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Can you IMAGINE doing this?

Posted by pammyfay (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 23, 09 at 14:48

Check out this article, which I found linked on Unclutterer.Com (a darn good blog!):

Here is a link that might be useful: U.K. Daily Record


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

Oooh - so glad you found unclutterer.com too. I like the blog -- one of its contributors also writes for Real Simple. But I love the follow-up comments, some are so useful, others are humorous.

I read the article you linked here -- wow. I suppose if money were no object it would be very tempting :-)

It can be done (and I've done so) on a smaller scale with specific household categories.

An example: I had saved holiday gift wrap, bows, stickers, labels, etc. from year-to-year which just added to the stress of the holiday season to pull it out, not use it or not use enough to justify having stored it, and put it away until next year, "in case". This year, instead of putting it away, I freecycled all of it so that I can start "fresh" next year. Hopefully I will not overbuy, and whatever is left I will freecycle again.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

I used to store Christmas wrap, but I found it always got wrinkled, stretched out, ripped, musty smelling. Now I buy all new every December.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

wow , that is a relief, you mean i don't have to save those bows? i gotta go to that site !!! think i will right now....ok I went, I didn't see any forum or information other than to buy her books and get newsletters? am i missing something?


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

No way. I mean, every time I've moved I've gotten rid of some stuff at both ends, both at the "old" home and at the "new". But to completely ditch everything I own? I couldn't do it.

It's good that she asked her kids to claim what they wanted, but I wonder if those kids will regret the loss of old family photos at minimum in the future. Who knows... maybe not.

I have stuff in the category of "needs to be used or tossed" like the Xmas wrap mentioned above. But I guess I am more motivated to use it instead of tossing it. It just seems like a waste of money to me, to throw out things that are useable (assuming they ARE still useable) only to buy replacements later.

So, for me, organizing/decluttering doesn't always mean throwing away or giving away. Sometimes it means using what I have up before buying more.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

Long post, but the above post brings together several recent threads, for me.

This one of those "aha" moments when I can say I thought I really got it, but now I REALLY get it. I was on this track already in some smallish ways--recently I posted about chucking party supplies and getting free of the idea that I needed to store leftover red holiday paper goods, or things with Happy Birthday on them, for a party that isn't even imagined yet.

When the kids were younger, I tried to avoid some of those late-night box store runs for the "I need a presentation folder for tomorrow", so I had part of a cabinet with binders, folders, all that stuff--but in retrospect, so often you just had to go to X-mart no matter what you had at home anyway, that I wonder whether I would do it again.

I do have a big box for Christmas wraps, and so far have been happy with thinking I am limiting myself to just that box--but it has to come down from the attic, I sometimes need something before then and so I keep a bit out,or basically, have tried to develop a "red" theme for wrapping because you can use it for anything--but I can see the simplicity of just buying 2 rolls of wrap and a few ribbon or bow items (real simplicity would be not wrapping!)--or at any rate, deciding on your wrap concept each year and freecycling the leftovers yearly. This becomes much more do-able if your gifting get simpler, which ours has as the kids have grown--might cycle back up if grandkids appear.

But I am really intrigued by moving this concept into other areas. What are other things we can identify that we keep for once a year or less--which of these things are worth the storage--hard to find, just the thing you want, etc--and which are best re-purchased at the time of need? Also a lot depends on how much stock you put into recycling and whether you can do that with the items or will they end up in the trash. Not to disparage trashing as a de-cluttering method, but just not trying to make intentional changes that increase my landfill footprint.

I'm also intrigued by the furniture concept. Sure, I read lots of articles on how the lovely antiques fit so nicely in the new smaller retirement home and just a bit of downsizing was needed, but I also read, we just started over to get what we really needed, so share the Brit's concept of, so many things prove to be just not what you would have used if you were trying to maximize the space, the funtion, or even the style. That might suggest not getting overly attached to furniture or again, thinking ahead to whether one's investment has to be justifed by a "lifetime" of use, or just the next decade or so, given that many people will move several times.

Most people can't afford to just re-buy the same things over and over, so it really is more a matter of being very selective about what you might do this way and that you don't end up overbuying to start with, as the above poster noted, so that you tend to end up with not too much left over, or you have a calm approach and backup plan for "running out"-as in, you try to avoid the feeling that you have to run and buy new wrap and bows for the one last-minute gift on your list.

Craft items were a big deal for me--and I'm not even so crafty. But until recently I kept the spray paint, ribbon, felt or whatever from each project and I could tell my own "hoarding gene" got some kind of stimulus for having these items available just in case.

It requires either having a certain personality or developing that angle. My MIL is a person who derives immense satisfaction from diving into a room or cabinet and coming up with just the box or twist tie or item you need. She is not a hoarder in the worst sense of the word--no trash, home is clean, the main rooms are a bit cluttered but okay to be in, and they lead wonderfully active, busy, helpful lives, but she basically can't part with much, and the decor, spare rooms, and cabinet space reflect that.

So what I am eager to do is to go back through all my spaces and say, now, in which areas of my life do I want to have on hand just the thing I need, and which areas am I better served to re-purchase at time of need? And maybe this is a personality area that can be developed so we are more able to do this--it doesn't have to be an all or none thing.
I have seen myself as being more able to do this as I get older, rather than being less able.

What ties in for me is simplifying my ideas of "what I do" on a REGULAR basis so there are fewer things that have to be kept on hand just in case. Plus, selecting those areas that are most easily re-purchased. So maybe I am a bit crafty, but only once every couple of years and often not in the same direction using the same supplies. Or, maybe I need to develop more of a focus and say, I am going to try to specialize in just a few areas that use ___.

Christmas wrap is just such a good prototype for this type of discussion--it's ubiquitous, you can walk into even the grocery store and find it, comes in all price ranges.

Clothing was discussed in this way on some other post--which things do you just get seasonally and chuck; do you keep the fur coat for a trip 3 years hence; etc.

I would love to hear others' examples of areas in which you "changed" from being a store-er to being a re-purchaser, and why it worked for you.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

Once a year I buy a huge roll of brown kraft paper...fairly good quality. Everything gets wrapped in that same paper! I also have about 6 colors of curly ribbon on the big bolts. I mix and match colors to make each package different. I own about 5 colors of stamp pads and a number of different stamps to decorate the brown paper packages. In the space it takes to store the roll of paper, two wooden coathangers with ribbon bolts on them, and a basket with stamp pads and stamps, I can cover every holiday and some other decorating as well!


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

ronbre -- not sure what site you landed on, but the "unclutterer" blog I visit is not selling anything (yes there are minimal ads on the right side of the page, but that is true basically anywhere, including here)

"About Unclutterer
Unclutterer is the website for home and office organization. Its not just for the helplessly disorganized who would lose their heads if they werent attached, and pack rats looking to put their stashes on a diet, but also for obsessive compulsive neat freaks looking to squeeze even more order into their lives. We hope we can make getting and staying organized fun and informative.

Chances are you dont have as much space as youd like, so you need to make the most of the space you do have. This doesnt just mean finding a new nook in which to cram more clutter, or devising a clever way to stack piles of papers. Instead its about streamlining your space and your possessions so that you can be more efficient at work and enjoy a more relaxing and serene environment at home.

Unclutterer features tips, organization strategies, product reviews, reader questions and more. Were not a personal productivity blog or a site about interior design, but we still hope we can help you in those areas. Getting uncluttered and organized can be the first step to more efficiently tackling your projects and realizing a better-looking space."

I don't know -- their mission doesn't seem to dissimilar to what we try to achieve here on "Organizing the Home".

I find motivation and inspiration from both, and neither web site has ever tried to sell me a thing.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

I wonder if those kids will regret the loss of old family photos at minimum in the future. Who knows... maybe not.

I know I wouldn't. Not really. If it wasn't party of *my* memories, really, I'm not interested. I've started wondering why anybody CARES what the ancient Egyptians did. We're not going to "learn from their history so we aren't doomed to repeat it." It's intellectual masturbation; it's not actually useful to people who currently alive.

That's sort of how I feel about old family photos, etc. If they are a picture of someone I *knew*, I might want them, bcs they'd provide an emotional something. But pictures of people I didn't know? Not really necessary for me. It's interesting sometimes to know that my grandpa was fostered out as a young teenager, bcs his widowed mother has less than nothing (her husband had been a Methodist minister, so no home to sell, no savings, nada). But if I didn't know that, would my life *really* change? No, I don't think so.


My MIL is a person who derives immense satisfaction from diving into a room or cabinet and coming up with just the box or twist tie or item you need. She is not a hoarder in the worst sense of the word--no trash, home is clean, the main rooms are a bit cluttered but okay to be in, and they lead wonderfully active, busy, helpful lives, but she basically can't part with much, and the decor, spare rooms, and cabinet space reflect that.

Interestingly, I think your MIL is storing exactly what DOES please her. She gets "immense satisfaction" from having those things and finding the exact thing she needs. So as long as she can FUNCTION in her life (and it seems she does), then she is doing it exactly RIGHT. She keeps the things that feed HER soul.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

talley_sue_nyc, you are right--that is why I put in the qualifiers. My MIL is a tremendous example of how to live a life--she "mature", keeps family together, tries new things, volunteers--I doubt my DH and I, as we grow older, will be able to meet the mark set by his parents. So I learned--clutter-what clutter? At times she makes noises about trying to clean stuff out, because she is already ready to move to a retirement center/assisted living, but the place they hope to get is still under construction. Over time I learned not to react too helpfully (though I WOULD help)--have learned it really just doesn't bother her the way it would me, and I don't think she's going to do a thing, and it doesn't matter. So we will "help" when the time comes. If it takes a lot of work, that will just be what we do for our folks who did so much for us.

Now, my MIL does take lots of pictures and on the one hand they are great; on the other, she sends me little albums of every event and that is part of my clutter--photos are hard to chuck once you've seen them. Also, it drifts over to my behavior--"did you take any pictures?--No? ohhhhh..." if I don't capture every trip or event. Well, maybe that's too harsh. And we do enjoy looking at them. But I realize that I just don't want to always have a camera everywhere I go, and always be cataloging photos in order to have memories, or make myself go "ohhhh" if I forget, or do that to my kids.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

intellectual masturbation

LOL!!
Ok, yeah, guilty! I do like to know about my anscestors and such. I loved hearing stories about when my mother was growing up.

But in any case, when I wondered about the kids regretting the loss of old photos, I had it in my head that the old photos being thrown away were ones of the family, like for example when the kids were young. Maybe not, but that's what I was imagining.

I actually do have my mother's old photos including ones of people I didn't know personally. I like them and like looking through them, but I can understand how other people wouldn't. I'm sure that collection that I have will get tossed eventually... but I'll be dead by then and won't care.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

for those of you having trouble finding the right website, it is unclutterer.com, not unclutter.com. I had the same problem and tried this and got what I was looking for.


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RE: Can you IMAGINE doing this?

Re: pictures. I would not be at all upset if my mom threw out all my baby/childhood pics. They are a source of embaressment for me! I had a recurring skin condition on my face as a baby/child, and it seems that my mom only took me to have my pic taken when it was REALLY bad. Add to that the fact that my parents didn't take my brother and I to a dentist until I was 12 (no kidding) and my teeth were HORRIBLE, and the pictures are just disgusting. I'm wondering now if the stress of having a pic taken didn't make my skin worse???

This article sounds like my dream come true. I daydream that when my youngest son goes off to college, I will move into a 1 room apartment and have a futon, a table, a chair, and one set of dishes (1 plate, 1 cup, etc). I will spend my time meditating on the joys of living a simple and uncluttered life, after living 25+ years drowning in clutter!!!!

I have two friends that actually did something close. The first, when her son graduated from HS & left for the Air Force Academy. She taded a 3,000 sq ft house for a 900 sq ft condo & gave away/threw away 3/4 of her possessions. She seemed so LIGHT afterwards! The second, when her youngest son graduated from college & moved away, sold the house & gave/threw away almost EVERYTHING, then she and her DH bought a furnished house in FL that was 1/3 the size of their Ohio house and moved only what fit in their car. EVERYTHING else either went to the dump, to friends, or to charity. Both are so happy now!


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