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Can you help a Miserly eco-freak get rid of stuff, argh

(49 Posts)
YeOldTrout Sun 12-Jul-15 13:31:21

My (happy) hoarding tendency comes out of eco-freakery & financial anorexia. I hate getting rid of something to only spend money replacing it later (this has happened). I hate binning stuff that could still have a use. I don't embrace the "beauty of Kondo," and rules don't motivate me either about 1-2 years since I used it or loveit-useit-shareit-binit.

The Problem is, We need to replace carpets which means minimising how much to be cleared from each room or the mess is going to be impossible.

if anyone relates to having strong eco-freak or frugal instincts, but has managed to get rid of lots stuff anyway, what guiding principles did you use? Best I can come up with is to console myself that if I only have to buy back 1/3 of the stuff I chuck that will be a net gain. Yet too much I still shove in loft because I'm not quite sure.

Viviennemary Sun 12-Jul-15 13:44:40

What is the stuff you need to get rid off. If it's books then start by getting rid of a bag of books a week to charity shop. Clothes the same. Even one or two things being put into a bag every day and then taken to charity shop at weekends will make a difference. There's quite an interesting book called The Joy of Less. It does a good job persuading you that you don't need more and more stuff or need a lot of the stuff you've got.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 12-Jul-15 13:58:01

My method. Bin rubbish. Put everything else in attic. Wait for mouse infestation. Discover all your precious childhood cuddly toys, some handed down have been chewed and pissed on. Take everything to dump. <weep>

bitter because I am doing this right now

Seriously though, if you are a hoarder and get mice.you will be utterly screwed, generally useful stuff and tat alike will be chewed and pissed and shat all over by incontinent mice.

A clean uncluttered house makes it much easier to stop a mouse problem in its tracks, and stops genuinely important stuff getting destroyed

Everyone gets mice sometimes...

YeOldTrout Sun 12-Jul-15 17:18:48

I have 3 cats including 2 good mousers (volers). I pity rodents who live within 300m of our home.

What do I need to get rid of... Well, I don't need to get rid of anything.
I'm eyeing up a 3' wide shelf of fiction that I read & enjoyed but probably will never read again & DC show no interest. Lots of children's version reference books that DC have no interest in, except that we actually needed one for homework recently. Textbooks DH & I had from school or university... except that DS is now doing calculus (I kept my calculus book, need it for my work anyway) & Dd is doing French (it's a good French book). I have more clothes than I need, especially coats, but then DC could maybe use coats one day. Lots of waterproofs in smaller sizes, DC won't wear waterproofs, though.

Battered Old clothes in assorted sizes, for swim lessons / painting something / rafting (but haven't been used in many yrs). Travel version games (DC never use them, I think should go). Old kids shoes, because they are handy as PE kit or school spares, or sandals that were worn for one week on 2012 & I might be able to pass to younger child if we ever go anywhere hot unlikely.

1000 piece Jigsaw puzzles (Dc sometimes rediscover). Conference clothes (have been to 2 in last 20 months). Smart evening out clothes (once every 7 yrs). Photo albums I haven't yet started. Lots of toys DC may rediscover. 2 x 'Dinosaur valley' sets. Smart office-wear shoes in red or grey that I haven't worn in 20+ yrs, but I have wide feet & hard to get good fit. 5x Fat jumpers more than I need in winter. 2 x Squash rackets: we never play. Yet DC might rediscover & the decent ones cost £25 new. Argh.

I don't want to think about what is in the loft...

cozietoesie Sun 12-Jul-15 18:53:56

Do you still have financial issues or are things easier now?

YeOldTrout Sun 12-Jul-15 19:16:42

We can afford to buy replacements, the waste just drives me nutty.

PigletJohn Sun 12-Jul-15 19:25:27

there are people on Freegle who will appreciate some of your stuff, and use it.

Write a nice description of each item, and do a few at a time. Get them to text you before setting out. I find the traders masquerading as penniless families forget that I can see they use the same mobile phone with all their fake usernames.

JimmyCorkhill Sun 12-Jul-15 19:44:26

Maybe get rid of multiples but keep one of everything. So one waterproof for everyone, one set of old clothes for everyone, get everyone to choose a jigsaw to keep etc. Books are not an issue, you can borrow anything you need from the library.

MrsAukerman Sun 12-Jul-15 20:25:07

Something to think about......
Take for example the jigsaws. Look how much (or little) used ones fetch on eBay. Then sell yours on eBay or a local Facebook group, safe in the knowledge that you could buy one for roughly the same amount if you ever wanted one. It's like a bank account for your stuff. No waste.

4kidsandaunicorn Sun 12-Jul-15 20:28:31

I used to hoard stuff 'just in case' (in the past we didn't have enough money to replace stuff), I also used to save stuff for best.

Its a bit hippy and karma, but I was advised to send stuff out into the world for it to be used rather than sitting being wasted...and that when you need something, what you need will come to you.

I have given loads away, and sold a bit...but I have had more gifts and well timed bargains than I can count! Perhaps it karma or something but it totally works, we've never been without and we've been clutter free. I do buy some stuff second hand and often sell it for £5 less than I bought it for in the first place.

JamHoneyMarmite Sun 12-Jul-15 20:35:54

Does it help at all to think it's not waste if a)you got good use from it and b)someone else might need and use it now? It's quite amazing what finds homes on freecycle - I passed on some broken electronics to a young lad doing an electronics course who needed stuff to work on. I got more space, and even some chocs because his mum was so pleased!

I agree with PP that there is a limit to the "just in case" clothes you need - two sets at most here, one to get painty and one to get muddy! One spare coat for everyone kept in a bag in the car.

cozietoesie Sun 12-Jul-15 21:03:36

If the Finances can stand a future hit if you make a mistake then the good stuff - stuff that someone might want or need - can be given away by some means. 'Reduce, Re-use, Re-cycle' remember.

Think of it as a contribution to charity or a contribution to the general weal (which it will be) and not as fruitless dumping.

Have you got a place - in a front room or the front hall (if you have one) - where you can place things? I'd suggest putting a cardboard box or two there and every time you see something that you think you may not need, pick it up and put it in the box. (Tell the family - 'That's the charity box': they'll likely accept that without question.) That will be your start.

It's not getting rid of something directly but it starts a sort of triage which should actually work on your mind so that you start to dissociate from the items there. If you've made a bad mistake then you can get something back but I doubt you will actually pull much - if anything - back.

PS - you may well find that the process of putting things in the box leads to some thinking about what matters to you and your family and the direction in which you're all going - lack of clarity about which may be a contributory factor to your hanging on to things. Just be prepared for that.

KillmeNow Sun 12-Jul-15 21:25:13

When my friend moved house she downsized from a 3 bed semi to a 2 bed bungalow.

She did got rid of a lot of things by mostly donating to family ,and charity shops.The nice things that could come in handy one day were boxed up and sent to storage for 6 months to give them breathing space to get the bungalow properly habitable. At the end of 6 months the paid for storage ended so the boxes were moved to a relatives industrial unit. That was 3 years ago.

2 weeks ago we had a tremendous storm that flooded the unit and lots of the boxes were damaged.As an act of god there was no insurance and the relative nervously told my friend the sorry news.
3 years down the line she has no idea of what is in any of the boxes and has told the relative everything can be dumped. The bungalow holds everything they need and they have no problems with clutter.

The moral of this story is that there is no point in keeping stuff .It needs looking after and gives nothing back. Let it go while its still usable to someone else.

poocatcherchampion Sun 12-Jul-15 21:38:09

I've been getting rid of stuff on the basis that the longer is it unused here the more likely it is to get tatty/out of style/obsolete and therefore the more likely it will have to go in thebin, whereas now it can be sold or go for charity and therefore not be waste.

How is that?

RandomMess Sun 12-Jul-15 21:42:18

Find a charity shop you are very happy to support through your donations and see it as donating them £££££££££££££££££ that you couldn't afford in actual cash.

0x530x610x750x630x79 Wed 15-Jul-15 15:31:06

Battered Old clothes in assorted sizes, for swim lessons / painting something

something i have learnt, you can only wear one outfit at a time whilst painting, so you only need 1 outfit each + a jumper each (in case of winter)

That cleared half a cupboard for me smile

0x530x610x750x630x79 Wed 15-Jul-15 15:32:59

Take for example the jigsaws. Look how much (or little) used ones fetch on eBay. Then sell yours on eBay or a local Facebook group, safe in the knowledge that you could buy one for roughly the same amount if you ever wanted one.
but i KNOW mine have all the bits i don't trust other people

BertieBotts Wed 15-Jul-15 15:43:17

I know you said that you don't like Marie Kondo, but one bit in her book I really liked was a point about if you're keeping stuff because you might need it in the future, is it not more economical to "let the shop store it for you" and buy it as and when you need it?

And something I think on one of the Kondo threads along the same lines, that space in your home is also valuable and you can think about the value of the space.

turkeyboots Wed 15-Jul-15 16:03:40

Embrace the waste hierarchy - reduce, reuse, recycle come before putting things in the bin.

No point keeping old things thinking you might use them , when they could go to someone who will do. And buy any things you need to replace from a charity shop and you keep the system going.

LovelyFriend Wed 15-Jul-15 16:16:19

take your eco view, and spin it on its head.

Your HOME should be eco friendly for you! That means not having it stuffed full of stuff that doesn't enrich your life TODAY.

Your home is not a landfill site - stop treating it as one.

The stuff you are reluctant to throw away as it would be "wasteful" to do so, is already wasted. It is of no use to you. Stop continuing to let it pollute your home and lives.

The way forward is to consume less overall - this is true eco/tree hugger thinking. If you need something in the future, you can source it in an eco/tree hugger way. But holding onto stuff, especially broken stuff on things in poor condition is a flawed ethos that just results in a cluttered life.

RE the financial issues, unless you life in a mansion, think about the VALUE of a clutter free space. How much would you pay to double your living space? Well you can double you living space by getting rid of all the worthless old crap you are clinging too - no cost at all. Be sure to factor that into your equations.

As for holding onto your old clothes for your when your DC are grown, fucking hell - think of the burden you are placing on them with this. As you do these things in a misplaced attempt to relieve your own consumer guilt, you are placing a burden on your children. This is grossly unfair.

Or as the famous minimalist Elsa would say "let it go". Find ways to recycle your old crap, and let it all go. Appreciate that someone else might really be in need of your old clothes and will put them ton good use now!

arnieschwartzsnogger Wed 15-Jul-15 19:56:47

Yes, I'm a bit of a frugal eco-type. I really hate waste!

I've also had the mouse infestation thing so now I try to get of rid of things while they are still in good condition and can be used by someone else. I eBay, freecycle and give stuff to the charity shop.

Totally agree with the karma thing up thread to get rid of things you no longer need. It's very easy to pick things up cheaply on eBay, Gumtree or charity shops so don't worry about giving things away. You'll always have what you need and when you clear space it makes room for great things to show up. I read about this when I was single as I really wanted to meet someone. I cleared half of my wardrobe out and within no time at all (after three years of singledom) my lovely DH turned up and promptly moved in after 6 months!

BertieBotts Wed 15-Jul-15 20:19:56

Yep. While recycling and reusing is eco-friendly and frugal, hoarding isn't. In fact, hoarding is very eco-unfriendly because you aren't using all of the space in your house, meaning you're heating and lighting space you aren't using, interrupting air flow which can lead to mould and damp problems.

Secondly you're storing things rather than using them meaning they are doing nothing at all. In fact, they are losing value, and hence being wasted in this way. (The very thing you are frightened of happening!) To take the example of clothing - fabric degrades in storage. It can develop a musty smell which is hard to remove, it can be damaged by damp, mould, or insects in the environment, colours can fade, fabrics can stretch or fray or lose their shape. Left for long periods, they go out of fashion, which might seem trivial, but if clothing looks very clearly out of place then it is undesirable to wear, doesn't look smart or professional and hence less valuable. I kept a pair of jeans thinking that they were a very fashion-neutral shape, but now they look very clearly about fifteen years old, and they look very odd compared to my other clothes. I have kept them because I love the colour, but they look "off" and they are too small for me anyway, so I don't wear them. Other items - textbooks in particular can go out of date and be useless. Baby car seats and other safety devices, sports equipment etc are superceded by newer, safer, better models. Older items may not be compatible with newer items.

If you're not using it NOW or for certain in the very near future, put it on Freecycle or ebay it. Someone else can get use out of it NOW. If you wait until you need it again, it will truly be wasted, because you'll most likely need to replace it anyway.

Davros Wed 15-Jul-15 20:23:44

I use Streetbank. It's excelkent (Iz have no connection to it btw)

darlingbudsofjuly Wed 15-Jul-15 20:37:18

Freecycle and Streetbank are wonderful. We've given away all sorts of things there, to people who really wanted them. And I've been given the most amazing things as well. I've given away things that actually I didn't need/want, and the people who have received them have been delighted. I've been given things that I'm delighted with, and the people who have given them away have been pleased to get rid of them. Everyone wins.
What I learned from Marie Kondo was that, despite not being a shopper/buyer, we had TONNES of stuff - drawers and drawers of duplicates. And as someone said up thread, you can only wear one set of painting clothes at a time.
Where I fall down is over clothes that DS1 has grown out of, and DS2 hasn't grown into - I can't get rid of them. But even that won't go on for long, as DS1 now has so few clothes that he trashes them before he's outgrown them.

cozietoesie Wed 15-Jul-15 21:40:25

I bought a set of painting./DIY/gardening overalls - which sounds as if it's defeating the purpose of decluttering by consuming more but it has meant that I've been able to dispose of all of the 'That'll do for......' garments. (And there were a lot.)

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