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Old 06-13-2014, 01:38 PM   #21
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Two years ago, we downsized from 2500sqft to 1100sqft. It took me several months to go through everything. It was tough to let go of things sometimes, but it was worth it in the end. I haven't missed a single one of those things.

Lately, I have had the feeling that clutter has crept back up on us. Our closets look fuller and our home generally more cluttered. After taking an inventory, I realized that we have surprisingly added very little in the way of "durable goods" in the past 2 years. Instead, our closets have been filled with consumables (bottled water, paper towels, wine, cat food, air filters, etc...) - we live in an apartment and we have no attic, basement, garage, or storage room for all that stuff. So we stick it where we can. And now we have to consume some of that stock.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:29 PM   #22
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Today, with the assistance of a helper in college, we decluttered the garage. It took six manhours, but the garage is clean! We filled about three construction clean up bags for trash and sent a load to Goodwill. I gave her a couple of goodies (unopened box of pyrex dishes, bike rack, etc) since she is just starting out in this world. I have to trust her judgement when she said I did well, and got rid of a lot of stuff!! It was so theraputic!
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:47 PM   #23
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I found duplicates, triplicates and quadruples of things.
We have 3 irons. OK, DH and I were both previously married and combined households so that would explain 2, but 3?
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:57 PM   #24
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I donated a bunch of crap stuff to Goodwill early in the year but still have too much clutter.

Will have gather more stuff soon for another round.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:36 PM   #25
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Back about 10 years ago - we did a MAJOR thin out - we moved overseas. We managed to fit everything in a 20 foot container.

I lost count how many trucks went to Goodwill. lol
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:15 PM   #26
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An eye-opener was clearing out FIL's house when he had to move. His house was by no means cluttered and had an almost spartan look to it. Nonetheless we were surprised at how much stuff he had that we had to get rid of.

That made us much more aware of our own stuff and how much there is of it. So now we think more before buying anything. And we're trying to fill a trash can a week with stuff that's not really of much value but "might be useful someday". We were raised by Depression-era parents and they didn't throw out much, and a lot of that line of thinking transferred to us. It also has a lot to do with why we have zero debt.

If it's not trash I'm giving it away or listing it for sale. We are making slow but steady progress on reducing the amount of stuff we have.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:30 PM   #27
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This thread hits pretty close to home--we've got much too much junk. Also, the house we bought is a bit of a fixer-upper, which means lots of projects--and tools, supplies, etc stashed about. It is a bit overwhelming, and is a source of stress.

I haven't come to grips with it yet, many attempts to organize the overall effort have fallen short. Athena53, I'll take a look at "Rightsizing your Life." There are times I think we just need a good, thorough house fire.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:37 PM   #28
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An eye-opener was clearing out FIL's house when he had to move. His house was by no means cluttered and had an almost spartan look to it. Nonetheless we were surprised at how much stuff he had that we had to get rid of.

.
Of course your FIL represents another approach, leave it to the heirs to de clutter. My folks did it with my grandparents on one side, I moved into my parents house so did some de clutter to my stuff. I have suggested to my sister and nieces and nephews that they go thru and pick the stuff they want and then hire someone to have an estate sale/ including in the sale the service of hauling stuff off to the dump/recycling place.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:25 PM   #29
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Another good show to watch for motivation is Clean House on Netflix. It is less depressing than hoarders. The host and crew clean out a cluttered house, have a yard sale and use money from the show and the sale to organize, paint and redecorate. It is a little corny, but the before and after shots of the rooms are worth flipping through. Also seeing what gets sold or donated to charity is good food for thought for us on what to toss or keep at our own house.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:26 PM   #30
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One of the first things on my "to do" list when I retire next week is to go through the house, room by room, closet by closet, and figure out what can be sold, donated, trashed. I'm planning a HUGE garage sale at the end of the summer, and craigslist and ebay in the meantime.

Already started, sort of... our tenant (extended family) just moved out of our granny flat and we decided we're renting it unfurnished going forward. We had a garage sale last weekend, and have some of the better stuff on ebay currently.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:38 AM   #31
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I have tons of clutter in the basement, garage, a 'spare' room, closets, and a little in the attic.

But I'm a tinkerer, and I do lots of repairs and home projects, so I save a lot of odds and ends that I often end up using. And we have a lot of space. So I'm not really worried about it.

But I have been thinking of taking an inventory and making a list of stuff that fits these categories, so that if I were suddenly incapacitated, my kids would know what to do with this stuff:

A) Records that need to be kept.

B) Stuff that is actually worth money - keep it or sell it.

C) Stuff that may not be worth selling, but should go to someone who can use it (good will, friends, family). This would be tools, some of my music stuff, etc.

D) Stuff that has some sentimental value - keep it or not, I don't care - just so they don't throw it out not realizing what it is.

E) A guide to what's on all those hard drives!

For the rest, get several dumpsters and hire some strong backs to dump it all. I'm a pack-rat, not a hoarder (according to my definition, hoarders just can't part with anything, regardless the consequences; a pack-rat keeps lots of stuff, but may actually use it one day, and has no trouble junking stuff that serves no purpose).

Until I'm ready to give up doing home repairs, or have an actual plan/date to downsize, having a ton of stuff has no real cost associated with it, I'll get rid of it when the time comes. It's a lot of work right now to decide if I might use this board or that piece of metal or that jar of screws, or heck, I might need that old power drill sometime, even though I've go a better one, a back up is always good. But once I stop the home repairs, those decisions are easy.

So no major de-cluttering for me, until the time comes. I don't find it 'freeing' as so many here have said, I find it tedious to sort it out. That will be so much easier when I don't need it anymore. It goes! Simple!

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Old 06-14-2014, 09:45 AM   #32
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E) A guide to what's on all those hard drives!
I'll admit to being anal enough to have a spreadsheet tracking the contents of my 20 or so hard drives.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:53 AM   #33
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Accumulation of stuff is like any other bad habit. Easy to fall into, tough to break, very easy to put off. For us moving frequently has made it easier to deal with - that, and having lost everything in one move, learning the hard way that it's only stuff.

"What if it need it" or "I'm keeping this for a reason" is an easy trap to fall into. I make a photo record of the stuff we recycle out of the house, and when we start asking ourselves the "what if" question I just pull up records and photos of past stuff to see how much we regret disposing of or gifting.

Going from never getting rid of anything to the other extreme is hard. Much easier to do a little, then repeat regularly, even monthly, on a schedule.
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:02 AM   #34
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I'll admit to being anal enough to have a spreadsheet tracking the contents of my 20 or so hard drives.
Likewise (or I wouldn't be able to find it!). But my kids wouldn't know where the spreadsheet is!

Yes, I should print it out and keep it with the drives, but my shorthand notes wouldn't be enough for them. I'd need a readers digest version list of what they would need to know. Old cycles of backups, or stuff I kept 'just in case' are of no use to them.

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Old 06-14-2014, 10:30 AM   #35
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When I de-cluttered my basement workshop on the acreage, I found a bunch of scrap metal that had become valuable enough that a dealer came to the acreage to sort through it.

I also encountered a set outsourcer from the movie industry at our contents sale who would buy vintage-looking stuff that no longer worked.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:05 AM   #36
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My brother-in-law recently passed away, and he had a tendency to accumulate stuff (fortunately, he was quite organized about it). We called in an antique/collectible dealer and he went through the entire house in search of stuff he could sell. It took all day, but he filled a stretch van and paid us $600. Among the stuff he took: lawn chairs, old photos, beer signs, sporting equipment, clothing, old toys. Oh, and an old floor-model radio that didn't work. In the process, he turned up some legal documents we were looking for.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:16 AM   #37
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I was volunteering at a rock and gem show one year, and a family came in that had inherited a collection of valuable rubies and other gem stones, asking for help on what to do with them. I guess there are worse problem in the world than inheriting a large collection of rubies and emeralds, but the adult kids had no interest in gem stones, had no idea how to sell them, and life would have been easier for them had they inherited stocks or CDs.
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Old 06-14-2014, 02:48 PM   #38
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I've been working on this for years. It has been a real process. When we sold the house we owned a couple of houses ago (this was in 2006) we threw away some stuff and then packed other stuff. When we got to the new house there were many boxes we stored in the spare garage and thought we would unpack "later." About 5 years later, we realized we could throw most of it away and then did that. Then when we went to sell that house, we had all the stuff we had accumulated over those 5 years.

This time I was more ruthless. DH and I went through the house room by room and got rid of stuff. We were preparing to sell the house so were motivated to get this done in a matter of a couple of months. DH was more cautious about throwing stuff away than I was. So, some things we compromised on and packed away with the idea of reassessing later.

We moved into a rental and put that stuff into a storage place along with stuff we had no room for in the rental. It was a year before we bought our current house so, once again, we realized that the stuff we didn't miss during the year was stuff that could go away. On the other hand, there were a few things we actually went over to the storage unit and got during the year so we knew that was worthwhile.

We had a lot of books and were moving to a smaller house than our original house and decided to buy as many books on Kindle as possible. So we got rid of tons of physical books (we went from a house with about 20 bookcases to having 3 bookcases).

When we moved into the current house as we unpacked stuff I threw away still more stuff. Again, a lot of this stuff that had been in storage for year.

We've been in the current house 2 years and I'm currently going through even more decluttering.

Part of it is that some things we've saved we realize we no longer really need. For example, we have tons of DVD movies that we bought years ago. For many of them our tastes have changed or, if they haven't, the movie is often available to be streamed so we have little need to have DVD movies.

I think the hardest things to get rid of are those things that you don't really have a current need for, but you can envision a need for and don't like the idea of having to rebuy if you want it. There are some kitchen items that I got rid of and then needed the implement and had to rebuy it.

Or, our old cordless phone system. We haven't had a landline or VOIP for years. But we still had this expensive cordless phone system. I kept thinking I should throw it away on the next pass, but never quite did so. Well, we just got phone service from Comcast. We didn't really want it, but having it made the most economic sense for getting the other things we did want (essentially the phone service ends up being free). So, it was nice to pull out the old phones and be able to use them.

I just think decluttering is sort of never ending because you always end up with "new" clutter even after you declutter.
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Old 06-14-2014, 03:36 PM   #39
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About a year. But we got rid of a boat, a house, and all the furniture! We moved into an RV and ht the road.

A belated congrats on your marriage unclemick!
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Old 06-14-2014, 04:22 PM   #40
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We moved into an RV and ht the road.
We'd like to do something like that between houses. Did you store anything for a period of time?

How big was the storage space and how much did it cost?
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