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to not enjoy donating to the charity shop?

(29 Posts)
NickNacks Mon 24-Oct-11 11:31:49

I realise I live in a cluttered home and I don't like it so have been really trying hard to declutter lately. I find it really difficult to get rid of things and boxes I have organised for the charity shop sit in my car for weeks on end. I have talked about this issue to people IRL and many have said 'Just do it and you'll feel like a weight has been lifted/ you won't miss any of it/ it will make you feel generous' etc etc.

So after dropping the DCs at friends this morning I past a charity shop and stopped, handed over the box and walked out quickly before I could change my mind and now I am home.

But I don't feel better. I feel sick and worried and anxious. WTF is wrong with me!

NotJustClassic Mon 24-Oct-11 11:32:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NickNacks Mon 24-Oct-11 11:37:09

Really? Did you feel like this?

JanePumpkin Mon 24-Oct-11 11:42:33

Well, yanbu. I think it's really important that you know you want to get rid of the things you're giving away - otherwise it's just an arbitrary decision and you might well regret it.

I've spent my life being badgered by an overzealous mother to chuck out all my stuff, whether it matters to me or not because truthfully, nothing matters to her and she can't abide 'stuff'. As a consequence I chucked out a lot of things I really liked, as a child, having a tiny room, while my elder sister with the big room still had everything she'd ever owned.

I now keep everything, well, far too much, because my ability to make decisions for myself has been mentally blocked by it being forced on me for many years. I panic when I have to decide.

So I keep things till I know I really don't want them any more. That makes me feel less out of control.

Don't do it just because people tell you to, in other words. Take your time. The emotional decisions are the hard bit. Once you've realised you can let something go, it's easy peasy. So do it in your own way and your own time.

AMumInScotland Mon 24-Oct-11 11:59:10

It sounds like you attach a lot of emotional importance to this "stuff" even if you know you'd like to be less cluttered. The fact that you hung onto the boxed things for weeks even after (theoretically) deciding you didn't need them tells you that you were unhappy about getting rid of them.

You need to have a think about why you attach the importance to them (is it everything? is it things that provoke memories?) and why you attach importance to "not being cluttered" - do you actually want to have less stuff and less "attachment" to stuff, or is there outside pressure on you?

You probably would feel good about getting rid of things if you could convince yourself to do it, but you only did it "under pressure" this time, because the boxes were in your car and you felt people were pushing you. So you now feel unhappy because the reasons you wanted to not get rid were still there in the back of your mind.

If you are really struggling with this - hoarding rather than "ordinary" clutteredness, then do think about getting a referral to someone to talk about it - they could maybe help you look at why you feel the attachment and what it comes from, so you can take steps to improve it.

But plenty of people keep lots of things "just in case" and it doesn't mean they have a problem, even if they'll never have a show-home. So I think it depends how much you feel it is a problem - if attachment to things is getting in the way of you being happy in your life, then you need to take steps. If not, maybe just accept that's how you are?

NickNacks Mon 24-Oct-11 11:59:56

Seems it's a far more emotional process than I first thought!

I really do want less 'stuff' though. The children have far too many toys. So many that they don't have room to play in their rooms and we made a decision last night that we can't have everyone to ours for xmas tis year as there just isn't room.

Pagwatch Mon 24-Oct-11 12:08:27

I have this problem. It is odd but it is about emotional vulnerability and nothing else in my case.

I grew up very poor. If I just give things away I feel incredibly guilty that I have been wasteful and one day I might need them -even things like too small baby clothes.
I could walk into a charity shop, stuff £100 in the collection box and feel great about it. Hand over three too small gap jumpers and I am sweating and upset.

I make myself do it. Remind myself constantly that the things are more useful there than in a bag in my house. And then get under the duvet grin

Make it a routine. Make yourself give something every week. Don't let it build up and become more of a thing.

TheFidgetySheep Mon 24-Oct-11 12:11:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NickNacks Mon 24-Oct-11 12:12:58

I think I'm in the second category Amum. I don't keep everything- and have no problem in getting rid of broken/horrible things or rubbish. I am a childminder (and full!) and if my house was truly dreadful I don't think I would have people leaving their children here. But I do have far too many toys/ clothes/furniture/junk. I don't think its stopping me being happy in life (apart from the rant about messy rooms) but I definitely would like to be more chilled about getting rid of perfectly good items.

skybluepearl Mon 24-Oct-11 12:18:46

I have the same problem but for different reasons. If I take my stuff to our charity shop they then sell it on at a really inflated priced. The charity shop here thinks it is so very chic and above serving the local needy community. So theres little charity from my local charity shop and I give them nothing. Zip. Instead I take my stuff to more resonable community minded charity shops further away.

NickNacks Mon 24-Oct-11 12:20:06

Gosh Pag you might have hit the nail on the head.

I didn't grow up poor (or rich in fact) but had a baby young and DH and I lived in a one bed flat on one NMW job between us. Everything we owned was second hand/ donated to us and are now just about able to buy our own new stuff. We are now getting on our feet (after 9 yrs) and I worry about being poor again and needing these things/the money they represent.


NotJustClassic Mon 24-Oct-11 12:21:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pagwatch Mon 24-Oct-11 12:34:09


You are welcome. It took 4 months of counselling for me to figure that out.

On the one hand I associated 'stuff' with being comfortable and safe so I did ridiculous things like buy my dd more than 45 dresses in the year she was five and then the guilt and the fear made me unable to give them away.

It was a cycle. Once I understood what I was doing, I was able to stop the buying. But I still have to work through the guilt at giving stuff away.

I am getting there.

I love de-cluttering and make regular trips to the local charity shops with bags full of stuff, but I have to admit to bursting into tears one day when I saw one of ds2's baby jumpers that he'd grown out of, so I'd taken to the shop and there it was a couple of weeks later. I was so distraught I nearly bought it blush

MackerelOfFact Mon 24-Oct-11 12:42:05

I find it reasonably easy to chuck unwanted stuff in a bag but DP has to take it to the actual shop else I start rummaging and liberating things from it. I can't go into a shop I've donated to for a couple of weeks after though because I dread seeing my things on display. I think I'd march in and claim it back!

mrsmellow Mon 24-Oct-11 12:47:16

I struggle too, so we have a system where I ask DH to 'put things away for me' and he brings them to the charity shop. He also instituted a 'one in one out' policy. Works very well for us.

colken Mon 24-Oct-11 12:52:11

If you don't like the idea of taking your things to a charity shop, why not try a car boot sale? Or a local community table top sale. Someone suggested e-bay and I concur with this. I don't do it myself though. I sold a jigsaw that way once and I finished up out of pocket!

Or, if it's clothes or household items like saucepans or chairs, what about the Salvation Army?

BertieBotts Mon 24-Oct-11 13:15:02

I dropped off a bag of clothes the other day too and felt really worried after - what if something I wanted had got into the bag by mistake? What if I changed my mind and really missed one of the things? What if they deemed them unsellable because I hadn't washed them well enough and they just got recycled instead?


Would it help to donate them to some kind of charity instead where you know they'd be used, like a project which recycles clothes for homeless people, or makes baby and children's clothing parcels for struggling families, or donating women's and children's clothes to a women's refuge?

I've started sorting out DS' clothes once he grows out of them and letting friends with younger children look through the pile and take what they would like. I intend to ebay the rest but might keep some special things. I've told my friends if I end up having another child and they happen to still have DS' old things then, great, I'll have them back, but if they get lost/spoiled/handed on to other people then it doesn't bother me too much. And actually I find that the thought of that doesn't bother me as much as I thought it might.

NickNacks Mon 24-Oct-11 13:21:25

"What if I changed my mind and really missed one of the things?"
This is what I worry about most.

I don't have time or energy to sell at a car boot/ebay but mainly I would worry about coming home with it all again. grin

I might see if one of my mindees would like some clothes- thats a good idea.

I like the one in, one out idea. The purpose of my declutter now was to make room for xmas.

LoveInAColdGrave Mon 24-Oct-11 13:26:44

Would it help to bag/box up the things you want to give away, date them, put them in the loft for 6 months, a year, whatever you're comfortable with (put the date to check them on the calendar or they'll still be there when you move house!), then if you haven't missed anything in that time, give them away then?

I also find it stressful getting rid of stuff but have got much better - the above helps.

BertieBotts Mon 24-Oct-11 13:30:10

The way I get around that one is promising myself that if I do really miss something, I can always go out and buy something new to replace that particular thing. So for example I've got rid of some plain matalan tops in verious colours which are really past their best, but I was hanging on to them because plain tops are useful, but I never buy plain tops as it seems too extravagant (if I'm spending, I would rather spend on a nice/different/patterned top than a plain one) and have decided that if I particularly miss one of the colours, then I give myself permission to go out and buy a plain top in that colour, from H&M or somewhere.

I have had a couple of things ready to throw out and then ran out of clean clothes and wore one one day and DP said "Oh, I like you in that" and I couldn't get rid of it then blush

MurderOfProse Mon 24-Oct-11 14:45:56

Oh my goodness, I hear you.

I used to be fine about "stuff" until one day my older sister woke me up in the middle of the night to retrieve something from the bin (quite some distance away) that had been decluttered the previous day. I didn't want to go, but she kept going on about how lonely it would be down there and so on. That was the start of it.

Then my mum used to buy back the clothes she'd knitted for us herself at school jumble sales.

I'm actually fine getting rid of my stuff these days, it's just I can't get rid of the children's stuff. One day I was really brave and took tons round to a Nearly New Sale. I was actually really upset the next day that I'd sold one of DD2's (obviously too small now) sleepsuits and so my newfound ruthlessness actually set me back again. I felt pressured into it by DH so I think AMumInScotland is onto something there. I need to do it in my own time.

DH has given up trying to convince me to get rid of everything that the children have worn but in exchange I get rid of a LOT of my stuff now and I sort through the children's stuff after a few years have passed. Ironically, the children don't care what I throw out..

One thing we do to minimise the distress (of dp and ds's!) is we put everything outside (under cover) in bin bags for a couple of weeks or so, and then it usually stays in the car boot for another week or so, giving everyone plenty of opportunity to miss something and retract! grin

JanePumpkin Mon 24-Oct-11 15:06:53

Every time I have a sort out I end up with a 'maybe' pile of stuff that's kind of on probation, I can't reach a decision about what to do with it. So I don't force myself to, I leave it there, then the next time I often find I either want something,, or definitely don't - it stays in my consciousness for that time, working its way onto a yes or no situation. That makes it a bit easier.

Some things I feel guilty about, as in I bought them by mistake, they didn't fit etc and I feel like I should try and get money for them on ebay etc...but it's unlikely they will sell for much. So they sit around instead. I try and find friends or family to give things to as that neatly sidesteps the money issue. I'd prefer to give things to people I know than charity shops where stuff gets binned regularly.

Feminine Mon 24-Oct-11 15:28:55

I enjoy dropping it off ,here you can unload from the back of the car ...everyone at Goodwill is very pleased and grateful to see you, you can even claim it against your taxes.

I DO NOT like donating in the UK so much... grouchy ungrateful ladies ,who behave like they are doing you a favour for taking it.

I only donate wonderful bits too grin

I agree though, it gets easier each time, and you will love your clutter free home!

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