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Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Posted by lov2garden (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 5, 11 at 12:35

Not long ago someone posted about their Mom not decluttering because she got bogged down in what to do with the toss stuff. It struck a nerve in me! I've been doing the Toss 10 but I really need to do a "been stuffing the house for 15 years" decluttering.

If I could stop the voices of my parents from the great beyond exclaiming "But that is STILL GOOD!" "Don't WASTE it!" and override the guilt pangs of not recycling, donating, etc. I really would like to just get a big roll of trash bags and go through the whole house just once, keep a bag count and feel good about it.

There is just too much stuff and not enough time. It will hard enough to make thousands of Keep/Toss decisions! As well as the important follow up questions: If it's a "Keep", where should it go and how should it be kept? If I was good at making even those decisions, I wouldn't have this huge build up now.

I guess I'm asking for amnesty for this one-time full house decluttering. Then, I promise to be greener and more thoughtful in the future. Please say it's okay.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

It's okay. But only YOU can give yourself amnesty. Recycle stuff if it's simple, like dumping clothes and shoes in a charity box or calling Salvation Army or Goodwill to pick up good useable furniture. But if it's a bunch of buttons you've been saving, toss them out. Remember, you won't exactly be filling a landfill. Give yourself amnesty. then toss anything you don't use or love. My grandmother used to toss her stale bread to the birds.She'd kiss a piece of bread goodbye and say a prayer "I hope I never wish I have you back."


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

It's up to you what you do with the stuff, but if it's going to make you feel bad or guilty then I wouldnt do it that way, I think getting rid of things should make you feel good so you keep doing it. If tossing 10 things makes you feel overwhelmed and like youre not getting anywhere, try focusing on a small area or a room to declutter. I found it easier to do area by area in my house and it made it easier for me to decide what was needed in that area and what could go so it was less random, and I could see small areas of progress that kept me going.

There's really only 3 options, donate (have a box open to pack things in as you go to donate), trash (have a bin on hand) and keep, (try to organise things better as you work through).

but really it's up to you what you do with things but if your head says "it's too good to throw away" then you might hit a wall, so the donate box just gives you another option.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Yes! It's all right! Absolutely, amnesty granted. Get rid of whatever you need to get rid of - don't get stuck in having to do it the greenest possible way. Just get it gone and don't beat yourself up about it. Once you've made a bunch of progress on your major declutter, you'll be in a much better position to set up systems for recycling going forward, and you'll be much better able to see what you have so you don't keep bringing in things you don't need. Go for it!


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

"I guess I'm asking for amnesty for this one-time full house decluttering. "

Do it!

You will feel so much better, and then you can do better in the future.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

I hereby grant you amnesty to toss anything and everything guilt-free. Good luck and have at it!


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

We're not talking about the lost jewels of the czarina or anything like that, right? I mean, I think you probably KNOW if something has real value or interest.

You're talking about the "what-ifs" here, what if someone can do something with this in some alternate universe with plenty of time and attention to figure out what to do with the decentish-folding-chair-that-collapses-under-more-than-125-pounds and stuff like that. Correct?

Here is a link that might be useful: Whatifs Poem


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

"what if someone can do something with this in some alternate universe with plenty of time and attention to figure out what to do with the decentish-folding-chair-that-collapses-under-more-than-125-pounds and stuff like that" Love the way you put it! Correct. I'm printing and posting it as my battlecry.

OK, having the benefit of this wise counsel, let the purge begin! I go forth with a roll of trash bags knowing I can always grab clear bags for donating if so moved.

I already have one big contractor bagfull and going for a 2nd. I've only got a half day a week to do this so I'm tossing for all it's worth.

At the end of each session:
1. All bags must go out to trash cans
2. Any donations or giveaways must go to the car and placed in the passager seat so as not to turn my car into a dump site!

Thank you all! I feel renewed, energized & ready to conquer clutter wherever it lurks!

If anyone cares to join me, you are most welcomed.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

lov2garden - Go binary. Set it up so you are only making one decision at a time. If you have to triple-sort trash/keep/donate it's far slower mentally than making a trash/not trash decision in one pass followed by a keep/donate pass.

Do a fast pass through any area making the "Trash/not Trash" decision and dumping the trash. Old newspapers, magazines, jelly jars, dried out silver polish ... it's all trash.

Then with the trash out of the way you can make a second pass with the "I use this/I don't use this". If it's not something you wear or use at least once a year, donate it.

I went through a fully jammed laundry room cabinet and by the time I had discarded empty containers, burnt out light bulbs and all cleaners for surfaces we did not have ... I had room to keep everything I knew I would use. Since then we have used up most of the duplicates and have plenty of room.

Same for the kitchen: hauled everything out of the drawers and cupboards, tossed busted stuff, and got rid of duplicate utensils and things I would not use cooking - there went about 30% of the stuff in the kitchen.

Then I put shallow baskets in the drawers to corral the small stuff and it's been way better.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

I hear you but am still not sure of the whole dilemma. Keep or toss can be very tough, but if you are doing "toss and toss" and planning to put stuff in a bag and get it out of your house, one option is just take it to Goodwill. So if you do have the energy to make some kind of donation decision, don't try to separate stuff out into perfectly aligned object-charity matches. That's what helps me when I am overwhelmed--I don't try to take books to library bin, towels to shelter, good clothes to working women, save stuff for church rummage--these are all laudable actions my alternative self would like to do, but I just take it all one place.

You can still have whatever amnesty you want and can alternate amnesty days with donate days, depending on your mood!


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

My big problem is magazines, hate to part with them because there might be something I want to go back to, especially gardening magazines, but how many magazines can one keep.....One does everyone else do with their magazines?????


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Then there's one more category of stuff you can easily separate and throw away. That's broken items you set aside, figuring you could fix them and make them useable or wanted by others. For me it's the Mickey Mouse figurine with an ear broken off. It was beautiful in its' day and I keep saying, maybe I can glue it or sell it on Ebay? Or maybe it belongs in a landfill.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

lazygardens I like the idea of rooting out the trash first! It will also give me more wiggle room and time to ponder what I see along the way. So, it's de-trash first, then toss and/or donate, if time permits. That is so much better than the multi decisional matrix I tried to use and obviously quit on. I made it "efficient" but overwhelming. Too many sort levels like sell: ebay, craigslist, amazon, yardsale! And that was AFTER I got through 20 questions about if it was REALLY needed, wanted, loved, broken, pieces missing, duplicate, etc! I'd start out great and then after about the 500th decision, my brain went blank and I'd give up for another year or two!

Forster, for magazines I tear out the pages with advertising on both sides and articles I know I'll never use or plants I'll never grow. Then I sort by month and keep in those cardboard magazine holders. When I realized how many times the same article reappeared over a few years, I stopped subscribing! The seed & plant catalogs keep me current and get tossed when the new ones come in. I may be ditching the organized magazines all together since everything is online anyway. I might just tear out the best of the best articles and use the clear covers with the plastic spines that Frankie mentioned in another thread. That's the bomb!

OK, so I go forth with trash bags only and focus only on ferreting out the trash/junk. I like that so much...I hate leaving piles as I go...it kinda defeats the point of decluttering...after a day of that the place just looks worse.



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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Amnesty granted - but it sounds like it still bugs you. If you are REALLY concerned, set it on the curb in a box and post under the "free" section on craigslist. Someone will come pick it up, I assure you! Your trash will be another person's treasure. Way to go on starting off 2011 on the right foot!
~Erin


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Forster - I take a pile of magazines and rip out the articles I might want to use later and file them by topic. A 4-foot stack of Sunset turns into a 4-inch stack of stapled articles for filing. Since the internet I seldom keep recipes, just house and garden ideas.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

If it's a "Keep", where should it go and how should it be kept?
Farther along, when you have gotten rid of a lot of 'stuff' I imagine you will easily see where the remaining items should go. Yesterday I purchased 2 20 GA totes that were on sale (Christmas colors). One is earmarked to my painting gear which gets stored in the basement (mice). I don't have anything in mind yet for the other one, but am sure I will find a use for it somewhere in a closet, the basement, or a shed.

My big problem is magazines, hate to part with them because there might be something I want to go back to, especially gardening magazines, but how many magazines can one keep.....One does everyone else do with their magazines?????
I don't ever buy individual magazines, but have had a subscription to one or two (a year) over the past 20 years. This year I just did not renew, because of just what you are asking about. I used to save gardening magazines, but now that I no longer receive any, I won't be burdened with having to save them, or save articles, etc.
I had a few old Family Handyman mags and asked BF if he might like to have them. He welcomed taking them...YAY...gone...out of here.


I have a modest, though nice, collection of cookbooks, and a nice collection of books on gardening, maintaining things, finances, etc, so see no need to subscribe to or collect magazines or magazine articles. Garden catalogs are enjoyed, but pitched once the new ones start arriving for any given company.

I'm anxiously looking forward to cleaning out the linen closet and pitching extra (used bed pillows), quilts that are too small for the new 'thick' mattresses, pare down my blankets and just keep the best liked ones, and rid myself of 'excess' sheets and pillow cases.

Good luck everyone at decluttering your homes and your lives. Isn't it liberating to get rid of 'stuff' and have room to nicely organize and store those things you have chosen to keep?

Sue


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

I'm thinking about magazines. I let them stack up for a few weeks, read what I want, then take most of them to the laundromat and leave them there. The owner of the laundromat even thanked me for providing them! Now I'm thinking of digging out all the gardening and cooking magazines I have stored under my bed. They can go to the laundromat, too!


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

I guess I'm in the minority - I find it a relief to have a pile for trash and a pile to donate. Having a donate pile makes it easier for me to get rid of some things that I wouldn't want to just throw away. So I throw it in a box to donate and when the box is full take it to whatever donation place I'm going to. Whereas if I had to decide if everything was trash, I'd get stumped and stop right away. Each to his own, I guess! Do it whatever way works for you - and enjoy your new found space!


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Forster, if it's somewhat recent information, it's on the internet.

I've stopped buying cookbooks because I rarely use them anymore, I just google whatever I want to make.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

I've also not renewed my (several) mag subscriptions so far--hope I can hold out. My thread on mag page/article organizing was also part of paring down. I love magazines and don't think that will go away, but I had decided they were taking up too much of my life, because I feel the need to save pics, recipes, etc. I have multiple matched ring binders of them, look fairly nice in my study, but it's one of those things where because I had some shelves for them, I put as many as would go on the shelves. Finally this year I can even look at them and go, hmmm, maybe I'm not ready to toss those all out, but I think I can do with fewer. So then, over time I might re-think the whole thing.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

This really caught my attention. I thought I was the world's worst at what if's when it came to discarding items. You've given good tips here. One thing i would like to mention, is that our local site takes all clothing. Not good enough to wear? She takes off the buttons for the community stage players costumes, maybe the rest for cleaning rags or stuffing for toys. What about unwearable sweaters; she makes hats and gloves. Sure saved me the hassle of trying to decide if I should pass it along.

Another thing I do, have one black bag and one white bag. The black bag is for trash; the white bag for give away. When one fills up, I just get another. No worry about going back through them. Being generous to others benefits yourself as well!


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Major amnesty grant from me!

Here's a thought that might help you--it helps me sometimes.

It all ends up in the landfill eventually

It's only a matter of when it gets there--and how much good or evil it does along the way. So, in some of these things, you'll just be hurrying them along.

And if the cost of getting them into someone else's hands is simply to high (too much work, too annoying, too demoralizing, it'll have to hang around too long until you can haul it away), then just pretend that it broke, or wore out, and toss it.

Yes, into the garbage, if that's what you need to do in order to make some progress.

It's your stuff. You can throw it out if you want to.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

It does end up in the landfill, BUT the longer it is kept in use, the fewer new items are produced to replace it.

Being uncluttered does not require abandoning green ethics. The 2 can be quite complimentary.

But then I'm an extremist when it comes to reuse!

So carry on and don't mind me and my radical ways :)


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Maybe tomgyrll can go to lov2garden's house and take all her unwanted things off her hands.....


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

There's a win win. :-)

If I live to be 100, I still probably won't understand all the angst in finding just the right repository for all one's castoffs. That seems to be the real stumbling block; almost a motivation quasher.

I believe in reusing, recycling, repurposing to a point. A decent pair of jeans that starts to go ratty becomes a pair of jeans I garden in for a season or two. Then they become real trash. A plate with a ding in it doesn't go to Goodwill, it goes in the trash. Same for a jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece - nobody wants a 499 piece plus 1 handcrafted cardboard replacement piece puzzle. The old inherited statuette with the head badly glued back on gets moved to the back of the china closet for only so long.

I went through this after moving back here and into a fully furnished (and then some) home. And I brought many of my own things to incorporate into the mix. Took me a long while, but sensible yet ruthless are the keywords for me.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

I think a few people are being unfair to tomgyrll, she's entitled to her opinion here too, there is no right or wrong way to do this. I find it easier to let go of perfectly good items if I know they are going somewhere useful and tossing good items in a box and off to a charity is not that hard to do. If someone wants to toss everything in the trash and be done with it, that's their choice but could we not judge people for doing it differently? or having a different view of things?

the sarcastic responses were just unnecessary


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I wasn't judging... but it sure sounds like YOU are!


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"Maybe tomgyrll can go to lov2garden's house and take all her unwanted things off her hands....."

luanne there was no need for this kind of sarcasm. some people who come here have real issues around saving/collecting/hoarding and those issues are really deep rooted around their beliefs and "being wasteful, green" etc is a really common one for people who struggle with this that's why it's important not to dismiss it.

I didnt judge anyone here, I just didnt think there was a need to belittle another poster with sarcasm for their comments


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

There's a Chinese proverb "Everything breaks." Also a song "Everything's made to be broken..." Yes it all ends up in a lnadfill. Just may make a stop or two in between.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

"I didnt judge anyone here, I just didnt think there was a need to belittle another poster with sarcasm for their comments "

You just judged again... by claiming I was being sarcastic and belittling, when I was not.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

One thing to keep in mind about getting rid of stuff--sometimes it's actually pretty difficult to donate or recycle. A lot depends on where you live.

Some places I've lived, the Salvation Army was an easy drop-off on the way to work. Other places, the nearest donation place was 40 minutes away, on a busy city street with limited parking. If you had anything heavy or bulky to give away, you would be hard pressed to find a parking spot close to the building, so you would end up lugging everything several blocks.

If you have curb-side recycling, that's easy. If you have to drive 45 minutes to a transfer station and then wait in a long line because that's the only transfer station in the county and it's only open 25 hours a week, and you can only go on Saturdays when it's open from 10 to 2 because you are at work all the other hours it's open, that's difficult. If, in addition, you need to pay $35 to get a transfer station sticker, and you can only get a sticker in person at the town hall, which has evening hours one day a week until 7 pm and you work until 5 pm in a nearby big city and normally don't even get home until 6:30, that's even more difficulty.

So while I currently have curb-side recycling for just about everything, including TVs and computers, and a staffed Goodwill dropoff trailer in the parking lot of my supermarket (can't get much easier that that!), I've lived places where the effort required to donate or recycle has been, hands down, the most difficult part of decluttering.

So amnesty for donating and recycling is sometimes a thing we have to accept. If it's just plain hard to do, sometimes trashing things is the best thing for an individual who is drowning in clutter.

I just think it's important to remember that not everyone has easy access to alternative ways of getting rid of things. And that affects how they declutter.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

I really do appreciate all of the helpful advice and support. So far, I've gotten 4 huge contractor size bags out full of just trash! YIKES! I'm so glad lazygardens said to start with "trash/not trash" passthrough first.

I also noticed that the "trash/not trash" mindset is helping me STOP adding clutter. Example: (although I still feel a little guilty) I threw out a "Save the date" wedding announcement with the couple's picture on it. I like the couple but all I really needed was the date and website. I figured there was no sense in keeping the announcement and tossing it 5 years from now. I'll take pictures at their wedding and will have them on my pc anyway.

It's clearly apparent that I felt obligated to keep most of what came into the house and to find a place for it! Totally mindless. That is, until I ran out of places for putting!

Who knew I had so many dried up pens!? And other totally useless stuff.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

You made a key point about how it is hard to toss stuff you have brought in. Of course I continually toss or recycle stuff I've bought or dragged home, but still I find it is 10times harder to do that than I think it will be, so I know that over time a key thing is to be more and more selective, knowing that stuff gets a toehold-- on my space, or emotions or whatever-- and I will have to go through that whole struggle.

I don't really have illusions of never causing my own clutter again, but I'm getting a little smarter, so I encourage you to keep up the forward momentum.


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

As a preamble, I am not one to keep promotional pens. That said, who knows why I still had one from an overnight train trip I once took. Each time I'd pick it up I would grimace. That trip was memorable only in that it was the most uncomfortable night I have ever spent. Noisy train, no food, bumpy ride, many stops, afraid I'd oversleep and miss my stop. It gave me great pleasure to pitch it in the trash, in the spirit of keeping only those things we use, love or have sentimental value. That pen failed on all three points. GONE!


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

Yay!


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RE: Amnesty needed for major decluttering

About magazines: I used to be bad about subscribing and holding onto each copy. Several years ago, looking through them, I realized that I had had them for 10 years! I gave to my mom but found out that doctor office would have taken some. Now I just go to the library if I want to look at one; also most articles can be found online.


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