Does anyone ever do this ?

brugloverZ9July 4, 2008

While having lunch out with a girlfriend yesterday, I was talking to her about decluttering. I was saying that I put papers in a box to go over another time. She, who has no trouble decluttering, replied, "Once things are in a box 2 or 3 months and I never needed anything, I just get rid of the whole box."

I have boxes in my closet that I have not opened for some months and truthfully don't even know what is inside them. Do I dare just toss the whole boxes? It would sure help me to declutter quickly. What do you think? Have you ever done this or do you do this?

I would have to get up my nerve to do it...but maybe it would be the fastest, wisest way. What do you think?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I have done that because something that was really, really important I would have taken out.

What I do is put things to be filed in a box then never get around to filing. If someone is coming over and I have a bunch of crap on the kitchen island I will put it in a shopping bag and put it in my closed or the pantry. By the time I go through it again it is all junk that is not needed.

I really struggle with paper. Never use to save any of it, but my DH is disabled and some doctors want to know when he had this test etc., etc. I was keeping copies of bills to make sure medicare paid their part and getting overwhelmed.

I have just recently started putting stuff that I may need on a zip drive and getting rid of the paper. Still have a ways to go with the old stuff but new things that come in I try to do that day.

Most of the stuff that we save we will never need again.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 5:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would need to at least glance at what I was throwing away or shredding. I hold on to receipts from the purchase of major appliances. Sometimes papers I want to keep get mixed with junk, such as a medical report.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've done this many times. I wait longer than a couple months, though, usually more like six months. *Don't* open the box! You'll never be able to do a quick look-through. You'll end up handling every single piece of paper again. I think your girlfriend is right that if you haven't needed anything from the box for months, there's nothing in there that you really need.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 1:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I threw some bills, letters, mail, etc in a bag when I was craszy-cleaning for Christmas last year. I hid the bag in a closet. I discovered the bag about a month ago, realized there was nothing importabt in it, since I hadn't looked at it in six months, so I threw the whole thing out.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 4:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just be sure to shred any documents you're going to get rid of.

Also, for tax purposes be sure to keep copies of property tax bills, mortgage statements, medical bills you paid that were NOT paid by insurance, charitable contribution receipts and anything else I may have left off that you need for tax purposes.

For tax related items make files labeled by tax year. For example, have one file of tax receipts for 2007, one for 2006, etc.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 10:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd wait a year. I accidently threw away the car title in a box like you describe - thought, "if I haven't looked at this in two months, I mist not need it" it was a pain & $$ to get a new title.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 11:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No, I've never had the nerve because I know there could be something of importance I might need later, maybe years later. I normally through all of it away anyway, but don't have the nerve to throw it away not looked at one more time.

I remember years ago, I worked for a woman who was a complete mess. I mean her desk looked like a tornado hit it, all the time. I don't know how she functioned. She'd ask me to organize it when she'd be out of town so when she came back everything would be nice and neat. Well, I got so tired of filing what I considered junk, I decided to throw something away that I had picked up numerous times and thought, this must be junk. Well guess what, she asked for it a while later and of course I had pitched it. After that incident I'd just take all her stuff, throw it in a cardboard file box, put it in storage and then when she asked for it, I at least had it in storage. After a year if she didn't ask for the stuff, I threw all of the contents away!!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 12:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I throw stuff in boxes which I then label with the date and a brief description of either what is in them or what particular location the mess had come from. If I have to go back to that box to find something, I generally put the box in some sort of order by binding like items (bank statements, paid bills etc) together and throwing out useless things.

Eventually I do throw boxes of stuff out... after a decade or so and a quick riffle through for sentimental items and stuff that may be needed.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 9:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If I really had no idea what was in the box, I wouldn't be able to throw away the box without a quick scan through it for anything tax or medical related. And I'd probably get bogged down looking through it too!

Going forward, you could start with 2 empty boxes (or bins, or folders) and label one "Taxes" and one "Other". For the "Taxes" box, try to put anything needed for taxes, medical bills if you need to track them for some reason, the car title - try to make sure it's really only stuff that needs to be kept. The "Other" box would get everything else - things you might need, things you think you'll deal with, bills you've paid, confirmations of whatever, things you might want for a couple months but don't feel like filing, etc. Then in a few months, you can seal and toss the "Other" box, and you can seal, label and keep the "Taxes" box (which should be much smaller).

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 10:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I sometimes come across a pile of dusty papers. At the time I stowed them away, I thought I'd get back to them sooner than later.

As for pitching them without even looking, I just have to look. But I don't spend a lot of time looking through the pile. It is a quick scavenging mission, not a trip down memory lane.

Sometimes, I am glad to have saved a particular bit of paper, but most of the dusty pile is rendered useless by the perspective of time. It is comforting to realize how much of it is useless. Silly, I once thought it important information. That realization helps me part with bits of paper more quickly the next time I consider piling them up.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 11:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it's important to at least poke through boxes before getting rid of them. As others have mentioned, you might have important records or other things that matter to you in there. A case in point: my mother had put together photo timelines of each kid's school pictures. They went into a box when she moved and she thinks the box must not have been well-labeled. She got rid of a number of boxes a year after the move... and a year or two after that, she realized that she couldn't find the timelines anywhere. They were the sort of thing that she'd periodically looked for over those few years but had always thought, "oh, I don't have time to keep looking, they must be somewhere else in the house." She didn't need them, but she still wanted them. She was pretty upset when she realized that they must have been in one of the boxes she'd gotten rid of.

Sometimes the fastest way to declutter is not the happiest way.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 2:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sounds like unless I know that a box is really filled with useless stuff...I am going to have to at least glance through it.
Sorry that some of you have learned your lesson the hard wasy.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I picked up a huge pile of bills I have already paid, put a rubber band around it and wrote on a note "Dispose of Oct 9". I will keep them exactly 90 days, no more. We used to do this at work, keep files for a certain number of days , using "tickler" files, then destroy them if no longer needed.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 9:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I thought of this photo I took a few weeks ago, when I saw your name!
I named it...Mom? Dad?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the problem here starts with the box. Storing papers in a box to get to them later is asking for disaster. To be honest this would never work for me and end up cluttering the house with boxes of stuff. That little drives me crazy gene would go off. The best thing to do is the simplest. Handle it once.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 4:34PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Why I look in the box before tossing
One of the boxes I recently sorted through was marked...
Can I get rid of my wedding gown?
Hi everyone. We went to spend the weekend with my parents...
"You Need a 'Waiting' Folder"--AskAManager has great advice
This is not just work--this would be great on a personal...
A decluttering tale
The only access to my pantry (a small room) is through...
Cleaning Service--what do you have them do?
I enjoy reading this forum and now understand the difference...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™