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It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 02:16 PM   #1
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It's hard clearing out the clutter

I am clearing out the clutter :

All the paper and files, boxes of stuff, you name it, going back 30 yrs is going in the bin - well allright then into the shredder.

Well that's the theory. But every time I pick up something to throw away, I cannot

I cannot shred that. I always had it. Mind you, I never looked at it nor needed it in the past 10 yrs - but I cannot shred it and throw it away.

How do you deal with this. It's silly
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 02:36 PM   #2
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by anykey
I am clearing out the clutter :
How do you deal with this. It's silly
Hurricane Katrina.

I also used to be great at giving advice to other people about what to keep and what to shread - BUT couldn't follow it myself.

I agree - it's silly - but also human nature. heh heh :
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 02:38 PM   #3
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Easy. I move every once in a while and we dont do a 'pack and move'. I take car and trailer loads of stuff once the furniture gets moved, and I usually run out of interest in moving stuff when theres still a huge pile of stuff at the old house. That gets chucked out.

Sort of an expensive and complex way to reduce clutter, but...
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 03:14 PM   #4
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Think about how much space you will be reclaiming.

I cleared out a lot of junk last summer. I was wanting to retire SO badly, so I told myself I would start throwing out stuff that I don't want to move to Missouri when I retire. At last, I was actually literally getting started on my retirement move, in a sense. It felt good.

As a result, suddenly my house which didn't have enough closet space, actually had plenty of closet space. Imagine that! I have room in my kitchen cabinets, too.

I have not missed or even thought about one single thing that I threw out, and it has been almost a year. I think I'll do that again this summer. It's very therapeutic when faced with a ferocious desire to quit work.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 04:46 PM   #5
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Looking to the future...

I have a lot of enginering stuff--notes, reports, drawings, technical books (many out of print classics)--that would be nice to hand over to a serious young engineer. Unfortunately, there are no candidates. In addition, I seriously believe that my profession will be defunct, perhaps in my lifetime. My professional society was on the brink of bankruptcy a couple of years ago. In good conscience, I cannot recommend this specialty to anyone as a carreer.

Consequence: I suspect that most of it will end up in the dump.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 05:11 PM   #6
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Think about those that would have to deal with all your crappy old paperwork if you would suddenly pass on. Those poor people would need to sort out all the "good" stuff from the junk in order to find anything that they truely needed to settle your estate. I have been going thru something similar since my husband died last year. Fortunately, most of our current (good) paperwork was under control but I still have tons of stuff that needs to be shredded that was just plain junk. I don't have a problem parting with it tho...I just get very bored with all the shredding. :P
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 05:15 PM   #7
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

I feel your pain!

The house is stuffed to the gils. Every closet, every drawer, every room is stuffed with stuff. My late wife was a pack rat of Biblical proportions.
I have a life time supply of office supplies.
Two linen closests full of towels and sheets. We are talking 6 feet wide, 9 feet tall and 2 feet deep closets here.
Many bookshelves of books I will never reread.
Boxes of work items; some things dating back 30 years ago...far out of date but until I decide if I am going to do some consulting or not they continue to exist "just in case" I need them.
Old computer software manuals (Win 3.1 etc.)
Old game software on 5.25 floppy disks.
Boxes of old computer parts, drives, keyboards, cards, etc.
Several old computers that I have not used in 10 years.
Boxes of old Consumer Reports.
National Geographics back to 1975 up to the current edition.
Collector plates-50+ of them.
6 full sets of dishes
4 cabinets full of assorted glasses
Boxes of silver plates, etc.
5 tool boxes of tools; mine, my grandfather's, my father's, and my late wife's father's.
etc. etc. etc.

It is mind boggling. The problem I have is the intrinsic value I see in these items and the desire to recoup as much of it as I can. The collector plates cost about $30 each....you can buy them on Ebay for $3.

Maybe now that I am retired, I will eventually have the energy to start my own Ebay business and sell off what I can; then toss the rest.

We have cleaned out two rooms of furniture by giving it away to family and friends but we still have several items yet to give away. Selling furniture has not worked very well for us so giving it away is far less hassle and makes up feel better.

A really big garage sale awaits us in a couple of years as we hit the final stretch in downsizing.

Hang in there...it is never easy to part with stuff you are emotionally attached to.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 05:25 PM   #8
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Truly don't mean to hijack a thread, but Ed the Gypsy, you have scared me nearly to death. Our only child is a mechanical engineer major, just finishing his second year of a five-year program. Do you truly think that engineers will be extinct in a few years? Please tell me I misunderstood your comment!
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 06:34 PM   #9
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

bubba,

Not all engineers. Mechanical engineers should do just fine. I am a chemical engineer.

Mining enginering almost disappeared. Many departments around the country were closed. Also food engineering. There was a time when graduating petroleum engineers couldn't buy a job.

From time to time demand picks up, but it doesn't last.

I suggest employment in growth industries like automobile repossession or identity theft. (That's a joke. Maybe.)
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-20-2007, 11:10 PM   #10
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by anykey
I am clearing out the clutter :
Well that's the theory. But every time I pick up something to throw away, I cannot
How do you deal with this. It's silly
HGTV's "get organized" shows (like "Mission: Organization") have learned that there's a definite psychology to learning to clear out the clutter. They let their clients handle a piece of paper or an article of clothing just once-- make a decision now and get it over with. Then it's whisked out of their sight as quickly as possible.

We used to deal with the clutter by having the Navy move us every two-three years. However I prefer the current system of staying in one place and cleaning out a file or a closet every month.

Try just one drawer or one shelf a week. Set a time for 20 minutes and persevere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
My professional society was on the brink of bankruptcy a couple of years ago.
The American Chemical Society?!? Yikes!! Glad I never bought into that "life membership" deal.

Gee, I wonder what I can get for my old ACS pin on eBay...
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 12:39 AM   #11
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

You inspired me to catch up on my shredding. And I recycled a wastecan full of papers with no personal information it.

I second Nord's comments. Living in the Foreign Service and moving every three years keeps down the stuff. DW and I have been at this location for 11 and we are trying not to run out of space.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 03:37 AM   #12
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

I believe there is probably some correlation between the LBYM lifestyle and being a packrat. I certainly have both characterisitcs. For me, tossing "useful" stuff goes against the grain . . . I find it very difficult to do -- almost painful. But, I am quickly approaching retirement and one of my goals is to SIMPLIFY my life. Something has got to give. So, I made a deal with myself. As an Army civilian employee I had an opportunity to do a 6 month tour in Iraq -- lots of overtime guaranteed, plus various allowances. Sooooo, I cut a deal with my packrat-can't toss anything out side, i.e., I would take the tour and set aside $5K to buy all the packrat's useless stuff -- then, my "gotta simplify" side would toss it out. I know, mind games, but it works for me. My packrat side is satisfied because it gets "fair value" for the stuff that gets tossed and my "gotta simplify" side gets the mission accomplished! Schizophrenic? Perhaps. But, that's how I'm handling the trauma of tossing about 5,000 pounds of clutter.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 07:12 AM   #13
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

We just got through putting some furniture (local charities won't take any with fabric- ), computer monitor, gardening gear out at the curb with a free sign on them - gone quickly - got a TUB (haul away container) for the junkier stuff - do this once sometimes twice every year - every couple years a kid moves out and takes their stuff - slowly lightening the load in anticipation of the coming downsizing and a more nomadic life.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 08:21 AM   #14
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

I have too much clutter. I think it comes from growing up poor. You're just afraid to throw things away. Example. In the garage I have jars of screws and nails and also odd pieces of wood and pipe. I can't remember the last time I used them. But, I just might need them. The problem with clutter is, even if I what I needed was out there, I couldn't find it, so I'd just go buy another one.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 08:25 AM   #15
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Nords quoth:
Quote:
The American Chemical Society?!? Yikes!! Glad I never bought into that "life membership" deal.
Close, but no cigar. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). The ACS always thought of us as part of their fold, though. They have a magazine, C&EN (Chemical and Engineering News), the title of which tells you something. It always griped them that a) we made more money, b) we lived longer and c) we could get jobs when they couldn't (even though chemists are probably smarter than ChE's).

The decline in demand for us is due to a decline in industrial growth rate. What used to be growth industries are mature industries now. The last refinery in the US was built 36 years ago. More refineries, chemical plants, mines and paper mills have been shut down than designed and built in the past 30 years (in the US). In addition, many fabricators and equipment companies have gone out of business in that time. In addition, the developing world has trained their own engineers and they are tough competition. There is a small blip in demand at the moment, but the trend is down.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 08:28 AM   #16
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

I would be very happy to get rid of everything that I will never use again.

If only I knew "which" stuff that was...
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 08:49 AM   #17
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMueller
I believe there is probably some correlation between the LBYM lifestyle and being a packrat.
I'm actually the opposite. I am VERY anti-packrat. I hate clutter with a passion. It makes it hard to find things, hard to clean, and it makes moving a nightmare. My rule is if you've had it for a couple years and haven't used it, it should be gotten rid of. My fiance doesn't seem to agree, but we've got years to have that discussion
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 08:52 AM   #18
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

I've definitely got the packrat proclivity. We've benefitted from the previously noted Uncle Sam decluterization program, but professional supplies/books are excluded from the weight cap--so I've got hundreds of pounds of reference materials that I was "sure" I'd use again.
The house we moved to was occupied by a >>real<< packrat. He lived there for 40+ years, and rana side business selling stuff at flea markets. He died and left everything in the house. His son sold some stuff, but ended up throwing out 2 construction dumpsters (6'w x 30'l x 5'H) worth of junk. We bought the house with lots of stuff still in it--we've thrown out 2 construction dumpsters worth of stuff ourselves. I don't know where the old guy actually lived in the house.

Having seen how bad things can get has helped reinforce the need to get rid of junk. But, he also had stuff I thought might be useful to us or somebody else (how can you throw away a nice shovel? etc). We had a garage sale, but it cost us two days of sitting around and I only got rid of a small amount of stuff. We're going to have to try Craig's List or some other way to get this stuff to people who can use it.

BTW--our county recently added a "document destruction" service to the other waste programs. Every two months they bring in a couple of trucks with document disintegrators. You take your stuff to the center, hand the guy your boxes of old papers, watch the guy dump them into the maw of the beast, and you are done. It is much easier than feeding them into a home shredder. And, the paper gets recycled later. It might be worth checking to see if something similar is offered where you live.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 09:36 AM   #19
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Left megacorp with 2 boxes of personal stuff (books mainly) ... haven't opened them in 2 years; probably time for the dump.

Reminds me of when my boss left megacorp (I would get his job and office) and he whitteled down his 17 years to two folders which were given to me. Not sure what what was in them. Did his job for 7 years and never opened them (also, never did like the guy).

A Mega Corp Lesson learned, we're all expendable and so is the crap in your office.
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter
Old 05-21-2007, 09:45 AM   #20
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Re: It's hard clearing out the clutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryan
Left megacorp with 2 boxes of personal stuff (books mainly) ... haven't opened them in 2 years; probably time for the dump.
Yep. When doing some cleanup in the attic a couple of weeks ago I came across two boxes of personal stuff I brought home from the office when I retired two years ago. Mostly trophies, plaques and other awards for what in retrospect appear to be trivial accomplishments. Dumped everything in the garbage.

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