Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

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Topic Author
roamingzebra
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Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by roamingzebra »

I would love to get rid of things that are cluttering my closets so I could create more efficient storage solutions. I'm looking for that magical Big Organizing Principle that will guide me as to what items to keep or not keep, but I've failed thus far. Arbitrary rules like "throw out anything you haven't used for the last five years" don't work for me. I need more rational criteria.

The excuses I usually fall back on are the familiar ones:

1. Someday this stuff will be valuable.

2. The quality of this older stuff is better than any replacements I could buy today or in the future.

3. This stuff can be repurposed if I just think imaginatively enough.

The quality and repurposing excuses are the big ones. The quality of many things today is not great; and that's putting it mildly. And I have repurposed several old things and have been glad that I kept them.

But these types of arguments are holding me back from the desired goal of having fewer things and organizing them more efficiently.

Has anyone been able to overcome these types of excuses? What psychological tricks worked for you. Have you found the ultimate Big Organizing Principle on which to make your keep/not keep decisions? (Yes, First World problem. :) )

On the other hand, has anyone had regrets about donating or throwing stuff away?
jebmke
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by jebmke »

We have a rule: if you buy something you have to toss out two things. No exceptions.

Seriously, the two best things we did was buy a house with no basement and buy a house with no attic (same house).


Moving a lot also helped. I've moved over 20 times. You get ruthless when you move.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
runner3081
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by runner3081 »

roamingzebra wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:46 pm I would love to get rid of things that are cluttering my closets so I could create more efficient storage solutions. I'm looking for that magical Big Organizing Principle that will guide me as to what items to keep or not keep, but I've failed thus far. Arbitrary rules like "throw out anything you haven't used for the last five years" don't work for me. I need more rational criteria.

The excuses I usually fall back on are the familiar ones:

1. Someday this stuff will be valuable.

2. The quality of this older stuff is better than any replacements I could buy today or in the future.

3. This stuff can be repurposed if I just think imaginatively enough.
1. It won't
2. Possible, but quality unused items are not helping anyone
3. It can't

Step up and don't let your stuff own you. Take charge and purge.

So simple once you start.
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tvubpwcisla
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by tvubpwcisla »

A good pro tip is to start small and do a little bit each day / week. Doing too much at once may derail the entire goal!
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Colorado13
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Colorado13 »

One strategy I use is to ask "Does someone else need this more than I do?" This helps me recognize that I have an abundance of some items and that someone else may benefit from having the item more than I do. It also helps me realize I should donate rarely used items and items that I could (but have not yet) repurposed.

I really like having half empty/half full closets, drawers etc. So clutter isn't for me, yet I understand that parting with items is a real struggle for many people.

Also, if I buy new running shoes (for example) the old pair becomes walking shoes. The previous pair of walking shoes becomes lawn mowing shoes. The previous pair of lawn mowing shoes goes in the trash. So the number of shoes I own does not increase.

As much as possible, if I buy an item, a similar item is donated or thrown away.
Colorado13
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Colorado13 »

runner3081 wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:57 pm
roamingzebra wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:46 pm I would love to get rid of things that are cluttering my closets so I could create more efficient storage solutions. I'm looking for that magical Big Organizing Principle that will guide me as to what items to keep or not keep, but I've failed thus far. Arbitrary rules like "throw out anything you haven't used for the last five years" don't work for me. I need more rational criteria.

The excuses I usually fall back on are the familiar ones:

1. Someday this stuff will be valuable.

2. The quality of this older stuff is better than any replacements I could buy today or in the future.

3. This stuff can be repurposed if I just think imaginatively enough.
1. It won't
2. Possible, but quality unused items are not helping anyone
3. It can't

Step up and don't let your stuff own you. Take charge and purge.

So simple once you start.
+1000!!
7eight9
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by 7eight9 »

You might want to read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
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Normchad
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Normchad »

If you haven’t worn it in the last year, get rid of it.
fposte
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by fposte »

Things that helped me reform from mild hoarding:

Clearing out my father's apartment after he died. He had trimmed down to near-Spartan levels. I saw the advantage.
Watching my neighbor's family clear out his house. 95% straight into the dumpster. Not because it was worthless, but it wasn't worth the time and effort to triage.
Developing an appreciation for space as an asset in its own right, so keeping a thing comes at a loss.

If everything looks potentially valuable to you, it's not really value you're perceiving but fear of loss. If you're not using an item, its quality is immaterial. If you haven't repurposed it by now, it's not going to happen, and you have better things to do than squeeze one last task out of a 1972 widget. If it's not outright garbage, donate it appropriately and let those who take action on such things find whatever value there or upcycling possibility there is there.
livesoft
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by livesoft »

Move overseas. Your shipment will be lost. Collect the insurance. This is the ultimate pro tip. I can tell from firsthand experience that it works well.
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quantAndHold
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by quantAndHold »

We go through everything once a year. It helps that if we count all the rooms and closets, we have 12 spaces where stuff hangs out. So once a month, we hit one of those spaces. Besides cleaning the dust bunnies, we ask…

Has anyone used this in the past year?

If not, then it fits into one of four categories:

a) emergency supplies. We have tools and emergency supplies that might not get used every year. If this is that kind of item, it gets a pass.

b) things with sentimental value. Each person in the family is allowed one box of sentimental stuff. One.

c) stuff I’m sure we would have used, if only we remembered that we owned it. This is a dodgy category, but gives us an out on stuff we’re really not ready to part with yet. We put a yellow sticky with the date on it. If it gets used, the yellow sticky gets removed. If another year passes and the date is still stuck to it, we’re really never going to use it. It goes for sure then.

d) stuff that either gets sold, donated, or trashed.

Also, having to pay for your own interstate move is another way to get rid of a lot of stuff.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
jebmke
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by jebmke »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 6:30 pm Move overseas. Your shipment will be lost. Collect the insurance. This is the ultimate pro tip. I can tell from firsthand experience that it works well.
I was in a meeting years ago with our (new) marketing VP. He had a call on his cell. Finished; announced that he had to leave the meeting. His moving van burned to the ground and he lost everything. Had to go round up some furniture.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Somethingwitty92912
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Somethingwitty92912 »

If it’s not beautiful, or useful sell it. If it doesn’t sell, donate, if you cannot for any reason then it goes to trash. Pick one room, go item by item. If you haven’t used something In The last year or two, or evern through about it, odds are it’s sale/junk.
MarkRoulo
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by MarkRoulo »

roamingzebra wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:46 pm I would love to get rid of things that are cluttering my closets so I could create more efficient storage solutions. I'm looking for that magical Big Organizing Principle that will guide me as to what items to keep or not keep, but I've failed thus far.
A suggestion.

Embrace the concept of "storing it on e-Bay (or Goodwill)."

The idea here is that you aren't "getting rid of" some item. You are storing it on eBay or Goodwill. You can redeem it later with a green claim-ticket.

Seriously.

This *does* suggest that you not get rid of (without due consideration) things you might have a very difficult time replacing. But it does suggest that some random book that isn't super hard to get can be "stored" on e-bay or at the local thrift store. I suspect that many of the things you want to de-clutter aren't super rare.
gmc4h232
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by gmc4h232 »

I just think to myself as I'm getting rid of stuff "I'd rather pay the store to store this junk for me" which is what you're doing if you have to rebuy any of the stuff you get rid of, but the reality is you probably wont ever need any of it again.
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LilyFleur
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by LilyFleur »

roamingzebra wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:46 pm I would love to get rid of things that are cluttering my closets so I could create more efficient storage solutions. I'm looking for that magical Big Organizing Principle that will guide me as to what items to keep or not keep, but I've failed thus far. Arbitrary rules like "throw out anything you haven't used for the last five years" don't work for me. I need more rational criteria.

The excuses I usually fall back on are the familiar ones:

1. Someday this stuff will be valuable.

2. The quality of this older stuff is better than any replacements I could buy today or in the future.

3. This stuff can be repurposed if I just think imaginatively enough.

The quality and repurposing excuses are the big ones. The quality of many things today is not great; and that's putting it mildly. And I have repurposed several old things and have been glad that I kept them.

But these types of arguments are holding me back from the desired goal of having fewer things and organizing them more efficiently.

Has anyone been able to overcome these types of excuses? What psychological tricks worked for you. Have you found the ultimate Big Organizing Principle on which to make your keep/not keep decisions? (Yes, First World problem. :) )

On the other hand, has anyone had regrets about donating or throwing stuff away?
Arbitrary rules work for me. My 1000-square foot condo feels spacious, and the stuff in the second bedroom isn't even mine (belongs to my young adult children).

Most of your post is explaining why cleaning out and organizing doesn't work for you. And that's OK.

It seems that we are born either maximalists or minimalists when it comes to stuff.

I will say that spending some money on good-quality storage systems will make your space more streamlined and efficient.

The reasonably-priced Container Store clear storage boxes are in use throughout my home, and they are designed so that they stack quite nicely. They look much nicer than re-purposed cardboard boxes, and you can see what's in them, so they're more functional, too. The Container Store Elfa drawer unit is perfect for storing my painting supplies efficiently and with a very small footprint. It's pricey but I bought it at 25% off during the annual Elfa sale.

So, even if you like to keep a lot of stuff, if you store it in space-efficient, tidy systems, your home will feel much more organized and spacious.
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roamingzebra
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by roamingzebra »

LilyFleur wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 8:25 pm The reasonably-priced Container Store clear storage boxes are in use throughout my home, and they are designed so that they stack quite nicely. They look much nicer than re-purposed cardboard boxes, and you can see what's in them, so they're more functional, too.
By stackable, you mean you can build the units to any height you want? I could certainly use something like that. Hanging clothes would limit the height of storage units in some closets, though, hence the need for a non-fixed height.
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roamingzebra
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by roamingzebra »

jebmke wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:48 pm We have a rule: if you buy something you have to toss out two things. No exceptions.

I've been "trying on" some of the ideas in this thread and seeing how they feel. I think many of them would help. But I keep coming back to this one. Not as something to start with, but as a great end point and maintenance strategy.

I guess it appeals to me because it involves multiple choice and/or ranked choice. You have to decide among a pool of items to get rid of, then select two. It actually involves thinking when you compare one item against another. Maybe that's not how the members of your family do it; maybe they just pick things at random haha. But I'd actually enjoy the process of pitting several items against others before selecting which ones to discard.
7eight9
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by 7eight9 »

In the last year we seriously decluttered. The goal was to get everything into four suitcases (obviously excluding furniture).

Not quite there yet but a lot closer. Examples:

Sold all kitchen knives (and the knife block) except for chef's, bread, paring and 7" (my wife wanted to keep it).
Got rid of all gifts that were guilting us (trivit, copper watering can, etc.).
Found someone who wanted to buy two Maglite flashlights (who knew ppl collected them).
Rehomed two fleece jackets (one was a gift and one was purchased) as I can only wear one at a time (this is key for clothing - you can only wear one pari of pants, shirt, shoes, etc. at a time).
I sold all my cufflinks.
All of my lighters except two (everyday Colibri and my Dunhill - sold two Cartier lighters one of which I miss but life goes on).
Three Swiss Army Knives (two new that were gifts and unused) found a new home.
All tools (excepting a few screwdrivers and adjustable wrenches) went to a new home (along with their toolbox).

You get the idea. If you aren't using it - get rid of it.
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pointyhairedboss
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by pointyhairedboss »

I find a two phase pass works best for me:

The first phase I ask "why should I get rid of this item"? This phase only gets rid of the least desired items.

The second phase I ask "why should I keep this item"? This phase is far more effective in finding items that I am willing to part with. Sometimes I'll repeat this phase a couple more times, each time finding new things to part with, lower the threshold for removal each time.

Logically, the criterion in the second phase should cover the criterion in the first phase, making the first phase unnecessary. However, the first phase is necessary to put my mind in a place where it is willing to part with items.
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Noobvestor
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Noobvestor »

LilyFleur wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 8:25 pm The reasonably-priced Container Store clear storage boxes are in use throughout my home, and they are designed so that they stack quite nicely. They look much nicer than re-purposed cardboard boxes, and you can see what's in them, so they're more functional, too. The Container Store Elfa drawer unit is perfect for storing my painting supplies efficiently and with a very small footprint. It's pricey but I bought it at 25% off during the annual Elfa sale.

So, even if you like to keep a lot of stuff, if you store it in space-efficient, tidy systems, your home will feel much more organized and spacious.
+1 on the Container Store/Elfa. I have this walk in closet space that I bought a whole system for and had them install - floor to my very tall ceilings, it's great. You get to pick finishes/colors and your choice of modular units for it, so mine are metal wish mesh drawers, dark wood edges, etc. Looks pretty nice I can't recall what it cost but it seemed super reasonable to me - I want to say it came in around $1,000 to cover something like an 8 foot by 10 foot space with a variety of storage sticking out around a foot or so. So it has the combination of drawers, shelves, clothes hanging space, etc... that I decided seemed optimal. I haven't needed to, but in theory if my needs change I could swap out things on the metal rails that support it all.

https://www.containerstore.com/elfa/index.htm
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MJS
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by MJS »

Do not purchase a system for storing things until after you have decluttered.
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HomerJ
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by HomerJ »

roamingzebra wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:46 pm I would love to get rid of things that are cluttering my closets so I could create more efficient storage solutions. I'm looking for that magical Big Organizing Principle that will guide me as to what items to keep or not keep, but I've failed thus far. Arbitrary rules like "throw out anything you haven't used for the last five years" don't work for me. I need more rational criteria.
That IS rational critera.

We just moved from a 4700 square-foot house with a ton of basement storage to a 2400 square-foot house with almost no storage.

It took us a full year to declutter (I found moving boxes we had moved 4 times that had never been opened).

"If you haven't touched something in 5 years, get rid of it" absolutely works. I mean, look at it, and decide (like old pictures, keep, or at least scan first), but otherwise toss it.

Here's an idea for clothes...

Put all your clothes in guest room closet. Everything you wear, move to the main closet... After a year toss everything that is still in the guest room closet.
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MoonOrb
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by MoonOrb »

7eight9 wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 6:04 pm You might want to read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
+1

Loved this book.
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steve roy
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by steve roy »

Wife and I have a saying: “We can toss this treasure NOW, or our kids will toss it after we die.”
bob60014
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by bob60014 »

When we downsized/decluttered we started with one rule,
take any emotion out of it. After that it was a piece of cake, no regrets!
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William Million
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by William Million »

Any clothes/shoes not worn for 365 days should go.

Anything else - apply the 2 year rule.
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backofbeyond
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by backofbeyond »

Going thru the decluttering process right now, so very timely post.

Moving to a new job, so moving out of a 4 BR house into a 2 BR apartment. We had amass thousands of dollars of antiques over the years from Japan, China, UK, Germany & NZ. In the process of selling on Marketplace and getting literally 1/10 the cost of what we paid for them. We live in a very rural area, so not a lot of demand. We could take them with us, but the transportation cost, storage cost and general logicial nightmare made us realize it's better to just rip the band aid off and unload them for pennies on the pound.

We had a few silverlinings or lessons learned during this all. We realize that those things that we had prized highly, wasn't prized by our only child. So we are doing her a favor by getting rid of them before we pop our clogs. Secondly, it's very fulfilling to lead a less cluttered life. What we may have spent on stuff, we now spend on experiences. For example, we just returned from a 5 day trip to Ashville that was extremely enjoyable. Went white water rafting, repelling down waterfalls, visiting art gallaries and touring several breweries.

Our mantra is: Less stuff, more life.
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Dottie57
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Dottie57 »

roamingzebra wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:46 pm
Step up and don't let your stuff own you. Take charge and purge.

So simple once you start.
This. I am purging right now since I am moving. Better to do it before.

Purge now.
Arabesque
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Arabesque »

When I was in my 20's, I bought a few antique dolls for about $100 each. I felt a little silly buying dolls. By my 30's, they had appreciated to about $1000 each, I felt a little silly for not buying more. Life went on, and I put them away. When I took them out of the attic to downsize in my 60's, they were back to about $100 each.

The bottom has fallen out of the collectable/antique market. Don't keep old stuff unless you love it.
bluebolt
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by bluebolt »

The Endowment Effect (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/en ... effect.asp) is a bias where you place more value on objects you own versus the same object you don't own.

Understanding that this is a real (and usually irrational) effect may help you understand yourself better and, eventually, declutter.
Isabelle77
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Isabelle77 »

My sister read a book years ago about house cleaning that had a multi step process. On the first day all you did was clean your sink until it shined. And then the book added more tasks each day. She found it helpful.

I would think that decluttering could use a similar concept. Start in one room and clean out one closet. Be honest about what you use and what is truly irreplaceable. When that closet is perfect, move on to the drawers in that room, etc.

Like anything, break it into manageable tasks.

Living without a basement or attic has been very helpful for us. Pretend you don’t have them :)
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

DW and I have a procedure. We each go through clothing for the other. The rules are simple. We're going grocery shopping after we're done.

Me: holding up something: "1: Does it fit?" If not, it's gone. If it does, then at my choice, I get to say: "Wear this". This tends to have a couple effects. First...while trying it on, it becomes obvious that indeed, it doesn't fit, so it's gone. Or it's horribly out of style, and it's gone.

Her: holding up something: "1: Does it fit?" If not, it's gone. If it does, she can ask that I wear it and like above, when I find that it doesn't fit or forgot that the zipper is broken or buttons are missing, it's gone.

We tend to fill several contractor bags of clothing that I bring directly to a donation box. There have been times where clothes have been held over since Junior High School. You can tell how old those are, since it was called Junior High back then. And yes, there have been many size changes since then.
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ClevrChico
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by ClevrChico »

Treat it like a lifestyle and don't be afraid to get rid of things constantly. I was recently gifted something I'll never use. Within a week, it was in the landfill.

I've told my family to only gift me something I can use immediately, like food for drinks. If not, just gift me cash. That's helped a lot.
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MrBobcat
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by MrBobcat »

roamingzebra wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:46 pm I would love to get rid of things that are cluttering my closets so I could create more efficient storage solutions. I'm looking for that magical Big Organizing Principle that will guide me as to what items to keep or not keep, but I've failed thus far. Arbitrary rules like "throw out anything you haven't used for the last five years" don't work for me. I need more rational criteria.

The excuses I usually fall back on are the familiar ones:

1. Someday this stuff will be valuable.

2. The quality of this older stuff is better than any replacements I could buy today or in the future.

3. This stuff can be repurposed if I just think imaginatively enough.

The quality and repurposing excuses are the big ones. The quality of many things today is not great; and that's putting it mildly. And I have repurposed several old things and have been glad that I kept them.

But these types of arguments are holding me back from the desired goal of having fewer things and organizing them more efficiently.

Has anyone been able to overcome these types of excuses? What psychological tricks worked for you. Have you found the ultimate Big Organizing Principle on which to make your keep/not keep decisions? (Yes, First World problem. :) )

On the other hand, has anyone had regrets about donating or throwing stuff away?
Timely topic as I've been going through this myself. All the same excuses on throwing stuff out.

I'll add #4 to your list: Someone might want or be able to use this. (conclusion - no they won't or I don't really want to go through the hassle of giving it away).

I actually took two full pickup truck loads to the dump yesterday and took 4-5 loads full a few months ago (including 1000s of paperbacks I bought in the 1980s and onward).

As far as regrets after the fact, a little, but the relief of decluttering far outweighs the regret.

Two things pushed me, a lifelong packrat, over the edge. 1. I don't want to subject my kids/wife to getting rid of my junk after I'm gone. 2. I'm just tired of the clutter and having so much "stuff". It's completely lost it's importance to me.
coynerone
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by coynerone »

Marie Kondo's principles helped me. Two things stand out.
Don't do it room by room. Do your decluttering by category. Start with clothes-all clothes-collect them all in one room.
Save the ephemera for last. The pictures, papers etc. Those have the most emotional attachment. By the time you get to that category you will have become skilled in decisions.
Sometimes we buy things just for the image and idea we attach to them. We are never going to execute that but we just wanted to express it. For instance I have a beautiful silk shirt in my closet with the price tags still on it. Had it for 12 years. It's got an elegant party idea attached to it. I like the image. All this throw it out after a year is perpetuating the purchase cycle. Start to understand why you buy things and control the inflow. Everyone on this forum has surplus. It does not have to be manifested with stuff.
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CAsage
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by CAsage »

The key is to view this as ongoing, not once and done. My best personal "trick" was to mark one page per month, 30 lines per page in a spiral notebook - and then write down one thing that "left the premises" for each day. One can work ahead or behind, but the key is steady progress over years - get rid of one thing a day and provide measurable positive feedback. Tackle one room a month, or a closet on a weekend. E.g Linen closet - toss all the old flannel sheets that you upgraded but were too good to toss, spare towels. Keep 2 sets per bed, no more. Clothes that you didn't wear that last season - try them on, if you can't see wearing it in season, it's got something wrong with it. Out! I got religion on decluttering after my Mom died and left me a quasi-hoarder stuffed apartment, had to pay an extra month rent just to empty it...
roamingzebra wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 10:20 pm I guess it appeals to me because it involves multiple choice and/or ranked choice. You have to decide among a pool of items to get rid of, then select two. It actually involves thinking when you compare one item against another.
If your mental process requires a ranked comparison, then use that skill. Decide that you have 12 mugs, want 6, rank them and cut the losers. Do the same with every category - get rid of a percentage of everything. It will be easier to fit the rest!

The last tip I got from a friend: Everything must have a place to be stored. If you pick it up, can't figure out where to put it away because it won't fit or there's no room, start there. Nothing should live on the counters or tops of furniture!
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Last edited by CAsage on Sun Jul 04, 2021 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.
squirm
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by squirm »

Go through stuff and through stuff out. How hard is that?
Vtsax100
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Vtsax100 »

Pro tip: Don’t let the things you own, own you.
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verbose
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by verbose »

Rational criteria:

1. Love it.
2. Need it.
3. Use it.

Breakdown:
- Love it. Say it out loud. "I love this XYZ." You have to love it, not believe that you should love it or someone else loved it or you used to love it. These are your sentimental, decorative and entertainment items.
- Need it. Generally, these are emergency supplies, household tools, financial paperwork, legal documents, medical supplies, extreme weather supplies, etc. You don't normally use these things, but if some reasonably foreseeable issue arose, you would need that item or need to buy a new one. You need it.
- Use it. This item is actually used at least once a year. Or it will be used now that you know you have it (it gets one chance).

Don't do this all at once. You will find "layers" in your home. Don't beat yourself up. Guilt and fear of regret are your worst enemies. If it's too hard to part with something, then keep it (and don't feel guilty about it). Get rid of something else. That item you couldn't get rid of in the first round will likely get tossed in a later round, once you have the hang of it.

Do NOT de-clutter other people's stuff, with the exception of small children and those who can no longer make decisions about their stuff. You can help older kids to de-clutter, and nag your spouse (which may backfire), but don't go into their stuff. They need to let it go themselves, or it will always be you who threw away their "perfectly good" whatever.
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BroIceCream
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by BroIceCream »

MoonOrb wrote: Sun Jul 04, 2021 12:39 am
7eight9 wrote: Sat Jul 03, 2021 6:04 pm You might want to read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
+1 Loved this book.
+2 Agreed. Excellent book to get you in the mindset of what truly is of value.
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TheAccountant
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by TheAccountant »

I like to turn decluttering into a hobby. I list things on eBay. If they don't sell, then I usually toss them.

Another great way is to relocate. I got rid of a TON of stuff when I moved an hour away. There's no sense in taking something with you that you don't need.
kelvan80
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by kelvan80 »

There are some great Buy Nothing groups on Facebook. It's nice to be able to meet the needs of others and declutter in the process. It builds community and cleans closets at the same time. We are military and move constantly so having to pack up every two years keeps us constantly evaluating whether or not something makes the cut. For the process of decluttering I like FlyLady tips of setting a timer for 15 minutes at a time, sort using 3 boxes (give, trash, keep) so you can tackle one closet or drawer at a time.
bluebolt
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by bluebolt »

verbose wrote: Sun Jul 04, 2021 11:42 am - Need it. Generally, these are emergency supplies, household tools, financial paperwork, legal documents, medical supplies, extreme weather supplies, etc. You don't normally use these things, but if some reasonably foreseeable issue arose, you would need that item or need to buy a new one. You need it.
For the paperwork items, some tactics:
I get every statement and invoice I can digitally. If the paper never enters my house, it can't make clutter.
For the papers that are already in my house, I scan and discard almost everything. I keep the digital copies backed up. Saves a ton of space. There are very few items where I need the originals (birth certificate, marriage license, etc.)
When I acquire electronics or appliances that come with manuals, I go online and save the URL/PDF for the documents and discard the paper.
blackburnian
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by blackburnian »

What items or categories of items are you having the hardest time parting with?

What has helped me the most is the pleasure of giving things away to someone who would use or value them more than I do. I joined an "everything free" neighborhood group and have given away a futon bed, jumper cables, a bird feeder, sheets, a hideous lamp made by cousin (over 20 people wanted that!), and some earrings I didn't wear anymore. I have also sold some things (on Facebook Marketplace or through an auction house) and donated the money.

In terms of your three "excuses": 1 and 3 are prime categories for selling or giving away. Let someone else find a use for it or get money from it. In terms of quality, well, those are the things you keep, use, and don't replace. I kept an old desk of my mother's that I use as a bureau because I like it, it's well made, and it makes me think of her.
BH_RedRan
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by BH_RedRan »

After starting the decluttering process, do not re-clutter.

I am particularly bad with tools and raw materials (wood, metal, hardware, electronic parts). To avoid adding to the pile I:

Avoid yard sales.
Avoid surplus stores.
Avoid browsing ebay.
Say "no" to a neighbor who is decluttering his garage/shop and offers "free" stuff.

A couple of things I've done to successfully declutter:

Clothes:
Not a problem. I have no problem tossing old clothes. My wife's clothes spill over into my closet, however.

Paint:
I keep 1 Quart or 1 Pint of paint for touch-ups after painting a room. No more than that and always a completely full can. Gets dated, marked. Dropped at a recycling center after 2-3 years. ALL of my woodwork is the same color. OW-159 off white.

Wood:
Anything under 4 Feet is tossed/given away, except some expensive hardwood for small projects.

Electronic parts etc. (My weakness)
I'm still working on this. Does anyone need a 7401? How about an 82S100?
I have been able to toss/recycle all older PCs except for a very old IBM Thinkpad which is a beast.
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Random Musings
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Random Musings »

"When in doubt, throw it out"

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ
blueberrypi
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by blueberrypi »

Pretty easy in a small apartment, especially after a couple moves. I really like Facebook marketplace. You can sell or give away almost anything on there in hours. It's honestly kind of addictive. Anytime I move I think about what I don't need or might like to replace.

For stuff that has more resale value I use eBay. It has so many potential customers. I've sold 3k on eBay in the past two weeks just stuff that was sitting around in storage.
Atilla
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by Atilla »

Decluttering is like losing weight. It will happen once you decide to make it happen. Otherwise you will have 1,000 excuses why it's "not working".

Be ruthless - toss it, sell it or give it away.

I liked the Marie Kondo book that came out awhile back. I always waged a minor ongoing battle with clutter and the book helped with inspiration and focus.
gblack
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Re: Any Pro tips to help with Decluttering?

Post by gblack »

I struggle with this as well. Two things that helped me:

1) Pack things up into a donate pile, but don't toss them out or donate right away. After some time, you will not miss it and then it becomes easy to toss. This gets you to take that first de-clutter step.

2) Connect space in your house with money. You are paying for it whether you realize it or not. Your space is valuable and all that is "spent" on stuff you don't use is eating away at your money like a subscription you don't use.
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