Dumpster -- Need Support, not 'helpful criticism'

petemich1May 14, 2006


I am a clutterbug. ("Hello Clutterbug") This feels like some kind of confession at a 12 step ... :o)

I am probably going to get a dumpster next weekend and spend a week or so of dumping.

Just 5 short years ago I could park the car in the garage and could host company in my house. I had 2 young kids who were both high needs (for different reasons) but was somehow able to manage most of the clutter in addition to juggling them and our activities. I am a clutterbug by nature, but was able to keep it on a fairly ok level. Not as low as I would have liked, but low enough to give the house a big clean push to make the little piles shrink or go away.

[note -- eventhough I am a clutterbug and can easily live in clutter, I prefer not to. Can't stand grime, but clutter can be ignored.]

Then, I planned a summer where my pre-k kids would be in daycare for 2 days a week and my friends and I were going to round-robin at each other's homes and help deep clean. All our kids were signed up for the same summer program.

Bam! Was diagnosed with breast cancer and my life turned upside down. Treatment was heavy and intense and several years later I am still tired. Very tired. Of course, in the meantime, my kids started school and are even more active than before, so the clutter has turned into junky piles. Everywhere.

I have a weekly cleaning lady to help me -- she even helps me to pick up stuff and does lite laundry (sheets, towels, etc) I also clean clean clean it seems. But, I keep getting behind. I suspect that it is not the daily/weekly cleaning, but the under-stuff that is really tripping me up.

My kids are still high needs and I quit my job to be more involved with them. I somehow thought that that would also free up time to clean my "stuff" and it is just not happening. I am feeling very overwhelmed.

My friends also have kids in school now and are back to work, so the round-robin thing is not an option.

So ...... I just told DH this morning that if he gets a dumpster on our driveway by next weekend that I will just start carrying stuff out there and "dumping" it.

Hopefully I will be able to do this without cringing too much. Some of the stuff is just junky old toys, some of it is decent art supplies, some of it is good stuff. But, I have been struggling for so so so so sooooo long to get a handle on it, that I think I may just need a fresh start.

I know fresh starts worked for me in the past because my family moved around a lot when I was growing up and I also did so as a young adult with my work. My current home is my longest stay at any one place -- about 10 years, so I am hoping that I can do a "moving cleanout" for a fresh start even though I am not moving.

I really want to have friends over without the clutter-junk. I want to do more with my kids and their friends and not feel tied down to a mountain of cleaning. I'd like to host family gatherings once again.

In the past, even recent past, I have donated tons of stuff to Goodwill, St. Vincents, friends, school, neighborhood hand-md-down chains, etc. I think that this time I just need it to go away without sorting and delivering. I don't like the idea of landfill, but am really truely at my wits end. I need my garage and house back as a place to live in, not to "store" things in.

Please encourage me to dump and help me be strong.


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Go for it! I'm planning on doing the same thing this week! We tried giving things away (Salvation Army didn't want the Brio train set in boxes, furniture with any kind of scratch, TV stand without the wheels -it didn't HAVE any wheels). It's all still where it was when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. So we're just going to get rid of it. I try to go by Flylady advice and she would say "Your home is not a landfill" so I'm just going to get rid of things. I have put a few things out by the curb hoping someone would stop and take some of the better things or kid's toys and they have. But the rest is going out. I know I'm going to feel so much better when it's gone and I know you will too. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 4:39PM
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Thanks Speechie,

Let me know how it goes for you this week. "Dump!! Dump!! Dump!!"

It is too bad that places get real picky about stuff. Once in a while I post things on craigslist or on local neighborhood email groups. But, I think I just need to dump and (hopefully) be done.

My kids are going to flip when some of their stuff ends up gone, but ... I HAVE been asking them to make some choices .... so I will go one or two more rounds with them before I just start making executive decisions.

Sorry you have to get rid of such good stuff.

Hope your husband is doing ok. (He did make it, didn't he? If not, I am very very sorry.) Cancer really sucks.

Thank you for the positive words. My DH is now saying, "But a dumpster outside for a week in our driveway would look TERRIBLE." And, this after he said "Don't worry about the cost, it will be worth it to clean this stuff out." But, we talked about it and I think he is ok with it now.

Tell me ANY story you want about your dumpster, I would love to hear it. (Also any story about your hubby -- if you want/need an ear.)


    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 5:54PM
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Last year I did a major decluttering without a dumpster. I have one large garbage can that the city empties only once a week. My decluttering would stop when the can got full. Just 2 weekends ago, I did my garage again. I am only now catching up with the garbage in the can. For instance, I wasn't able to empty the small garbage cans in the various rooms prior on garbage night until now.

If I had a dumpster, I would have been forced to declutter in a much shorter time. I say, get the dumpster and don't worry about throwing away good stuff. I put the really good stuff in a couple of boxes for family members to go through. That way, I didn't end up feeling "too" guilty. You might consider doing this, too.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 6:40PM
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Thanks for your encouragement. I just emailed our garbage collection agency for dumpster prices.

And, am working myself into the "It's been in this spot/box for a while, so be gone!!" And not thinking about the old "well, so and so's kids would REALLY love this item ..." I need to go into "Too Bad! It's Gone!" mode.

Really really hope the prices are not too high as I would like a "giant" one for 2 weekends and the week between. This way I can do the first round and then go for a second right away. I am hoping to hold an item one time and dump!

We are going to each pick a couple of items to not dump. DH wants all books-on-tape to be saved. DS wants all stuffed animals saved, etc. So, if we each pick a couple of categories and dump the rest on the first go-round ... then go through the saved items on the second go-round.

I know that we probably won't get a dumpster twice, so I figure this is a good compromise.

Hopefully the 10 day prices aren't too bad.

We have been doing the garbage can thing for a year or so now. Our trip-up there is queueing things without the kids being aware. We do this by using our old cans (pre garbage company ones) as holding areas. Then each week transferring from these cans to the official garbage cans.

We have done really well with this in the backyard and the patio/toy room stuff. But, we don't always have items in the queue and the kids actually hinder. So, think a dumpster is the way to go for us.

Wish me luck on the pricing!


    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 10:17PM
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I am almost a year past my dumpster darling - all 40 yards worth - and it was wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It really did help!!!!!!!!!

Of course, I am still a messy-mess - because that didn't change my basic nature. Nevertheless, it really did help.

You go for it!!!!!!!!! Best wishes!!!!!!!!!!


    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 11:34PM
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I would love to have a dumpster!!! When it gets to a certain point, you just have to dump. Even Flylady says that.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 1:42AM
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Way to go!!!

An excellent plan -- and it will be amazing to hear your "after" report -- please let us all know how your dumpster plan worked out!!

And I'm glad that you are working on your mindset and good cleaning thoughts too!! Always helpful!!

And -- in my own case -- I'm always amazed how much less folks will keep -- once they get going on a clean out. My DH always says how much he wants to keep certain things or items BUT then simply trashes them or takes them over to Goodwill once he gets into the "cleaning Zone"!! LOL!

Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 10:49AM
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I think this is a GREAT plan for the situation you're now in.

I know that if I lost the ability to devote some energy to tossing stuff, it would just take over. Stuff comes in under its own steam; it doesn't go out on it's own steam, though. It takes YOUR steam to get it out, and no wonder that stuff is all around, if your steam has been focusing on other things!

I think you'll find yourself on a roll; having the dumpster there will mean you have a reason to get going--bcs you're paying money. And it'll be easy--just take stuff out and toss it in!

(only thing to watch out for, I hear other people like to piggyback on your dumpster)

I know my kids would balk at getting rid of their stuff, and so I sneak it out. If I were tackling the job w/ something as obvious as a dumpster, I know they'd have cows. I think in my case, I'd say, "choose: it goes to the children's aid society, or it goes in the garbage," and I'd like up the children's aid society trip ahead of time.

But still, the dumpster's presence would be a great focusing tool.

(reward the kids if they put stuff in? ice cream, pats on the back, gold stickers towards a new something they *really* want?)

You will spend SO much less time cleaning, once the place is back to being the decluttered you know you can achieve. (you may think you're a clutterbug, but you *can* have your home in decent shape--don't lose sight of that!)

We moved a bunch of stuff to storage, and dusting and vacuuming is just SO much faster, w/o all that stuff to move out of the way.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 1:10PM
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You'll have nothing but encouragement from me. I went through seven years of illness and know how everything goes to hell when all you can think of is your next nap, even if you just got up.

Last year (or was it the year before?) I rented a van and my sister and I dumped nearly everything from the basement and about half of my guest room (which at the time was a junk room) in it and drove to the dump. It was such a relief.

I did hate to just dump the stuff in a landfill, and I've found that the experience has made me much more picky about what I buy - if I don't bring it into the house in the first place, I'll never end up throwing it away.

Best of luck, and I hope the fresh start is a great boon to your spirits.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 1:55PM
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Go for it. If the guilt gets to be too great, maybe you can walk past the dumpster a few steps and put the especially good/useful stuff in a pile marked "free"? If no one claims it, it's a short trip back to the dumpster.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 2:09PM
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I did what Steve O suggested. I had boxes of stuff ready to clear out of my garage and just didn't have the energy to take it to Goodwill. So we hauled it to the curb and marked them with construction paper signs "free kitchen stuff", "free stuffed animals", "free kids books", etc.

People were stopping by even as we were hauling stuff out. In the end, I'd say we had less than half the stuff leftover to throw in the trash. Might let you get away with ordering a smaller dumpster.

When my mom moved from her home of 22 years, we had a garage sale. The next weekend we moved the leftovers to the end of the driveway with a sign that said "free garage sale" and put out all the leftovers and even set out the fertilizers, bug sprays, etc that she wouldn't need or couldn't put in a moving truck. It's a low-effort way of getting rid of stuff that no charity would take.

Don't get me wrong, I definitely see that a dumpster is necessary sometimes - we filled 2 huge ones when we cleaned out my grandmas house and I have no guilt about that.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 3:31PM
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Got the pricing, etc today and based on city rules and regs the largest dumpster I can fit into my driveway without a special permit (= more$$) is the 30 yard one. 18x8x6. It fills almost my entire driveway between garage and sidewalk (yes, small driveway, drives me crazy, but that's the way it is.)

And, I measured one of the two large "stacks" of boxes and stuff in the garage at almost the same size as the dumpster.

Well, I know that I am not going to toss every single thing in my garage, but I am HOPING to toss almost all of it. And, I also have 4 closets to clean out, and the patio room boxes, and the kids rooms, and my other clutter spots .... [Man!! What a beating the ego takes on admitting all this clutter. But, in fairness, there are 4 people and 2 dogs living here and I am the only one who admits to the clutter. All others contribute, but do not admit any. And, since I am the main offender, that is the way it goes.]

Renting the dumpster for 14 days (ie 2 weekends and the week in the middle) will be about $612 -- OUCH. If I do a mid-term dump the price goes up.

Soooo it looks like I will be backed into having some "FREE" piles. This should be ok as I do belong to several neighborhood egroups and the word will get out REAL FAST. On the one hand, this is better for the landfill and good things go to good use. On the other hand, I WANT to have it over fast and don't want people "in my business" and bugging me for more stuff. That is the whole point of the dumpster. Pick up the box, carry it over to the dumpster. Dump. Be done. And be private or semi-private about all the clutter being tossed.

To have the "free" stuff means that I will need to handle it several times. I was hoping to only handle the "please keep categories" more than once. And, I don't want to leave the free stuff out overnight ... See where this is going? I may end up dumping the dumpster mid-term. And, will have to be neater with my tossing stuff to make sure I have enough room.

The good news is that they have them available at this time, need only two days notice for delivery, so... it looks like I will be juggling classroom time in my kids classrooms with dumping. .... unless DH gets cold feet on the pricing.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 10:10PM
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how 2 weekends and the five days between them equal 14 days?
I only count 9 days... perhaps it will be cheaper for 5 days less?

(please, I don't mean to offend - I know MY mind turns into mush sometimes... most probably "14 days" in your post is just a typo)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 2:47AM
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Do you have any local charities that will pick things up?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 10:07AM
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To have the "free" stuff means that I will need to handle it several times. I was hoping to only handle the "please keep categories" more than once. And, I don't want to leave the free stuff out overnight ... See where this is going?

Actually, ummm, no. :-)

Seriously, I don't know how your driveway is laid out relative to where "stuff" will be coming out of your house or where the dumpster will be relative to the curb where the free stuff would be. For me and most of my neighbors, the longest leg of that journey would be out of the house, but once we arrive at the dumpster, it is literally a few more steps to the curb. And the stuff can sit there. Around here, it does not sit for long. I guess I don't see why doing this would entail handling anything more than twice -- once out to the dumpster or free pile and then (maybe) from the free pile to the dumpster if whatever it is doesn't find a new home. And, frankly, it would never occur to me to bug someone for more freebies. But, then, I was raised to believe that beggars can't be choosers (and I know from looking at Freecycle and Freemarket that many people were not raised that way!).

What am I missing here?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 10:13AM
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I've never needed to get a dumpster to declutter (I'm genetically anti clutter- it makes me a nervous wreck), but I am constantly decluttering something and getting it to goodwill etc. Well sometimes that just takes too long and you've just got to get it out of the house - those times I just toss the stuff. It feels a little bad - wasting etc - but if it needs to leave it needs to leave however it can go.

The free pile isn't a bad plan - but for your own sanity try not to handle the stuff too much. Maybe advertise a sunday after free garage sale - do your decluttering one weekend and the week, maybe a little saturday with a smaller dumpster (we got the kind in apartment complexes for $150) and then just fill your driveway sunday with whatever's left and let anyone have it!

Or scheduled salvation army or some other charity to come over the monday after you plan to be done and pick up the pile?

I know you want it gone and $612 is a lot of money but unless it's an actual financial hardship - maybe it's worth it's price in your peace of mind.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 12:54PM
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Mvastian, 2 weekends and the week between = 14 days because they only rent in 7 day chunks.

Rjvt, Yes we do have some local groups that pick up -- when they are in the area. If they are coming through we will get a flyer. As we are dumping Memorial Day weekend, there is a good chance of a group coming thru. So, maybe a flyer next week ...

Steve_o, Our driveway fits 2 cars, so it is not big. The curb area will be 2 feet away. So, it is simple in theory. And, in our neighborhood, folks DO ask -- "do you have any xyz?" And some may even poke around. Has happened before when we were just spring cleaning. Came outside from the bathroom and found people poking through things. In fact, the last Saturday of August is known as "Garage Sale Saturday" in our township. People come from all over to shop the sales and hunt for bargains. They arrive as early as 4-5 am. If a light is on in your home, they knock on the door. So, who knows how it will go. Luckily, Memorial Day weekend is a more of a weekend to play, vs a garage sale weekend, though there will be a handful of those going on.

Handling several times means placing it on the curb then back into the dumpster. This will be difficult as I have limited energy and also have lymphedema in my right hand/arm (= swelling & pain.) I need to minimize lifting and toting to and fro. DH is happy to lift and tote, but he hurt his shoulder, so we need to be efficient.

While things are at the curb my kids will re-fall in love with items (happens every garage sale and Goodwill run) and then I need to deal with their emotions. This is difficult under normal circumstances, but one of my children is a packrat and has Aspergers Syndrome and when he gets emotional it is extremely draining. We can farm out the kids to a degree, but not 100%.

What we probably will do is similar to Clean Sweep where things will go into areas of the front yard and then disposition from there.

DH does not want to spend the 14 day price, so we will not have 2 weekends unfortunately. So, we will begin queueing things the "1st weekend" in the living room. Hopefully this gives us a big jump when the dumpster arrives. I plan to do some while the kids are at school, except for the times that I am at the school helping in the classroom. Maybe I can dump some of the "sensitive" stuff during this time.

Also, we are doing this during the school year so that I can take old art supplies, etc over to the school after-school program, etc. I have lots of misc art supplies because I used to do art with a group of 12 kids on a regular basis. Also, a few months ago I took 2 bags of unopened happy meal toys to the kindergarten for the treasure box. I was saving them for a pinata. Had enough, but decided to just be done with them and let them be used for rewards.

I just want to MINIMIZE any extra trips and deliveries/pick-ups. I want to dump and go. The other way has not worked very well as time has a way of getting away from us.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 1:33PM
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I don't know if this service would be a good alternative to renting a dumpster - http://www.1800gotjunk.com/
I have not used this service, but I've been intrigued by their ads. Apparently they'll come to your house with a truck and take away all your junk. They'll do the loading too, and it looks like they take just about everything except hazardous items. Maybe you could pile all of your stuff to get rid of in the garage, and then let them do the heavy lifting into their truck and take it away. They charge by how much of the truck you fill up, and they apparently do try to recycle whatever they can.

Here is a link that might be useful: Junk removal

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 1:59PM
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Hi Silvercomet, thanks for the info! Michele

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 8:21PM
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petemich1, that all makes sense. Please don't think I was "getting on your case" -- apparently, the dynamic that works in my neighborhood won't work in yours.

One alternative to a big metal dumpster -- if it's available in your area -- might be a "dumpster in a bag" -- it's a big reinforced nylon ... well, it looks like a dumpster. We can buy them here at neighborhood hardware stores (TrueValue, etc.) $25 to buy, bring it home, open it up, and toss stuff in it as you feel up to it. When it's full, call the company that sells 'em and they'll cart it away for whatever your locality charges for that size dumpster. The virtue is that you have all the time you want/need before the dumpsters are hauled away. The disadvantage is that stuff may sit out there long enough for people to have second thoughts (or your neighbors will start dumpster-diving), but that could be true of a big dumpster, too. My mom did this to clear out her basement, and it ended up costing her about $500 for two dumpster-in-a-bag-fuls (?) -- and all the time she needed to fill 'em up.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 9:12AM
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Dumpsters are expensive here where I live. And you can only keep them X amount of time. I bought an extra plastic garbage can, so I now have a total of three cans available. My town has garbage pickup scheduled twice a week. So that gives me enough room to declutter a lot every week. It's such a relief when the truck comes and empties my cans. Just be sure to shred any papers with identifying info. I used to bring my mail to my job, where they had a paper shredder available. I'd spend my break at the shredder. I do miss that option since I quit work last July.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 9:22AM
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Well, the "800GotJunk" people are very pricy, so no go for this project. But possibly something to keep in mind for simple projects.

A couple of friends are going to come over while the kids are at school and help me get rid of some stuff that is currently "out of sight, out of mind" so that is good.

The dumpster arrives on Tuesday between 6 am and 3pm. I am hoping about 9am so the kids will be at school and not fretting all day about what I am tossing. Of course, this means that they will be all over exploring the dumpster when they get home ... So, on some of the sensitive stuff I may need one of my friends take home to their garbage -- unless we can get enough in there so that the kids can't explore that deeply. (this dumpster is big enough that it has a door on one end.)

One of my friends wants to help with (actually "Run") the FREE portion of this project. Will get the word out, etc. That is the good news. The bad news is that she has 2 kids who will be like mine in wanting to keep stuff. So .... eventhough we are making categories we will have to revise and be tough. Already it feels slipping away. So I will spend the next few days getting real tough inside.

One of the rules of thumb will be that if it is an item that is EASILY donated then it MIGHT be allowed to the FREE-TAKE-ME section. Like the wooden train toys or the kids videos... "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" my insides scream. TOSS TOSS TOSS.

If my driveway were long enough, I would drive my car in there and take a photo as a joke before we begin any actual dumping. As it is, the open end will be right by the garage door. -- Probably a good thing. Imagine if my car were too heavy and crushed the under part of the dumpster!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 4:16PM
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Go for it!!!! Curb shopping isn't done here and putting things out on the curb would get you in some quick trouble in most neighborhoods. The last thing people want is other people cruising around checking out the trash. I do think it would be more fun, but it's not happening here.

You might think about a free garage sale or post on freecycle any items you think people may use.

I guess our local thrift stores aren't picky. The stuff people post here as unwanted amaze me. Must be supply and demand.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 4:19PM
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No offense taken. The dynamics are different. Thanks for the suggestion re the dumper-bag. Sounds like a nice way to go if one has time on their side and a place to keep it while loading it up.


Thanks for the encouragement. Curb shopping is very much done around here. Which is why if I email out to the neighborhood email groups many will come. But,then I may have to put up with them asking for more. At least that is what has happened in the past. Not that I mind at all, it is just that I need to stay focused.


The window guy just left. We are slowly replacing old windows. Time to do a few more. He had to measure one that had boxes near it. I cleared a space before he came. He took one look and said, "I can't go there" and "I don't see where you cleared a path" --- lol --- Well there was a definite path, but I cleared 3 more boxes to make it real big. Guess I can't use my window areas for staging yet!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 5:18PM
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I don't know how persistant your neighbors are, but possibly posting a sign might help. I'm thinking of something like:

"If we knew what we have, we'd be selling it.

Sorry, but we can't answer questions or find things for you."

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 12:14PM
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But,then I may have to put up with them asking for more.

Don't put up with it--get crabby! "what's on the shelf is what we have." If stores can say that, you can too.

Start being pissy about it when they ask, and they'll stop asking you. Bcs asking you is really rude. If I were you, I would mind.

What do they ask you for? Specific items, or just, "what else do you have"? These people are just weird!

Maybe don't e-mail them, just set them out w/ a "free" sign?

I love those wooden trains; please don't throw them away! Surely there's someone who'll snag a box of "Brio trains!" from the curb!

I like the idea that a friend will worry about the "free" stuff for you, so you can focus on tossing.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 1:37PM
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Why wouldn't you want to leave the free stuff out overnight? Around here the bigger items disappear sometime between 11pm and 6am. Or do you have a nasty HOA that would send nasty letters even if it was only for one or two nights?

Around here we have once a month "heavy trash" pickups by the city. So that's when we set out the broken vacuum or the chair with a missing leg. As far as I know, none of these made it to the landfill as they disappeared overnight.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 4:27PM
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We have had 3-4 dumpters in the past three years due to doing constuction on the house..but i do take that time to dump a whole bunch of stuff that we need to get rid of. We also have bulk pick up if you call to arrange it but they do not take construction waste. I love my dumpsters and am thrilled that we are getting new shiplap next week that means I can order another one and clean out the basement at the same time!!!!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 8:18PM
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I'm sending encouragement! Please send some back! I'll be doing pretty much the same thing this weekend. We're moving & this will be an opportunity for a fresh start. We are basically examining everything & asking ourselves if we want to go to the trouble of moving it & if we really want it in our new home. We aren't renting a dumpster; we've just been taking bags & boxes of stuff out. DH's office has a dumpster, so we just load the stuff in the truck & take it there.

I got in the attic last night & was amazed at the amount of junk I got rid of. I've asked myself several times why I kept certain things. We're also developing quite a pile of things to give to our favorite charity. We've been wanting to do a "Clean Sweep" for a long time but never got around to it. Moving has forced us to deal with this stuff. DH's boss offered to pay for a moving service. DH told him that we needed to get rid of some things, so we might as well pack while doing that.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 9:50AM
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Good luck with the dumpster. Someone suggested that you shred your personal papers, which is always a good idea. I keep my pile of shredding and burn it since we often have big bonfires. If you have a fire pit in your yard you might consider this since it is a real timesaver.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 2:15PM
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petemich1 & kittiemom - Go for it! petemich1, the dumpster sounds like the ideal solution for where you are right now. I know how debilitating a huge amount of clutter can be.

I hadn't thought of a dumpster, but it might make sense for us, too. We'll be moving in a few months, though only a few miles away. I've got pretty poor health, and just dealing with the new house stuff is about more than I can handle, so my sorting through stuff is very sporadic. DH is the real packrat, but as the house filled up over the years, I pretty much stopped dealing with my clutter as well, so now it's really bad.

silvercomet - I clicked on the junk removal link and entered my zip code to check for service in my area. The answer I got was "Threre is presently no service in your area, would you like to start one?" ROFLOL! Since I'm having trouble dealing with my own junk, I don't think I want to handle other people's!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 2:25PM
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Hi Petemich1-Just had to let you know how the decluttering went this weekend. We had the dumpster delivered on Friday and as of yesterday (Sunday) it's FULL! I can get one car in the garage and almost have room for two. We're getting another dumpster in its place and hope to finish up this weekend. We put any really nice furniture and kids' toys out at the curb on Friday and by Saturday it was gone. I was thrilled that someone else was able to use anything that was still good but we were able to get rid of everything else. DH took the day off on Friday (yes he's doing much better, thank you) and really felt great finally getting rid of things. We're getting the next dumpster mostly to get rid of those last few things and not get caught up again in the "we'll put it out a little at a time" mentality that caused all this in the first place. Our hope is that once this is "under control" we'll be able to donate/get rid of things as they come along instead of waiting for the garage sale that never happens, etc. Sorry this got so long. I just HAD to let you know how great it feels and you'll feel like this when yours comes. It'll be great! PS We timed this with working on kids' bedrooms and it's amazing that things that they couldn't part with during normal cleaning they were able to toss without a worry because we were on such a roll and I think they could see the difference it makes when there is a little less. I hope this makes sense. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 10:41AM
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Kittiemom, --

Hope your weekend went well. I was sending lots and lots of encouraging thoughts your way. Moving is a GREAT way to slim down. In fact, it used to be the way I did it.

My dad was in sales so we moved a lot and I learned to deep clean that way. Then as an adult I traveled with my company and moved just enough that I kept doing it that way. Now.... I have lived in this house for 10+ years -- the longest anywhere in my whole life. Add kids and serious illness (cancer -- in remission) and you would not believe the mess!! I took a couple of photos on the digital in hopes of looking objectively at the messes and I am soooo embarrassed at how bad things have gotten. I know that the reasons are valid, but a mess is still a mess. Happy Moving.

Speechie, --

I am very inspired by your weekend. And very glad DH is doing well. It is SUCH a long roller coaster. I have had several scares for the "Big M" which I have learned is worse than the "Big C" -- With Cancer there can be hope, with Metastasizes hope is slim to none, -- they talk of prolonging vs cure/remission. And, I have had several friends "M-word" and not make it.

The other difficult thing is the fatigue. And the stress of living with uncertainty. The trick is to balance the uncertainty with realistic living. No, I do not live every day as if it were my last. **LOL**, if I did I would be travelling with my kids and spending up all our retirement. Instead, I just try to live it well and realistically.

Thus, we deal with homework (1st & 2nd graders), do cubscout projects x2, go to piano lessons, struggle with vision therapy, negotiate haircuts, enjoy swim lessons, t-ball games (where I am the dugout and home plate coach!) etc.

I am REALLY hoping for the cleaning momentum you mentioned. I am preparing my kids little by little. So, today I treated them to french toast sticks from Jack/Box for breakfast. We were driving to school talking about empting their rooms and only placing certain things back. My 1st grader asked me if we could rip up his carpet BEFORE we put things back in his room. [We plan to rip carpet over july 4th] I told him that if we got enough done by Sunday night that we could rip up carpet on Monday. Then my 2nd grader piped up that HE MAY (MAY) be interested in also ripping up carpet. >>>squealI have filled up the garbage cans this weekend with stuff and have my boxes ready to work today. Dumpster arrives tomorrow.

I am soooo excited and soooo scared that I poop out and don't get it all done. So, to help me, I have lined up 2-3 friends to come and help. And, all of them are more than willing to do any lifting that my lymphedema restricts me from. I will lift more than I should in the interest of getting things done, and if needed will call the Lymph PT to help me re-shrink the swelling (thank goodness for insurance.) I figure for such a good cause I can deal. Also, my friends will help keep me going if the mountain becomes too big.

No matter how much gets done it will be a great improvement. I will do my best and then some. But, I strive for it ALL. For the vision in my mind. Wish me luck and strength and perserverence.

So, Off On My Grand Adventure I Go!!


    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 12:41PM
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So, many many days of sorting and distributing and DUMPING!!

We filled our 18 foot dumpster 3/4+ full and loaned the rest to our neighbor who recently trimmed some trees and had a pile of branches.

Because I was so afraid of having too much for the dumpster, I went into major sort mode and donated donated donated tons of stuff.

I had friends who gladly carted off stuff for girlscouts, art programs, relatives having babies, etc.

And, the folks who did the mass mailing for street pick up will practically be able to fill their truck from my donation. They are coming next Friday, so I will have some time to continue to go thru things this week. HOWEVER, at this time their pile is sooooo huge. So big that it would have filled up the rest of the dumpster.

We got the easy stuff out of the shed, but needed 2 more hours to assess the boxes (there is some jewelry of my grandmothers, and some photos, etc), soooo a project for later. I did not get to my closet or my bathroom, but did get to every other closet and cupboard in the house. Each closet got either a big clean-out or a nod to keeping (ex -- there are some things of my grandmothers that I am willing to get rid of, but I need to think on what I want to pass to my kids, so that will get done over the next year or so.)

AND the kicker is that we ended up pulling up the carpet in both kids rooms. That was not on our original plan -- it was scheduled for July project. But, one of the kids asked if we could pull up the carpet before he put stuff back into his room .... so, we did a time trade -- carpet for shed and a few corners in the house. It was the right trade eventhough it is frustrating to not have it all done.

But, it is AMAZING the freedom of a dumpster. Especially after the recycling bin is full -- then it is all for the big bin.

So, now I have to clean the tornado debris that is left in the house. I called a friend and she is coming over to clean for me. I will have fresh sheets on the beds, all floors mopped, fresh bathrooms, etc. I just need to finish cleaning up the extra boxes and misc. "trash" laying around.

I wanted to get my dining room and living room completely done, and there is still more to do. My dining room became storage during chemo-time and I am still digging out of that mess. But, it is 4/5 done. Once I rest up I hope to finish it. My hand and arm are swollen to the point that it is hard to type, but it feels sooooo good to have all the stuff gone.

But, I bet that all the little stuffs around will take a while -- afterall, this is why they ended up being around. If it was easy to complete the task, it got done. Example, I spent 3 hours making a game closet and collected all the games. Then each time I came across another game, into the closet it went. But, now I need to go thru the games .... Ah, one thing at a time.

Thank you all for the support. I really really really needed it and it helped more than I can express.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 1:42AM
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An excellent sort-and-dump -- and sooooo much good progress -- you have really handled it all so well!!! A wonderful transformation!!

Great job on the carpets too!!! :)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 10:13AM
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Good job! And you said you were 4/5ths done. Not half, not 2/3rds but 4/5ths. That is practically there. And doesn't it feel good to know that the carpets are gone?

Relax in front of the TV this week and go through the games while doing that. It will go by much quicker.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 10:52AM
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I'm soooo happy it went well for you. What's left to go through/ get rid of / sort seems so much more manageable now. I hope you'll feel the same way. Thanks for letting us know how it went!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 11:09AM
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The results must be amazing! I wish we could be little bugs on the wall and see. I've noticed several dumpsters in neighborhoods as I've driven around. I don't think they are remodeling. One was sitting in the middle of a culdesac. Wouldn't suprise me if everyone just pitched in together to use it.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 1:24PM
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That's great news. You must be so proud of yourself. I need to follow your example and clean out my few remaining boxes of stuff left over from the last decluttering. My DH was and is willing to make many trips to the dump so no dumpster for us. Again I'm happy for you.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 2:42PM
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Hi. An update --

We are still chipping away on the "last mile" of stuff. [Why does the last mile seem soooooo long?] ... [because the "easy" stuff is done?]

Over the July 4th week, we painted both boys' bedrooms. Instead of 2-3 days, it took all 7! Wallpaper strips came down, wall patching done, sticker gunk scrubbed, primer **2coats!** each room over marker stuff on walls. And, 2-3 coats of paint as the primer glows through.

So. Child 1 has 4 colors in room and Child 2 has 3 colors in room. I must say that Child 2's room looks nicer and brighter as he chose a bottom color and top color with a stripe connecting them.

But I do admire the cleverness of Child 1 and how he envisioned his color scheme -- primarily 1 color per wall, except the door wall. When he goes in his room and closes the door he has a little fort/cave in the doorway. So, mom and dad are pooped! All in the name of allowing the kids to have some "say" in the painting of their rooms. Most importantly, the crappy walls in kids rooms are now nice again.

Gradually things are being done in garage, and soon I will be able to empty the rest of the dining room and living room into the garage. I have things there sorted and am attacking them as projects. PHEW, can't wait til I am all the way on the other side of this project.

But is sure does look nice to have more of my house back!!

Makes me REAL ANSY to get the rest of it done. Somewhere in the middle of swim lessons, summer reading programs, baseball camp, visiting grandma, handling a heat wave, etc.

I SO DO LOVE LIFE-!! Even when it is exhausting.

Thanks for listening. Hope to post pics when more is done.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 4:52PM
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the primer glows through.

there is such a thing as tinted primer. We've started buying primer for each room and having it tinted; saves us a coat of paint, easily. but of course, we only do one color per room! (boring! LOL!)

congratulations. I'm very envious!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 5:39PM
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Good to hear an update. Glad to hear you are still on a roll. Never had a problem with primer, though.

That last mile of stuff. We moved from a three car garage to a two car garage and that last bit seemed to take forever to go through and get out the door. Of course, I waited until the other house sold to finally deal with it and the new owner was so antsy to get in, he just piled his stuff right on top of our last piles. Saved me the hassle of one last donation truck and by the time he ever digs to the bottom, he probably won't even know where the stuff came from. I definately got the idea that those folks were pilers.

I still have two kid rooms to paint, but couldn't stand the outside of the house any longer. It's a very, very pale blue with bright blue trim. We are painting over the bright blue and now the siding looks like gray with a whitish trim. My painter says it looks like a beach cottage now. We'll see how beachy it looks with tons of snow this winter.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 11:11PM
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We did consider getting tinted primer (usually the tint is one shade lighter) but with all the colors we did not want the hassle of many cans. In retrospect, it may have been a good idea -- but it would have cost more, and I would have had to pre-determing where the stripe was going in the one room and where the 2 colored wall changed in the other room. I waited until the rooms were all white to do that so that the old half/half colors did not unduly influence the new look.

So, maybe in the future, at least tint the primer a dull white instead of allowing it to stay BRIGHT glow-in-the-dark-and-everywhere-else white.

LOVE the techinique of the last few piles left in the garage. The previous owner of this house tried that on us. Not so fun on the receiving end, but eventually we got him to take most of his stuff.

Hmmm.... beach house in the snow.... I bet that would look happy.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 11:21PM
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Please tell me where one can get dumpster. We have been living in a temporary house while our new house is being built. Last September, family stayed with us for a few months from Hurricane Katrina, helped them get adjusted to their losses, then our house sold in November (after three years of trying)and we had to quickly move into a small temporary house, our 14 yr old furry friend golden retreiver died in December and then the holidays. It has been an an ordeal. Everything is stacked in the garage and two spare bedrooms and in cabinets, closets, you name it. It's been much too much, not to mention all the furniture stored in professional storage. I have so many different size clothes that I have not worn for years, some with tags. None of my things would fit our displaced family from the hurricane and they have now settled into their own apts. I gave many items to my family from the hurricane, so I have shared with them and have helped them get settleld, find medical attention, housing, etc. I believe I have a guilt complex over having versus all their losses. Our house should be completed in 2 months, so I need to go through some of these boxes that we have been storing. I am just so overwhelmed to think about it. I used to garage sale and hate to think of giving up just about every stitch of clothing, new and used, along with other treasures. We are planning to have lots of storage built into the new house, but for what, storing things of the past. I am so torn. DH is definitely a bookwork and a pack rat, but he seems to be ok with his holdings. I know in the past I have gotten rid of things only to wish I still had a few things. But I need to get started. Please tell me where to get a dumpster. I never heard of that before. I believe I can feel the freedom from junk and treasures when I envision them gone and not have to deal with storing them or cluttering up the new house and garage. Just because we have an attic does mean, we have to bring over the Smithsonian...old high school, books, etc. I like to do genealogy and have had limited family, so I do get sentimental over some things. I think I need to be free and feel free of some of this. Please forgive my rambling.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 11:07PM
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I have been hanging around the wrong side of the tracks in my city at night, hoping to witness a crime- not a mugging or petty theft, but maybe some Mafia big deal crime.

My plan is to get put into a witness protection program so I can leave ALL MY JUNK in the middle of the night and never deal with it again.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 10:01PM
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LOL! That's pretty funny!

You know what else you can "declutter" that way? All your annoying relatives! Your crummy job.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 3:51PM
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We were left with a huge pile in the basement by previous owners; there was an oil painting in the pile, very nice , with the xmas tag still on it, " love, aunt marge", a beautiful evening dress ( the cleaning girls grabbed it , with shoes), stationery from Tiffany's ( not my initials but I kept the 3 dozen envelopes)-
and so on and so forth, I could not believe all the stuff they left.

It still bothered me that they left it for us to deal with.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 8:10AM
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Welcome to our club! You are not alone in the stuggles of life, ancestors leaving stuff, recycling, money worries, giving,taking, etc etc... You have had such a difficult time, but now your head is clearing, and you can take hold of your house, and your mind in turn. I love flylady.net, it helps break down enourmous de-cluttering tasks with much humor. I have also used a dumpster (my husband insisited) and it really worked! Dumpseters in my area are cheap, and having a huge garbage can in front of your house is quite an inspirational de-cluttering tool. Stop feeling guilty about your stuff - it weighs us down. It is okay to let it 'fly' out the door. You had enough to help others, you have honored ancestors by holding their items for so long, but it is now your JOB to discover what makes you happy, what you find beautiful through the junk. If something is so precious you can't toss it, put it by the curb. Enlist local jr high kids to help you move things out - they love making money without bbysitting (call the local jr high, find the teacher in charge of the honor society, and they need service projects). The stuff from others is not that person you have to now trash, you will always have the memory of them in your heart. They would want you to be the best person you can be, and having a home clean enough to think is how you can acheive YOUR life's goals, not theirs. I know starting is hard, but just 5 minutes a day (tv commercials?) can help, as can a week of dumpster. You have done such a wonderful job taking care of everyone else, it is okay to take care of yourself and your home!!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: flylady

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 9:45AM
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This is a fun thread to read.... Who doesn't love a happy-ending clutter-free home story?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 3:07PM
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I agree, cupofkindness. I'm 64 and it seems as though many of my friends around my age are starting to go through and get rid of "stuff". One of my best friends expressed it this way, "It's not that I plan on dying anytime soon, it's just that I want this stuff GONE!" LOL

I've sold several things at a local flea market/antique mall, but sales have slowed somewhat. I have about five Christmas trees of different sizes and colors. About ready to put them out front with a free sign.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 10:33PM
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    Bookmark   November 30, 2014 at 10:42PM
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I love the idea of getting a dumpster, and I'd totally pay $612.

I bought a house from a relative, and I have a nasty, falling-apart shed in the back yard that's full of stuff that's not even mine. I'd love to rent a dumpster and throw away 100% of the stuff in that shed -- and then pull the shed apart and toss it too.

I think I'll do it during spring break.

But back to you . . .

I think you should plan to keep it for as small a time as possible. Your goal is to get rid of stuff, and I know how I work -- and I don't think I'm unique: If I had a whole month or so, I'd poke around trying to organize perfectly. If I had only a week, I'd throw stuff away like crazy because my time would be limited.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2014 at 5:14PM
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I was intrigued by the "dumpster bag" ideas. Here's a link!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Bagster dumpster bag / collection service

    Bookmark   December 2, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Several things to do.
1) start with ONE drawer. If you finished that and feel like continuing, do! You'll find that once you start and feel a sense of accomplishment, you want to keep going.
2) Throw anything broken, too dirty to clean, out immediately.
3) Go to Freecycle.com every day when you've cleaned whatever you do. Offer it free. People will come take it immediately. You can leave it outside too.
3) if you don't have any takers for the items, throw them away or put on the curb with a sign "FREE"
4) If you want, donate the rest to thrift shops but put all the items in the trunk of your car so that you'll not have them in the house. It's one step closer to making you actually GO there.
5) If you haven't used it in over a year, it's chuckable/donatable. You will NEVER NEED it if you haven't used it in a year and you will never find a use for it. I know, I do that trap too! I always say "it's nice, I can use that later or make something from it". But honestly, you will not.
6) Really interesting, antique or good quality items, put in one area for selling. Try Ebay before a garage sale. But if you are not going to Ebay it, then give it to family or a church for auction or sale there.
7) don't stop. If you stop, you'll never start back up. You'll accumulate more and be where you are again... you gotta keep going.
8) Break habits. Do not shop. You have enough clothes, shoes and your babies/grandbabies do not need 101 teddy bears... It's adorable in the store (whatever it is) but you do not need it. If you REALLY want it, go home, think about it for a few days and go back for it if it's on your mind. If it is still there, it was meant to be. If not, you probably are better off without it.
9) Take all the money you've made from sale and then take any money you'd of spent by buying something and use it for something that doesn't fill up your house. Like vacation. Or like a dinner out...
10) Lastly, if you DO buy something, then you have to get rid of two items. If you bring a 12 pack of pens into the home, you get rid of 24 things. Even if that's going through your pen/pencil box and checking all the pens for ones that don't work!

Hope this helped. I started with the WORST room in the house (kitchen because it has the most glassware etc). I then cleaned it so well...and it was beautiful. Then I went to the second worst, my spare closet. I got rid of 80 suits and old work stuff. I freed up a closet's hanging space. Then I stopped. Major mistake. But I kept the shopping rule and if I buy a new blouse, I get rid of two clothing items. It's kept my clutter down a lot!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2014 at 11:52PM
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