Too much stuff: my plan to combat hoarding

celticmoonMarch 29, 2007

My name is Celtic and I am a hoarder.

A subacute, tidy one, but a hoarder nontheless. The "how many.." counting thread stunned me into accepting that there is way, way too much stuff in this house. It is all faily well organized, things are where they should be, but there is just too darn much of it. Absurd. Obscene.

I need to do something about it. So I have decided to confess and cull. My strategy is to approach this categorically rather than the usual method of tackling/straightening one small area at a time. I'm orderly enough, but every cupboard and closet is full. I've failed before at organizing strategies I guess because the organization is fine. There is just too much! I will select an item or narrow category each day, hunt and cull. Closets, pantry - too big a scale for me, but I think I can handle, say, Tshirts one day. Simpler.

I will focus on function first, but allow for beauty and sentimentality. I will ask the classic questions: do I use it, do I like it, could I replace it easily, etc. But for me the big question is how many of X do I really need. Think, Celtic, why 4 dog collars yet one dog? Like that.

And shimmering before me thoughout will be the vision of lucious empty breathing space cradling what stays. Celtic, choose: this dog collar or your vision? Like that.

Yesterday was scissors, socks and lipsticks. Half are gone. Those that remain have a specific place and purpose.

Anybody else overstuffed and want to play? Quick, go sift your scissors and socks! Meanwhile I will continue with shoes (a category you may skip, as I understand many are passionate about their shoes.)

Next up: coffee mugs? Tape? Belts? Cooking magazines? Hmmm, the possibilities...

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Lena M

Interesting idea Celtic.
I tried something similar with one category: knit polo shirts. I counted and found I had 20. So I put them in order from my most favorite to my least favorite and out went the bottom 10. They were all in pretty good shape, just not the right fit or a non-flattering color, so I donated them to Goodwill.
Six months later I do not miss a one (except for maybe the red one). But I would have had a much harder time just throwing them away. So I am not sure the same idea would work with sox for me - since I would not donate them, they would be thrown away, and they are still good! (And I have no real reason to purge as I do have plenty space for sox for now).


    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 4:08PM
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Celtic can I play too! The perfect marriage between the shock of counting along with the theraputic culling is awesome. Know that I often need to reassess those things I am keeping. The socks I couldn't part with yesterday or last week may be booted out the next.
I've done socks, lipsticks, scissors(not getting rid of any!), and jewelry. I am working on those pesky hotel packaged shampoo/conditioner/lotion/bath gels that I seem compelled to bring home.. These are partially used and so donation is not an option I've challenged myself to use these all up! As soon as I empty one and put another in its place!
Future categories: Medicine, under the bathroom sink, glasses, wrapping paper and ribbon, owner's manuals? Celtic bring it on! I am game.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 4:39PM
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I can't play now, but I really could have played six years ago. Just some things I found helpful in my learning curve:

Slowly is fine. Sometimes we think we need to fix things overnight. Slowly allows to become comfortable with spaces which aren't packed to the gill. If you do this slowly, you won't be as likely to turn around and fill the spaces again. You can give some thought as to why so much of something is kept and change your thinking and behavior.

Realize that you may need to touch some items many times. The first time I went through the house, I thought there wasn't possibly another thing I could get rid of. After living with closets that didn't explode, my evaluation of items changed.

Realize that you may feel a bit anxious at times. Like, "I knew I should't have gotten rid of that..." You only knew where it was because you had recently touched it. If you had really needed the item, you wouldn't have been able to find it anyway. Really, there isn't a thing in your house that you couldn't find a replacement for if push came to shove.

Talk to all of the old voices in your head as you work. It took several purges for me to get rid of wedding gifts. They were "good," you don't get rid of gifts, etc. Really give some thought to how many of these type of items really have meaning for you or are just taking up space.

Take a moment to evaluate how your home feels during this journey. Did you enjoy opening that closet and quickly locate the item you wanted? How did it FEEL? What is it like to be able to reach in a drawer and put your hand right on the tool you want, without shuffling a dozen other things? How does it FEEL?

My home FEELS good to me, and that's a big motivator to keep it this way. Keep us updated with your progress.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 6:32PM
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I need to tackle socks, but I also need to do some tidying, hiding away, etc., bcs we're going to show our apt. to a potential buyer.

not sure we're ready to sell yet; we need to find a place to move TO, and we have very narrow ideas about where that is.

But, tonight and this weekend, I need to focus on that. Then I can tackle the "too much stuff."

*I* am pretty decluttered, actually. I've gotten rid and rid of stuff (though Gloria is right, there is more I could easily toss), so I don't have so much of any one category. I'll have to do it area by area, or broad category by broad category (clothes, e.g., instead of t-shirts)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 6:47PM
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This thread is just in time for my Bonus Room clean-out! If you've never had a bonus room, just imagine all the crapola you've ever stacked/stuffed/saved in your basement AND attic for a hundred years in one room. Wreaths for every occasion, along with the myriad things, natural and made, they took to assemble.
Scissors I can't part with. Socks, probably. Sorting through pictures will be a biggie. Finally dividing Mom's books, even bigger.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 9:50PM
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Very, very good advice Gloria.

It is a transition that will be an adaptation. With bumps and backslides.

I had the experience of reinforcement already once. I walked by the loose doorknob on the linen closet (for the 10,000th time) and said enough! Went to the 'junk drawer' I thinned and organized couple of weeks ago, and easily picked out the screw driver, the right screw AND a metal toothy strip to fix the stripped screw hole. AND then from the also recently thinned desk drawer, the cleaned scissors to cut the metal strip. Voila! All 4 things I would need to fix it, all right there, and visible!! Yes, all 4 were there before the tidying/thinning, but jammed in with so much other crap, no way I'd find them so smoothly and calmly and quickly. Very reinforcing.

Tomorrow is a busy day so I'm picking something simple. Coffee mugs. I'm guessing there are at least 20 when 10 would do fine. Trouble is they have all been around forever and each has a story or a memory... I think I will deal with the 'letting go' struggle by storing the sentimental extras, boxed, labeled and good to go to Goodwill or Purple Heart. (I have tons of storage space in the basement.) Detach first, then ditch, once I appreciate that the breathing room on that shelf is worth it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 11:47PM
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Oh, being able to find what you need for a task would be bliss.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 4:52AM
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Must pack to go out of town for a week but I'll try to tackle the coffee mugs too!

Chery2 the bonus room sounds like it could overwhelm and shut me down. Your room sounds remarkable similar to a room in my basement! Can you break it down into smaller area...this corner today, that corner tomorrow. Or perhaps 15 minutes today, 30 minutes tomorrow. Maybe one of these tips will work for me! I need to finish my closet/dressing room project first so I look forward to hearing how you make out.

TalleySue what a great opportunity to keep clearing things out. When you do move it will be so much more effortless. Easier in the packing, moving and settling in.

Here's to getting where Quiltglo is in our own seperate ways! Baby steps

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 6:50AM
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Celtic down to 10 coffee mugs and 3 insulated travel. Got rid of plastic/acrylic margarita glasses and wine glasses. Also have three plates in the pile.
I'm working towards having empty spaces! YEAH! Lighter and lighter everyday.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 10:55AM
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That was easy. There were 19 mugs, I ditched 7, 2 remain deployed to being pen holders on the kitchen desk. Easier than I thought.

The remaining 10 are all special and pleasing. And very happy now uncrowded on the shelf.

Tomorrow is Saturday, so I can pick something harder that will take more time......Magazines??? Yikes. I have years of Cooking Light, Cooks Illustrated, Fine Cooking, etc. Never use them. Several times I have placed stickies on pages with good intent. I may rip out those pages and put them in my big kitchen reipe catch all binder. But oh, the house and kitchen plan magazines, I collected tons when designing a house in 85 and a kitchen in 94. I used to love looking at floor plans to fall asleep.

...talking to self..."OK Celtic, but you haven't done that to fall asleep in years. They are pounds and pounds of paper weighing you down. Wouldn't you like those stuffed living room cabinets free and clear, the bedside basket empty, those ancient boxes out of the basement? You know darn well if you want a recipe or a plan you will go to the internet anyway. Let go. And if you really have to have that Gourmet magazine 2001 chicken recipe: IT IS CALLED A FREAKIN LIBRARY, CELTIC!!"

Alright already. I'll do it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 11:05AM
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As a semi reformed magazine junkie, I can relate. I evolved slowly over a number of years.
For a long time I simply tore out ALL the ads. Then I added that I could only keep 5 (gasp, groan) YEARS of magazines. Then I narrowed it down to 2 years. Oh the shame. Finally I just ripped pages and put them in categories (ceiling ideas, bath, kitchen, craft, landscape) Then one day after lurking here I got rid of almost (kept 2 binders)all the pages. I have SURVIVED. Felt so-o-o much lighter. I confess to missing a few of those pages pertaining to wood ceiling as I contemplate a master redo....I will survive.

Good luck Celtic. You are very brave and you'll feel great tomorrow!!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 2:26PM
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I threw out all my cooking magazines. I found that evrty time I want to cook something new, I got the recipe from the Internet. I never even clipped the recipes out of the magazines. I'd read each one, think 'there were a couple good sounding ones there." and set the mag aside. Never to be looked at again.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 5:36PM
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With me its fabric. I keep collecting fabric and sheets from the thrift store because its so hard to find the florals I love anywhere else. But it's gotten out of hand. I have fabric stacked everywhere! I keep thinking I"ll make curtains, a quilt,'s one of the things I'm having the most trouble getting rid of. Also, anyone have any advice for the old work that the kids brought home from school all those years ago? talk about emotional baggage...!
I feel guilty when I run across it and think about ditching it. They are teens now. Do they care? does it really mean something? or is the real meaning and memories in my head, no closet space needed? words of wisdom would help here! thanks, Mary

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 6:27PM
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We do have a subscription to a cooking magazine that we love. No ads and almost everything we make from them is delicious. For us they are almost like having an annual cookbook. Yes, this could get out of hand but we do USE these.
HappyMary I have a fabric addiction too!
As far as the artwork. Is it dated, do you know which child did it? Could you choose one from each year and toss the rest? Do any have stories behind them? Many of the masterpieces I kept were not dated. Many were just not as "cute" as I once thought they were. I still probably have too many. I think it could be one of those items that you continually have to handle and evaluate. If your children don't care NOW, maybe save 5, 10 , 15 of the best. Put them in their "baby box" with all those other things and call it a day.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 7:30PM
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I'll work on papers & magazines. Paperwork is a HUGE clutter problem for me. Time to fire up that nice shredder I got.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 7:39PM
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Tre3, I know we're talking about getting rid of stuff but could you tell me which cooking magazine it is that you like the recipes?

I have one pile of "my" magazines and every so often, I'll go through them and cut out those articles I find interesting and file them in a file folder by category.

I was finally able to get rid of most of my catalogs when the light bulb went off one day that I could always order a catalog should I need one. The only catalog that I won't throw out is Ikea because the online catalog doesn't have everything on it. Besides Ikia, I never order from catalogs. I just like looking at them.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 8:35PM
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Marie, I want to take bets. I'll bet it's Taste of Home or one of the magazines associated with the Reiman publishing company. No ads.


Here is a link that might be useful: Taste of Home magazine

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 1:51AM
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If only I could find somewhere to put the shredder so I could plug it in. House is close to logjammed. But seriously, it felt so good to shred heaps of stuff last year. Bills, tax returns, etc, going back about ten years. Wore out the old shredder dealing with that. I think DH finally understood that the filing cabinet is a system, not a bottomless pit.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 5:18AM
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Marie the magazine is called CUISINE at home. It comes out 6 times a year. I think you might find it at the bookstores that have large magazine sections. They also have a website: www.cuisineathome.
The format is instructional with quite a few color pictures. I find the pics helpful for when they say "beat until soft peaks" or something like that. We don't use these every week but do make something at least once a month. Like I said we use them like a cookbook. In fact because of this magazine I am down to four cookbooks, plus 60 issues of this mag.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 8:21AM
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Sorry Quiltglo you lost. I just found the publisher, August Home Publishing.
About catalogs, some of them seem to send a new one before you have even gotten in the door from the mailbox. IKEA is a good keeper. It reminds me of dreaming over the Sear catalog as a kid. I guess that's why I like looking at catalogs. I realized I rarely buy anything. Marie you're right. IF you can remeber which catalog it came from you could track it down online. I toss catalogs pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 8:28AM
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Good morning, Tre3, Kitttymom, Mary, Sue and all lurkers. Hope we all progresss to day in 'the way of Gloria'.

My challenge awaits behind these doors:

And that is just one stash. See what I mean about a tidy hoarder? Looks fine until you open a door or drawer, then, yikes.

Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 9:11AM
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And my local library will take all those cooking magazines! Yay.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 11:46AM
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Celticmoon, I know you can do it. I'd put on the TV and just start. I've learned it really doesn't take that long to get it done. Starting is the hardest part. I'm waiting for the after picture.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 11:49AM
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LOL, Marie. You underestimate me: I beat you to it!

I'm off with three boxes to the library. Will xerox a dozen pages I actuallly do need, then it is all theirs. The dated wine, computer and consumer reports are all going to recycling. Who cares about the hot 1999 computer developments? Gone.

On to the home magazines stashed elsewhere.

Thank you for the support. It is really helping!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 11:58AM
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Go Celtic, go! Envious that I am missing out in the fun(?). Hurray for getting so much done so quickly. You are smart to cart those boxes of magazines to the library ASAP. Making decisions are good, getting it out of your house is even better. How will you celebrate tonight?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 12:12PM
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WHEW. Eleven more boxes and grocery bags of magazines out the door for a total of 14!! What was I thinking? That I would suddenly have to build a house (not gonna happen) and would just HAVE to revisit a 1989 magazine to get it done?

Tre3, the recyclable ones are not quite out of the house. Four more feet to the pickup, but it is raining now and pickup is Tuesday. Rest is loaded in the car. Good enough. I have a chilled bottle of Clean Slate Reisling I've been looking forward to. Perhaps a spicy shrimp dinner to celebrate?

Hauling all that poundage has me tired and sore. I need something easier and lighter for tomorrow. Got it! Underwear.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 2:09PM
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tre, you should have given us a link. I found the magazine and ordered their free issue (and I need to remember to cancel if I don't want the subscription.) My kids like to cook and I like for them to get in the habit of reading the recipe and following directions for themselves. I do like the Reiman publications though. I have learned to just allow myself a basket for magazines and when it's full, I have to pass on. It takes me about three months to fill it and I figure if I haven't bothered in that amount of time, I most like won't read them.

celticmoon, I think many of us here can identify with those pictures. If you don't want to carry stuff to the recycling center, you might consider posting them on Freecycle. I'll bet people would love to look through specific types of magazines like cooking and remodeling. They are so pricy in the store. Someone just beginning their dream will have a good time.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 4:24PM
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yay, celticmoon!

We're doing something similar at the office--tossing the multiple issues of all the magazines we USED to publish, etc.

The whole place feels lighter.

It's necessary to expend energy to eliminate stuff--it's really the only way. It's not going to go away on its own.

how wonderful that you have an entire cabinet back, and that your library will have some magazine!

(isn't it a pain that the recyling centers, or the office-services guys w/ hand trucks, aren't doing what you want them to do, exactly when you are decluttering?)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 6:02PM
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Celtic, I really like your approach. I can do this.

BTW, you said "That was easy. There were 19 mugs, I ditched 7, 2 remain deployed to being pen holders on the kitchen desk. Easier than I thought."

Hmm... If you need TWO mugs for the pens on ONE desk, perhaps pens is the next thing to cull!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 8:04PM
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Time to fess up. I have a drawer of pens that I seem to access only to test which ones won't work anymore. I also have a drawer of markers and another one of pencils. They are all perfectly organized and out of the way so I keep them but I know I don't need most of them.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 8:28PM
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LOL, greenfumbers4fowbers, you got me there! But see, DH likes HIS kind of pens and I like MY kind of pens, and I actually really dislike his kind of pens. And then he has his other special pens he hunts on Ebay, and I don't want ANY responsibility for those...sooooo, his pen cup on his side and mine on mine seems to work well. Those particular pens are not the problem.

But the other 85% of the pens in this house could certainly go. Sigh.

I've been slacking off the culling. I need something simple next, like belts. Or TVs (ditch the broken one in the basement and I am done. Yay)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:27PM
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Marie, "pens that I seem to access only to test which ones won't work anymore", that's me.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 1:38AM
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Celtic I'm back after a week away during Spring break. What have you been working on? I'm ready to get back to slimming down my house!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 8:47AM
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Tre3, welcome back. I am way, way, way off schedule on decluttering. Nothing in a week. A busy week, but still.
I need structure.

What shall we ditch next?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 6:32PM
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Celtic this had me stumped all yesterday. It is not that I don't have "areas". I do. I have some unfinished projects that are nagging me. Some are very tiny..requiring almost no effort, and yet I still put them off. Others are complicated. I need to break things down into baby steps and get on them! So, while you declutter I will declutter the internal nagging and get SOMETHING done.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 10:13AM
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I'm picking something easy for after work. Nail polish. Rarely use it and have dried up stuff that is 15 years old. I'll do that and Tre, you knock off one of those "tiny, almost done" projects.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 10:56AM
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Celtic did the nail polish a couple of weeks ago. Down to two bottles. Aspire to find a summer color sometime!
Broke my nagging projects into 31 steps. Some pathetically (?) simple such as measure window, others require more effort. Knocked 8 off the list and still working! THanks for the encouragement. Looking forward to the count of nail polish bottles!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 1:15PM
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OK got 22 of my 31 items done. Figure the remaing 9 will take me about 8.5 hours to complete. YUCK! Paint or sew, hmm-m? Or just ping pong between the two?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 5:53PM
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Tre, you are a wonder. Great progress!! 22 out of 31 loose end projects is amazing. The rest will be cake.

As for me, I just got to the nail polish at your bidding. (Surreal to be so accountable, hey?) Kept 3 quick dry (red, hot pink and neutral) and ditto regular type with base and top coat. Will need to rethink those though, as it has been forever since I could count on any "3 coats plus drying time" spaces in my life, LOL. Mabelline Express Finish to the rescue!! Slap it on and race to that wedding.

And I ditched.....(drum roll).......
28 bottles!!! Half I found in a tin at the back of the cabinet. Some have to be 20 years old. Yikes. What is wrong with me that I NEVER throw anything out?

Hmmm, tomorrow? Lotions and samples. Get that crap out of here!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 12:00AM
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No Celtic, you misunderstand (Kind of). I have many unfinished projects but 2 are really nagging: finish the shelving unit in my "dressing room" and finish the window treatment for same room. The longer I have put these off the larger and more insurmountable they seem. Broke the two projects into 31 steps. The nine remaining (sew window treatment, paint shelves) will take much longer! I may need to break things down even seam down side 1, etc!!!
Yeah for the purging of nail polish. I am impressed! Totally understand the fast dry stuff. I usually don't bother with fingernails (messed up too quickly) and just concentrate on toes.
Lotion and samples have been a problem for me. I've spent the last 3 weeks forcing myself to use samples and dribs and drabs. Love throwing away those empty bottles and foil packets! Good luck. Thanks all for the continued encouragement!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 7:02AM
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Celtic, how goes the purging? I had a very productive day! I was able to drpo off pants (2 years old, tags still on) to be shortened. Also FINISHED my window treatment...totatlly. There are no little undone steps to be completed "later"!!! I also got it installed. DD thinks it is hideous. Gosh, I love teenagers. Several hours of painting left and then I can cross two large projects off my list!!!!
Candles, linens, spices, xmas decor (oh please no), photos (is there enough time this lifetime?) the inside of my car, anything in the basement or garage...possible purging categories????

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 6:37AM
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Dare we consider the garage? Wait, not warm enough here yet. Photos? Impossible. (though they are all corralled in one cupboard!) I sort of did linens months ago- the linen closet looks good, except for the bags o'quilt stuffing for a project I never did.

OK then. Linen closet and candles. Doable, right?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 10:51PM
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Celtic you read my mind on the garage. I am considering tackle "a portion" as it might be warm enough here this week. You also read my mind about photos...impossible and something for next year's cold weather season???
Linen closet and candles, I can do that!!!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 9:22AM
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I, too, have been putting off the garage until it gets warmer. I'm waiting for a day that's sunny and 75 degrees to finally get it done.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:04AM
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Celtic, you are truly inspiring me!

Do you have a list of all the items you are going to go through?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 5:43PM
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Postum, we are totally winging it here... curiously it is helping. I smiled taking out the box o' haircutting supplies to cut DH's hair yesterday. That cabinet was no longer jammed with dead nail polish and other crap. Kinda fun to do this odd piecemeal method and have it slooooowly impact the drawers, cabinets, etc.

So open to any suggestions. Gotta be a narrow category. Whatcha got?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 11:51PM
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Confess to NOT doing my linen closets yesterday:( Plan on avoiding them today too. I'm going out to play in the dirt!
Postum, yes, please weight in with categories.
Celtic, I think narrow categories (baby steps) may be a way to tackle a large project like the garage. Perhaps success will lie in breaking things down into physical sections. If not, maybe categories like hand tools, the box of misc screws and what nots??? Just thinking action. Have to psyche myself up. First linen closets (after weeds and winter debris)then the world!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 8:07AM
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Linens was easy. I heard the garbage truck and raced to add that bag o' craft stuffing and excess wallpaper rolls (that wall paper was gone from these walls years ago. I am amazed at the crap I hold on to!!)

Next, how about....(drum roll)....

winter gloves, scarves and hats!!

Hunt 'em dowm from pockets, toss the orphans and holey, battered ones and clean up the rest. Pack into a box, all clean and ready for next winter. Ticket box toward garage.

Obviously an easy one for you warmer climate types!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 10:47PM
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Linens. I have a cupboard half full of linens I can't imagine using again. Really old garish patterned relics of DH's single days. Why can't I let go? I know when I think about them I regret not buying more of the long-lasting heavy cotton sheets in nice plain colours that used to be available. Too much flimsy Chinese rubbish around these days. So I guess my problem is "you just can't get stuff like that any more".

Good luck to anyone doing the garage, Ours was so far gone we had no choice but to move the cars out and spread everything on the floor and wade in. It really was a job to get psyched up for.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 5:07AM
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The sheets are garish, not your style, you can't imagine using them again but the quality is good. If you can't get rid of all of them, could you get rid of half? Someone might really appreciate the "retro" look of these sheets. Donate/sell them. Perhaps the empty space in your cupboard will give you the permission to hunt down a set of high quality sheets (I hear you!)that you are mad for. Maybe this is not your situation but I am at the point where I want to own only those things that are beautiful and useful to ME (and my family). Letting go of stuff (for me) is hard. It is so much easier to advise than to act:) I am only telling you what I would tell myself.
Celtic, hurray for getting rid of half rolls of wallpaper and misc craft stuff. Me, I'd be thinking could I use that wallpaper to line drawers or wrap presents.
Winter gloves, etc make me nervous. It was only last week that we had snow showers. EXTREMELY hopeful that all this nonsense is over but a little superstitious too! I'll wash and organize into bins (no lids yet!) kept handy for mother nature's next cruel trick.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 8:07AM
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Oh my, I'd have 20 categories with toys alone!
Some things that come to mind:

party supplies
laundry soap, spot removers (dh always wants to try the latest thing)
greeting cards (both ones sent to me and ones I've saved to give to others)
Lids - to pots, sippy cups, plastic containers - one lid to fit each should do it!
empty jars
tools (I'd have to break this down into garden, power, hand, etc.)
nails, screws, and such.
dog stuff
garden supplies (fertilizers, old seed packets, etc.)
phone books (honestly)
christmas decorations (and other holiday decorations)
return address labels (anyone else get hundreds from charities?)
hoses and attachments (mostly leaky)
camping equipment
cosmetics and skin care (I don't want to guess how many jars and tubes of skin cream I've got...)
old letters
photographs (yikes)
baby memorabilia
coins (loads of change lying around)

goodness, I'd better get started!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 5:36PM
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What a great list, postums!

I could definitely see dishtowels (I don't use paper ones), cosmetics, dogstuff, earrings, greeting cards, cords (oh my, you don't want to know!!), notebooks, Xmass stuff, laundry stuff(definitely), tools, garden stuff(yes, yes).

Pleased to say I previously sorted/purged phonebooks, paint (still more to do), pj's, purses (wait - was I on a "p" kick??), luggage, lids n jars, labels (did stamps too!),medicines, AND once 2 years ago I actually sorted all the loose screw and nails and tucked them into a zillion midgit drawer plastic unit I hung on the garage wall (turns out to have beeen hours well spent. it's great to find the screw you need easily). Most of all that I've kept up with. And coins, well, no problem! That there is real money!

Can I add:

clay and plastic plant pots
outdoor ornamental stuff (candle thingies, pillows, flags...)
playing cards
light bulbs
tank tops
bathing suits (aaaaaaiiiieeee!)
tooth care stuff

that's enough I guess...

So what should be next? (after I actually do the gloves...)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 11:12PM
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You're absolutely right Tre3.

Please keep those lists short! That's too scary. (And don't mention photos.)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 2:18AM
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Posstum your list strikes terror in my heart! We have so many similar categories. Can we please agree that it takes special fortitude to tackle holiday decor and photos? Maybe this is something to be worked toward after getting ALL else in order.
Looking at your list, I'd start with coins. Once you get them rolled or take them to one of those machines, you can use the money as a reward(bribe)to tackle the next category. For me that would be makeup. How nice to be able to treat yourself to a new, unbroken lipstick in a flattering color or a great hand cream, etc. Now you've tackled coins and makeup and lotions.
Phonebooks sounds kind of easy too. I live in an area where two books (yellow and white) are enough. If you have to manage the books for surrounding areas or your yellow pages are split into 2 books, I guess it is more complicated.
Rec'd cards could be grouped with old letters. A good category to tackle on a rainy day. Now you have new cards...are you like me and have the Happy Birthday two year old still saved unsent for your 7 years old niece????
Return labels: If I don't donate, I feel I can't keep them. That plus paying bills online has drastically reduce outgoing mail. THe FEW times (hence the outdated card) I send personal mail I like a personally addressed envelope. Chuck the labels???
Gosh, this is so much more fun than actually getting up and sorting the gloves, etc, that I said I'd do yesterday. Thanks for the opportunity to sound like I actually accomplish this for myself! Getting up from this blasted computer (soon) and getting to work (maybe).
Can I add:
coupons (clipped and mailed)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 7:44AM
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OK. Done with winter hats, mittens, scarves for now. I know that orphans will show up when the school locker gets cleaned out, etc.
Did candles. What to do with those left over stubs? Feel guilty for tossing them. What if the power goes out? Ok, ok. Plan to burn lots of stubby candles over the next couple of days for ambiance. Keeping tapers only 3/4 of original length or longer. Pillars and votives must be in GOOD condition.

How about GIFTWRAP and all the bows, ribbons, tissue, gift cards and tags (let's NOT do Xmas papers,etc.!)????

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:31AM
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OOO, giftwrap! a good one. Lets do that next.

Cards. Snort. You guys think I should really throw out this birthday card I'm holding that says on the front: "1904 was a special year..." and inside says, "you were born! Happy Birthday!" with all this 1904 stuff referenced.

Hmmm. There appears to be a, ahem, potential down side to buying birthday cards ahead for the very, very elderly....I've kept it a while thinking I might use it for someone else. But time flies and I can't say as I now know anyone 103 years old.

LOL, if this isn't a perfect example of holding on to something well past its usefulness, I don't know what is!!!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 7:12PM
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Thanks for the laugh Celtic.
Giftwrap it is!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 7:53PM
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I hoard candles. If I find an expensive candle that I really like the smell of I find that ten is better than one. It's as though I think the world will end and I will never be able to get candle again. Then, to make matters worse, I have this phobia about burning them. I just collect them. One day my sister was over and looking for something, she went in the WRONG cupboard and found my collection. She about died. She laughed and laughed and then told me that there were pills for this sort of problem. She even had the nerve to ask for a couple since I had so many. LOL. I had to give in and let her take a couple just to prove that I could part with them. I hoard twist ties too. Mostly the clear ones because they're good at tying cords. My mother hoards those red plastic turkey mesh things that are over turkeys. She's still in the hair perm thing and came over the other day and I gave her one and then she rolled her hair in rollers and covered her head with a turkey mesh (with that pointy thing on top) to hold the rollers in. I about fell over. Looked like the funniest thing I've ever seen. Then I found out that she has one hanging in her utility room filled with more of them. Runs in the family I guess.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 9:30AM
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Postum your list is amazing. I've been reading this board for awhile and have been inspired. I sold mine and my dad's old cds to a used cd store, and am donating all the clothes that don't fit me anymore. I now have two trash bags full of clothes. My mom won't let me throw away or donate any bras for some reason. I don't know why. I'm a size D and all the bras are size B. I have to keep it in my room so it's in a bag neatly under my bed.

I've been using Postum's long list as a guide. For earrings, what should I do with earrings without partners? You know, like one of the earrings is missing? I have tons of partnerless earrings. Should I donate them or just throw them out?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 3:27AM
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Congratulations on your progress Surfer!

My first thought was what business of your mom's is your underwear but I remember your earlier post about your mom so I'm not sure what to suggest. I worry about what accumulates under the bed because that was my mum's problem. Rest of the house was pretty good because it all went under the bed. I still remember the day she decided to deal with it. But if one bag under the bed works for you and keeps the peace with your mom.

About the earrings, I'm not sure the regular donation places would take them, don't know how fussy they are in your area. But here we have a second-hand store (next door to the dump) that takes a wide range of things because there are all sorts of creative people out there who can see potential in stuff. Maybe some of your earings have the potential to be converted to brooches or glued around picture frames to jazz them up. On the other hand don't get too weighed down by the decision. If I had stopped to analyse what to do with everything in my garage recently I would never have got it done. I'm getting better at being ruthless. Have you looked at the mantra thread? I'm finding it really helpful.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 9:23AM
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After I find all of my partnerless earrings, I might offer them on Freecycle. I like the picture frame idea. The bags of clothes are now waiting to be analyzed by my parents, but I promise that they are not coming back in my room.

I have found the mantra thread to be helpful. Now, I am starting on cleaning drawers and shelves. I have started with the smallest drawer in the house.

Now it looks like this:

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 1:22AM
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Oh yes, that's what I was supposed to be doing today. Drawers. Desk drawers. Why don't more desks feature more shallow drawers for pens and whatever? Those deep drawers just encourage you to cram more stuff in and then you can't find anything.

Hmm. The giftwrap is beside the desk. Any clever ideas on what to do with those rolls?

Nice work, Surfer. Has there ever been a before and after picture thread? I think the mantra thread and a before and after picture thread should be kept permanently at the top of the forum to inspire us.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 6:54AM
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Macbirch -- I keep mine in plastic containers under the bed in the guest room. I have 4 -- probably tooo many. One is for rolls of Christmas wrap --one is for regular wrap. Those containers stack on top of each other. I have a plastic sweater box for bags and a plastic shoe box for tissue paper and tags and ribbon. Works and great and keeps it all organized and neat and prevents damage to the ends of the rolls.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 7:57AM
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Surfer, great drawer! I agree with Macbirch about not getting too bogged down by the decision on what to do with mateless earrings. Do you know anyone who has a third piercing in their ear? Perhaps the'd welcome your gift of mateless earrings??? Freecycle sounds great too.
I haven't done my giftwrap :(
The weather this weekend was spectacular! Even the weeds were singing my name. After 16 hours of yardwork over the last two days I MIGHT be ready for a break. Gosh it feels great to be outside!
Gardening does require me to walk in and out of my garage to retrieve tools. That is the only drawback (and really sore muscles) to gardening.
Do you ever feel like if someone were to come and clean out a room (or a garage) while you were gone you'd just feel relieved? All those things, all those decisions...yikes!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 8:01AM
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Tre, maybe Surfer can start an organizing service. Drawer looks wonderful, Surfer.

I too got derailed by the lovely weather. AND had the same garage regret. So much easier to dart through the mess during winter than to have to face it trying to get to bicycles and garden tools... Too big a job though for me right now. Like the photos. I know I need more little successes before tackling that one.

May use Clink's suggestions on the gift wrap. Everything is now jammed into my sacred great grandparents' chest with the heavily carved saint tryptichs. So wrong on so many levels...

I need to catch up but thought of the next category: outdated computer manuals and diskettes! I haven't had a functional diskette floppy drive for years. Yet I have tons of disks. Even the really old bigger, flat black ones. Should be a quick task as they are ALL useless to me now. Anybody know how to destroy them or erase them with a magnet thingie???

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 12:14PM
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Talking about computer manuals and diskettes...I still have many diskettes. There are only a few that I wish were converted. Tell me to throw out all the others, please! I also have a stack of computer books for excel and access 1997 versions. Are these also so old that the information has changed? Should these be trashed as well?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 12:50PM
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Back in the dark ages my father had a plug in magnetic thingie to erase cassette tapes. It was very easy to use. Is this the same sort of thingie you use to erase disks? Thank goodness I don't have these things-one less category (finally)!
Marie, to me, these are a toss item. Of course I am not considered computer literate by my DS, so you may want to wait for more expert advice.
As far as gift wrap, Celtic the trunk sounds too nice for wrapping! I think my issue is that wrapping is kept in basement but that isn't where I wrap. Something to ponder.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 2:38PM
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Unlike Surfer, who I suspect is healthier in celebrating success, I am driven by shame and guilt.

Here is the Irish chest stuffed with a decade's worth of used gift bags. Digging in there is always unpleasant.

I know, I know...that chest should be holding precious letters, writings and a few treasured family things. Not crap.

Meanwhile in a spare closet spot is a nifty wrapping paper holder with a lid to store tape, scissers and ribbon. (lid is in front on the floor - lid doesn't fit cause it's too jammed)

So once again: Concept good. Execution bad. Why? Too much stuff!!

Solution: I'm throwing it ALL away (well mostly). I will salvage Christams stuff to the basement for the future Christmas stuff sorting/culling. Those pathetic tattered, creased smashed half rolls are gone (I have a need for the tubes for an upcoming eyeglass drawer project).

And what ever will I then do to wrap presents?

I shall have a very classy, flexible signature wrapping style: Either 1)Brown mailing paper and black satin ribbon for the 'sophisticated' gift; or, 2) White butcher's paper with bright ribbon for the fun gift.

I have the paper to redeploy. I bought the ribbons today (roll ends for cheap). And I bought bright colored heavy card stock paper and had the Officemax cut it to fit matching bright envelopes.

On to it!! I shall return victorious. With a gift wrap 'style'.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 5:20PM
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Oh Celtic! I am full of admiration. LOVE the idea of LIMITING wrapping to a few signature looks. I plan to appropriate this idea. Thank you.
I have one of those gift wrap containers. I hate mine. Of course have I given it to a new home? NO. That's because I eyed these for some time before plunking down my money. GR-R-H.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 5:59PM
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Concept good. Execution bad. Why? Too much stuff!!

No, actually, the concept is bad, for both of them.

The chest: bad for stuff you want to access often. Hard to get into; stuff is trapped at the bottom and you have to dig for stuff. Chests are bad for anything you want to access while it's being stored, and for anything that's smaller than a zerox-paper box. They're only good for stuff like out-of-season blankets, that you put in once, and take out once. And that are big and take up the whole thing all by themselves.

The wrapping-paper holder: looks good, but is annoying. Usually the wrong height (gotta get the jumbo one so the tallest rolls will fit. Stupid lid design means the lid itself takes up WAY too much room when you take it off, plus the lid ends up dinging the edges of the wrapping paper. Ditto the bottom.
(these things are the worst--they don't work, but the engender false hope)

Neither is a good container for the wrapping paper OR the gift bags.

And aren't you wise to have spotted the solution: limiting the supplies. Pick a style, or pick a number limit (4 rolls of wrapping paper, no more).

But I do like your idea to stick w/ kraft paper and butcher's paper, plus ribbons. Those papers will get use for other things. And both are sturdy.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 6:28PM
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My ancesters no doubt feel better.

The trunk now holds only DH's grandmother's quilts, some old Irish linen, my father's WWII letters to my mother (every day for 3 years!), my brother's journal and the drafting of a house I spent forever designing 20 years ago but never built.

The paper holder holds only the brown kraft paper, three good rolls for kids' stuff and the ribbons. Tally Sue, you are absolutely right it is annoying, but at least it is more functional now. I need something better that is upright..

And there is a big bag o' trash headed out. The Christmas stash is worse but at least it is not in my face daily. This wrapping idea played better in my head than in reality, but it'll do. Folks know I am not craft-y, so the bar is set pretty low!

(PS I'm not really giving you my fish. I need it for dinner!)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 6:48PM
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Celtic, please quickly get those quilts out of that chest. Wood is horrible for all natural fabrics--the linen also. Wood = acid. Wrap the quilts in a clean cotton sheet and store in a Rubbermaid type container with a lid. No light should get into it and take the quilts out and refold every few months.

Gloria (who actually does quilt appraising)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 7:57PM
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Darn Celtic--I could have used that fish for my dinner! :) Love the visual aids. OK now I am feeling guilty for being such a slug about MY giftwrap situation.
Quiltglo thanks for the info on quilt storage. I assume that would also hold true for other fabric heirlooms? Do you think Celtic could store the Rubbermaid type container inside the trunk?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 9:03PM
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You've given me a solution to a problem I've been pondering which is where to put our blankets. I have 2 very large ottomans that has "this and that" in them. I'm going to sort those items into drawers and put the blankets in the ottomans. I don't know why I hadn't thought of this sooner.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 10:12PM
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Gloria, thank you for the quilt storage info. I knew to refold them regularly, but did not know wood was acidic. The things I learn on this Forum!

Slowly, as I get rid of all the excess crap around here, There are places to put the kind of plastic container you describe. I can and will do that with the cloths. Could a plastic container go in there as tre asked?

Hmmm. Or maybe I will move the big box o photos to the trunk. We are not getting to those till next winter, right? Clears out another living room cabinet. Yay.

What is next? Computer disks? Or lotions and potions?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 11:38PM
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I don't see why the container put into the the blanket chest wouldn't work. Way back in the "good old days" woven coverlets were used before quilts. With the wool, it was more important to keep the insect damage at bay and I'm sure items were used up before any damage from the wood could occur. I know my mom kept lots of quilts in the cedar chest. My grandmother's wedding dress was there also.

I'm glad I live in a climate where critters like silverfish and moths don't present a problem. Old habits tend to die hard, long after the useful reason for doing them leaves.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 1:51AM
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I am still NOT on giftwrap!
Lotions and potions I have worked on. I am in the 'using up" phase on some bottles. Love getting to the bottom and being able to pitch (recycle) another container! When I get down to the last bottle I am going to treat myself to something new.
Minor issues with computer stuff.
Realistically I should be getting ready to go out of town, AGAIN. I'll see what I can squeeze in if I'd only get off the darn computer!!!:)
Oh, and Celtic, I do want you to use that trunk but am wondering if acid and photos are a good mix. ????. Sorry.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 7:58AM
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Tre, the photos wouldn't touch the wood as they are in shoeboxes. Is the acid in the air in there or a contact problem with the wood. Gloria?

OK I'll put lotions and potions next on my list after computer disks. That'll take a while. Means plenty of time for you to catch up, tre.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:13AM
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You guys are truly inspirational! I've been involved in my kitchen organization but have been following this thread in amazement. I've compiled a list based on all the categories everyone has suggested and plan to address them. Still haven't completed my kitchen shelving/mini office area yet, but feel the need to coast for a bit. I'm trying to get ready for a long weekend away. Come next Tuesday, you can officially count me in.

So far, some of the categories I've weeded through: coffee mugs, drinking and wine glasses, dishes, serving dishes, pots and pans, small appliances, table linens, dish towels, candles, office supplies, return address labels, greeting cards, winter gloves, scarves and hats, medicine, under the bathroom sink, under the kitchen sink, plastic storage containers and lids, foils and wraps. Didn't need to do scissors or tape.

I just love so many of the suggestions -- Celtic's wrapping paper idea is genius! Such a nice supportive group. Your thoughts about your relationship to your stuff are philosophical and a breath of fresh air -- the voices of reason in contrast to the commercials and ads that insist we must buy more to be more. It makes me feel sane and appreciative for the things I have.

I think the areas I will need the most support and creative suggestions for tackling are: clothing and shoes. I just lose my rational thinking altogether when I'm weeding my closet or out shopping. At 50, I've just gotten a little lost in how to best dress myself. My house looks better than I do.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 4:42PM
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Tina you are truly one of us us! You might want to check out an old thread called How Many? Many of us confessed to the number of shoes, etc. we owned:)
I saw the pics of your reorganized kitchen-beautiful. You will succeed in clothing too!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 4:57PM
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I, myself, wouldn't worry about an acid in the air if I put photos in chest. Of course, my own photos are stashing in envelopes, cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, etc. Just having them all in one place would be a huge improvement.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 2:28AM
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TA-DUH! Sorted giftwrap, ribbon, gift cards! Stumbled across "Today I'm 3 card". My DS will be 22 next month!
Some trash, some donations. Still need a better container for all. When I do the Xmas wrap it will be UGLY.
Also got rid of a couple more bags of trash and a few more bags of donations collected. HURRAY!
Quiltglo having all the photos in one (or even two) places would be a huge improvement here too. As each drawer, box or cabinet coughs up photos, I've been stashing them in one place. I envision a winter of sorting and putting them into labeled storage boxes or (gasp) actual photo albums!
DO you guys mind if we start a Part Two?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 8:01AM
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Thank you. The cable is out at my house, so I'm in a computer lab at school.

Celtic, if you have a windows pc, insert your floppy disk into the drive. Then go to My Computer and right click on A drive. Click deformat or defragment (whichever I forgot what it was called) and it will erase your disk. In order to use it again, it has to be reformatted, so no one can get your info. You might also want to buy acid-free boxes for your photos. And thank you for the fish.

I don't know if I can get rid of my letters and cards. I never look at them, but they're so sweet. I even have the halloween card with my ex's proposal message in it. My ex was manipulative, dangerous, a worse hoarder than my mom, and kept trying to convert me. So why do I still have the card? I can't let go of it.

OT: I have a job interview this afternoon! :)
Plus I have have to stop ignoring my thesis paper.
So long and thanks for all the fish!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:52AM
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Fabulous work, Tina!! Are you ever a speed demon to catch up so fast!

Surfer, that is the funny part. I haven't had a computer with a floppy A drive for years. Let alone the the even older wider drive, whatever that was called, for the flat 5 inch black ones. But I got disks. Lots and lots o disks, LOL.

Gloria and tre, getting all the photos in one place would definitely be worth the trouble. If only because you will know where to put all the *new* photos that appear between now and The Big Photo Project. I consolidated mine into a big box o shoeboxes. First had it in a closet, now a LR base cupboard. I add more photos and strays without a thought. Having the one place makes it so easy to put them away without thinking.

Tre, I'm good with two, three, ten more threads. Whatever it takes. I'm hooked. And there is DEFINITELY progress, bit by bit. More and more drawers, cupboards and closet corners now have breathing space. I just need to keep on getting rid of inessential stuff, and that is getting easier to do. Anybody else seeing progress?

As I said in the first post: "shimmering before me thoughout will be the vision of lucious empty breathing space cradling what stays." I still want that. Bad.

Lotions and potions next up.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 1:06PM
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I went through 1 drawer of the filing cabinet and now have a box full of papers to be shredded. I don't have a shredder, though and never felt the need for one. Any ideas besides shredding on how to get rid of all this and the more to come?

Does all correspondence with the IRS have to be kept indefinitely? They concern the monthly payment plan we'd been on. Or can I treat it like credit cards, keeping only the recent ones?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 2:49PM
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Marie, can you burn where you are? RE: the IRS, I'm not sure. Is it 7 years, or am I thinking another staute of limitations. Anybody?

I am on a break. The lotions and potions search led to worse even than the socks that got this whole mess started!! Leaving aside the several bottle/jars that are actually "in play" at the shower, sink and bedside, I have unearthed and gathered:

16 deodorants (3 travel size)
10 sunblocks
3 hair volumizers
9 hairgels - the 80's were great, weren't they?
14 dental floss
5 shaving cream (3 travel size)
12 bars of soap
3 mouthwash
7 foot fungicides - ew.
11 shampoos
6 body creams
7 body lotions
4 face creams
6 face lotions
11 oils (essential, massage, etc)

Whew. And I"m not even counting the travel and sample size things!! I need treatment. I need a group. To make matters worse, I found 7 more chapsticks and a tin of 10 more ancient nail polish bottles. I thought I was done with those! Aaauggh!

I have realized something. 9 years ago I moved here from my former house that had no storage. I mean none. The 2 foot closet on the first floor I made a pantry, no other closets there. Upstairs Victorian shallow 18 deep wardrobe closets with hooks, pedestal sinks, etc. No storage. So when I moved to this place with its walls of builtin cabinetry everywhere, well....wheeeee. So happy to buy bulk on sale, but I just kept putting stuff away wherever. It has taken years and years to accumulate haphazardly.

Good news is that both bathroom's cabinetry and drawers are cleaned and in order. Most stuff will be used now that I know where it is. Little scarey that the bath closet is better stocked than some third world general stores I've been in.

Back to the lotions and potions to ponder consolidation vs storage vs dumping...good thing I'm not working today.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 4:11PM
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Crap. Missed a cabinet by the tub:

6 candles, 4 shampoos, 2 shaving cream, 4 sunblocks (no, I don't know why they are there), 3 body lotions, 4 bars soap and 18, yes 18, various bath salts, scents, etc.

And that is all DH's doing. I don't even like baths. He is the tubber.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:25PM
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One thing I don't like about organizing. When DH comes home tonight, he'll think I didn't do a thing because everything I went through today was inside something and out of sight.

I haven't been at home for a full day until today so today I finally did a few things.

I emptied out 2 large ottomans and filled one with blankets. The other one is now empty. I have more blankets in the linen closet and think I'll put those into this one. I put all the computer stuff which had been in one of the ottomans into 1 box. I threw out a bunch of old travel guides that I'd been collecting. And I've gone through 2 drawers in the filing cabinet. There are 3 more to go.

I still haven't gone through the garage yet because it's still too cold. So far, this April has registered as the coldest on record.

Slowly but surely...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 6:04PM
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Great progress, Marie! I know just what you mean about getting finished, closing up the drawers/cabinets - or ottomans! - and it looks like nothing has changed. But it has. And you can feel it, can't you?

DH spontaneously said he can feel that the house is happier without being so stuffed. I certainly am happier to have fought through stuff I've been dreading facing.

I need something easy next. Maybe I'll just gather up the scattered sentimental cards, letters, writings, etc I can't part with and set them in the chest. It shall be my memory chest. Besides, I need the file space, LOL.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:53PM
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Departing tomorrow morning for Knoxville, TN. Can someone help me relearn how to pack for a long weekend trip? I used to travel with one very small bag, but now I don't seem to able to go anyware without a full wardrobe selection. Oooh, it might be cold. Or, maybe I'll need layers so if I have a hotflash I can rapidly peel off a couple of tops. I no longer can look at my closet objectively and figure out what to wear in the morning. How can I possibly be capable of packing several coordinating outfits with interchangaeable pieces? Thank goodness we are hanging out with old friends in a very low key way. This is part of my closet/wardrobe crisis I need to address when I return.

Congrats on everyone's progress. Keep that list a'coming. I'll be raring to go on Tuesday. Have a good weekend.


P.S. -- Sorry, I guess I should have posted this on the "organizing clothes" thread.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:25PM
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When I did my major decluttering last year I gathered all the cards and letters and put them all into one small box. I also can't part with them. This time around, I'm still finding some more and when I finally get around to doing the garage, these newly found ones will go into that box.

When I finish the filing cabinet, I'll definitely feel relieved. This has been the one place I've dreaded cleaning out. I didn't even attempt it last year.

Tina, I wish I had advice for you but I also take my whole wardrobe and seem to wear the same items over and over again.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:56PM
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WOW Celtic that was quite the collection of lotions and potions. Perhaps of the keepers you can start finishing off bottles? I keep all my travel size things together. Saves some rummaging around when it is time to pack---like NOW!
Tina I am facing the same problem with packing for 4 day trip! A possible thread topic for another time?
Marie you are doing such a great job on all your papers. Even if DH doesn't notice the improvements and hard work it will make things easier/better for you all.
I'll miss your company--stay out of trouble---keep lightening your load!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 9:07AM
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Tina --- ok -- go at this slowly. I so understand the hot flash thing. You are hanging out with friends -- low-key, so grab a couple of pairs of jeans. Pick your most comfortable pair of shoes. One pair-- no more. Grab a jacket or blazer --One -- no more. Then add a sweater, a tee and maybe a blouse that coordinate with the jacket. A coordinating sweater set would be perfect -- you could wear the jacket with the shell -- the set together --- the blouse with the cardigan . Add jewelry to coordinate -- one color -gold or silver. Maybe a scarf to dress something up. And you are ready.

We don't travel much but I keep my suitcase packed with travel toothbrushes, toiletries, aspirin, travel hairdryer, hairbrushes and combs at all times. Its a good way to keep some of the stuff everyone is de-cluttering for a purpose. And it is in one place and ready to go and I don't forget anything.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 9:52AM
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Cathy wrote: We don't travel much but I keep my suitcase packed with travel toothbrushes, toiletries, aspirin, travel hairdryer, hairbrushes and combs at all times. Its a good way to keep some of the stuff everyone is de-cluttering for a purpose. And it is in one place and ready to go and I don't forget anything.

That is a great hint. One I'd never thought of. DH went out of town last week and we were scrambling to put together a toiletry bag. I'm going to follow your advice and have one ready next time.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 10:53AM
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We have set of toiletries in each bathroom, and DH keeps a third set at his Y locker and a fourth in a ditty bag he uses for swimming or travel. I keep a travel bag with sample sizes ready to go.

Wouldn't you know that *all* have needed shaving cream or deodorant at the same time?! I think that fed into my stockpiling. But I way overdid it. This morning I talked to Purple Heart and will send off some of the new shampoo, shave cream, etc. Frankly, I don't think we will live long enough to use all that ourselves!

Letters and cards were a snap so I took on kitchenware utensils, small appliances, pots and pans, etc. with Alton Brown's method. Started a different thread for that. It's a whole other challenge!

What's next on this front? Something simple cause I am beat. Maps. I'll do maps.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 7:42PM
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ah, maps!

The first post I ever made on this forum was when someone has posted their system for organizing maps: Put a colored sticker on them, draw the same color/shape ona piece of paper, write the map name beside the symbol, etc.....

It was really copmlicated. I said:
-how many maps to you need to keep? how many places do you go on short notice, that you need a map for? will your map be out of date? Most roads don't change, but some do. How hard is it to get a map? Don't you only really need to keep a map for your own state or city, and the three surrounding states or cities? Maximum 6 maps, I would think....

-wouldn't it be simpler just to file them by state? In alpha order? If the state name isn't visible in the top 2 inches, then just rewrite it w/ a black marker (and for cities, write the state name first, then the city, and file it under the state), and rubber-band them together. Then you can just flip through the top edges to find the one you need?

Why have a separate list, etc?

Good luck with yours!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 10:39AM
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"outdated computer manuals and diskettes"

This is an area I need to address, and am very reluctant to do so. I should probably go over this with my husband to make sure I'm not getting rid of something he wants/needs. But he's reluctant to do this too!

And, I suppose, I should put all the disks into the computer and see what's on them. Probably a lot are empty, probably more are outdated info. Erase and re-use, or offer on freecycle.

As always, my TOO MUCH STUFF is mostly papers. Boxes of miscellaneous papers and assorted stuff jumbled in with them. I keep thinking I can sort through them while I watch tv or something but then "forget to do it."

I'd like to participate in a photos challenge thread at some point. I need to sort through them all but I need some motivation to do it. Maybe next winter, as you've suggested, unless someone wants to get started sooner ... ?

surfer girl - "So long and thanks for all the fish" - brings back memories. Used to be my tagline too. (It's the name of a book by Douglas Adams, for those who aren't familiar with it.)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 12:56PM
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Maps was nothing. A shoebox full.

Ah, but today the garage beckons.....

LOL, think that closed storage is optimally deployed?! I'll start by filling the uppers better: Tall on left for garden, then left upper seasonal (my hats and gloves box is ready to go up there), center tools, and right kitchen overflow. Cull as I go. There's a lot of junk got put there when we moved in 9 years ago.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 7:05PM
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celtic, I hate to burst your bubble, but that garage looks better than ours when I'm really proud of ours being organized. Hmm...I think I'd just settle back with a good book. Looks like you're already done.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 1:48AM
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Celtic, I was going to write the same thing as Gloria. It looks done to me, too.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 11:41AM
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Ditto what guiltglo and marie wrote! I thing I'll start a new thread with pics of my garage. A three-car garage with, you guessed it, no space to park even ONE car.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 1:22PM
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No, no, no, ladies. THIS is done (Left to right, garden, seasonal & wall ttreatments, tools, kitchen):

Close her up, and there you have it!

And you can get from the car to the door without tripping on something. And open the cabinet doors. And things don't spill out. Yay!

I'm having a well deserved beer and watching the ball game!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 3:13PM
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Great job!

I'm like Martha--I have to add SOMETHING. You need more shelves in those upper cabinets! Actually, you need more shelves in several cabinets.

Look at the cabinet w/ the shoes in it (and look at what it held in the "before" picture, and all the empty space, that's now filled w/ piled-on-top-of-one-another shoes). Now look over at the top-right cabinet in the "after," and see how the multiple shelves means, not only can you fit more in, AND it looks neater (nothing to be scoffed at, actually), but you can ACCESS that stuff better, bcs nothing's stacked on top of other stuff.

If you can't fit an extra shelf in bcs one or two things are too tall (as in that bottom-left cabinet w/ lots of empty space but something tall in the back), but there's a lot of headroom on one side, consider wire shelves that you could stand on one half of the shelf, or and under-shelf basket or an undershelf tray storage or even door-mounted storage that you attach so it sticks into the open space higher up.

And how smart you are with that closed storage.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 10:52AM
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Tally Sue, you are smart! I'm surprised your eagle eyes missed the under counter baskets way on the right (got them out of my reorganized pantry). I'll move one to that garden cabinet right now! And you are right that more shelves could squish into a few places. That upper left cabinet has DH frozen tundra snowthrowing garb: huge boots, wool overalls, parka, etc. It all comes down at once and all goes back at once. Still, if I put in another shelf, I can raise all that a bit, enough for the golf shoes and golf balls to slip into their own spot. Oooo, perfect!

BTW, we didn't put those cabinets in so I can't take crdeit. Came with the house. Quite a treat to have such space and fittings. Our last garage was so small, I had to go on the net and research wheel bases of cars to find one to fit. 97 Rav4 is one short vehicle! Still have it and it looks like a toy car in this big garage, LOL.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 11:56AM
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Okay, I go away for a few days and Celtic organizes her entire garage! That is amazing work. You must be so happy!

Thanks, clink, for your suggestions. I packed much less than usual, but still managed to arrive home with at least half the items not worn. Oh, well, I will work on this. I love the idea of having a travel bag packed with toiletries and necessities.

I've unpacked and now thinking about what to start in on next. So glad to be back and in the comfort of my own space.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 12:47PM
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Tina, make your self a little list of what you actually used and enjoyed while on your trip - or wished you had brought - while it is still fresh. Leave it with your travel toiletry bag (you are making one to be ready to go again, right? A ziplock will do. TSA prefers that anyway)

I have been in the habit for years of traveling with an ancient beloved little 3 x 5 leather wallet/book thingie that holds ID, credit cards, cash, pen and a mini spiral notebook. Rubber band around it. Soon as I begin planning a trip I break out a fresh mini notebook for all my notes, use it during the trip, then on the plane home log what we needed and didn't need. Hope springs eternal that I will figure out how to travel light. (you'd think 50,000 miles on a motorcycle with a cubic foot of packing space each would have learned me, but regular travel is so different ...two suitcases hold such opportunities!!)

Anybody got a culling category? The garage fried me but I'm ready. I was actually considering unloading my 'organizing books', LOL. None of them worked for me! Love the irony.

And where is tre?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 11:29PM
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I'm back too but getting ready to leave again for 2 weeks! Celtic, once again, you astound us with your fantastic progress! Great job on the garage!!
Love the idea for keeping track of what you wished you had brought and what you actually used.
As for categories, looking back on your list, what about light bulbs or playing cards? Should be easy???
Envious of all the progress you are making......T

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 7:50AM
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Celtic, I took your advice and wrote down what I wore during my trip. Noted where I went, the time of year, length of stay, and whether we drove or flew. I think the seasonal thing often trips me up. I find myself taking more clothes than necessary when the weather can be unpredictable. I travel to Florida at least three times a year and we usually go to Knoxville once or twice. I LOVE the idea of using a notebook to keep track of this info.

Yesterday's organizing went outside, where I picked up numerous sticks in the yard and trimmed the ivy. Today I'm raking and pulling out the porch furniture from the shed.

I'm in for culling lightbulbs. I'll also include extension cords, timers, three-prong adaptors, and the thingies that let you plug more cords into a regular outlet.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 11:18AM
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The lightbulb thing drove me crazy for a long time. I decided to break it down into two categories; what I call regular light bulbs ( with the standard screw base) and those with a small screw base. The two bins are labeled and sit on the top shelf in the laundry. Its a reach but I don't need to get them very often.
Now I do have lightbulbs for fitures I no longer have. What do I do with perfectly good but useless (to me) lightbulbs???

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 10:11PM
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List those lightbulbs on Freecycle or take to a Habitat resale store if you have one. I ended up with a bunch of blubs when we moved and didn't have similar outside fixtures.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 2:03AM
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Sending out a big "Thanks!!" to Celtic -- and the rest of you for encouraging me along this pathway! :)

I've been neglecting the spring chores and finally got off my butt and cleared and cleaned out the master bedroom closet. Send four HUGE garbage bags full of clothes to Goodwill. Even the DH managed to clear out a drawer and I got a chance to put away his winter sweaters! He actually went through his jeans and shorts and decided on "keepers" too! The Age of Miracles! LOL!

Also switched around the clothes to summer ones -- AND switched the shoes. With just one walk-in closet to share -- our out-of-season clothes are simply switched to the back of the closet. Even cleaned the shoes too!

Hoping to get him to ditch piles of very old files next! From years ago -- when he was selling software -- and everything is out of date. Trying to get him to do "a handful of files" at a time! LOL!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 9:35AM
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Inspiring, teacats!! I so need to tackle clothes closets. In a big way.

Couple years ago I posted on kitchen forum something I'd read on closet culling. Rather like the Alton Brown kitchen method.

*The super simple 15 minute closet overhaul*

STEP 1: Go in your closet and take 5 minutes to rehang all the clothes backwards (not facing backwards, but with the hangers hooked from behind over the pole rather than like normal from the front).

STEP 2: Live as before for a year or two or whatever. Hang clothes normally as you use them.

STEP 3: Take 10 minutes to ditch everything still hanging backwards.

It got a very negative response, including a stern warning from the child of a fireman saying how in a fire, one could get hurt trying to save the clothes if they were hung like that. Huh? Save the clothes? Clothes are the last thing I'd grab in a fire. This isn't the 1920's when your 2 suits were your prize posessions.

Sigh, unfortunately I am easily chided, and embrace any reason to procrastinate! So I didn't do it. Now I wish I'd ignored the naysayers. It'd be a piece of cake to be at step 3 now.

Decided 5 "extra" (not in use) indoor extension cords is about 4 too many. Will keep the 6 heavy duty outdoor for Christmas lights - takes 3 just to reach the fir way at the back of the lot. So heartwarming way out there in the early dawn (keeping 2 of 4 heavy duty timers too).

What's next?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 10:10AM
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Congrats, teacats, on your progress! Need to deal with clothes and shoes myself, but avoiding it for now. I remember when you talked about that closet culling method, Celtic. I think it's a great idea.

I'm finished with lightbulbs, extension cords, timers, 3-prong adaptors, and outlet thingies. The lightbulbs reside in a drawer in the living room cabinet, but I'm thinking maybe they belong in the basement with the others. They could use a little more space. I'll need to clear an area in the basement, which is another task in itself. Every time I go down there, I see more stuff I need to deal with. For example, after doing the extension cords I sorted through travel books and maps, got rid of empty boxes from recent computer printer/camera/shredder purchases, tossed my college statistics textbook and two notebooks, and partially organized one tool box. Also went through my stash of paper plates, napkins and utensils that I buy for holiday and backyard parties. Pulled out all the stragglers, and my husband and I can use those for quick meals. Took a pair of speakers and put them by the curb with a sign marked, "Free". They were gone in two hours.

More yard work today since the weather is with me and my allergies aren't acting up. Gotta do it while I can.

Next category could be board games and playing cards? Aw, heck, I'll have to take my broken hall lamp out of the cabinet so I can get to them.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 11:58AM
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I would keep more than 1 extension cord--My vote: 3 of various sizes (1 small, 1 middle, 1 big).

But I'm sure I have more in my closet than I need. Unfort. I have other things that need my time (folding laundry; addressing envelopes...)

Tina, I thnk you need to do those playing cards and board games--which means, look in the yellow pages for a place that will do lamp repair, and take the lamp there, so you can get in the closet. I dare you! Tomorrow's Saturday; surely you can drop the lamp off in the morning?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 4:58PM
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Wooooo -hoooooo -- cleared and cleaned out the bathroom cabinets ...... threw out tons of "stuff"

(including lots of "what the HECK was I thinking?!!!! items! LOL!)

Re-organized items into baskets for Body; Nails; Hair. Even made labels for them (I do adore my label-maker!)

Breathing deep -- and mixing a martini for Happy Hour!


    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 7:26PM
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Teacats, way to go! Bathrooms AND closets in the same week. Awesome.

I tackled the clothes closet today. Like the kitchen, felt it worthy of a separate thread. Long story short: too much stuff. What else is new?

We are doing playing cards and games here next, right? Sounds easier than clothes. I'm in.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 12:43AM
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Didn't do any culling but was able to find an antique lamp repair place in the phone book. I'm going to take my hall lamp there this week.

Yesterday I spent the majority of the day outside. In the past three days I have raked my entire yard, trimmed tons of overgrown ivy, and picked up stray sticks. It's been several years since I've done a thorough straightening -- we've only taken care of basic pruning and leaf removal in the fall. Bad allergies and work on the interior of the house have kept me from doing this, and now it looks so much better.

No culling for me today. My husband is off from work and wants to finish the shelving area off the dining room/basement steps, so that's the priority. Will remove the lamp from the cabinet so I can start on cards and game boards tomorrow.

teacats, good work!

celtic, I'll stop in and visit your clothing thread late afternoon. It's silly, I know, but I love being on the computer and I use it as a reward during breaks from cleaning . . .


    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 12:58PM
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Tina -- Way to rock out on the yard work!! Great job -- another rewarding thing about yard work is how wonderful any home can look!!

Must tackle the gardens -- after all of the storms here -- all of the greenery is way overgrown -- which is quite a change since we've been in drought conditions for the last two-three years!

Way tooooo hot and humid here in Dallas -- a drippy, icky day today but DH is determined to dig out a broken fence post and add a second one to prop it up. Must get him another cold drink!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 1:19PM
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Tina--a place to fix the lamp? Yay!

My husband is off from work and wants to finish the shelving area off the dining room/basement steps,


    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 10:17AM
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Alright, I'm done with playing cards and board games. Lamp is out of the cabinet and ready to go to the shop.

I must associate smoking with card and game playing, because this is where I had stored the remaining supply of ashtrays. Haven't smoked in almost 10 years and most people I know don't, but I keep a few on hand for parties so people can take it outside. Stored near the cards/games is our art and drawing supplies. Weeded through glues, pencils, markers, etc. kept in a metal box. I was totally grossed out when I discovered mouse droppings in a bag with the construction paper -- eww! Threw that all right in the trash. Vacuumed and wiped down the interior of the entire cabinet. Need to mouseproof this area with steel wool, as there are a few small openings which must be where the critters gained access. Living in an older home, I'm generally less freaked out than I used to be, but I'm diligent about getting rid of them because they are very germy things.

What's next?


    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 12:14PM
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Flower pots? Mine are a jumbled mess...

Pillows? I am hanging a clothesline and want to wash and freshen them next hot sunny day.

Meanwhile the closet went well enough that after forcing myself to do something else today, I treated (?) myself to a closetmaid shoe cubby thing I am about to assemble. Shoes off the floor. That is a first! Infrastructure indeed: double yay!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 4:16PM
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ooh, pillows--that's a category I really do need to rethink. I have 4 to 6 extras; I *need* 2 extras at least, bcs of the fold-out bed. But I'm not sure I need 4 (and it might be 6 up there).

And I should probably have a foam on, in case allergic people visit.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 5:26PM
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Ah yes!! infrastructure is soooo important.

My DH cleared and re-organized the garage during the early part of this year (we sell things on EBay and this is where items are stored) -- and we bought 6 garage-type shelving units (really strong) and those are standing two-by-two back-to-back. Really works -- more vertical storage -- and we can actually walk around the garage now.

When we moved into this house -- back in 93 -- we had California Closets do the closet in the office/guest room. Never ever regretted that money -- every inch is usable storage -- both for home office items AND room for guest items too.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 8:40PM
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Wow, real shoe organization. That is wonderful, Celtic.

This afternoon I weeded through my entire file box of home renovation and decorating clippings, etc. and got rid of almost half of what I had.

Meanwhile, those darn shelves are just about done. My husband's doing some paint touch up right now, and I need to find a couple of shallow small boxes to hold some loose items on one shelf. Tomorrow I should be able to put everything in its place and take some pics.

I'm going to check my "master list" that includes the stuff you guys already did. I don't have any extra pots or pillows, so I'll play catch-up.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 9:27PM
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Oh! Can I play? I just found this and am relating to it in an extreme way. We just removed everything from three bedrooms to have the floors refinished and I am forcing myself to downsize before I put everything back. I was fortunate to start reorganizing my filing system a week before the move, and purged a lot of paper at that time. I'll confess the oldest thing I found was a secretarial civil certification from 1977, and medical records from two dogs ago that have long since died. (Filing is Not my favorite thing to do.) It helped when I read that 80% of what we file is never looked at again...and yes, that is true in my case! Before I bring anything back into my home office, I'm making da*n sure that I need it or I love it. When in doubt, toss it out! I've wanted to do this for such a long time, but apparently I needed an extreme makeover to push me into it all the way.

My goal is NO SURFACE CLUTTER. I've always had a fair amount of that, so this has been a challenge. I want my surfaces clear for anything I want to use them for at any moment, and to be easy to maintain. My office is all hardwoods (floors and furniture) and the dust is too hard to deal with, so I'm endeavoring to get 95% of it all under cover (drawers or closets.) We ditched a large armoire in the bedroom that wasn't utilized well, and a recliner we didn't use much to create some breathing room. I am dealing with everything you've mentioned and can relate to it all...from throwing out pens to bathroom/bedroom stuff. (I'm now down to a small box of pens where every last one works. How nice to go for what you need, knowing it still writes. I threw away more than I kept!) I've also purged gift wrap (Oh boy, do I relate!) along with the stupid gift wrap organizer which never worked very well for me. Instead, I have a beautiful old antique paper holder which holds two rolls; I'm also a total fan of white and brown butcher paper. (Along with a stash of tissue, which takes up less space than bubble wrap and makes great padding.) I saved a couple rolls of wallpaper which I like to use for drawer liner (or gift wrap) but I'm not saving Christmas paper any longer either. I did our bathroom potions/lotions when we finished the bathroom remodel, and the extra is stored in a small, two shelf nightstand cupboard. I refuse to buy anymore until that stuff is gone, and won't keep more than two on hand after that. No more Stocking Up excessively! Tomorrow, I'm putting some of my books back on the shelves, and considering a former cd rack for my next garage sale. (It's not under cover!) When we added a media cabinet in the kitchen, I allowed a couple of drawers for those and when they fill up, it's time to purge. I finally let go of all the cards I had saved (years worth) and frankly, I don't miss them one little bit. It's been a lot of work, but I'm enjoying the freedom that a little space brings. I've started a To Go list for the next garage sale with the items I no longer need and their location, so I'll know what to drag out when the time comes. Isn't it fun? Now if I could only brainwash myself into thinking organizing the garage would be fun...I'm not there yet!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 4:36AM
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Two beginning steps.
1. Keep kitchen sink completely clear.
2. Contain things.
For example contain papers in supermarket oranges cartons doubled up in their lids. Contain small papers in shoeboxes. Stack doubled up oranges cartons. Stack Shoeboxes.

This post was edited by theszak on Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 8:49

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:40AM
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Well I'd like to congratulate you all because the first step to fixing the hoarding problem is to admit that you have a problem! I should know, I've been there before... But being a member of hoarders anonymous (right here on this message board) will help us all tackle this problem together. Stay strong in the fight.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:54AM
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I cleaned out my closet and color coded and got rid of a suitcase and all the clothes I could fit into it. I still have 60 (sitxty!!!) shirts that all are useful and serve some purpose. I even tried them on to make sure they still fit. I have decided to go down the row and wear a different shirt each day. If I come to one and don't want to wear it it will go straight into the good will bag. It could take 60 days, but I will get this done. Tomrrow I am tackling two bookshelves. Goodby craft books that I haven't consulted in 15 years!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 12:37AM
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