Why aren't there holes in my house?

Julie_MI_Z5October 15, 2005

I was just looking around at the house, which appears fairly messy at the moment (DH and DS can't maintain "tidy" for more than 3 minutes, and my back was turned). And I was thinking about how much has left this house in the past 30 days. LOTS. Bags and bags and boxes and boxes. FlyLady might have ended the official Super Fling, but I'm still flinging.

And if you look at the last 3 years, it's mind boggling what is gone that used to be here. Tons of little things; my first Super Fling was an easy to attain goal of one hefty garbage bag PER DAY. Plus big things are gone, like a sofa and a freezer and a gas fireplace and a ping pong table and a chest of drawers and 2 chairs. The only big things that came in are a couple of snowboards, an extra TV, and DS's futon from school (he's not using it this year and we're storing it for him).

Why aren't there holes in my house?? LOL Seems like I should have lots and lots of empty space by now. I wish I had taken pictures of the outgoing junk along the way so I could SEE what's not here.

Every so often it just bothers me that I still haven't achieved the true "empty space" look.

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Julie, I realized the same thing recently. I started to take inventory of what I was bringing into the house that was offsetting what was going out. The bottom line is that I just upgraded or updated my junk.

I have been participating in our local Freecycle and have given away a lot including a 5 piece bedroom set w/mattress & box spring. I organized a neighborhood yard sale for Oct 29 and I am thinking about all that I gave away that might have brought in $$. But, it's gone and that's the focus, making holes in my house.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 7:36PM
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At least I'm not the only one who feels like there is a lack of progress. Overall, though, the outgoing WAY surpassed any incoming junk.

I'm going downstairs to the dungeon and see if I can completely empty one entire drawer from the desk I hate (the desk DH insists we keep even though we don't need it or use it).

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 7:43PM
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See my post about moving, Julie.

There are no holes because we all have far more STUFF than we use, need or even realize.

The latter is especially true.

Every nook and cranny in your home has 'stuff'. Each drawer or shelf has stuff. Every box, every closet, every room.

When you toss a piece of furniture, what happened to the 'stuff' that was in it or on it? That stuff finds a new home.

Julie I purged more last year than ever in my entire life. I STILL HAVE STUFF. Stuff that I don't use. Stuff that I don't need. Stuff for days.


What I've discovered that makes it easier and faster is if I look at categories of things, not necessarily where they are at the moment. Like vases. I had a lot of florist vases from over the years. Gifts. Things that I purchased. Some were in a cabinent. Some on shelves. Some in cabinets. If you were to imagine a 'vase box' I could have had TWO moving boxes full of them.

How many flowers do I have in my home at one time? LOL

First I took out all of the florist vases that I didn't want nor did I need. Filled up an entire box and then called the florist that I went to regularly. Asked them if they wanted them. They said yes, I dropped them off.

Then I weeded out the ones that I didn't like or never ever used. Another box. Goodwill.

For me, the object of the overall exercise is not just to have 'holes'...but to also eventually own things that I a) like and use or b) a few things that I might not, but are sentimental. With big fat limitations on the latter.

The only vases I currently own I like. I will use them over time, so I will keep them.

Now think about the endless number of categories of things that we have in our homes.

I think that this is a game that I will never stop playing...

If I don't own it, I don't have to find a place for it, clean it, rearrange it or store it. THAT is what ultimately motivates me.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 11:32PM
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Sometimes when I think of holes in the house, I'm thinking of the time when I was growing. At that time, we had no stereo systems, computer systems, huge TV's, etc. There weren't wires to contend with. THere wasn't a room that was designated as the office. I could do without all of this stuff (except my laptop and 1 TV) but these are important to DH. There were less toys then as well.

I'm convinced that we live in such a different era and that explains why there is always stuff.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 12:34AM
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This concept suprised me for almost two years worth of decluttering. I really expected the house to feel different. Somehow it didn't.

One day it was like an "ah ha" moment and I realized that everytime I went to a cabinet it only contained exactly what should have been there. Every closet was usable and had plenty of room. Every drawer only had the expected items, not crammed full of stuff. I no longer had a junk drawer in the kitchen. My laundry room was empty except for laundry stuff..... Even the items I wanted to keep like the wedding dress and baby keepsakes had specific storage spot and weren't shoved here and there. When we needed something from storage, we could easily find it.

When we moved last year we were able to downsize from a 3 car to a two car garage with no pain. I had the entire house packed in three days without killing myself.

Now, even if I don't spend a minute on my zone cleaning, I'll still do some decluttering. It's become ingrained.

With six of us living here, there is still plenty of stuff. I still battle to piles on the stairs and the hot spots, but we can actually put everything AWAY.

Growing up a a house which was just crammed with stuff, it is so nice to have a home which is livable and usable and is comfortable instead of a repository for stuff.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 1:40AM
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I was going to say pretty much the same thing as quiltglo. I know how my house was when I started. There were things on every surface, and crammed into storage. Now things are much more spread out in my storage spaces, and I can find what I need much more easily (This used to be a HUGE problem for me). When I go to put something away in a drawer, I never have any trouble closing it. Everything fits.

As for the vases - I got rid of a bunch of vases last year, too. I ended up with one I really liked and a couple that were other sizes that were o.k., if I needed them. Then the one I really liked broke. Figures. But I really don't miss it. If I ever see another one I really like, I have an excuse to get it, and hopefully get rid of the just o.k. ones in the process. Otherwise, it is in storage at a store, somewhere, not cluttering up my house, and I don't miss it. I agree, for the most part, we have too much stuff!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 1:30PM
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What surprises me most is that I can declutter a drawer or cabinet multiple times, and each time decrease the contents by at least a third. Same junk, just a new view of it?

How funny that so many of us have dealt with VASES! I swear I've purged two boxes worth twice. And I have NEVER bought a vase! And I don't get flowers very often either. It's like they reproduce on their own? Mine were originally in 4 different cabinets, and now they're in one. And there are just a few.

Got distracted on my way down to see about emptying a drawer in that old desk (but I did empty a drawer in an old dresser!). I'm going to try again, RIGHT NOW (and I mean it this time, LOL). Tomorrow is trash day!!!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 2:49PM
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I'm w/ Quiltglo and Runninginplace--You did create holes; you just then filled them with the RIGHT stuff.

or, they're right next to something--in my house, the "holes" I create are simply "restored margins in the walking space."

Though I did create actual HOLES in the kitchen, LOL!

Congrats on all that progress!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 1:53PM
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The multiple times to clean out a drawer. That's exactly what's happening. I know I handled some items 5-6 times before getting rid of them.

The first couple of times going through, you are getting out the trash, the junk, the old clothing. Just the tons of crap.

Once you can finally see the individual items instead of this wall of stuff, you start evaluating differently. Why is this here? Will I use it? Does this deserve space in my house? This is when things like the wedding gifts never used start going out the door. Someone is going to get a great deal on crystal at Salvation Army here.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 2:05PM
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I agree with Gloria. For instance, I had cleaned out my kitchen junk drawer and it got terrible again. This time I sorted things into ziplock bags (rubber bands, addresses/business cards, etc.) just to keep the order in there.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 6:28PM
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I understand completely. I KNOW I've made progress with the decluttering, but my house frequently looks like I haven't. We took two truckloads of junk to the dump Sat. - including a loveseat. I have a huge pile of stuff for charity to pick up. This is just my recent purging. But I still don't have any holes. I think my holes are like Talley Sue's - "restored walking space." I love that, LOL!

We recently replaced some of our small kitchen appliances - the George Foreman, the coffee maker, & the crock pot. The other ones were still working - there were some updated features on the replacements that we really wanted. At one time, I would have kept the old ones & stuck them in the attic or some place similar because they're still in working order. Where are these going? In the big pile to charity. I guess I am heading in the right direction. That's a great example of filling up any holes you do have with junk.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 7:38PM
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Decluttering each room can really be a long hard process.

THEN it is time to really look at the rooms -- and re-think and re-consider your decor.

Maybe you don't see empty spaces yet -- but re-arranging the room might just do the trick. Try shifting some furniture for a fresh look. Maybe a room would feel "new" with a different coat of paint, new lamps or new artwork.

Just some thoughts on the NEXT stages ......

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 8:16PM
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"restored margins in the walking space"

LOL... I love that! Actually, except for hot spots, we're pretty much down to hidden clutter these days and icky furniture DH won't part with. I guess that's a good thing, but it's why I'm dealing with the same drawer junk multiple times.

DH is going next month to work with a hurricane relief group. I'm giving SERIOUS thought to pitching some furniture from the basement while he's gone (it's "hidden" so he doesn't notice it now, and won't notice right away when it's missing). Biggest fear is putting it out on the curb on trash day... what if a NEIGHBOR picked it up and took it? The wood glue would be a dead giveaway that it was our old stuff, LOL. If I can load it in the car, I haven't ruled out taking it several streets over to a friends house and putting it on her curb...

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 5:52PM
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Julie - if he's going to work with hurricaine relief, is the furniture something that someone could use there? Maybe he would be more willing to give it up if it was for a good cause?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 12:28PM
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I'm also at a stage where I feel like I've made enormous progress, but I can't really see it yet. I got rid of a lot of stuff for hurricane relief, and I'm borrowing a friend's truck to take some larger furniture items to the Salvation Army this weekend. At least that should make a difference! The only place I see it, though, is the storage room! Also, I have several large plastic storage containers that are now empty which I could probably give away (so I won't fill them again).

Also, since getting a new cork floor in my bedroom, and hanging a double rod in my closet, I do manage to keep things off the bedroom floor more. But the living room, which is where most of the ready-to-go stuff gets stored, is still a mess of papers and stuff with no home yet. Grrrr!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 1:04PM
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As a realist, I doubt taking furniture down there is a good plan. They're taking mostly demolition-type tools to gut houses that were flooded to the roof. It will be a long time before the homes will be inhabitable again... once all the drywall, insulation, and flooring is removed, then what's left is assessed for structural damage.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 7:07PM
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An besides tools, they're also taking their own tents, food, water, and enough clothing to wear one day and throw out afterwards.

I'm pretty sure none of them would think taking furniture was a good idea. LOL The GOOD news is this will clean a big chunk of clothes out of DH's drawers (he hates to part with things like holey socks).

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 5:34AM
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You know, this is terrible to admit but I joined Flylady 3 months ago and have never opened an email!!!! I know that sounds terrible, but I look around my house and I think "There is soo much stuff in here that I dont know where to start" so I then watch a crafting or cooking show or I get on the pc. I just cant seem to get started!!I too belong to Freecycle. Have never given anything away on there. Have recieved a few items though. We did purge clothes at the begining of summer. Need to do it again though. Did have a yard sale and got rid of alot of stuff but not really enough. Seems as though I need more personal help to get me off my behind. And my husband doesnt help either. As I sit here I look over at the lamp by his chair. There are hats hanging from it even though he has a rather nice hat rack. Pray for me ladies, I really want to get this started!!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 2:46PM
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gordon43812, If you would really like to try the Flylady system, download her introductory letter again and follow it. She doesn't have you do any cleaning until you have decluttered 15 min. a day. You are suppose to delete everything else until you are ready.

The best quote I ever saw in her emails was, "You can't THINK yourself into different action, but you can ACT yourself into different thinking."

Flylady knows that you don't know where to start. That's why she has you start with trash. You can surely throw out trash, and yes, magazines, newpapers, etc. is trash.

If you need to set a timer for only five minutes and work that long, then do it. There is not magic button with this. You have to get up and do something.

Go clean out one drawer at a time. Then you will have a place to put the items which are sitting around.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 3:06PM
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gordon43812: Gloria is right, Flylady will tell you exactly how to get started so you are not overwhelmed.

One of the best things to hear (especially when you are surrounded by clutter) is that you are NOT obligated to keep it. If you don't love it, let it go. That simple philosphy has made MAJOR changes in my house and the way I look at things.

My husband doesn't help either. He cannot hang up a coat or wipe a counter or throw out his own junk mail. It's not important to him to live in a clean house. Flylady taught me how to work around him without strangling him, LOL.

The first winter I started Flylady, my goal was a 30-gallon hefty bag PER DAY. I made my goal easily for several weeks, and it was a VERY good feeling!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 4:09PM
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Today's opportunity:

I was randomly opening drawers in little used cabinets today and realized some of them are now only half-full or less.

It's time to move visible (but needed) clutter to these empty spaces. Then maybe those little-used cabinets will actually have a valid purpose!

The way it works with me, is I'll probably fill the drawers back up, then throw out half the junk in 6 months anyway! LOL

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 9:57AM
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