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#31 of 56 Old 07-21-2004, 06:30 PM
 
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One of the big problems I have with decluttering is the question, "What did you ever do with that XXXX I gave you for Christmas in 1988?"

Seriously, my mom never, ever gets rid of anything (she has valid psychological reasons for this, in my opinion, but she has never even attempted to deal with them). She'll give stuff to us and then get upset if, years later, we outgrow it, use it up, change our decor, have a boy instead of a girl, experience a life change, whatever and pass it along. She seriously went off on my sister a few months ago for donating a suede skirt that she had been given for Christmas in 1985! "If you didn't want it you should have given it back to me!" she shouted over and over.

So everything I pick something up to pass along or donate or ebay or whatever I always have this little voice inside my head (sounds just like my mom!) telling my I'm an ingrate. She doesn't buy at all the concept of freeing up space in your life for abundance, only that the person with the most stuff wins.

How do you overcome something like this?
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#32 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 02:58 AM
 
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Chalupamom- I have a similar problem with my mom; not as extreme, but it still drives me nuts. My mom is a garage sale/thrift store junkie (hey, no problem- so am I!) and one of the main ways she expresses love is to give me stuff; 75% of the time it's junk I don't want or need.

I did end up talking to her (difficult as her first response is always defensiveness) about it and she does recognize that we have a very tiny house and not much room for all this junk she gives us- she doesn't give us near what she used to but it's still a lot!

I'd start by talking to your mom about it- maybe write a letter if talking is too difficult. A gift is not a gift if there are strings attached; maybe approach it from that angle, that if you can't decide how/when to pass something she's given to you along then perhaps she could refrain from giving it to you in the first place. If she wants to give you gifts maybe something more practical would be in order, like gift certificates to the grocery store or some other place you regularly shop.

I don't know- the way she went off on your sister sounds pretty exreme to me- maybe there's no clean way to communicate to her on this subject. In that case maybe the only thing you can do is change your own thinking; recognize that it's her who has the problem and you can't do anything about her reaction; you can only do what you have to do to keep sane (and clutter free!).
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#33 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 08:21 AM
 
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Great response Lalaluna. Chalupamom- I have had a similar problem until my mom started helping me remodel and she can now see I just don't have the space for all this stuff. I threw out a pile the size of my big boat of a car and she called me to make sure I didn't throw out some suits she gave to me that are too small. Well I didn't but that is beside the point!

Last night I didn't get SQUAT done! I watered the trees, washed 2 loads of laundry and made supper. : I wanted to get the carpet up in the hall and clean out the hall closet but DH and I had a 2.5 hour discusion about money. ( "Discussion" is a subjective word in that sentence!)

So tonight I am not telling anyone when I leave work and I am coming home to get these things done!

The front closet went pretty well (OMG I am so tired I don't remember what day I did it or if I already posted about it I threw out a 33 gallon bag of trash, stored one bin, had a 33 gallon bag for donation, and all those suites were shuffled until I can move them to my mom's house!
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#34 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 09:59 AM
 
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Thanks for your suggestions about my mom. I'm not sure what I'm going to do but it's nice to know that I'm not crazy or ungrateful.

I actually had a bit of a breakthrough last night while talking to her. I told her how I was cleaning out my son's closet getting ready for fall clothes and taking an inventory to see what he needs. I mentioned that a friend had given us a bunch of size 4 and 5 pants and jeans so he now has NINE pairs of pants for the winter and that I also bought him a couple turtlenecks but that's about it.

"So he needs shirts then?" she asked. YES! Shirts....not toys, not videos, not special kid plates with cartoon characters (seriously, she has bought him three different sets!). This is an idea I hope she runs with - practical, non-cluttering and actually needed.

If this works I'll have to share the technique with my sisters. They'll be thrilled!
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#35 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 10:03 AM
 
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Chalupamom~I feel for you. My mom gives us tons of junk, but she doesn't pay enough attention to what it is to remember what she gave us (luckily ). Now, 90% of what we get either gets returned to the store immediately (she gets most of it at one store these days) or goes into the garage sale box.

We put it off, but this weekend is our first garage sale. I'm so excited to get rid of this stuff and get money to help pay our vet bill.

We rent our house out for 2 weeks in the summer, started Aug 5th -- I'm sort of bummed because we're not going to be able to clean out stuff for that whole time (I think clothes are next).
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#36 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 10:26 AM
 
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THANKS SO MUCH for this eBay wake-up call!!

I'm trying to think of how much I'm "getting paid" per hour doing ebay, and it's probably only about $4 or $5! I wouldn't take a job making that amount - why should I continue to spend even just a few hours a week NOT doing the really importants stuff, like radical de-cluttering and spending time with the fam.

I made about $120 last month selling clothes and CD's and I was so excited, but I realized that I was losing some of that money to ebay fees and paypal fees, running to Staples to spend some of it on mailing envelopes, dragging dd around to the post office 2x a week rather than to the park, drowning the area around our computer with boxes labeled "ebay" that are getting filled faster than I can empty them, etc.... I'm still planning to hold on to a few of the really pricey things to sell, but I have to stop looking at every piece of crap in my house with dollar signs in my eyes!

Thanks Mamas for reminding me that I have more important things to do!
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#37 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 01:25 PM
 
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Yea Kamilla626! Now how freeing is it to be away from the ebay trap?!?!

You have my permission also! You can just say kiss my to the folks at ebay and thier $5 an hour.
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#38 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 01:50 PM
 
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I just need to put signs up around my house as reminders:

"You need the space in the house and the peace of mind more than you need the money."
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#39 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 03:10 PM
 
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Just chiming in to say that I never really got fully into the whole E-bay thing--just didn't have the time to get started with it. Recently, I had thought I might try it, but now hearing your stories, it sounds like it is really better just for biggish things, and only occasionally...

I'm happy to report that I am making progress on those suitcases! Although a couple of them are still taking up floor space, I've promised myself to do a little bit each night, and so far, I have not weasled out on my promise! I also got all of the vacation laundry finished this week (still have some to put away, however...seems like that is never done : ). I'm in a big-time "place for everything and everything in its place" mode right now, so am on a rampage to get everything where it belongs. Other than that, I haven't gotten far on my overall decluttering goals : .

Keep up the good work, all, and keep those success stories coming! They do inspire me!

Mia
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#40 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm stuck on the kid's toys! I decluttered the baby toys- no problem. But they play with everything we have now- it's just too much for me to look at or pick up. Plastic plates, fish, stuffed animals -- it all gets used. They're into building houses out of stuff and filling the house with all the small toys from the toy box (as well as all the books from the shelves) -- but the junk piles up and they don't pick up much. It's driving me crazy! As a kid we had hardly any toys- how did we survive :LOL How do you get rid of it? Will they have enough to pretend play with?

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#41 of 56 Old 07-22-2004, 06:47 PM
 
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Hi- I'm late, but I still really want to join!

We are fairly minimalist around here but between moving, kids growing and decluttering we have a ton of stuff in our basement for ebay/garage sale. I keep going back and forth with taking it to Goodwill or selling it. After this thread, I think I'll skip ebay and just have a huge yard sale. They can be fun- right? Does anyone have any hints for a successful one? We have some big ticket stuff like a sofa and washer and dryer, and of course, things like toys, diapers and clothes. All this stuff is making me insane!!!

Toys are probably my main *problem area* as well. I was deprived as a child and I over-compensate. Most of the them are wooden and nice or things like legos and playmobil, so I have a hard time getting rid of them. I have donated things in the past that I later regret. So, I think I'll just keep stuff in bins for now and let that be my one downfall.

This might be OT, but another area of my life that seems really scattered and disorganized is photos/family memoriabilia. All of our pictures for the last 3 years have been on a digital camera that I burn to a disk and that is about all. Any tips for this?

monnie- thanks for the pm. I think of you and will write soon!
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#42 of 56 Old 07-24-2004, 11:48 AM
 
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Somebody smack me next time I say I am going to do a project like this! OH MY GOODNESS!

We spent 14 hours yeaterday tearing out carpet, vinyl and linolem (sp?)! The layers of nasty! I HATE CARPET! We also filled the rest of the nail holes and removed the ceiling fan. Then we painted the ceiling, walls and all of the trim. I am so TIRED! Okay so I am up this morning and checking the spots to touch up and sweeping the floors. Part of the wall was rotten behind the bathroom so that will get repaired and paineted today. Also laying floors. Fortunatly my dd won't be here to get into the havoc- yesterday was very rough with her here- no naps (she refused) and generally helping do everything!

Here is what we have doen so far- WOW!!!! The before and after pictured of the paint do it no justice. Imagine 20 yr old streaky paint job and that was the before. Now it is a heather green with witch white cieling and trim.

Off to work!
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#43 of 56 Old 07-24-2004, 06:25 PM
 
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I've been subscribed to this thread, like, forever, but this is my first post to it. I'm so excited. I read about freecycle and joined up and I just posted my first offers today and two out of three of them were claimed within 5 minutes!

Now I've got them all bagged up with the lady's name on 'em and hopefully she'll be by later tonight to get them OUT OF MY WAY!!!
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#44 of 56 Old 07-24-2004, 09:17 PM
 
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Joining the decluttering thread....I need this so badly!! This apartment is a virtual sea of paperwork (it doesn't help that I'm job-hunting so covered in resumes and applications) among other delights. I don't even want to dust, because of all the claptrap! I tried Flylady, but she just makes me feel guilty with her emails all day while I'm at work. So I'm just using her ideas as much as I can, and being reasonable about the rest.

My goals for the rest of the weekend:

1) Clean out the linen closet - all 4 shelves. Donate or trash remains.
2) Clean out 2 kitchen cabinets. Donate or trash.
3) Eliminate visible clutter from the bedroom (mostly done already - just a few "hotspots" thank you flylady)
4) Clean off living room bookcases of clutter (keeping books), donate or trash.
5) Clean out dining room buffet. Donate or trash.

Oh, and I need to bake the week's bread and probably make a batch of blueberry jam before they go bad. I'm tired just thinking about it!

OK - I'll check back tomorrow night and let you know how it went.

crafty mama to Chloe and Emma (10/08) and Piper
emergency medicine PA and single mother by choice
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#45 of 56 Old 07-25-2004, 01:43 AM
 
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I feel SO free when I declutter. Yay, for this thread! I like to "bless" other people with my things (go, Fly Lady!), but I have NO idea what to do with DH's stuff. He has so many hardware and techie things . . .I have no idea how to sort them/store them/weed some out. So, we end up with a super-junky computer desk and boxes underneath the bed. (Oh, and we live with my mom, so space is at a premium.)

Someone asked about photos . . .I'll tell you that our digital camera has helped enormously in that area. Our screen saver is made from all the pics on our 'puter, so we enjoy them throughout the day. The photos that were taken with a regular camera, though, are sitting in boxes waiting to be sorted. ACK!!!

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#46 of 56 Old 07-25-2004, 01:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius
Someone asked about photos . . .I'll tell you that our digital camera has helped enormously in that area. Our screen saver is made from all the pics on our 'puter, so we enjoy them throughout the day.
I would LOVE to do that!! Is it difficult? We have Windows 2000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius
The photos that were taken with a regular camera, though, are sitting in boxes waiting to be sorted. ACK!!!
Mine too - from the last 20 years !

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#47 of 56 Old 07-25-2004, 01:58 AM
 
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I would LOVE to do that!! Is it difficult? We have Windows 2000.
Ours is from Windows XP . . .DH said there might be a free program out there that you could use, though!

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#48 of 56 Old 07-25-2004, 08:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius
The photos that were taken with a regular camera, though, are sitting in boxes waiting to be sorted. ACK!!!
My project last year, ending last summer , was going through photos and organizing them. It took a lot of work (I labeled the backs, put negatives in negative sheets), but it was SUCH a load off my mind. It's so easy now to keep up with. I found time for the last big push when we had to go spend a long, long weekend with my ILs. It gave me something to do besides sit and "visit" (which of course means stare at each other after the first day).

Yesterday was day 1 of our garage sale. We made $227 after expenses and got rid of 3/4 of our stuff. I don't have high expectations for today, but I'm hoping some freecycle people will come after to take some stuff, the library will get the rest of the books, and the family down the street is on a corner, so stuff will get put there for a day or two.

ETA: We finished renovating one bathroom last week (we had to do the screws, paint the base cabinet and doors, putty/sand/paint/ and put up the hardware -- the contractor did the hard stuff like put in the tub and tile) and should have the second bathroom done next week!
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#49 of 56 Old 07-25-2004, 11:33 AM
 
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I need to declutter my life.........
we worked all weekend on cleaning out the kids room. i got rid of 5 or 6 huge boxes of stuff, this will be sold at a huge yard sale in a week at a local pizza place!!
i feel like my life is stuck in this sea of too much stuff. mostly toys and random papers.........i live in a small house-550 sq ft with 5 people living here.
anyway...it felt great to do their room and i can wait to do the rest of the house.
this all started because my children are sick with whooping cough and we are isolated to being at home!!!! i could no longer stand it- i guess that is something positive ffrom this sickness lol!!!
maria
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#50 of 56 Old 08-10-2004, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I have the storerroom cleaned out pretty good- but am up against my ceramics. I have a ton of things- small sculpture mostly I made in the years before kids. I am tempted to toss them all, even though I like a lot of them. Unfortunately I was very proific and have already given everyone I know one or two pieces, so I don't want to inundate people with "stuff." And with kids around, the last thing I need is ceramics!

I tried to throw some away a few years ago but dh was horrified and dug them out of the trash.

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#51 of 56 Old 08-10-2004, 04:38 PM
 
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Could you donate them some place????
Maybe some social service agency, hospital, nursing home, etc?

Sometimes when I have a hard time getting rid of something, I take a picture of it. I can always go back and look at the picture if I start missing it.

Good luck!! Be Ruthless!

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#52 of 56 Old 08-10-2004, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralChrissy

Good luck!! Be Ruthless!
Thanks! I'm feeling very ruthless lately :LOL A picture of them would take up so much less room...

It's funny how after each level of decluttering there is a new level of "letting go" to face Anyone else experience that? It's funny because all of this is "stuff" that can neither love us back nor can we take it with us in the end. Why does it have such a hold?

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#53 of 56 Old 08-12-2004, 11:13 PM
 
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Just wanted to drop a quick note to say that I FINALLY got off the dime and started sorting the baby clothes! (Of course, I had insomnia, so I was doing this at 4 in the morning, which was not exactly what I had in mind, but it's a means to an end...). I'm pleased to report that it wasn't quite as emotional as it had been a year or so ago--they still aren't out the door yet, so it doesn't completely count as decluttering yet, but I am getting there!

Not much other progress made on my other decluttering goals (or on any goals) these days. Like others have said, I feel completely weighed down with STUFF these days. I'm a little aggravated with myself and my inability to break through on any front. But I guess that is a topic for another thread!

Mia
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#54 of 56 Old 08-13-2004, 09:41 AM
 
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Greenbean: Your work is beautiful! The room looks incredibly peaceful and serene (after copious chaos I'm sure). Great job! It inspired me to start listing out the things I CAN already do (have the materials bought already) that I haven't done yet.

One thing I did over my two week vacation (which ended this week - ack!) was declutter two closets and drag a carload of stuff to the Salvation Army...for a very nice receipt at tax time. The funny thing was that it only took me a couple of hours to do... I can't really explain why I didn't do it sooner, but it feels great to go into those closets and actually be faced with order. I also donated a bag of books to our library sale and got another receipt. Feel lighter already!
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#55 of 56 Old 08-23-2004, 05:05 PM
 
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I was so inspired by reading this thread last week that over the weekend dh and I got rid of 6 boxes of random stuff that was sucking up space in our house, and almost *12* bags of clothing and linens (we found 4 sets of sheets that fit a Full matress - we got rid of our Full in 1998!). The thing that I really tried to focus on was getting rid of things that hold things, like baskets and cute boxes because if I have those the temptation to keep junk in them is irresistable. My goal is to have all the tops of things (bookcases, the sideboard, etc) totally cleared off and at least one bare shelf in each closet. Wish me luck!
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#56 of 56 Old 08-23-2004, 10:49 PM
 
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Congrats! You can do it!!

Spiral Chrissy, loving my life treehugger.gifread.gifhippie.gif, Mama to DS bouncy.gif (8/6/03), wife to DH guitar.gif, and hoping for another little bean dust.gifnamaste.gif
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