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Topic: Clutter Buddies

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Subject: Clutter Buddies
Date Posted: 4/2/2008 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,121
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This is a thread for PBS members wanting help with our clutter issues.  The goal is to encourage each other to make our living space be what we want it to be, by sharing tips, having challenges and figuring out systems and routines that work for us.  Post here with your introduction! 

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,121
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We will probably have different living situations as far as the type of place we have, whether we live with a family or not, etc., but obviously we each have a problem living as clutter-free as we would like to be.  Maybe clutter-free isn't the word, because I really don't like the way homes look when they are very minimal--just a few pieces of furniture in each room.  But, there's a lot of middle groud between that scenario and having stuff in every available space!  I live in a 2-bedroom condo in Chicago, it's an old building and my place is "un-re-habbed" and in need of a lot of work.  However, I love my neighborhood and my place.  I live alone, which theoretically means I should have tons of space for all of my possessions...but it doesn't work out that way.  I was a much bigger pack-rat in the past, I've actually gotten a lot better as the years have gone by (I'm 51 years old) but there's still much room for improvement.  I have three cats and a parakeet.  I think my biggest challenges are paperwork, and just the daily routine of life--I need to learn to put things away as I go, and to not feel the need to save so much stuff.  My books, however, are non-negotiable--they are not leaving!

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,791
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Hey - glad to find you over here!   I have had a problem with clutter most of my adult life.   I lived a long time with the notion that more is better.  I live in a small 2 bedroom home, with a full garage and a sun room that has at times been stuffed full.  

Flylady and the flylady groups on Yahoo, really made a difference in the way I think about "things." There was so much interaction on the yahoo groups and I've seen what a difference that type of group makes.  That is what I hope we can find here.   I also watch Clean Sweep a lot and get some insight on my reason for holding on to things, from there.

My task right now it pretty much to take a look at ALL areas of my life and my home and find out what is really important to my peace of mind.   As many of you may know, my husband passed away recently.   So I am trying to figure out what of "our" things and "his" things are important enough to keep and which ones to let go of.   I keep telling myself that I don't need an object to hold onto a memory.

Hope to see many more of you clutter bugs here joining us!

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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Hi I'm Angel a homeschooling SAHM of 3 daughters and 1 step daughter. we have a huge 2000 sqft home with 4 bedrooms and an office hubby works from home. So with everyone here 24/7 we have issues with clutter and cleaning. 

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2005
Posts: 4,571
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I live in a small 2 bedroom railroad car apt.  Just myself and a hamster yet there's stuff everwhere.  I work full time and have a 2 hour commute each way for work so I dont tend to have much time to get stuff done.

Cozi, I'm the same way with Clean House.  I watch it constantly to insprire myself off my tush.  I've improved drastically over the last 2 years but I know there's still alot of things that don't need to be in the house.

I never thought I'd say I have too many books but thats definitely what I was thinking while I was organizing Mount TBR last night.  I'm trying to send as many as posible straight to PBS.  Cause I know I don't read histroical romances and I don't read traditional YA romances so why do I have a YA histroical romance in my TBR pile. 

I love the idea of having challenges and motivation like weight challenge or personal goals like the reading challenge.

I've tried flying but that schedule's just tough for me to stick out with my work schedule.  I do everything on Saturday's and the few nights I'm home and then try to do too much at once.  I do want to try that fly duster thoguh

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 11:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2005
Posts: 2,030
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I'm Sherry, and my situation may be similar to Diane's. I'm single & 45 years old, and living in a three-room apartment in Mt. Vernon, NY, which is right above the Bronx. I have outgrown this space, really, and must buy a one- or preferably two-bedroom apartment. But in the meantime, I must find a way to live with less stuff cluttering up my three rooms. Modern minimalism is very popular around here. I've always been more of a fan of Victoriana, which is a much busier ornamental style. But my place is beginning to look less like a collector & bibliophile's place than the abode of some crazy hoarder who grew up during the Depression.

  • I need help with readjusting my attitude regarding accumulating papers & magazines & other periodicals. Like, it's okay to get rid of them even if I haven't read them yet.
  • I need to clear out clothes. (I recently lost a great deal of weight, going down four sizes in the process, and the old clothing is still here, for the most part.)
  • When I changed the way I ate, to lose weight, I still kept some food in my cupboards that now I may never use.
  • Other foods, I've tended to stock up on, since it can be expensive or harder to find the sugar-free, low- or nonfat versions of things.
  • Also, finally, I have too many books in my TBR pile. 

(Hope some of this sounds familiar to others here.)   

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2005
Posts: 4,648
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Ok.....I am all for reducing my clutter.  Lets all do 1 thing this week to reduce clutter.  I plan to go through my closet & get rid of all the clothes that do not fit (no, I refuse to keep them in the hopes that one day they will) or I look ridiculous in...flowered capris??  Seriously???  This should reduce my closet load by 1/2!!!



Last Edited on: 4/2/08 12:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/2/2008 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2006
Posts: 4,994
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Hi, Cozette just posted a link to this on another thread, and I need to be here!  I'm Becca, and I'm a packrat!  I'm recently married and my husband hangs on to stuff, too.  I moved to Ohio in October and got married in Nov, so we're really still trying to blend everything together.  I've been taking carloads of stuff to Goodwill but there's still so much to do.  I have set up files in the office for paperwork.  Now when I go through stuff, I can file what needs to be kept and throw the rest out.  No more piles of stuff sitting around.  :)  My areas that need the most work right this minute are the office and the spare bedroom. 

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,791
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I am working on paperwork today and probably all this week.   I have throw away maybe 2 file boxes full of PAPER - well put in the recycle.  These were things that didn't even need to be shredded!   Boy Scout paperwork for years and years - papers on equipment and tools we no long own!     And JUST paper!  paper that we've kept thinking someday we'd need - most of the information is either outdated OR available online.  I wish I'd weighted how much is going out.        Just two hours into it and wow!  lol

So what are you working on this week that will make your life easier by getting rid of clutter?



Last Edited on: 4/2/08 2:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/2/2008 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2007
Posts: 415
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Hi all,

I am looking mostly for support from this group.  I do best when people give me lots of atta boys for what I have done. 

My husband and I have been married for almost five years and we have never yet found a place for everything.  We both grew up with parents who kept too much.  If something is still "good"  no one in our familes want to get rid of it. 

I am starting to realize that everything you own costs you in money to store it.  This year has been when I have really worked on having less stuff.  I have sent 10 boxes of things to resale and have two more ready to go.

I seem to constantly move things around in our small two bedroom house to try to get everything to fit.  I am trying to find more things that have storage, and are taller to use vertical space.  We have very limited cabinets and closets, which tends to keep me at a loss.

I recently made the second bedroom mostly just a closet by buying a big two tiered rolling garment rack to put in the room.  When I get all of the stuff out of our closet, I am planning on putting in shelving to store all the other stuff we seem to want to keep (bags, purses, linens, and extras).  The close it very shallow and will lend itself well to this.

Okay, this has motivated me all ready.  I am going to go see what I can accomplish so I can brag and get praise for it!!  ;)

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,791
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Cindy - you are on your way - the attitude is most important!   Don't limit yourself - take a look at everything with an eye to "should I keep this? - does it enhance my life?"     It's just a matter of seeing things differently.  Way to go!

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2005
Posts: 385
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I live in the country with my husband and two dogs.  2 kids in college who are home for breaks and the occasional weekend.  I store lots of their stuff! 

My husband has a difficult time getting rid of anything and stresses when I get in my  "cleaning mode"  I want to downsize and simplify.  DH has offered t hire a cleaning lady but that will not address the clutter issue and I am too cheap to dole out the $.

I'd love a support system to help me stay on task!

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2007
Posts: 415
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Aww, thanks, Cozi!!

Okay . . . I got up to work in the closet I have been clearing out.  I found some things we are keeping but don't use often that I decided to move to a different closet.

Let me tell  you about this closet.  It is as wide as the room around 8ft.  The opening is narrower than my shoulders making it hard to access. 

I hang a couple of jackets on the . .  . .get this . . . . piece of wood trim that acts a as a rod.  When I hang the third one on there the whole thing tilts wildly and the jackets slip off the end onto the floor!!! 

The "rod" is only through one hole.  I try to move it across the door opening to get it secured through another hole and it doesn't fit. 

I have complained now so I don't have to complain to my sweetie.  :=)

The good news:

I worked on something that I have been putting off for two days.

I put another item into my give away box.

I feel encouraged by people on this site.

I'm going back in!!!

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2007
Posts: 871
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I'm so glad I found you here!  Thanks Diane for starting this, I really need everyone's help!!

I have been married for 15 years (16 in May) and I think we still have everything that we have acquired since day 1!  We live in a 4 bedroom farmhouse, upstairs~main floor~basement.  It is just me, my DH and our pets, but you would think a large family lives here!  My main problem is papers and clothes!  (I agree with Cindy on the flowered capris!)  I have so much paperwork and magazines, just because I hate throwing them away!  (I might need it someday!)  I have many different sizes of clothes from throughout the years of being many different sizes.  (Again, I might need them someday!)  I even have about 10 different pairs of pants that are too short, why I'm saving them is beyond me.  It's not like I'm going to get any shorter!  :)

How do I get out of the mindset of "I might need it someday"?

I LOVE the feeling of decluttering!  It makes me feel "lighter".  Unfortunately, it always seems once I clear a closet or a room of clutter, in a matter of days it becomes cluttered again. 

My name is Jamie, and I am a clutterbug!  Please help me!

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,791
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Almost ALL information that is in magazines and/or newspapers are also online.   How LONG would it take you to find the information you need that might be in those magazines?   Is it worth spending half a day or more looking for an article you remember reading or seeing from months ago?  Same with paperwork - is that information available in another form? on a computer? in a book? If so, you can throw that piece of paper away.

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2007
Posts: 415
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Lately, I looked at furniture and decided that I didn't need to keep all the clothes I had.  If I bought enough drawers to put everything in it would have cost A LOT.

Have you thought about that?  For example,  the magazines.  If you were to organize them all in magazine organizers and put them on shelves so they could accessed how much would it cost?  Is it worth it?

One wide magazine rack at office depot costs around $5.  That would probably hold 2 years of a subscription.  You have been married for 15 years.  If you had only one subscription it would cost $40 dollars to hold them.  Two subscriptions, $80.  Then add the cost of bookcases.

ETA:  Schools are sometimes happy to have old magazines for art projects, etc.



Last Edited on: 4/2/08 7:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/2/2008 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2007
Posts: 415
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Also, I think sometimes I think about all the overwhelming aspects of getting things clean.  The piles of stuff are too much.  Just because we have a lot of something doesn't mean we are helpless.

One site I looked at (that I can't find now)  said find one thing you can do.  Throw away one piece of paper.  Give away one pair of pants.

Once I did one thing I usually did several more while I was there.

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2007
Posts: 362
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Glad to see this group!

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 706
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I found my way over!   I'm dealing with some extreme clutter in parts of my home:   attic, garage, walk in closet (used to be a porch), and DHs office.    We have really come a long way but we have a long ways to go.   There are 4 of us in our 3 bedroom (800 sq. feet) home.   Me, my husband, and his elderly parents.     His parents are 88 and 96 and so they are depression era people who lived thru a lot of hard times and poverty in the early days -- they keep everything -- that is partly why our attic and garage are overflowing still from their moving in with us 5 years ago.

Anyway, I am proud of my husband because he has begun to really take an interest in getting rid of some of the old stuff, he got rid of a ton of old VHS tapes and recently he gave away an old bike that neither of us used -- and little by little he's bringing stuff down from the attic for us to both go thru. 

I have gotten a ton of help from Oprah's web site and the listings under Buried in Treasures -- which is now a book that I just got.   I thought it would help us all to face some of the more difficult clutter and excess.   I'm just getting started in that book.

I am not innocent of keeping and getting "stuff" either.    My weak areas are dishes (including Tupperware), clothing, and books and the dreaded"paperwork".   PBS helps a ton on the book issue.   Oh and I also suffer from Craft Clutter although I do have one area organized pretty well for sewing, scrapbooking, beading, and photo things.   

When we first moved back home (from military) his parents had built 3 add on type buildings (gulp) which were full of horrible clutter and hoarded full of junk.  I am happy to say that over several years we have now eliminated totally those "extra buildings" and most of what was in them.   The garage can only hold one vehicle - it is packed full of stuff still but we are improving.

I confess that right now I am not even sure where to start.   There is his, mine and theirs as far as clutter.   I suppose I should keep working on mine and just help my DH when he asks for help -- because arguments ensue if I try and work on his stuff.    My worst area is probably my closet and my Rubbermaid tubs full of clothing and Tupperware type stuff.     I am always trying to lose weight and sometimes successful so I do have some varying sizes that I keep of the smaller things.   Yep, procrastination is my worst thing that and indecision.   I know I really ought to start with my clothing because at least I could organize my little closet better and know what I have in there.   

I have lots more to share about ideas I got from the Buried in Treasure book and Oprah postings - I will do that as soon as I find time.

 

Subject: Ways to get rid of things!
Date Posted: 4/2/2008 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 706
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One thing I wanted to share right away was a few thoughts on how to get rid of things.    I think sometimes we are more than willing to deal with the clutter IF we can figure out what to do with it.   Here are some of my favorite ways to get rid of things:

 

1.   Set out bulky items to the curb on the weekend for people to pick up - this has never failed me - even the weirdest not so good repair stuff goes fast!

2.   Donate items to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or a local thrift shop, Paralyzed Veterans etc.   Some will even pick up your items at your door.

3.   Women's shelters love clothing, toys, books, old cell phones etc..

4.   Garage Sale (I don't do this very well but some of my friends and family have been very successful).

5.   Recycle - simply recycle regularly this really helps with paper clutter -- just make sure to take names, address, acct numbers off and shred them.

6.   Freecycle -- it really works especially for big items.   I got rid of a rocking chair and a couch this way.

7.   Check with younger family members who may be starting out and see if they need any of the surplus dishes, etc. that you may want to unload, often they are happy to have stuff to start them off.

8.   Sell - big bulky item that you may need to get rid of.  In the past I've successfully sold a camper shell and a couch -- just by placing them out with a For Sale sign.   It's a PITA but it's nice when you sell the item.

9.   Donate to a church bazaar or sale.

10.    Animal shelters love to get old towels, blankets etc. for their animals, they have a list usually of all the things they are looking for.

****** I know there are many more ideas, these are the ones that came out real quick.  

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,121
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Wow!  We have a lot of enthusiastic people!  As I thought, we have people with very different homes and situations but we all seem to have too much stuff that we can't let go of.  And/or don't have a lot of time/motivation to keep what we do want to have sorted and neat.  How about having weekly challenges, starting with some things that everyone has to deal with (like paperwork?)  We can decide on a challenge on Sunday, report how we're doing during the week, with a final report towards the end of the week.  For those of us that are out at jobs all day this will let us work on stuff on our days off.  I work either four very long days a week, or four long days and one short day, and on the long days I pretty much just come home, eat dinner, and go to bed.  But I think each of us should post at least one short post every day, even if we didn't accomplish anything, just to get in the habit.  Until Sunday, how about if we each commit to spending 10 minutes each day for the rest of the week working on some area of clutter that we wouldn't otherwise have worked on.  And in the meantime, what ONE area of clutter bothers you the most?  For example, household papers?  Clothes closets?  Kitchen cabinets?  Kids' toys?  Dare I say it...books?

For me, it's papers, of all kinds.  And books, for which I've been hoping to buy more shelves for a long time now.

I am going to send buddy list invitations everyone on this thread, so I can send reminders about challenges and reports.  (You don't have to be on it if you don't want to!)  And if anyone has any ideas for challenges they want to suggest, feel free!

Diane

 

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,791
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Great points Chris.   I intended to give a lot of things away - then SIL talked me into a garage sale - I am rethinking that since I keep just moving things TO the garage to sell them when what I really want is to be RID of it all.         

IF you want me to take on the finding a challenge for the first week, I'd be happy to do so.   It would just be a challenge - not something you HAVE to do, of course.   I would post it here and blast PM everyone that is posting here.         I'd do this sometime on Sunday.   Each day you could post what you were or were not able to do.         If someone else wants to take it on for the upcoming week, that's fine with me!    I just want us to get started!!!!  

So many great ideas already - now we need some focus and motivation.   

Edited to say:  Sorry Diane, I hadn't read all of your post.   Looks as if you've got things well inhand.  Just holler out if you want me to do something. 



Last Edited on: 4/2/08 9:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/2/2008 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,121
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Cozette, if you have a challenge in mind, great.  I want to make sure whatever our main weekly challenges are that they pertain to everyone, (we could have other minor ones as well).  For example, people with kids might want to clean up their toys but then those of us without kids wouldn't be able to do that one (although my cats' toys usually end up all over the place...)  We all have papers and clothes--and on this group, books!  Although I think everyone else's books are in better shape than mine--I'm a keeper, so I have TONS of them.  Any challenge ideas?

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,121
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One of my goals now is to take advantage of those 10 minutes periods of time I have and to do something useful with them.  It's easy to be overwhelmed with the enormity of your situation and to focus on how it's going to take hours and hours to get everything done.  Some jobs ARE better done in longer periods of time (has anyone every emptied a closet out in a frenzy of cleaning and then lost steam right in the middle of it?  Leaving a bigger mess than when you started?)  But there are so many things that can be done in short bits of time.  In between posting on here tonight I spent about 20 minutes looking through my file cabinets.  I have a good quality lateral file with three drawers, then a cheap four drawer cabinet, with the shorter drawers that are hard to pull out.  I've been throwing things in there for years now, and my plan was to go shopping this weekend for more hanging files and file folders so that I can get a start on filing.  Well, in my 20 minutes I found and gathered together lots of hanging fiels and folders, and discovered that I have more than enough--about the only thing I need are file labels.  So I saved myself some money and was able to get an idea of how much space I have.  About one foot of files are in good shape, the rest are a huge mess.  So...I will spend 10 minutes on filing each of the next two nights, even though it will be when I get home from work.

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2007
Posts: 415
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I like the idea Diane had about challenges.  I also want to keep being able to brag on ANY accomplishments that are made, build others up, and give any hints that have helped along the way.

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