.


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#14 of 33 Old 05-13-2011, 04:55 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

  I buy things knowing while I am buying them that I will not like them.  Packages show up at my door and I am not sure why I bought them.


This is the compulsive acquiring, that which although being balanced by getting rid of things, so that you are able to get your house party-worthy in an hour, is still compulsive acquiring.

 

I am not judging you at all...in fact I have had the same problem!  I am well aware that I have had a problem with compulsive acquiring of things. Mine was brought on by depression which made me seek an escape in buying things.  Now I mostly have it under control, and I actively avoid shopping, in fact the thought of spending money on stuff now makes me feel a bit ill, and just the thought of bringing stuff into the home after all my efforts to get rid of things, makes me cringe. Although I have my moments still occasionally where I get online and place 3 orders for scrapbooking supplies or clothes, in the space of a week, then wonder why I did it.  If I analyse it I can usually trace it back to being down in the dumps, an effort to displace my depression with the thrills of shopping.

 

Ont thing I do is I keep reading my favourite decluttering books over and over, my favourite is "Clutterbusting" by Brooks Palmer ...I find it really helps because he gets into what is going on in our minds, not just the usual 'get five boxes and sort into keep, donate or toss', etc..

 

Hopefully you and I can both deal with our acquiring issues and reach our goals. hug.gif

 


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#15 of 33 Old 05-13-2011, 05:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, Buried in Treasures is on my Kindle now.  I think the reason why I am not overwhelmed in stuff is that I am a compulsive returner.  I buy and return, buy and return, over and over.


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#16 of 33 Old 05-13-2011, 06:06 AM
 
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How do you feel about doing a one-time garage sale with your hubby?  Pick a date now (4-6 weeks out) and post an ad in a local paper so that you have to keep it.

 

I found that I was keeping things because I didn't want to *give* them away.  But - when I thought about actually making money on the item, it was *much* easier to put in the garage sale pile.  This works for sentimental things - suddenly they aren't all that sentimental.  Also for those things you paid good money for.

 

When the weekend comes, make sure to post ads on Craigslist.  You are not allowed to make multiple postings for the same thing, so I made multiple postings in different sections.  One big one in the garage sale section.  Details about the baby clothes in the kids section.  Gadgets/electronics in another section.  Mention the times and address, but don't say the words "garage sale" in your duplicate ads.

 

For larger and expensive items, I agree that an individual post is where you will make more money than garage sale prices.  But - do it before the garage sale date, so that if it doesn't sell --- it is out of your house at the sale.

 

After the sale, post another ad on craigslist - Yard Sale Leftovers - Everything FREE.   That saves you time and it will be gone by morning, trust me!!  There is a free section on CL.

 

My hubby hd a great time shootin' the breeze with all the neighbors. And making money!

 

I used it as a great learning opp for the kids. 1 - get rid of toys we don't use in order to buy toys we want.  2 - Earning Money with a lemonade stand.  We sold everything for 50 cents - bananas, oranges, juice boxes, granola bars, 100-calorie snack packs.  Most people gave him a buck on the way out of the yard!  He made $35 (minus whatever I paid for the snacks, but I let him keep it all)

 

My hubby had to be reminded to keep prices low enough to sell.  The object is to sell lots of things for 25 cents, because it adds up.  Better a quarter than nothing!

 

Then - We used the proceeds to go away for the weekend to a hotel with a pool. (our favorite splurge)

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#17 of 33 Old 05-13-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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once you are done with this bout of decluttering, more stuff will creep in as gifts and this-will-be-useful. It is insidious. I always take advantage of my decluttering mood swings and become completely ruthless. I try hard to postpone regretful feelings until after the stuff is dropped at goodwill - it's amazing how short-lived those feelings are when I get home and everything is neat and spacious again. When I used to declutter my kids' rooms (and the dollar store gifts I would get from my exMIL) I would also rearrange the furniture and the order in which things were stored. The family would assume that whatever they noticed was missing had just been reorganized. They'd maybe look for something once and then forget about it (because it really was a redundant object anyway!)

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#18 of 33 Old 05-14-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I totally know where you are coming from and I really commend you for posting here. there have been MONTHS when I couldn't even go into forum because me mess was just so depressing and overwhelming and there are some real serious neatniks and minimalist here - like the REALLY mindful people. 

 

I don't have your problem with sadness but at times I am COMPLETELY overwhelmed with the stuff (and my hoarding DH and budding hoarder DD) and I just get paralyzed with indecision. 

 

Have you thought about getting professional organizing help? I have and it was around $50/hour at the low end and more like $150 at the high end (which I figured is what I needed). Anyway, I don't know if this is at all within your budget, but I bet even 2-3 hours of professional help would be enough to get you started and you might even be able to make some of that back. If you can't get a pro, do you have a friend or anyone who can help hold your hand while you do the work?

 


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#19 of 33 Old 05-14-2011, 10:36 AM
 
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I highly recommend an auction house. This way, you can make some money, and do it all at once. You don't even have to go to the auction -- they'll just send you the money.

 

So, I would do it thus. Agree with your DH. If he wants to give X to a brother or a friend, then he can. But he must do it by the date that the auction house is picking up the various items that they are picking up. 

 

We did this when we did our massive purge (to move to NZ). After we gave things away, tried a yard sale (and made about $100, not worth our time or effort), made donations, and recycled/trashed what couldn't be sold, etc, we called the auction house. They set up a date and came and got everything. And that was that. Done at once. We were sent a check for several hundred dollars (there wasn't much left after we'd done everything before hand), and now I wish I'd just done that to start with. So easy. 

 

It satisfies the various needs -- your need to purge, his need to get money for things AND the opportunity to give it to his brother/friend/etc. If he doesn't do it by date X, then it goes to auction and that's that. Puts the responsibility on him, but gets it done.

 

Good luck with it all. :)

 

And then, voila, I get stuck in a depressive, sobbing spiral.  So if you have any thoughts, be gentle.  Most of these things, I can see objective answers to, but it doesn't help.

 


 

I like the idea of an auction house because I really could use a few extra bucks. However most of my items are all ready second hand and well used so I was thinking of just giving them to Salvation Army. I mostly just have clothes, books and toys everything else belongs to my ex who thinks of my house as a free storage shed! Does the auction house turn down items? Can they just donate my stuff if it doesn't sell? How do I get ahold of an auction house?

Thanks


be good family...

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#20 of 33 Old 05-14-2011, 04:03 PM
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you can call the given auction house and see what they'll take. some will take an entire estate -- they are used to that -- which means clothes and everything.

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#21 of 33 Old 05-15-2011, 06:48 AM
 
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It sounds like me last year. Constantly cleaning, organizing, wishing for less but kept buying more.

 

In the past, I would spend months trying to sell items on Craigslist or ebay.  What didnt sell, remained. It was such a time consuming process that took a majority of my time. Then, like you, I would compulsively shop and not even want the packages by the time they showed at my door.

 

I realized I was addicted to the shopping cycle. I actually had to adopt a "one day at a time" philosophy to break it.  It was such a part of my daily habit and emotional make-up. I think because we live in such a consumerist society that the few people I tried to explain this to didn't get how debilitating this was on my life. They couldnt see that buying things can be an addiction the same as drugs.  They say that addiction is having too much of what you dont want - that was me.

 

As far as being attached to baby items, I cut swatches from alot of my baby clothes to someday make a quilt out of.  The box takes up less space. 

 

The feeling of just showing up at the goodwill with a van full of items is freeing.  It feels good to give away to people. Once you start, it becomes so much easier! I have reduced my clothing by 50%, kids toys by 75% (and noone has ever asked for the missing toys- they didnt even notice!!), household items brought to manageable levels.  What I ask myself when getting rid of something is whether my life will be in any way less if I dont have this thing.  Usually the answer is "no".

 

My ds is not onboard with becoming decluttered. He feels his things represent who he is- he views them differently.  THere is nothing I can do about this other than give him his own seperate space for his stuff.  I cant let that bother me.  However, he doesnt object to me downsizing everyone else's things.  He saw unhappy I was spending all my time managing our stuff.

 

Start small.  Go through a closet and have piles for trash, selling and donating. My criteria was anything worth less than $10 was donated.   Big items that sat on Craigs List for more than a month were donated.

 

Physical items are not worth you happiness!

 

Oh and something that really helped me was watching "The Story of Stuff" - its on youtube.

 

 

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#22 of 33 Old 07-10-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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I am planning on using a portion of my pay from my seasonal job to get a quilt made from baby clothes from this company http://www.campusquilt.com/ .  I know it is expensive, but I don't want to regret not doing it.  I sold a lot of things at a consignment event, but have some left for my keepsake.  hug2.gifI know it's hard


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#23 of 33 Old 07-10-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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I know how hard  it is.  Hang in there.

 

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#24 of 33 Old 07-10-2011, 10:54 PM
 
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I don't know if this will help, but I've recently come to the conclusion that when people want to keep clutter, they want to keep it because... they want to keep it. They want to keep it similar to the way that they want chocolate, or coffee, or a drink, or anything that makes them feel good. They may _tell_ themselves that they want that coffee because they need a boost to get through the work day, or that they want the drink because it will loosen them up and help them impress people at dinner, but what it comes down to is that they _want_. It's not ego or superego, it's id - they _want_, not for any logical or rational reason, but simply because they want.
 
(Yes, I am visualizing Buffy in that classroom, in case you're wondering.)
 
Though in the case of clutter, it may not be as much as "want to keep it" as "don't want to get rid of it". But the "don't want" is just as irrational as the "want". Getting rid of it makes them feel bad, just as drinking that cup of coffee makes them feel good. And they don't want to feel bad. The id doesn't want to get up in the morning, or take medicine, or get rid of clutter. It doesn't want to feel bad.
 
I'm doing all this babbling to argue that you are not going to find a logical, rational, reasonable, well-thought-out reason for getting rid of the stuff. Because a big part of your brain doesn't want you to get rid of the stuff. It wants you to eat chocolate, and drink wine, and sleep late in a warm comfortable bed, and it wants you to _not_ get rid of your stuff. It wants you to feel good right this second, and it couldn't care less about next month's weight gain, tomorrow's hangover, this morning's angry boss when you stumble in after sleeping late, or tomorrow's frustration at your cluttered house.
 
So just as you don't trust the id with the other decisions in your life, you have to stop trusting it about the little decisions involved in decluttering, and start trusting your ego and superego about the final goal: Getting rid of stuff. When the id howls "You'll be saaaaaaad when that's gone!" you need the higher levels of your brain to tell it to just shut up. Or you need to console it with chocolate and happy music and promises of vases of pretty flowers on a pretty shiny clutter-free table.
 
("Giles, don't upset cave slayer.")
 
And, most importantly, you need that higher level of your brain to accept, "Getting rid of this specific item might be a mistake. The overall goal is not a mistake. This supports the overall goal, therefore I'm getting rid of it."
 
Decluttering hurts. If it didn't hurt, it would have already happened.
 
Now, I realize that I can do all the arguing I want, and I can convince you to just take the decluttering medicine, and your husband will jump in and sabotage the whole thing. So I fear that one of the things that may hurt is that you may have to engage in serious, firm, disagreement with your husband. 
 
I've largely passed through "decluttering hurts" and gotten to, "Woohoo! Hand me another trashbag!".  But my guy similarly objects to getting rid of things. One thing I have put my foot down on is that I don't even accept discussion on stuff that's exclusively mine, as opposed to his or shared - I _will_ do what I darn well please with my stuff. If you can do the same, it seems that that should give you decluttering work for a while.
 
Also, I divide storage into his space and my space. If I get rid of my stuff and my drawers or bookshelves or side of the closet are nice and sparsely filled, that nice sparse space is _mine_. His excess stuff is not moving in to that space. He doesn't try to move it in - he respects divided space, though he may not do the dividing himself - but even if he did, I would move it right back out again.
 
On the question of books that aren't at the "TV hoarders" level, I'd suggest Don Aslett's books on clutter, and _It's hard to make a difference when you can't find your keys_. I'm reading _The Secret Lives of Hoarders_; it does indeed address severe hoarders, but the motivations and fears that it addresses are relevant to less severe situations, and he does have one much less severe repeating example.
 
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#25 of 33 Old 07-11-2011, 12:00 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post

 

When the id howls "You'll be saaaaaaad when that's gone!" you need the higher levels of your brain to tell it to just shut up. Or you need to console it with chocolate and happy music and promises of vases of pretty flowers on a pretty shiny clutter-free table.

 


ROTFLMAO.gif I love this...thanks Crayfish! 

 

You have really helped me get past a 'brain block' I have had about getting rid of clutter. thumb.gif


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#26 of 33 Old 07-13-2011, 11:06 PM
 
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-What if we have another little girl/little boy and I need these baby girl/baby boy/maternity clothes?

 


I did that... got rid of everything because we weren't having anymore babies...  then had just one more :)  Honestly...  he has more clothes than my other two kids put together and I haven't paid one dime for clothes.  I got so many hand me downs that I have had to give at least half of them away and he still has more than he needs from 6 months until age 4 (at least).  People are very generous and I have found in my circle of friends, we are so happy to give our baby stuff to the next person who needs them.

 

Other than that... all I can say is start slow when you try to declutter.  I can do massive declutters now (and I love to), but when I first started, I had the same emotional attachment to stuff.  It has gotten easier for me and for my whole family...
 

 

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#27 of 33 Old 07-17-2011, 11:58 AM
 
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Thanks for making this thread and to all who responded! I searched on here for inspiration. We recently downsized from a 1800 sq ft house to a 925 sq ft apartment (2 adults, 2 kids). I *thought* we did an excellent job decluttering as we moved, but we literally still had more stuff than fit in the apartment. Based on some of the suggestions, I made a written list of things I *did* want - everything else was either trashed, donated, or put in a pile for auction house (based on many PP's suggestions). Auction house is coming to get the stuff tomorrow and I feel AWESOME! love.gif


sleepytime.gifjog.gifSleepy, running, wife to superhero.gif DH 08/09 -  Mama to jog.gif DS 8/08 & love.gif DD 1/11

"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. " - Japanese Proverb

 

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#28 of 33 Old 07-18-2011, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

I desperately want to declutter and live a streamlined life.  The time has come.  I buy things knowing while I am buying them that I will not like them.  Packages show up at my door and I am not sure why I bought them.  I hate coming home b/c all I do when home is move piles of crap: clean clothes, magazines, toys, dirty dishes, clean dishes.  I constantly fantasize about chucking it all to live in an RV with nothing but a few t-shirts and my Kindle.

 

I have a vision of what I want:

 

-No books, dvds, cds.  That's what e-readers and iPods are for.

-Very minimal clothes for everyone. (7 each tops, bottoms, underwear, socks, pjs?)

-1 place setting per family member.

-1 bath towel and hand towel per person.

-Very minimal toys: smaller amount of Legos, crayons & paper, doll?

-Small personal stash of memorabilia.

-Kitchen only has the tools and pans we actually use.

-Wedding album, baby videos, and family pictures on CD.

 

I can see it in my mind.  I want it.  But the thought of doing it makes me freeze with sadness and fear.  I get several repetitive thoughts:

 

-What if we have another little girl/little boy and I need these baby girl/baby boy/maternity clothes?

-There's nothing wrong with this _____.

-My dd is not a baby anymore and if I get rid of her baby clothes, it will be too sad.

-This will come back in fashion.  It always does.

-This was expensive.

 

Then dh and I have a fight about it, b/c I just want to rent a dumpster and put everything either in the dumpster or on a donation truck.  He wants to have a yard sale/give this ___ to his brothers/give this ___ to a friend.  This drives me nuts b/c:

 

-He will never actually have a yard sale.

-If he does, we have to keep the castoffs until it happens.

-If I see the baby clothes at the yard sale, it will break my heart.

-All the time and effort of rehoming items individually is ridiculous, considering we don't have time to even breathe.

-I feel that I will only have the strength to do it all at once, ruthlessly.

 

And then, voila, I get stuck in a depressive, sobbing spiral.  So if you have any thoughts, be gentle.  Most of these things, I can see objective answers to, but it doesn't help.

 



I haven't read the other replies, but I am reading this book, Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer and it has really hit a nerve. At first I started reading and was rolling my eyes...and then I I am sure my eyes got big. bigeyes.gif

 

 I wish I could get this person to come to my house and tell me why I can't seem to declutter properly or find out the "source" of my decluttering problem! I do know it's in my basement. Going back down there tomorrow to try again. lol.gif

 

As far as the baby things go...I have always felt really good about giving things to a local women's shelter or the social services department if that is how your state works. Women and children who need those things will get them. It makes it easier to let go of the tiny items. 

 

Not sure what to tell you about your dh. Mine can slow things waaay down, too. He's gotten better...he just told me tonight to get rid of things before he gets home, so he can't go through the boxes and pull stuff back out. thumb.gif

 

Good luck! I know it's hard. hug.gif


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#29 of 33 Old 08-02-2011, 06:14 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by valsblondies View Post

What I ask myself when getting rid of something is whether my life will be in any way less if I dont have this thing.  Usually the answer is "no".

 

This is great! I read this and immediately tossed several things and feel fine! There are little trivial things I hang onto thinking "This is perfectly good". I mean, why would you donate an old bookmark? And it's perfectly good. But I don't use bookmarks. And my husband doesn't want it. Threw it out and won't miss it! Several things in my tote of "random crap I've been hanging onto" tossed without a second thought.

 

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#30 of 33 Old 08-02-2011, 10:43 PM
 
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I sometimes get hung up on the idea that something is "worth" money, so I don't want to toss it. But I know myself and I know that craigslist or ebay is just another way to procrastinate. It creates extra work that won't get done and it's just not worth the small amount of money an item might fetch. So, now I donate everything and tell myself I'm doing a good deed for some needy person who could really use my item.  It makes me happy to declutter, it potentially will make someone else happy that finds it at the Salvation Army. Win-win!


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