Did you ever just get rid of all (or most) of your 'stuff'? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 04-22-2014, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone ever just done a major overhaul on their living space? I know most of us are in the same boat, as moms who are mostly is not totally responsible for keeping the house in order & clean. I'm just done struggling with all of the "stuff" and the major tasks that never get done like cleaning out the laundry room, garage, etc. I figure, we have lived here 3 years and RARELY use anything we have piled in the garage. I just want to get rid of 95% of it, and go through every room and closet and cupboard and get rid of a huge portion of everything too- I hate that our closet is packed with stuff (after going through it ten times already) and that we still don't wear the majority of what we have. We are not well-to-do, I wouldn't say we have an outrageous amount of belongings, but we do have so, so, so much clutter lurking in every corner. I've tried "organizing" and sorting and getting rid of some things, but it is still ridiculous. I'm ready to just donate and remove the vast majority of things we have. I just don't know how to start, and where the best drop offs for large amounts of donated goods are. So ready. I'm about to start working out of the home part time again and I want to do this NOW to streamline my life. 

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#2 of 17 Old 04-22-2014, 12:23 PM
 
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I am right there with you! I started out with making a huge pile of stuff to be donated, but I think from now on I will keep one box accessible and bring it someplace whenever it gets full (which will probably be daily for a while). Right now we are taking things to oir local Savers store, since they give a receipt for tax purposes.
I just up and one day decided that I had enough and I furiously started throwing things away. But a lot of it is in great condition so I decided to donate it. DH wanted to consign, but I dont have the time or desire to go through that for all of the crap we have. Now I am going through each room and completely emptying it and only putting what we need back in. I am keeping a box or two for sentimental things that we can display once the kids get older but everything else goes. Even toys. I can see that my kids are overwhelmed by too much stuff too, so out it goes. I will keep their favorite toys that they use regularly and rotate them. But nothing new comes in until something old goes out. I am so done with taking care of stuff!!!

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#3 of 17 Old 04-22-2014, 12:26 PM
 
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I haven't done this, but it is really tempting. I keep tripping over clutter in every room. None of us use all the little odds and ends, so why are they here? Ack!


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#4 of 17 Old 04-22-2014, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Babysmurf & Mamapigeon just posting here got me motivated, lol! I read about going through and getting rid of stuff first, THEN organizing. I think my mistake in the past may have been trying to clean/discard/organize at the same time! Because I would get one space done and be burned out, or be mor elikely to just organize the clutter and put it away vs getting rid of it. I just took out about 7 bags fromt he garage this afternoon of things to donate! Just a dent but it feels good :) I told DH that I'm just going to do it, if it hasn't been used or isn't important it is gone. He said ok!

 

I just began to realize things like how in one of our kid's rooms stuff (little odds and ends) have been piling on their dresser (it use dto also be a changing table so it has a ledge around it) FOREVER and I swear that pile never gets smaller, and nothing gets played with that goes up there. Sure, we could go through and put away and organize every little thing, but what is more concerning is- if it's been up there so long (or in the garage so long, or unworn so long) WHY do we have it, taking up space? it will just inevitably end up in a heap someplace again. There are examples of this all over the house- closet, cupboards, laundry room, bathroom drawers, the garage. I have made so many attempts to "get on top of it" but I began to realize a lot of "stuff" needs to go first. Also I never gave myself full "permission" to get rid of other people's things (the kids are young, and if given the choice would say "keep" to most of their junk. DH just never actually gets around to going through things and I swear he has more things piled up than I do. I would rather take the risk to make a clean slate, then in the future let them make the choices as we go along).

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#5 of 17 Old 04-22-2014, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also about too much toys- That is one of my issues with the kid stuff. They have some really great toys, puzzles, games and art materials- what I tend to invest in- but they also have A LOT of little crummy things they never play with, or something they thought was "cool" for a day then were over it. We have kind of changed what we buy for them with this wisdom in mind, however they still have a lot of old stuff we haven't gone through.

 

This time around I have really been reflecting on myself and what I keep around- I always go through clothes and think "oh maybe I will wear that again" and fold it up and put it away, or just never throw out or donate the excess pots, pans, and plates we've come to have after combining households years ago. Stacks of papers and documents I don't go through. Beauty products I haven't used in a long time collecting in the bathroom. What is crazy is I am a really simple (at heart) person! I always have a few favorite things and like two pairs of shoes that I wear all the time and never touch my other stuff. I prefer certain cooking utensils over others, and use minimal bath and beauty products. DH is the same- has his favored shirts and pants and jackets, yet he owns more hoodies and shoes than any guy I know personally. he favors the same coffee cup every morning but we own like 15. The kids are even the same! They prefer legos, books, puzzles, art supplies, and a few favorite special toys. Everything else just pile sup or gathers dust!

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#6 of 17 Old 04-22-2014, 04:08 PM
 
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I haven't personally done that before, but I recently read a blog post from a mom who did just what you are describing:

http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2012/09/14/why-i-took-all-my-kids-toys-away-why-they-wont-get-them-back/
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#7 of 17 Old 05-05-2014, 11:43 PM
 
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When I go through a heap of stuff the first time, I try to focus on trash first, replacing the thought "Can I use this?" with "Can I get along without this?" Before I sort or put away or make any other decision--just "trash or not trash?"

 

Sometimes I'm not ruthless enough to decide to trash rather than give away, so the decision will instead be "Keep or go?" The "go" goes in a box, and later I decide on trash or giveaway.

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#8 of 17 Old 05-06-2014, 12:43 AM
 
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I'm in the middle of a major cleanout right now! Dh (a bit of a packrat) just helped clean out two households when family moved to assisted living and dragged home waayyy too much stuff. We've also lived in this house for 19 years and it has a full attic and basement for storage so over the years too much stuff built up, most of which we never use. I've reached my limit....we're drowning in clutter and it's got to go even if some of it goes to waste in my hurry to clear out!

Usually I put some stuff (esp DH's) in "purgatory" to see if we miss it before it goes but in the last few years DH's Mom has gone from "packrat" to "TV Worthy Hoarder with a side of Batshit Crazy" and watching that train wreck has given me an extra urge to toss everything we don't need as fast as I can !
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#9 of 17 Old 10-24-2014, 06:14 AM
 
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yes! I SO want to do this!!
Another example is the top shelf of each closet that stuff gets shoved up on to and never used - I want to simply get rid of all of it!
I hear you!!
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#10 of 17 Old 10-26-2014, 12:09 AM
 
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Mamakitsune I can so relate to your posts! We have our favourite items we use all the time, yet seem to be spending our lives as reluctant guardians of a zillion other items that we never use.

One of my problems is the difficulty finding somewhere to take stuff. Here we have the Salvos (Salvation Army) who we can get to come out to collect things but that means making an appointment, and keeping it piled up till they arrive... I prefer to just take the stuff and get rid of it quickly but the donation bin I used to use has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. There is another secondhand shop called Vinnies here which is just up the road but my kids don't like me donating things there because they said they got upset seeing their ex-belongings in the store window! Hmmm.....I guess I will have to just make an appt with the Salvos.

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#11 of 17 Old 10-26-2014, 12:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormborn View Post
I'm in the middle of a major cleanout right now! Dh (a bit of a packrat) just helped clean out two households when family moved to assisted living and dragged home waayyy too much stuff. We've also lived in this house for 19 years and it has a full attic and basement for storage so over the years too much stuff built up, most of which we never use. I've reached my limit....we're drowning in clutter and it's got to go even if some of it goes to waste in my hurry to clear out!

Usually I put some stuff (esp DH's) in "purgatory" to see if we miss it before it goes but in the last few years DH's Mom has gone from "packrat" to "TV Worthy Hoarder with a side of Batshit Crazy" and watching that train wreck has given me an extra urge to toss everything we don't need as fast as I can !
It is hard when one lives in one place for ages, well it is for us...have been here since 1987 so we have so much stuff ferreted away in cupboards and in the garage.

I think I will try that 'purgatory' idea with DH's clothes and see if he misses anything!

SAHM to three
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#12 of 17 Old 10-27-2014, 12:36 PM
 
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Yes, frequently. While I don't know if we would be classified as hardcore minimalists, compared to your average working/middle class American family, we have far less stuff than most. For me, it's partly an ideology but mostly because I cannot mentally function with a lot of clutter. I can deal with a temporary level of clutter (such as the kids working on an art project requiring lots of materials) but I feel completely burdened and overwhelmed with standing, long-term visual clutter OR the knowledge that its lurking behind closed doors (such as in a closet).

People who come over for the first time often ask if we have just moved in because the place is pretty sparse (in comparison to others of our demographic). That said, we are a family of soon-to-be five, so there is a certain level of 'stuff' that comes with each person having even a few items they love/need/use. Toys we keep to a minimum but we do have some. I would say if my kids are playing with every.single.toy they own, it still only takes us about 10 minutes to clean it all up -- so it's not excessive.

That all having been said, it is a constantly ongoing process and I have found I never get to a place where I'm *done*. I've just accepted regular mini-purges as part of my life (and I kind of like them anyway).

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#13 of 17 Old 10-29-2014, 03:02 AM
 
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I too am ready for a major purge of "stuff"!!!
Today I cleared out the spare room of everything and put on a new coat of paint to brighten things up!
Now to keep all the extra "stuff" out of it!!!

Last edited by cody82414; 10-30-2014 at 06:28 PM.
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#14 of 17 Old 10-29-2014, 04:24 PM
 
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Count me in with the wanting to throw everything out group. I'm currently in the beginning of my annual pre-christmas season purge.

For years now it has been an endless battle between "it might come in handy", "surely i can find a use for this" and "i just know i'll start using it next week". I think what I really need more than anything is to start re-thinking my approach to the decluttering, like crayfish outlined above.

Great thread!

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#15 of 17 Old 11-07-2014, 11:21 AM
 
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Yes, three times, got rid of most stuff when I remarried, got rid of most stuff when we renovated our house, and then again after our daughter moved out and we were evaluating living abroad (which we decided against). By now we just have the things we need and like. It makes home life so much more enjoyable. I do recommend the purge!
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#16 of 17 Old 11-07-2014, 07:07 PM
 
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I highly recommend a big purge when needed and regular maintenance purges. We, too, seem to live a very sparse life compared to our friends, but DH and I both greatly value space over stuff. For any of you looking for motivation/inspiration, I highly recommend the book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. In fact, get it as an ebook so it takes up less space! I did a major purge of stuff when DH and I got married/combined households 8 years ago. We've moved twice since then and have done substantial purges with each move, but also do regular maintenance purges. I do most of the organizing/cleaning, but am fortunate that DH will, when presented with a pile of items, make quick decisions about what can go.

I do want to say that except for children so young as to be incapable of making the decision, it's pretty much bad juju to clear someone else's stuff without their say so. For my 4 year old son, I definitely involve him in the process in a way that is not overwhelming to him and understand why we must let some items go from time to time. For my 15 mos old, I don't feel she has really chosen most of that stuff in the first place, so I try to honor the blank slate of her life by quickly removing items she has outgrown physically or mentally so there will be plenty of room for her to collect the items she will love the most.

Further up thread, someone mentioned completely clearing out a room and only putting back what you love/need. This is a wonderful method and allows you to truly cherish the items that are important to you by prominently displaying them where they will give you positive energy when you see them. You will also be able to maintain them when they are easy to see/find.

We live in a 3200 square foot house and I can honestly tell you, I know what is in every single drawer, cupboard, closet, and shelf. And if something goes in that doesn't see regular use, out it goes.

Final thought, I recommend having a designated place in your house where you collect items to donate. When your place is full, take the items to donate. The more you do this, the easier it will be.

Much luck to you all in clutter clearing. It is so freeing!
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#17 of 17 Old 11-07-2014, 07:57 PM
 
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Several times a year we go room by room and clear out clothes and other stuff the kids have outgrown.

Some stuff is obviously garbage.

Some stuff I sell on ebay.

Anything useable by another family but not worth selling gets put into boxes which I post as a curb alert on CL. I ask the next person to take only what they need from the box or if they take the whole thing to please re-curb alert what they don't want.

Bring back the old MDC
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