Drowning in things

carabubbleAugust 1, 2012

I want to paint my bedroom, but before I can do that I need to clean the room out. Seems like the place has become a respository for a million things. Stacked in the corner near my bed must have been about a hundred books from yard sales and such. In talking with my father I said my plan was to keep only the amount I could fit into a box and pass along the rest to other readers or Good Will, even though I hadn't read them yet. Course not even half-way through that strategy I could see the "writing on the wall" and switched from the printer box I had grabbed to a bigger box!

My problem is magazines. I have a ton of garden magazines. Some aren't even published anymore. How do you decide to pare them down? Several years ago I spent some time looking through a bunch of them, pulling pictures out of some and sticking little pieces of paper inside others to mark as keepers. But it seems these things are like rabbits - I swear they've multiplied, even though I don't subscribe to anything these days. Who among you also hang onto magazines? Where or how do you keep them? But really, Ishould be hoping that someone responds who would like to act as my sponsor and help me thin the herd out.

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That is a hard job and I feel for you. I visit the "organizing the home" forum here at the GW and find so many of those posters have helpful ideas. Seeing those "hoarders" on TV, I think, has made many of us aware of how things can get even mildly out of hand. I have stopped subscribing to mags....DH continues to my dismay, but I tend to take them on camping trips and leave them at the campground lending/swap library. Books too (that is my excuse for having a box of books in the garage) Check out your town...ours have many places where you can swap/donate/exchange books and magazines. Good luck and let us know if you find some bright ideas you would like to share.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:35PM
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That's funny how you said you'll leave books. My husband was recently working in Louisiana. Planning to spend two weeks with him, I went down there with a load of paperbacks. My idea was to read 'em and leave 'em in the hotel lobby for others. Don't you know, the day after I arived the company decided they wanted him to start working in Pennsylvania - starting in 5 days. Brought the books back home with me. The good news is, my husband can commute from home now.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:53PM
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I don't have a problem with getting rid of stuff. I even passed my boys baby things on to them years ago. I have been in many homes of older people that smelled musty and down right stunk. I vowed that was not going to happen to me. I discard clothes after one season of not wearing them. I don't keep any paper goods except for hard back books, making sure they don't smell and accounting stuff. I store everything I do keep in plastic boxes to cut down on the bug population. The only things I have stored that I can't get rid of are my artist dolls that won't sell. I will let someone deal with that after I am gone.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Any and all information in any magazine from the last 10 years is available in some format online.

Do you KNOW which articles you have dog-eared or post-it noted? Have you looked for a single one in the past 6 months?

Say, for example, you wish to make a hypertufa container, or espalier an apple tree, or build a raised square-foot gardening bed.

Could you FIND any of those articles without spending hours and hours? Probably not. Welcome to Google - you can find it there, and with all the pretty pictures, too.

DH tends to hoard things, so I need to be fierce about getting rid of crap,um clutter. He'd have us buried under printed words. I do love good books, but magazines and cheap paperbacks are not worth the storage area in my home.

Magazines get donated, and he now has an e-reader for cheap fiction.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:03PM
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EmmaR, I hate smelly stuff too. When I'm yard saling and looking at books, sometimes I try to discreetly sniff them to make sure they don't smell musty or like cigarette smoke!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:17PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I have NOOOOOO problem recycling good magazines to other places: waiting rooms for various medical services that seem deficient in reading material, husband takes some to distribute to the lunch room at his place of employment...his staff appreciates them, neighbor gets some, and recycling bin gets all the rest. It's foolish (and you know it) to hang on to them for years on end.

If you really can't think of ANY place to donate them...just stick them in the bin. You'll feel so much better.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:25PM
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mary c, I think you may have given me a starting point! More of what I want to keep are the beautiful pictures of some of the landscapes that people have done for the ideas in them. You're absolutely correct about Google. I can start by looking at any of the magazines that I've stuck tabs in. Any that are for articles I can go ahead and recycle.

My goal is to keep only the number of magazines that will fit on the shelf of a garden bench I have. Some of you have probably seen the type I mean. I bought it at a craft show years ago. The back of the bench looks like the top of bird houses, so that's how I painted each section. On the "seat" of the bench are my gardening books. On the shelf that runs beneath I have gardening magazines. That shelf is to be the limit of my mazagines.

Funny how one project leads to another, though. From cleaning my room so I can paint it, to going through my magazines!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:36PM
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Here is another tip.

You speak of sniffing books at yard sales, to make sure they aren't musty.

QUIT buying other peoples' crap,um clutter!

I know many people shop yard sales for clothes, especially for kids, and toys and other household needs, and more power to them!

But if you have dozens to hundreds of books you can't even get around to reading, why on earth are you sniffing books at a yard sale? Is there some kind of "high" from the musty stench -or do you just get a "high" from a bargain?

YOU DON'T NEED ANY MORE BOOKS! Read and get rid of what you already bought, before you buy any more!

This is NOT complicated.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:59PM
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It is so much easier to clean without stuff every where. I never had things under the bed or on the floor of the closets except shoes until I started collecting dolls. I decided quickly if I can't have them displayed I don't want them.

My goodness Mary what brought that on. I do not consider hard back books clutter. I have over 400 books on book shelves, it's called a library. I even have a library step stool to get to the ones up high. I sniff them before I buy them to make sure I don't bring stinky books into my home. I will never get around to reading them all, but I like them in my home. I love books and what they represent. I loan them out to friends and neighbors and give them the duplicates.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:40PM
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I do understand EmmaR. I have a large library of books too, hundreds, in fact. But between the two of us, DH and I have read them all.

However, Carabubble was talking about books which were "Stacked in the corner near my bed must have been about a hundred books from yard sales and such".

These are clearly not treasured books. She's bought them at yard sales, sniffed them, but hasn't read them, and probably will never get around to reading them. She didn't even leave them on a trip, when that was her intention.

So are they valued library additions, or are they clutter, and sapping her energy and resources? The live on the floor, complicating her life.

My DH grieves over every book he ever lets go - and I would never ask him to give up one he loved. But he does assign unwarranted value to some things - a Tom Clancy paperback from the late 90's is not equivalent to the "Collected Verse of Robert Service" from 1943.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:02AM
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I have or had all my Martha Stewart magazines from years ago. They were out of sight and stacked in a corner of the closet and I would refer back to them especially the holiday issues or ones that had certain crafts I wanted. I stopped buying them years ago because they became all ads and nothing really substantial were in them anymore that I could not find online. So finally I started to get rid of them. First I started to go through them and like you pulling out pages of things but then I thought it was taking way too much time and would I really use what I was tearing out. Probably not so on recycling day I put out as many as would fit in the box. I put them out in the day so if anyone wanted them they could take them and a few people did. Once you do it, you find that it is much easier to do again so the next week I did it again. Now I am down to a few special holiday issues and Christmas cookies issue that I go back to frequently for recipes.

My cooking magazines like Fine Cooking are a different story - I keep those in magazine boxes and do frequently go through them for certain recipes. They are well used and I also have saved certain Christmas cookie magazines that I bring out to use at Christmas. They are well worn magazines and the recipes are tried and true. They are keepers. I also have a basket in the kitchen for the current cooking magazines that I go back to for recipes.

Magazines now get passed along in my family between my sister in law and her sisters and my sister. We don't expect them back either.

I find once you start purging your house of things it gets to be so much easier to do. I have a sentimental attachment to things and that is not good but now I find it is getting easier to pass things along to others who want them or to charity. I am also at the stage right now if I don't need something it is not brought into my house. I have a sister in law who likes to pass things along to me and she would just bring items over. I told her to stop doing that because I probably won't use what she is bringing me and maybe someone else could use it.

Pocketbooks are also easy for me to get rid of. I just pass it along to someone else and don't expect to get it back. I do have books I keep and reread or have sitting on a shelf and I do keep hard covers. I love books and love to read out of "real" books but I was finding the ink used in paperbacks was a light grey and was getting hard for me to read. Now I have 2 ereaders, 3 if you count my iPod and the books are so much easier to read because I can adjust the darkness of the print so read faster now.

Good luck - purge your magazines and just think how much nicer your newly painted room will look better without them.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:31AM
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I have pretty well given away my physical books and now my library is on my ereader/iPod/iPad. I'm trying very hard to declutter and since I LOVE reading, this was the best way to go.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:43AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

The thing that works best for me is watching a few of the horder shows in a row. I get busy after that, plus my cleaning lady tells me not to become a horder. I am definitely not but I do let clutter build up at times and it drives me nuts. I have gone on throw away purges a few times and need to do it again. I have way too much glass collected for making the totems. I am not buying one more thing!
I don't keep magazines see no reason to. I enjoy it then let it go.
We have a lot of books, we no longer buy them now since we both have ereaders.

Some day I want to pare down the books we have, my husband will have a problem with getting rid of some of the fave author collections.

I have way more purses and handbags than I need, they are my addiction.

Every now and then my cleaning lady deeds it clear out day, we pick one area to focus on and get it done. Then she loads all the give away stuff in her car and freecycles it. She was able to trade my stuff for all the clothes and shoes her son needed for starting school. I was delighted.
Feels good knowing I was able to help a few people and eliminate my clutter.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:43AM
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I have shelves of hardback books which don't bother me since they're out of the way. But I do hold on to the magazines like Country Home which is no longer published and the old Country Living before they changed their format. Once a year I go thru them and throw out the oldest ones. I have lived in this old 10 room house for 30 years so I'd like to purge a lot. Previously I would move and that would do the trick.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 2:31AM
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Big mistake on the bigger box. It will be to heavy to lift! Should NEVER make such a statement... about giving books away.

I had a hard time. Moved, and had no place for any of my STUFF. But I kept the books, and the magazines.

Honest, the magazine stack is about 10 inches high. I had gone through them a bit before that move came about, and weeded out.

Look online for things the same or similar as in a magazine you decided to keep. If you find it, toss the mag.

Be honest. will you REALLY need it? I tossed the majority. Kept only gardening and a few biking mags. I sorted mine by month. Now, I can look at all the August mags, and see, if they are really worth keeping.

Since I got my house, I have weeded out more magazines using that system. every month I get a new slew to look at, and to weed out. :)

Good luck.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 6:34AM
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Dh and I are guilty of hoarding many types of 'specialty' magazines. However, lately we have started giving our collections away little by little and feeling good about it. A sister-in-law works at a library in a small poor town. She is the only paid employee. She has found that the residents of the town are hungry for reading material. Free magazines are eagerly grabbed up, especially gardining, cooking, do-it-yourself types , and old readers digests. So we have been slowly donating our magazines to the cause. Better than throwing them away, and we had to do something. We also donate books there for their money making book sales.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 6:59AM
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I stopped subscribing to magazines as well...mostly gardening and cooking mags.
There isn't anything contained in a magazine that I can't find on the computer so what is the sense... just toss them out in the recycle bin..such a nice feeling to stay free of clutter.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:19AM
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Actually, I'm an avid reader and have been reading my way through the books, and have not bought any this year from garage sales because I knew I needed to read and pass along the books I already had. The reason I didn't leave any at the hotel is because the only one I was able to read in the couple of days I had there was a Lisa Scottoline book which I decided to bring home and give to a neighbor. She's been asking me for recommnendations for books and authors, and Scottoline is certainly a great one.

Cherryfizz, have you ever been on the Taste of Home site? I stopped buying the magazine when I realized I could find all the recipes I needed on the computer. I think, though, that your Fine Cooking is probably more on the gourmet side than TOH. Isn't cooking fun?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:54AM
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My Dad told me 50 years ago that if you own a lot of "stuff" pretty soon it "owns" you. Just take a deep breath and rid yourself of everything you haven't used in a year. After all, most printed info is online and easily accessible. It's very liberating, try it.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 10:37AM
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A middle aged man in my town died yesterday in a house fire because he was a hoarder. He could have been rescued, but the firemen could not get into the doors because the passageways were blocked with mounds of newspapers and magazines. They also said these stacks were just fuel for the fire. Very sad, and certainly a warning for hoarders!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Cara, you didn't ask me but I am answering. No cooking is not fun.....anymore. I have retired just like men do, I eat out and let people wait on me. I went through major burn out regarding doing for others and putting me last. About that time my husband was diagnosed with AZ, so I kept on doing what I had always done. He has passed away, so now I don't cook or mow or anything really except eat, read, watch movies and play PC games. Not exciting, but satisfies me.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:40AM
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The Veterans Hospital is a great place to leave books and mags. They can take them home and keep. My son always brings one home and on his next visit leaves one in exchange for another.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:12PM
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Emma, I'm sorry about your husband and glad that you are finding things to do that satisfy you. My mother became a paraplegic a few years ago and my father went from being a husband that was waited on, to doing everything for them both. My husband and I usually go to their house every weekend or they come to ours. I cook a big meal that often has leftovers that they can have for another dinner later in the week. The "fun cooking" has been coming up with various dishes instead of the same old same old. That's where the Internet has been really helpful. For awhile too, my mother was very thin and I was trying to sneak in some calories. Unfortunately no one else needed them! But during the week - I work full time - it's true that lots of times cooking isn't fun. Luckily my husband doesn't mind if its just a salad, or grilled cheese sandwiches, or even if we catch some fast food out.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Years ago we were planning a move (that didn't eventuate) so I started weeding out our books and magazines. Specialist and informative magazines (Consumer Choice and National Geographic) go to our local library, which has no budget for magazines. This way others can enjoy them too and if I want to look at them again, there they are. Readers Digest goes to the old folks' home up the street for their enjoyment.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:27PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

for a little fun to help the giving be easier think about bookcrossings it is almost like scavenger hunting and it makes it easier and fun to watch where your books are going. It is free and fun.
Book Crossing logo

I like to drop off books in various waiting rooms in hospitals and doctors offices. You just put a bookcrossings tag in it that you can print off and off it goes on it's adventure.
You can also set up your library shelf on the site with the books you are wanting to get rid of for people to go through and sending by media book rate mail it is not expensive.

One thing so many people that hoard or stack stuff and pile it up don't realize is they are killing their house, a house that can not breathe as it should is a house that will soon become toxic, that is why on the shows you see so much mold and decay the vents are all covered as are the return air vents.
I watched an episode of Mike Holmes working on a home of a hoarder, he explained how bad it was on the house and how quickly a home can become diseased when in those conditions. Which is why so many of them end up being condemned.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Oh gosh, I'd have no problem at all getting rid of such things. Clutter, clutter, clutter. It just gets worse with time. I learned from my husband how it gets out of control...he's quite a pack-rat.

As someone above mentioned, you can find all the pretty pictures you want online these days, and you can save links to them on your computer...I'm surprised magazines haven't gone out of business entirely. And books, you can have zillions of them on an ereader and they don't collect dust or clutter your house or smell musty.

Sorry, I get carried away on this subject. ;)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:31PM
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Boy, this posting really hit at home. I am sitting in the middle of a MESS!! Rearranging furniture, trying to decide what to get rid of, where to put what, what not to buy etc. My magazines may go to the hospital/medical center or a rehab center. My extra craft/office stuff to a boys and girls youth ranch, and now with school starting, my paper/pens/pencils to the Salvation Army in my area collection for those who need them.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 2:26PM
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