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#1 of 40 Old 12-20-2007, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i thought it would be fun to do a thread of the most helpful decluttering/organizing advice we've each heard, read, or whatever.

my favorite is, only keep things you use or love. (there are other variations of this, but "useful" doesn't matter if you don't actually use it, and "beautiful" doesn't either, if you don't actually love it.)

dh's favorite is setting the timer for 15 minutes, going at it like a madman, and then stopping when the timer goes off. he sees it as a challenge to accomplish as much as he possibly can in that span of time, without feeling obligated to *finish* organizing, cleaning, or what-have-you.

okay, now i'm ready for your words of wisdom! i need them!

marisa
klaus 9-8-05
sonnen 3-25-07
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#2 of 40 Old 12-20-2007, 06:55 PM
 
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I read Tim Gunn's book on style and he said keep only what you love and what looks good on you. And wear everything you own (and if you don't - donate it). My closet is a lot neater and less stuffed and I feel better about what I am wearing. It was like permission to donate all that stuff I spent money on and never wore because it did not fit right but I was keeping because I had spent money on it. And all it did was add clutter to my closet. And now I use his motto before I buy anything. The best result is I spend less on clothing now. I have to LOVE it and it has to look good or I do not even take it home.
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#3 of 40 Old 12-20-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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Everything needs to be in its place. If it doesn't have one, find one or out it goes.

Rebecca, CPST, Navy wife to Chris, furmama to Fenway
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#4 of 40 Old 12-20-2007, 08:57 PM
 
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These are great!

Mine is "Let the library store your books for you" because I have a very hard time getting rid of books.
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#5 of 40 Old 12-20-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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Hands down: For every new thing you bring into the house, throw out or donate/give away something else.

 Grateful midwife and peaceful mama to three blissfully birthed, amazing children: dd (10)dd (7) and  ds (5).
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#6 of 40 Old 12-20-2007, 09:55 PM
 
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#7 of 40 Old 12-21-2007, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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these are great! keep 'em coming . . .

i really wanted tim gunn's guide to style. i doubt my local library has it (yet?) but i bet i could find it used on amazon by now. hmm. maybe i will wait and see what i get for christmas. my mil usually does barnes&noble gift cards!

i would like to apply the "for every new thing you bring in" rule when we bring home our christmas gifts. i actually find it stressful to bring home all that *stuff* that doesn't have a place to be put away yet, but if we just remove an equal amount of stuff, then it will have a place!

thanks ladies!
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#8 of 40 Old 12-22-2007, 11:29 PM
 
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i'm really really enjoying another poster's suggestion to get to zero by the end of every day...resetting the house. it has inspired me to keep my kitchen at its default setting every evening, and maintain it throughout the day - so much better! i look around the house and see what the basic state should be for every area, it has helped me to put the bathroom in a different order than i might otherwise! getting laundry to zero is getting a load washed, dried + put away...not sitting in baskets. i've actually begun to apply it everywhere, so i'm working on getting our finances reset each month - credit cards zeroed, all accounts at least to in the black, and growing. all of this is just helping me think about how i want things, and how to keep things put away in their home, restored to order, daily.

*
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#9 of 40 Old 12-22-2007, 11:42 PM
 
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Great ideas! I love the one "only keep things you love". I am not a packrat by any means, i love cleaning out my storage area once a month and donating/selling new items, but it seems i have a problem getting rid of stuff like old bills, paperwork, i'm always scared i'm going to need it.
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#10 of 40 Old 12-23-2007, 02:03 AM
 
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This isn't a pithy phrase, but something that has really worked for me is that for everything I'm debating whether to keep in the house or not, I analyze the actual cost of keeping it. Is it worth the storage space in our house? How much do I pay per square foot in mortgage a month, and is the value of this item to me greater or less than that? Is it worth the extremely high cost of moving, if we have to move from our beloved small house to a big house to store this item and other clutter?



Keep 'em coming! I love this topic!
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#11 of 40 Old 12-24-2007, 05:36 PM
 
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One I've recently learned from a MDC mama is "erase the evidence" So, for instance, if you go to the kitchen to make a snack put everything away before you leave the kitchen.
Simple, and it works! Plus it makes me feel like I'm doing something "bad" when I'm doing something good, which makes it fun and more motivating.
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#12 of 40 Old 12-24-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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If you're addicted to accumulation, think of space as a possession and work at getting more of it every day by eliminating everything else.
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#13 of 40 Old 12-26-2007, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ooh, i love the idea of obsessively trying to acquire more open space.
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#14 of 40 Old 12-26-2007, 02:09 PM
 
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"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#15 of 40 Old 12-26-2007, 02:10 PM
 
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pick up things and put them away at the end of every day.

Easier said than done, but it does feel great to wake up to a clean house. Even if it doesn't stay that way for long.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#16 of 40 Old 12-26-2007, 07:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclectica View Post
Mine is "Let the library store your books for you" because I have a very hard time getting rid of books.
Brilliant! I love this
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#17 of 40 Old 12-27-2007, 06:02 AM
 
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I like the idea of only keeping what your storage furniture can hold. So, if you have too many books to fit on the shelf, (get a bigger shelf) or better yet, get rid of some books! I realized I had too many towels to fit in our towel space but I didn't realize it because there were always tons of towels in the laundry. duh... we have fewer towels now
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#18 of 40 Old 12-27-2007, 12:12 PM
 
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If you haven't worn an article of clothing in over a year, donate it, give it away.
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#19 of 40 Old 12-27-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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You don't climb a mountain by looking at it.
Little steps will get you there and you'll hardly notice the effort until you're at the top, marveling at how far you've come.

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#20 of 40 Old 01-01-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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One of my friends argues that it's all about convincing the mind and actions will follow. I used to kid her about her New-Agey ways, but over the years she has convinced me that some of her little tricks are very useful!

From her I learned to say "It's so EASY to ______."

Like, "It's so easy to take a few minutes to clear off the counter."
"It's so easy to wash the dishes right now."
"It's so easy to take 15 minutes to sort this bookshelf."

Try it...it helps! Wow! Life is so EASY!

Another of her favs was, "I have *plenty of time* to do the things I want to do." (Used that one a lot at work when I was super busy and had a lot to get done and was feeling stressed...)
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#21 of 40 Old 01-01-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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The two I've been trying to implement and am actually beginning to succeed at:

Don't put it down, put it away.

A place for everything and everything in its place.


The second one was a huge realization for me after hubby, girls and I spent a week really working on the house and realized there isn't a place for everything & that is why our house is always a mess.

mama to the Girls (15, 14, 13) and the Littles (5, 3) 
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#22 of 40 Old 01-01-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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i read a book called "clear your clutter with feng shui" or some title similar to that. the author made a good point by telling a story. she had a crappy boyfriend. she had a small boombox. one day she and the guy were having an argument and the guy kicked her boombox. they broke up at some point after that, and the boombox still worked, it just had a small knob or something broken when the guy kicked it. but it still played music w no problem. but she reallized, quite a while after that, that every time she looked at the boombox, she saw the damage, felt irritated and sometimes even only subconsciously, she was reminded of the fight, the guy, the bad relationship, etc. She made this breakthrough and realized that looking at that boombox made her feel stuff she was sick of feeling. so she decided to give it away to her friend...it was only minor damage and the friend was thrilled to have something to play music on. and the author felt better b/c she could stop feeling the reminders of the stupid guy!~
there is another one that she tells and i can't quite recall it but it basically is a guy saying well, if someone steals my stereo, then i guess the universe needed it back-i'm not relaying it right, but i guess the whole point is that we only own things temporarily anyways, and we won't be taking it with us when we die, so we could get all freaked out about somebody stealing something (or if we got rid of stuff, etc) or we can go with the flow of the universe and say well, it was on loan, i guess the repo man came to get it!
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#23 of 40 Old 01-01-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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yeah, that Dollyx!

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Saamy Student mama to  superhero.gifand hearts.gifand babyf.gif

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#24 of 40 Old 01-01-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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For organizing:
"Make your systems work for you."
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#25 of 40 Old 01-01-2008, 06:51 PM
 
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My 2 favorite pieces of advice:

If you haven't used it in the last 2 weeks it needs to go into storage, or it needs to be donated.

If you dont wear it (ie, you move it around to get to OTHER clothes) or if you cannot fit it RIGHT NOW, it needs to go. No more sitting around with depressing hopes of fitting my size 8 jeans anymore!

Loving Mother to our adoption miracle, Riana :, and our angel baby, Xavier. Trying for baby. Wife to my Hero! BLOG LINK IN PROFILE
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#26 of 40 Old 01-01-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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never go up or down the stairs empty handed -- my toddler LOVES to move stuff upstairs, downstairs, etc. and so everything is in different places by the end of the day. its much easier for me to restore things to their rightful places, or do laundry, etc. if i just bring a bit at a time.

Obstruct livery vehicles!

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#27 of 40 Old 01-02-2008, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddy123 View Post
From her I learned to say "It's so EASY to ______."

Like, "It's so easy to take a few minutes to clear off the counter."
"It's so easy to wash the dishes right now."
"It's so easy to take 15 minutes to sort this bookshelf."
my new mantra! thank you, i really needed this. i felt so discouraged last night because i didn't accomplish the things i meant to yesterday. i was feeling defeated, but really, it is easy to do the work that needs to be done . . . and if i don't get it done during the day, i have plenty of time after the kids go to bed! that is, if i don't sulk on the couch at night because i'm so grumpy about how my day went.

thanks for the attitude adjustment!
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#28 of 40 Old 01-02-2008, 04:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
For organizing:
"Make your systems work for you."
Mine is a version of this, too.

Figure out your habits and build the system around it.


So, if I always want to put the dirty clothes in a pile in X corner, put a hamper there to catch them instead of leaving the hamper in the bathroom empty! This has revolutionized our house and how we work. I have been able to analyze every hot spot and figure out a system to work with it.

me, wife to dh, the movie geek (7/01), mama to ds1, budding Star Wars geek (10/05), dd, budding princess of the dirt (03/08) and ds2, budding extrovert. watch out! (8/10).
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#29 of 40 Old 01-02-2008, 11:33 PM
 
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Don't buy storage containers etc.--instead, get rid of the stuff you were planning to put in them!
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#30 of 40 Old 01-03-2008, 12:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by fuller2 View Post
Don't buy storage containers etc.--instead, get rid of the stuff you were planning to put in them!
That's a good one!

Also, I've been struggling with the "make your routine work for you". I think it would be lovely to go to bed each night with a clean house. But, I realize I just do better doing the pick up stuff in the morning. So instead of fighting myself, I need to find a way to make it work.

Thanks!
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