I Went Up to Attic and It's Filled with Junk!!! Ugh!!

rachelrachelFebruary 10, 2007

I don't know how this has happened, but my attic has always been a "no-mans land" to me. After locking up my cats as they love to run through the pink insulation as if it were snow - I went up there.

I don't know how this has happened, but I have somehow managed to fill my attic with junk, empty boxes and give-away stuff. I have lived here 8 years and have had a problem with getting rid of stuff. I was shocked to see the wicker chair I brought over 8 years ago from a rental house, unfinished projects, boxes from everything I have bought over the years. Yuck. What a mess.

When my kitchen was remodeled, the electrician quickly shifted all the junk so now I can't even walk through the highest part which is almost 6 feet. So I kept bumping my head. I need to declutter, and stop moving stuff from one part of my small house to the other. Storing worthless junk is not the way to deal with small house living. Where to begin? Rachel

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The guy on Oprah last week has his own show on organization, but I never got into watching him go through the messes people had acquired. I have my "stuff", but certainly not the grunge, dirt, tornados that the people he helps have. And, sometimes I think they stage these messes to make them worse for the show.

He did say that 2/3 of the people are like this and most likely getting worse because our shopping habits are also out of control.

Like you there is a shed and garage with boxes I need to go through....my excuse right now is winter cold.

He made 3 suggestions which I picked up on personally while on her show.

The first one was to totally empty whatever room/area you want to declutter. I get it regarding separating the keeps and throwaways. But definitely see the clearing out as an easier way to go through things and start over....rather than crawling over, opening boxes and moving stuff around. The digging through has always made me nuts trying to get cleaning out done. I also think having a friend with us would help in keeping the process of tossing out a plus to get through all....along with closing our eyes shut, really shut tight, to get rid of things.

The second was never bringing anything into the house without getting rid of a like item. I really liked this idea. Know there are people who collect art and such, but he was talking about the overload of items we forget about, then continue to go out and buy more of.

Third one was very interesting and hit home, I want to do this. He said the kitchen work triangle was just that, a "small" triangle to cook in. His was about 4 X 4, although a large kitchen. To unload unneeded items he got boxes and dumped everything into them. There was no order to the boxes, just a place to dump the stuff. For 4 weeks he cooked and cleaned. Whenever he needed something he would get it out of a box, the item would be something he used and a place was found for it. At the end of 4 weeks, anything left in the boxes was gotten rid of. I can see this process used somewhat in the bath, closets, garage, etc....just a larger triangle.

In our small houses there is an ongoing need to find new places for much we just don't use. I'm not a minimalist, but order makes my head feel better. Am redoing my kitchen and bath, a perfect time to incorporate some organization.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 5:02PM
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It amazes me how much 'stuff' we have! There are 2 coffee drinkers, but we have over 20 mugs. We have 3 complete china sets- hers, her mother's, and her great aunt's. We never use any of them. I could go on and on- all the closets are full, as is the attic and garage. I finally realized that our possessions have become a burden to us- it costs us extra time and money to safely house stuff we never use! One time, we rented a storage unit for a year. The rent came to more than the stuff was actually worth. It's so hard to get started- I know, I haven't made much progress yet. We are going to move to a smaller house in a couple years, so we are beginning to weed out, throw away, sell, etc. I think one thing is to tackle one small area at a time. Don't look at the whole house- just take a small closet, empty it, and be really tough with yourself on what to get rid of. We usually take stuff to a charity thrift store, since no one seems to have the time or ambition to have a garage sale. One thing we have been pretty successful at recently is not buying anything more. This is two-fold- we are saving money for the new house, and not adding to our current clutter. We are going to tackle the attic before it gets too hot. Ours is mostly antiques we put away years ago. Everything will come down; nothing will go back up. If we don't have room for the antiques, they will be sold. Perhaps we'll sell something else to make room for an item we haven't seen in 10 years. Getting organized is a habit, just like clutter. A few 'wins', and you'll get in the mood to organize more!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 9:52AM
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I have 33 gallon Rubbermaid Bin Warehouse. Rere (GD) and I put it together yesterday. I know I'm supposed to throw things away. I have sorted, given away, thrown away and I wish sold everything extra, trashy, worn, useless BUT somethings I don't intend to discard. DH can "like it or lump it" I'm keeping, Barbies, Cabbage Patches, Power Rangers, He-Men toys because the attic is filled with manly things-aka-hunting stuff.

At least the stuff on the bottom is Christmas storage and the stuff on the top long range storage.

I think the Bin Warehouse is a wonderful idea. I can't stack the bins more than 3 high or the bottom one's lid crushes. I can't pick them up and shift anymore without killing me. The bins slid off and on the rack very easily. Construction time about 3 hours. I had sooo much help and it is very cold in the attic. We had to take snack and hot chocolate breaks often.

I bought mine from stacks and stacks. By the way it is heavy. My son carried the long-long box in the attic and scrammed fast.

I bought a battery rack 40 too. I'm putting it up on the wall in the laudry room behind the door today. I'm going to buy the drawer organizers and put them in next week-end. I want to organize under the lavatory sink but I'm still considering my options.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 11:04AM
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Thanks all for your replies and ideas.

emangineer - your point number two is very true for me. I had a tendency in the past to replace broken, or bad shape stuff. Then keep the broken or in bad shape item. I bought a new wall clock, and wanted to save the one that perhaps could have been somewhat fixed - I ended up throwing it out. Threw away a roller ball mouse that absolutely didn't work! Major accomplishment.

flgargoyle - I can relate. My clutter ways tends a bit toward that too. Having posessions from relatives which I feel have sentimental value. Yet they become burdensome when they overwhelm with clutter. I believe some advice I read about dish sets, is to offer the extras to other relatives who may appreciate them.

sunshine - Your attic idea is good. I'm not sure that my floors or low roof could bear something so heavy. But shelving of sorts does make sense. But your attic looks wonderfully clean and organized compared to my no man's land!

I think I have just started to become more aware of my bad clutter habits was simply shocked to see my attic in a new light.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 9:07PM
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Sunshine - something struck me (nothing to do with bins or clutter) - have you considered insulating the attic to any extent? The cold will sneak down into your house and raise your heating bills like mad (we just recently dealt with this after not having opened the attic door for ages).

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 7:20AM
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