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Decluttering questions

Posted by donnagwd (My Page) on
Mon, May 14, 12 at 12:40

I'm feeling overwhelmed by our upcoming move to a slightly smaller house and by all the "stuff" we've accumulated in 16 years in this house. My kids were three, about to turn four years old when we moved here, and they will turn 20 this summer. Dh is something of a hoarder - he doesn't want to give up the 20 year old Schwinn air-dyne in the garage that hasn't been used in 15 years!

Can you give me a reality check? What would you do with the following items?

-"ring pillow" for cousin's wedding in which ds was the ring bearer?

-baby china given as baby gifts (not really pretty imho and has been boxed up since rec'd?)

-oddles of sewing thread, and the rack that holds them? (It's been years since I've sewed regularly, and I'd probably just go buy thread to match if I do sew again?)

-ds' cap and gown from HS graduation? (I suspect it would work for a Halloween or Hogwart party but he's not a sentimental person.

What's the advice from the masses?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Decluttering questions

What I would do.... (and I AM decluttered!)

-"ring pillow" for cousin's wedding in which ds was the ring bearer?
Ask DS if he wants the pillow. If not, toss/donate.

-baby china given as baby gifts (not really pretty imho and has been boxed up since rec'd?)
Never used? So why keep it?

-oddles of sewing thread, and the rack that holds them? (It's been years since I've sewed regularly, and I'd probably just go buy thread to match if I do sew again?)
Donate.

-ds' cap and gown from HS graduation? (I suspect it would work for a Halloween or Hogwart party but he's not a sentimental person.
IF not wanted by DS, donate.


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RE: Decluttering questions

I would donate all of it to Goodwill.


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RE: Decluttering questions

Pillow--> see if cousin wants it. Then Goodwill.

The rest of it? donate.


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RE: Decluttering questions

I agree, those all seem like they should go, in large part because no one in your family seems connected to them. So let that be one of your guides.

Since you may have some legit "sentimental" items you're not ready to part with yet, you could also think in terms of one box per DS ( you pick the size) so you could toss in some items that are giving you real trouble.

Another thing to do, in your vast spare time, maybe with a nice cup of coffee or tea, is sit down with pencil and paper (or computer) and make a list of activities, goals, "ways of being" that you hope to do in your new home, now that your family is in its new phase, new ages, school, whatever. So, you're not just decluttering, you're trying to allow your new home to support the way you want to spend your time in the next number of years. If kids are in college, for example, home may need to function well for when kids descend home for breaks and holidays, dorm moving in and out, visiting with old school chums or college friends, and maybe facilitate parents' travel (to colleges or on a getaway!). If kids are working and living at home, functions are different. If kids being older allows you some more time for a hobby or church or something, make "room" for that. "Room" is both the physical room to do the new things, and the time and worry not spent keeping up with stuff you are not using.

I tended to hold on for awhile to some stuff that I thought DD's "might" need (usually some kind of craft supplies, or also just numerous items that go with girls, things I got for their rooms but they didn't seem to use anymore, and also domestic items for some-day setting up house), but over time I realized I did not want to be my MIL, who gets huge satisfaction out of being able to go dive into some pile or crammed room and come up with the envelope or piece of paper or long-lost object, but had no feel for how crowded her home had become. I still store some stuff for "one day" but have kind of a time limit on it and re-review it, or quality criteria, or it's something like an end table or lamp in a spare room and it's not bothering me or anyone right now and I don't yet have another plan for the space or plan to move. I am willing to take some grief if one of DD's is thinking everything they have ever seen in our home will still be there "later" if they want it for an apartment or home. That really was true for my MIL and FIL's home--a 30-50 year chronology there. Nope--stuff ebbs and flows and goes to Goodwill or church sale or disaster drive, and for now I have no fear that I will still have lots of stuff to share, since I will have to some day do the major downsize, not just declutter.


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RE: Decluttering questions

Thanks for the validation. Ds moved the china, ring pillow and cap and gown out of his room last week as "no longer wanted" but left for us in case we wanted it. He was making room in the closet for some of the boxed things he brought home from college, since our garage is slammed.

Yes, I'm donating all - saving only a spool of white, navy and black thread for possible button sewing.

Frankie, I am willing to take the grief if one of us comes up later wanting something that I've let go. My mother's house is packed full - both she and my father were products of the depression and I dread the day her house needs clearing out.

I also have trouble with "where" things should go - I start thinking that this stuff should go to a school, and I should drop the ratty towels off at the animal shelter, and books to the library and make myself crazy. Trying to keep that as simple as possible.

Thanks again for the support!


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RE: Decluttering questions

To keep from going crazy ... don't try to dispose of it all in one session, or even decide what to do in one session. Do the things you can as soon as the solution is decided on.

Prioritize the items that will clear out the most bulk for the least effort.

Ratty towels to the animal shelter ... toss them in a trash bag and put them in your car for your next trip. If you have overlooked a few, no big deal. But that's a lot of bulk for little effort.

Books likewise - make a fast first pass through the books and get rid of the ones you are sure you don't want to move as soon as possible.

CRITICAL: Clear the trash out. Anything that is broken and not fixable (or not fixable by you) needs to go ASAP.
Same with old paperwork, ratty and outgrown clothes, etc.

URGENT: Working items that are not being used and have no foreseeable user in your family (such as that Schwinn you mentioned) ... Craigslist, charity or freecycle them.


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RE: Decluttering questions

My library REFUSES to take donations of books,it's hard to find a place that will take books. Is there a hospital or laundromat near you? Both are places where people sit and wait, and they would appreciate having something to read.


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RE: Decluttering questions

Oh, please, just throw out the thread!! Thread ages and rots. Don't inflict old thread on some hapless seamstress! Do donate the racks.

I sew daily, and if I have a spool over 5 years old, I toss it. A spool of thread is only a couple of dollars. My labor is FAR more valuable than that.


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RE: Decluttering questions

Yes, cotton thread deteriorates but not in 15 years. There are cotton-sewn quilts that are decades old still in daily use. We sleep on several in my house. Many quilters would be happy to have your thread, if only for basting quilts. The stitches only stay in for a short time. If yours are wooden spools, they have become collector's items. I'd Goodwill the thread... good idea to keep the neutrals for occasional use.
Mary, if you sew daily you know that thread used to be cheap, but no more. Prices on all cotton goods have soared in the last 2 years. Fabric that was $9/yard (good quality quilting cottons) two years ago in Northern California now exceeds $12/yard. Here's the price on Dual Duty and it is less expensive than many other kinds...

Here is a link that might be useful: Dual Duty thread


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RE: Decluttering questions

I would throw them all out, probably (especially the ring pillow).

I might pass some stuff along to other people (someone who sews?), or give it to the Goodwill* (do they even have home ec classes at schools, or at neighborhood centers?). But none of it would I keep.

And frankly, when the "where" of "where to get rid of it" gets to be too many places, I just throw it all out.

It's faster, and it'll all end up there anyway--eventually. I just speed the process up and eliminate some of the wasted labor.

*my shorthand for "donate it to some charity that will pass it along to someone or sell it in a thrift shop"


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RE: Decluttering questions

Definitely donate. Pack everything up in boxes and call a charity that will send a truck. Don't waste time finding the perfect recipients or delivering it yourself.


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RE: Decluttering questions

Thanks for the advice and reality check. I'm starting a new thread - I think we're heading toward a moving sale now.


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RE: Decluttering questions

Talley Sue, that's an interesting perspective. I have come to the opposite conclusion - if an item is donated, I figure it creates jobs in my community - but then, my "charity" of choice is Value Village. I like its vibe in my community and that it provides that many local jobs. I feel like I'm donating to my local economy.

I certainly throw away or recycle what needs to go - I don't want to burden VV with excessive disposal costs, after all. There was a time I was so environmentally conscious that I would throw nothing away that could remotely be re-used, but then I realized my house was functioning as a large dumpster :-) And now I have so many more recycling options that I let things go more easily in that direction. I don't want to clutter their shelves with junk either!

I think another issue I've become aware of is sending things back into the economic pool while they are current, rather than waiting until they are obsolete. This would apply to electronics and fashions, especially. Either that, or keep till truly vintage :-)

I do make these decisions very difficult for myself, but I know that my priority is to avoid regrets - I have so many already to keep me lying awake at night that I don't want to add any new ones. My goal is to feel good about the decisions I make, even if they are delayed.

Karin L


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RE: Decluttering questions

I agree w/ you about sending stuff back into the economic pool while it is current, rather than waiting until it is obsolete.

Or, sometimes, simply aged (like, the pumps may be classic, but if the glue on the insole has dried out, they may be hard to resell).

I'll send stuff to another place readily. Heck, I'll cheerfully hand it over to someone who is using Freecycle to resell stuff as an income source.

But in *my* particular situation, it's just not that easy to send it somewhere that it might actually be useful. And when that burden gets too high, I'll just toss stuff.


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