Effects of tossing even few/small items

Frankie_in_zone_7December 3, 2010

I could have posted this on the Toss Ten thread, but it is not strictly reporting my score, so here goes. It is not a new idea by any means but here goes.

I haven't been tossing 10 every day but have been much more mindful and am tossing MORE. I have been tossing lot of clothes and some larger items. I was not making a big effort to find 10 little things or find or count a pencil or paper clip.

I have a drawer in bathroom in which I use another THING--a plastic organizer with compartments. In it I stored some things like perfume bottles, razors, some off-season makeup, scented votive bath candles (gifts) planned for use while soaking in tub--whatever. One thing that is key to this post is that the organizer thingy has multiple compartments and so it just seemed natural to, well, put THINGS in all of them. Also, it takes up the whole drawer, which is exactly what I wanted at the time. It was useful, of course, to keep the stuff from falling over and rattling in the drawer.

I recently re-evaluated some of the perfume & tossed. Decided that while I do take occasional leisurely tub baths, I but would never miss the glowing candles opportunity. I'm okay with watching that in the movies. Didn't need some of the makeup. And so on.

I won't say that the drawer is empty now, but, it no longer looks like the same drawer. Now I find myself thinking, maybe I don't need the other stuff in the drawer either, or now it can go somewhere else just as easily. If I only had 3 or 4 things in that drawer, I wouldn't need a drawer-sized organizer in it. If the organizer weren't there, different things would fit in the drawer, maybe things now harder to get to that I use more frequently. If I had an empty drawer, I might-- 1) leave it empty and know I have one if I need it 2) decide it is a convenient place to store something I have somewhere else and could use space there.

The point is, I tend to think little things aren't so much a problem if they don't seem to be bothering anything, because you can frequently store 10 pens as easily as 5, or 3 blush compacts as well as one, and so on, and a lot of times just leaving well enough alone is best--that is, so as not to be re-arranging your stuff endlessly.

But, once you do free up space for any reason, new possibilities--breathing space or new activities or new conveniences or clearing out old hobbies or habits--begin to suggest themselves to you. You realize that multiplying multiples lock you in or push you to create organizing strategies you might be able to do without. So I still keep trying to re-evaluate these multiples or stuff according to what really helps my quality of life.

So, collecting coupons, or stocking up on office supplies, or having a lovely array of lipsticks and makeups are all fine, as are threads about how to create notebooks or folders or drawers to organize them, when that is really what you need in your life, but it continually amazes me that if I take a minute to really look at some of this stuff, then upon reflection I might figure out that the problem is best solved, or some new life is obtained, by giving up, or even just reducing, the collection!

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Hi, Frankie

I know what you mean. My jewelry drawers are like that. I have three small drawers across the top of my dresser. The middle one has all kind of misc stuff that I don't know what to do with. Plus, I have costume jewelry that I have not worn in years. This weekend, I want to go through each drawer, and sort stuff into four categories. (1) to keep in one of the drawers (2) to give to my niece (3) to give to the thrift store and (4) to store somewhere else.

Thanks for the reminder. Even though my earrings are in ice cube trays, the drawers have gotten disorganized.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 8:12PM
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I do this too, especially when trying to organize something else. I will need a container to store something, go to one of the stores to see what's available (and what it costs!), go back home, and realize something I already have would work well. I empty that out, realizing I'm not using the things in it any more like I once did, and repurpose the container. It's sometimes hard for me to really LOOK at the stuff until forced to!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 9:27PM
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I went through every drawer, cupboard, stacked box in my house and did the same, I got rid of everything I thought I could live without, multiples, stuff I didnt use etc and organised what I had left as I went through.

I do think it's the small stuff that creates a lot of the clutter because it takes up your storage space or gets shoved in boxes and stacked up. Once you start clearing it out you do have space in the cupboards and drawers again where you can put other things away that you really do use or need, and it's easy to tell yourself it's just small stuff that doesnt matter but when you go through it, it really adds up and you see how much it fills all the nooks and crannies in the house.

Now when I open a drawer or cupboard and notice it's getting full I do a quick scan and pull some things out to toss or donate. I don't think you ever get rid of everything you need to first time especially if you have a lot of storage areas to go through. It's an ongoing process to keep paring things down (old and new) and you might come back to that same drawer 6 months later and decide you didn't need everything you saved the first time and there may be some new things in there that you've already decided you don't need as well. Getting into the habit of being on the lookout for things to get rid of is such a useful habit and you start to see the stuff you have with open eyes.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 11:07PM
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One year when I was de-cluttering, I threw out all my jelly jars. I used to enjoy making jams and jellies. I even made mint jelly (for lamb) from mint I grew in my garden. When I threww out the jars, I lost that hobby forever. But I don't care. Now that I no longer make jelly, I have much more free time. Just an example how decluttering frees us!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 11:11AM
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You know, this is epic!

Just Friday, I was saying, "we can keep all of this tempera paint even though we may not really use it because, well, we *do* want to keep *some* of it, and it all fits inside this box, so why spend time sorting out the paint just to free up space inside a box? It's not like I'll get rid of the box."

And along you come, w/ this wise observation about much the same topic.

I'll have to think about that paint again!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 8:50PM
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It's as if our things might get lonely or something!
And yes, trancegemini, the little things do fill the "nooks and crannies" and somehow have a larger impact than realized.

talley__sue__nyc, your paint example is such a good one. I have a basket on laundry room shelf that holds spray paints. I do think it's helpful to keep a few colors like black or garden green because I occasionally use them to touch up or camoflage something. But of course colors from past projects accumulate. So before long the basket is full and can't hold more and at risk of overflowing to new basket. Have another basket (these are plastic thingies that fit exactly on shelves) with some related, but different, furniture/wood cleaning or refinishing supplies. Hmmm...if I only kept 2-3 spray paints, all of the items would fit in one basket! And of course, if I were to begin a truly high-quality craft project, I would likely need to go buy a specific product for it at the time.

So, one might be able to keep 6 paints and 4 Play-dohs in one container, etc.

Of course it is fine if one's organizing system or preferences is that each type of item will have its own box, or whatever. The point is just to recognize the possibilities that open up if I'm willing to pare down.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:55AM
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When I was younger, I enjoyed painting plaster characters-Santas, Disneys, others. I made lots and lots of them and gave most of them as gifts. I must have had 50 jars of paint. One year, while cleaning up, I put all the paints away. Went to look for them, about ten years later, and they were all dried out. Tossed them. Hey, if I get interested in doing this hobby again, I am sure craft stores will sell me more paint!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Frankie I've been doing the same thing. I love looking into medicine cabinets and drawers and seeing just a few things! I haven't missed one single thing I've tossed or given away - not one!

jannie - you hit the nail on the head! Lately I've been getting rid of TONS of stuff. I keep telling myself, "If I ever need this, I trust God that I'll be able to afford to buy it again when I do." I'm seeing more and more that hoarding/saving/accumulating just in case displays a lack of faith in God/the Universe/Life that we will be able to get something again when we need it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 10:45PM
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I think your mood of the moment has a lot to do with tossing the extras.

I will admit, I'm pretty ruthless when it comes to tossing; however, I catch myself saving something (usually clothing in my case) because I "never know"...though I KNOW it could and should go. Fast forward couple days or weeks later I'll be in a cleaning frenzy and/or different mindset, and all of a sudden tossing the item is no big deal.

I'm a huge fan of the old concept of putting a box somewhere in a closet and storing pending items out of sight. You possibly went to the box to retrieve something, but other items are still there. Visit the box about once every 6 months and either dump the box contents totally or commit to tossing half the box. Remind yourself they're on the chopping block for a reason.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 6:56AM
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Thank you, Frankie! I recently re-evaluated some of my kitchen drawers in order to store frequently used boxes of tea. I had stored them in a small pantry cabinet, but it was always inconvenient. I decided to use a small kitchen drawer that held spices when it occurred to me that my most frequently used spices are kept out on the side of the refrig in magnetic tins, and I seldom go into that spice drawer. But where to store them? Eventually I plan to try to corral them in a shoe-box size bin in the pantry, but currently do not have room...so I re-thought my utensil drawer for silverware. The mesh holder does not fit the drawer well, leaving spaces around it that collect things that don't belong there! And the configuration never worked well as the tray has only the few typical sections for forks, knives, spoons, etc. but I have more variety - cocktail forks, iced teaspoons, etc. I guess you gave me permission to think outside the box; after decluttering, I removed the tray and lined up all the silverware in like piles inside across the front of the drawer - one row holds it all, freeing up the rest of the drawer, a little over half. (the old holder took up the bulk of the drawer) I have fashioned a temporary divider until I find one that splits the drawer. The back half now easily houses those seldom used spices. I have enough silverware packed together that it pretty much doesn't move around. I'm going to try this out for a while, but I'm thrilled to have gotten rid of the junk-collecting set-up, and to have a drawer of my different varieties of tea that I use everyday!!! Thanks!!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 8:17PM
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I had about ten different boxes of teas. And I'm more a coffee drinker! So I pulled five bags out of each box of teA and put them in a decorative tea holder. (A canister marked "tea" from one of those matchy-matchy sets you see. I don't have the other three canisters-flour, sugar, coffee. So my "singleton" tea canister holds my entire "Stash" of tea! That's funny because some of the teas are "Stash" brand!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 8:38AM
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peegee: is that code for PG Tips??? I have tons of leaf tea and drink too many cups a day.

Thank you Frankie for posting this topic! I'm getting ready to do major decluttering. Before I get myself caught up in how to organize the keepers, I'll be asking whether I should have it at all. Being a good organizer can mask the need for decluttering until every last bit of put-away space is gone.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 1:00PM
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My MIL was a good organizer and had a very clean neat house, at least in the "public" areas-kitchen, bath, living room. After she died, we discovered her dirty little secret. She had a spare bedroom that was piled high with useless items. Racks of clothing and shoes she had not worn since she retired in 1970. And ALL the clothing had either 1. rips or 2. stains. None of it was worth donating. And other useless stuff- old bankbooks from accounts closed years ago, expired passports, old utility bills dating back to the 1950's. Yes it was organized and out of sight. But all of it should have been in the trash years ago! By the way, it took her 3 children 6 months to go through everything she had stored. What a waste ! They found absolutely nothing of value, even sentimental value. Her 2 daughters divided her photographs and jewelry. And that stuff was in plain sight in her very neat bedroom.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 2:52PM
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jannie, your MIL is exactly who I don't want to be. When I cleaned out my Dad's place I also found tons of useless, worthless stuff. Neat, organized and useless "trash". Then I realized I had been well trained to do the same!

Not only do I never want to put my kids through that, I'd like to have the space back for me to use differently and enjoy NOW.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 3:33PM
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jannie, you are a tad tough on the MIL. I might look at it this way--she kept a mostly neat house and it was her business if she had one stacked-up, jacked-up room. To wit, the spare bedroom. So that was her organizing strategy. The survivors could have hauled it all out to the trash and not spent any time at all. It is a choice to go through it to see if there's anything "of value" to inherit.

I appreciate the sentiments of being "considerate" of one's surviving relatives and having affairs in order, but I'm not sure I would consider it an obligation to die neatly.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 7:59PM
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Lov2garden - I had to google PG Tips - never heard of it before, but sounds real interesting! I'll have to try it sometime!! My current favorite tea is Davidson's; Vanilla Cream Spice, Rooibos Spiced Chai, Herbal Classic Chai, Cranberry Orange, and Lemon Ginger - all decaf. P.G., my initials, = Pee Gee as in Pee Gee Hydrangia, one of my favorite plants. (I love the tree form!) BTW, Jannie's MIL is exactly who I don't want to be either, and the thought of that is one of the things that helps motivate me to keep reassessing my excess stuff. Actually, I'm really proud of what I've accomplished in the last year or two. And Frankie, some of your posts re: re-evaluating clothing were instrumental in getting me started in letting go of excess clothing. I got rid of stuff I had stored for years, which has opened up SO much space for me! I always have had too much clothing not only in storage but in my closet - all jammed in. So much that it was an effort to manage, and little of it was worth keeping. I am convinced that letting go was the start of my becoming able to let go of excess pounds...and the fewer but better quality/more flattering items I now own are easy to maintain. I still battle the tendency to want to hold onto some things, but I happily have made a ton of progress. This forum has been so helpful! : ) Penny G.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 8:51PM
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when my FIL passed away suddenly his 4 adult children had to go through all his stuff and sort it. He was a serious hoarder like the people you see on the hoarders show. Not only was the house stacked up with stuff, but he also had large storage sheds which you couldnt even get into they were piled up right up to the door, and stuff just piled and stacked all over the property - it was a nightmare to clean up. For years he just collected everything other people were throwing out but it was so difficult emotionally for his children to have to go through it all and deal with after he died. That's an extreme case but I do agree with Frankie, most people die with some excess but it's still manageable and there is usually going to be some sorting to do

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 10:08PM
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I had a friend whose only brother and both parents died within a few months of each other.All were hoarders or collectors. My friend was left with the task of going through their home and emptying it to be sold. She had to get everything, clothing, furniture, books, personal belongings all organized and either thrown out, given away, sold or kept. It took her a long time and finally all that was left was things to sell. She had some help and opened their home for a huge estate sale. to the sale and bought some Beertha Hummel statues. And my friend swore it was such a mess and so much work, she would nver leave a task like that for her daughter. Sorry if I seemed too hard on my late MIL. She was a fine woman and kept a very neat house, except that it appeared she never threw anything out.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 7:37PM
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