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Out with the old and in with - NOTHING! Further adventures in minimalism.

(996 Posts)
MrsPennyapple Fri 12-Apr-13 21:34:59

Following on from the Minimalist Journey and Minimalist Quiche threads. The journey continues...

Asinine Mon 15-Apr-13 17:10:32

Hi can i join?

I've been lurking on the old quiche for a while, and have been read minimalists blogs recently. I got into decluttering years ago through flylady and I love the whole anti consumerist/simple living philosophy.

Saying that, there are still corners of the house which are full of junk, particularly the study, as I am scared of paperwork, and our shredder has died (again).

We are a largish family in a big house so things do accumulate quickly, if I don't consciously chuck stuff. Dh is getting the idea, so when he buys something he always chucks at least one or two of that category of item.

What I do notice is that the rooms which are dejunked are easy to keep tidy, and cleaning is easy.

Anyway, looking forward to hearing about everyone's efforts.

ilovespongebob Mon 15-Apr-13 17:14:16

Been lurking for a long time but find this thread so inspiring and motivating that I have decided to join in. I love a tidy and organised house, open my kitchen cupboards (the favourite room in the house) and no-one would know about my deep and dark hoarding demons hiding in the attic! Things have gradually got worse, low mood, busy at work, demanding boys, PTA and other Committees, but no more excuses....... Yesterday I made the decision to declutter my much loved collection of cookery magazines, Good Food and Delicious year 2008 onwards. I pulled them all out the cupboard and was going to just recycle them, I knew I needed to take fast action, if I just left them in a pile, they would migrate upwards or go back in the cupboard. The magazines troubled me during the night, what a waste, all that money....... Then ta dah, light bulb moment, I contacted one of my local secondary schools to see if the Home Ec Dept would like them and yes they did and so they were delivered to them this morning, less than 24 hours after I decided to declutter them. I had a few doubts on the way but when the Home Ec tutor was so genuinely delighted to have them I felt very happy. Just a baby step but I have started.

Have just got back after a mammoth shoe shopping trip for my two boys, why do they grow out of shoes at the same time and all of them at once! In with the new straight out with the old.

Looking forward to my new slow but determined journey with you guys.

BeCool Mon 15-Apr-13 17:21:04

Welcome Asinine and ilovespongebob

bob I feel all that crap about magazines. Now I buy very few of them, though still the odd Vanity Fair. I've jut recycled my recent stash - new 'rule' for me is I can't buy another one until the previous one is out of the house! Good thinking re the school though. I've kept untold cookery mags in the past - but they are all gone now.

Regarding the cost, perhaps it would help to think of the cost at the point of purchase, and treat it as a disposable item (which essentially it is)? Really it is only as a collection that they seem to have 'value'.

Asinine Mon 15-Apr-13 17:37:57

I don't buy magazines, they are usually designed to make you want to buy stuff. Unless there is a minimalist magazine? confused

Reading declutter type blogs and hopefully this thread has the opposite effect.

ilovespongebob Mon 15-Apr-13 18:00:10

Books are another one of my problems areas. In my mind I am a keen reader, but the fact that I have maybe 100 unread fiction books because they were on offer or someone recommended it tells me that perhaps I am not. I am a very keen cook and do enjoy reading/browsing cookery books and my collection probably stands at 250, those I will not be parted!

I keep trying to get myself pysched up to tackle the attic of doom but I can always come up with an excuse, I just don't know how to deal with the stuff. There is kids stuff, clothes that don't fit, never fitted, are too good to recycle or just give away, sentimental things, outgrown toys and just plain old rubbish. I had a mania for buying presents for parties because it was always handy to have one in hand but now my boys are growing up parties are few and far between and I have lots of unwanted presents which aren't even age appropriate. I have been using some of them for raffle prizes etc but I just feel so angry for the waste of money now. It's not like we are loaded!

I had another idea about passing on some of the better quality children's books to my younger son's school - we have collections of horrible histories etc. Am going to send that email now!

Hope no-body minds my ramblings, it's going to help to focus my mind.

Am open to hints, tips and suggestions.

Asinine Mon 15-Apr-13 18:28:53

Sponge bob

250 cookery books-wow!Do you use them?

I have 12 and I thought that was overkill. When I cook something new I tend to look it up online, read a few recipes and comments then just do it using the ideas I like best.So I don't really need any, unless I declutter my iPad! If I could only save three I know which they'd be, easily. Which probably means the other nine could go?


ilovespongebob Mon 15-Apr-13 18:50:29

I know it does seem a bit excessive. I dip in and out of them, I have favourites which I use a lot. I could get rid of maybe a few, but then there are so many it wouldn't make much difference. And they are a feature of the kitchen, I have shelves running almost ceilng to floor in the kitchen with the larger books on and a smaller wall mounted pine antique cabinet with the smaller ones. They are in chef alphabetical order!

I live in a largish four storey Victorian house and it's easy to disguise the clutter. Some rooms are very clear and organised, these are the rooms the friends and family see. I am held in the highest regard by some friends (who have a hoarder problem on the scale of Secret Hoarder's programme). I feel such a fraud as they always ask me for help, it's easier to deal with other people's stuff though.

This evening I am going to write my long term action plan.

Asinine Mon 15-Apr-13 19:10:45


Sounds like you are a perfectionist, with all the books perfectly arranged. Also that you only show the perfect side of you to visitors, even though you know they have a worse clutter problem than you. It may be this sort of thinking that makes the attic seem overwhelming? Maybe if you just aim to make part of the attic better than it is now, rather than completely sorted,you'd find it more manageable and less stressful. Even ask a hoarder friend to help. Like you say it's easier to get rid of other people's stuff.

Now I've done the am psychologist on you, can you can tell me why I'm scared of paperwork? confused

MrsPennyapple Mon 15-Apr-13 19:29:34

Welcome Ilovespongebob and Asinine

I recently condensed my recipe book collection, it was only two shelves but even so there were books I never cooked anything out of. I went through the ones I'd never used, and had a really good look at the recipes. There were a couple of books that I just couldn't ever see myself cooking anything out of, so they went. I do like recipe books though, I find it much more inspiring than looking online for recipes.

LemonBreeland Mon 15-Apr-13 19:51:35

Evening all welcome newbies. I gave definitely got the understanding now that decluttered house is an easy house to keep clean and tidy.

I haven't done much today, as today was all about cleaning and tidying now the dc are back at school. I did manage to give the house a really good tidy and clean. I did get together one black sack of rubbish to the dump though, so there is constant work going on here.

I'm trying to keep a good momentum going and make sure that there is always something leaving the house.

ArtemisatBrauron Mon 15-Apr-13 20:38:51

Ok, wasn't going to post this in case it outed me but here goes!

One of the things I am struggling most with is the frequent large parcels from a hoarding relative (think house like those hoarding shows on C4). These parcels contain a massive amount of junk - one of them had around 40 old teaspoons from various UK seaside towns and other tourist attractions. Some still had tea on them. I've had more second hand scarves, clothes etc than one person could wear and all in random sizes, old tights (in packets) from the 60', 70's, 80's. Loads of old china, kitchen gadgets like novelty cheesegraters, milk savers, silicone baking trays etc.
By the time I have recycled, charity shopped and binned this stuff the next batch arrives. I feel so ungrateful but it is seriously all junk. I've had friends over when the parcels arrive and one was crying with laughter at the stuff in there but it is so not funny to me anymore.

What can I do? It would mortally offend my relative to say anything but it is so stressful dealing with this stuff on top of work, house work etc.

sommewhereelse Mon 15-Apr-13 21:07:45

Thanks for those quotes minimalistmommi.
Spongebob with your attic, I would do it box by box. Bring a box down where it's more pleasant to work and where you won't feel overwhelmed, and sort through it. Label it with whatever you decide to keep.
When you've finished, you can organise all your hopefully by now half-full boxes. You'll probably find when you go though it all a second time you find more stuff you get rid of. Set yourself a goal e.g. 1 box a day or whatever realistically fits in around the rest of life.
Artemisat I feel your pain. We had a relative who used to do that, for Christmas presents. We would each be given (face to face) a cardbox box full of odd things like your list. It was a challenge to come out with polite noises about the contents. One year my box included a size 24 jumper, but I'm a 12. I don't remember how I handled that one! Thank goodness it was only once a year. To be fair, about every three years there would be a useful item.

BeCool Mon 15-Apr-13 21:16:29

<trots off to count cook books>

BeCool Mon 15-Apr-13 21:19:27

27 and if I cook to a recipe, 70% of the time it's from an online recipe.

BeCool Mon 15-Apr-13 21:25:32

Art - could you tell your relative that you have become a minimalist, so as sweet as they are for thinking of you, there is now a ban on anything not absolutely essential coming into your house? smile
Worth a try? What they are doing ain't right.

ilovespongebob Mon 15-Apr-13 22:05:02

Asinine - I can't believe how quickly you have me sorted, a perfectionist I am indeed, I have not done so much because if I can't do it to the utmost perfection then I won't do it. I am a control freak and like routine. I can spend hours lining up my packets, cans, pants, t-shirts etc oblivious to the fact that the room upstairs looks like it has been hit by a tornando.

paperwork is something I don't struggle with, I have this awful fear that when I die someone will spend all their time going through all my personal paperwork and judge me (just like my granny did when my grandad died). I keep all my receipts for the month in a plastic popper wallet, when the statement or bill comes I check them off and shred them. School stuff I deal with as it comes in, make notes in diary, return slip. If I need to keep the letter/info then I have a ring binder which has clear plastic wallets in, each activity has its own wallet and paperwork is filed in it. Everything is in date order so if you open the binder the most recent piece of information is on the top. If it's an activity such as cubs or scouts which has lots of activities then the individual plastic wallet is moved around with the most recent info showing. Theatre tickets, important receipts etc are also stored in there.

Utility bills are kept for one year, so the electricity for Jan to March quarter 2012 is replaced with Jan to March quarter 2013.

I gave up keeping appliance manuals as most info can be found on the internet.

With regard to the attic, I think I may have created the impression that it's a crawl on your hands and knees space, not so, it's the whole top floor of our house, which until last October three of us ran a business from! As soon as we moved to new premises I gathered all the clutter up and stuffed it up there and its just been added to, I swear it breeds up there, boxes burst open and spew forth their contents.

It doesn't help that my two DS keep pulling the stuff out.

Asinine Mon 15-Apr-13 22:14:48

You have cheered me up, was descending into despair with watching the news from Boston. It's good to remember there are nice people around...
Will start by getting school paperwork under control, 4dcs, 3 schools and lots of trips, activities etc makes for lots of paper.

BeCool 27?I wonder what's average? I have no idea. I'm going to chuck at least two tomorrow. Someone might pay £2-£3 for them at charity shop and learn to cook.

ilovespongebob Mon 15-Apr-13 23:04:03

I have scanned my book shelves and I have identified one potential book to be removed, it takes up the space of two books. I will let you know how it goes........

Our school uses a ParentMail email system for sending out info so incoming paper is kept to a minimum, only a few things come home in a hard copy format.

Don't you find in what is supposed to be a paperless society we are still being bombarded with the stuff. Even if you buy a magazine you open it and more stuff falls out, why couldn't the advertisers take a page in the magazine, I think people are more likely to see it.

I think companies are learning, the TV licence is now available to print, if you want a hard copy, how often does someone need to have the hard copy of their TV licence?

BeCool Mon 15-Apr-13 23:14:12

It felt fantastic returning to the flat this evening. It's looking so nice - we've done so much. I'm indebted to the friend who helps me - she needs help setting up business blog/FB etc so I will help her with that once this is complete. It is a nice world really.

Ponderosa Tue 16-Apr-13 08:43:23

Art how about simply donating the boxes from your relative without feeling you need to sort through them first?

Spongebob I don't think there's anything 'too good to give away'. It does hurt to do it but it's a really nice thing to give stuff to charity shops that they can make a decent profit from and you'll feel good for it afterwards. Read Wendybird's excellent post from 13/04 for an inspiring way of thinking about it.

Wendybird you are right about things in use not being clutter. I'd just love a bathroom I could clean without moving so much stuff - sigh. I've put the bottles in a basket now and ordered a new perspex shaving mirror to replace the horrible flaking, rusty thing we have now.

Cristiane Tue 16-Apr-13 09:16:21

Thanks so much for the tips. I am just struggling being so short on time because of work and now I am travelling for two days. However - do you think this is mad? I might take 1 or 2 days off next week as holiday to start me off on my decluttering journey. I have a small house and two little girls and it is so hard to get rid of things as they always sabotage it!

Will start off at the weekend putting bags for charity shop in car and I agree with the poster who said that the 'must eBay' box can get too big... Might as well give it all away

BeCool Tue 16-Apr-13 09:43:16

Cristiane 2 days small child free and dedicated to decluttering is a great idea. You will get loads done. Try to tackle one 'project/area' at a time so as not to get too chaotic. Be prepared for a "WFT am I doing?" moment mid-point in the day as you survey the chaos. Then it all comes together and viola! You're in a better place.

Is there anyone you could rope in to help you for a day?

Ponderosa Tue 16-Apr-13 09:43:28

Spongebob your idea of yourself being a keen reader made me smile. I do too and have a dirty 1p books off amazon habit. Dirty habit that is not dirty books!

I do like to read and have a huge imposing bookcase full of books. I've got rid of a lot but worry about it looking empty and 'wrong' if I were too ruthless. I confess to keeping some books just because they have an attractive spine blush.

BeCool Tue 16-Apr-13 09:57:02

I love reading too, but I no longer keep hold of (adult) fiction books. I either buy from charity shop, read and return to charity shop or pass onto a friend, or a use my Kindle. Or I borrow books though I don't use library much. I'm always late returning them and get fined. Though maybe the new organised 'minimalist me' might be able to get them back on time???

I still have lots of non-fiction books, but they have been edited! They are my indulgence I guess - those and photos.

After picking the DD's up last night I did a fly by visit to our local Muji shop (with 2 small children - not ideal but the staff helped me) and brought 4 of those lovely big stackable drawers for the bottom of the wardrobe. I think that is what I'm going to go with for clothes and the wooden chest of drawers which drives me crazy, can go eventually.

Decluttering confession alert - my OCD decluttering genius is in my house today while I am at work. She is swapping some furniture around and goodness knows what else - she is very clever! I pay her - and she is worth every penny. So it will be really exciting going home tonight.

I have a bag of electrical bits to drop off in the specific electrical recycling bin today and 2 spring coats for the dry cleaners. Stuff is happening!

Cristiane Tue 16-Apr-13 11:09:08

Argh I just realised I have to travel for 3 days next week so no go, but perhaps the week after smile

My mum is home at mine today and just asked me if she could try to declutter all the small toys and stuff. Seems to me a fab idea as the girls are out of the way and she won't be so emotionally attached. I wish I didn't have to work so much!!

becool I love the idea of having less to look after. When I travel I feel so organised and just have what I need with me. I love hanging things up in hotel and seeing so few things. I must hold on to that thought

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