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Old 12-17-2009, 08:10 PM
 
1,450 posts, read 4,004,363 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TumbleBug View Post
I'm currently helping a friend deal with her clutter - it's easy to help if you know how.

I used to be a house cleaner - decluttering is not rocket science.

When cleaning out clutter you see definite 'trends' within the mess - my friend has too many school newsletters and too much craft paraphernalia, for example.

She manages to throw out everything else not related to those things.

But has managed to make quite a mess in 7 years regardless.

Thanks for your post OP - I love to talk about clutter and I love to clean clutter too - that's why I left house cleaning --- there was too much mopping and not enough de-cluttering work.

I hope you're enjoying your journey - don't forget to take some before/ after photo's.

Exactly my point to people who tell me to just hire a cleaning service. The problem isn't cleaning, its decluttering! No cleaning service can do that for you, you have to figure that out yourself.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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Ok, I'm starting to find a trend, too. I keep a lot of medical papers, insurance claims, explanations of benefits, etc. I just turned off the paper EOB's with my insurance company, all that's online, anyways.

Also, my son is in special ed, and the paperwork generated is ridiculous! Every ARd meeting generates a ton of papers, and I don't feel ok about tossing them, if I needed them again from the school there would be a charge, and takes quite awhile.

Also, what do you do with old perscription bottles? I don't like to toss them without removing the labeltoo much information. I noticed one pharmace prints my home address right on the label. People don't need to know what types of meds I take! So I have a big box of used perscription bottles waiting to soak the labels off.

I'm starting to wonder if the clutter will ever end---I will probably end up buried in it, people will think I just went for a "green burial" and wanted to be buried in a landfill---no, that was my house!
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:54 PM
 
1,450 posts, read 4,004,363 times
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You're right TumbleBug, its a journey!

A journey from one lifestyle to another. My goal is to get organized, and like any lofty goal, it will take time. It can't be done overnight. But the results will be worth it. Too much clutter can be dangerous to your health from the stress it creates. Think of this as part of our pre-retirement planning, every bit as important as finances, etc. We plan to eventually move to a smaller home, got to get started now.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:45 PM
 
8,583 posts, read 14,959,846 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marylee54 View Post
Trouble is, there's no place to move it to! Its a 5-bdr house, every room is crammed to the max! I'm sorting the small stuff first, I've found smaller items take more time, simply because there's more of them. I want to scream with all the papers! Right now my system is one big box for keep, one for shred, then sort the keep papers into a system yet to be devised.
I am dealing with the same problem in my attic..
I do fairly well in the house but I don't know where to start in my attic.

I have an idea..You said you don't have room to work .
What if you start with the larger things instead of the smaller things ,
and that may quickly free up some room to work??

On a nice day you could spread some tarps on the lawn and get a friend to help you pile up a trash pile and a charity pile.

Yard sales are alot of work but they can motivate you to
move a lot of junk out in one weekend. Donate what doesn't sell.

Try to get one room finished and that will inspire you .

I have to get rid of 90 % of my attic junk.. I have visions of going in the attic with just a few well marked containers(Christmas , Baby keepsakes, ect)

Keep us posted of your progress.. We can cheer each other on.
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Colorado Plateau
1,201 posts, read 3,826,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recycled View Post
My worst clutter enemy is sports equipment. I live in southern california but I still have loads of winter downhill ski and cross country ski stuff from when I lived in northern california, not far from the Sierras. I haven't been skiing much in the past decade, but I would hate to give away such good stuff. And then there are my bicycles, five of them at present. I bike ride thousands of miles a year and bike commute to work every work day of the year, plus run errands around town and go on some weekend rides here in Orange County. I know I could get rid of a couple of them, but each bike has a purpose and gets used. And a few have a lot of sentimental value. One bike is intentionally a low end clunker sort of a bike, which is what I use to pedal to the train station (to take the train to downtown Los Angeles once or twice a month) and lock up outside there. Don't want to lock up a nice bike at the train station and have it stolen. So yes, there is a reason for 5 bikes. But I'll keep working on the other clutter.
I have 5 bikes also! They are all very nice bikes and all have a job. The Boy has 6 bikes! We also have a lot of camping and field gear. It all gets used.

I'm trying to whittle through our books and at the same time keep the paper clutter down.

If we had to make a big move out of state I could probably easily lose most of our household items, most of them are second hand, yard sale, dumpster dived. Easily replaceable. I think we could box up all the bikes, clothes and gear and fit in into our Subaru, Toyota truck and pull a small trailer.
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:15 AM
 
1,450 posts, read 4,004,363 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eofelis View Post
I have 5 bikes also! They are all very nice bikes and all have a job. The Boy has 6 bikes! We also have a lot of camping and field gear. It all gets used.

I'm trying to whittle through our books and at the same time keep the paper clutter down.

If we had to make a big move out of state I could probably easily lose most of our household items, most of them are second hand, yard sale, dumpster dived. Easily replaceable. I think we could box up all the bikes, clothes and gear and fit in into our Subaru, Toyota truck and pull a small trailer.

If you move you could bike to the new place! Go Green! (ummm.........)
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:16 AM
 
1,450 posts, read 4,004,363 times
Reputation: 976
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelly237 View Post
I am dealing with the same problem in my attic..
I do fairly well in the house but I don't know where to start in my attic.

I have an idea..You said you don't have room to work .
What if you start with the larger things instead of the smaller things ,
and that may quickly free up some room to work??

On a nice day you could spread some tarps on the lawn and get a friend to help you pile up a trash pile and a charity pile.

Yard sales are alot of work but they can motivate you to
move a lot of junk out in one weekend. Donate what doesn't sell.

Try to get one room finished and that will inspire you .

I have to get rid of 90 % of my attic junk.. I have visions of going in the attic with just a few well marked containers(Christmas , Baby keepsakes, ect)

Keep us posted of your progress.. We can cheer each other on.

All great suggestions
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 19,759,797 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formercalifornian View Post
We burned all our music and stored it on our computer. We kept the CDs as proof that we own the music, but we dumped all the cases and liner notes. They fit in a big, black CD notebook that I bought at Target a few years ago.

One option if you want to minimize your music costs and do away with the storage issues is to use Pandora. It's an online radio station that allows you to customize your mix. A basic membership is free.



Scrapbooking and card making are major clutter makers. My MIL has an entire room dedicated to her hobby. As a borderline minimalist, I get the hives just looking at all the stuff, even though she keeps it very organized.
I keep the cases since they protect the discs better, and I like to have a list of whats on a cd. I lost a lot of stuff a few moves ago including some cd's that are no longer available so I take great care of what I have now.

I have to disagree with the minimilist philosophy when it comes to hobbies. If its something that you enjoy, that you do, and that gives you pleasure then having a lot of stuff is fine. A lot of hobbies take time to accumulate a variety of raw material. I crochet. When there is only a small amount of yarn left I keep it. When I want to make something I don't go to the store, but to my stash. Half a skein can finish something.

Part of what you take/leave is the cost of replacing it. I brought a lot of hobby stuff along on my move. I kept the clothes with good fabric just dumped them into the fabric bin. I use the fabric for small things. Its cheaper for me NOT to have to buy it. I also brought my books. I buy them selectively and many are hard to find.

Its all in what is worth more to you. I took more furnature since we had room, but hadn't intended to take much. Which turned out to be a good move since there aren't a lot of thrift/resals shops here.

With papers I do multiple sorts. The shread pile, the keep pile and the toss pile. Then I box the keep pile. I did end up arriving with a lot of the keep pile unsorted, but then was still packing when the truck was being filled since there was just nowhere in my tiny apartment for the boxes so it was best transported as compactly as possible.

And don't toss all those old towels. Use them to wrap things when packing. Stuff them in holes that need to be filled. When you get where your going you'll use a lot more paper towels and other substitutes than you would if you had your old scrubbies. I ended up with about six towels since a helpful neighbor who was loading the truck took the WET towel in the bathroom and the WET shower curtain and tossed them in the bag with the DRY towels, tied the bag and it got tossed on the truck. A week later some of them were.... fragrent.

Remember that you don't need to buy packing stuff. Use sheets, towels, and extra clothes that won't be worn right away to wrap things in boxes. Just remember to keep a set where you can find them when you arrive at your destination.

What to get rid of are things which are broken, delicate but have no particular importance to you, large and hard to move, old and worn, really cheap to replace, and the like. If it really has meaning to you, even if NOBODY gets it, don't feel guilty taking it along as long as that doesn't apply to the whole truck. You can't get it back if decide you made the wrong decision.

As for records, if in doubt, at least scan it. I had a few things that really should have come but I didn't want to "bring the baggage with me". But when I needed information it was shreaded already.

Things like appliances, unless they are new, should be left. Too big, too heavy. Furnature that you don't love should not go with you on your new start. Things which are hard to move since they are flimsey should stay. Really good quality stuff might be worth the trouble. Family heirlooms should not be lightly discarded. See it as an opportunity to get a nice NEW bed unless you have one of those four figured kinds.

You'll still find you toss out stuff once your there. You'll want something new to mark your new place. But when the house is full of boxes and you can't find anything and you'd really like some coffee, or to heat up, you'll need the basics. So if you can pack a box for first arriving... the coffee pot, some sheets and towels, a few pots and plates and glasses and cups, and so on. You'll be glad you did.
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:06 AM
 
5,747 posts, read 11,449,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
I have to disagree with the minimilist philosophy when it comes to hobbies. If its something that you enjoy, that you do, and that gives you pleasure then having a lot of stuff is fine. A lot of hobbies take time to accumulate a variety of raw material. I crochet. When there is only a small amount of yarn left I keep it. When I want to make something I don't go to the store, but to my stash. Half a skein can finish something.
I'm a borderline minimalist, but I'm not suggesting that other people should be. If you have a hobby you enjoy, then by all means, collect to your heart's content. My MIL creates absolutely beautiful greeting cards, and every time I receive one, I'm in awe of her talent; however, I still get hives whenever I see her workspace. It's just a LOT of stuff, and as often as we move, I can't imagine having to pack, unpack, and organize it over and over again.

Reading is my main hobby. Fortunately, public libraries mean that, for the most part, I don't need to maintain a private collection. To track my reading, I keep a notebook, in which I record my impressions of books. My county's public library also allows me to keep a record of my check outs, which comes in handy if I return a book before finishing it and want to come back to it later. My mom is a huge Kindle convert. I prefer real books, but I recognize the appeal of digital readers. My daughter loves audio books and downloads them to her mp3 player from our library for free. If I can give you any tip about how to minimize moving costs, it's this: moving books is REALLY expensive. You can save a bundle if you whittle down your collection to the basics.

As far as music goes, I've never had any problems with the CD/DVD folders not protecting the discs, and liner notes will fit in the pockets, too. iTunes is a great option for those who want to go that route. You can even purchase movies that way!

For those with kids who collect Legos and other types of building toys, I took a tip from a preschool teacher and bought a set of clear plastic bins at the Container Store a few years ago. Similarly, I store my Christmas decorations in three large Rubbermaid bins. Plastic bins are a boon at moving time, because movers will take them directly to the truck. No cardboard boxes required!

One thing we did last time we moved was take a digital photo of the interior of every drawer and cabinet before packing. It made reassembling things on the other end much easier and helped us identify things that were missing. And, while I'm on the subject, I adore digital cameras! We only print the photos we love and store the rest on our computer. We use an on-line service for backups.

BTW, I think the previous suggestion of boxing up papers and taking them to a professional shredding company is great. I pay my kids a dollar or two to shred papers at the beginning of each month when I balance the books and pay the bills, but I'm going to keep that tip in mind if I ever find myself overwhelmed.

Last edited by formercalifornian; 12-18-2009 at 08:15 AM..
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:04 AM
 
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Be careful about allowing kids to shred papers. We let our kids shred some papers, then found mysterious charges on our Visa---they had gotten our CC number and ordered a bunch of games! You really can't trust kids with such sensitive information, especially if they are too young to really understand the consequences. We got the charge off the bill, and and made the kids work it off by doing yard work, but I learned a valuable lesson---guard personal information from kids, especially teens. I know I'll get a lot of flack about how my kid wouldn't, its all about how you raise them etc, believe me, I was shocked to find what mine had done, but just wanted to pass along that you don't leave sensitive information under the nose of kids.

Better to pay someone to shred them (the papers, not the kids!)
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