Beating clutter before it starts--what do you no longer keep? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-06-2012, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So for those of us who are decluttering, I was wondering. We've spent a lot of energy getting rid of stuff we've accumulated. What stuff comes into our houses that we used to keep but now have learned we need to get rid of?

 

I used to keep every single little box from Amazon or wherever just in case I needed them to mail stuff. Now I think I have maybe 2. If I use one, I'll keep another some time, but I've learned to just get rid of the boxes that come in.

 

Store ads and coupons. Used to think I'd use them. Now I know I won't. I do save one envelope of coupons to restaurants, because we do eat at a couple of the restaurants with some regularity.

 

Today I threw away an ad for some promo... from 2009. It had gotten mixed in with my OTC medicine. My new resolution is not to save those things unless I KNOW I will shop at that place.

 

There's probably more, but I'm forgetting. How do you keep more clutter from coming into your house?

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Old 01-06-2012, 12:11 PM
 
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Great question! Here are some of mine:

 

1. Receipts - except for big-ticket items and things I may want to return. Those go in a magnetic clip on the fridge.

2. Greeting cards - unless they're extra special (a 1st bday card from grandparents).

3. Most stuff that comes home from preschool - I keep a few special mementos in designated boxes and that's it. 

4. Bills/paperwork older than a year - with a few exceptions, of course, e.g. tax returns

5. CPC (Cheap Plastic Crap) - like dinky party favors, deli containers, etc. - I toss most.

6. Plastic shopping bags - don't use them anymore so they usually don't make it in.

7. Books/CDs/media - we buy sparingly and if it's not going to get looked at after reading/listening/viewing, out.

 

That's all I can think of for now - looking forward to hearing others'!


Me + DH + DS ('07) + after a long and bumpy road, thrilled that our twin boys are finally here (DS2 & DS3, '12)

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Old 01-06-2012, 01:56 PM
 
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1. Mail. I sort/open/toss the minute it comes in the door. DH doesn't, so I tackle the pile whenever I see it. 

2. Bills after I've paid them. I shred. I can always pull prior records online.

3. Gifts that I absolutely know I will not use. I used to put them away thinking I'd do something with them later. Not anymore. They go in the trash or in the donate pile immediately.

4. Clothes that require minor fixing. I have a basket with pants that "just need a hem restitched" from like... 2005. I won't do it. I'll never do it. Emptied it into the donation bag.

5. Any accessories to any electronic equipment that I no longer own, unless it's a universal item. Special battery chargers, USB cables, BOXES, USER MANUALS (omg I'm so bad about hoarding paperwork until the end of time), discs, etc... all too often I get rid of the broken toy, and forget about the stash of accessories in the closet. 

6. Free stuff that is a duplicate of other stuff I already own and use regularly. Used to keep it because "what if I lose the three pairs of nail clippers I already own" or "what if I travel and feel like taking a sample size single-use packet of some random face wash because it's inconvenient to pack my full size face wash"... nope. If I lose something I'll buy another one, I'm not storing 8 nail clippers and 47 single-use packets of face wash anymore!


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Old 01-08-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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Great thread!

-Mail, as others have said (though I'm still working on this!)

-Gifts we don't want or need... they go right back out the door, except for DS's things, we'll sometimes let him play with things a bit first, depends on the item.

-DS's many art projects, unless they are special to us or him... if we're on the fence, we hang them up on the wall for a short while first.

-Freebies that we have no use for (which is almost all of them!) We try to not even take them in the first place. Same for flyers, coupons, souvenirs, etc.

-Broken things (or things that got really dirty or peed on lol -- DS is 2yo...) unless they are really special or pricey & worth trying to repair/clean

-We don't buy books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, etc. (except for books/CDs for DS) -- we borrow what we need from the library or find it online.

-Things like cosmetics & body care items. Most of what we need is in our kitchen pantry (ACV, baking soda, coconut oil, etc.) and I don't wear makeup or perfume.

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Old 01-08-2012, 06:29 PM
 
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MAIL- OMFG, even with a PO box I get so much mail.  I was in love with the  PO the day they installed LOCKED recycling containers. I can sort and recycle my mail at the post office.  I only bring home what I need and I can leave the rest for them to deal with.  They gave it to me, they can recycle it. LOL.    I do get the usual Wednesday junk at my apartment but that is brought to my home and dealt with.  Using the trash can by the mailboxes gives me the ID theft creepies!

 

Plastic Crap- getting better, DS is 11 and almost over this stage.  He is over 'happy meals' and such.  Take out containers are tossed, I don't save plastic containers, I continually pare down the rubbermaid.

 

Books/DVD/CD - I have a never ending pile for amazon buy-back and Half-price books.  I have NookColor so much of this is going digital but I still have a love of paper.  I do use the library as well.

 

Personal Care Items-  I'm a couponer, that is a problem, I get so much of this stuff HBA for free.  I am continually donating it somewhere.  I don't need 100 nail files, 100 little shampoos etc.  I do coupon and there is such a need for things at the food bank and places that I will continue but I must donate on a more frequent schedule.

 

Gifts-  My family lives 2k miles away, much of what they send just isn't practical or DS/I don't like.  Right to the donation center or kiddie resale shoppe.  I'm not keeping it.  Space is at a premium around here.  Money is much more important than space (If I can get a few $$ at the resale shoppe then I will, otherwise it gets donated)


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Old 01-08-2012, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, I forgot the big one... leftovers. We're trying to get better at tossing leftovers we know we won't eat. The other night I made something that really wasn't very good at all, and we agreed to just throw it out rather than packaging it up as leftovers, since we didn't like it and weren't going to eat it as leftovers. It seems wasteful, but I guess I'd rather pay the $1.50, or whatever those ingredients cost, for the privilege of not having to eat that again and not having to deal with a tupperware of leftovers later.

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Old 01-10-2012, 11:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

Oh, I forgot the big one... leftovers. We're trying to get better at tossing leftovers we know we won't eat. The other night I made something that really wasn't very good at all, and we agreed to just throw it out rather than packaging it up as leftovers, since we didn't like it and weren't going to eat it as leftovers. It seems wasteful, but I guess I'd rather pay the $1.50, or whatever those ingredients cost, for the privilege of not having to eat that again and not having to deal with a tupperware of leftovers later.



Yes!  I go further and toss edible leftovers that I know I can't eat in a reasonable period of time (like if I know we won't be home the next three nights and we already have lunches planned and purchased)  It sort of drives my DH nuts (he is in charge of clean up) but I simply cannot tolerate fridge clutter.  We "lose" far, far more food due to it getting hidden behind leftovers than the cost of tossing crappy leftovers.

 

Mail - I deal with it immediately.  Another "issue" for DH, who adores mail in all forms, especially junk mail.

 

Books - I have less than 20 and even those are under constant threat of being donated.

 

Freebie Logo stuff - like free coffee mugs, coasters, etc. I won't even allow it to leave the venture with me.  (we occasionally go to trade shows or seminars)

 

Magazines - The most current issues only.  No saving because I might want to read a certain article later


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Old 01-11-2012, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aeterna View Post

1. Mail. I sort/open/toss the minute it comes in the door. DH doesn't, so I tackle the pile whenever I see it. 

2. Bills after I've paid them. I shred. I can always pull prior records online.

3. Gifts that I absolutely know I will not use. I used to put them away thinking I'd do something with them later. Not anymore. They go in the trash or in the donate pile immediately.

4. Clothes that require minor fixing. I have a basket with pants that "just need a hem restitched" from like... 2005. I won't do it. I'll never do it. Emptied it into the donation bag.

5. Any accessories to any electronic equipment that I no longer own, unless it's a universal item. Special battery chargers, USB cables, BOXES, USER MANUALS (omg I'm so bad about hoarding paperwork until the end of time), discs, etc... all too often I get rid of the broken toy, and forget about the stash of accessories in the closet. 


I do 1-3 ruthlessly. 4-5 I need to get way better about... I have three things in the hem/alteration pile, and I just need to get them done! If not, into the yard sale box they'll go. But seriously, how hard is it to just sew on a new button? I don't know why I have such a mental block about working on the mending! 

 


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Old 01-11-2012, 10:09 PM
 
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Books - I have less than 20 and even those are under constant threat of being donated.

 

Magazines - The most current issues only.  No saving because I might want to read a certain article later


What!? How do you survive!? What do you do!? My collection of five years worth of Saveur would be totally appalling to you, I think. LOL :-) It's cool to read this thread and see what other people view as essential versus non-essential. 

 


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Old 01-12-2012, 03:42 AM
 
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Wow you're all so good!  I think I am still very much a work in progress, but I have made tracks in terms of a few things...

 

1. yes re the MAIL! Definitely have this under control now, which I am proud of, as I literally had a neverending pile of mail there for a few years, which at one point threatened to fall over it got so tall. Now I won't tolerate any mail pile at all...it's opened and dealt with immediately.

 

2. Magazines...no idea why I used to horde them but now I can't wait to recycle any as soon as I get a chance.

 

3. Gourmet food items...I no longer buy random jars of exotic mustards, condiments and salad dressings, as they just clutter up the fridge and rarely get used.

 

4. I buy very few clothes now...as I have tossed so many over the last year, I really don't want to fill my cupboards with more sales 'bargains' that will end up getting tossed.

 


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Old 01-12-2012, 06:46 AM
 
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What!? How do you survive!? What do you do!? My collection of five years worth of Saveur would be totally appalling to you, I think. LOL :-) It's cool to read this thread and see what other people view as essential versus non-essential. 

 



I would love to come over to your house and page through those!  I have a binder filled with sheet protectors.  When I find a recipe worth keeping, I rip it out and put it in the binder.  

 

There is a blog I love called Chez Larson.  The woman's house is amazing and totally clutter free but she does keep every single issue of Martha Stewart's Living! 

 


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Old 01-12-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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I would love to come over to your house and page through those!  I have a binder filled with sheet protectors.  When I find a recipe worth keeping, I rip it out and put it in the binder.  

 

There is a blog I love called Chez Larson.  The woman's house is amazing and totally clutter free but she does keep every single issue of Martha Stewart's Living! 


It's the best food mag out there I think. I'm going to look up that blog I think because I need to overhaul the way I keep them. I've currently got them in crappy cardboard magazine files from Ikea, and they leave a lot to be desired.

 


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Old 01-14-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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Wow I just looked at that blog, I just kept thinking- holy crap she has a lot of stuff.  I think you have to start thinking of organizing creatively when you have that much stuff.

 

I think getting a lot of organizing containers and utilizing "every possible space" actually adds to clutter a lot.  I used to do this- just organize and organize - and everything was clean here and looked like there wasn't that much stuff, but that's because its was hidden in organizers.  Eventually I did become overwhelmed and realized it was way too many things to have to keep organized.  So I've realized that if you have minimal stuff, its very easy to organize and I won't have to think of any super creative uses of space or anything.  If I get to the point where I have to start asking myself, "where can I store this?" or "how do I organize all this stuff?"  - I figure I have too much stuff.  So if there isn't an empty drawer ready or an empty cupboard- I either don't bring it into the house or I make myself get rid of something else less essential so I will have space for the new thing.  This helps cut down on clutter for me at least.

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Old 02-19-2012, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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^^^An excellent point! I am finding that containerizing is better than having everything in just a big jumble. I think it is a step in the process. First, getting everything into categories and having containers for each category, and second, figuring out what from the categories you can stand to get rid of. I feel more in control with having only a few different categories of items under the bathroom sink and moving other items to another place, even though I have the same amount of stuff. It makes it easier day to day.

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Old 02-19-2012, 11:36 AM
 
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I open the kids' backpacks next to the garbage can- everything that is not essential goes right in. I copy dates, etc. down on the master calendar and the notes for upcoming events get tossed, too. Learned a long time ago that they are going to keep generating those super cute pictures and 100% on math tests. We don't need to save them.

Mail- I sort it in the car and don't even bring the non-essentials into the house. Right in the outside garbage can.

Happy Meal toys and cheap party favors. These get 24-48hrs of playtime and then I junk them.

Any clothing that needs work. Right to donate bag. I don't sew and it will take me 5 years to get it to my mom's, have her fix it, and back to my house. Not worth it.

Any body care products that we don't absolutely love. No more half full shampoo or facial cleanser bottles. I've pretty much found what we love and stick with that. It's more expensive than all the cheap stuff I've bought, but winds up costing about the same when I don't try a million different things and wind up not using them.

Food in the fridge or pantry that we're not going to use. I finally threw away all the stale chips and boxes of Shake and Bake that my grandma bought me.

Any gifts that we're not in love with. They go straight to the donate bag.

 

I'm getting better. There is still clutter, but wayyy less than we had before. In a 2800sf house, I managed to stash junk pretty much everywhere. Now I'm slowly emptying the space and it feels *so* good.

 


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Old 02-20-2012, 02:24 AM
 
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I like this thread :) I have long since de-cluttered our 600 sf home. I am just maintaining now and I have noticed that if you think you can let it go, after some time you will start to notice some clutter creeping back. The empty glass bottles that I should return to my dad's (we make homemade berry juice every summer), the broken blender we weren't able to get a replacement part for, the outgrown clothes, and so on. There is some ebb and flow of stuff, I just try to keep the pace as slow as possible. 

I can't throw away left-overs and I think it's so satisfying to come up with a new meal using scraps :) Only if it was really bad I might consider tossing it outright. 

Our fridge is not huge (Europe) and I don't keep it stuffed to the gills, to minimize waste. Tossing perfectly edible food just feels so wrong.

 

 

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Old 02-20-2012, 07:28 AM
 
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Ah!   I thought I was so original, but I see that almost everyone has all ready posted my best ideas.  

 

Mail, bills, school papers, recycling, junk toys, weird little bits of stuff that floats in (souvenirs, scraps of paper, plastic crap), worn out or out grown clothing, duplicates of what we all ready have....etc, etc, etc....I think I do a clutter patrol several times a day.  


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Old 02-20-2012, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I mostly get rid of that thing that I made out of the scraps that didn't really turn out well. :D I try to come at our leftover problem from both ends. I try to make sure we eat the leftovers before they go bad, but I also am not stashing stuff that we both disliked and won't eat. Because that's just something we'll throw out in 2 weeks, might as well get a jump on it.

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