The Decluttering High - Mothering Forums
Organize & Declutter > The Decluttering High
yaM yaM's Avatar yaM yaM 03:08 PM 08-29-2006
For those of you who've done a lot of decluttering, to the point that your home is zen-like - does the decluttering high dissipate after some time? Does it ever turn into regret? Depression over the *emptiness* of your rooms?


I ask b/c I've gotten to the point in my decluttering that is the most challenging. I've gotten rid of all the stuff that was easy to let go of, yk? Now we're left with the highly-sentimental: children's books from my own childhood that I'm not that attached to my kids having but have been with me for over 30 years, really cool, high-quality wooden toys bought for my kids by my mother before she passed away a few years ago, stuff that I am certain we *may* need some day (but there's a high premium on the small amount of storage space in our house!) such as back up glass kitchen items in case of breakage . . . stuff like that.


I've been grappling with the decisions over these items. Part of me wants to just be bold and clear it all out - make room for our highest priorities only and rejoice in the spaciousness of it all. But there are other parts of me that are worried that, after some time, I'll begin to miss that feeling of security, that coziness that comes from living amongst a well-stocked home. Or worse - that I'll regret having gotten rid of some things.


So what has been your emotional chronological experience, those of you who've done the decluttering to the point of sparseness?

3inclothdiapers's Avatar 3inclothdiapers 03:25 PM 08-29-2006
I've never come even close to sparseness, but wanted to share...

I've been enjoying decluttering, and have gotten rid of quite a bit of the easy stuff. I too think about what else I can get rid of. Fortunately the Braxton-Hicks contractions slow me down a bit! For example, there's some boxes of clothes my children have outgrown. I find myself desiring to get rid of it all. But DUH, I'm pregnant, and I don't know the sex of the baby. I have to force myself and wait and see what we actually need, and then sort in a few months. Otherwise I'll just have to spend more money to get what we need.

When it comes to books and toys, I would say definitely keep the sentimental ones, even if your children can't use them yet. We have books from dh's childhood that the kids aren't allowed to look at yet without our supervision. But we aren't going to get rid of them. I found it's a lot easier to keep around books if the bookcases are organized and not overflowing (which meant getting rid of books that were not sentimental or we weren't going to read, etc).

As for toys and other items, keeping them sorted and organized helps me get rid of the desire to purge them. If it's something you definitely want your children playing with someday, keep it! (Especially the stuff your mom bought).

I don't know if I've helped any, but just wanted to say that it's easy to get the purging bug and want to get rid of too much. Maybe direct that energy into finding creative ways to store/display the items you need to keep.
Imogen's Avatar Imogen 06:26 PM 08-29-2006
I have thrown away so much stuff over the years. I like a decluttered home. But there have been times, during quiet moments when I've thought to myself 'oooh, what happened to this, or that' and felt a pang of regret when I realised that I threw it away/gave it away. It's only natural I guess
ShannonCC's Avatar ShannonCC 07:52 PM 08-29-2006
I'm sure there will be *some* things I'll regret but I doubt it will be a lot. It's normal to second guess yourself time to time. The way I see it though, I can regret getting rid of something or I can regret spending another year in a totally over-cluttered house

I'm definitely *not* going for "sparse" though. I've mentioned this a few times on my blog. I want comfortably lived in, not "showroom". I'm definitely not going to have any empty rooms when I'm done, just rooms that are more cleared and not so assaulting to the eyes.

If you're at the point where you are really having a hard time then you probably should sit back and see if you should stop. Are you happy with the way the house looks? Not everyone has to be (or wants to be) a minimalist. So yeah, make sure you actually still have clutter (things you don't like or use) or are you just having a hard time giving up that high
pageta's Avatar pageta 10:23 PM 08-29-2006
I have yet to regret something I've gotten rid of, but I haven't gotten rid of any sentimental things. FlyLady says to keep things you use and/or love - as long as I follow that rule I'm fine. I also declutter gradually. I have a room in the basement that I use as my "holding zone" where I put things and leave them for a week or two to see if I am relieved to have them gone or having a crisis because I miss them. If I'm okay with them being gone, that is where I coordinate the "getting rid of" part of the process, whether it be ebay, freecycle or a trip to the local salvation army.

I get as much of a high from getting rid of three small things as I get from getting rid of thirty big things. So I would say take it slow. There will always be stuff to declutter. When you buy new towels, declutter the old ones - that's what I mean by always having stuff to declutter.

The stuff you mentioned (stuff from when you were a kid and stuff your mom got) gave me pangs and they're not even mine, so I wouldn't get rid of them.

Good luck!
yaM yaM's Avatar yaM yaM 02:20 PM 08-30-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3inclothdiapers
When it comes to books and toys, I would say definitely keep the sentimental ones, even if your children can't use them yet. We have books from dh's childhood that the kids aren't allowed to look at yet without our supervision. But we aren't going to get rid of them. I found it's a lot easier to keep around books if the bookcases are organized and not overflowing (which meant getting rid of books that were not sentimental or we weren't going to read, etc).

That's just it, though. My kids are past the ages of some of the books from my childhood. Plus, I'm done having babies, so there's no other future kiddos to save stuff for, except grandkids. Yeah, the book scene at my house is out of control. We homeschool as well as live in an 800 sf house so there's very little room for anything, no matter how special it is!





Quote:
Originally Posted by 3inclothdiapers
. . . it's easy to get the purging bug and want to get rid of too much. Maybe direct that energy into finding creative ways to store/display the items you need to keep.
You're so right on, here, mama. The thing is - I've already exhausted all the creative efforts possible in my decluttering and organizing efforts. I've got shelves and hanging baskets out of the gazoo!





Quote:
Originally Posted by pageta
FlyLady says to keep things you use and/or love - as long as I follow that rule I'm fine. I also declutter gradually.
I agree. Except, what does one do if they have too much stuff they love to fit into the space they've got? Too much good stuff.





Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
It's normal to second guess yourself time to time. The way I see it though, I can regret getting rid of something or I can regret spending another year in a totally over-cluttered house
This is golden and I'm going to repeat it silently like a mantra in my head! Thanks mama!
yaM yaM's Avatar yaM yaM 02:21 PM 08-30-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by pageta
I get as much of a high from getting rid of three small things as I get from getting rid of thirty big things.

Oh, that's a good point, too.
3inclothdiapers's Avatar 3inclothdiapers 05:30 PM 08-30-2006
Well, if your kids are too old for the books you have, then you have a decision to make. Do you keep them to pass down to your grandchildren some day, or do you get rid of them? I guess that all has to do with your storage situation! Maybe pick just some favorites to hold onto and get rid of the rest?
2GR8KIDS's Avatar 2GR8KIDS 08:50 PM 08-30-2006
Personally, I think it is OK to hang onto some things you love but don't necessarily use often. With sentimental things like your toys and books, I have just set a limit on the quantity I will keep. For example, I'm keeping one Rubbermaid box of "heirloom"-type toys that my kids have outgrown. If any of my childhood books survive my kids, I'll keep them if I have an attachment to the actual book itself (for example I have a Richard Scarry book that I remember buying when I was a kid) but otherwise I'll just keep a list so I can "recreate" the collection if I ever want to (for example I have a bunch of Dr. Seuss books- I might want to remember one day which ones I had but I don't feel particularly connected to these actual volumes). As for extras of everyday items, I think it partly depends on your financial situation. If you ever need extra glasses, you can buy replacements for very little, and it might be more valuable to you to have the extra space gained by not saving those things. If, however, it would be a real hardship for you to ever replace something if you need it in the future, I could see holding onto it.
AuntLavender's Avatar AuntLavender 09:46 PM 08-30-2006
I generally give it away. I do this because I think of all the nice stuff I get at Goodwill that someone donated and I am thankful for! I want to pass it on!
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