Have you always had to much stuff

donnawbAugust 21, 2008

Curious is you have always had a problem with letting go or did it just happen over time.

I don't have that much extra stuff but have had a shift in the last few years when I can't seem to organize things like I use to. I do know how and I am not really a saver but do have excessive junk from the last 6 or 7 years. I think my problem has to do with having to make decisions that I don't really want to make and this way I avoid it because I have my focus on other things. Not that I do the other things but they do play on my mind because I don't.

Wondering about others or am I alone.

BTW, I was always the one that cleaned out friends garages and they should see mine now.

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IME, when you move often, you have less "extra stuff". IMO, you "grow" into the space you have but at the same time, if you have to move alot & have to move it yourself (either physically or pay someone else to do it), you do tend to "downsize" more often. And if you live in a particular space for many years, you tend to grow roots. ;-)

I do think it's more difficult when you're dealing with "decisions that I don't really want to make". IE, in the pst 10 years, we've "inherited" stuff b/c my in-laws passed away & we now store things from them that I don't want/use/need & yet my husband doesn't want to let go of as well as my mother moving into assisted living & same thing all over again. If that's your situation, I'd be more than happy to share my strategies.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 5:28PM
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I have NEVER had too much stuff!

Dirt poor as a kid = very little stuff.

Frugal as an adult = little stuff.

Plus we are a 'one-in, one-out' family... stuff never piles up.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 5:54PM
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not to much stuff, just not enough storage. LOL

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 6:45PM
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I have so become a too mch stuff person and I believe it had to do with all the moving we did in the first years of our marriage while hubby trained and started up sleep disorder labs around the country. Every time we moved we got rid of tons of stuff. I could never get him to understand that we really didn't save anything by not having to move it.
I seem to hoard stuff now. I think the moving and riddng outselves is the cause of it.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 7:13PM
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Boy, do we ever have too much stuff! Three years ago a dtr graduated college and moved back in with all her stuff. Last year I moved my mom's stuff into our house when she moved to a nursing home. In May, youngest dtr graduated and MOVED HER STUFF IN AGAIN before she leaves for Korea for a year! We're bursting at the seams around here! Everybody wants to keep everything and we can't afford to rent storage space.

We are organizing and purging, but it is a very hard process. Nobody wants to get rid of anything. I've had great advice from the people on this forum, but it's the implementing that's the hard part now. I am trying, trying, trying to get rid of stuff, but I'm emotionally tied to a lot of it, and my dtrs (and husband) are, too. Not to mention that we have four older kids who have some of their crapola still hanging around, also.

Girls, share those strategies, if you don't think I'm hopeless. We're not moving, though. It's the stuff that's gotta go. I hope.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 7:51PM
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Not until I had kids...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 8:15PM
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I was neat clean and orderly as a kid, and in various apartments as a young adult (20s-30s). Then in 1979 I got married and two years later we bought a house. It has gotten progressively worse. Clutter, too much stuff, not enough storage. Even tho the house has three bedrooms, two bathsa, loads of closets, a garage, an attic and a shed. Never enough room. . .

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:02PM
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I don't have that much stuff but what I have I am not attached to but don't seem to make the time to get rid of it. I have a decent size house but don't have much storage. I do have to say that I do get attached to Christmas decorations and have a hard time parting with some of them. Every year I do have to go through the stuff and few times just to get rid of some of it. Don't know why that is.

I have lived here for 15 years and before that never had excess stuff. Would go through things every few months including my girls toys, etc.

My DH was diagnosed in 2000 with MS and came home in a wheelchair and it seems everything stopped including purging and cleaning for the most part.

My Mom died in May and I only took a few pieces of jewelery and some lennox pieces that she had for years and loved.

Since I have been reading here I do force myself to get things done. Have done my closet and have pretty much have a handle on papers (still have some to go through) but can't seem to finish what I start most of the time or really have to concentrate because I don't want to finish.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:11PM
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_I_ don't have too much stuff. Honestly, I own very little. It's DH's stuff. HE IS THE BIGGEST PACKRAT IN THE WORLD and it's been driving me crazy for 21 years. I fantasise about divorcing him and his STUFF - only a fantasy, I do love the big lug.

But the stuff - it's just too much!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:29PM
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I don't have *that* much trouble "letting go"--I have more trouble getting others to let go, and more trouble finding time to sort out what to let go.

When I lived alone, i didn't really have too much stuff. I didn't live a minimalist life, but I didn't have more than would fit.

When I got married, I got a lot of stuff. And then I did find it hard to let go of it. I've gotten much better.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:51PM
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I have recommended this book a couple of times on other posts, and think this might be a good place to recommend it again...it posits the best answers I have ever heard to the "I don't know why I do/can't do/keep..." questions. It's "Organizing from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern, and it begins with a smart, compassionate, practical discussion of all the reasons we have trouble with this. (And, no, I don't know Ms. Morgenstern, or have any interest in the business of selling this or any other book...)

Most of us will see ourselves in several but not all of the reasons, but the most important concept she drives home is that it is almost NEVER because we aren't smart enough or industrious enough.

If you start feeling that you are, at your core, deficient in some way, knock it off! (I'm smiling...) Go have a martini or a nice glass of juice and remember who you are.

This is a really difficult problem in our culture, because IMO, for the first time in human history, we have the technology, the transportation networks, and the credit to amass Things, piles and baskets and bags of Things. And we are grossly over-matched by the marketing machine, which continually tells us that we are what we own, and if we just bought these fneebishes and those sniblicks and a couple of these blinderheims, we could take our rightful places in the world of accomplishment and pride that is our birthright and our responsibility as women, or as Americans, or as rock stars...

I also have a purely made-up but strong suspicion that we all spend too much time living up to expectations, and when we feel overwhelmed, we react like the child whose only control in a situation is to plant his little feet and say "No!" I know I still, at this advanced age, have moments of absolutely refusing to be told what to do, even if the person telling me what to do is me!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:42AM
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Yes & No! :-)

I lived at home in college, and didn't really have too much "stuff", but I didn't have enough "room". When I bought my first house, that problem was mostly solved.

Of course then my little house filled up with "stuff" - I didn't think it was too much stuff, until I got married and moved into our current house. I hate moving...

Now we have a lot of "stuff", but I don't really consider it too much (though there are things that need to go). Most of it is stuff we love, and use on a regular (or seasonal) basis. But it depends on your perspective, too - a minimalist would not be comfortable in our house. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 11:29AM
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No. The more I think about, "how did my parents keep it so clean" the more I think we don't have that much stuff. They had a basement, a garage and an attic and a 1600 sq ft house for a family of 4. So much of the awkward things, like kid's kitchen sets or Dad's saw was in the basement along with our Christmas storage, etc. We had toboggan's, camping equipment, snow stuff. We each had a box of our own ("memory" box) in the attic and maybe some extra books. I used to wonder how they did it. Then I figured it out.

Then they didn't have cell phones and computers and home offices or home workout equipment or toys that come with large buildings. It's a different time now than it was then. Putting all that into consideration, we don't have too much stuff.

I had a time where I kept everything because I might need it somewhere else. This was when I was single and living alone and didn't have money to replace, but to reuse. With that mindset, in the last 5 years I have gotten rid of things that I still had from then. (Yes it took me that long to not think about "what if?").

We have too much stuff in a way that we do many things at home. We live in the boonies. We have a room w/workout equipment, we work out of our home, so we have several computers, and a few sheds, since our offices are in a section in the garage. We also homeschool. So in that sense, we have way too much stuff. We have no attic and no basement. But if we sent our dd to school, didn't work out of our home and lived in the city where we could work out, we'd have a very small house.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 12:27PM
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I don't think it's fair to blame the marketing machine. It also pushes food, but few of us (or even our pantries) are as bloated as many homes are.

Part of the difference is that foods have a shelf life. Eventually we have to get rid of what we haven't used, no matter how sentimental we might be about what was going on when we acquired them, or how much money we may have spent on them.

And part of the difference is that we are better at not acquiring it in the first place. Most of us realize that we can consume only a finite amount of food, and getting more than that results in waste, guilt, or a lot of extra effort -- and often additional cost -- to preserve it. But somehow that thinking doesn't often get applied to other things.

Yes, looking back, I have always had too much stuff, in the sense that even when I didn't have much overall I still had things that weren't either useful or beautiful to me. Because I was supposed to be sentimental about them, or because I might need them someday. And while some of that "someday" stuff did eventually get used, it probably cost more in both money and effort to keep it around than it would have to go out and buy it only when needed.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 1:17PM
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One of the best life lesson's I've ever learned came as a result of having to clean out 2 homes in a 7 month period - one when my single aunt passed away and the other when we dismantled the family home. My aunt was a complete packrat. It took us 3 months of solid weekends to go through her house and papers. Then we had 2 months off before we had to clean out our family home when my mom moved to a nursing home. We still had our stuff from childhood there. That took another 2 months of weekends.

Now, I'm very fussy about keeping our home lean and mean. If it's not worn or used in an 18 month period, it goes. No exceptions. We usually make 3 trips to the charity drop off per year. DH, however, is the worst because he does the "If I lose 10 pounds, it'll fit me again" thing. At first I fell for that line, but since he's used it for a number of years now, he gets no slack and I kindly reply that if he loses 10 pounds, we'll celebrate and go get him something new.

So, I used to have too much stuff and then I saw how clutter impacts others. Now we live with what we need. And that's it.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 3:13PM
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When I lived at home, my brothers stole my art pencils and sold them at school for a quarter--less than I had paid for them! They also stole my stamp & coin collection, and turned it in at a pawn shop for cash. They didn't respect any of my stuff. I had books. Lots of books. Those were lost when we moved and my dad couldn't afford to pay the storage unit fee. So maybe that taught me to not be attached to stuff. I never knew when it would be taken away from me.

Then, when I was in college, I was too poor to have much of anything. I only had a few pairs of pants and a few shirts at any given time, and some kitchenware and a futon. And books for my classes. In fact, I got a bit nuts about what little I had, wondering if I could get by with even less. I decided that it was best not to own anything good. Anything worth stealing.

Then I graduated and worked for several years, not accumulating much. Too busy working to go shopping, I guess. But I did start to realize that some possessions were great to have. I bought myself a nice cookware set, because I was used to cooking for myself every day. Why not have decent tools? I still only had the bare minimum. Not a lot of clothes. A hand-me-down TV. My bed was still the futon.

When I married, hubby moved in with a lot of stuff. Our apartment was packed with furniture and possessions that just got in the way when I had my accident and found it difficult to walk.

Then we bought a house, and besides our own truck from the apartment, his parents rented a truck and brought more stuff of his that had been in the basement & attic at their house. My parents contributed some very welcome hand-me-down furniture, but also some junk that I had never asked for. Our 1600 square foot house was instantly full!

I was a SLAVE to STUFF!

It drove me nuts for about 7 years, until I found FlyLady last year. I guess I just needed someone's permission. I was on the verge of realizing it all by myself, but somehow afraid to act. It was mostly hubby's stuff, how could I dare tell him we had to get rid of it? I kind of beat around the bush, but never dared to ask if it was OK to get rid of the clutter. FlyLady made me brave enough to ask for what was in my heart all those years.

Perhaps I can still do a bit more decluttering, but I have been able to get rid of most of the stuff I never needed, or wanted, but could never throw away "because it was still good."

I am so glad that I am no longer a slave to stuff!



    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 3:15PM
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Thanks for all the input. I have been getting all my candles from different places and if they don't smell like they are suppose to...out they go.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 8:28PM
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I came here today because I have 3 days left before my mothers yearly visit. She flies out from the east coast on Monday. I have been working at decluttering and organizing for the last few months, but today as I look around...I am thinking I didn't do enough...there is still so much stuff!
I am between putting myself down and patting myself on the back for what I did do.
When my too much stuff really shows up is before my mothers visit every year! She is neat and clutter free...I am just the opposite!
We have moved a number of times in my marriage, but each move was provided by my DH employer. I had a number of young children and got rid of nothing! They packed us up and they moved us. The extra stuff staying in boxes in the garage.
Really, I love to shop and buy...it is a favorite pass time for me...other than grocery and necessary hardware type shopping.
I have really been working on it to make a change in my behavior, but like someone said...I have not under gone a personality change. This is going to take continued effort on my part to get things in order and keep them there.
Thanks...I needed to vent before I get onto dusting and vacuuming this morning. When I go to dust and vacuum is when I really know that I have too much stuff!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 11:52AM
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I have no sales resistance. I love home parties where you buy stuff, and I can't resist buying things I don't need. I bought a cookie press, even though I rarely bake. I bought a glass case for plants, altho the plants I now have are dead or dying from lack of sun or water. There's only one solution for me-toss it!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 12:19PM
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bruglover, don't beat yourself up. It all takes time and you need to pat yourself on the back even if you only get rid of one bag of things. I do think life is so much easier when we can find the things we need to and put them back in the place they belong. I am really trying to follow that.

What I have been doing when out shopping and something catches my eye is I ask myself where am I going to put it and what do I need to get rid of. It seems to work for me and the more I do it the easier it is. It also helps to stay away from the stores that have the stuff that I really like.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 1:42PM
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Thank you dd50 ! Yes, putting myself down will serve no purpose other than to make me feel bad. I will pat myself on the back! I am making progress and I have to be happy & feel good for that.
Yes, staying away from the stores I like would help, but I find unlike my friends that I shop with, I can ALWAYS find SOMETHING I am attracted to ANYWHERE ! This includes the internet. Lately I am just throwing away e-mail from kitchen shops that I just love to buy at. Also getting rid of catologues without even opening the pages. I know if I look, I will like something and be tempted to buy it!
One of my big problems is buying something to remind me of a trip or a special day. Just last week I bought a new pair of earrings at the deYoung museum, as a memory item. I didn't need a pair of earrings and I hardly weat the ones I have...but I bought them anyway. It is a hard habit to break! Although I must say I am so much better today than I was a few months ago. What is that saying..."Progress not Perfection!"

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 9:53PM
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My parents always had (and still have) way too much stuff. So I guess I rebelled by not wanting stuff.

I don't have much and I'm always trying to get rid of the stuff I do have. My kids on the other hand have way too much stuff!! They are 4 and 1 but they each have a bedroom full, they have a full playroom and about 12'x15' in the basement full of stuff. Plus they have some things in the garage!

I organized their playroom last night and brought a couple things down to the basement. I'm hoping to get rid of some of their stuff but I know there is more they will be getting. It just doesn't end w/ kids.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 12:54PM
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cynandjon said it right: "not too much stuff, just not enough storage."

I have actually never thought I had too much stuff (well, maybe on a few occasions), but then I have always been good at looking around and realizing it was time to purge. And I am brutal when it comes to purging.

Having said that, my family has gone through flooding twice - not just water in the basement, but several feet of water in our living space. The kind that picks up the furniture and deposits it in some other room, covered in slimey mud. The kind that forces you to throw away every single thing you own. Most recently, this happened just this past June. We are still living in a camper in our driveway, going through the process of selling our destroyed house to the City and moving (yes, to higher ground! LOL) ...

So, have I always had too much stuff? No - like I said, I purge. And, in the months after the floods of 1993 and 2008, I can honestly say that those were times when I didn't have "too much stuff." LOL

It does make one less attached to 'things' - though, I still won't let go of family heirloom-type stuff... unless it's covered in river muck of course. ;)


    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 5:00PM
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Well not always. But then I moved every 10-11 months. So I had a tendency to hold on to packing boxes.
Then we moved into a house & moved out of it in 8 months. Next house we had lots of place, so kept buying stufff.

Then the twins came & everthing from space, storage, neccessary items went of control.

Now my house is a Dumpster! I don't know where to start!

Maybe I will let go if I start getting at least a dollar for each item. I hate to throw away all the expensive elctronics & dresses I bought & never used.

I will start with my Books & see what I can get.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 7:10PM
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janetga, wow that has to be hard to get flooded once in a life time but twice. I don't know what I would do. The stress must be really hard. I had a roof leak in Hurricane Charlie and lost some stuff and had to get flooring in different parts of my house etc. and that was hard but we didn't have to leave.

Kanu, yes kids do have lots of things. As far as getting money for things that you no longer need sometimes peace of mind is more important. You are the only one to decide. You can always to try to sell your things on craigslist or some things to consignment shops. The hardest part is the starting.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 9:31PM
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If you find it worthwhile to do all the work required to get the money back out of the stuff ... then go for it!

I myself found it better to just get all the stuff out of my house any way possible -- for free. I used Freecycle for individual items, and donated entire minivan-loads full of stuff to the local "Re-Use Center," which sends some items directly to local charities, and resells others to the general public. The money then goes to local charities. I lost track of the number of minivan loads that have left my house. The peace in my heart and the lack of clutter in my home is worth much more than any money I might have earned from a garage sale.

It is up to each individual.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 10:18AM
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