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Thread: How to declutter? Help

  1. #1

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    Default How to declutter? Help

    I was recently reading an article about clutter causing stress and it definitely is in our place for both DH and I.

    How do I learn to be ruthless and throw out stuff that has meaning to us? The thought of Christmas is already stressing me out about how to store the gifts the girls get and telling people not to buy them s--t that we simply can't fit into our home and keep it orderly also. Arrr I already have 5 garbage bags for Vinnies just from today but it feels like it has not even dinted the stuff we have. We have a very large home and every where I look there is just more stuff to go through. I want a place for everything and right now I don't have that.


  2. #2

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    I'm feeling a little daunted about Christmas now too. I too need to declutter and sort, especially as both girls birthdays are just after christmas.

  3. #3

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    For those bigger/more difficult to get rid of things- If you can put it away and not use it/need it/think of it for a few months, then you don't need it any more.

    If it isn't useful or necessary in some way, ditch it.

    If it's needed fixing for 6 months and no one has fixed it, or organised to have it fixed, get rid of it or replace it with a working one.

    If you come across it and haven't seen it or used it for ages, get rid of it.

    If it's clothes and it doesn't fit or you haven't worn it in 6 months, you no longer need it.

    Remember your kids likely don't 'need' half of the toys they own. You could probably get rid of half of it and they would barely miss them.

  4. #4

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    Great suggestions above. Though I do 12 months for clothes

    It's good to have a system eg one cupboard at a time, one room a week. Don't try and attack it all at once or it is overwhelming.

    Also think about how you store what you do have....a bookshelf with pull out drawers (like the Ikea system) looks neat, is easy to get to and saves room. I second the throwing out of kids toys, esp with Christmas around the corner.

    I do get sentimental about stuff but am slowly coming to the stage where I can throw stuff away....I take photos of DS' artwork for his scrapbook and then it's gone! A huge cull of knock knacks, photos are in albums rather than frames, we've culled lots of kitchen stuff (you know, the two mugs you get as a gift that don't match and you'll never use, or the garish platter that's never seen the light of day), even stuff that was a gift. Books and magazines I'll never read again go. Donating it makes me feel I'm paying it forward in a way.

    I have a shoebox per room (approx) for stuff that I just can't bear to part with, but really isn't any use (my old school books, the first rose DH gave me and teenage diaries, for example) and that's a nice compromise for me for now.

  5. #5

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    If it's things like kids artwork, scanning it and photos of it are great ways to minimise the clutter. I also use artwork as gift wrapping or the kids make cards out of it. It's a lovely thing to give someone as a gift.

  6. #6

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    I'm pretty ruthless now, but I've moved a whole heap and am sick of dragging stuff around lol.

    Basically if it's no use to you, then it's no use to you. No matter where it came from or how much it cost.
    If I don't LOVE it, it goes.
    If they don't play with it, it goes.
    If it doesn't fit and isn't going to be worn by another member of this household, it goes.
    If it doesn't have a home and none can be found for it...it goes.
    If it's 'home' is too full then it's time for a cull.

    Have you got a local buy, swap sell page? Helps if you feel like you can make a bit of cash. I don't bother with ebay though as posting is a pain.
    A local kindy that could use clothes/books/toys, a women's shelter?

    Start with 15minutes at a time. Be that once a week, once a day...whatever. Just start. Start with what bothers you most. Or, alternatively, start with what is the easiest to let go of. Once you feel a bit more at ease, it's easier.

  7. #7

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    Toys

    put them into tubs. Have one tub out at a time. Rotate the tubs on Saturday morning.

    Books

    They all go onto bookshelves. If they don't fit, put the extras into tubs. Rotate the tubs on the first of the month.

    Furniture and appliances

    Is there stuff that you don't need? That you only use because it's there (and possibly a little in the way) like spare couches (which could be room for play and trains and whatever) or exercise equipment which just holds your extra coats?

    Same goes for the waffle iron, the coffee machine, the pressure cooker, and anything else you don't ACTUALLY use.

    Get rid of it.

    Artwork

    3D artwork has a strict limit of 2 pieces per child. Any more gets given away. If it's too precious then one of the already kept things gets given away.

    Each boy has one box for 2D artwork, and everything else just goes in there. Not sure what we'll do when it's full ...

    Clothes

    Not worn in 12 months? Goodbye.

    Everything else?

    Step 1: Play "Ten Things I Hate About You" which is a game I invented, where you go into each room, and make the biggest impact possibly by getting rid of 10 things. Whether they're rubbish or things being kept (which just need to get put away) you deal 100% with 10 things. So they're either in the bin, or where they actually should be. Not in the right room, but away.

    Step 2:Play "15 minutes of fame" which is where you get one (or more, if needed) laundry baskets, and you deal with a room. Everything in it either goes away completely (again, where they actually should be - not just in the right room, but actually away). If you can't put it away-away in those 15 minutes, it goes in the laundry basket. Don't cheat - this includes under beds and in cupboards, and everything.

    Step 3: Deal with the laundry baskets. Obviously, this needs to be done one room at a time. First get rid of the rubbish. Be brutal. Cull. Second, get rid of all of the charity bin stuff. And be cautious: is it truly charity bin, or is it rubbish? Would you give it to a friend? If not, don't give it to charity. If they can't sell it, they can't use it. Be brutal-er. Third, back-burner things. Put things somewhere specific, where if you haven't used them in six months time, you're getting rid of them. Forth, the thing which have to get put away. And (shock horror) PUT THEM AWAY!!

    The end.
    Last edited by peanutter; November 10th, 2013 at 08:24 PM.

  8. #8

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    I recommend getting your hands on some Peter Walsh books/videos. He breaks the process into some pretty simple steps to follow. Even if you grab a box/rubbish bag once a day and go hard for 10 minutes, start anywhere and just remove all the extra stuff you find, it will make a difference. Once the surface noise goes, it gets easier to "see" where the other clutter problems are.

    Having said that, I went through a stage when I was having trouble getting rid of DD2's baby things. My solution was to get 2 smallish plastic tubs (one for each DD) and put a selection of their best/favorite things in there. For eg, a toy or two, a handmade quilt, their favorite book, a little outfit, etc. Then I gave all the other nice stuff to a friend who had just had a baby. Seeing her little one enjoying it helped ease the pain, LOL. Likewise I have one box for DD2's art, so I'm choosy about what I put in there.

    I really like Kim's rules. Especially the one about if there's no home for it, it goes. We live in a small house, there's no chance we're going anywhere bigger any time soon, so it's really about living within your (space) means. I've spent the last few months doing a progressive cull and containerise/storage blitz, but now that I've done it, I can see we still need to get rid of more stuff. I aim for 25% reduction everytime I'm clearing something out (ie a shelf, a cupboard, whatever) which for me is do-able. The more you chuck out, the easier it gets.

    ETA - There's another fabulous book (autobiographical) by Corinne Grant, who had a bit of a hoarding problem for a while. Reading it helped me get really clear about how things are not memories, they are not emotions, they are just things. When you understand this, it's easier to recognise what really has meaning and value in your life - and it's not "things".

    2nd ETA - Don't get hung up about the method of disposal. If you can sell it quickly, then sell it. If you can't, if it's still hanging about a week or two later, just give it away. The freedom of not having it is worth more than a few dollars.
    Last edited by AnyDream; November 10th, 2013 at 11:08 PM.

  9. #9

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    Subbing.
    I have a serious issue with hoarding because i love online shopping.

    We live in a pretty big double storey house and two bedrooms are filled with junk. I kid you not, one you cant go in anymore.

    I was going to clean it as my maternity leave mission but find it sooo daunting.

    One stage i attempted and cleaned up half the room, donating boxes and bags of toys.

    Somehow the room filled up again

    I even started my own blog but ummm i forgot the url lol coz its too daunting that ive got no updates to write!!!

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    Subbing too.

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    I'm a bit like Kim - moving house tends to make you throw out a lot. At the moment, 99% of what we own is in boxes and it had to fit into storage into a room above a garage. So we had to be absolutely ruthless.

    We got rid of so much stuff. Even our bedroom suite and couches! We don't have a dining table! We live in my mum's house so we didn't need it as her furniture is here, and we didn't want to store it. And in all honesty, in all the boxes we have here, I can probably tell you what's in 1/4 of it.

    So tips of how I did it -

    If you don't like the thought of giving it away, have a garage sale or list on eBay and make it earn money for you. Our biggest surprise was we got $700 for our dining table and chairs - we'd only paid $900 for it seven years previously!

    If you forgot you had it, have your moment remembering where you got it/who gave it to you/what it meant to you (which is different from what it means to you - let's face it, if you forgot you had it, then it doesn't mean much), and toss it out.

    Get rid of kitchen stuff you don't use. Do you really need 100 mugs in case you have someone over? Do you still need the dinner set you got from the reject shop when you first moved out? Goodbye!

    Toss out old linen or cut it up for rags and use the newer stuff or stuff that is in better condition.

    Cull kids toys - do you need to keep all the scrappy bits that arrived in a show bag/kinder surprise/ happy meal? Get rid of the jigsaw puzzles missing a piece - in case you find the piece.

    CDs and DVDs take up a lot of space. Box up all the covers and put the disks in one of those 200 slot cases.

    The bigger the space you allow for something, the bigger the problem can be. Before DD2 was born, DH used her bedroom as his office. Disaster! Stuff everywhere. But when we needed that room back to set up for her, he was reduced to a table in the garage and suddenly those old sports trophies could go, the piles of paperwork could be sorted and filed properly and he could find everything he needed.

    It is easy once you take emotion out. And if you still can't bear to throw it out but it has no use, then put it in a box and store it in your garage.

  12. #12

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    I have a small house too and I find I get very stressed and tend to crack it if the mess/clutter gets too much. I've been following Flylady for a few years now. Not religiously - I don't shine my sink - but the rules like:
    You can do anything for 15 minutes. It doesn't have to be finished, just set a timer for 15 minutes and go go go until it goes off and then STOP. Do this once a day, once a week, several times during a day, whatever suits you. It will be done quicker than you think.
    Start small. If the cupboard is overwhelming - start with the easiest shelf. If the room is overwhelming, work your way around clockwise (or pick the easiest spot). Do one drawer. One box. Set the timer for 15 and just go for it.
    It doesn't have to be done all at once. It didn't get that way in a day and it won't a day to clear it out. It is an ongoing process. Sometimes I find I'll clear a space then come back to it a few months later and find I can remove a whole heap more.

    I have joined a decluttering group on FB. "70 Day Christmas Decluttering Challenge". It's day 29 but it's not too late to join if you want. The group leader posts a daily challenge. People post pics of before & after if they want. Everyone is very supportive, helpful and encouraging. There is a list of the challenges someone on there so you could catch up or just work through slowly. I've only done about a quarter of them but it has made a huge difference already.

    My rules are:
    Clothes - not worn for 12 months - gone. BUT I assess each piece as it goes so I'm not completely strict with that. I'm struggling with the idea of getting rid of my wedding dress. I recently donated all my work business shirts. I haven't worn them since I was pg with DS and my stomach is just not shrinking back so they just don't fit. I kept them thinking "I'll lose the weight and they'll fit again" but realistically, even if I did lose the weight, I still wouldn't wear them because I HATE ironing and very rarely do it.

    Toys - If they are past the age for it, it goes. I struggle with toys that were gifts. I recently returned a whole heap of FP stuff to MIL as I felt I couldn't sell it (she is quite attached to the FP brand and kept toys from when her kids were babies ) so I returned them to her to pass on to her daughter if she ever has kids. At least they are out of our house.

    Tupperware - if not being used ever - out it goes. I really struggle with this one too as it's soooooo expensive and you know, it could be useful. I culled a bit a couple of years ago, and I have removed a few more in the last few weeks.

    Ask yourself - is it useful? is it beautiful? do you love it? If the answers are NO NO NO - out it goes.

    One thing I like to consider to help me make a decision is this - if the house was to burn to the ground, would I miss this? Would I want to replace it? Could it be replaced? Thinking along those lines, there is little I would keep.

    I find gifts & sentimental items the hardest. I scan or photograph kids artwork and only keep certain special items like Mother's day & Father's Day gifts. I have a box for each child. That's it.

    Good luck.

  13. #13

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    i saw a woman talk on decluttering, and one of her tips that i liked was once a cupboard or area is clean and organised, take a pic so you can remember what it is supposed to look like. you can even stick it up in the cupboard, to help you when you are returning things (towels linen etc) to the cupboard.

  14. #14

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    Growing up our family had a rule, every year the place was cleaned/sorted like it was about to be fumigated. So cupboards & storage spaces sorted out, garage & storage shed dealt with.

    With a family of 5 kids, the living area was our main play area, even though there was a playroom that we ended up spending more time in as we got older. All toys were in plastic tubs and cycled on a regular basis. There was only one hard’n’fast rule, all lego had to be put away or it was vacuumed up – the living areas were vacuumed/swept on a daily basis so we all learnt the hard way about this rule.

    At home now, I try to spend no more than 15 mins cleaning one room, if there are things for other rooms I just put them in a washing basket or container and continue to deal with the room I’m currently in.

    I’ve probably got 2 or 3 more 15 min sessions in the spare room until it is back to respectable. There is minimal storage at my place, so I’m trying to find new ways of storing the stacks of empty plastic storage tubs.

    I also do cleaning every day, just 15-20 mins because I want to not have to stress about doing anything major on the weekends.

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    Growing up our family had a rule, every year the place was cleaned/sorted like it was about to be fumigated. So cupboards & storage spaces sorted out, garage & storage shed dealt with.

    With a family of 5 kids, the living area was our main play area, even though there was a playroom that we ended up spending more time in as we got older. All toys were in plastic tubs and cycled on a regular basis. There was only one hard?n?fast rule, all lego had to be put away or it was vacuumed up ? the living areas were vacuumed/swept on a daily basis so we all learnt the hard way about this rule.

    At home now, I try to spend no more than 15 mins cleaning one room, if there are things for other rooms I just put them in a washing basket or container and continue to deal with the room I?m currently in.

    I?ve probably got 2 or 3 more 15 min sessions in the spare room until it is back to respectable. There is minimal storage at my place, so I?m trying to find new ways of storing the stacks of empty plastic storage tubs.

    I also do cleaning every day, just 15-20 mins because I want to not have to stress about doing anything major on the weekends.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mum2SweetCs View Post
    Subbing.
    I have a serious issue with hoarding because i love online shopping.

    We live in a pretty big double storey house and two bedrooms are filled with junk. I kid you not, one you cant go in anymore.

    I was going to clean it as my maternity leave mission but find it sooo daunting.

    One stage i attempted and cleaned up half the room, donating boxes and bags of toys.

    Somehow the room filled up again

    I even started my own blog but ummm i forgot the url lol coz its too daunting that ive got no updates to write!!!
    I know that "too daunting" feeling. I've had it in the past for a number of reasons - too tired, too weak/unwell, not able to get anymore than half an hour of concentrated time, too many decisions to make all at once. That is pretty common for people with stuff-overload and it says just as much about the amount of stuff as it does about you.

    Some strategies that might help:
    * Phone a friend - get a buddy. Enlist a trusted friend/family member to come and help for a day or a couple of mornings/afternoons. Do not be distracted by making coffee. Make sure you have all the things you need on hand - bags, boxes, labels, textas, etc & refreshments. Go hard.
    * Divide the room into categories, then deal with one category at a time. Categories might be: old toys, paperwork, clothes, linen/towels, hobby stuff, etc. Use a trestle table for sorting, with 3x boxes - keep, donate, throw away.
    * Work out what the root of the issue is. For me (for a while) it was op-shopping. I could not pass on a fabulous op-shop bargain, which was great to start with but over time I accumulated stuff. Then we moved to a smaller house = immediate stuff crisis! Since then I've created some oppy "rules", which might be something you thing about re online shopping.
    * Hire a hubby - get them to carry every last thing out of the room - park it on the verandah/lawn/in the garage - then only put back in the stuff you really, really want to keep. Have a garage sale or call the salvos truck to come the next day to collect everything else or put it straight into bags to run to the local drop off centre.

  17. #17

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    Double or nothing

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marydean View Post
    * Hire a hubby - get them to carry every last thing out of the room - park it on the verandah/lawn/in the garage - then only put back in the stuff you really, really want to keep. Have a garage sale or call the salvos truck to come the next day to collect everything else or put it straight into bags to run to the local drop off centre.
    I love that idea! I have often thought of doing just that but can't bring myself to do it. I might talk to my DH about trying it. He's a bit of a hoarder in the "but we might need it one day" sense. But I think he's dealt with enough of my meltdowns over too much stuff that he might just go for it.

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