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#1 of 37 Old 07-15-2008, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any person who is unable to declutter has a reason. And it is totally valid to them. What stops you when its time to get rid of things? It took me a long time to get over my mothers brainwashing of collections. She has so many collections that I thought everyone had them. ie dishes, glassware, etc. Then one day I realized I hated knicky knacky stuff. I hated "stuff" in general. I realized her way isn't wrong, just wrong for me. I felt so light and free when I started getting rid of things.

I mentioned my sil in another thread who is storing all her mil's crap in her basement for years. mil is alive and well. no reason for it to be there. however, my sil is the most passive person ever. although the crap bothers her, she's to afraid to make anyone mad about it, so there it sits.

If you are comfortable sharing...what is your reason?
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#2 of 37 Old 07-15-2008, 09:34 PM
 
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My Dh loves knick knacks and I hate them so we always arguring about that. I love books and never know what Ill want to reread so I have a tendency to keep books so I won't have to rebuy them. Im getting better though, when I got married I went through all the boxes I had at my Dad's house and went from almost 2000 books to about 200. They are all in storage right now so when I get back to the states Im sure Ill probably cut that down to 50 or so.
My father/mother both liked to keep magazines and I thought it was totally normal to have magazines from 5-10 years ago. Now the only magzines I keep are church related and even then it has to be a special one (like when the prophet died I kept the magaizine that had an editorial on him).
I love pictures and I have problems letting go of them. Im working on scrapbooking and any pictures not going into the scrapbook Im going to scan on the computer and trash the hardcopy.
I have two binders of awards I have gotten since starting high school. I call them my feel good binders because it reminds me that I do have some good qualities (I have a really severe problem with low self esteem- it gets so bad that I become severely depressed). Eventually Im going to go through and keep the most important ones and toss the rest.
Im sure theres more but right now Im avoiding cleaning and should probably go start..

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#3 of 37 Old 07-15-2008, 09:45 PM
 
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Until now, I'd say I keep stuff because I can. I have a spacious 2 story, 4BR house with storage in the attic and basement. Plenty of room for my stuff, my sister's stuff, etc. Now I'm regretting all this stuff as I prepare to move my family of 7 into a very small space. No more!:
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#4 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 10:37 AM
 
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Well I'm OCD and have that little hoarding gene, but for me it's because I attach memories and sentiment to physical objects. I'm not sure if that is due to my mother rejecting me, and living in a home where emotions pos/neg were downplayed and discouraged or if I was just born sensitive.

I'm INFP in personality so highly emotional and sensitive and I think I just started "tagging" my stuff instead of people. Like say my mom gets me a small item for my birthday. Well because she can't show love that item becomes a token of her love, so if anything happens to it for me it would feel just horrible.

I get severely attached to people as well, but can't really show it so again the items are where I put my "love." It sounds strange.

The main reason right now that I don't declutter is fatigue. I know that even if I tackle it all no one else in the house will care or help maintain the new spaces so what's the point.

Sounds more dire than I mean it to though, I really only have one room that's packed with boxes of stuff.

My house is generally got things on surfaces, but is not dirty. I would like it to look neater to the eye though. Unfortunately I birthed two packrat/messies and my husband though organized doesn't care what the house looks like so there you go.

I'm beaten down. I need inspiration, like the kind that wants to help me pack up this stuff!
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#5 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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Mine would be these, in no particular order

1. buying too much crafty things before I can ever get to the project.

2. buying multiples - more than I need - because something was a fab sale or clearance (like when I bought $20 worth of washable markers because they were $1 a box last August - the kids go through them, but not THAT fast. I probably have a couple of years worth).

3. changing my room arrangement multiple times, consequently the room is in disarray

4. garage sale shopping (a weakness), buying other people's junk - I feel like a treasure hunter, but other peoples trash sometimes turns out to be a mistake or a treasure that is used only for the short term, then it becomes my trash.

5. getting overwhelmed - having all the stuff with no homes, things pile up, the place starts looking like a tornado hit it, then you don't know where to start.

6. Having 3 kids that I can't let go outside while I declutter/clean. I live in a bilevel, so my back deck is one level up and I can't see the ground from the house - so if they are outside, I must go with them.

7. It's not always fun to declutter. Not at the beginning, anyway, when you are looking at your piles of stuff. But when you get started, and you see progress, it makes you want to make more, but only if you can keep at it (and send the kids to grandma's in my case).

8. It takes time, energy and space to deal with your stuff. It's a S-L-O-W process, especially if you want to deal with it responsibly (recycle-freecycle-sell-donate etc). If you just want to chuck things to the curb, it's not as difficult, but then you are just filling up the landfills and that's not good.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#6 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 05:27 PM
 
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My main problem is that I think I will use everything again and so I must keep it for that. Like, the clothes in my closet I haven't worn in years. Or old shoes. Kitchen gadgets that are never used. An oversupply of cheap plastic cups (I swear they breed in there). Etc, etc.

I also have a problem of getting rid of things that hold sentimental value to me. Old photos, things from my childhood, things I have bought on past trips. I really need to the time to go through everything and decide if it's important enough to keep or not. Easier said than done...

Kirsten, mama to Monkey since May 2007 and Bean born 11/7/09
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#7 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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1. buying too much crafty things before I can ever get to the project.
that is me, I'm working on finishing everything ATM
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#8 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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Wow what a great question.

Without sounding like a jerk, I wish I knew why I can't seem to declutter??
This is something to think about.........

My dh, is certainly my worst enemy. He keeps everything, I mean everything. And he gets very upset if I move/throw out anything. It is a hugh battle. Some days I don't feel like it's worth the fight kwim? BUT lately I'm thinking I got to do something.......

And I've been trying to clean/unclutter one thing a day.....slow going
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#9 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 06:01 PM
 
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I have the problem of not being able to just "throw" things away. I'm not attached to them, I want them out of my house, but I don't want to just put them in the landfill. Freecycle takes some effort, which I don't mind, it's just a little time consuming. We can only put a certain amount of recycling out to the curb at one time, and we already recycle at least 3 times as much as we put out for trash.

Anyway, disposal is the only thing that comes between me and a clutter-free home.
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#10 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kirstenb View Post
My main problem is that I think I will use everything again and so I must keep it for that. Like, the clothes in my closet I haven't worn in years....
This is my DH's issue to a tee. I get so tired of hearing, "I may need that some day." My rule is if you didn't know it was in your closet or you haven't worn it, read it, used it or played with it for 2 yrs it's time to GO. This has served me well but I've never been a pack rat like DH. the only thing I hold onto are photos.

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#11 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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I thought of a couple more reasons as well..
1) I see something and think of how much I paid for it and it seems wasteful to get rid of it and "waste" the money. For example I have a laptop that i got three years ago. We have another one and two desktops so we don't need this one but I feel bad about getting rid of it because I know I won't get close to what I paid for it.
2) Thinking my daughter needs EVERYTHING I see for her age when all she really wants is my attention and love.. she also doesn't play with them..
3) Closets are a weakness. That might sound weird but when I don't want to deal with something i stuff it into a closet. Out of sight out of mind

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#12 of 37 Old 07-16-2008, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those are actually the things I'm talking about. There are truely underlying reasons people do/don't do everything. It makes no difference how many times people without those reasons tell someone "just get rid of it" "read this book it will help" blah, blah until the person actually overcomes the hurdle nothing will happen. It is simply not in their ability. How does a person who truely wants to let things go overcome the hurdle? With me it was a gradual realization with a final AHA moment. But mine was so much less deep seeded than others. It broke my heart to read Porcelain's reasoning. Those reasons are huge. Maybe its perfectly fine for her NOT to get rid of her things. Maybe keeping those things are what keeps her "together" and happy. Maybe not...

I'm going to clip bits out of several posts:
Quote:
I feel bad about getting rid of it because I know I won't get close to what I paid for it.

my daughter needs EVERYTHING I see for her age when all she really wants is my attention and love

I've never been a pack rat like DH. the only thing I hold onto are photos.

I have the problem of not being able to just "throw" things away

Some days I don't feel like it's worth the fight kwim? BUT lately I'm thinking I got to do something

I think I will use everything again and so I must keep it for that

I really need to the time to go through everything and decide if it's important enough to keep or not. Easier said than done...

getting overwhelmed - having all the stuff with no homes, things pile up, the place starts looking like a tornado hit it, then you don't know where to start.

It takes time, energy and space to deal with your stuff.

for me it's because I attach memories and sentiment to physical objects.

I know that even if I tackle it all no one else in the house will care or help maintain the new spaces so what's the point.

Now I'm regretting all this stuff

I call them my feel good binders because it reminds me that I do have some good qualities (I have a really severe problem with low self esteem- it gets so bad that I become severely depressed).
WOW...now how do we tackle this???
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#13 of 37 Old 07-17-2008, 01:26 PM
 
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my reason is pure laziness. :

: : vicki ~ wife & mom of 2 amazing kids
live well ~ laugh often ~ love much
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#14 of 37 Old 07-17-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna06 View Post
Wow what a great question.

Without sounding like a jerk, I wish I knew why I can't seem to declutter??
This is something to think about.........

My dh, is certainly my worst enemy. He keeps everything, I mean everything. And he gets very upset if I move/throw out anything. It is a hugh battle. Some days I don't feel like it's worth the fight kwim? BUT lately I'm thinking I got to do something.......

And I've been trying to clean/unclutter one thing a day.....slow going
While my dh doesn't necessarily save everything for a reason, he just doesn't clean up the messes he makes. Like he opened up a parcel from UPS to get a part out, then he leaves the large box and peanuts in it on the kitchen floor while he goes off to the basement. I called him up to take care of it, instead of let him get away with it.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#15 of 37 Old 07-17-2008, 02:39 PM
 
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#16 of 37 Old 07-17-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
Those are actually the things I'm talking about. There are truely underlying reasons people do/don't do everything. It makes no difference how many times people without those reasons tell someone "just get rid of it" "read this book it will help" blah, blah until the person actually overcomes the hurdle nothing will happen. It is simply not in their ability. How does a person who truely wants to let things go overcome the hurdle? With me it was a gradual realization with a final AHA moment. But mine was so much less deep seeded than others. It broke my heart to read Porcelain's reasoning. Those reasons are huge. Maybe its perfectly fine for her NOT to get rid of her things. Maybe keeping those things are what keeps her "together" and happy. Maybe not...

I'm going to clip bits out of several posts:


WOW...now how do we tackle this???
For me the things that have helped (and this is only like in the past week):

1. Getting dh to take a large dining room table and some bags to Goodwill. Had I bothered to check, I would have realized that they are open til 7 pm. Instead, it had been sitting in my garage for 2 months because I didn't think they were open past 6. It cost me time making the wrong assumptions. I've had a goal of filling 1 bag a day of stuff for the past 2 weeks . It's helped. Having dh take things to the Goodwill store or the drop box if it's not too large really does help. I'm working on my stuff and the kids first, and then the next thing I'm going to help with is help dh make some decisions on his stuff (though I did get him to choose between 4 leather jackets he had - two of which he bought and two he inherited).

2. Having MIL take the kids for an overnighter. They were gone from 1 pm Tuesday to 2 pm Wednesday. It was so nice only to have myself here to take care of while I declutter. BUT - IT was critical for me to force myself to stay HOME, stay OFF the computer, and DEAL with my stuff. I turned on some music, made a fresh coffee, and resisted every urge I had to go anywhere (I mean, having a whole 24 hours without kids, who really wants to declutter). But I promised myself if I did, I'd go out later this week as my reward (that's coming today ).

3. Build in breaks and rewards. 1 hours worth of work = 10 minutes of a coffee/tea break (set a timer). Play inspirational/upbeat music.

4. Getting rid of things I paid good money for is hard, but I try see it as blessing someone else. And it makes me think twice about what I need in the future. I can't do much about the mistakes of the past (except admit it was a mistake and move on), but I can prevent mistakes in the future.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#17 of 37 Old 07-17-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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my reason is pure laziness. :
I am afflicted with that condition sometimes as well!

Jenny, proud maker of red things
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#18 of 37 Old 07-17-2008, 04:53 PM
 
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The clutter keeps people from visiting me and then they can't hurt me.

Healthy, no.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#19 of 37 Old 07-18-2008, 05:51 AM
 
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wow, there are some really touching responses here.

Right now my house isn't too bad. Yet I own more than I have in a very long time, if not ever. I tend to fill my surroundings, which I'm not sure is healthy or not. However, I'm not running out of room, and I do pare down regularly, so at least there is that.

I like to shop, especially at thrift stores/garage sales/flea markets. I am in awe of the one of a kind. I've started to overcome this, more for ecomonic reasons than cluttering. Going yardsaling isn't cheap if you spend twenty to fourty bucks a weekend on things you don't really need, period. I had to teach myself that lesson.

I am also one of those people that tends to keep things just in case, usually a more expensive item, but I also used to buy multiples of things like hygiene products etc as well. I think this comes from living in severe poverty and knowing I had those things gave me a sense of safety and comfort.

Also, I live with my husband and I can't really bring myself to cull his things. So even though he's not a packrat really, I know he owns things he doesnt' really use, but I feel it would be disrepectful to just get rid of them.

I thought of another reason I'm not getting rid of things right now. I'm pregnant and I have no idea what clothes or shoes, etc, I'll be using once this is over. My feet swell sometimes, and I've gotten even clumsier, so it's always my comfy shoes (plus, hello, summer). Some of my pre pregnancy clothes still fit, but less do every day. I have about a box of those that I'm keeping around to see if I ever fit in again, lol. I have a lot of baby stuff that has been given to me that I don't know if I'll use or not, etc.
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#20 of 37 Old 07-19-2008, 03:51 PM
 
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  • this thing represents a loved one
  • this thing represents a memory (and I have a bad memory)
  • I'll finish this project
  • this is perfectly good, it just needs to be fixed
  • I'm too overwhelmed
  • I have to go through this room/box properly (=perfectionism)
  • it's dh's stuff that's the problem (rather than dealing with my own stuff)
  • delayed decision-making

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#21 of 37 Old 07-19-2008, 04:51 PM
 
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5 years ago or so I did really good with decluttering. I got rid of lots of stuff and tried to take care of the things I did keep. The last two years however, adding at third person to the house had made the things I did keep much more obviously clutter. I have to make the hard decisions.
All those language books - Why keep those. I'm not likely at this point in my life to become the scholar I'd hoped to be. And if I were I would probably use the internet for vocab and grammar.
And yet an entire shelf of language books remain (latin, German, Spanish, French, Gaelic, and Old English.)

As for decluttering the infant things - I live in hope that I'll need them again. I really really doubt I will but there is still a bit of hope. Sometimes I'll wonder if I'll be 50 and still have a bouncy seat in the cabinet.
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#22 of 37 Old 07-20-2008, 06:53 PM
 
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My main problem is selective blindness. I grew up in a cluttered home and just got used to not seeing the junk. Now I can let papers, DVDs, clothes and 'stuff' just pile up and simply not see it's there. DH says, every couple of weeks, 'LOOK at this desk!' and I always think 'Hey, it's covered in stuff... whodathunkit'. Poor DH.

Unfinished projects are another biggie... also things I mean to sell online but haven't gotten around to... also things of DH's I keep meaning to ask him about and then don't. Oh, and laziness. :

Well hey, I think I've just figured out my goal for the day!

If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.

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#23 of 37 Old 07-21-2008, 09:03 AM
 
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I probably have a unique response but when I was 9 my family moved from Mexico to the US after my dad lost his corporate job and he had a difficult time getting back on track to a new career. But my parents didn't explain it to us kids because I think they didn't want us to tip off immigration when we crossed over the border because we just had visitor's visas and not work visas. I don't know how long my parents intended for us to stay but 24 years later I now call the US my home. When we left Mexico my parents only allowed us kids to take 1-2 toys and a few summer outfits. We left our nice home, friends, family and everything else behind. I think that traumatized me for life in many areas.

The weird thing is that now I'm doing a 180 and have become ruthless at decluttering. Maybe I"m just sick of all the useless crap I've been hoarding all these years.

Awesome SAHM to 5-yr-old son,3-yr-old girl and a baby girl. Blog about my home http://azaleastudio.blogspot.com
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#24 of 37 Old 07-21-2008, 12:24 PM
 
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I think it's important to not assume that since someone has a lot of stuff, that doesn't necessarily mean they have a problem. My mom and my grandmother both have a lot of stuff. *But*, their houses are nice, neat, and clean. They have the stuff because they derive enjoyment out of the stuff. I think if you are getting enjoyment out of what you have, then you don't have a problem at all. If it's bothering you, then you need to start thinking about decluttering. I wonder what I'll be like when my kids get older, I think a lot of my decluttering urges really just come from the fact that the kids pull everything I own out it seems.
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#25 of 37 Old 07-21-2008, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Susannah-I agree. My mom has enormous amounts of antiques and furniture, however, her house is as neat as a pin and she loves it. As the OP I more meant for people who want to declutter/downsize but can't. However, I will say I worry about how much my mom has invested and if it will hold value over the years. Supposedly antiques aren't wanted by younger generations and aren't gaining equity. I hate all that stuff but it would make me sick to know she paid 800$ for a very old biscuit jar and 30 yrs later no one gives a whip and its worth 100$. I'd hate to think she wasted her hard earned money and I'd be practically giving it away...cause it isn't coming to my house lol.
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#26 of 37 Old 07-22-2008, 03:15 PM
 
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As we speak, I'm sitting on my couch which is covered with VHS tapes that I'm DYING to post on craigslist for FREE.

In a word? DH. He's a clutter freak. He has old license plates from when he lived in Kansas. Gear from when he umpired. He used to recruit for his alma mater and still has freakin' forms and maps from then. Old W-2s, old pictures of a golf course. Old t-shirts that SAY "2004" on them. And not just one... 6 duplicates of the same stupid, faded, ugly shirt.

He's the one who hinders me from throwing things away and decluttering. And it's just gotten worse since DS has been around. The toys take up space, DH takes up space, my stuff takes up space...
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#27 of 37 Old 07-22-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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I am slowly working towards decluttering.

I came from one of those families that always saved it in case they needed later; you know the type – keeps 3 sets worth of crap utensils in the drawer and another three boxes in the attic.

Take two sets of depression era grandparents, a father (not bio.) that was a WWII refugee (who truly had nothing for a very long time), a mother that is still using the bath towels from her first marriage 38 years ago and it is a battle for me to declutter.

So what is keeping me for decluttering? In no particular order:

1.Family baggage. What if the next great depression hits tomorrow and I really do need that 6th extra blanket? (irrational, I know)

2.A big house, the more room you have, the easier it is to ignore things hiding in spare closets, drawers, attic, etc.

3.Related to #1, buying too much of “a good deal” At the moment, I have three duvet covers purchased for a ridiculously low price. I don’t need three yet it is hard for me to give them away. I have made great strides in this area and have lived by a “one thing in, one thing out” rule for over a year.

4.Emotional attachment to some items, mostly for my grandparents’ items as well as ds’s baby items

5.Laziness/lack of time. I could get up earlier in the morning and force myself to work an hour or two at a time but I don’t, it is too easy to cuddle in bed.

6.DH – It isn’t that he hinders me, he simply doesn’t care about things he can’t see. In his mind, why worry about 15 year old clothing, shoes, etc when the stuff is shoved in a closet?

7.Disposal, I could easily fill a trash can with just paper from my office, then I wouldn’t have room for regular trash, and on and on…..

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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#28 of 37 Old 07-22-2008, 09:05 PM
 
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1. DH. If I declutter while he's around, my decisions are questioned: "(Gasp!) You're getting rid of that?!"

2. Stupidly enough, guilt. I fight those guilty voices all the time: "But she gave that to you!" "What if she comes over and asks where it is?"

3. The classic obsessive-compulsive thought uttered by PPs: "But, but . . . what if I need it some day?"

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#29 of 37 Old 07-22-2008, 11:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deuxceleste View Post
In a word? DH. He's a clutter freak. He has old license plates from when he lived in Kansas. Gear from when he umpired. He used to recruit for his alma mater and still has freakin' forms and maps from then. Old W-2s, old pictures of a golf course. Old t-shirts that SAY "2004" on them. And not just one... 6 duplicates of the same stupid, faded, ugly shirt.
you're killing me here! I lived in KS most of my life, and I have t-shirts older than 2004 (but I don't think they have the date anywhere on them) :

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#30 of 37 Old 07-23-2008, 10:10 AM
 
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I definately have t-shirts older than 10 years! My t-shirt pile haunts me. I only wear them around the house so I don't need 25 yet I can't get rid of them. I don't have a t-shirt body so I don't even like wearing them yet.....

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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