It was so liberating to get rid of .................

alisandeOctober 7, 2007

Marie26's post on adobesunlight's OMG thread made me think of all the old pens I got rid of at once, and how good that felt, and that led to other thoughts of other memorable decluttering acts.

So my question to you is this: Of all the things you've tossed, which ones left you feeling especially liberated?

Here are some of mine:

The sock bag. Oh, lord, I'd had that bag for years. About ten pounds of singleton socks, most of them white. :-) With just about zero hope of finding the mates, I don't know why it was so hard to take the whole thing and toss it. But when I finally did, it felt good.

The above-mentioned pens. They were dusty, they were crappy, and I have no idea whether they worked or not. But one day I chucked them all and replaced them with the gel click-pens I love. Great move!

My half-finished quilt. This one was really hard. I had started the puff quilt when my kids were little. I had a lot of sentiment tied to it simply because of that. But I knew I'd never finish it. For one thing, I didn't even like the pattern anymore. With some encouragement from this forum, one day I gathered up all the supplies needed to finish it and donated the whole deal to the Salvation Army. I swear, my shoulders felt lighter that day.

My Aunt Peggy's rotten rug. It's not that it was rotten to begin with.....Peggy was a wonderful rug hooker. But it had been stored during a move and must have gotten damp or whatever. It was a dreadful mess. But talk about sentiment .....oy! I loved Peggy, who had inspired my own interest in rug hooking. How could I get rid of something she'd put hours into making? How could I keep such a nasty reminder that I'd caused her rug to deteriorate? In the end I took a couple of closeup photographs of good parts and then placed it in a plastic bag and gave it a decent burial in the trash can. I can't say it made me feel good, exactly, but at least I don't worry about it anymore.

How about you?


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Hi alisande. This can be such an interesting thought process. Thank you for starting the thread.

As hard as it may be for some readers to understand, I actually felt some liberation when DH & I experienced a house fire about 20 yrs ago. We lost almost everything in that fire. The important thing about it was that w/ my husband at a mtg that evening, I did wake up about 11pm to find the house filled w/ smoke & managed to get myself & our two small DDs out safely.

There are times when I wish I still had a few treasured items which were destroyed (such as photos or an antique bassinet which was used by me & all of my cousins & had started thru the next generation or my husband's grandparents' elaborate wedding certificate from 1900 - those things which can't be replaced), but for the most part I now realize that material things really are not the most important things in my life and that hanging on to most things 'just because' can be a huge weight to bear.

I certainly don't wish this kind of thing on anyone (myself included), but we were fortunate to come out of it safely and w/ insurance money and the support of family and friends, we moved on w/ our lives. Sad to stay I still look around some days & think 'gosh Kim, did you really learn anything from the experience - just look at that closet filled w/ things.' Guess I'm just a work in progress. :-)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 2:47PM
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...most of the stuff in my basement, and some of it that was in the garage!

Susan, I got rid of a stack of old pens too, after I checked to see if they were working. (Most weren't.) That felt good!

Clothes I've saved thinking I might wear them again. I won't. They had their season. I'm now looking for fabulous fit in colors I love that look good on me. That's not so easy to find, so I find I have a little more space in my closet. I've been trying to imagine what Tim Gunn would say to me about some of my clothing, and finding it much easier to let go! (I'm no fashion maven, but I could definitely try harder.) Along with that, shoes that aren't comfortable. They're gone now and my feet are grateful.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 3:16PM
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Great topic!

For me, it was the box of single socks that I saved for way too many years. I must admit I went through it one more time looking for pairs and then tossed the rest. I haven't missed it.

A couple of weeks ago, I went through every magazine that I'd saved and tore out only those articles (and recipes) I might want to look at again. I sorted these into folders and threw out all the magazines. Funny thing is that every time I thought I'd finished doing this, I'd find more magazines hidden in drawers. I've been finding that I've stopped buying magazines on impulse just because of not wanting to start this process over again in the future. If only I could get DH to do the same with his magazines.

I'd like to be able to toss are the organized binders of recipes that I might someday cook. I can't seem to get rid of them until I cull them once more. But this is on my list to do. My problem is that I started doing this before the internet and it's hard to break the paper habit.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 3:33PM
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Hehe, Marie26, I just tossed my collection of saved articles!
I was getting ready to move and started looking through them and ended up tossing them all.
recipes, I figure if I need a recipe, I'll goggle for it, so I pared down my cookbooks and tossed clippings

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 5:39PM
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Crazykwilter, how did you do it? There are certain subjects that I'm interested in and feel the need to keep the literature on them. I'm at the point of trying to figure out what I'm going to do with them, though, even though they don't take up that much room and are perfectly organized by subject.

What do others do with their collection of articles?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 6:41PM
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Have had Bradford Exchange plates and other objects d'art (Franklin Mint oriental) that DH had when we met 17 years ago in this cabinet. I HATE knick knaks. Finally learned to shut my mouth, and he recently offered that we get rid of them and the cabinet(so in case he dies before I do, I don't have to deal with it) He will turn 80 next month but I'm sure will outlive all of us :-). I just hope we can get an e-bay broker to get something out of them, or I will just write them off as a bad investment. Its a shame, he thought it was legit.

Its in our tiny dining room and blocking part of a baseboard heater, so it might just be a little warmer this winter.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 6:44PM
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Would it be wrong of me to say my oldest daughter? I love her to pieces, but she's a real nightmare to live with! My other two kids are so much fun to be around - what went wrong? LOL!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 7:01PM
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The black 10 foot satellite dish outside the kitchen windows. Whew, that was ugly!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 7:17PM
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will you please post the photos of Peggy's rug?
This kind of thing is very difficult for me too.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 3:57AM
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Here you go, Maria. Hard to tell from this shot how bad the rest of it looked.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 8:34AM
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Susan, your half-finished quilt reminded me of the time I got rid of all the fabric I had lying around. A suit-length of good wool, various dress-lengths of cotton for sundresses, good-sized remnants of all sorts of things.

I finally accepted it - I don't like to sew. I've sewn for years, mostly because I like being able to make something that fits me well. But I never, ever enjoy it. I wish I did. It reminds me of my mother, who taught me to sew and sewed whenever she had the chance. But I don't. So I finally gave myself permission to stop doing it.

I found someone to take the wool, but everything else went to the Salvation Army. I do hope that someone took it who could use it, but I was thrilled to get rid of it, and to free up most of one closet.

Now, I'm working on getting rid of years of kitchen magazines. I started buying them in 2002, when I thought I'd be remodeling the kitchen soon. Then came several years of illness, and I couldn't afford it. I probably *won't* be able to afford it for several more years.

The magazines have served their purpose, though. I learned a lot about designing a well-functioning kitchen, and know what I want in a new one. I know what style I want, too, though styles change and I may like something else before I get a chance to actually do it.

I keep them around as a sort of security blanket, but it's one I don't need. So I'm going to scan the articles I actually want to keep (I like to do this to avoid keeping paper) and get rid of the rest. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 10:06AM
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I have lots of stuff like your rug - the photo is beautiful, no wonder you had trouble.

As for the sock bag, I threw out a ten-pounder years ago, but have started another one, and it's just the two of us now! I must be nuts!

Wantoretire: Your cabinet looks beautiful. I love knick-knacks and have no place to put them.

I'm going to take inspiration here and start liberating myself from the tons of junk I'm buried under. The garbage man will come by in an hour, and I'm going to have my first bag of "liberation" sitting on the curb for him.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 10:08AM
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I used to enjoy douing crafts. USED TO. One Christmas, I bought two embroidery- kit- bibs to make for my infant nieces. I got one about half-finished but Dec 25 was rapidly approaching. I threw out both bibs and all my stash of embroidery needles and floss. Very liberating. I currently have two jnitting projects "in process". Think I'll toss them today!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 10:58AM
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jannie, your post reminds me that I liberated myself from ''projects'' years ago by letting them go so someone else could ''save or rescue'' them. It didn't have to be me! Looking at them just made me feel bad about myself and I needed to focus on feeling good. Recognizing my limitations didn't mean I needed to keep myself bound by them!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 12:26PM
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Clothes that no longer fit, stuffed animals that had no home, wall hangings that didn't belong anywhere in my house and outdated prescription bottles (pills were flushed and labels removed and torn in shreds). All of this stuff tossed was like a huge weight had been lifted!

And now I must quit procrastinating and get to work! Will check back later=)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 1:03PM
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A feather bed for a cal-king bed we no longer have. It was sitting in a box for 10 years, and that was some huge box! It made such an impact that starting on the other 50-plus boxes in the extra bedroom was much easier. I'm down to about 9 boxes now....

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 1:49PM
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Our first generation of furniture--i.e. thrift store stuff that has been sitting in the garage since we moved a year ago. We had a garage sale and sold a bunch of it at EXTREMELY low prices. We lost money, but it is so nice to see them gone. Now I just have to decide what to do with the rest of it, the stuff that didn't sell. I think you all might have just inspired me to take it back to the thrift store it came from! Woo hoo.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 3:16PM
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Adobesunlight, you are NOT suppose to flush medicines down the toilet or sink. Those dangerous chemicals end up in our rivers and lakes, and affect the eco balance and wildlife. They end up in our drinking water too as the treatment plants do not do anything to remove them.

You are suppose to destroy pills by adding a bit of water or something to the container and duct taping them to seal. Then they get tossed out. Remove lables with identifying info of course.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 3:34PM
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5 bags of recycling (paper) and a big garbage bag of trash. :)

How on earth I ended up with so much I don't know. :0

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 12:25AM
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For me, it was the feather bed for the cal-king bed I haven't had in 10 years. It was in a box that measured 18x18x27 inches, and was the first of over 50 crammed into the extra bedroom to get out the door. No donate, no recycle, no e-bay, but right to the curb for trash pickup. OUTTA HERE was the mantra of the day. I'm down to 2 boxes that size, and 3 smaller ones, so this project is almost done!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 9:04AM
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I'm not only getting rid of THINGS, I'm doing away with relationships that are cluttering up my life with their expectations, entitlements and lack of considerations for others. This includes but is not limited to, family members who expect things they don't feel a need to communicate, and get p*ssy when there's no compliance due to their own karmic influences because of actions by them in the past. Saturday, we turned a very sharp corner due to a forced family get-together and I'm DONE. Yes, it's liberating!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 2:35PM
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Claire, I know what you mean! Some people/organizations in my life are "energy vampires." They suck me dry and don't give back.

It was sad to give up an old h.s. buddy but I cannot cope with her constant tales of woe. Now in her late 40s, she continues to make iffy choices that leave her (sooner or later) on the short end of the stick. I still like her, but I can't be her shrink, savior, or rescuer any more. Waaay too much negative energy.

OTH, I'm finding it liberating to finally be getting rid of all the stuff I've tossed in boxes marked "to sell on eBay." I sorted through them ruthlessly and only selected items that I can list for at least $9.99 and ship easily. Anything else is going to the thrift store.

I had a big photo session and am putting up 1 to 2 auctions per week through Christmas. I'm having fun with the 20 or so items I selected for sale and have learned new photo editing skills. The goal is to MOVE THIS STUFF, not to make money.

Yes, I could have taken this stuff to the thrift store too, but for whatever reason, selling is what I need to do with these items. It feels right.

After the final auction, that's it. No more collecting stuff to sell. That feels right too.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 4:44PM
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My old stereo. It was almost 15 years old and hadn't worked right for a while. We replaced it a year ago, but I decided it would be convenient to have a second stereo upstairs. Wrong!! If I didn't want to use it when it was the ONLY stereo, then why would I want to use it if it was a secondary one? Out it went today. Now I have a lot more space in the sitting room cabinet.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 5:10PM
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All my old law school exams after I graduated from law school.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 9:34PM
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When we moved to a smaller house, we got rid of lots and lots of "stuff". It was great disposing of things we hadn't worn or used in years--we'd lived in that house for 28 years. However, almost 14 years later, we've somehow accumulated more "stuff". This forum really is inspirational in jump-starting one to take action. Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 3:36PM
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Most of DH's hardcover textbooks from university when he attended over 20 years ago. In our first home he built an oak bookshelf in the wall and proudly announced "this is where he'll put all those books he'd shelled all that money on. Might as well display 'em!" Except for 2 mathematical textbooks and some classics novels, the rest had become outdated. I tried to convince him to cull them before we moved to a newer home, nope, he handed me a couple of fairly large boxes to pack them in, so I did. They were heavy. He moved them, but a year later when we had to move again and I gently made the same suggestion to cull, he was willing.

A collection of ceramic pig piggy banks. I'd expressed delight in the first one I'd received, which led to many more.

My skinny jeans from when I was, like, twenty and, like, really skinny. 15 years later I accepted that after having children and eating real suppers, I wasn't going to fit them anymore (and if I could fit them, I would deserve new ones) and I wanted to stop feeling awful about how I couldn't fit into them, so I finally packed all but one (have to keep just one pair, yes?) and shipped them off.

The second set of kitchen cooking utensils. Why would I ever think that just because dh and I merged, that our cooking utensils needed to also? Did I really need doubles of spatulas, slotted spoons, ladles, pasta spoons etc? No.

This (ugly to me) sweater my mom gave me for Christmas one year. I mercy wore it a few times when I knew she was coming over or I there, and everytime I opened my dresser drawer to put my other things away it would glare at me, taking up space, screaming 'why don't you wear me!'.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 1:08AM
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Oddly enough, a bag of old letters from people I knew in college. They were typical 20 year-olds' letters, full of what we were going to do and be. For some reason I found them very depressing. But it seems so wrong to toss letters in the garbage, especially since no one writes them anymore.

I finally took out the 2 or 3 that were from friends I've stayed really close to, and tossed the rest. I was really suprisingly liberating -- I felt like I didn't have that 20-year old me looking over my shoulder anymore!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 2:33PM
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my "good china". BOTH sets!

DMIL was so aghast that I hadn't picked out a china set she picked one out for me. (DH and I had a small no fuss wedding)

I never really liked it, seldom used it, "good china" just wasn't important to me.

Then she bought another set at her coworker's garage sale. I liked that set better, but when we were decluttering for this latest move, we decided to donate both sets. We never used them and were downsizing by half, so out they went!

That felt good!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 6:25PM
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I wish I knew why it's so hard to *decide* to get rid of it. the actual getting rid of it and the living without it are easy and liberating. The new empty space is a joy. It's the deciding that's hard for me. Even after all the liberating experience the deciding is still hard. How can I get over it? We have a stepper machine sitting on our portal that I have long wanted to donate, trash etc. Why haven't we? I really think that the place for exercise for us is in the gym. We never use this machine. Yet still it sits there! How much it cost in the beginning is sunk now. and it's ugly!


    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 11:21PM
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Daisy - too funny I have the exact situation. Love her to death, but so difficult to live with.

So I would have to say No it is not wrong to say!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 11:12AM
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Like lisande I had a quilt, instead of a rug, that was made by my Great Grandma. I don't sew at all and when a few little tatters turned into a whopping mess...well, I didn't know what to do with it. It took up a lot of space in my linen closet and even moved with me to the next house. One day I got the courage to walk it out to the trash. I just had to tell myself that I was throwing out the quilt, not Great Grandma. And it wasn't so bad, liberating, actually!

I recognized myself in some of these other posts: yes, the sock bag! I occaisionally throw it out every few years, I guess I am due again! And magazines? I haven't subscribed to one in decades but funny, I still have a few tucked here and there because I'm going to rip out an article! Out they go! Whoever said you can google it is right!

Kim, I'm so sorry you had to go through the experience of a house fire. You are very fortunate not to have lost anyone! It does put the possessions into perspective, doesn't it?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 4:36PM
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My ex-mother in law and her good for nothing son.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 11:09PM
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My ex husband has to top the list.

There have been other things -- my old dining room table he picked out that I always hated. I gave it to my son and now I have to see it at his house. Oops! I'm showing him better ones on Craigslist and urging him to sell it. Moral of the story: Make it go farther away. Also, an orange corduroy and chrome chair and matching ottoman. They came from an exclusive store so I hung onto them far longer than I should have. What was I thinking?

I'm very excited about Craigslist because it gives us a way to get rid of big things we can't pack up for eBay. I just listed a chair there tonight and more will follow. I hope it all sells!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 11:35PM
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Old bank statements, carbons and canceled checks! I burned them all!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 8:38AM
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All the duplicates and not so great photos that we had been storing forever are gone and I'm glad for the extra room in our trunk where they are stored.

Gotta get on the spare bedroom closet next. Planning a sale for a couple of weeks from now and I KNOW I can find more things to contribute! LOL

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 7:12PM
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my spinet piano. I bought it 30 years ago with a plan to take piano lessons and learn to play it. I'd taken lessons as a child, but hadn't played for years. Now, 30 years later, I've finally realized that at my age I'll never learn to play, it's taking up a great deal of space in my small living room, and it would be SO much easier to place a Christmas tree without the piano cluttering up the place. I put an ad in the paper, sold it to the first couple who gave me my price (in cash!), and they're picking it up next weekend.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 12:51AM
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Well, it only took 2 months, but the curio cabinet is finally OUT of the house and in the garage. I don't even want to try to sell until spring; people are concentrating on essentials in this down economy. Baby steps. At least its out of the house!!!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 5:41PM
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My first husband, his porn collection, and all the car parts for the race car. (What was I ever thinking?! Okay, I didn't know about any of those eventualities when I picked him. Still, you'd think I could've forseen it.)

Oh, and my current DH's 20 years worth of old National Geographic magazines. (At least he has better taste in reading material.)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 7:11PM
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My artificial (FAKE) Christmas tree! Last night it went out with the trash. I paid about $200 for it around 5 years ago and I hate it! It looked awful. My living room is really small and we bought this thin one because it would fit. Last night we put it up, put the lights on it, and then we tossed it.

No more trees for me. Guilt-free, too. Our kids can have their own trees if they want, but I am done!

Ahhh, it felt really good!


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 9:20AM
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I finally discovered FlyLady in July. Along with everyone else on the mail list, I purged my closet of all the clothes that no longer fit, I no longer liked, I no longer wore. A huge load was lifted from my mind. It was addictive!

I got rid of all the papers that had ended up in banker's boxes over the years. Why did we even think we'd need any of this paper again? I ran it through our shredder, then sprinkled it where we had planted grass seed, to act as mulch. I decided to spend my time shredding papers, instead of spending money to go buy straw. The new grass grew in thick and healthy.

Next I moved on to all the stuff I had kept only because it was "too good to throw away," but also absolutely useless to me. I thought maybe I'd "learn how to Ebay" by selling this stuff that had come into my life for free. I forced myself to admit that I was never going to have time to learn how to sell stuff on Ebay. Rather than store the makings of a garage sale that would never happen, I took everything to the local Re-Use Center. I haven't missed any of the clutter one bit, but I have since been able to re-arrange everything in the basement storage closet, so that all the sports gear is easy to find and put back. Another big load dropped off my shoulders. I was starting to sleep better at night.

I went on to get rid of the king size guest bed that has seen only one or two nights of use per year in the last five years. I will eventually turn that room into our library and reading room. Someday I'll get a couch that can fold out into a bed, so we can still have guests. That is a much better use of the space. (The bedroom with the twin bed never saw a guest -- only clutter -- and has since become my sewing room!) I donated the beds to the Re-Use Center, and Freecycled all the linens. (My mother in law thought it was a bad idea to get rid of all the guest beds, but you know what? It's not her house!)

Now that we have decluttered the basement, we have one area for watching TV, and one for exercising. The weight bench still takes up a lot of room, but now we don't have to trip over it on the way to the TV. It has its own area. We got ourselves new bicycles. One is set up on a stand so I can pedal whenever I want, even when there's snow on the ground outside. Hooray for FlyLady! I stopped chewing on my tongue in my sleep.

The next thing I'd like to get rid of is a family heirloom of sorts. It is a vanity set that had belonged to my husband's grandmother. There is a comb with horn teeth that have become gnarled into useless hooks by sheer age, a natural bristle brush that would never make it through my hair, and a large hand mirror that I will never use. I "do" my hair standing in front of the bathroom mirror, and don't have a vanity table, nor room for one. So even though the set is sentimental to the family, and seems to be silver or at least silver plate, I'd like to have permission to get rid of it. Or do I even need permission? This set is only of interest to a museum! Perhaps I should donate it to one.

There is still more decluttering and re-organizing to do. My husband has caught on, and has begun to apply the principles to his own decisions. FlyLady and Freecycle are responsible for a remarkable transformation at my home. It is easier to keep the place presentable, and the clutter doesn't drive me crazy any more!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 5:04PM
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Wow, Maryliz, that's impressive! I'm thinking you should copy your post and give a thread all its own. I'm sure it would inspire a lot of people.

Donna, I can remember feeling disappointed when my parents stopped buying a big Christmas tree. They had retired to Florida, and switched to a little table tree. I hated to see the family tradition go, even though I was still up north. These days I'm a little older than they were then. I have to push myself to do any Christmas decorating at all, and this year I didn't push. :-)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 5:11PM
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maryliz - if it helps, you have my permission to let go of the vanity set! If you think anyone else in the family might want it you could offer it to them, and then donate it to whoever will take it.
It sounds like you've been doing a fantastic job, and I need to use some of the lessons you've learned around my house! Thanks for posting!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 6:10PM
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Plastic food containers. I used to save every single one, just in case. Now I throw them out without a thought. I still have some high quality plastic containers stored away and I'm hoping to use these for storing kitchen utensils and bathroom items when I move. I hope I can throw away the ones that I don't end up using because I haven't needed them in 3 years.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 10:37PM
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wow, this is a very interesting thread! I have to keep reading but so far it is beginning to motivate me. I have been slowly getting rid of things but it is hard!!
Does anyone else feel the NEED to keep stuff just because it is still good or may be useful? And sometimes keeping 2 or more of an item just because one may get ruined and might need another? How pathetic is that? And who keeps 5 different sizes of clothes just to make sure you have something that fits you if you lose/gain weight? And how about hobbies? I have every item possible for many different hobbies, just so I will never be bored. My goodness I was decluttering one day and found a huge tub of yarn. well, this is from someone who hardly ever has time to knit or crochet and when I do, I buy the stuff for a pattern. then instead of getting rid of it, I plan to make this scrap afghan just to use it all. Ok, sorry for lengthy post-but after typing this, I think I know just what to do!! Throw it all away!!!!!!!
whew-that even felt better to unload. I hope people keep posting, I need to keep getting inspired. LOL

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 7:56PM
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As I continue to gradually clear out 'stuff', I feel more liberated all the time. A major blow was all the unfinished projects laying around...a wooden doll house kit, 1/2 completed. A robe, all cut out and ready to be sewn and I don't even like the fabric now, flannel nightgowns for nieces age 3 and 4 (now age 21 and 22. They no longer lay there and tell me I should get off my butt and finish them. Besides, what would I do after I finished the doll house anyway? I've been working on the stash of over 50 boxes and have it down to one more to go to the Goodwill, and one to store. YAY!!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:20PM
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Last night, I finally got rid of more than 3/4 of maps and tour guides that DH felt we should save, just in case. I had organized them all 2 1/2 years ago and almost anytime we've needed a new one, I got it from AAA. He didn't see me throw them all out with the trash and I'm not going to tell him. But now I have one drawer full instead of 2 full drawers and a bin. Less to move! Yeah!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 12:48PM
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I know this is an older thread but it's so interesting I wanted to bump it up for more comments and updates! I lost everything to Katrina 8/29/05 but now am needing to declutter. It was kind of liberating when I didn't have anything except what I "had to have" in the house. So many kind people have bought me things or donated items to me and now I'm almost a packrat again! Got to nip this in the bud now while I still have a chance!

I've loved reading everyone's comments and have come to realize that I keep things mostly out of guilt. Now I'm trying to accept that these items have served their purpose for me and I should donate them so someone else that needs them can use it.

This thread is an inspiration for me! Don't let it die now! LOL

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 11:45PM
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I'll add to this thread to keep it going.

My kids are my biggest clutter bugs because of all the clothes and toys. I went through the clothes and weeded out the stained, too small stuff the other day. Then I replaced socks and underwear. I went through the playroom and gathered up all the Happy Meal and other junk toys and put them away to see if they'll be missed. We have too many books for the shelves so I went through and weeded out there too. Extra books and toys go in a hidden spot upstairs in case they are missed. The kids cleaned their playroom this past weekend and did a good job because once again everything has a place.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 2:27PM
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A year ago I asked my husband if we could finish our basement, and he said he'd do it. I went down there to clear up the area before they started, and was facing 6 large boxes of.....what?
I knew it was sentimental stuff of mine, but before I opened those boxes, I asked myself, what is really in there? I had a nice time looking at a bunch of memories, and when I was done, I had about a quarter of one box left.

We had some deaths in the family last year, and it made me realize that if I don't use this stuff, someone else may have to go through it, and they will just throw most of it away.

I also learned an important lesson when I managed a retail store and was drowning in papers. I finally learned to prioritize by asking myself what do I need this paper for, or who is going to ask me for it (ie will I get in trouble if I throw it out). The majority of stray papers went right in the trash, and I use this quiz at home.

I think it's interesting how liberated we feel when we clear out our spaces and lives of things and people we don't need.
I guess the hardest part of it not getting more stuff to replace the stuff I just got rid of, our consumer oriented culture makes it a challenge.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:07PM
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I read this post last night and decided it would be so liberating to get rid of:
rarely used spices
unmatched socks
coupon book set up by someone else for me!
It felt very good to toss these!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 12:30AM
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I moved out of the marital house and divorced in 2007. At Christmas 2007, I got rid of 75% of the xmas decor as I was getting it out of the closet, and it felt so good.

Seemed like every xmas item I pulled out was a memory to a fight or power play we had in the marriage. I had actually scaled down these items when I moved out of the house, and really surprised myself at the 2nd round of SERIOUS purging later on. I refused to have the bad Karma around me.

All I have left are the things I already had before I was married.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 7:41AM
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Was getting rid of the five huge bins of clothes I was saving from my oldest son for my youngest son, they are 3 years apart. Each year it seemed like I added one to two bins and I finally decided to donate the bulk of it and keep the pieces that were one of a kind or special, I ended up with one small box. I felt so much better and it was great to get the space back in the garage.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 4:37PM
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Recently, we got rid of 10 years worth of computers and related paraphernalia in the local Free Computer Drop-off Day. They took anything that ran on batteries or electricity, such as cell phones, fax machines, etc.

I only had a slight regret after getting rid of the computer that I had not turned on more than once or twice in the last two years. The hard drives didn't always boot. Even when both drives booted fine, there were problems due to hardware drivers that could not be fixed. I had tried. There was not much reason to keep this machine. What about the files that I might still want? My final answer to myself was, "Well, I've lived without them for years, so I guess they're just not that important to me any more."

Not as important as being able to get rid of a mini-van full of useless computers and related junk for FREE!

Not as important as being able to look at what is left over and make another round of decisions, whether to keep or toss.

Not as important as having a pleasant, organized home office.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 1:06PM
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My grad school notes! Last week I had my last class in grad school. I very unceremoniously tossed the contents of my notebooks, because this information is now dated and as an information professional I can re-create any search and garner more up to date information. Then when the "kids" came over on Saturday (they're 26 and 29) I told them to go to their old bedrooms put aside anything they wanted us to keep for them (each will have a trunk for special things, sentimental stuff) and anything remaining will be tossed. Old sneakers, sweatshirts, T-shirts, etc. are on their way out!

I am re-claiming my space. This weekend it's the cellar. If it has not been used within the past year, it's going. Good stuff will go to Goodwill and junk will be carted away on trash day. I love this purging business. We sent 3 computers and 2 old TVs to the town yard on the annual collection day, for a small fee.

No more buying books on Amazon. I use the public library. Our house is too small and can too easily become a storage locker. Another thing is that I buy in smaller quantities. And I buy much less. DH still doesn't "get it" because he comes from a family of hoarders, but I will win this battle. I did emplain to him the last time we were at his parent's house that WE will end up renting the dumpsters for all the crap they think they need, and that I will not do that to our own kids.

It's liberating to go into a closet or to the cellar and see everything and put your hand on what you're looking for. It really makes life so much easier. I could kiss the person who coined the phrase "less is more". It really is so true.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 3:33PM
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Donna, congratulations on finishing grad school!! Sounds like you've become a purging pro. Good for you!

Maryliz, you're lucky to have a way to get rid of computers free of charge. Enjoy your home office!

I also wanted to mention that when my seven-year-old laptop stopped working permanently I sold it on eBay. I described its non-functioning condition accurately, and someone was happy to pay me $94 for it. I thought that was pretty good.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 3:42PM
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For me, it was a little fancy-wancy latticed and rose-covered cheap little ceramic pin dish given to me as a gift by a lovely relative who lived over the road in the same small town.
When we were packing up to shift, I was lamenting to my DIL, that I couldn't put this thing in the garage sale, I couldn't donate it to the charity shop, or give it away, in case the relative saw it, as it was a very recent gift, and she would be hurt.
My DIL took it from me, said, "Do you like it?"
"No, I said, I detest it, but looks like I'm stuck with it",
"Oh no you're not", she said, "OOPS", and she calmly dropped it on the floor.
I was horrified for about 5 seconds, then we both went into hysterical gales of laughter for about 5 minutes.
What a feeling. I didn't know I was *allowed* to drop things!
We've never deliberately broken anything since then, but that was the beginning of a whole freedom from the ties of "stuff" for me.
My DIL has become my de-cluttering buddy since then, and whenver I'm in doubt about getting rid of anything, she only as to say, "Hand it to me, then", and I'll gladly put it in the donate box, with no guilt whatever.
(Well, I'm working on the "no guilt whatever", LOL.)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 6:19PM
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Way to go, Donna! Lily, your story made me smile. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 10:27AM
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LilyDilly, that's a great story, and what fun DIL!

It reminds me of the time DH and I were telling about the UGLY Capo di Monte vase we'd been given as a shower present that was most definitely a re-gift. We didn't know what to do w/ it; we'd tried to break it accidentally (positioning it in the van so it would possibly fall).

The friend we were talking to said, "take it out back and smash it with a hammer!"

We got the giggles, but it really felt right. We didn't actually do that, but it certainly pointed out who should be in control.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 10:47AM
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T.S Is that the vase that you re-gifted again, as a joke, for a friend's wedding? You see, I'm now up to page 19, in my reading of the forum archives LOL. I feel like I know you all by now.
Is it possible for me to go back before Sept 04 or have those posts been de-cluttered? I'm serious. I am laid up 80% of my day, with a neck problem, while I wait for possible surgery, and this forum has been keeping me sane and occupied. Unless you all start writing lots and lots of new posts, I'm going to run out of reading matter on here soon. At first I had so many questions, so much I wanted to comment on, and I've found that it's *all* been said/answered/suggested on here, every situation, every emotion, and so much rapport and advice and wisdom. Ok, I'm off to page 17 now, which must be the 794th post I've read this week!!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 5:56PM
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Lily, I'm so sorry to hear about your neck problem. I was just going to lurk, but for your sake (entertainment?) I will post. Here goes: I finally, may I stress, FINALLY, got some new carpet laid in my bedroom which includes a walk in closet. I spent a fair amount of time clearing out the closet floor and feeling pretty happy with myself. Then DH took out all the clothes off the rods the day before the carpet installers were due to come. I thought they'd just lay the carpet with the clothes on the rods. It really forced me into going over each and every piece of clothing, which I hate to do. I wish I would have read this forum first. I like the suggestion of one poster, perhaps it was you: would I buy this item today if I saw it for sale?

Anyhoo, I had a lot of other stuff in my closet that was not clothing. So let me tell you what I "freed" myself of:

Several drawing pads (I ripped out the sentimental favorites which was only 5 percent of most of the pads, and there were about 10 pads.) The pads were decent enough to put into a donation bag.

Several years worth of calendars. I didn't bother to look at the pictures, which is why I saved them in the first place. These were just trashed.

A large folder of maps. I took out one county map and one state map and our neighboring state map and threw out approximately 30 other maps, mostly of states where we vacationed or duplicates of my own state. I don't have GPS yet but figure I'm okay with the few I saved. I stopped cleaning for five minutes and put them in my car's glove compartment. I also put the Rand McNally map book in the donation box.

Tossed an old lamp base that was in the corner of my closet. Who am I kidding? I'm never going to use it again.

A few large envelopes of cards sent for my children's births (they did not get tossed in previous purges). I did save a few report cards and my husband's high school diploma.

I put some art prints in the donation box that I really liked but have hung on to for too long and never used: and No, I'm not going to take the time to sell them on eBay.

A good dozen pair of shoes, the majority went into the trash and three pair into the donation box. Even though I'm not a shoe horse I had too many that were past their prime. I only threw out one pair of hubby's. Funny but during the regular course of the day I have higher standards for his shoes and I won't let him keep a shabby pair.

I threw out a beautiful pengnoir set I had in white that hasn't fit me in YEARS (a decade maybe?) but it was something that I splurged on back in the day and wore it to feel totally pampered. Now I realize that it just depressed me and actually the lace was frazzled so therefore not even good enough for the donation box.

About 4 dress suits of hubby's went into the donation box. He doesn't wear a suit often. Recently his mother died and I made him get a wonderful suit, so OUT the other ones went. He does have a few nice dress jackets, tho.

Several of hubby's sweatshits that were stretched in the cuffs or neck went. Winter just finally went away here in the upper midwest. He has a few nice ones left and can always get more next winter.

A few tins that I had on the shelf that held things that I no longer wanted or used: dress gloves, a small beaded dress purse, mis-matched buttons or lacey hankies. One container held several phone cords (I kept one) and stereo wire and coax cable. The stereo wire and cable is re-located to the garage now.

The boxes for the last three cell phones that hubby has had (complete with manuals that were never read). Trash.

A small container of digital images on old fashioned floppy disks. My computer no longer reads floppy disks but I have a computer at work that does. I walked this container out to my car so I can transfer the images to my flash drive afer work one day soon.

I'm sure there were a few more things but I can't remember right now. My only bain is that the donation folks won't be around for another week to pick up the three bags from my walk-in closet alone!

Best wishes in your recovery.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:18AM
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Oh, Lily, I did something else that made me feel great about my closet. After hubby took all the clothes off the rods and BEFORE the carpet layers came I painted it! It didn't look as though it was ever painted before, at least since the house was built (23 years). I didn't bother going above the shelves but one quart can of paint really freshened things up in there. Even though the clothes are re-hung now I no longer see the "hanger scratches" on the wall that accumulated over the years. I also vacuumed down a couple of cobwebs. I examined the light fixture for dead bugs but it appeared clean. My closet is so fresh now!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:29AM
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Ahhh thank you Neesie. That was a good satisfying read, so how satisfying it must have felt to purge all that in reality. Because I need to get up and walk around a bit before heading back to my nest of pillows, I've been opening cupboards and drawers and actively hunting down "clutter", and finding it. And this in a house that I thought was totally de-cluttered.
Like you, once it becomes "clutter" I just want it out of the house. But I've got it ready out of sight for DH to drop off at Goodwill next time he's heads to town. It really has a snowballing effect doesn't it? On every walk through I do, I find *some*thing to add to the outgoing stuff.
Thank you for the entertainment.
My DH walked in yesterday, and said, "WHAT? Are you STILL on that website? What's it about?"
When I told him it was a lot of people discussing things like shoes, labels, spice jars, peace and life, he simply shook his head, and said, "But you've been on here a *week* now." I think he's wondering whether I'm hooked on painkillers. Nope, I'm just hooked on this forum. LOL

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:57AM
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I don't have much clutter but can find it when looking. My problem is getting lost in paper. I never use to save any thing with paper and now I can't seem to be able to decide if I need it or should toss. I have been tossing quite a bit but still have a ways to go. I go through my stacks while watching TV.

I also have a problem letting go of christmas things and don't know why. I seem to dislike decorating for christmas which I always loved and a few years ago it dawned on me that I have to much stuff to decide what to use so I have been getting rid of things. Usually have to go through the totes 3 or 4 times to really get rid of enough stuff, or I don't want to go through all the totes. This year I went through and gave my older children that are on their own their stuff, ornaments, things they made at school, etc. and the kids that are still home I bought them their own little totes.

Also have/had a problem with candles, had candles stashed everywhere. I always seem to buy them and don't use some because then I find others I like better. Got rid of most on freecycle but I am sure will still find some.

You seem to breath much easier when everything has a home and is in it.

My Mom died 1 1/2 weeks ago and me and my brothers are going to have to go through her stuff and I am dreading it. She wasn't much of a saver but still has stuff and so many decisions on what to do with what.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:25PM
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Oh, dd50, I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. It's never easy. My Mom passed away a little over a year ago, and we are still dealing with her things. I took her old walnut hutch that she bought in the 60's and this weekend I hope to paint it and use it in my kitchen. Mom had been in a nursing home, so all of her belongings were scattered. She was amazingly neat and organized, so it wasn't too bad....

I had a few large Rubbermaid containers with some of her things and last fall I decided I had to deal with the stuff. I asked DH to come downstairs and just be with me in case it got too hard. Lo and behold, I came across a treasure! At the time I was finishing my master's in library information science and I came across a bookend, a statue of a young girl reading a book. I was the reader in the family, and Mom wouldn't see me graduate with this degree, and it was as though she reached out and touched my shoulder.

I don't even know why I am writing this now, but something touched me today. dd50, my thoughts are with you.

Lesson to be learned: sometimes dealing with clutter bring unexpected happiness! That bookend is in my living room!

However, as a rule, I can't stand clutter, but too often the paper gets the best of me. My new best friend is my shredder!


    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 9:01AM
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I, too, have been reading a lot of the older posts, and have been inspired to actually do something! I have been getting rid of stuff a bit at a time, but now that school is out (I'm a teacher), It Is Time For Action! I am assigning certain tasks to each day, making sure that it is not overwhelming. My biggest problem is that I look at ALL of it, get discouraged, and don't do anything! Most people would say my house is not cluttered, but *I* know what is stashed in those drawers! (Actually, I don't know what a lot of it is, which is why it has to be purged.)

So my two tasks for today and tomorrow is going through all the paper that has accumulated in various piles and baskets. I already have a lot done, and boy, does it feel GOOD!

Thanks to all of you for sharing your successes and methods of dealing with all the *stuff;* if you guys can do it, I can too! :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 3:43PM
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I was Wantoretire - Finally, 6 months later, the curio cabinet shown above is GONE, together with the too big California pier king bedroom set. No agency would take them as donations and the used furniture market for that type of furniture is practically non-existent. I was very reluctant to advertise as I don't want strangers in the house. Too much opportunity for future problems (yah, I'm a little paranoid about total strangers).

DH has been in a real downsizing mood (will wonders never cease) and just wanted to get rid of them. I learned that a friend of a friend is starting a B & B but didn't have any furniture. Voila, in trade for an overnight at the B&B when it is up and running. And, she is going to buy our oversized couch, chair and ottoman. We are going to switch DR and LR, as DH is more comfortable sitting at the table, and when we entertain for dinner, always stay at the table. There will also be a rocker/recliner with a small profile. The present LR gets full sun in the winter, which will be a bonus with the cost of fuel oil going through the roof (literally), and will make the former DR a little LR with a love seat and a glider.

We did replace the BR storage pieces with smaller antique pieces at a fraction of the cost of new.

So, lots of change going on and I'm excited :-)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:22PM
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...2 pairs of Hush Puppy dress pumps.

I tend to hold on to shoes that I might need "some day" because to me, I have "Princess and the Pea" feet--narrow size, or at least narrow heels; not comfortable unless the padding is right; can't balance on most heels; can't wear open-back, usually need closed toe--you name it, and I find most of the shoes I try on "not right". So I have never been able to go out on short notice and buy a shoe for an "event" or even to match a particular dress; I try to stick with clothes to go with the shoes I have (or at least think about it, because I know if I need a very particular style or color shoe, I'll just never wear the dress, or whatever it is) and I buy more in-style shoes that fit whenever I can find them, which is infrequently enough that it's a self-limiting event. So I'm not as free to give up shoes as, say, t-shirts, and can't follow the absolute latest fashion trends even if I wanted to.

So I had a pair of black leather and a pair of black patent "pumps" that at one time were very comfortable to walk and stand in, and I figured I needed to keep them as kind of basic insurance "in case", especially an event that might require the kind of walking & standing stability that this style offered, even though I haven't worn them in probably 5 years.

Well, guess what? In a closet cleaning out and re-organizing session this past week, I actually tried them on, and they DON'T FIT! Too tight now. Not to mention they aren't too stylish, but I confess that it's likely I would have kept them if they'd fit,waiting to replace with something better, because you must admit, style is a cyclical thing, so, you never know....

But once they failed the happy-feet test, it was easy to give them the heave-ho.

This is just a good reminder that for me to test-drive the things I do save, at least once a year, even if I'm saving them for that once a year or biannual special occasion, to see if it still even comes close the reasons for which I saved it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 3:03PM
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Plastic food storage containers!

I have a kitchen drawer dedicated to these. I've suspected for some time that not all the containers and lids matched up, and I realized recently that I tended to use the same two sizes over and over.

So today I pulled everything out of the drawer. I returned to the drawer the sizes I like best, plus a few others. I made sure each container that went back into the drawer had a matching lid. I was surprised at how much stuff was left over. It felt good to throw it away.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 2:36PM
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Old bills! Yes, I had almost 25 years of boxes of old bills in the attic. Come tax time I was usually so tired (winter) that I would just bundle them up and put them in a grocery bag or box. Even though 2 years ago I finally got a shredder, it just seemed overwhelming to deal with all that paper.

As identity theft gets more and more publicity, I realized that I needed to go through all of it and shred anything that might have a cc number on it. So I brought it all down into the dining room. I hated looking at the boxes.

It has taken me a year to do it it spurts, but now I am down to just one laundry basket filled with old checks. I have an old artist cutting board (you know the one with the big knife slicer on the side)and have used it to cut off the necessary parts of bills and bank statements thereby lessoning the amount of paper that needed to go in the shredder.

My once Darkroom in the basement has become a storage room for my figure skating memorabilia collection as well as other items. I finally trashed over 800 VCR tapes. I really never relooked at them and there is no market for them, and the young people today want only DVD or YouTube. My skating boot man taught me a valuable lesson - you've had something for x number of years regardless of whether you did something with the item or not. Time to just cut your losses and let it go. So a few years ago I sold my Steinway upright piano - for the same price I paid for it in 1976. Time to let it go! And it freed up valuable space in my dining room.

Lastly, since my best friend had to declutter the houses of 3 family members, and knowing the toll it took on her, I vowed I would not subject her to the same mess in my house. She is my executrix and I am single and 61. Something could happen at any time to anyone - injury, illness, or death. I don't want to be a burden to her alive or dead.

When I declutter at the times I get a 'spurt' I give myself permission to spend x number of minutes and then can stop without feeling guilty. I also say to myself, if I had to suddenly move or if the house caught fire, what would mean the most to me....could I live without certain items?

I know most of you are married and/or have kids adding to your burden, but just wanted you to know that single people also have cluttering problems and at times it seems even worse as the incentive to clear is hampered by 'who will know anyway' attitude.

Just thought I too would share......

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 6:45AM
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I have finally rid myself of frames, big, small and in between. I had some with my kids pictures stuck in them that wouldn't come out. I had really large sizes that had prints in them that I no longer used. I kept holding the frames in case I buy something that would go in there. They were all wood that I had done in a frame shop but years ago I had some done with the little strip of brass in the middle and I don't think I will ever use them again. I got the pictures (of kids out) cleaned them up a little and brought them to good will yestarday. I am so happy because they have been taking up real estate in my closet for the last 15 years.

Now I have to get rid of old records as I bought a new stereo and haven't listened to records in at least 15 years. Bye bye stereo with record player.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 3:50PM
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