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to ask you all if you think I will be happier if...

(31 Posts)
DuelingFanjo Tue 23-Aug-11 22:45:16

... I get ruthless with my stuff and throw loads away?

I live in a very small house which has got smaller since my son was born. Add to that the fact that left a much bigger house to move here and have already de-cluttered once, so the stuff I have is the stuff I couldn't bear to part with plus I married a man who also has a load of clutter.

My clutter consists of many books, clothes, shoes, things people have given me. His clutter is clothes and a load of computer and geeky stuff. I am 41 and I still have stuff I had when I was a teenager.

One of the things in life that worries me the most is what people think of my house when they come round, to the point that I don't like inviting people round. Since I had my son there has been a need for more people to visit like health visitors, DH's family and I am really aware that I just can't have my ante-natal group round with their babies.

Has anyone ever gone from being a hoarder to living a more minimalist lifestyle? How did you do it, were you just ruthlessand throw everything out and did it make you happier?

TeamEdward Tue 23-Aug-11 22:47:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

issey6cats Tue 23-Aug-11 22:49:38

think if there was a fire in this house what would i realistically grab, clothes have i worn it in the last 12 months, no then im not likely to, can i put that in a black bag and stick it in the loft and live without it, am i going to read that book again no give it to a charity shop or local charity, how much would that fetch at a boot sale money to buy something i do want, i am not a hoarder but my husband is, i just wait a while till he forgets hes got something and get ruid of it, and yes to keep your house decluttered you do need to be ruthless and not sentimental

AgentZigzag Tue 23-Aug-11 22:49:59

I'd like to think (although I don't want it to happen or anything) that if I lost all my posessions in a house fire, that I'd be OK.

I would be OK because I'd have no choice, but you don't need very much to be happy.

Which I suppose says it's more about how you're thinking about the stuff, rather than the stuff itself IYSWIM?

LindyHemming Tue 23-Aug-11 22:50:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MissVerinder Tue 23-Aug-11 22:53:42

Three boxes- Throw away, give away, put away; regular breaks and a ruthless attitude are all you need!

If you have stuff people gave you and you don't like it/use it, give it to someone who will. If in doubt, chuck it out!

Good luck x

CarnivalBizarre Tue 23-Aug-11 22:53:56

oooh have a bloody good clear out - I have done it several times in my life and I have 6 kids worth of shite to clear but it really is very cathartic

Don't just chuck the stuff though, freecycle it/ charity shop or womens shelters would be really happy to accept your unwanted things - unless of course it is unusable in that case get a man with a van / skip ...but don't hold on to things you no longer need or use because others really might be appreciative of them

I wish I could come and do it for you grin

DuelingFanjo Tue 23-Aug-11 22:57:37

I am looking round now and I can see things I don't want to part with but which are clutter. I worry that if I move to a bigger house in the future - will I regret getting rid of things? I already have boxes of stuff in the loft.

DuelingFanjo Tue 23-Aug-11 22:59:06

so... you are all people who have lived with clutter/things/memories but got rid of them with no ill effects?

CarnivalBizarre Tue 23-Aug-11 23:03:15

I have got shot of things that held memories - the memories are in my head and I don't need to hold onto the physical article which is cluttering my home - I also have a heart like a swinging brick

FlyMeToTheMooncup Tue 23-Aug-11 23:05:22

YES!!! Do it! And use this as a support thread grin

DH and I have been decluttering for a while now, slowly as we've got a lot going on, but it's making an amazing difference. This is what we've done so far:

Get rid of rubbish first. Bin bags, trips to the dump.

Stuff for charity shops - I work at one, so I'll use this as an opportunity to nag anyone reading - please please please separate stuff before you donate. Charities can often recycle manky/unsellable fabric and books and get some money (50-60p ish per kilo), but it takes an awful lot of time to sift through it. So if you can put decent stuff in one bag and unsellable stuff in another, they will probably be really grateful smile

Selling stuff - we did a couple of boot fairs first to get rid of stuff quickly, fairly low prices because space was more important than money, but still with room to haggle. After 2 fairs we didn't really have enough to make a 3rd one worthwhile, so we donated more to charity and have just started ebaying the rest. My hoarder parents have even asked if we will sell some of their stuff for them in exchange for some of the profit grin

The key is ruthlessness. We still have such a long way to go... But actually being able to see the floor is a good incentive to carry on!

TeamEdward Tue 23-Aug-11 23:09:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrendelsMum Tue 23-Aug-11 23:10:59

I do occasionally miss things that I've given away, but one of my key reasons for getting rid of things is so that other people can enjoy them. so although I felt a little sad last week I'd got rid of a jacket I had when I was 19 or so, I could think about some other 19 year old who's probably enjoying it now. could you try thinking about your possessions like that? as though they've gone to a new home to continue making someone else happy?

TeamEdward Tue 23-Aug-11 23:11:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrendelsMum Tue 23-Aug-11 23:12:26

I also persuaded DH to get rid of a whole load of photos the other day. when he came to look over them, he was astonished at the rubbish he'd kept, which stopped him being able to find some lovely, meaningful photos.

marriedinwhite Tue 23-Aug-11 23:16:00

If it isn't documentary evidence which needs to be kept for future investments or tax reasons why do you need to keep anything that has no extrinsic or deeply sentimental value for more than six months. Something truly beautiful, something signed, something original, something deeply sentimental (ie, the ballgown I wore the night I met my husband - and the boyfriend before that - oops, forgot, after owning it for 28 years sent it to dd's summer fair for the vintage stall) can be kept - but the 13th edition of Pride and Prejudice that you had for O'Level English - do you really need something like that. Am trying to convince DH that most of his books are probably available on Kindle or on-line.

Pack up what you can't part with but don't need and which has no value and get yourself a quote from a storage company. If you are prepared to pay the annual rental it's worth keeping; if you aren't then it isn't. Just rationalise its value and be pragmatic.

PS: You can keep the children and the cat, one baby outfit, the papers with the birth announcement, your wedding cards, the baby cards and the little plastic bracelets they got when they were born. Apart from that one manky first tooth will suffice (you really don't need all 20!).

learningtofly Tue 23-Aug-11 23:16:06

I too am a hoarder. The loft is bursting full of stuff I can't bear to part with. Including (in no particular order) :

A toy my great grandmother bought me (she passed away in 81)
School books
University work ( 11 years old)
Books from my childhood
Medals and certificates from my childhood
Stuff my late mum bought me
Clothes I can't bear to part with

Dh says it is helping insulate the loft! You are not alone smile

cjbartlett Tue 23-Aug-11 23:17:25

Can I just point out that who reads school reports when they're 90? Both parents & child, who are you keeping them for?!

learningtofly Tue 23-Aug-11 23:20:16

Me! To remind me I was once good at something! And I had potential!

issey6cats Tue 23-Aug-11 23:21:38

the only thing i have held onto through thick and thin is a dolls cot made of metal bars, my dad made it for me when i was one year old and he died when i was nine years old, and a silly little lion ornament that i can remember buying for my mom when i was six years old, , i have kept photos of the kids when they were younger as they are only kids once, and a pink sheet from my daughters cot as i hand printed cartoon characters on it, other objects are nice memories in my mind even when i moved into a bungalow that wouldnt take my three bookcases full of years of collecting series of authurs i was passionate about the books went to the boot sale and had a delighted guy buy them all me to take to france for his new house so gave pleasure to someone else, and im happy

hairfullofsnakes Tue 23-Aug-11 23:22:03

I need to do this! Oh to be more ruthless and let it go!

BrawToken Tue 23-Aug-11 23:26:39

Oh Dueling I need to declutter so badly too. I am going to watch this for inspiration. I hate unannounced visitors and have a small 2 bed house with 2 kids and lots of junk important mementos.

FlyMeToTheMooncup Tue 23-Aug-11 23:37:54

IME there are two methods for sorting through stuff.

1) getting a box of stuff and sorting through it. Maybe I'm unusual but this just doesn't work for me. Because the stuff that you're keeping has nowhere to go. Stuff just gets moved around. And it's easy to get hung up on one object, agonising over whether to keep it... It's also really tiring and you don't see much difference after a lot of work.

2) do 'sweeps' of the house (or a room if that's easier). I've started doing this since DD was in her own room and it is so much better for me. Don't focus on one particular box. Basically you start at the lowest/easiest level of decluttering - the most obvious stuff is rubbish. Just 'sweep' the room and grab what you can see that you KNOW - without thinking about it for more than a few seconds - you can throw away. Don't worry about missing stuff that's buried, you'll get to it eventually grin

The next sweep is the "stuff you aren't keeping but is too good to throw out" one. You could have one box for Sell and one for Donate, they can be sorted in more detail later. Pick something up, if it's for selling/donating then put it in the box. If you aren't sure or if you're keeping it, stick it back where it was, it doesn't matter right now.

Next is what I call the "main categories" sweep. In my DD's room, main categories would be toy vehicles, toy people/animals, bricks and books. In the living room, paperwork would be the biggest. Get a box for each category and find stuff to go in it. If something isn't in a main category, leave it. And don't worry about sorting the boxes, bung all the paperwork in, you'll get to it later.

After that you just gradually reduce the 'level' of category - for DD's room it'd be game/puzzle pieces (all in a box together) - just go through finding them. Then you should have space to actually sort out the category boxes into their proper place, and all you'll have left is those random bits you don't know what to do with, but now you'll have the physical and mental space to think about it. What I like about the sweep method is that it makes a bigger difference really quickly, so it's more motivating. On writing all this I just realised I've been using the same method for various parts my new job in a library! Interestingly, my colleagues/bosses have already mentioned how efficient I am at certain things so maybe my method isn't so crazy smile

Sorry, I have waffled so much blush hope it helps a little and I haven't made a twat of myself for nothing grin

BrawToken Tue 23-Aug-11 23:43:50

Great advice fly. Bitesize chunks - it's so daunting otherwise which is why I sit on mn ignoring the junk.

DuelingFanjo Tue 23-Aug-11 23:54:19

ok. I am going to start with the room which should be my son's nursery. Two days ago I moved all my vinyl from that room to under the stairs as I really can't bear to get rid of it. I never listen to it but there's a whole life of memories in those records. There's a bookcase of books, most of which can just go as I haven't been able to get to the shelves for months, so I plan to sort through it all and box it up for the car-boot. I know there 's also 2 bin bags of clothes I haven't worn since before I got pregnant which I can sort through for charity/car boot.

I'm going to do a sweep of each room too. It's quite hard with an 8 month old baby but I should have a whole day free next week so will keep you updated.

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