Decluttering vs. "reuse, repair, recycle" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-08-2006, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering what the rest of you do when your inner thriftiness and aversion to waste runs up against a desire to declutter. I know, of course, that many people manage to live simply and frugally, repairing things instead of throwing them out, recycling waste, reusing what can be reused, but I'm not one of those people. I'm one of the people with a house full of junk I don't want to throw out because I got it cheap at a garage sale or because it still might be useful someday. I don't want a house full of junk, but I hate to get rid of things that could be reused.

Any advice?
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#2 of 7 Old 05-08-2006, 11:22 PM
 
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I think of it this way. Yes, this thing can be reused, but I'm not using it in a box somewhere. However, if I give it to someone else, it will get used.

I think the important thing to think about when decluttering is not to just fill up a dumpster, but to find a new home for these things. I think the important thing is to take the time to rehome your clutter rather than just trashing it. I think then its important to avoid recluttering, or your in the same boat, right?

Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) is a great resource for finding a home for things that could not otherwise be sold or donated.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#3 of 7 Old 05-08-2006, 11:52 PM
 
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By your own admission, you probably got it cheap at a garage sale in the first place right? So, easy come, easy go. I always ask myself how hard would this be to replace? If it would be really easy, and I haven't used it in a while or don't have a true need for it in the immediate future, I donate to someone who needs it or the thrift store.

I think that there is a place for repurposing, but if we can't enjoy our daily lives because the possibility that something might be needed in the future is too overwhelming then we are really shortchanging ourselves and our families.

Here's a recent example at our house. I bought ds a really cute bed at a thrift store for $8, sanded it and painted it. Before we even had it set up for him, we found out that our second child was going to be a boy as well. DH wanted them to have bunkbeds. We decided to go ahead and get the bunkbeds as we found some we liked, and we hadn't bought the rails/boxspring.etc. for the repainted bed. I decided to get rid of the bed. DH wanted to know if I thought I should keep it anyways. Keep in mind that we have no basement, attic or garage, so it sat in my craft room staring at me daily. I know that I could get another bed and paint it again if I need one. Soooo....I gave it to someone else who really did need it and want it. Long story short, some of the best repurposing IMHO is to pass along the wealth to those who can enjoy it now.
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#4 of 7 Old 05-09-2006, 11:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel
Just wondering what the rest of you do when your inner thriftiness and aversion to waste runs up against a desire to declutter. I know, of course, that many people manage to live simply and frugally, repairing things instead of throwing them out, recycling waste, reusing what can be reused, but I'm not one of those people. I'm one of the people with a house full of junk I don't want to throw out because I got it cheap at a garage sale or because it still might be useful someday. I don't want a house full of junk, but I hate to get rid of things that could be reused.

Any advice?
give it to someone who can use it. The people who live simply have probably learned to stay away from garage sales

As for might be useful, I only keep things if I have a clear project in mind. I also pass up future projects because I know my limits.

FE I saw an old coffee table in the trash. It COULD have been recycled into a really cool wooden castle for a kid.

BUT
1) I can't give up the storage space at this point in time
2)there's no room in my house for it anyway-it would be great for a famlly with a big house
3)I have too many other projects going on
4)there will be other coffee tables

It was very hard to say no though.

I think a part of living simply is getting (not necessarily buying) good quality stuff that will last and are really useful.

It also means NOT buying stuff just because it's a good deal. I'm trying to learn that lesson myself.
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#5 of 7 Old 05-09-2006, 11:18 AM
 
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I try to envision my stuff being used by someone else who needs it, versus me who doesn't even get it out or know I have it. Emphasis on the "reuse" aspect of stuff - someone *else* can reuse it, you know? Then I donate it to a thrift store (or the Salvation Army does pick-up, although I know lots of people are anti-SA.)

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#6 of 7 Old 05-09-2006, 12:30 PM
 
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Karen Kingston writes in her book "Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui" to go ahead and release the item(s) back into the universe. She says that when you hoard or keep a lot of stuff "just in case" you're not trusting in the universe to give you what you need when you need it. We tend to keep things out of fear that in the future we won't have enough and then we'll have to draw upon the stores of stuff we've kept. I think that if I have something and I'm not using it, it should go back out into circulation so someone else can use it. Because I'm not using it it really isn't 'useful'. I'm also just starting this path! Clothes are hard for me to give up since I hate clothes shopping and I didn't have enough growing up. I've really gotten better lately though. I do keep bits of lumber from different building projects and have used some of it but after 6-8 months it finds it's way to the garbage. I don't have enough foresight to keep a lot of bits and pieces for the 'it might be useful someday' mentality. I tend to keep bits and pieces, forget what they might be useful for then throw them away. I figure if I need a screw, nail, ceiling fan leveler, I'll go over to the Ace Hardware and they'll have what ever I need and I can buy just 1.
IMO, go for the declutter. When you need the whatzit the universe will cough one up for you. (sometimes you have to wait a bit for this to happen)
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#7 of 7 Old 05-09-2006, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I like the idea of focusing on thrift store donations and passing up bargains so other people can use them. That helps me feel like it isn't "waste." I think the key will be for me to learn to pass up good deals just because they're good deals, if it's something I don't really need.

I live in mortal fear of turning into my aunt, who is an aging hippie with a philosophy of natural living and salvaging waste, thriftiness, etc. - all of which sounds fine in theory until you see her house, which is filled floor to ceiling with broken and useless junk that she is never going to sort or fix up or use, but which she won't get rid of, because that would be wasteful.
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