Bizarre organizing suggestions

jannieSeptember 14, 2005

I have a confession: I am a packrat. I come by it honestly,both my parents are packrats. I recently saw a container of frozen strawberries in my mother's freezer marked "1958". I asked her about it. She said she couldn't bear to throw it out. It came from her mother's freezer. Her mother died in 1961. Over the years, I have read countless organizing books. And I have marvelled at how neat some people can keep their homes. Today I organized/ cleared off my dining room table. The last time we ate there was Thanksgiving 2003. I put away my two children's Easter baskets, and actually threw out all the candy in them! My sister in law is one of those born-organized types. She told me she keeps her refrigerator neat because she throws out all leftovers immediately after meals. And I have seen her do it! Anyone else have a bizarre suggestion? And keep it clean!

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I can understand about the strawberries! I have little bags of first-haircut blonde hair tucked in keepsake boxes, filing boxes, drawers, and half the time I don't know which of my children the hair belongs to! In any case, ask yourself how your home would look if the most "important" person you know was coming over tomorrow. Just a small portion of the kind of energy that would throw us into a cleaning and organizing frenzy, applied every day, would gradually put your household in order. I also recommend Flylady's book "Sink Reflections" and her website for encouragement and guidance. It's an overwhelming process, babysteps are key to moving forward.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flylady

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 3:44PM
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I know someone who constantly puts the leftovers into smaller containers each time she takes some of the food out. And she doesn't even have a dishwasher so she has to wash all these containers by hand.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 5:09PM
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I also saved my two daughters baby teeth. I have two little boxes of teeth. Trouble is, I have no idea whose teeth are in which box. I think my mom has some teeth in her jewelry box, also a yarn bow I made in Kindergarden as a gift to her.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 10:04PM
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I live with a pack rat (DH) -- and my mum -- a senior pack rat (when it comes to leftover food) -- is coming to stay -- sheesh!

Anyway -- to tell the tale -- in 1998 or so Mum and I cleaned out the small freezer in the garage -- and came across chicken from 1993 (when we first moved into the house!!) We still laugh about that -- my DH tends to overbuy at sales! Truly scary what can be stashed at the bottom of a freezer!!!! (cue the scary movie music!!! LOL!)

As for fridge leftovers -- well -- here in hot Texas -- most food simply doesn't last that long -- even in the fridge! So cleaning out is really a necessity!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 2:56PM
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Bizarre stuff doesn't work. I can really relate.

I started with Flylady's introductory letter almost three years ago. I did exactly as she said and followed the steps like a drowning soul.

It changed my life. Seriously. Being a packrat is not genetic, it is learned behavior. You can change it if you truely desire to change.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 1:11AM
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My DH is a packrat. Our garage and spare room are like archaeological digs, with old stuff buried on the bottom. He says he is going to clean the garage, but really, it is beyond him. He just cannot part with the stuff. It is discouraging. I won't allow him to packrat into the house.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 9:28PM
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Thgis week I am trying to tame the paper tiger. I started with ten boxes of papers. I consolidated all my bills into one box and it is now half-full. I have so far eliminated three boxes. So it's six and a half still to -do. I know it will take more than just this week to finish. I had two days this week I didn't organize anything at all: I spent Wednesday taking a day-trip into New York City with my DH to see a play(Lennon-it closes this Saturday) and today (Thursday)the bathroom toilet overflowed. I spent the morning mopping up and dialing the plumber,he did the rest of the work. But I'm still going. And I take weekends off. My kids are busy with school and I need time with them. Oh, and when I say "five minute room rescue" I mean I work in one room, I don't finish one room. As long as I keep going I think I'll be okay. A few months ago I bought Flylady's book Sink Reflections. Read about a third and set it aside. Now where did I put it?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 3:21PM
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My mother and father were Depression era babies and packrats. She's gotten so much better over the years. Started after my father died and she had to go through all of his stuff. It was ugly. She says that she'd never want to do it to someone else! She is now constantly reorganizing and throwing crap.

She also does the leftovers into smaller tubs thing. It's scary. She also washes out Ziploc bags. Makes me insane. She treated all of us kids like human garbage disposals, as a result, most of us have had weight problems.

Me? I throw 80% of it out. I ask myself if anyone will actually eat it. If they won't, I toss it.

I started composting this year, so I throw all of my fruits, veggies and the like in there. I'll end up with free compost by the end of it. It helps with the guilt! LOL

But I will say that I had a moment that taught me a lesson. I was staying at my mother's house and had a toilet overflow problem. Water kept running and wouldn't stop. I called my BIL and we sucked water out of the carpets for hours. In the process of the 'flood', it ran into some closets. One of them used to be mine as a kid. I pulled everything out of the bottom of it and tried to salvage what I could. And you know what I found in the very back farthest corner?

A blue fuzzy slipper that I had in fifth grade. Somehow it got behind some boxes.

That was the beginning of the end of my packrattishness. I imagine myself getting hit by a bus. I ask myself, "would I want anyone to know that I own this?" LOL THAT helps to motivate me!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 2:00PM
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She says that she'd never want to do it to someone else!

My folks had this realization too. They weren't *horrible* packrats, just normal ones. So they started weeding stuff out a few years ago. Mailing it to us to throw away, etc.

They've since moved (part of their decluttering motivation), and begun accumulating a new household full of stuff. But most of it, I'll know what to do with.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 5:08PM
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My inlaws were also depression era packrats and taught it to their kids.

Now that they're gone, DH is adamant about keeping all their clutter. Makes me crazy! We're not talking things of sentimental value, or things of value-value, we're talking about JUNK with no story behind it. DH has no memory of most of it, just knows that's where it came from.

Step-MIL (still living) not only does the smaller and smaller tubs for leftovers (also makes me crazy) but refuses to use ziplock bags... such a waste that would be when re-used greasy bread bags work for her. YUCK.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 7:20PM
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Oh, my parents were the depression era folks, too. My mom is 88 and the last parent left. I dread, I mean, dread having to deal with her place when she goes.

She has sent me some things to keep, but there will still be so much to deal with. We moved frequently when I was a kid and I still remember it taking a semi and my dad would haul load after load of stuff. They would rent storage space. One move when we cleared out the last of the storage it turned out that it was just magazines. My mom always kept them for the ideas. Sound familiar?


    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 8:57PM
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Quitglo, the sentence, My mom always kept them for the ideas definitely sounds familiar. It's me. In another post I mentioned that I had to go through my "personal" papers which are mostly for the ideas. I come from the generation before computers so it's hard to throw away the paper trail even though anything I'd ever need is on the internet. This is my next project, though.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 10:30PM
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I was on the same path as my mom, only I thought I was doing so much better. Had the articles torn out of the magazines, acutally in hanging file folders and on shelves. Lots and lots of shelves.

When I started with the Flylady system, the first command was to only declutter my own stuff, so darn it, I just had to get real with myself. If I ever needed an "idea" the library was full of craft and sewing books.

I finally realized that my shelves were full of magazines and my "ideas" while things I would actually like to look at were packed away in boxes because I didn't have room for them.

It took me a good year to get all of the paper clutter gone and it's still a struggle.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 12:29AM
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Gloria, GOOD FOR YOU on getting rid of the "ideas" cluttering the house. I did that a couple years ago and NEVER regretted it.

Marie, YOU can do this, too! I actually found it very free-ing!


    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 5:58AM
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my shelves were full of magazines and my "ideas" while things I would actually like to look at were packed away in boxes because I didn't have room for them.

oooh, that's an impressive realization! How powerful it must have been to see that, and begin to act on it.

That the reality is worth more than the potential.

I found (here at work, not at home) old booklets w/ crochet patterns and an old craft magazine--all the ideas looked so dated. That really cured me of the concept of keeping the ideas.

Plus I've discovered that the ideas I *really* like, stay in my head. Maybe not absolutely exactly, but the general idea or technique.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 9:51AM
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This keyboard, this monitor, this modem - connect me to all the great ideas and recipes - and I don't have to store all of them at home!!!!!!!! I still struggle w/ the issue of discarding books - but I no longer purchase MORE books w/ the same degree of gottahaveitness that has ruled me most of my LONG life.



    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 12:35AM
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