Feeling Guilty....HELP!!!

netshoundJanuary 1, 2009

I'm having some HUGE guilty feelings right now. Someone tell me it's ok. Well, here's my dilemma. My house is the size of a cubicle. No storage, no room to keep things,etc....Well, I used to be really good at keeping up on the weeding out of things becuase I knew I had to or I'd be behind the 8 ball very quickly. If there was something we did'nt want or use, I would bring it down to the basement and store till I had a spring garage sale. Lets just say I took some time off from doing that and now I'm overwhelmed! I just want to get garbage bags, toss everything I want OUT into them and put it to the curb! I don't even want to bother bringing it down to the basement or packing it up to bring to Goodwill....I JUST WANT IT OUT TODAY!! I can't even get comfortable in my own home because of all this stuff staring at me. Is it a bad thing I just want to toss it all and be done with it? I need to start fresh and I can't seem to get there quick enough before I'm under un-used stuff AGAIN!. By the time I get one area all organized and ready to ship off, another area has gone down the tubes already! I just want it out of the house to the curb so I can start over all at once. I know I should donate it but I just don't want to take the time to go thru it all. For my sanity I need it out NOW!!! How bad does that make me? Tell me it's ok.....PLEASE!!

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"Is it a bad thing I just want to toss it all and be done with it?"

Not at all... sometimes that's what you need to do!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 10:53AM
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How can I convince my husband to not give me grief for doing it? He can be such a pack-rat it's unbelievable. I guess it's easy to be that way when your not the one responsible for storing it and maintaining the nonesense. He'll flip when I tell him I'm just bagging it up......

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 10:59AM
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You can't convince him not to give you grief - you are not in control of his actions or words. You can only control what comes from you. That includes your reaction to whatever he says and does.

If what you need to do is just throw it all out - then do it. You might want to try flylady.net. She is very inspirational, especially about letting things go. You can let them go to Goodwill or to the dump; either way once they are out of your posession they are no longer your worry.

I donate when I can but feel no guilt at all about throwing things away. My sons' boy scout troop has a huge garage sale every year - I mean HUGE, they make about $14,000. At the end of the sale, we invite over 20 charities to come and take what they want. Then we fill 2 full size dumpsters with what is left over. This has shown me first hand that not everything is fit to donate to charity. Sometimes we throw perfectly good things in the dumpster - but the charities know what they want and need, and if an item doesn't fit those criteria, they will just have to pay to trash it later. So much of what is donated is trashed by the charities, and they have huge expenses to have it hauled to the dump. My Cub Scouts den went "behind the scenes" at a Goodwill store on a tour. They have a huge room of stuff that is either being sold to recyclers or hauled off to trash, and the store manager talked about the big expense of them having to pay for disposal. So don't feel bad about throwing stuff in the trash - you could be saving Goodwill money.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 12:02PM
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1. You and your husband have got to come to an agreement on how much stuff both of you can have in the house. You pitch his stuff to the curb, you can kiss him goodbye! If there's stuff in the basement you absolutely must save (say, holiday decorations or a piece of furniture you just will not get rid of), divide the storage space in half. Give your husband part of the space and drape a curtain to conceal it.

2. I'm going against the others here and say even though you're feeling guilty, you know it's not right to just toss usable stuff in the trash. If there is stuff other people can use and the items are in good condition (not junky), put them in boxes and take to Goodwill. There are also other resale charity organizations that will pick your stuff up for you. Don't add to the landfill problem! Can you REALLY not devote a couple weekends to this? FIlling one Goodwill box and one trash bag a weekend is so hard? The problem wasn't created overnight, so, yes, it won't be solved overnight. I'm sorry, but I think you need some tough love here to act responsibly for the good of everyone! Having a positive attitude is key to starting fresh, too!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 2:53PM
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Sometimes you just have to be ruthless. If you don't really know what's there, haven't used it, or needed it chances are very good you won't miss it when it gets kicked to the curb.

The only question I have - and more rhetorical than needing an answer here. It it indiscriminate buying, internet shopping, dumpster diving? Is this just the usual accumulations that seem to happen in our daily lives or getting into the pathological hoarding type situation? If the former, parting with things would be easier; if the latter, there's something more going on that would need to be addressed.

And I agree; sometimes things just have to go and not always to charities like Goodwill, etc. Those organizations should not have to deal with what is, in effect, trash.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 3:04PM
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No. it's not hoarding or shopping too much. I HATE shopping or going to a Mall. It's just regular things that are in your life that you no longer use and it's having a child that is at the age where they are continuosly growing out of clothes, toys, interests, etc....And when I say our house is small....it's real small. We have a damp basement so storage even down there is out of the question unless things are in sealed totes, which I have done. And no attic to use!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 4:17PM
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My resolution this year (I actually started early, due to the flushing economy) -- don't buy spontaneously or because it's on sale (it will always be on sale again when you have the space and the money); give to organizations that can truly use your usable discarded goods don't wait for that garage sale that never comes together); and to get organized in my closets and storage areas and projects! When you finally unload those non-essentials, organize your closets and storage to keep only the things you use, love or want to display (kid stuff as well). You will have a feeling of relief and you'll love your home for it. When I had to clear out my parents' home, after almost 60 years of marriage, accumulation -- three stories and a full basement (and I mean FULL), I had to be ruthless. Toss, Give, Keep and don't look back! Yes, you will toss or give something that you will wish you had kept because you might need it once. But your home will be organized, uncluttered and your whole family will be happier for it. I guarantee! Every time I see things in my own home that I wonder why I'm keeping I put myself in that position of having to clear out my parents' house full of stuff and try to be realistic and unemotional. The end result is usually gratifying. Think of yourself as a third party, coming into your home to clean it up. What would THAT person do?
If you absolutely can't get rid of some things, put them in containers in the basement, date the containers and 6 months later open them up and go at it again. If you haven't wanted to see, use or enjoy something in the container -- you know what to do with it. I promise you will not feel guilty when you've completed your task, and you don't have to do it all at once. Be consistent and persistent -- in a few months you'll feel like a different person.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 6:13PM
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Can you leave the good stuff on the curb with a "free" sign? I know that that involves sorting it out but it will be taken out with the trash.

I understand completely what you're saying, having moved from a house with storage to one with none. I vow to spend this month getting rid of a lot of the stuff I haven't used. There's no point keeping quite a bit of it for a "just in case". I'm even considering giving my son my complete set of China for his new home because I use it so rarely.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Marie: Make sure your son really, really wants the china. I took my parents' china after they died (my sisters had their own sets). I felt obligated to take it (parents' china sets somehow have this family legacy shroud, I think!). My parents used it perhaps a dozen times--they got it for an anniversary gift, not at the start of their marriage. I have never used it. I have only moved it into my place, and bought a piece of furniture to store it in, to boot. Maybe I'll sneak it into a sister's home while she's on vacation!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 7:13PM
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When I have the need to purge I put my unwanted stuff on freecycle. This way it is usually gone the same day and I feel good because I am giving it to someone that can use it. I don't do garage sales because I think it is much more work then the money you get. I will only do them now when I move because then I usually have quite a bit of things to get rid of.

I had stuff stored in my garage to go to GW and would always forget to bring it so on freecycle I put an ad in the morning for a free garage sale. I put every thing I no longer wanted or needed and within 1 1/2 hours my drive way was empty.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 9:10PM
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There's a concept in decluttering called "Amnesty". Basically, it's okay to throw out something you don't want, don't like or can't use. Yes, it may take up a small amount of space in a landfill, but at least it will be out of your life forever. You don't have to be environmentally conscious about your cast-offs. Maybe make one attempt to give USEFUL stuff away, but if The Salvation Army or Goodwill or whatever doesn't want it, give up. You tried. No guilt, just amnesty.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 9:21AM
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I second dd50--put an ad on freecycle or craigslist and put the stuff out at the bottom of your driveway. It will disappear.

The next thing is, you have to make a new routine. Your old one, saving it all for a spring garage sale, isn't working for you anymore. You have to come up with something new! Awhile back I was so cluttered that I had a space where all the stuff to Goodwill went... and a routine weekly Goodwill dropoff. I got decluttered, one grocery bag (or two or three) at a time. Think about the frequency with which your stuff builds up, and commit to a routine that will keep you decluttered. You can do it!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 11:50AM
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Here's your permission: It is all going to end up in the landfill eventually anyway.

The only question is, how much good or evil will it do along the way. Right now, it is evil. Stop it before it kills again.

If you don't have time to "reform" it, then "execute" it.

So yes, if you pick up a fourth set of coasters, and it's making you frantic bcs you don't know where to put it, throw it in the garbage.

An extra grocery bag or two is really useful to have on the top of the garbage can, bcs you can pick it up, toss the coasters under it, and put it back in--your husband won't see what's underneath.

If you decide that you want *some* sort of opportunity, for "reform," then:
If your municipality will allow it, put it out on the curb early on Saturday, and put a notice out on Freecycle ("free" garage sale, w/ your address), and let people come get it. By the end of the day, everything left goes in the garbage.

Another thing I've sometimes done (and someone at my office does): Take three or four things in to the office, and set them on the employee kitchen counter, w/ a note: "free." Anything that nobody has snagged by the end of the day, goes in the garbage.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 4:05PM
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Of course if you just need "permission" to toss some things in the trash, you've got it.

But, since you're having a lot of feelings of pressure and craziness with stuff--which I've had too--and you probably don't really love putting large amounts of stuff in the trash--another thing is to take a deep breath and see what's driving you to the gotta-trash-it-now feeling--so you're less likely to get frustrated. Are you making too complicated a plan for give-aways? Is it a big ordeal to get to a donation station, or are you trying to pack too carefully, or what? Because if you've got a whole bag or box to toss, what's keeping you from driving it over to a donation station? What do you think you will "get" out of putting it in the dumpster? Is it just that you want to make the fewest steps between "deciding" to toss, and getting it gone, so that you think you will make more progress than if you put things in a box in your trunk?

My biggest trash-toss impulses are when I've just got some little thing, or one last thing, that's bugging me, maybe that would finish off a de-cluttering project, and I don't want to "wait" for a full box, or whatever it is I think justifies a trip; or sometimes, those un-categorizable "things" that you can't imagine the donation center would want. But overall it is very easy for me to drop things off, and they take a single sack, bags, boxes, whatever, don't paw through it, so it's pretty low stress to take stuff there.

I also have tried to "save up" stuff for the church rummage sale (twice a year). If given a choice, I'd rather it create funds for our church projects (if sold) rather than take it to Goodwill. But, at times that can cause me similar reaction to what you've posted--I don't want to keep it around for 4 months until the sale. So my main "guilt" is taking things to Goodwill monthly, or on any Saturday when I've got a few things, rather than saving it up for a the rummage sale. This became more necessary when one of my kids moved back home and so I can't stash boxes in her room any more for awhile. So in the past year or so I have just taken everything to Goodwill.

So, don't waste time feeling guilty, but do take a moment to see how you can help yourself get back into a system that works for you.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 7:03PM
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I always keep a bag in the garage on the plastic chairs for GW. If something doesn't fit or I don't wear I will place it in there, my kids do it also and when I go that way I drop it off even if it is only two things.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 11:24PM
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marie - great idea about putting stuff on the curb with a FREE sign. I've done this a few times & each time, everything has disappeared within 2 days. Once it was just a few items, the other time it was a huge mountain of stuff out of the basement - but it was all gone by the end of the 2nd day!

Talley Sue - WOW what a wise post! You are right - EVERYTHING will eventually end up as trash! I'd never thought of that before - and a great insight about the good or evil stuff does on the way to the dump!

I've told you all about the GIANT garage sale my sons' boy scout troop has every August. When I think about they "good or evil" that Talley Sue wrote about, it makes me think differently about the 2 dumpsters of leftovers we pack up at the end of the day. Even though the junk is going to the dump, it did do some good along the way! People made a generous gesture to donate it to the boy scout troop. The boys learned responsibility, organization, logistics, economics, and teamwork by huling it to the sale site, sorting it for display, helping sell it, and then helping throw it into the dumpseter. And, both the boys and the parents have a lot of fun for about 3 months working on the garage sale - it's a ton of work but also a ton of fun. So now I can see those 2 full dumpsters for the blessings they are - the good that the stuff did along the way outweighs the dump space it's going to take up. (And that's 2 dumpsters after the chairities have taken what they want at the end of the sale.)

So netshound, I hope you feel better now about getting rid of the junk. And I, like you, have a tiny house with a damp basement. I do have a usable attic but I try to limit it to storage of Xmas decorations so it doesn't weigh the walls down.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 5:19PM
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There's a Buddhist saying "Everything breaks." If you don't use it, send it to the dump already!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 9:46AM
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I, too, am married to a packrat. We dedicated a section of the basement for just him. If it's something I don't want, but he does, he has to either find a place we both agree on, or put it away in "his" area. I hate the clutter there, but that's the compromise. He can keep it as long as he likes.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 8:57PM
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Or you could join your local freecycle group (it's a yahoo group - easy to find via google) and give it all away that way.
The way freecycle works is that you post what you have to give away. Then people will email you and ask for it. Arrange for a time for it to be picked up - they will come to you. They are happy to receive the item and you are happy to have it out of your home. It's a win/win. Everyone is happy.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:58AM
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Not everyone has freecycle, though. So if you can't find one in your area, netshound, don't get frustrated!

AND you have to be comfortable with people coming to your door, or even inside if it is furniture.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 12:38PM
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For freecycle I usually put the stuff out in the driveway when I know they are coming. When I gave away a TV I put it in the garage and let him take it from there and of course my dog was barking.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 11:15AM
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Yes, it would be nice to give unwanted stuff to someone else (Freecycle) but that might not be possible all the time.

The bottom line: "Don't be a slave to stuff."

Get rid of your clutter any way you can! Netshound, I give you permission to just trash it, if that's what it takes.

The more I declutter, the lighter and happier I get!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 2:06PM
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