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Purge Fever, once you start getting rid of stuff...
Old 09-30-2017, 10:57 AM   #1
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Purge Fever, once you start getting rid of stuff...

Before I get into my condition a little background is in order. When my wife's sister retired and moved to Florida she had a basement full of stuff. This particular stuff came from the refusal to get rid of anything. Worse, when the parents died some of their stuff came to my sister-in-laws. The 4 lawn sales that moved that little of it should have sent the message 'hey lady no one wants your stuff'. What was this stuff you say? Glasses, lots of old liquor glasses, ice buckets, ash trays and all manner of old junk. Well when she did move 30 to 50 boxes of this stuff went with her. It cost a couple of grand to move it and the last time I was over there it sits and makes 1/2 of her 2 car garage in her beautiful new home unusable. This stuff is like parasite once it gets hold of its victim it stays until the host is dead. It is particularly insidious since its new victim will willingly bring it home and the cycle begins a new. Stuff also poses a tripping hazard, something a double knee replacement is very fearful of. Oh and did you know stuff attracts stuff? Let me ask you how likely are you to notice another something in a pile of too many somethings?

With a goal of eventually relocating I am determined to get rid of anything I don't want to pay to move. The Mrs and I have already emptied and repainted the garage and It is awesome. I keep going out there to bask in the glowing cleanliness. (Symptom 1 of purge fever) when the Mrs. Said "it looks so empty out there" I felt a rush of joy. The neighbor stopped by and said "I wish my garage looked like this" again that same sense of jubilation (Symptom 2). I can actually easily fit my car in there!

Yesterday the shed was my next target. I tossed all manner of stuff: tar paper roll, old garden hose, old bands of fertilizer, etc,. I moved to the garage, assembled and photographed the leaf sweeper, the 2 man cot tent, a trailer hitch bike carrier (I don't have a car with trailer hitch). I put them online for sale by owner with nominal price. They have 2 weeks - either they sell or they go to the curb. When I rolled my trusty John Deere tractor into the 'broom clean' shed Id swear it heard it whisper 'Thank you'.

I should say Purge Fever isn't all roses, remember the aforementioned 2 person tent cot? The Mrs made the mistake of mentioning the tent to my 22 year old daughter. "Your daughter wants the tent" I can attest when the fever has a hold of you any suggestion about keeping some stuff already targeted for purging things get ugly. (Symptom 3) "Fine you want it OK but it has to be out of here tonight" (moved to the boyfriends). I know it was in that shed for 10 years would a few more hours manner? I and the fever says yes! It was gone by 8PM.

Im taking a break form purging today but i have big plans for that basement.
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:19 AM   #2
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Consider yourself fortunate that some millennials even wanted your cot.

You see, they want experiences. Nothing more. So all your stuff is JUNK to them. You have good kids because they'll take some of your stuff like the tent.

NYT article on aging parents with lots of stuff, and children who don't want it
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/y...t.html?mcubz=0


We got a friend's piano, and the kid who didn't want it moved it to our place!

This topic has been HOT among my friends. They saved all this stuff, their kids don't want it! Furniture, kitchen stuff, pianos, etc. DW loves "our" new piano, which has a rich history of our friend's family, which we cherish and will carry on. Too bad our friend's kid doesn't give a care in the world.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:09 PM   #3
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Ah, the great purge. We are coming up on about 6 years in our current place and the "bulge" is almost evident. When we were getting ready for hurricane Irma, we gathered up the most important stuff and loaded it into truck which took about 20 minutes to gather the "essentials". I told the DW that this is a clear indication that we just have too much crap and it's time to get rid of a lot of stuff. Now, when I say a lot of stuff, it's not nearly as much as what you would think as we still use our garage as a well, a garage for the cars.

It amazes me that in our neighborhood few people park their cars in the garage. Even worse yet, the houses were built in the 70's and the garages are HUGE (when both cars are in our garage, you can FULLY open all doors on both..one of which is not so small Highlander).

At any rate, folks collect a LOT of stuff and for what? To be sold multiple yard sales or an estate sale at the end of life.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ExFlyBoy5 View Post
..

It amazes me that in our neighborhood few people park their cars in the garage. Even worse yet, the houses were built in the 70's and the garages are HUGE (when both cars are in our garage, you can FULLY open all doors on both..one of which is not so small Highlander).

.
We can get our cars in the garage, but it is a really tight squeeze and only on 1 side.
We have too much stuff.
Yesterday I looked up at a handle I took off a shovel before throwing it away, I had saved the handle as it could be handy to use on some other tool.
I have nearly decided to simply toss it and free up the space it occupied for 10 years

I need help....
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:28 PM   #5
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I love cleaning and getting rid of "stuff"! That was my first task after I retired--went through every closet/cupboard/garage/shed and recycled/goodwill/tossed what I no longer wanted. That said, DH and I still have plenty of stuff that we will eventually need to get rid of, we know our kids will not want or need it.
When my last parent passed, all of the siblings went through the house to take what they wanted and then we had an estate sale, the rest went to goodwill. We each took maybe 5 items from a 2400 sf house filled with 60 years of my parents things. Our only regret --we discovered long after that a ripped old picture that hung on the wall while we grew up, was actually over 100 years old and may have been somewhat valuable according to the museum article we found! Oops.....oh, well, we have our memories and that is what is most important.
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Once you start........
Old 09-30-2017, 12:29 PM   #6
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Once you start........

Purging has great benefits.

2016 was a terrible year for DW and I. Started out well, then a flood. FORCED purging is almost as good as voluntary.

Lost most of the furniture, lots of inherited pieces, almost all of the recent stuff because it is not 100% solid wood. The antiques came through fine.

Luckily we had flood insurance, with a small budget dedicated to remodeling the place before the water invaded. So after about 1 year we were back in a remodeled up to date home, paid for. So we actually have a new home to repopulate.

Of the salvage goods left, we started the sorting, things to keep, the rest is up for grabs with the 4 adult children. The house is so very empty, yeah! The grandkids run like little wild things laughing as they go. Bought a large bean bag as the catch all for the young ones. They LOVE it.

As far as the rest, we have one bedroom full of empty and broken down boxes, plus boxed items for everyone to pick over and take away at the holidays. Put pictures of the stuff on a private facebook page, the children are already discussing, compromising and claiming those things important to them. It is a very interesting in the things they care about and those they do not. Its a good time for everyone.

I can say there is great satisfaction lightening the load, whether forced or chosen. Plus the added bonus of our children will have less to do once we are gone. DW and I are very cautious on what we bring into the house, so we do not accumulate that which is not needed. If you do not use it, don't keep it.

We just retired completely June 2017. So, the time we spend now on this will be valuable later.
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Old 09-30-2017, 01:25 PM   #7
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My brother is a hoarder and I can't stand it. He lives with our mother in her home. I am able to insist that he keeps her living spaces clear. But his truck, the garage, basement, spare bedrooms, and yard are a mess.

I come home from visiting Mom and the need to purge my stuff is very strong, thereby putting my brother and I at opposite ends of the spectrum.

It really has affected our relationship with each other. Or more accurately, my relationship with him. Because he could care less about how his hoarding affects others.
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Old 09-30-2017, 02:22 PM   #8
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DW and I moved to be closer to DD and grand kids. The new (old) house is about the same size as our previous home but it has no basement (slab) and one less car bay in the garage (from 3 to 2 car garage). We were in the previous house for 26 years and we were accumulators. The basement was more like storage with habitrails. We did get two cars and a lawn tractor in the 3 car garage, but the shelves were full and no free movement around the cars.

Anyway, a year later, the purge, while never over, is well into the ending being in sight. The big even a few weeks ago was that we got one of our cars in the garage. It would be impossible to get two cars in because that is where we store things and have a lawn tractor. So unless we build a shed, we're good for the winter with one car in and good room to get the lawn equipment packed away and the snow thrower queued to the front. Very happy!

I'm thinking of two things 1) Giving a nice donation to Goodwill/DAV for taking so much stuff off our hands and 2) Going to work there volunteer for a few days to see how they handle all the "stuff" people bring their way. It's really amazing and so helpful, how much stuff they absorb.
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Old 09-30-2017, 02:22 PM   #9
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Five years ago we downsized from a 3500 plus sq foot home to an 8X8X16 storage container. We started off feeling generous but by the third of fourth pass we became brutal. And we are happy that we did.

We gave away lots of furniture to friends, relatives etc. We made them work our timetable. We arranged a pickup from the local women in need assoc. Then we told people who had expressed interest in anything that it had to be picked up by that date otherwise it would be gone. This strategy worked well for us. We are big fans of the 'you snooze you loose' rule.
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Old 09-30-2017, 05:58 PM   #10
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Whenever we moved homes (3times) i did almost all the packing. The rule was "you can only take stuff that you would cry over if it got lost or broken, or stuff that you would absolutely need to replace". Allot of things didn't make the cut. Now that we are settled i have a "one in, one out" rule. And in prep for Irma and using my little 5x5 walk in closer as a safe room i kept only 5 short sleeve, 5 cap sleeve and 5 long sleeve blouses, plus 2 pair of black slacks. My other clothes (10 tank tops,10 short sleeve cotton tops, and6 pairs of shorts) are keep in 3 dresser drawers.

Our "most important stuff" in case we need to evacuate fit into two tote bins

I don't like "stuff" anymore. I love getting older and wiser in this way
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Old 09-30-2017, 06:20 PM   #11
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I have used some of my retirement time to purge and I am very happy with the results.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:55 AM   #12
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I have been purging most of the last 12 years. First, we moved to a smaller house. Then my parents sold their main home and we got a bunch of better furniture--after I moved tnem. Then my elderly aunt (hoarder) had to go into assisted living and we got a bunch more great furniture. We lived in big houses and had as many as 5 bedrooms setup--and lots of stuff. We whittled things down from 3 double car garages full to 1 garage space.

Now, I evicted my daughter from her house and sold the place--and here comes another double car garabe full. One man's treasure is another man's trash, and I am moving truckload after truckload of her trash into a storage shed just to shut her up. I also visit the dump almost daily.

I am sick and tired of moving everyone and want my garage back for the first time since we moved into the house. My ER wasn't supposed to be this way.
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:38 AM   #13
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Here are my purging rules:

1. Have I used this item in the last year? If so, do I reasonably expect to use this item in the next year?
2. Is this item particularly valuable?
3. Does this item have sentimental value?

If the answer to all the above are No, then it gets sold, gifted, donated, recycled or trashed depending on the circumstances.

It is amazing how we innocently and stealthly accumulate "stuff" over time.

The other aspect of having stuff is even finding it when you need it. I recall a few years ago I needed a siphon hose and knew that I had one. Searched for it high and low and couldn't find it. Deferred the task for a couple days and searched high and low again without finding it. Gave up and bought a new one and did the task. Found the original two days later. Now I have two siphon hoses.
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:02 AM   #14
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The other upside of not having lots of stuff, is that the other stuff becomes easier to find
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:18 AM   #15
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The other upside of not having lots of stuff, is that the other stuff becomes easier to find

Amen.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:11 AM   #16
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Putting aside the current emotional minefield of getting rid of some of DH's stuff (he died earlier this year), I find that the biggest impediment to purging is how it should be disposed of. How much household crap would Goodwill really want? Should I try to put some more collectible stuff on eBay? Should I enter the world of Freecycle? What stuff can I just toss without guilt?

Then, I think about how with no direct heirs most of my stuff is headed for an estate sale or dumpster anyway someday, and maybe I don't need to push myself to do it.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:24 AM   #17
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I’ve been doing the purge some since retirement and it’s a great feeling to actually have space in the basement to pursue hobbies. While we always kept the garage clear enough for both cars, we had been piling stuff along the sides, which was actually gotten out just yesterday.

DB’s MIL is a hoarder. That house is so full of crap there are only a few paths in the living room and kitchen. Several years ago I had to spend a night there and my bed had stuff piled on the other half of it. The basement is literally piled to the ceiling, and the hallway barely has room to walk. To top it all off, she bought the house next door when it went up for sale and filled it to the ceilings as well.

So it could be worse.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:26 AM   #18
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The other aspect of having stuff is even finding it when you need it. I recall a few years ago I needed a siphon hose and knew that I had one. Searched for it high and low and couldn't find it. Deferred the task for a couple days and searched high and low again without finding it. Gave up and bought a new one and did the task. Found the original two days later. Now I have two siphon hoses.
And isn't it funny how whatever it is shows up very soon afterwards? I had a door latch go bad. Went to the store to get one that looked the same so as to match the other's in the house. Got close, installed it, was happy. A few days to a week later, I open a box and there sits a door set exactly the same as the others as it was from the original install that I had kept. Why couldn't have opened that box up sooner? I didn't even know I had an extra.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:20 AM   #19
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I recently purged my closet, with the intention of doing our entire condo but starting with the easiest place. When I first ER'd, I thought I might want to serve on some boards so I initially kept my business clothes. After our 3 month ER celebration trip, I turned down a board position I had been offered as I realized I want to distance myself from anything that is too similar to my prior career. More fun to reinvent myself with new and different activities. So I got rid of most of my business suits, lots of shoes and purses, and clothes I haven't worn often or just didn't love. Got ruthless and also gave away clothes I did love but had been worn so much they looked worn.

Got rid of close to half of my closet's contents, but I'm going to do another pass through the remaining stuff in six months. I have a feeling I wasn't ruthless enough but nevertheless it felt great! My next room to tackle is the kitchen.
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:01 AM   #20
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The other aspect of having stuff is even finding it when you need it. I recall a few years ago I needed a siphon hose and knew that I had one. Searched for it high and low and couldn't find it. Deferred the task for a couple days and searched high and low again without finding it. Gave up and bought a new one and did the task. Found the original two days later. Now I have two siphon hoses.
A related issue is knowing you have it, you know where it is, but you want something new anyway.

Example: 10 years ago you replaced a ceiling fan. You were "smart" and saved the old fan, you know, just in case the new one fails.

10 years later, the new one fails. Ah ha! You have the old one! Put it up, right? You go to your junk pile, and you know where it is, because you see it every day. You take it out and think: this thing looks terrible, and it is old. I'm going to buy a new one.

Duh-oh! I have this habit really bad during home improvement. Saving the old one just in case. However, in a recent purge, I donated it all to Habitat ReStore, and threw the bad stuff away.

The story is flexible. Substitute your item of choice: dishes, furniture, tools, cars, maybe even siphon hoses.
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