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How can I BECOME a de-clutterer?

(18 Posts)
mistressploppy Tue 26-Jul-11 13:49:07

There have been a few times in my life when I've been forced to get rid of loads of stuff and I've always felt great.

But I'm a natural hoarder and I really struggle to get rid of things. It's the old 'but I might need it/fit into it later' crap. I'm also really sentimental. And a bit stingy grin

If you are a natural de-clutterer, how does your brain work, please?! How do you get around the 'wasteful' feeling of chucking out perfectly good things?

Should I just pay someone to come and kick me in the shins repeatedly until I throw some stuff away?

ninedragons Tue 26-Jul-11 13:51:22

eBay is your very best friend.

No point saving something just in case you might need it/fit it one day - if you do, you can buy it then. And it means you don't throw away perfectly good things - you sell them for perfectly excellent cash.

mistressploppy Tue 26-Jul-11 14:02:16

Is it idiot-proof, selling on Ebay? <wibble>

Perhaps I should bombard the Oxfam shop and think of it as my charitable contribution instead

ninedragons Tue 26-Jul-11 14:10:57

Well, yes, charity shops are easy and donating to them is good for the soul. It's a nice feeling to get rid of big bags of stuff too.

eBay is designed to be foolproof, or you could try Gumtree if you're in a big city. There is an eBay board here with helpful people who will help you avoid the things that could make your first couple of sales tricky (eg you should probably block bidders from overseas, because working out the postage is a PITA).

The thing that keeps me on the decluttering straight and narrow is thinking about how much a square foot of space costs in my neighbourhood. We cleared out our garage and rent it to a neighbour for 70 quid a week - that gave me a bit of a shock and forced me to think about how expensive space is. Unless you are in the middle of the country with hundreds of outbuildings, it's really not economical to store things you probably won't use.

Wigeon Tue 26-Jul-11 14:14:15

Never (ok, almost never) actually throw things away. In order:

Sell on ebay things which are worth anything (and it's really not that difficult). Or if baby-related, try selling at an NCT sale. Or you can swap books you no longer want (can't remember the names of the various websites out there, but for the price of postage you can swap your unwanted books for a book someone else doesn't want but you do). Or sell books on Amazon.

Charity shop. Very good idea to think of it as your charitable donation for the month.

Freecycle - have you heard of this? Very very handy for things you don't need.

Recycle (eg you can recycle worn out clothes or other fabrics)

Chuck in the bin as a final resort

I never throw out "perfectly good things" if I can possibly help it. I am not the De-clutter Queen but I am getting better at just getting rid of things due to very finite amount of storage in our house!

Deaddei Tue 26-Jul-11 14:20:47

I eBay branded clothes/shoes in excellent condition.
Every school holiday I cull dcs rooms of unwanted/outgrown clothes, books, things and charity shop them.
I have just cleared out the eaves space in the loft and taken 12 framed pictures to the charity shop..we are never going to put them up again.
I do have mild OCD which makes it easier for me to declutter...can't bear cupboards full of crap.....hate the "man drawer" in the kitchen.

BranchingOut Tue 26-Jul-11 15:08:49

I think that you have to look at what the 'stuff' is costing you by being there:

Inability to use the space for something else
The time it takes to organise it, store it, clean etc.
The negative mental energy of feeling cluttered and untidy
Not fitting your changing needs.

Reasonable to keep:

Something for a sport or hobby that you use infrequently, but where it is an advantage for you to have your own eg. ski boots, sewing machine.

Good quality or unusual items of clothing that you have a reasonable expectation you will fit back into eg. I hover somewhere between a 10 and 12 for trousers/skirts etc, so if I have a good quality item in a 10 I keep it.

Genuinely sentimental items. But, review these annually so that you a) get the pleasure of looking at them b) cull things that no longer seem that important.

Not reasonable to keep:

Projects that you are definitely not going to finish - half finished knitting? Give the pattern, needles and wool to someone who will.

Clothes that neither fit you nor are particularly good quality.

'Collections' that you once made. I sold a collection of china animals on ebay. There were people out there who loved them and I just kept my favourite, a little girafe who is sititng on the shelf above me now. By keeping one item I have kept the 'memory' of the collection, but other people out there are appreciating them far more than I did when they were wrapped up in a box.

Things that can be stored in a more compressed form. We had a load of photographs professionally scanned in for us ( a company did it all - google if interested) and we look at them far more now than we did when they were locked away in albums.

Things that have never been to your taste but you recieved them as a gift etc years ago. Ebay, sell or charity shop it - who will really know?!

Duplicates. Two pairs of ski boots? Take a deep breath and pick your favourite.

BranchingOut Tue 26-Jul-11 15:09:38

giraffe - whoops!

Pootles2010 Tue 26-Jul-11 15:21:25

Hacktually I disagree with the throwing things out that don't fit you! Am a yo-yo dieter, if I bought new wardrobe each time I lost/gained weight I'd be bankrupt.

So, I have a thin sucky bag and a fat sucky bag - both are kept in the loft - put stuff in them that is either too big or too small, then suck air out with the vac, so they're really quite small, then sling in loft.

Only stuff i really like is allowed in them though - rest is charity shopped.

BranchingOut Tue 26-Jul-11 16:15:40

I think that is something you reasonably think you will fit into again, so fair enough.

But if someone has steadily been going up the sizes and never gone back down, then keeping too-small clothes is just going to be pointlessly depressing.

OriginalPoster Tue 26-Jul-11 16:24:58

Go on the Save the Children or Oxfam website, read about what they're doing in Africa right now.

Then donate all the stuff that you no longer love to a better home.

Our 4 dcs have just purged their rooms, I am amazed how ruthless they are. We made up little bags of pocket money type toys, or themed bags like Dr Who stuff. I then took it all straight to Save the Children.

Now I need to follow their example in the box room... smile

OriginalPoster Tue 26-Jul-11 16:29:16

Other motivating thoughts

Do you like to be able to find things easily?
Do you like to be able to move around the house without seeing things that need sorting?
Would you like housework to be much easier and quicker?
Would you like to have cupboards which had space to put away things?
Would you like your house to be tidy for guests without a 2 day emergency cleaning spree?

Then chuck out the clutter!

Google flylady or look at the mn threads about flying smile

mistressploppy Wed 27-Jul-11 13:39:15

Thanks everyone, your replies are actually really REALLY helping and I have started a charity bag this morning shock

I do go up and down in weight a lot (and am pg at the moment) but I'm definitely guilty of keeping stuff that is not good quality and that I don't even like that much! hmm

Anther question though - how do you organise weird things like....rubber bands, spare batteries, winter things (scarves, gloves), leads and plugs from camcorders etc? We have a man-drawer problem here too...blush

I try to improve storage but there's never enough, it seems!

mistressploppy Wed 27-Jul-11 13:39:33

Off to find the flying threads...

BranchingOut Wed 27-Jul-11 13:49:41

Anther question though - how do you organise weird things like....rubber bands, spare batteries, winter things (scarves, gloves), leads and plugs from camcorders etc? We have a man-drawer problem here too...

Get ye to IKEA. Buy drawer dividers (Komplement) and little boxes (Kassett). Box for each type of thing, either in a drawer or on a shelf.

ninedragons Wed 27-Jul-11 13:49:59

Find yourself something like a fishing tackle box or a large sewing box for the odds and ends - I have one in a high cupboard in the kitchen that holds stuff like batteries, silver polishing cloths, padlocks (stored with the keys in them), luggage straps, those mini screwdrivers for your glasses, blah blah blah - all manner of otherwise homeless stuff.

I don't even know what all the cords and leads we have belong to, but if I find it lying around and it's got a plug on one end, it goes into the designated cord drawer in the TV cabinet.

mistressploppy Wed 27-Jul-11 14:41:34

Ikea boxes or sewing box. Brilliant <takes notes>

Pootles2010 Wed 27-Jul-11 15:22:31

Winter things - go in sucky bag in loft during summer, then in winter they all live in a big wicker basket by the front/back door (actually looks quite nice!).

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