Stopping (or slowing) the in-flow - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 08-26-2006, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like to chat about this for a minute For those busy de-cluttering, what steps are you taking to stop new clutter from filling up the house as soon as you get rid of the old stuff?

I decided awhile ago that I should only buy a book if I'd taken it out of the library at least twice (preferably more). I came up with that idea after realizing how many non-fiction books I had bought, read once, and then never opened again. It's only recently that I've really started sticking to this rule though : I've been culling a lot of books lately and last night I had to blow thick layers of dust off of some before I could put them in the "out" pile : That was a nice visual for why I need less books :

I've decided I shouldn't go walking on bulk trash day You should *see* some of the perfectly good stuff these people throw away! Don't they know about freecycle? VVA? The huge Goodwill that's 5 minutes from here? Agh! The other day I watched the ABC video on hoarding that I posted around here somewhere. In it the psychologist told the woman that the table she was looking at (in someone's trash) wasn't a person that she had to rescue. Lightbulb! It just bothers me to see perfectly good, useable items tossed out. It's a waste of resources, it's a waste of landfill space. So I "rescue" them. And (like Flylady says) my house becomes the landfill. Ok, so my house isn't nearly as bad as that video, but still . . . So no more walking on bulk trash days. (though I *am* seriously considering printing up a bunch of flyers about freecycle and Goodwill and plastering the neighborhood one of these days!).

For general shopping, I've started really thinking about things before I buy them. I think it's the influence of de-cluttering (and liking how the house is starting to look less stuffed) but recently it's been easier to resist impulse purchases.

So, anyone else?
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#2 of 16 Old 08-26-2006, 02:55 PM
 
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I think because I am constantly getting rid of things it makes me less likely to buy things that I know are "disposable" quality that will have to be gotten rid of in the near future.

I set up a really good storage system for ds' toys with his therapist that makes me less likely to want to add to it.

I think I may have mentioned this one before, but I also printed out a personal list of things that I can do instead of going shopping. It helps me keep it in check. I tell dh to take the car (his has no air) so that I can't leave the house for unplanned trips. I also have a master list of things that I "need" that I can refer to when the shopping bug hits.
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#3 of 16 Old 08-26-2006, 03:49 PM
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ok, a friend of mine is a 'rescuer' of useful things from trash. she loves to have garage sales and loves ebay. she has a garage sale nearly every month--in the winter months she rents a table at an indoor 'flea market.' she has now made this into a pretty decent money-maker. It makes her about $400-1000/ mo and it's pretty much pure profit.

she is one of my best resources. i can't have garage sales in my home (condo) except on assigned days (community garage sale) and they never coincide with my schedule! so, i give my things to her--and she takes a commission (10%) on whatever i earn off of it. She does this for ebay too (i do buy boxes!).

if you're a rescuer like this, i would recommend this similar hobby. why not have monthly garage sales or check out the local flea market and see how much a 'pad site' costs? my friend recently took 4-5 different dining room sets (yes, the whole set--tables, chairs, sideboard, etc) to a couple different flea markets and made a lot of money on them. She got them on the roadside--i kid you not--for free and made about $5k on them.

so there's an idea for ya.
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#4 of 16 Old 08-26-2006, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Vanessa, me too on the disposable thing.

Zoebird : You're trying to tempt me No, I don't sell things. I think selling is for someone far more organized than I am. I do know that plenty of people make good money on eBay and stuff like that but it's not me. Me, I tend to have something of value, think "I should sell this" and then store it for years, never quite getting around to the actual selling : I just sent some books to webuyyourbooks.com because it was so easy to do (I sent dh to the post office ). Oh, and we send kid's things to the consignment store Anything that requires actual effort (and I mostly mean mental effort!) is not going to happen.
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#5 of 16 Old 08-26-2006, 08:06 PM
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well, it's just an idea. have you considered utilizing one of those ebay stores? you drop your stuff off, they price it and put it on ebay and sell it and mail it and everything, and then they get a small commission.

it's not bad really.
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#6 of 16 Old 08-26-2006, 08:08 PM
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i'm lucky in a sense--i'm not a rescuer or a buyer. my mother says that shopping with me is 'no fun' because i 'never buy anything.' and when she says that i add 'that i don't need.'

and, i plan things out to the n-th degree about it. my yoga clothes are in decent shape (i teach), but it looks like a couple of the items are tatty. i'll have to replace them later in the fall or winter. i'm looking at the pants that i wear now, what i like and dislike about them, etc, and trying to decide which way i want to go with the replacements.

my mother is just like 'just go buy some, and if you don't like them, just donate them to charity and go buy another.'

uhm, no.
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#7 of 16 Old 08-27-2006, 09:40 AM
 
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You can stop the in-flow by not rescuing things from trash piles, cancelling magazine subscriptions, & saying no when friends & relatives ask "We're getting rid of _______. Do you want it?" unless it's an item you don't have & actually need at the time. Use the library for books, videos, cds & dvds. Some libaries even lend out toys. If family members are amenable, encourage them to give your family or the children one big gift--a globe, easel, sand box, small teble & chairs-- rather than lots of smaller individual toys. Go through your rooms & try to fill up a bag with discards at least once a week so you can see what you like & use on a daily basis which will help you discriminate in what you bring into the house in the future.
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#8 of 16 Old 08-30-2006, 07:59 PM
 
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Echoing what many others have said .... Avoid your weak spots- I try not to go to garage sales because I always find cool stuff for cheap and end up buying it. Shop as infrequently as possible- I am trying to confine all my errands, including shopping, to a single day each week, and I think having very limited time and making myself wait until errand day to buy things eliminates lots of idle and impulse shopping. Decide on your priorities- I have decided that I spend way too much time worrying about "stuff"- buying it, maintaining it, decluttering it, selling it when I'm done- and I want to put that energy into other areas. If you really love rescuing things, though (and it seems like it could be a real creative outlet), I like others' suggestions of making it more "deliberate" like turning it into a business, art, or whatever suits you.
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#9 of 16 Old 08-30-2006, 11:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
The other day I watched the ABC video on hoarding that I posted around here somewhere.
I'd really like to see that video. I tried searching but couldn't find it - do you think you could relink it or point me in the direction of the thread it's on? I'd really appreciate it.
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#10 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't remember what thread (maybe the families of hoarders thread?) but I linked to it on my blog Here's the video! ABC Video on Hoarding

The article is mostly the transcript of the video.
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#11 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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[QUOTE=ShannonCC] I've decided I shouldn't go walking on bulk trash day You should *see* some of the perfectly good stuff these people throw away! Don't they know about freecycle? VVA? The huge Goodwill that's 5 minutes from here? Agh! The other day I watched the ABC video on hoarding that I posted around here somewhere. In it the psychologist told the woman that the table she was looking at (in someone's trash) wasn't a person that she had to rescue. Lightbulb! It just bothers me to see perfectly good, useable items tossed out. It's a waste of resources, it's a waste of landfill space. So I "rescue" them. And (like Flylady says) my house becomes the landfill. \QUOTE]

I am one of those people that puts stuff out on large trash day! I have a small car and can't fit larger pieces in it. We have artfully arranged things outside on trash day so that people will come and pick them up! I have never had things not taken. We even had a guy take our old toilet, sink, etc when we remodeled the bathroom in our old house! If something was not picked up I would probably take it back in and take it out next week.

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#12 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 12:33 PM
 
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Slowing the inflow is showing harder then it thought... my MIL and FIL go to walmart EVERY weekend no matter what, they have to go... groocheries, and stuff is what they buy... she develped a habit when we lived with them a short while after i gradulated high school, of buying my ds a toy EVERY weekend nothing big but that's worse b/c it was usally something that is crap and a waste of $$, now we have 3 kids and still she does them, dh has tried to talk to her, last year we were saving for a FL vacation and asked her to please not buy the stuff just give use the $10 cash a week and we woudl put it back and buy the kid something really nice in disney... NO she couldn't do it, she bought the crap then sent us with more $$ for crap... drives me NUTS!!! i love my MIL to death really, but she's a clutter bug!!! My dh has some of her qualities but not to many of them...

Some things that help are to sort the mail as soon as i get it trash what's junk and fill the bills.
when the kids bring home papers from school, i trash almost all of them, i keep some important or Great papers, but not much at all, my mom kept all my papers for years and gave them to me when i moved out, i just lost them all or threw them all out, they really didn't mean anything to me or her...
Junk toys, if they are on the floor after bedtime i will toss them, the kids are told before bed to pick up toys, if it's left out they don't really need/want it!
That's some quick tips i can think of i didn't see above....
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#13 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Zachsmom, I don't mean to offend and I know options are limited in some areas, but there's really no excuse for throwing good items out where I live. First of all, the VVA picks up at your door where I live (they don't pick up everywhere in the US, but I have a link in my blog if anyone wants to see if they will come to their house). All you have to do is get the item to the front porch/steps (they won't come in your house). Goodwill will also pick up at our front door. Unfortunately, the number I have for them is a local one so I didn't put it on my blog (but I bet they will pick up in other areas too). I drop off at Goodwill because it's just so close to me though. And then, if neither of those works (like if it's something they won't take or something in need of repair) we have freecycle in my area too.

But if things are always taken in your area then it's working for you I wish I could say the same for everyone but unfortunately, a lot of good, useable stuff *does* make it into landfills all too often.
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#14 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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ShannonCC- I am not offended at all! There is no good reason anywhere to toss out perfectly good things when there are so many charities that would take them and someone else could get soemuse out of them. I was just pointing out that the reason we put stuff out is because people took it. I am probably contributing to someone elses clutter!

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#15 of 16 Old 09-01-2006, 03:07 AM
 
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We don't have bulk trash days, but I can imagine it would be tempting. Personally, I would go ahead and rescue things, leave them in the vehicle and take them directly to the thrift store the next day. While it's good to think people might use the thrift stores or Freecycle if they know about them, Freecyle can be a pain to deal with where I live. Since we have no pick-up for large stuff, everyone's garages are just crammed full.

Having financial goals also really helps to cut down on the shopping, even at garage sales or thrift stores. Money not spent there can be used for other things. If you know where you are headed financially, it's much easier to stay on track.

Do not feel guilty about giving away gifts. It would be nice if all grandparents would value a savings account more than Wal-Mart junk, but remember that this is your home and you get to decide what resides there. When I work with clients, we play the real estate game. Take what your house would sell for right now. I like easy math, so we say a 2,000 sq. ft. house would sell for $200,000. That means that each square foot is $100 for storage. That's some expensive storage! Make it count. That's great for items you love and use. It's a total waste of space for old newspapers and junk toys.

The more you declutter the more your "mental" will change. I now view fiction books as consumables. I usually pick up paperbacks at thrift stores and as soon as I'm done, I pass them to a friend or put them back in my thrift store bags. I have about 5 fiction books I keep. I call them my warm and fuzzy friends and I read them every couple of years when I'm feel blue. Otherwise, my books are gardening books, quilt books, etc. and I go through those every couple of years. If I haven't looked at them, or they aren't ones regarding antique quilts, then out they go.

As the family declutters, be sure you set boundaries with other family members. Our home runs on the private vs public spaces theory. The public spaces (kitchen, living room, hallways, shared closets, main bathroom, dining room) may not be used for any type of personal storage. We each have a room, so my kids can keep what they want, but it must stay in their space. Since their space also has defined uses (floor for walking on, chair for sitting, bed for sleeping) the clutter they collect cannot interfere with the uses in the room. When the floor starts getting piled on, they know we need to declutter and they make pretty good choices as to what goes and what stays. I have lots of little boy junk coming into the house. What is it with rocks, sticks and rubberbands? I just remind them they must keep it in their space and how much of their space do they want to give up for that item? My kids also participate in what I call a "room zoom." Every evening we pick up for just a few minutes. After they've hauled something back to their room a dozen times they aren't always so thrilled about keeping it. It also reinforces how great the house looks when it's picked up. After the room zoom, we grab a bedtime snack and head to bed.

Take the time you previously used for clutter collecting and use it for fun. This doesn't have to cost anything. Find a like minded mom and set up a contest. Do the curb shopping together and see who can spot the funniest thing. Make it a contest and keep score. After a few months, the winner is treated to lunch at the loser's house. You could even curb shop for causes. My son's Scout troop has a yearly garage sale. If someone has the storage for items, they could be used for a specific purpose. Just don't allow each other to keep anything and make sure it gets dropped off. Or list it all on Freecycle the next day. The buddy system works for clutter control just like it does for dieting or exercise. I still like finding a good deal or something neat, I just don't let it overrun my space. Going with a friend to the thrift store hold me accountable not to just randomly buy stuff.

Set up a "pass it along" group for a few friends. Meet every couple of weeks and bring your magazines, books and any kids clothing that someone could use. This does allow for a bit of guilt-free getting of stuff which can later go in your thrift store bag. You can grab a magazine to read or a new book. The hostess is responsible for getting items not wanted to the donation center.

Always have a set place for give away. The easier it is to process the clutter the more likely you will be to follow through. I have a basket with a large bag on each level of my house. Everyone in the house now knows to just put things in there. I don't keep it in a hard to get to place like the garage. I'm too lazy to take all of those steps. When the charity calls, I always say yes, mark it on my calendar and then just go collect the bags and put them out. I do track the donations with ItsDeductible and we usually take around $5,000 in non-cash donation deducations. It only takes a few hours a year to track stuff and at our tax rate, that's some real decent pay! A great motivator, too.

If all else fails, block eBay from your computer. Make sure you go no mail for Freecycle. Play games with yourself. Put a star on your calendar for every day you didn't bring additional clutter into the house.

Gloria
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#16 of 16 Old 09-01-2006, 11:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
I can't remember what thread (maybe the families of hoarders thread?) but I linked to it on my blog Here's the video! ABC Video on Hoarding

The article is mostly the transcript of the video.
Great, thanks so much!
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