need to declutter

sugar_flFebruary 14, 2005

I will soon be moving to a very small apt. BOY do I need to

get rid of a lot of STUFF & find a way to organize what I keep. Any idea on organizing in a small apt & not acumilate more clutter... am I bad about clutter. Around my puter desk is one bad spot. I need help.. Is there any help for me?

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Since you don't have a lot of room to store the items you might be donating to charity, start with trash. Set a timer and spend 15 minutes a day looking thru areas. I am amazed at how much I find that really is trash - old printouts, old birthday cards, stuff that you stack up meaning to go through but never do. :-)

Kitchen/Bath is another area that things tend to hide in nooks and crannies.

Just start with 15 minutes a day, starting only with items you'd like to toss.

After you have made some progress, then start bagging up your Goodwill/donation items. Target a day each week to put them in the trunk of your car, and drop them at a donation spot.

Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 8:36AM
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Many years ago, I moved from a two bedroom apt to a one room setup (at a dorm when I went back to school) and what I did was find people who would store the big stuff like a piano. I was lucky and had friends with attics, etc. Turns out that I never retrieved most of the stuff, only the piano. I realize how thoughtless I was but the up side was that the junk was pretty good stuff such as corningware cookware and an antique upholstered chair, etc.

But the main point of the story is that I never needed the stuff and only feel sorry now about the antique chair which was my grandmother's. If you are having a lot of trouble decluttering (which can involve some very very difficult decisions), maybe you could find a cheap storage place and temporarily store stuff until you realize you really don't need it. Storage places aren't normally recommended because of the cost but if you really really need a temporary staging area where you can put stuff that you're not sure you won't need later, whatever works do it. (Hey, maybe I'll follow my own advice because seems like the decisions to toss are a bit too much for me in certain areas...)

I really liked the fact that I ended up in my one room with exactly what I wanted/needed and wasn't bogged down with all the "stuff". Very freeing. Now if I could only do it now. Seems like I need some kind of external "force" to get me to take action but I'm working on it. (Took a good while to build back up to where I am now.)

Good luck to you.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 8:38AM
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Karen is correct. Depending on how long a period of time you have, start right now and do it in manageable segments. I would suggest having three boxes or bins -- toss, donate and keep.

I would really advise against a storage facility as things will remain in there from pure inertia at great cost. A conservative estimate of a storage facility fee is $100 per month PLUS the cost of carting it there and back. Do you really have anything that couldn't be replaced for what the storage facility will REALISTICALLY cost you over time?

I had somewhat of a similar situation as I had to go through my parent's residence after my mother died and my father was moving to a residence. I was also in the midst of de-cluttering my own home. I just chugged through it methodically -- getting rid of stuff by donating, tossing and hiring someone to hold an estate sale for what I didn't want but was of value -- estate sales are major in retirement communities where my parents lived :)

I can't think of a single item I wish I had kept although I do keep getting rid fo stuff which I thought I couldn't get rid of at the time. Luckily I had imposed a rule on myself that if I kept something it had to have a place - if not displayed or something I used, then in the confines of my condo's closets.

A friend of mine stored BOXES of stuff for years because you couldn't bear to part with anything when she moved and going through the stuff at a storage facility was always too much of an undertaking -- once it's at a storage facility, it's pretty hard to do it 15 minutes at a time. She has spent thousands in the past years and really doesn't want or need anything there -- Who really needs anything that's been stored for more than a year?

If you truly have something valuable and cherished and there is some reasonable expectation of having the ability to use it later -- i.e. your grandmother's china cabinet, that's a different story although I would doubt that those are the kinds of things that you won't fit in your new place. Otherwise, take the opportunity to get rid of stuff.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 9:22AM
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I moved from a 3400-sq.ft. house to an efficiency apartment in which I lived for a couple of years. I got to leave half the stuff in the house :-p But I knew the apartment was temporary, and there were some items I wanted which would have been difficult to replace later.

I was fortunate enough to have some friends who were willing to store a few items each for me (I really appreciated that, and I thanked them with gift certificates to nice restaurants, the hardware store, etc. when I retrieved my stuff). Some items went into the storage locker that came with the apartment (maybe you'll have a storage locker or garage stall with your apartment). Others? I had to wave goodbye.

I had two challenges in that apartment. One was picking up "great deals" (they really were) which I knew I would use in whatever house I purchased, but could not use in the apartment (power tools at garage and estate sales, a bookcase). Sometimes I leaned on other friends for storage space. Or I found a way to shoehorn it into the locker. I passed on "stealing" a nice bedroom set because I had no way to get it anyplace (I didn't have) to store it. Oh, well.

The other challenge was in living in a somewhat "layered" fashion. The closet (told you the place was small!), at least, was double-deep. Out-of-season clothes went to the back. There was room for a small wire-shelf unit (think Elfa) and laundry if I shoved hangers off to one side. But it seemed I spent a couple of years always moving one thing to get to another.

If you can, think about having things do double duty. I bought a futon which was my sofa by day and my bed by night. I had a two-drawer file cabinet on casters which held my files and an alarm clock and which served as my nighttable when I moved it a few feet each night. The hat rack held hats, gloves, and a broom. For the kitchen, I stored pots and dishes I did not use frequently. I spent some $$ on organizers and adjustable wire shelves for kitchen cabinets that let me store more in those cabinets.

But, yeah, don't just store "stuff." If it's not nearby, it will be difficult to get to and winnow through. It's also a pain to have to move it all twice (and pay for stuff you eventually get rid of).

As a p.s., I still have (and use at the house) almost all the stuff I stored -- only one item was packed off to Goodwill.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 9:55AM
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You might also start from the other end: What do you NEED? (not "what do you have?")

Picture the apartment, and decide what stuff you'd want in it to make it well-equipped, livable, attractive. Set those things aside. Ditch the rest.

One thing about storage spaces--they cost money.
And storing things w/ friends--that costs good-will.

So, use that--when you look at the extra stuff, ask yourself, "would it be worth it to spend $90 EVERY MONTH to keep this?" You might find some stuff will become unimportant REALLY FAST.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 10:21AM
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Thanks everyone. For me paid storage is out of the queston as is someone else storing it for me. I do hope a person I know that works at the univerity will store my stack in each other suitcases. BTW this apt is on the champus of the church affiliated University. It is mostly older widows... It has 100 apts That are very well kept.

I have clothes of all sizes as I have a weight problem. Right now I am wearing the smallest sizes. I have from size 18 to 26 here. I don't want to ever get to 26 again but who knows. I'll have to be careful as I'll be eating in the school cafeteria(SP) a lot but they have healthy grilled foods to now (along with good desert & great Ice cream)

I have a large walkin closet here along with a whole room
for storage. It's gonna be a big Job. I think I can walk away & leave some here for a few months then come back & clean out. I am in a moble home where I have lifetime rights. This moble home should be mine for 6 months but after that I lose it completely.
It is in the middle of nowhere & I don't drive. That makes it a very big hardship.It is 30 miles to almost everything. I need to be closer to Drs & Hospitals along with stores. At the Apt I can walk to church, a grocery store, drug store & many other stores. They also have pretty good setup to go anywhere I need to go. One place I can walk is Goodwill..that's not good.. I hear at the end of the school year some pretty good stuff gets donated from students LOL

My puter stuff, kitchen & clothes I think will be the big problem areas (what else is there LOL.) I buy in bulk now but won't have to there. I have enough groceries here now for 3 weeks or more. Powdered milk, egg beaters all help on that. I also have a large freezer now. I'll clean out cabinets Friday & Sat as Monday is my trash day. I can get rid of lots doing that. There is some things in back of the cabinettes that have been here longer than I have (4 1/2 years.)

I lost my husband last July while on vacation in Alaska. WE were to be gone 4 month (with Family) but ended up less than a month. He has a large collection of books & oil lamps. There is a complete set of Louis L'Amore western books. I hope to sell them. Most of his good clothes stayed in Alaska & donated but all his other things are still here. Some have never been moved as I just can't. In one corner is the chair he sit in when his legs bothered him at nite. When we were getting ready to leave quickly he threw things on that chair. Everything in that corner is just like he left it. I have gotta make myself pick them up & donate them along with all his other knock-about clothes. We were only married 4 years & we both went on diets. He went from a 52 to a 38 so I have all those clothes still here.
His clothes will be one of my 1st step to getting ready to move.
His books, lanterns & tools I hope to sell as I'll need money for the move & fix the apt so it will be my home.
I will keep a few of his favorite lanterns.
The church here will help me move in a U-haul truck.
This will be a big move for me as I have no family there (or here) but a large church family.

I want this home to be neat & clutter free as I'm sure it would be awful if it was cluttered.
I was in an apt that size in VA Xmas. It had cardboard boxes everywhere full of junk. She had lived in it for several years & I don't think she threw anything out. I don't want that. I know it can be neat as I was in one at the building I will be going to. It was neat as a pin & clutter free. That's what I want. I know I can't have as nice of things but it can be clutter free & neat.

I have always been one who hates to throw away but this move should break me of that or I'm in trouble.

Thanks for all the answers & Ideas.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 12:51PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your husband--my sympathies!

One thing to focus on is, you are going to be DOING in your new locale. You'll be walking to church, going to events on campus (be sure you do!), etc. You don't need anymore to OWN.

(plus, since you can get to Goodwill, you can get new cheap stuff easily)

You CAN have as *nice* of things--just not as MANY. Have one beautiful vase, not six sort of nice ones. (and not six "cheap" ones from Goodwill)

In a way, you can have NICER stuff, because you have less of it. So you can splurge on the few you own.

Ditch the bigger sizes--there's nothing to inspire you to deal w/ the beginning of weight gain like the fact that your clothes are getting tight.

If you can always just switch up, you can sort of let it go until it's a REAL chore to lose that weight.

It sounds like the change in transporation will help you tremendously--you'll be able to stop having stuff because you won't NEED it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 1:16PM
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Yes I hope to get a SMALL kitchen table, A table for the TV with storage space at Goodwill. If can't I'll buy one. I can't take what it is on now as I can't take the kitchen table. They both belong to my Step-Step daughter (DH's late wife's daughter.) Even if I could they are way to large. Some things here my step-children want as they grew up with them like a desk & gun cabinet. I don't use them & no room in Apt if I did. This is the 2nd time I have lost a husband. My daughter has most of her fathers things.

I hate to leave all the garden stuff he made for me but can't take them. I can take one small trellis & will. I can have a small garden there. I want mostly veggies & hope to have enough to share some but will have 1 vine. I can also have a few pots to put around the community patio. I don't want too much to care for just enough to feel like I am home.

Yes I hope to be able to take part in things at church & school.. it is a LARGE one with almost 700 attending. Here there is less than 50 & not much extra as we are spread out over a 50+ mile area. I can go to things like the dinner theaters they have a few times a year. I will have neat & safe places to walk. That will help keep the weight down. In bad weather the long hall will be nice plus they have an exersize room with a bike & treadmill among other things..

If it wasn't for the way Social Security has messed me up I'd already be moved. I hope they get it right soon. They got things messed up when I changed from drawing off 1 husband & switch to the other. OH WELL I have more time than Money LOL

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 2:01PM
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Sugar -
As they said: start with the trash ... it's easy to go through a room or drawer and make the "trash, not trash" decision. Get that stuff out of there.

Then, after detrashing, go through and make the "charity, not charity" decision. If you have doubts, it's not charity yet, but that can clear out a lot of things.

What's left, will be into "take to new place, sell here" decisions.

You probably have a large support and labor pool in the church: let them know you need help with sorting, selling and moving.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 9:40AM
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I have a pretty bad cold but still doing some. I cleaned out 2 drawers last nite & ended up with 1 full one. Today I arranged that drawer better using a plastic shoe box (I need more). I can now see the top of my dresser as I cleaned that this morning. I do have the other drawer almost full but at least it is out of site. I also have a LOT of trash to throw away. I sure hope this dresser will fit in the bedroom. Next time I call I'll try to find out the measurement of the rooms.

My bedroom is what has bugged me the most so that's where I started. I was mean & threw out some things that were hard to do like a watch I bought in 98. It no longer works even with new batteries so why keep it just because I bought it on a vacation.

Next will be the hall where the washer & dryer are. I only use the back door & people see that 1st.
I hope by the time I can start packing it will be easier. I'll have a lot to sell & get rid of but at least less clutter.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 2:40PM
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I ran across this tonite & thought I'd add an update.
I have been in my apt for almost 7 months & love it here.
My only clutter area is my desk. I think that will always be a problem area. The rest of my apt looks nice.
I do have a problem with papers I have to save but have nice baskets I keep them in so doesn't look bad. One of the main ones is covered so looks like a hasset. I have had a lot of nice compliments on my apt. Some here are very messy..very very messy but that is them not me.

I don't miss most of the things I got rid of. I could have brought more but don't really need them. I do wish I had kept a few pieces of clothes I gave away but again don't really need them.

I have no regrets moving here.
There is one downside.. since this is all older people (60+)
we have lost 4 friends since last Nov. One I knew pretty well just last nite. We have one here 99 & one 98 years old. The 98 gets around great. There is several in their mid 90 & one still drives. I wouldn't ride with her :)

I wish the church was smaller as it is hard to get to really know many people. Everyone is nice though.
I am glad I made the move.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 2:17AM
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I think desks are always clutter areas. Just tackle it from time to time, and don't beat yourself up about it.

Hooray, that you don't miss most of the thing you got rid of--how great!

And I'm so glad to hear the update!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 11:11AM
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