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decluttering/selling/not selling, feeling down about it all,advice please

(46 Posts)
penguinplease Fri 07-Dec-12 21:26:36

Hi, I am really in need of some advice and probably a really big kick up the bum.

My house is a tip and I am so fed up of it, I just can't seem to get it tidy/sorted. Why am I so bad at it?
For example I have lots of stuff that I think I'll sell as it seems such a waste to throw it out but I don't have time to list it anywhere to actually sell it so it is sitting around the house in piles/bags/in the way.

I have 3dcs and they are affected by my mess. My house is clean, I move the mess to clean but I just can't seem to part with anything, its all shit, I know in my heart that I don't need most of it and that I would be happy enough without it but still I struggle. I struggle with my stuff and so they are the same which is really sad.

I am so ashamed that 2 of my children share a bedroom that is so cluttered with stuff - theirs and mine that they actually can sleep in there but nothing else.

I just don't know where to start, every evening I have such optimism and hope that tomorrow will be different and it never is. I'm so fed up and unhappy with the prospect of living in this mess any longer.

Can anyone talk sense into me, surely thinking of selling stuff but not having time means I should just give it away.. or should I sell it?

I just feel like hiring a skip and throwing it all out.
Is there any hope that my house will ever be tidy and comfortable?? I so wanted this Xmas to be different

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 07-Dec-12 21:43:01

I'm a mum to three DC, house on market, piles of waiting to be eBayed. Okay I admit it I'm a clutter bug hoarder.

I am getting there though. People keep saying wow where have you put everything to me when they visit.

I decided to only sell stuff I felt I could list at £10 or more.could that be a compromise for you? Charity shop other good stuff, bin/ burn other stuff.

I'm not very good at parting with stuff so DH and my parents put the bags in the boot of their cars as soon as I've bagged it.

I've broken it down into little chunks. I started with the hall, went through shoes and coats etc, brought fresh flowers and dusted of a vase. Then it felt nice coming Into the house. Next the kitchen. I cleared out of date food, old plastic tat that we don't really use but may have one day come in handy, extra serving dishes that hadn't been used for several years etc, chipped mugs, various duplicated utensils and baking trays. Recently I did the Christmas decorations. Four boxes into 1 large clip lock one.

I've done one andDH's room. It's really nice to go into now all the clothes fit back in drawers and the wardrobe.

I've done my DD'sroom. It's almost bare now. My DS's share a room and that is a hell hole yet to be tackled, I've nibbled at the edges but I really need to build up strength and take the plunge and resultant grief from throwing away favourite cardboard creations.

It's just over two weeks to Christmas could you find four 1 hour sessions and tackle your top four clutter locations to see how far you get?

thatlldopigthatlldo Fri 07-Dec-12 21:48:39

I've just read this book
it helps you understand why you've got into this position.

You can have my copy if you want.

thatlldopigthatlldo Fri 07-Dec-12 21:50:08

and yes, selling stuff on ebay etc can be procrastination. If it's actually affecting you, then charity shop it and get rid. You'll feel so much better.

thatlldopigthatlldo Fri 07-Dec-12 21:50:59

i vote for a skip.

penguinplease Fri 07-Dec-12 22:00:49

I think I have inherited being like this, my mum is terrible and I used to be so ashamed as a child and even as I got older that I never let anyone come round but that is almost making my situation now even more heartbreaking as I wonder if my children feel like that too.
They must be fed up that we can never find anything, nothing has a real place and I just seem incapable of getting rid of stuff.

I think I have to stop thinking about the possible money I might make and just bag it up and get it gone, I have lost count of the times I have bagged stuff up that has then ended up being absorbed into the house.

I just seem to have mess everywhere and I can never just hoover or tidy a room quickly, its always a half a day job. I also buy more constantly. I just feel that if I don't get a grip of it now it will get so out of control.

Thank you for the advice, I think I am going to try and approach it with a fresh mind tomorrow and as soon as its bagged up take it straight out of the house and stop thinking about the money I "might" make.

It just feels so daunting, every single thing has some sort of meaning/possible use. I'm ridiculous!

FannyBazaar Fri 07-Dec-12 22:03:11

I have recently started dealing with my clutter. I have been doing a mixture of freecycling, ebaying, charity shop and giving to others. I know I can't do it all at once so I am appreciating every piece of stuff that leaves my house as a piece of space I have reclaimed. Stuff that doesn't sell on eBay I am giving away. I have thrown away hardly any which is great because I hate waste.

I take quite a bit to school for 'junk modelling'. I try to keep a bag for the stuff and when it's full send it in with DS.

I am finding my decluttering is snowballing and I am getting more and more done all the time.

A friend taught me a great filing tip which is to file all utility bills, bank statements, credit card bills in one file marked with the year only so you can dispose of the stuff easily when it is no longer required to be kept. I have since burned piles of neatly filed paperwork like bank statements that I had diligently filed in monthly order and stapled together in their own folders never to be looked at again. Once I heard of the new method, it was so much easier to go through the piles of paperwork around the place and shove it into yearly folders. I found this really satisfying.

What have you done to the clutter today? Have a look around you and pick something to start on.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 07-Dec-12 22:13:20

It does make you feel better, once the first few bags are gone. You build a sort of momentum.

Yes things do have a use, this is why charity shops can sell them, all of my clutter hasa use. It's function is however being clutter, which meansI can't see what I've got and can't make use of it.

Some decluttering books have little mantras like 'have I used this in x months, will I use it in the next month?'

Can you reward yourself, x bags and a charity shop run then a quiet coffee (without DC) in town before returning home?

We reabsorb stuff. The DC (but probably due to me) unpack bags by the door so they have to go straight into the car.

The thing I'm most impressed by though, is that I'm learning when I'm looking at bargains to think 'where will this go?'.

Don't beat yourself up or over think this. Set a little positive goal. Before bed bin one thing from the room you're in now.

cyanarasamba Sat 08-Dec-12 08:10:36

I tell myself that part of being a parent is dealing with the kids outgrown clothes, unused toys, artwork, the paperwork they generate, etc etc. If I don't they they can't properly enjoy the things that are appropriate for them right now.

As someone has said before, only try to sell the best high value items. After that I try to give to friends, or even mums at the school gate with a younger sibling. Things that are not so nice i charity shop. By some sort of karma I seem to get given things I need along the way, and pick up some great bargains in the charity shops. So keep those 'things' in circulation.

Best of luck, you can do this!

pecans Sat 08-Dec-12 08:10:42

I think dropping any idea of making money is the best way to go. I had piles of stuff in my bedroom for weeks, waiting for the nct sale. Spent hours labelling it all, dropped it off, helped with the sale ... I made about £40. It so wasn't worth it! Now I bag stuff up and give it away but currently have a bag of old shoes in my hallway and a bag of broken toys downstairs. You've inspired me to take them to the recycling bins today!!

pecans Sat 08-Dec-12 08:11:26

The artwork defeats me utterly though.

TryingToBuyAHouse Sat 08-Dec-12 12:46:08

You need to stop shopping too, as obvious as that sounds, you need to be the gatekeeper to your home and stop more 'stuff' coming in through your front door, otherwise you will be on a never ending cycle. You need to physically prevent yourself from shopping and only shop if it is to replace something that children have out grown for example. If you're buying new shoes from Clarks for example, get the kids to put on new shoes and leave old ones in their charity shoe bin- this deals with it immediately.

Don't ebay stuff as your problem looks like it needs addressing immediately. I fell into this trap a couple of years ago, keeping stuff I meant to eBay and it was still laying around or stuffed in cupboards four years later. Ship it out to charity. Set yourself an area to work on for an afternoon, fill bags (and yes, this will feel hard and bring up emotions) but steel yourself to get them into you car, drive to a charity shop or recycling bank, drop them off and then get home and have a nice dinner and sit there feeling pleased with yourself that you have made a difference.

Even 15 mins makes a difference, set the timer and see if you can fill a carrier bag, immediately go to your car, sling it in your boot and as you go out that day drop it off. Get it out you house, your life, look at the pocket of space you have just made and congratulate yourself. You can do this, you can make a difference for you and your children. You have to be honest with yourself about your stuff.

Sit down with your children and talk about what you're doing, I bet they'd be there to help you once you say you're making a nicer home for them. Give them a box and send them into their rooms, I bet you'd be surprised about what they actually don't want.

TryingToBuyAHouse Sat 08-Dec-12 12:48:11

Pecans, I recycle 'artwork' once a week and only keep nicest stuff. I did do much artwork when I was a child, I have none of it now and have never even looked at it/wanted too!
Or, you could always scan stuff and keep it digital!

ClareMarriott Sat 08-Dec-12 21:31:57


Ok, what can be accomplished in one day ? If you have already decided what things you wanted to list for Ebay, don't- just bag them up and take them to your nearest charity shop. You will have made a start !!!! Then what I would suggest you do, is fill up the dishwasher and the washing machine and in the time it takes for those machines to wash and wash ( !! ) go round your house, picking up things that should be in another room and deposit them there. How long will that take ? More success !!!! Then perhaps you could tackle making sure there is nothing left on the floors so you can tackle the hoovering in one go . How good will that make you feel ? The next day you could sort your wardrobe out and carry on doing stuff in small chunks . But remember to keep hold of things that you find beautiful , are beautiful to look at, remind you of things/memories, your children. Best of luck

educatingarti Sat 08-Dec-12 21:33:13

Penguin - can you ship bags out to the charity shop and "think of the money they might make". What a lovely Christmas gift you will be giving your chosen charity! It is not just the same as throwing it out - is is making money but you ar e gifting it to someone else! If you have stuff already bagged up, try just to take it to the charity shop without looking into the bags again. Could you ask a friend relative to take it for you so you can't have any second thoughts?

I think the first drop off at the charity shop will be the worst. It will get easier.

Could you have a competition with your DCs? Who can find the most things to send to the charity shop? DCs vs mum!

If a whole skip would be a bit daunting for the stuff that can't be charity shopped, what about a hippo bag?

Brycie Sat 08-Dec-12 21:37:25

Thanks for this thread. You're me - I have sheds full of stuff (literally, two sheds). I keep thinking, car boot, ebay. But I can't do ebay and I can never have the car on the weekend because of sports.

The push for me is realising right now tonight that the sheds are so full of shit I don't use, that I can't find the things I DO use, to wit the fricking Christmas tree decorations. No chance of finding time to clear it before Christmas. I'll find the decorations then everything we've had to move to fit the tree in will go down to the shed as well. I need a month, a whole month.

To add to the impossibility - my husband works from home four out of five days a week. There is NOTHING more enervating than having someone in "loungewear" sitting in the corner of the sofa on a laptop for seven hours of the day. It makes me want to go to bed rather than work round him.

trixymalixy Sat 08-Dec-12 21:44:00

This weekend I have bagged up 8 binbags full of clothes, 2 large boxes and 2 binbags full of stuff. I had been intending to eBay it all, but it has just been cluttering up the house and I am going to take it all to a charity shop next week. It feels like a relief to have made that decision. I can't wait to get rid of it.

It probably is a waste, but I would never have got round to it. I have saved one binbag full of designer kids clothes. If I haven't ensued it by Easter it's going to the charity shop.

Brycie Sat 08-Dec-12 21:53:10

Trixy I wonder if it actually saves more money getting rid of stuff even if you don't ebay? Because you'll be happier being at home, you'll have access to all sorts of things you couldn't find before. I've got three pairs of secateurs because I couldn't find them and god knows how many screwdriver sets, not to mention fricking baskets to basket up all the CRAP. I'm basketed out.

fuzzpig Sat 08-Dec-12 21:59:27

I'm off to bed now so I will read through this properly tomorrow, but I just wanted to say, you CAN do this.

I have hoarding tendencies too, I think there is a myriad of reasons for it. But what I've realised recently is that in order to declutter your house, you must first declutter your mind.

I know it sounds all woo, and sorry for repeating myself as I've posted that on other similar threads too, but it really is true. You have to be mentally ready to lose your dependence on Stuff.

It is only really recently that I've finally started to get to that stage, and I had my own rock bottom scenario (kind of like any other type of addict, in that YOU need to really see how much it's affecting your life) - my health has declined a lot and I finally started seeing how much clutter is making my life physically harder.

Hoarding doesn't have to be as bad as on How Clean Is Your House or other tv shows, to affect your happiness and health.

Anyway, I am obviously struggling physically to continue decluttering but my mind is becoming more free. smile

choccyp1g Sat 08-Dec-12 22:17:23

I'm adreadful hoarder, but a few tips I have found useful:

1. Unless you really need the money, don't bother with e-bay. Generally, you don't get anywhere near what you think it is worth, plus it is a load of hassle packing and posting. Take most stuff straight to the charity shop. I used to give donations of £20 or so to Oxfam if there was a big disaster appeal, so why was I grudging them £10 or £20 of sales throughout the year?

2. Think about what your house is worth, and divide by the number of rooms; if you have a room full of junk in a 3 bed house, it is actually costing you about a fifth of your mortgage !

TaffyandTeenyTaffy Sat 08-Dec-12 22:27:05

Do you have one of those cash4clothes type places that will collect? I have got rid of about 20 bin bags of clothes (that I had planned to ebay but never got around!) to this way. I got about £30 for it over 2 sessions and put the money towards a new phone.

trixymalixy Sat 08-Dec-12 23:13:34

Brycie, I have also found many things I couldn't locate. I bought DD loads of tights in the monsoon and gap sales. Nearly had to buy more as I couldn't find them. Also found reindeer food just in time!

Adversecalendar Sat 08-Dec-12 23:19:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fuzzpig Sun 09-Dec-12 08:56:15

Yes, rags are recycled for money and so are tatty books. British Heart Foundation (can't speak for any others) get 64p/kg for rags, and 50p/kg for books. The latter really adds up fast, so it's a great way of giving them income.

And especially this time of year they really need donations.

I've done similar with keeping stuff to sell but actually a lot of it isn't really worth the hassle - if it goes for only 99p on eBay for example... it's just not worth it when you factor in packaging, going to post it etc... we just donated most stuff and have only kept the things we know will fetch a decent amount (eg duplo)

Seabright Sun 09-Dec-12 11:22:48

Don't forget freecycle/freegle too, especially if it's hard to get to the charity shop. Just list really simply, something along the lines of "3 bin bags of toddler toys"

The freecycler you pick will come and collect; you don't even have to stay in, I usually just leave stuff in the porch.

It's great for bulky/awkward stuff that's hard to move

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