Decision fatigue

donnagwdJune 12, 2012

I'm purging and packing to move - had posted previously about "Decluttering questions." I'm thinking I'm into decision fatigue - too many keep or let go or trash questions. And we have so much stuff.

How do you keep slogging on? We'll do a moving sale either the 23rd or 30th of this month and that's a lot of work too.

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jannie

My brother had to clean up our Mom's house after she passed away in January 2011. She was definitely a hoarder. She had three sets of furniture jammmed in the living room, hers plus my brother's post-divorce set, and a set she inheirited from a cousin. Three sofas, loads of chairs, multiple tables, even a kitchen hutch turned on its' side and stored there. And that was just the living room! There was years of frozen food in her two chest freezers in the garage. Ten year old frozen chickens, plus other disgusting stuff, ketchup that had turned brown, cans of Campbell soup priced ten cents. He threw out the food first, unable to donate any of it! Then he tackled the furniture and found paper bags full of papers, old Christmas cards from the fifties, all 4 kids' school papers. He had to personally go through every paper in every bag, he found bankbooks, tax papers, all kinds of stuff. He told me "Everything needed a quick decision". I could never have kept up the mental discipline. Somehow he slogged through and was even able to have a four-day organized "Estate Sale" with the help of a professional auction house. It's a lot of work, I wish you luck!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:59AM
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talley_sue_nyc

I think you need a breather now and then.

And sometimes you change the gimmick around. You "do a dozen," or "toss ten," or you fill a basket up and then empty it out.

Maybe you create an "amnesty zone," and say, "It's OK to keep things." Or you say, "It's ok to toss this stuff, because I promise never to reproach myself if it turns out I need it."

And another thing to tell yourself--very little truly NEEDS to be kept. As long as you won't be mad later that you have to re-buy it, or make phone calls to find out info from the paperwork.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 6:22PM
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leafy02

I have been there, too, with moving. I tend to err on the side of getting rid of things, but I think erring on either side is fine as long as you won't be mad at yourself later.

I donated/sold/freecycled/threw out TONS of stuff before we moved here three years ago, but just last week I pitched a box of junk I could not believe I had paid to ship--not ONE thing in it was needed or worthy of being moved. I just laughed about it, because as you are experiencing, you can only do so much deciding at one time.

I like Talley Sue's ideas about the gimmicks--they can help to compartmentalize everything that needs to be done. But also, just be willing to forgive yourself either way.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 8:16PM
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jannie

I once read a suggestion, when you organize, separate stuff into keep, toss, donate and "maybe". Tape the "maybe" boxes closed, write the date on them, then stack somewhere out of sight (attic ). Six or twelve months later, open a "maybe" box and see if there's anything you still want in it. After all, you haven't needed anything in at least 6 months. It probably could have been tossed when you started.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:54AM
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trancegemini_wa

I think what someone said above about taking a break really helps. When I was in decluttering mode I could only do a couple of hours of it before I hit that wall of mental fatigue and had to stop for the day. I think once you hit that wall you just start swimming in indecision and you stop being really productive at it so IMO it's better to stop at that point and come back to it the next day fresh.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:10AM
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lazy_gardens

Set a time limit on how long you will do the sorting - 2 hours is about all you can do.

Set an alarm and quit for at least 1/2 an hour and go do something else.

While you feel fresh, do the sorting. Properly packing the keepers, hauling to charity, and tagging for the yard sale are all less demanding.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Jennydotz

Good luck to you! I am going through something similar and it's tough. It makes me feel a lot better that others find it exhausting. I can get revitalized a little taking frequent breaks and watching distracting TV while I work. I have to accept that I need to go at my own pace.

It is inspirational to read feng shui material. It helps me focus on the end goal of a good energy (but am skeptical of the hocus pocus element).

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 1:42AM
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donnagwd

Thanks for the encouragement here - I'm still deciding and packing. We closed on the new house yesterday so the current goal is to sort/pack as much as possible into the POD before the movers come.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 8:20PM
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mommabird

I err on the side of pitching everything so you might not want to listen to me! I've had to repurchase very few items. I find, if I gave away something that I've needed later, I can usually find a way to improvise with something else. If I REALLY REALLY do need it, then I just buy it again with no regrets. For all the 1000s of items I've decluttered over the past few years, I've had to repurchase maybe 6 items. I give myself a break - that's not that bad a percentage of re-buys!

GOOD LUCK on your move!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:00PM
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LazySuzy

Yeah I am with mommabird on this. Too often we find ourselves spending too much time deciding if we want to keep it or chuck it; slowing the packing process. I'm not saying to throw everything you lay your hands on, but if you pick up something and u find yourslef gg hmm, do I want/need this, brood over it for 3 secs. n if you still havent gotten ur answer, chuck it. Moving is not an easy feat, so dont forget to take breaks. I hope your move goes well! Take care!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:28PM
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mustangs81

Also with Mommabird on this one. I can't recall remembering something that I pitched/donated after laboring over whether to keep it or not. I have to remind myself about this and how much time I wasted debating and agonizing over the decision only to forget what it was that I released.

We have a really large furniture consignment shop (was a Publix grocery store). I take things there frequently (they take pictures and decorator items) and even when I seem my stuff displayed I still have no regrets.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 7:20AM
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talley_sue_nyc

Sometimes I can break through to a decision by saying to myself, "would I rather have this when I someday need it, or the freedom from moving it around needlessly in my home?"

Add in the "moving it around needlessly during my MOVE, and that makes keeping it even less appealing.

Because keeping stuff has a cost (tripping over it, not having that storage space avail. for other stuff, etc.). So which cost would I rather bear? The cost of replacing it, or the cost of keeping it?

That often helps me decide. And it makes it easier to toss stuff, because I've decided, "if I need it, I'll bear the cost of replacing it."

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 5:38PM
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donnagwd

Thanks for the support, and for the "good move vibes." We are moved - garage is full of boxes. I'm getting the kitchen and necessities unpacked - thank goodness for my notebook with the numbered list of boxes and contents. Dh can can consult that listing without cracking open every box. I'm trying to discourage him from bringing in boxes with stuff that I don't have room for right now.

I've already started more give-away boxes. Now that I'm here I'm wondering why I moved some of this stuff, of course.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 9:21AM
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