Making a game of decluttering

bronwynsmomJune 30, 2008

Here's an idea for us, clever people that we are...

Think of a situation you could imagine, and a question you could ask yourself, when trying to clear things out.

I have three:

ONE: I'm in Aunt Elderlyperson's house, and she says, "Is there anything in here you want, dear?"

What things would I take?

TWO: The room is a yard sale.

What do I want to buy?

THREE: The room is on fire. The people and animals are safe.

Do I feel grief, or relief....??

Number three occurred to me this weekend, after my e-mail program suddenly dumped every bit of my data from the last four years...all the messages, all the addresses, everything, and the Apple Store Geniuses couldn't get it back. I am trying to be sorry about it, and I am amazed to discover that I am not. People who are important to me will get in touch with me soon enough, and the rest...well, g'bye!


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Not an answer to your question...but some years ago my purse with every bit of ID was taken at my workplace after hours when the door was open and everyone else gone. Even my keys to my car were in it.
What did I you I felt relief! It was a weight off me for some reason. I felt actually free!
Looks like our "stuff" can really weigh us down.
What a good lesson...that is probably why I feel good after getting rid of "stuff"...spurs me to go on & on.
Thank-you for the reminder with your experience.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:36AM
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DH, DD and I started cleaning out the garage today. It has not been used as a garage in so long, I had forgotten that was the purpose of it! During the past three years, we have lost all four of our parents and acquired so much of their stuff. I had much of Mom and Dad's stuff stored here that they didn't take to the assisted living when they moved in. Then when we lost Mom, more stuff came in. MIL moved to an assisted living and then we lost her and then my Dad just six months later, so to say we have been at capacity is an understatement. During the past year, I have steadily carried things to a local church thrift store.

I am sure the IRS is going to audit me over all the donations that I have, but if anything, we went light on the deductions.

DD moved back home right before Christmas and brought all of her furniture with her! I have wanted to just open a store here.

Again, more trips to the thrift donation site.

Today, we just cleaned and have a load to carry off to the dump tomorrow. I also have more for the thrift store. I realized today that it is easier to purge than I thought possible. I have realized that I want someone to get some use out of all of this. Someone else needs these things.

In the morning, I am ready to hit my closets. I have a ton of clothes that are perfectly fine and still fashionable, but that I just don't use. Earlier today, I planned to have a yard sale and just price everything cheap. Then I decided to go with every item a dollar. Then, I thought about it and decided that I was going to donate these clothes instead.

This time, though I am headed to the local crisis center shelter with all of my clothes that I don't need. They are all clean and hanging in the closet. I am sure that they will find a new home and hopefully help someone out in the process. I will reclaim some much needed space and hopefully brighten someone else's life when they need it.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:36PM
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printersdevil....I ran into this site the other day and thought it might be helpful to you, with all of your donations.
When I was donating at a thrift store last week I saw a woman come in with one like it. I am not sure but I think the store might have even signed it for her. She had everything listed. It says on it to include a photo and the receipt. I think the IRS would be happy with this as proof.
Sounds like you are on your way...I am following.
Good luck and enjoy your new space!

Here is a link that might be useful: Itemized donation form

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:52AM
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Printersdevil, you said the only thing we ever need to think about:

"Someone else needs these things."

I'm going to write that on a shirt cardboard in magic marker and tape it on the wall while I am going through things.

And, by the by, are there still printer's apprentices in the world, and are you, or were you, one? Am I showing my age...??

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 2:38PM
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I don't know about current day printer's apprentices. There is so much of the actual printing done by desktopers these days. And, no, I am not one.

In high school back in the early 70s I was very into journalism and my school received a large donation to be used by the department. We bought a big (for a high school at that time) offset press and started printing our newspaper. The first year we had to go to outside help for things like making the ortho negatives and burning the plates, but by the time I was a senior, we had that equipment, too. They also hired a full time printing instructor and I also took his classes. We organized a printers club and I was elected president---Head Devil as they called it in the yearbook. So, this has just always been a nickname that I have held onto.

What do I do in real life? Well, it is true that printers' ink gets into your blood. I still LOVE to smell the ink and my heart goes flipity flop at the sound and sight of a printing press in action.

I spent 21 years teaching journalism and photography. However, I had to endure teaching English part-time most of those years, too.

I took a disability retirement in 2001 and have worked part-time the past 6 years advising a college newspaper and yearbook---so I am still a printersdevil and always will be!

I just had a woman from a small town about 12 miles away email me in response to my inquiry about sizes needed to a freecycle ad she had posted requesting clothes. She is supposed to call me tomorrow and hopefully, I will have things that she can use. I have way too many clothes and they need a purpose other than hanging in my closets!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 11:28PM
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Thank you for that wonderful answer, PD...
Yes, it does get in your blood.
I am a writer, and endured several years as an advertising copywriter in Corporateland back in the mid-70's.
Then I spent some time in publishing, and got to know the work of David Godine, who still makes books the old fashioned way. Google him to see his lovely editions, and read his stubborn philosophy...
So I know about offset printing, and mourn its passing. Desktops are not even close. I miss all those crazy pressmen, too. Characters, to a man.
We are wandering off the subject, but thanks for that diverting moment!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 11:59PM
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I forgot to thank you for the form. I got carried away with the name thing. It is rare for anyone to even realize what a printersdevil is...

I printed out some of the forms to use. The Resale Barn that I carried things to, gave me a blank form that was dated and signed with each load of stuff that we gave them. For awhile, I kept up with itemizing, but with this form it will be easy to always do in the future.

Taking pics is great. I was told to use the posted prices of the resale value from places like this RB and Goodwill for the clothing. On furniture, I went way below what furniture sells for at Goodwill on my tax stuff. I do have pics of the furniture.

Thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 9:09PM
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PD...I thought it might help with all your donations! My DH who does our taxes said that it is a new requirement to have photographs, too. I guess this would be especially important if you get edited.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 10:40PM
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My mind was with the writers and printers!!! Edited !!!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Well, but isn't that what we are doing when we de-clutter, Margie...editing?
So your mind was in the right street (just the wrong house!).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 3:09PM
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bronwynsmom - Oh boy, I think I need a change of scene! Here are my answers to the questions:

One: "It's so sweet of you to offer but no, thank you, I don't need anything."

Two: I'm not even stopping for my garage sale!

Three: Is that a grin spreading over my face as the smoke rises?

I'm exaggerating a bit, but with the mood I'm in those are my answers!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 5:19PM
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Lovely answers!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 6:45PM
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During hurricane season I ask myself, if a hurricane takes it, will I miss it? I use that criteria in deciding if I should keep it or throw it away. Which reminds me, it't that time of year and I need to get busy.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 3:57AM
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Good one brutuses! I'm keeping one eye on Bertha no, even though it is not a threat to Florida at the moment.

Here are more questions:
Does it give me a happy/calm/contented feeling when I look at it? Or a sense of dissatisfaction?
Does it fulfill its purpose - is it useful, functional, beautiful, or is it vaguely annoying?
Does it make me feel sad, bringing up associations with grief and frustration?

I know, it is only a *thing* but what meanings have I attached to this inanimate object?
If it makes me feel bad and burdened then out it goes!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 7:52AM
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What I have been saying is "Can I live comfortably with out this ______". YES!!! Out it goes, to the car for the end of the day so I can truly get rid of these things.

I have been putting things in a black bag or box and at 4:00 I head to goodwill so I don't clutter my garage more than it already is.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 3:58PM
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