Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

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sgilmarti89
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Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by sgilmarti89 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am

I have spent the last two weeks preparing for a move and still have too much stuff - any tips for further decluttering, especially from those who have moved?

Basically, everything I own and need to move fits into 18 of these IKEA boxes (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30102974/). Each box is 22 x 15 x 11 inches. I am not taking any furniture with me except a wooden bed frame (no mattress). So that's 18 boxes and one wooden frame in total.

Books (1 box)
Personal Papers (3 boxes)
Research materials for a book I'm writing (2 boxes)
Sentimental Items (5 boxes)
Furniture and Decorative Items (3 boxes)
Electronic Devices/CDs (1 box)
Bedding/Blankets (1 box)
Clothes (1 box)
Shoes (1 box)

I am finding it hard to downsize even more. For the shoes and clothes I kept only my favorites, so managed to keep it down to two boxes in total. The sentimental stuff is really hard for me - one of the boxes contains family albums. Another contains a family heirloom given to me on the death of a relative. The 3 boxes of furniture/decorative items sounds like a lot, but the IKEA boxes aren't that big, so one of them contains only three small lamps. The last box of sentimental items holds one souvenir from each of the places I've traveled to.

I guess I could toss the books, but that's hard too as I only chose the 25 books that would fit into the IKEA box - and those have special meaning to me.

Mitchell777
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Mitchell777 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:16 am

I probably spent a couple hundred hours decluttering last year and would be thrilled to have my stuff down to the amount you have. Sounds like you've done a great job. It's tough getting rid of some things especially if they are reminders of parents and grandparents. I even had a hard time getting rid of decades old grad school books. Good luck.

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:31 am

Maybe scan the personal papers and store electronically?

I agree that 18 boxes is admirable.

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climber2020
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by climber2020 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:46 am

What you've done is really great compared to most people.

A few areas that immediately jump out to me: the personal papers and the shoes.

What exactly is in the 3 boxes of personal papers? I used to have quite a few of these myself but over the years have whittled it down to almost nothing. Scanned everything important and stored it on my laptop (and backed up on an external hard drive that's stored in a different physical location). It's common for people to keep copies of prior tax returns, but all of those can be stored as PDFs and printed if they're ever needed in the future.

How many shoes do you own? If you're a woman then I have no advice for you. If you're a man, you can get by with fewer shoes. I own 4 pair: dress shoes for work, running shoes, sandals, and an older pair of running shoes for mowing the lawn.

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climber2020
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by climber2020 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:55 am

An added comment about your 5 boxes of sentimental stuff: I've found that those are the hardest items to downsize. It took me many, many years to finally do it, but now that it's done I don't miss any of the old stuff one bit. Taking good pictures of them to retain the memories helps. For this trip however, I'd recommend you take all of it with you. It's easier to let go of things after you're dealt with the pain of moving several heavy boxes from place to place a few times; if you're like me, you'll get sick of it eventually. I wrote a brief article a few months back on my own experience if you're interested here.

AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:43 am

Amazing! I didn’t think there were other people like me out there! :D

Let me start by saying that you’re probably in the 99.98 percentile of declutterers. Are you sure you what to go any further? Is there some special reason? You can always get a few more boxes, rent a bigger truck or put something in storage and decide later.

Wife and I downsized from home to right about this amount 4 years ago. Personal items and papers are the hardest. Got our mementos down to one file box. The lady that did our estate sale was shocked at the personal stuff we were dispatching and thought we would regret it. We haven’t. Lots of old pictures are not great and not worth keeping. Got them down to a small shoebox and there are still too many, imo. How many pics of dad do you really need? Maybe 10 of your favorites? Less? Only about 3 that I decided I really care about and only 1 that I currently display. If framed, can be removed from frame unless you want to display or there’s something special about the frame. As for bulky personal items, remember that we add the sentiment. There’s nothing really special about stuff. The “special qualities” are is in our memory, not the item.

That said...

Books (1 box): books can be borrowed at library, replaced or downloaded. Unless they are rare in some way, I’d get that down to 2-3 favorites.

Personal Papers (3 boxes): that’s a tough one. Probably can’t change that unless you start scanning and that is more of a longterm project.

Research materials for a book I'm writing (2 boxes): again, unless you start scanning, probably not negotiable.

Sentimental Items (5 boxes): this is the area most ripe for harvesting space, imo. See thoughts above.

Furniture and Decorative Items (3 boxes): seems like too much. If they are sentimental items, see above.

Electronic Devices/CDs (1 box): I copied all music and video into computer. iTunes imports CDs very easily so that was simple. Video required some doing as I had some family VHS tapes. DVDs are doable but take up some HD space and more time to do. Had to make decisions with some rare (but not monetarily valuable) 45s and LPs so I put a system in place early to convert to digital. My rule is, like books, anything that can be borrowed or replaced can go. Had you more time, I’d say copy any CDs, etc into computer. Doesn’t take much effort. But still, one box is damn good so I question how much further you want to take it with only 2 weeks to go.

Bedding/Blankets (1 box): seems reasonable.

Clothes (1 box): seems reasonable.

Last thoughts. Whenever I ran into a problem getting rid of something, I reminded myself that one day, I’ll be dead and nothing on this earth will hold any value. With personal items, since DW and I don’t have kids, I offered them to nephews and nieces for preservation into next generation or out they went. No regrets.

Good luck and I hope you post back here with your decisions. Lots of interest on this subject lately.

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Watty
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Watty » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:49 am

sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am
still have too much stuff
What do you mean by "too much". Is it too large or heavy to fit in your vehicle? Is it going to cost too much to move? Or is it just bugging you that you can't cut it down more.

It sounds like except for the bedframe it could all easily fit into a closet so what difference would it make if you could reduce by a few boxes?

sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am
Personal Papers (3 boxes)
Research materials for a book I'm writing (2 boxes)
Sentimental Items (5 boxes)
Be very cautious about trusting this to a moving or shipping company since they are irreplaceable.
sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am
The 3 boxes of furniture/decorative items sounds like a lot, but the IKEA boxes aren't that big, so one of them contains only three small lamps.


Getting a few larger boxes might allow you to pack things more efficiently. If you get a few boxes that are the same size except twice as tall the boxes will still stack together well.

Instead of using packing material for the delicate items you may be able to wrap them in your clothing and bedding.

stan1
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by stan1 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:06 am

Is your objective to keep downsizing practical (you are trying to get everything into a small car) or more emotional (you want a new start in your new location with a very simple life)? Either way I think you have done a lot, especially since you have the boxes with research papers and personal mementos that are important to you. Personal papers can be scanned, but something like a diploma and transcript I'd also want to keep the original.

If the primary objective is getting everything into a small vehicle you could consider buying new bedding at your new location (assuming you don't need it in transit). You could also buy a new bed frame if removing it from the vehicle would let you fit everything. Bedding can also be used to fill in empty spaces or cover items within the vehicle rather than putting it into boxes. Using clothes to fill in the gaps in all the other boxes also is helpful. Could you have a friend or family member ship the books to you when you get to the new location? Could you store some of the mementos with a trusted family member and retrieve them at a later date?

RudyS
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by RudyS » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:21 am

Looks like remarkable progreess so far. Suggestion about the "sentimental" things: If they are actual items, I can't help. If they are papers, photos, souvenir pamphlets etc, here's an idea. I had such things from my school years, summer jobs, etc. I condensed a bankers box of papers down to one scrapbook. Took a while, you may not have time before you move. But this was a few years ago, and I am still glad I did it. If your stuff is family history, the same concept may work. Good luck!

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lthenderson
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by lthenderson » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:45 am

If I had that little of stuff and it all meant something to me, I would leave a box or two with a personal friend for the time being and get it later. (I'm assuming someone else is limiting you to 18 boxes.)

sgilmarti89
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by sgilmarti89 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:55 am

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. Moving is stressful. Just to clarify, this is for one person only (whereas some of you have the same amount of stuff as a couple). Considering that none of the boxes contain furniture, it's surprising people think I have little - my guess is that once you take out the actual furniture from an average move, wouldn't most people have about even less than I do? (The link shows many box sizes; the one I am using is the 22 x 15 x 11 one)

To answer some of your questions

Books - The 25 or so books I've kept are not difficult to replace. So perhaps you are right and I should discard them. I associate each one of them with a memory. Some of them were gifts from a long time ago on special occasions, although I confess I have wondered ... if I discard them and then in the future buy a used copy to replace it, isn't it the "same" book? Why am I attaching sentimental value to this particular book when so many identical copies are floating around?

Personal papers are mainly from three categories. One box is for the official documents - tax stuff. The other two boxes consist of old papers from my childhood. It's really hard to discard these. I used to draw a lot, and when I pick up those drawings in the boxes, they make me smile. And then there are letters and cards from people I still care about (people I've lost touch with I've discarded those cards/letters).

The sentimental stuff is mostly again from a long time ago. Of the five boxes, two boxes are family heirlooms, containing things like two musical instruments with a great deal of family history that someone younger in the family might want some day. The othre three ... just contain a mess of random non-paper sentimental things I can't bring to discard. :|
Last edited by sgilmarti89 on Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

likegarden
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by likegarden » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:56 am

Congratulations to all who are able to downsize, because after a long life with many memorable events, some people are not able to get rid of many boxes of stuff. I am down to 3 suitcases.

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Alexa9
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Alexa9 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:59 am

Books (1 box) : write down all the titles and get your favorite ones on Kindle
Personal Papers (3 boxes) : Scan to Google Drive
Research materials for a book I'm writing (2 boxes) : Scan to Google Drive
Sentimental Items (5 boxes) : take pictures of and downsize to your favorites
Furniture and Decorative Items (3 boxes) : if they're valuable take them
Electronic Devices/CDs (1 box) : CD's rip to computer or put in a Case Logic Case
Bedding/Blankets (1 box) : reasonable
Clothes (1 box) : very surprised only one box, good job
Shoes (1 box) : not bad

sailaway
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by sailaway » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:05 am

Nearly half your stuff is sentimental?

You don't have any kitchen stuff?

Scanning the drawings and papers would make them safer (these boxes are not ideal storage for paper), easier to review, and save space.

AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:33 am

You’re doing an incredible job! So give yourself a break.

This is a lifelong process. Are your young? It only gets worse with age so if you’ve started at relatively young age, don’t fret over the family heirlooms (keep them) but fret whether there will be accumulation creep with age. DW and I are 60. What happens when parents die or move, etc, is that stuff shows up at your house and in your basement or attic. You won’t know what hit you. Then, it’s never looked at again until you move.

Then there’s the once necessary item which becomes nearly obsolete but is still functioning (that old computer and monitor, for example). (Before eBay and Craigslist, it was harder to get rid of this stuff.) There can be many such items accumulated if you don’t keep up because we live in a disposable society so few things last. If you’re frugal and have room, you can’t being yourself to dump/recycle it because it may be useful for some project in the future and it’s too much of a hassle to try and give it away or donate it so it gets stored somewhere “until you have time to deal with it”—which is never. So a good thing is to live in the smallest space you can because that creates a natural tension between acquisition and minimalism and gives you an excuse to refuse “free” stuff.

After years in a home with basemen and attic, it was shocking to see what we accumulated—and DW and I are anti-consumerist by nature. But we have been self-employed since the late 80s and work from home so that didn’t help at all. Computer equipment, manuals, CDs, floppies, receipts, vinyl records, all those extra cables with old HDs, etc, etc.

Let me try to put this in perspective. I know several couples in their 70s who literally can’t move. They can’t downsize. They’ve tried several times and given up. The tools in the garage, the family heirlooms nobody wants, etc, it’s too much for them so they start, give up, rinse/repeat. They plan to die in place and let the kids deal with it but they won’t actually admit that to themselves. They just eventually stop talking about downsizing. It’s like they’ve built their own tombs around themselves!

So I’d say you’re already there if you can move with what you have and have room in your place for it. The challenge will be to get rid of things as they cease to serve you going forward.

You inspired me to look through my closet and see if there’s more things to get rid of. I’m sure some things snuck in over the last 4 years since moving.

Nowizard
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Nowizard » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:34 am

As someone also planning to move, I would like to hire you to help us figure how you have done so well! :D More seriously, you have made it possible to move yourself with one or a couple of trips. Unless you are moving to a very tiny place, why not just move what you have left and follow the old adage of letting it sit, getting rid of anything else you do not use in six months or so?

Tim

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Sandtrap
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:47 am

DW and I planned our retirement move over a period of 8 years. Everything had to fit in heavy duty Rubbermaid packer boxes not much bigger than the Ikea ones you mention. We made a stack of boxes to simulate the size of the 20 foot rented Overseas Shipping Container. It is unbelievable how tiny it actually is. A lifetime of stuff plus all my company stuff and DW's company stuff. Ouch!
We constantly went thru everything and added and threw out, repeat, repeat. Craig's list, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Give away, or trash. It was very difficult. But, we found out that the longer things sat in the boxes, the more we realized we didn't "need" it.

We put a list on the wall that went something like this:

1. Can we buy the item elsewhere for cheaper? (throw out)
2. How much sentimental "value" does it really have?
3. The books are in my head. I don't need the physical book.
4. Someone we know would value the item more than ourselves.
5. Am I going to "need" it where I'm going? How much?
6. Would I rather buy a newer version of the same item?
7. Is it irreplaceable? How important is it to me over the long term?
8. Etc.

I hope this is helpful to you.
Good luck on your move.
j :D

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DanMahowny
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by DanMahowny » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:59 am

3 years from now, my wife and I are going to get in the car and drive South, with only a wallet, cell phone, and the clothes we are wearing. Destination unknown.

In the meantime, we'll get rid of EVERYTHING.

Remember, the things you own end up owning you.
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WhiteMaxima
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by WhiteMaxima » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:17 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:59 am
3 years from now, my wife and I are going to get in the car and drive South, with only a wallet, cell phone, and the clothes we are wearing. Destination unknown.

In the meantime, we'll get rid of EVERYTHING.

Remember, the things you own end up owning you.
I admire you. Less is more in our life.

Katietsu
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Katietsu » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:34 pm

What are the electronic devices and CD’s. Is it time to upgrade to a good smartphone with the music stored digitally on it. For me this “box” would be a laptop bag with a tablet tucked in. If space was an issue, I would not move things like a printer since those are almost sold as a loss leader.

I use bedding and clothes as packing material. In other words, the sheets can be wrapped around the lamps instead of packing paper.

The sentimental things are so personal. Though working for a business that cleans up estates might give you a new perspective.

Good luck. I know this is very hard.

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Pajamas
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:45 pm

Rip the CDs. Use a lossless format. Music is as cheap as it ever has been these days, as in free, so you may not even need to rip them. Scan papers.

Sounds like a lot of sentimental items, depending on what they are. Have you thought about photographing them and then giving them away?

WHY is it too much stuff? Arbitrarily, because you will be living in a small space, because of difficulty of transporting it?

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by LiterallyIronic » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:46 pm

sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am
Clothes (1 box)
That part is absolutely mind-blowing. You can fit all your clothes in one box?! :shock:

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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by RadAudit » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:54 pm

Good advice, so far.

I've always heard that two moves was as good as a fire for downsizing. Seems a little extreme. Best of luck.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The Calvary isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

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Hayden
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Hayden » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:55 pm

I think you are doing great! Why not congratulate yourself and move on? Why the desire to reduce further at this time?

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Ged
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Ged » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:56 pm

sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am

18 of these IKEA boxes
I envy you. I have given up on de-cluttering and resigned to the idea of leaving that job to my heirs. The best I've managed is selling off about half my books on Amazon. I still have a garage half full of machine tools and 8 full size book cases.

My only excuse is that my wife is a pack rat too.

IMO
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by IMO » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:02 pm

I'm quite amazed that one can get their things down to such a small quantity. I can see the utility in life, especially when one is renting to be able to quickly pack up and move.

Sometimes though it seems like people get extreme on "owning nothing" just as hoarding is an extreme (hoarding being a much worse extreme in my opinion).

For those in the middle, we have a fair amount of things such as ski's, bikes, etc that we like to go out and physically partake. I suppose if I were a minimalist, I'd have to limit activities to walking/running/hiking/swimming. I suppose we could rent things like furniture, etc but that really isn't cost effective.

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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by bungalow10 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:10 pm

We've moved quite a few times. We had I think 65 boxes in the last move + furniture. This is for a family of five, and included all our kitchen stuff and linens.

We are moving yet again in a couple months (one move in 2016, two in 2017, hopefully just one in 2018 - and this isn't counting moves into or out of temp housing).

I'm tired.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

michaeljc70
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:13 pm

Having been in this situation and looking at your list:

-3 boxes of personal papers. I am not sure exactly what that is, but cannot most of that be scanned in and stored in the cloud or on a USB drive or DVD?

-5 boxes of sentimental things out of 18 seems like a lot. If some are photos, can they be scanned in? I would think about how often I look at these items. Personally, I've never understood keeping your wedding dress and things like that. My Mother has had hers for 50 years and not taken it out once. What is the point?

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Pajamas
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:48 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:13 pm
Personally, I've never understood keeping your wedding dress and things like that. My Mother has had hers for 50 years and not taken it out once. What is the point?
I always suggest to people who save their wedding dresses that they should make pillows out of them, just to see the look of horror on their faces. They don't even consider that I'm not serious because who would actually want pillows made out of a wedding dress? 8-)

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mrc
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by mrc » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:30 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:13 pm
...Personally, I've never understood keeping your wedding dress and things like that. My Mother has had hers for 50 years and not taken it out once. What is the point?
My MIL was married in 1944. My wife wore the dress in 1984. It happens. It was very neat as the war-time silk was very special.
People often hate what they fear

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Watty
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Watty » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:07 pm

Someone mentioned that the limitation might be with trying to pack everything into a car.

One thing to watch out for is that the car will also have a weight limit and you could overload the car and run into trouble with stopping or going up steep hills.

sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:55 am
Books - The 25 or so books I've kept are not difficult to replace. So perhaps you are right and I should discard them. I associate each one of them with a memory. Some of them were gifts from a long time ago on special occasions, although I confess I have wondered ... if I discard them and then in the future buy a used copy to replace it, isn't it the "same" book? Why am I attaching sentimental value to this particular book when so many identical copies are floating around?
One option for the books is to mail them using the USPS media mail rate. This is likely a lot less expensive than shipping them any other way. Be sure to read the details of the rules and follow the rules closely since they will sometimes inspect a media mail package. You would likely pay for a similar shipping charge if you bought replacement copies anyway.

quantAndHold
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:09 pm

As a comparison, after six months of decluttering and paring down before our last move, my wife and I got it down to 200 boxes. If we got rid of the kitchen stuff and furniture, we would probably still be at 75. And we have less stuff than most of the people we know. The closets in our 1930 house that has small closets are half empty.

I would only worry about 18 boxes if you don’t have room in the new place for 18 boxes worth of stuff.

2015
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by 2015 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:42 pm

AntsOnTheMarch wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:43 am
...
Books (1 box): books can be borrowed at library, replaced or downloaded. Unless they are rare in some way, I’d get that down to 2-3 favorites.

Personal Papers (3 boxes): that’s a tough one. Probably can’t change that unless you start scanning and that is more of a longterm project.

Research materials for a book I'm writing (2 boxes): again, unless you start scanning, probably not negotiable.

Sentimental Items (5 boxes): this is the area most ripe for harvesting space, imo. See thoughts above.

Furniture and Decorative Items (3 boxes): seems like too much. If they are sentimental items, see above.

Electronic Devices/CDs (1 box): I copied all music and video into computer. iTunes imports CDs very easily so that was simple. Video required some doing as I had some family VHS tapes. DVDs are doable but take up some HD space and more time to do. Had to make decisions with some rare (but not monetarily valuable) 45s and LPs so I put a system in place early to convert to digital. My rule is, like books, anything that can be borrowed or replaced can go. Had you more time, I’d say copy any CDs, etc into computer. Doesn’t take much effort. But still, one box is damn good so I question how much further you want to take it with only 2 weeks to go.

Bedding/Blankets (1 box): seems reasonable.

Clothes (1 box): seems reasonable.
...
Great suggestions!

I view simplicity (of which decluttering is a necessary part) as a path to freedom and possibility. Over the course of the past few years, as part of the process of transforming from analog to digital living, I began eliminating as much "stuff" in the physical world as possible. When I move I too will be downsizing even more drastically when it comes to furnishings, only wishing to surround myself with nothing but what functionally adds to beauty, convenience, or comfort. It's not a question of what I can afford--I can afford much--it's a question of what I want to be free of.

I have no books, only bookmark pertinent pages/sections and then scan, so my digital book summary library is growing. I decided to lose all entertainment hardware and now only use the computer for all forms of entertainment. All paper is digitized so I have minimal paper files. Almost all pertinent papers have been digitized originals of which are kept in a safe deposit box off site.

Reading this book last year helped greatly with minimizing sentimental clutter:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/the-li ... gLwuPD_BwE

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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by aj76er » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:24 pm

Nice to see other like-minded individuals here; I think we are a minority :). My last move got me down to about 20 boxes, give or take and my long term goal is to reduce down to 100 items (not boxes, but items!).

I really love living a minimal lifestyle, both in terms of de-clutter and a small/manageable living space. My condo is currently ~310sqft (with a small storage area included).

My only weakness is musical equipment and instruments :?
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sgilmarti89
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by sgilmarti89 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:50 am

Thanks for the tips everyone. I think I will try to scan a few more of the personal papers.

I want to downsize because for a variety of reasons, it seems likely I will be moving from place to place over the next five years. 18 boxes is neither here nor there - it seems too large to be carting 18 boxes with me from one city to another. But if all the sentimental stuff is just going to sit in storage, and I can do without them for five years, then what's the point of keeping them? But, then, I think, if I discard all of these, I will literally have, nothing. Which makes me uncomfortable.

I do have three pairs of nice shoes, and one pair of running shoes, but those are really expensive (about $200 each) so it doesn't make sense to discard those, and I do wear them too. One IKEA box only fits four shoe boxes and the accompanying shoe trees.

For the electronics box, all the music CDs are scanned, but I am not sure if lossless WAV will really produce quite as good a sound as the original CDs? So I've kept them for now ... but if there really is 0% difference, I might be able to bring myself to part with them as they are all already on my computer.

I've made little progress on the sentimental items - can't seem to discard much, even after taking photos.

Anyway, thanks!! :beer

lazydavid
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:09 am

It completely makes sense to keep the shoes. But why keep the boxes? That makes them take up dramatically more space.

As for the music, lossless means exactly what it sounds like. The quality is identical to the source. MP3 is a lossy codec, so technically there can be a discernible difference. Modern high-bitrate codecs make them essentially indistinguishable. But FLAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, etc, can literally be converted back into a bit-perfect copy of the original.

AntsOnTheMarch
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:18 am

sgilmarti89 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:50 am
Thanks for the tips everyone. I think I will try to scan a few more of the personal papers.

I want to downsize because for a variety of reasons, it seems likely I will be moving from place to place over the next five years. 18 boxes is neither here nor there - it seems too large to be carting 18 boxes with me from one city to another. But if all the sentimental stuff is just going to sit in storage, and I can do without them for five years, then what's the point of keeping them? But, then, I think, if I discard all of these, I will literally have, nothing. Which makes me uncomfortable.

I do have three pairs of nice shoes, and one pair of running shoes, but those are really expensive (about $200 each) so it doesn't make sense to discard those, and I do wear them too. One IKEA box only fits four shoe boxes and the accompanying shoe trees.

For the electronics box, all the music CDs are scanned, but I am not sure if lossless WAV will really produce quite as good a sound as the original CDs? So I've kept them for now ... but if there really is 0% difference, I might be able to bring myself to part with them as they are all already on my computer.

I've made little progress on the sentimental items - can't seem to discard much, even after taking photos.

Anyway, thanks!! :beer
I’m not an audiophile but I can’t tell the difference between the original CDs and the lossless version. Vinyl is another matter. Vinyl is vinyl. No substitute, imo.

capsaicinguy
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by capsaicinguy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:53 am

We recently downsized from a house into a townhouse less than half the size and the amount of stuff we jettisoned was nothing short of spectacular. Even after we moved we continued to shed tons of stuff, largely because we said "wow, I never want to move THAT again!". I have been on a path towards minimalism for a while now and letting go of various things has been amazing.

I would echo what others have said about PDF'ing all the boxes of papers and storing them on a couple of back-up flash drives. Doing this may spur you to question "do I really need this?" and you may be able to pare down a bit just from that.

Definitely rip the CD's. I held onto my huge tome of discs for years until I realized one day, the only thing I still have anymore to play the actual disc is the computer! Everything is on mp3/flac format. If you are concerned about audio quality definitely rip in FLAC, but I've never really felt I was missing much at a 320kbps rip.

The other thing I dumped a ton of was books! I rediscovered the library and no longer felt the need to hold onto all the books I had acquired over the years. Boxes of books are miserable to move. Some are very hard to find and maybe keep some of those, but ask yourself when you are really going to read any of your books again? The answer for me was "maybe" for a handful of books and "never" for most of the rest. If I want to read it again I'll just go to the library.

Sentimental stuff is the hardest to let go, so leave that for last. If you are looking for some more reading to help spur some thought toward the things we keep and why we are keeping them, I would recommend perusing the website https://www.theminimalists.com/archives/#popular . Maybe it will help you look at the things you are moving in a different way and maybe you will decide you really don't need to keep some of them.

Good luck!

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:55 pm

sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am
Books (1 box)
Personal Papers (3 boxes)
Research materials for a book I'm writing (2 boxes)
You can put all of these on one small portable hard drive (and backup to a cloud service or have a second drive for backup.
sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am
Sentimental Items (5 boxes)
5 boxes? What's all this stuff? This is your biggest problem. I would have 10 boxes of clothes myself and no sentimental items box.
sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am
Furniture and Decorative Items (3 boxes)
Electronic Devices/CDs (1 box)
Bedding/Blankets (1 box)
Clothes (1 box)
Shoes (1 box)
The CDs you can rip and add to the hard drive above - if any of the electronics are dated - drop them for recycling. The rest of the items are likely as small as you can go (I can't imagine getting my clothes into a single box!).
sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 am

The last box of sentimental items holds one souvenir from each of the places I've traveled to.
....
I guess I could toss the books, but that's hard too as I only chose the 25 books that would fit into the IKEA box - and those have special meaning to me.
In my opinion - this is a pretty small set of stuff - I don't think you need to do any further reductions if what you've kept has value for you. If you saw all the boxes up in my attic .....

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Pajamas
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:15 pm

If you are trying to fit everything into a car to move to another city, your stuff doesn't have to be in boxes. You can pack the trunk of a car like you would a suitcase and get a lot more into it than you would using boxes. You can get the heavy-duty contractor garbage bags to put things like clothes in and they will conform to odd volumes of the trunk, back seat, floorboards, even under the seat. Get rid of the cardboard shoe boxes. You can buy plastic shoe boxes that stack to save space when moving if you really need shoeboxes. It's better to let your shoes air out anyway, although the plastic shoe boxes are usually not air-tight.

Really re-think saving all those souvenirs from your travels, especially if you took photographs. Memories are the best souvenirs, anyway. If you decide to keep them, if you have family where you are now, consider asking someone to let you stash those boxes for five years. You don't need to lug all those purely sentimental things with you while you are nomadic.

soccerrules
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by soccerrules » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:24 pm

after reading your post -- impressive.

Dump the lamps keep the rest, now you are at 17.
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

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Watty
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Watty » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:30 pm

I would assume that the CD's are not still in the case.

If not you could get rid of the cases and reduce the size a lot.

Traveler
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Traveler » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:17 pm

aj76er wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:24 pm
Nice to see other like-minded individuals here; I think we are a minority :). My last move got me down to about 20 boxes, give or take and my long term goal is to reduce down to 100 items (not boxes, but items!).

I really love living a minimal lifestyle, both in terms of de-clutter and a small/manageable living space. My condo is currently ~310sqft (with a small storage area included).

My only weakness is musical equipment and instruments :?
100 items? You can't possibly be a woman.
So a week's worth of socks and underwear count for 21?
A plate and set of silverwear along with one knife and a bowl, another six?
A set of towels, sheets and one blanket are another eight.
Passport, wallet, eyeglasses/sunglasses, umbrella, phone, computer, external drive, scissors, nail clipper, razor, two pens, notepad, keys equal 14
Gloves, scarf, hat, four pair of shoes, a jacket/coat, seven shirts, four pair of pants, sweater, four exercise tees, four exercise shorts/pants equal 28

That is 77. I suppose it is possible, although I suspect I am forgetting some critical items. You will be doing laundry often and wearing the same thing very often. You will pretty much have to microwave everything because you don't have a pot/pan to cook in. You can't have a houseguest unless said houseguest is fine with not showering (no towel), not eating (no utensils/plate) and sleeping with no blanket or pillow.

Seems self-limiting for little reason but to each his own.

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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Cycle » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:28 pm

I'm extremely envious of OPs minimalism. I've been selling and donating useless doo-dads for years but the end is never in sight. All papers have been digitized. I've also read many decluttering blogs and books. One word of advice, ruthless. Get rid of the box of electronics and decorations. I got rid of my "priceless" CD collection years ago, uploaded to Google music.

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Cycle
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by Cycle » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:34 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:59 am
3 years from now, my wife and I are going to get in the car and drive South, with only a wallet, cell phone, and the clothes we are wearing. Destination unknown.

In the meantime, we'll get rid of EVERYTHING.

Remember, the things you own end up owning you.
Awesome. Get in the rental car... That will be one less thing.

mouses
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by mouses » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:59 pm

I think you've done an excellent job. The only thing that jumps out at me is to scan things like tax documents and the research materials that aren't books.

When I moved after decades in one place, I had tons of stuff. I got rid of half of it pre-moving. I have made 4-5 passes through it after that, getting rid of more each time. I am probably close to what you have plus my furniture and kitchen stuff.

There is such a thing as too much minimalizing.

If I have any doubt, I keep the thing and think about it later when it becomes clearer.

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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by mouses » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:13 am

Ged wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:56 pm
I still have a garage half full of machine tools and 8 full size book cases.
Find out if your library accepts book donations, Many do to sell them at book sales and use the profits to buy books they want.

Buy some cardboard boxes. Pack them with any books that are not irreplaceable.

Drive them to the library.

Put the excess bookshelves on freecycle.

Get digital copies of books you want to re-read.

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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by mouses » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:18 am

mrc wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:30 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:13 pm
...Personally, I've never understood keeping your wedding dress and things like that. My Mother has had hers for 50 years and not taken it out once. What is the point?
My MIL was married in 1944. My wife wore the dress in 1984. It happens. It was very neat as the war-time silk was very special.
I wonder what my Mom did with her wedding dress. Everyone of that generation is gone, so I'll never know.

sgilmarti89
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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by sgilmarti89 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:21 am

Apologies if I can't get to all the questions.

I actually do have a fair amount of clothes and may even own more (cost-wise) than most people, so I would definitely not call myself a minimalist. In that one box of clothes, I have 15 dress shirts, each tailored and custom-made at a cost of about $100 per shirt, one pair of jeans ($200), 12 casual shirts ($250), and lots of boxer briefs. I have one casual fall coat ($90) and one heavy-duty winter jacket from North Face ($200) that's packed in together with the expensive bedding from Ralph Lauren. Rounding it up are two scarves, one white cashmere (gift) and another grey wool ($250). I also own three suits and 6 accompanying dress pants with a total cost of $2500. Those I am taking with me as hand luggage on the plane (I sold my car) as I do not want to fold them. I think I dress really well, actually.

After all the advice from folks here, I've went back to inventory my personal papers of 3 boxes. 0.75 of one box are originals of financial documents (mostly tax), 0.25 original academic documents including certificates - that's one box. Second box: 0.5 childhood drawings, 0.5 old cards and love letters, random homework I did as a kid, some of which I think is just really funny. The third box of personal papes was handed down by a grand-uncle a while back - it mostly contains originals of really old family documents. Those I have scanned, but it's also the most important box to me, and I'd rather toss the original tax documents before I get rid of this one. I will confess something. Everything in these three boxes has been digitized. I didn't want to say this because I knew people would just ask me to toss those. Truth is, I just can't bear to discard any of the originals. Minimalist I am definitely not.

For the electronics box, I have two laptops, one portable DVD writer, 50 CDs, and all my backup media (digitized papers stored on hard drives) is in this box too. I have kept all the backup media over the years because I don't know how to verify that every file on the most recent backup hasn't been corrupted/accidentally deleted. If I could verify this, it could be reduced greatly, and don't need the duplicate original backups from many years back.

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Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

Post by gd » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:32 am

sgilmarti89 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:55 am
, two boxes are family heirlooms, containing things like two musical instruments with a great deal of family history that someone younger in the family might want some day.
Perhaps it's time for someone else in the family to safeguard them. If no one will, you should consider revising your expectations or your reasons.

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