Getting rid of stuff (but what if I need it later syndrom?) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 08-30-2006, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I LOVE having our house not overloaded with stuff, it always *feels* so much better, but sometimes I have a hard time getting rid of stuff. I'm sentimental so thats part of.

When the kids and I sit down to get rid of things, I want them to get rid of things they want to keep, and they want to get rid of things that I want to keep. Example, I bought my daughter this pink little tykes baby cradle for her first Christmas that I stalked on e-bay for months, lol! She doesn't play with it, and it takes up way to much room, but I can't part with it. I know it's silly, but it's still here!

I also have a hard time getting rid of their stuff, buecause we've had to move several times and sell tons of their stuff (and ours) in the past, and they are STILL mad about it. So, I'm the bad mom who takes away all their toys!

The other point I strugle with, is the "what if I need that someday". How do you balance simplisity and frugality? Simplicity owns nothing, and frugality keeps everything "just in case". Many times, I've sold stuff at our rumage sales for pennies on the dollar, and have had to rebuy it at a later date!

How do you all deal with this?
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#2 of 8 Old 08-30-2006, 03:30 PM
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I have the same problem

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#3 of 8 Old 08-31-2006, 01:01 PM
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Well, I grew up with a mother who had (has) a hard time getting rid of things, sort of extreme sentimentality coupled with OCD hoarding tendencies. I think what it comes down to for me is that growing up in a house that got more and more embarassing and impossible to live in, it is important to me to have a home that I can live in, have people over to without embarassment, etc.

To me simplicity is not a a virtue to strive for because it's "good", it's just something to make things easier and if it doesn't make life easier/more pleasant, I see no reason to do it. I don't see simplicity as not having things. I do see a real positive in having fewer things but nicer ones--as I am buying things for my home I try to buy better quality things that I will be able to use and enjoy instead of a lot of cheap crap. I am realizing that I need to apply this principle to my clothing too--I have been buying cheapo clothes at Target and the things I bought just months ago are falling apart. I think it would be better to buy a few better quality pieces and take good care of them.

I don't think that keeping everything "just in case" is necessarily frugal either--when your house is overrun with clutter, half of the time you can't find the things that you need and end up buying duplicates anyway! (This is the reason that I think that we have three measuring tapes somewhere in the house! Tools/hardware things are a weak spot around here.) I have realized too (thanks Flylady!) that keeping things "just in case" is a poverty mentality--you are basically telling yourself that you won't be able to get this thing again if you need it. It's really motivated by fear. For me it has been very liberating to be able to dump some things without guilt, knowing that, worst case scenario, if I find I really need this thing again I'll be able to buy one.
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#4 of 8 Old 08-31-2006, 07:48 PM
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You know, I have this same problem and I have decided I am coming to a conclusion. I gotta just have faith that if I don't need it right *now* that I am a resourceful person and I will figure out how I will get it later if I happen to need it. I just think that the clutter makes me so crazy, it's not worth saving it "just in case".
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#5 of 8 Old 09-02-2006, 11:22 AM
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"I want them to get rid of stuff they want to keep and they want to get rid of stuff I want them to keep" -- it might be hard but I think you have to think of it as *their* stuff. If they don't want it out it goes. If they still like it, no right to throw it away.

Have you really had to re-buy things *many* times? Maybe at this point you can start to see a pattern of what your family really uses all the time, so you can keep the things you really do need.

Also it can help not to think of it as selling things "for pennies on the dollar" -- you got your $16 of use out of the thing, now getting a buck is just a bonus. And if you're not planning a move anytime soon, you won't have to worry about this. (Or if you are needing to move, can you do it without a traumatic level of divesting?)
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#6 of 8 Old 09-02-2006, 11:28 AM
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I have been there myself and recovered, I completely understand.
I have come to the conclusion that for me, it's about having an attitude of abundance, vs. a grasping poverty mentality. It's about fear that with a little practice we can learn to let go of.

When I release things and that fear comes up, I think to myself, I can always replace this.

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#7 of 8 Old 09-02-2006, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Kavita
To me simplicity is not a a virtue to strive for because it's "good", it's just something to make things easier and if it doesn't make life easier/more pleasant, I see no reason to do it.
. . .
I don't think that keeping everything "just in case" is necessarily frugal either--when your house is overrun with clutter, half of the time you can't find the things that you need and end up buying duplicates anyway!
I loved the whole post but I'm quoting these parts that really stood out I'm trying to de-clutter not because of some ideal but because life really IS better when there isn't a house full of stuff in my way I grew up in a very cluttered house. It's not fun not being able to invite friends over, not being able to sit down without moving things, not being able to find something you just saw the day before, not being able to walk without going around piles. No, my house is not nearly as bad as what I grew up in but already in this past month I've seen a huge difference (and I'm not even near done!). It's also SO much easier to keep the place neat with less stuff! Housework wasn't what took so much time, it was having too much stuff that took so much time. It's hard to do basic upkeep (like sweeping up the dog hair) when you have so much stuff that some of it ends up on the floor and has to be moved before you can sweep. Stuff like that. I'm doing this for ME, not so I can fit some ideal of simplicity

And the duplicates - oh yeah! When you have less stuff to keep track of and sort though you can actually find what you have and not have to keep buying replacements. THAT is frugality. On my blog I have a rather embarrassing entry where I admitted to having to buy a new car CD player because we lost my $200 one in the clutter of this house : We finally found it, months after buying the new one. Ok, that might be an extreme example, but yeah, we have duplicates of smaller things here too. I'm not saying we'll never lose something when the house is clutter free but it will certainly happen a lot less.

The kids - I try to be careful about that. I don't want them resenting me for getting rid of their stuff. I have gotten rid of things without asking them but I only do that with stuff they don't actually play with or love (but still wouldn't want to let go if asked because they are just like me and have a hard time getting rid of "stuff"!). In that case, I put it away somewhere for at least a half a year and then if they don't notice it's gone, I get rid of it. If I ask them about something and they say no, I don't get rid of it. End of story. I still ask them because I am trying to get them involved and used to de-cluttering. Sometimes they surprise me. Just last week my son picked 4 things he wanted to give away. My daughter (even though she's older) has a much harder time with it though. She picked one item but then Owen said he wanted it so it stayed, I told them that all three of us have to agree on a toy for it to be gone so they don't have to worry about the other giving away something they love. But then, if both of them want something gone and *I* don't, then I put it in the attic or my room or something. I don't clutter up their space with it.
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#8 of 8 Old 09-03-2006, 03:13 PM
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Having too much stuff actually makes me spend more money! Like someone else said, if you have so much that you can't find something when you need it, you end up re-buying it. That is us to a T! We have duplicates of so much stuff it's ridiculous (even if we haven't found one of the duplicates yet,lol, I *KNOW* we have it somewhere!)

My feeling on it is now, if I truly will use it, but not in the next year most likely, it goes. Yesterday, I gave my Mom a used 1X punch set (still in the box), a food dehydrator I never used, a beach umbrella (always too windy to use it), 2 boxes of canning jars, a bird feeder & new bird feeder hanger, and a LOT more (not all for her, her friend just bought a cabin and it's empty).

It was hard to part with some of it. I also gave her a really cool stone fountain that I liked but it was hard to keep clean. I feel SO much better having that space though. And if I ever decide to invite something into my house like what I gave away, I'll do it because I mentally and physically have the space and time for it. It's cheaper for me to have the space than to save it for later.


Homeschooling Mom to Two Boys, 13 & 9. rainbow1284.gif Baby Girl Arriving April 2013!

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