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My house used to be so cluttered, I could barely move in here. I had mismatched furniture and nicnacs everywhere. And cleaning was a major chore--too much stuff to move. So you know dusting was something I did quarterly. (Can you relate?)
5 years ago, my mom had several strokes and could no longer live alone, so we moved her out here with us. OMG, my mother was 10 times worse than I was about packratting! My brother hauled two trailerloads of useless junk to the dump. I was honored with the chore of packing up all her "good" stuff and bringing it over here. I got rid of the more useless stuff that I didn't think she'd miss. Of course, now, if she can't find something, she shakes a finger at me, certain I disposed of it. (And I probably did! LOL)
That was my inspiration to clear the crap outta MY house. I've sold and given away a lot of stuff over the last five years, getting rid of book collections, record collections, nicnacs, clothes I don't wear, excess dishes, and craft supplies I no longer use. And the difference is amazing!!
OMG, you can actually see some of the nice stuff I have now! And dusting and sweeping is so much easier with less stuff to move to do it. (So I now dust monthly. LOL)
I still go thru drawers, closets and shelves every month or two and find something else I don't need to hang onto anymore. I'm learning not to become sentimentally attached to most things. I've tried to acquire useful stuff instead of just more nicnacs. For instance, I decorate now with unusual picture frames that hold family photos, instead of acquiring another useless figurine. And I'm getting better about controlling my impulse buying. I used to be bad about buying something I thought was pretty and then trying to figure out how to fit it in with my decor. Do y'all do that?
What are some of your tricks for convincing yourself to get rid of stuff? Do you regularly go thru your closets to clear stuff out? Do you find it hard to let go? What are your rules for whether it stays or goes?
That's awesome! I just couldn't do that just yet...give me another few years, maybe.
When there's something I know I don't want anymore but can't bear to throw it away, I give it to my nieces. I'm sure my brother hates me for it, but it gets the item out of my house and I know someone else is loving it. ; D They're allowed to throw it away if they want to, but at least I don't know about it! They're starting to do the same thing with me, though, now. So it's starting to backfire. hahaha
sorry...I said "they," but I meant my brother, not my nieces. He's given me pots (after they get new ones I'm guessing), shelves, hollyhocks and daffodils, etc. It's stuff I actually use, but I was fine without it
If I haven't used it in 6 months or worn it for a full season, it gets tossed (not including any holdiday decorations). I dust every week, sometimes twice a week. If you don't have much in the way of knick knacks, it's much easier to dust. I've always followed the rule of every thing has a place and every thing in it's place. I have memories of people and events, the paper, the card, etc. isn't sentimental to me. If it's not seen, then I don't understand keeping it just to keep it. My mother is the one who taught me the rule, but she decorates differently than I do. She's a pack rat, but all her stuff is either in her many curio cabinets, bookcases or stored away in tubs. Her walls are also covered in her many possessions. It literally drives me crazy to go there. Just too much stuff.
I don't find it hard to get rid of much of anything, because if I'm not using it, then what's the point? My sister and I have had many discussions on when the times comes and it's up to us to get rid of it all, how, where, it's just overwhelming to think of. My sister's the same way as I am. Less is definitely more!!
I go thru my drawers and closets regularly. And I ask myself, do I use this, when is the last time I used it, if I moved would I take it with me, if I died, would anyone want it? The answers to those questions decides whether I keep it, trash it, or give it away. It was so hard at first to get rid of stuff. But it's getting easier. And I love the declutter! I love having room for everything and everything in its place.
I have also made a bit of money selling off my "junk" at yard sales and on ebay. That gives me more money for more plants, garden projects, or art supplies. So that's part of my motivation.
And my decluttering is carrying over into my gardens as well. My entire yard is a garden, crammed full of plants. And I'm choosing which plants I'll continue to grow and which I'll get rid of--not because they're ugly or anything, but just because I found one I like more. I have about 400 daylilies and so many of them are red or yellow or orange or pink. So as they bloom, I mark which ones impress me the most and which I'll sell or trade off.
I definitely have to limit the number of houseplants I have. Fortunately, most are succulents and thrive under my neglect, but I have so many that I've had to devote my whole dining to them, stacked high on shelving. It's just too much!
I'm also looking at garden ornaments with the same critical eye. I think I'd rather have a few big ornaments or structures and not so many little fairies and things.
If anyone has a hard time getting motivated, see if your library has the following book (wouldn't want to clutter up your house and buy the book...)
Clutter's Last Stand by Don Aslett
Or any of his other books. I heard him speak at my local library and he was such a hoot! As well as helping you get started, he goes into the psychological reasons why people hold on to things that are useless. Once you understand some of the psychology it may be easier to part with things and declutter your life!
PS I should confess that I am kind of a 'neat freak' so I enjoyed the book and found that I already did many of the things he wrote about...
I know I've held onto stuff that has lost its value just because so and so gave it to me. But after dealing with all of my mom's junk, I just realized I couldn't live like that.
I still have a lot to move outta here, but already I've created so much more room. And my home is really much brighter and cleaner. I don't store things. I don't put "summer" clothes in the attic when winter comes. I don't have THAT many clothes anyway.
I love watching more space become available in my house. I love getting more organized and getting rid of stuff. I used to feel trapped by the things I own, like the walls were closing in. My house used to be "too small". But now that I've gotten rid of so much, it's just a nice little haven, just the right size.
Sedum, thanks for the title of the book. Next time I'm at the library, I may just check it out.
So who's gotten rid of something this week? Anyone?
I had a lot of books that belonged to my Dad..after he passed away 7 years ago they were just put on shelves in the basement..well I don't read a lot..(except on the computer)..so I donated the classics, and history/geography ones to a new high school who are in need of books. The fiction ones I took to friends at work who love to read.
I packed up years of sheets that I used for Double beds when I had them. I now have just two queen size beds..so I put all those old sheet sets in a box and just saved a few flat ones. I wil donate them to the Salvation Army.
I also took loads of LP records to work to 3 friends who collect them.
Now I am working on old Better Homes and Gardens magazines..leafing through quickly and cutting out any articles I wnat to keep..then taking the mags to work.
Cleaned out clothes that were too small and out of date.
I am a "collector" of vases, baskets, carousel horses, candles,knick-nacks etc...I have to stop...
I am thinking about getting rid of a box of greeting cards from my children,..saved over the last twenty years..but I'm not sure If I should.
I got to feeling it was all closing in on me too..
Way to go Carol!!! Doesn't it make you feel like you've accomplished something?
I feel quite proud of myself for sorting thru a whole drawer full of seeds and designating each pack to an area of my gardens. 1000's and 1000's of seeds in this one drawer. But now I have scattered just about all of them outside where they can become who they are meant to be. And I have one empty drawer! I love it! Now I'm working on the 2nd drawer but I'm afraid I have more seeds than garden. LOL
For your kid's greeting cards, have you considered scrapbooking some of them? You can then keep them in an album on the bookshelf, nice and neat and not taking up too much room. You can even journal the stories behind the cards, telling about people, places, events and how a particular card came just when you needed it most.
OR if you don't wanna scrapbook them, how bout snapping pictures of them with a digital camera or scanning them into the pc and saving them on disc as a photo show? Then you can always have them without the clutter.
Yes Butterflychaser..it does feel good...no...great!
Thanks for the ideas about the cards.
Good for you about the seeds...
Every time I throw something out or take another bag of goodies to work, I feel lighter...
I have saved everything for years.."just in case"..
or..to give to someone who might need it..well...the young people these days usually want new things.
I was given lots of hand me downs when I got married very young..and I was so grateful..but things have changed...
And one of my problems is I love to go to the yard sales in the spring and summer...and bring home little treasures to add to my collections..
I am telling myself..no more!!!!!!!
I wonder if I can stick to it? LOL
I cleaned off my fridge..it had all kinds of pics on it and magnets holding bits and pieces..but you can see my basket collection and knick- knacks in the cabinet...
I will keep tuned to this Clean and Clutter free forum and get my inspiration from you.
Hey Carol, you've got MY refrigerator!! I just love the ice in the door feature. It is so convenient when I run in the house with dirty hands and need a drink. I don't even have to wash to get ice! I don't think I could ever go back to "cracking" ice trays again. LOL Every gardener should have ice thru the door.
Starzz, know what you mean about "young people these days usually want new things." My sister had a baby and if anyone gave her any hand-me-downs or garage sale specials, she'd turn her nose up at them! My goodness! She insisted on fire-retardant clothing (I'm still keep blinking at that one) and special laundry detergent so it doesn't wash off. And the thing is- she's a stay-at-home-mom of 3 now and her husband's a full-time student. They can't afford beans but she's STILL this picky!! I would've never been able to afford a baby if it weren't for garage sales and the generosity of others (namely grandma)!
I actually like my fridge being cluttered with magnets and pictures and drawings. Makes me feel loved or something, I guess.
Oh, and we refrigerate our water. So we have no need for ice at all. ; )
Totally ignore the walls and floors- this room is next to be made over (blech!! what was that woman before us THINKING?!!?)
Butterflychaser..Yes I enjoy having ice at the ready.
BUT...I had problems with the ice maker twice..and had to have it fixed...once under warranty..and once I paid.
It has been ok for the last three years now.
cjolene...I know of a young girl who has the same hang-up about second hand items for her baby.
Ahhhhhhh art work...and photos..
Mine will probably have that again..LOL My grandaughter loves to make me pictures..
This is a before pic ...but I needed to give myself a push..so I cleaned it off and put it all in a box..