chimacalgal

I really need help. Frozen with indecision.

CJ Mac
last year

I've had a lost summer because of illness. I'm much better but my mind is not as sharp as it was. My husband and I are both indecisive types and I'm going out of my mind while we try to decide if we want to move or not.


I want to clear out as much stuff as possible whether we move or not, but I spend most of the day just sitting here at my computer wondering if I should contact a real estate agent first, look to see if there's any place we're interested in first, or just get to the cleaning and decluttering.


We may decide to stay where we are, but even so, I've got piles and projects all over the place that I intend to straighten up/repair/clean. But again, I'm frozen and don't know where to start.


If our house burned down, there is very little in our house that I would grieve over losing--so why can't I decide what to do with the the smallest items?



Comments (101)

  • alex9179
    last year

    Marie Kondo's central message resonated with me. Keep what you love, makes you smile, or is useful. The other items are taking up physical and mental space. The materials from my unfinished projects can go to another who might, actually, complete theirs. The many sets of queen-sized bedding was never useful, I just felt wasteful by getting rid of torn/stained linens. I can use them for something else! I didn't though, they just got stale smelling in the closet. One set was all I needed because it had been a guest bed for a decade. I stalled over books and photos. I gave a way a bunch of gifted books that weren't interesting to me but kept out of obligation. Someone else's choice shouldn't rule my home, right?

    First I tackled closets. One at a time, reminding myself of the message. Nothing was valuable, and if it was I would have handed the obligation to whomever wanted it, contrary to MK's admonishment. Clothes were easy because fashion can be a uniform or quick-changing. I tend toward a uniform. This was a work in progress but I was heading for a basic wardrobe of fast casual paired with well-made dressier items.

    I had an abrupt de-clutter as a result of flooding. There are few things that I miss, all much too heavy to have saved. I even felt a sense of freedom, after a while, because I no longer felt the obligation to others to keep things I wasn't using or weighed down by the thought of being wasteful. Maybe your fire analogy can help you move forward. Tackle the closet that you care least about, first, for some momentum. If it were lost in a fire, would you miss it?

    A truly organized closet isn't about clever storage systems (that I love so much), it's how easy it is to find and use the items you need, because you only have the items you need. All of the space surrounding the important things is lovely. It will make you smile.

    MK's folding techniques are fantastic. My kids' drawers went from barely shutting to having extra room. The sight of t-shirts, shorts, jeans standing on end, so orderly, was like a warm hug. DD attempts to use the technique, the boys are unappreciative of how nice it is to see everything with a glance.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    last year

    " Someone else's choice shouldn't rule my home, right? "

    Absolutely! I thought exactly that when I read your post, since "The sight of t-shirts, shorts, jeans standing on end, so orderly, was like a warm hug." doesn't resonate with me; I get no pleasure from seeing such organization. To each his own ( À chacun son goût ).......one size never fits all.

  • Related Discussions

    I really need help I can't live in this house tell me what

    Q

    Comments (40)
    Once the previous owners have their stuff out of there the task will feel less daunting, this I can promise because I have been in your situation before as probably most people who have ever bought and sold a few times in their lives have and can feel your pain! You will be able to take a deep breath and you will be able to SEE a lot more clearly what is there and what you MUST change out and what otherwise are changes you like to see made as you can make them and your budget allows. You can can start your work with a list of priorities. What is most important to you? Where the family gathers? Where you sleep at night and need a peaceful environment? Much of this can be achieved through the use of paint an idea which you have already grasped. If you know you want to paint then you look to how the surfaces are covered. Is the floor a dirty old carpet that you'll tear out on Day 1? Does the window need privacy treatments or would simply hanging panels to enhance your decorating scheme be best and could this wait as you do the more essential things? You mentioned the kitchen. I see that the lower walls in the kitchen for instance are tile to match the floor. This is very unusual. (At first I thought it was floor tile!) You might want to rip that out, install new drywall and chair rail. You then could paint or you can do any number of clever things that are aided by products on the market these days. You could stencil the wall in a trellis design while you paint the bottom of the chair rail a pretty shade that complements the kitchen cabinets. (You also might want to later on add pulls or knobs to dress up the cabinets) My point is though you will have many many things you'll want to do, you'll find you can't nor should you do them all at once. Making detailed lists (you'll forget important details as time passes and the newness wears off) as you walk through the empty house is an excellent way to start on a new home project like this. You can for example note if lighting fixtures were left for you or if you need or want to replace them. You can measure the rooms and the windows and keep these measurements in your notebook as you'll want to refer to them often. Perhaps one of your first purchases could be a fan deck that will include all of the paints/colors of Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore paint. I must take care of my Mother right now but I will check back in with you later. Many many more professionals will help you out and you will get more pictures and advice than you'll probably know what to do with! Just stay with houzz and you won't be disappointed. Good luck to you and remember to have fun!
    ...See More

    I really need help. I need home office furniture. We are moving in

    Q

    Comments (1)
    Consider shopping second hand and selling it when you move; starting over in the new digs. You may find some pieces worth using in an alternative area later on, like a desk or bookcase.
    ...See More

    I really need help... I am so stuck!!!!

    Q

    Comments (82)
    Sounds like your son really knows what he likes! Ordinarily I'd say to choose some curtains with a little more oomph and then use those colors to coordinate your comforter and other pieces, but I think you'd have to be sure you can coordinate with a bed covering he likes. You do need some warmth in there -- wood, leather, or curtains, pillows and other accents. Masculine doesn't have to be cold.
    ...See More

    HELP! I need an interior designer good with indecisive people...

    Q

    Comments (2)
    Search Houzz pro section. Indecisive people are pro's specialty. :)
    ...See More
  • tqtqtbw
    last year

    I saw a tip one for dealing with paper. Flip the pile/stack over and deal with the oldest items first. Use time to your advantage. A three-month old statement, etc will mean nothing to you if you know you are current or an event has passed. It's a fast path to the shredder.

    Also, places like Office Depot shred and charge by weight if you just want personal papers out and don't want to take the time to shred on a little shredder.

    CJ Mac thanked tqtqtbw
  • alex9179
    last year

    I get no pleasure from seeing such organization.


    Yes, that's just me and my sense of satisfaction after things are neat. I like how you can see each piece of clothing so there's no more digging around, with the folding/stacking technique. The real goal was to address the space being taken up by obligation. DD didn't want clothes to be donated because of who gifted them to her, even though she didn't wear them or they no longer fit. She's a worse packrat than I am. She loves seeing all of her choices in a glance, though.


  • Toronto Veterinarian
    last year

    " Also, places like Office Depot shred and charge by weight if you just want personal papers out and don't want to take the time to shred on a little shredder. "

    And if you're not physically strong and/or don't have help, there are companies that will come to your home with a portable shredder. They usually work with businesses, but they do make housecalls. It costs a bit more, of course, but it's a great option for people with limited mobility or energy. Take everything that needs to be shredded and fill bankers boxes or bags, and call for a mobile unit once you're done. My sister in law had over a dozen boxes when she cleaned after the death her husband.

  • Kathy Yata
    last year

    I didn't think much of the vertical folding until I tried it. Now I use it all over the place. Kitchen towels, small bath towels and wash cloths, all my folded clothing and most recently my fabric stash.

    OP, you deserve to live in a tidy serene home. Whether you move or not get it cleared out so you are happy with living there. I thought my home impossibly tiny but now it is almost big enough. If I could get a real bed into the spare room I'd be happy and I'm almost there.

    I started with the garage. A basement would be even worse as gravity is working against you but garages are bad - big, dirty, full of delayed decisions and stuff that's not organized. Advantage, I could close the door and ignore the mess I was making. I enjoyed doing it once I got started and have since purged it 3 more times removing 2/3s of the shelving and painting the walls. With a huge project like this I wrote out a list of tasks and measured so I wasn't too scatter brained and counted on working a couple hours a day and taking at least a week per purge.

    So rather than do that start small. Empty a drawer. Put back what belongs. Decide how many you need and like using. Trash, recycle, put in donate box and put away the strays. Rinse and repeat as you are able working up to the big spaces with hard decisions to make. You won't leave a big mess behind and will build your decision making skills as you go. I sort of followed konmari without knowing it as garage mess aside I do keep like with like.

    CJ Mac thanked Kathy Yata
  • maifleur01
    last year

    A thing about most home shredders is that the number of sheets listed on the box is the ideal amount that should be shredded per hour not per load. Which sort of negates the use of a home shredder for me as the max I have seen at an office supply store was 24 sheets. Easier to rip by hand or scissors. If you really think about what you are shredding there is only a small area on most that is personal. With the use now of only the last four digits of SS or CC numbers it really reduces the amount of personal information that can be used. Your name and address are already on line so those are problematic. If you do not believe me simply type your name in a search field and press enter.


    I too am one of those that being a neat freak, there is a another word for it not to be used here, is not important in my life. There are so many other things of actual importance for me to be concerned about. My personal worth is not bound up in having all my undies folded in a certain way.

  • wednesday morning
    last year

    As feel good as some might imagine it to be, the real truth is that America is so awash in such gross excess of EVERYTHING that the benefit to anyone else is minimal, really.


    Many, many things just end up in the landfill.

    The sad truth is that there is relatively little value to most of what we give away. If it was serving no purpose in our life, it is unlikely that it will find quality use elsewhere in the world, either.

    Finding a place to dispose of things, an avenue to another level of usefulness is the hardest aspect of decluttering. Mentally and emotionally letting go of material possessions is easy when compared to how to move it out and where to move it to..

    Most of us just dump it at the donation place and let them sort it out.

    That is one reason that some are more closely monitoring what gets dropped off at their donation location and have become a lot more discerning. They get stuck with the disposal issue that you could not deal with.


    Once it has left the premises, the real trick is to not bring any more in. Most of it was excess junk that we never really needed in the first place. For most of us, if we could have back the money, time, and effort that went in to acquiring all those clothes we never wore, those shoes we never wore, and those appliances that we never used, etc, we would be richer and have had more time in life for ourselves. If you think about each object that you purchase as costing you how many minutes or hours of your life that it takes to work to acquire the funds to purchase it, it gives new meaning to it's real cost, in real hours of your limited life. And, that does not even account for the amount of time, energy and space that it takes to sort it, store it, clean around it, and, now, dispose of it because it serves no purpose in your life.

    And, how many of us have a closet or a room devoted to crafting supplies that we never utilized, scrapbooks that never got created, yarn that never got knitted, and the quilt tops that never got pieced? Most of them were to create things that no one needed us to create in the first place. For most of those things, the grandest thing about them was the fantasy that we would make that and that it would be worthy and appreciated.....maybe even become a family heirloom. A delusion, really.


    A poor person in America can live quite well by gathering from the river of stuff that flows freely from our affluent society. Being poor in America is unlike being poor in most of the world. Material things are easy to come by. Health care and housing are the costly things that do not get provided. Excess clothes, books, furniture and crafting supplies are a dime a dozen, or free.


    Excess junk becomes like a dead weight around your life that just anchors you in place and sucks up your resources.

    Once you create an open space, don't fill it back up again. Quit buying stuff.

    This idea of giving your excess stuff to the needy is an old fashioned notion that does not apply to life very well anymore. There is way tooooo much of it and very little real need for it.

    The very best thing about any of it IMHO is the feeling of liberation from it as it passes on out the door.

    I must confess, although, that there is an ever present small stream of stuff that is flowing out of my house. My house is still leaking excess stuff. After a while, it pools in my garage and I have to make some decisions.

    Freecycle is a nice way to pass it on.


  • Toronto Veterinarian
    last year

    " A thing about most home shredders is that the number of sheets listed on the box is the ideal amount that should be shredded per hour not per load. "

    Where did you get that from??? It's certainly not true........I've had 2 home shredders in the last 10 years, one with an 8- and now with a 6-sheet capacity, and I can tell you I've definitely shredded more than 8 sheets per hour! I've shredded hundreds per hour, but not more than an hour or two at a time before letting it cool down. The previous one was by Fellowes (lasted 7 or 8 years), and this one is an Amazon Basics.

  • maifleur01
    last year

    Where did I get it? From the box the shredder came in after I had burned it out and was going to return as defective.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    last year

    " Where did I get it? From the box the shredder came in "

    Huh!


  • maifleur01
    last year

    Toronto you need to do a search because one of the recommendations you will find on line is to not run a home or small business shredder for longer than about ten minutes then allow it to cool before using it again. Probably won't but whatever.

  • chicagoans
    last year

    I needed this thread! I'm hoping to put my house on the market in a couple of years (OK I've already been saying that for 2 years) and I too feel overwhelmed sometimes. (I was widowed 5+ years ago when my kids were 14 and 16; now they're in college so bills, house maintenance, etc is all on me.) If something happens to me, I don't want my kids to be stuck with a big house full of things they don't know what to do with.

    I like the UFYH link - thank you :) (It's more my style than Marie Kondo's. Seriously, my dish towels don't spark joy and neither do my laundry baskets or underwear, but I'm not getting rid of them.)

    I've sloooowly started decluttering, but I do go down that rabbit hole of nostalgia mentioned above. (Pictures of DH with the kids? Project forgotten. Even finding something with his handwriting on it, just a simple notation, gets me off track. And deciding what to do with financial papers - ugh! I have tax returns going back 15+ years, but can't find a stock certificate for shares we bought for DD that DH was the custodian on.) So I love the idea of hiring help or finding other tricks to keep my focus.

    It's good to know I'm not alone in feeling stuck. Thank you all for the tips above.

  • Kathy Yata
    last year

    Well use konmari to put those energy sapping sentimental things aside for the moment. You don't have to get rid of anything you don't want to. Maybe someday you will want to get rid of some, maybe not. It's all good.


    My dish towels spark plenty of joy. I got rid of the ones that didn't. Really. Colors were eh and they had a white background which annoyed me. Not crazy about laundry baskets but I'm much happier with than without. I love having a can opener that works first time and every time. I love having vegetable peelers that work well. Simple I am. I love tools that work well!


    I've always worked by the clock so I don't get too beat up. This works particularly well for huge projects like garages and paper. I can empty, sort and put a closet back together in a reasonable amount of time though, especially if I leave labelled packed boxes alone for the time being.


    I read it all and end up taking snippets from all over. Read flylady, konmari, UFYH, Don Aslett, the youtubers like A Slob Comes Clean and so many others. They really don't contradict one another as much as you would think. All pretty much tell you to keep what you like, use and need and get rid of the rest.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    last year

    " one of the recommendations you will find on line is to not run a home or small business shredder for longer than about ten minutes then allow it to cool before using it again. "

    Yup. There's lots of recommendations on the internet that I ignore, LOL. Actually, when I say I use it for an hour or two, it's not continually running for an hour, it's running continually for 10 or so minutes, and then rests for 5 minutes or so while I gather new piles and ready myself for more shredding. Still, I'm sure I'm not maximizing it's life or health; they claim it should only run continuously for 2 minutes.

  • maifleur01
    last year

    Chicagoans a suggestion if you can not locate that stock certificate is to check with this company. Simply tell them that your husband has died and you are researching any stock that he might have had under his, yours, and your daughter's SSN. You will need both your husband's and with her permission your daughters. If it is in your daughters I am not certain if they will give any more information to you but you can provide your daughter's contact number, again with her permission, to them. Some stocks have also been turned over to the state so you may simply want to do a search of an unclaimed property site. https://www.computershare.com/us

  • bpath
    last year

    I'm late to this discussion, usually hanging out on the other GW forums, but I want to say to CJ: I'm so proud of you!

    It's hard to jump in and try to declutter when you have been off your feet, when you have brain fog, and (as you said), have a few extra pounds. I'm kind of where you are, though I don't have lupus.

    With my parents in senior care, I've been working on decluttering their house. I can get rid of a lot of trash, but there are things that are not mine to dispose of...yet. With no one there, I can, however, move things around, and do kind of the first step of KonMari: all the coats are together ("his" in one closet, "hers" in another), all the games, all the audio and video, the Corning ware, the vases, photos, that kind of thing. It's quite freeing, and I can see how it will make it easier to pick the ones that "bring joy", or at least fit.

    A tip from Flylady mentioned above, is "don't tackle more than you can put away in an hour." That works for me, too. (I've been "fluttering" with her for years!) So does my own technique of "I'm waiting on the plumber, so I have time to clean out the stationery cupboard". Amazing how much can get done in those odd bits of time.

    and, oddly, this is all good exercise -- I don't wait until I have several items to carry up or down the stairs, I just make a lot of trips -- and it's kind of helping my brain fog. I know that lupus is a difficult disease to deal with, so you just do what you can, when you can.

    One of the great joys of decluttering an organizing a drawer, shelf, cupboard, closet, room, is: opening the door several times a day, for days, to admire it! You're all nodding and smiling, I know you all do that, too!

    CJ Mac thanked bpath
  • maifleur01
    last year

    bpahome you mentioned "there are things that are not mine to dispose of...yet.". If you have their POA or are their guardian/conservator you have the right to dispose of those things. If you have brothers/sisters etc. that might object to your disposing of that stuff or the stuff is listed in an inventory provided to the court for the conservatorship then you do need to be careful. If they are listed and they have little or no resale value you can go to court and ask for what is called in this state an Abandonment of Property. I was foolish and my original attorney was stupid and I put my husband's clothing and books on his inventory. I should have only put on the inventory things of value and listed the rest as miscellaneous household items. I recently had my attorney request the Abandonment so that I could get rid of things that he could no longer use. This is something that many are not aware that they can request.

  • bpath
    last year

    Maifleur, my father is still of fairly sound mind, just not body. He has every hope to return home, which could happen, and I would not sell it without his permission, as long as he is of sound mind. And he sometimes asks for items, or refers me to things. In fact, I have to be careful when I move things around: he can tell me he wants something from a specific spot, and I'd better remember where I moved it to!

    Thank you so much for the information about inventory and conservatorship! This has all happened within the last year, and I still have much to learn. So that is another factor to consider. I should call his estate lawyer again.

    Another book I recently listened to is Swedish Death Cleaning. Boy, she is spot on.

  • maifleur01
    last year

    I have been my husband guardian/conservator for over two years. The attorney I started out with lied and said she had lots of expertise in this area. She has now left the firm and the person that has taken over actually has some real expertise. I was originally told if it was on the inventory I could not get rid of it. If you do not have a POA and your father is of sound mind you need to get one from him if you do not already have one. It will make things so much easier.


    It is not just being of sound mind and body with a house that is vacant. Some insurance companies will not cover damages when there is no one living there which is why some families sell the property if no one wants to live there. You might want to check the Caregivers forum for more information.

  • bpath
    last year

    Thanks, maifleur! I had stopped visiting that forum because there wasn't much activity for a while. But now with the Houzz it might be time to revisit it. (And yes, I have POA and am a trustee.)

  • bpath
    last year

    Maifleur, can I ask a favor? Would you post a link to the Caregivers forum? Ever since the last Houzz update, I can't get to forums that I haven't bookmarked. Once I'm there via a link, I can bookmark it. (I'm sure it has to do with my using an ancient, un-updated iPad.)

  • maifleur01
    last year

    I hope this works. In looking for the topic which is actually two words, Care Givers, I could not find in in Topics nor could I find the topic GardenWeb Discussions which would show the old GardenWeb discussions. https://www.houzz.com/discussions/home-and-garden-discussions-dsbr1-bd~g_304

  • bpath
    last year

    Thanks, that worked. I'll bookmark it.

    Things are odd sometimes. "Building a Home" in the list of topics is "Home Building" when you open the forum.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    last year

    For our OP who felt stuck:


    I wanted to throw out some tactics I've used when I'm dithering, or feeling overwhelmed. (These are not about what to keep/toss, etc., but just little tricks I can use to get myself moving. They won't work for everyone, but here they are.)


    Do a Dozen

    When I was putting off folding a big load of laundry, I told myself, "Just do a dozen. Then you can stop. But at least a dozen will be done." That didn't seem difficult or long--so I'd fold 12 shirts, pants, underwear (socks didn't count). Often I'd have gotten momentum and keep going, but I did sometimes stop and put those 12 things away.

    When my young son needed to clean up his messy room, I'd grab a laundry basket and have him put 12 things in it, in a hurry, without thinking. Then, he only needed to put those 12 things away. I'd usually have him do a few batch of this, but it did help him to not feel overwhelmed by all the stuff.
    I also timed him once to see how long it took him to "do a dozen" (I told him not to hurry, this was a scientific observation of normal patterns, not a race to see how quick he could be). It was always very short, and that helped him to feel like a dozen was a perfectly manageable size.

    Toss Ten

    For this, I'd pick an area, or a category, and tell myself I needed to "toss" ten things each day for a week (or some other stretch of time). (By "toss" I mean "out of the house"--donated, recycled, or in the garbage--whatever is appropriate.) Only ten--not the whole thing, just ten.

    Sometimes the ten things were discrete things: "one pencil" = one thing; "one sock with a hole in it" = one thing; "the mate to the sock with a hole in it" = one thing.

    Other times, if I was feeling a little more energetic, the ten things would be a category: "all the pens that don't write" = one thing; "all the socks with holes in them, and their mates" = one thing.
    This let me tailor it up or down to my energy level. So if I knew I didn't have a lot of energy or focus, I'd go find lots of little things so I could get to 12 quickly without breaking momentum.

    Go for Low-Hanging Fruit

    This is similar to the "turn the pile of paper over and start from the bottom" advice above. Some stuff is just easier to get rid of; you already know you don't want that broken food processor, or that you want to donate that gift vase you don't like.
    So instead of picking one area, or one category, wander around looking for the stuff you are SURE about, and get that out of the house.

    Inoculate the Petri Dish

    This one works "geographically." Pick an area that you think you can achieve mastery over (often it's the front hall or the bathroom). Then focus on that area, decluttering and organizing and neatening. Then think of it as the little drop of penicillin in the mold, and never let it slip backward. Visualize the calm spreading outward, slowly.

    Recruit Company

    Sometimes I found that if I had someone hanging out with me, at a set time, for the express purpose of keeping me company while I did some of this decluttering, that I wouldn't let it slide. I've had friends from time to time who were the kind of people to whom I could say, "would you help me by coming over and watching me get rid of clothes from my closet? And maybe being an extra set of hands to reorganize?" It was less that they were making decisions and more that they were simply there to keep me focused and to keep me company and entertained.
    I did that with my daughter once; I've done it with my husband. "Keep my task."

    CJ Mac thanked talley_sue_nyc
  • bleusblue2
    last year

    talley_sue -- thanks for laying it all out like this. I feel inoculated with motivation. Yes, just pick one of these and DO it -- that's the thing. Don't plan to do it, just DO. That feeling of success -- it's getting to me already! I know i can do it.

  • CJ Mac
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Thanks everyone for the added posts! I especially want to thank bpath Oh Sophie and talley_sue_nyc: really great ideas!

    Been away because my husband was on vacation for a week and we did major landscaping stuff outdoors which on the first day had me crying because I didn't have the stamina for it. But then the weather got cooler and I was able to do more. We went to bed and woke up as sore as anything, but I told my therapist the following week that I was actually very happy--almost silly with laughing while we worked. We went out for nice meals to treat ourselves.

    It was a great feeling of accomplishing something I didn't think we could do (landscapers didn't want the jobs or wanted too much $$$). My husband of course did the heaviest work, but I can tell he felt satisfied as well. Also, first time to be outside for an extended period of time, and then the going out on errands and dining. All of that made me feel more alive and part of humanity. (We only have 1 car which is why I don't get out often.)

    So now that it's been 1 1/2 weeks, I'm trying to talk myself into getting out of bed earlier as we did that week--not being very disciplined about that and often fall back asleep till nearly 1 or 2pm. Also trying to do more. I've been making some slow headway on the papers, but with the change to cooler weather, I decided I'd better tackle clothes. Long story short (this is edited from my first version), getting all my Fall/Winter clothes together, all I could think was "Yuck!" I need to start over even though I hate to do so at a size I'm hoping I won't be staying at. (I'm at the heaviest I've ever been.)

    Oh, and thanks for the legal talk: my husband and I have not yet made a will and have no dependents. We want to give most everything to charity and would hate to die and have our brothers/sisters having to figure out what to do with our stuff and perhaps fighting over how to split the value of all.

    I really do appreciate all the good tips you've given me!

  • just_janni
    last year

    What inspiration from everyone.

    I am also getting ready to move (allegedly) and need to declutter. A LOT of things are hubby's. Paper, magazines, strange bits and pieces that he saved for "something", etc. He's traveling. I am boxing up and throwing crap away. With ZERO REMORSE.

    Simply clearing off a small section of counter was calming. I did the bathroom counter - wiped it off and now put my basket of morning "stuff" under the sink each morning. I need that kind of calm in the rest of the house. He's got every flat surface COVERED with papers. Some important for the new house build - so, eh - not so much. I appreciate that he's wanting to track every expense - I don't give a rat's patootie that we spent $5.87 on a paintbrush at Home Depot.

    I ordered some shelves / baskets for the hall closet to place my backpack when I get home from work, and a basked under it to put things in that I need to bring to the office (papers, animal crackers for my employees / goodies, etc)

    I am currently planning to throw out TODAY the things that we are not using for the new house and had samples of. (Right?) and then also BOX UP the "samples" or weird things that he's felt the need to save, label the box and put it away (with a date on it) If he doesn't ask for it in 6 months - it goes in the trash. No peeking inside it. There's not treasure in there if it hasn't called to you in 6 months.

    I know this seems drastic - but I AM NOT moving this stuff into the new house. And I KNOW he'll feel better if there is less clutter. He's 100% type A and a perfectionist - but it stunts his ability to let things go. He's ridiculously busy at work and I feel like the house is creating stress (it is for me - LOL!) so hopefully when he gets back - he'll appreciate the work.

    Thank you all for this thread - it's been VERY helpful to see the new ways to look at things - and even though I've managed to contain the clutter and keep it out of the living room / dining room and bedroom - we spend a LOT of time in the kitchen and that's where it all is. So - project kitchen it is!

    (Even took the day off to tackle this / take a little work break!)

    CJ Mac thanked just_janni
  • wednesday morning
    last year

    It sounds like a nice day at home all alone making changes with no one to question you.

    I have done that in the past with hubby's things when he has been away for a few days. At first, he was not pleased with it. But, as time has gone on it has allowed him to elect to walk down the path of ridding excess junk with me. He would never make the decision for himself and done it had I started the ball rolling for him.

    The years have begun to quickly catch up with us and the need to pare things down so as to not be caught in a position where we cannot do this for ourselves is becoming more important.



    CJ Mac thanked wednesday morning
  • jn3344
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Great tips. I will just add -

    One comes in, one goes out. At this point theres very little we need. Want a new pepper mill? The old one with the cracked top gets thrown away. New T-shirt? An old T-shirt gets donated.

    15 minutes. Set the egg timer. You can do as much or as little of the job as you can get done in 15 minutes.

    100. I use this outside. Pull 100 weeds is the big one. Before or after I do a 30 minute job. I try to do 2 30 minute jobs outside daily from Feb through Nov. I have broken up all yard tasks into 30 min segments. Almost done for 2018!

    Waiting? Dont wait. Do something. I can unload the dishwasher in the time it takes my first single serve coffee to brew.

    CJ Mac thanked jn3344
  • Kari Peterson
    last year
    When I am faced with indecision and things seem impossible, I will try to accomplish 1 small project. it seems to motivate me to get another small project going, kind of like the ball rolling. funny thing us, we are kind of in that same holding pattern, whether to stay put or move. we just contacted a real estae salesperson, they will let us know all the options and hopefully help us make a decision. you are lucky that you dont have a strong attachment to your things, it will be easier to clean up. I wish you luck!
    CJ Mac thanked Kari Peterson
  • tqtqtbw
    last year
    last modified: last year

    We really need to remove stuff from our house and designate homes for the things we keep. I went around and photographed my rooms and the clutter. With the photos, I am better able to objectively review what is out of place and plan. I then take a new photo as each little section is completed. - basically doing my own Dilemma/ Before and After.

    I had Monday off and decided that the kitchen counters were inconvenient to clean because of the clutter. There were things on the counter that needed to be in the pantry and things in the pantry that needed to go. I had the late revelation that we don't eat canned food. The newly nearly empty counters make the whole kitchen look refreshed.

    CJ Mac thanked tqtqtbw
  • wednesday morning
    last year

    There are two things that seem to come up in many discussions about home organization and decluttering that I just can't make peace with. One of those things is the advice to take photos of things before you pass it on out the door. Why? That seems to be holding on to some attachment to an object that really needs to end. Once I have made the decision to part with it, I sure don't want some sentimental photo of it.

    (I realize that tq... is talking about taking photos for a different reason.)


    The other thing that is often recommended is to do only a little at a time. Get it done and be able to enjoy the difference afterwards. Too many drips and drabs makes for a weary job, in my opinion.

    It is much more effective to empty the whole area and replace only a carefully selected amount of stuff.

    No matter, it is still an ongoing effort to enjoy a simple and uncluttered life.


    When we do unclutter things, the hardest part is to decide what to do with the stuff. Where do you take it? Who wants it? How do you get it there and when do you do that? Where do you keep it in the meantime? THAT is where stuff gets all dammed up and the flow stops.

    Now that you have made the decision that these things are no longer a part of your life....what to do with them?

    Much of what many of us are ridding our houses of is of no use to anyone else, either. And, most of it has very little, if any, material value. Many of us have spent decades buying junk that no one needed to have. Now we are trying to jettison it and most of it is going straight to the mountains of landfills.

    That is a sobering and frightening reality and should haunt all our dreams.

    We were each wrapped up in our short sighted visions and disbelief that it could not possibly be us that is causing all of this excess pollution and depleting of resources.

    Who? Me? I just...............................Yes, right, you and me and millions of others just......................


    Now, here we are being overwhelmed, swallowed and our futures are compromised by the consequences of excess consuming.

    My step grandson told me the other day that his grandmother cannot move from where she is to live closer to her family because she has too much stuff and can't get rid of it. She is ill, isolated, widowed ,elderly (same age as myself) and needs to not be 9 hours away from her children. But, she is sitting on and protecting a house full of stuff that serves no purpose. I have seen her house and it is full of pure junk! She really is hiding behind all of that junk instead of coming closer to the only family that she has, son, daughter and two grandchildren. She also lacks community and has no social life.


    I am getting rid of things while I am still in charge of it all and I refuse to be welded into one spot because I am laden down with junk. Getting old is not for the feint of heart. You need to be able to roll with the punches. You can't do that if you are carrying a burden of a lot of useless stuff around.

    Besides, I am tired of keeping care of things. No more..


    No photos of my junk and no drips and drabs of uncluttering.



    CJ Mac thanked wednesday morning
  • wednesday morning
    last year

    Cj, have you thought of maybe going and getting a job of some kind? It seems that it might add some structure to your daily routine and would realign your focus outside of yourself.

    I, of course, have no idea of what your qualifications are, but there are many seasonal jobs available right now.

    It sounds to me that you could really use some imposed structure.

    Sometimes it is a good thing.

    If not a job, set some waking hours for yourself. Sleeping into the afternoon has got to play havoc with your circadian rhythm and put you out of touch with the day, the day activities and the rest of the waking world. Hibernating in a bed while the world is abuzz outside will make one feel like an invalid. Don't do that to yourself. There may come a time in your life where you have no choice about such matters. Right now, it seems that you probably do have some choice.


    Maybe the most beneficial rearrangement of things in your life might be the elements of yourself. You might find that things fall into line more easily if you feel more in line with the day and life with others who are going about daily activities.

    Sometimes it not just our houses that are our of order. Sometimes we need some realignment within our selves, as well.

    If nothing else, just set an alarm clock and get up in the morning at the same time on a regular basis, and go to bed at night. The amount of daylight hours plays a very important role in the life of many living things, from plants to us.


    Do you have any physical activities such as a place for indoor swim or do you live where the weather is suitable for a daily walk? Do you do any physical therapy of any kind?

    I don't know what it was that you were ill with, but it sounds to me a lot like depression now.

    Daylight in our eyes seems to help with depression, as does having a focus outside of ourself.


    I certainly hope you don't fee offended at my comments and maybe give some thought to it.

    I highly recommend sunlight. It is the best thing, ever! It is the best cleaner for the soul and the spirit.

    Get up and get moving. Life may knock you down someday and you won't have any choice in the matter. We have to keep moving, all of us. It keeps us strong and alive.

    CJ Mac thanked wednesday morning
  • tqtqtbw
    last year

    Here is what got me started on my kitchen. I was not sleepy but need to be quiet, so I watched a series of cleaning videos on YouTube from one particular woman. Eight in a row where she was decluttering and cleaning her big beautiful kitchen. I thought, again with the kitchen?!? LOL. Heal thy self. I did pick up some hints and technique changes.

    CJ Mac thanked tqtqtbw
  • Kathy Yata
    last year

    I love watching youtube to inspire me. Sorry the house is tidy, once I figured out how to declutter I loved doing it! I like the ones where they are walking the walk rather than talking in a perfect room. Messy Minimalist, My Great Challenge are really good but there are lots more.


    Strongly disagree about doing small tasks. Many people fail and tip into squalor because doing too much makes a huge mess and they may not be able to get up enough motivation to clean up what's been done. Granted the garage I started with was a huge project but it is just one space that was easily closed off. Do that to your bedroom or kitchen and it could be really demotivating. Other than the garage I emptied one closet or cabinet a day and was easily able to sort and have my living area tidy again in an hour or so. Zero point exhausting yourself. I started out with 5 minute sessions alternating with 15 minute breaks. Felt great so went until tired, maybe 1/2 hour and was then down for a week unable to do anything. Back to the timer, my body condition sensors failed me big time! I'm better now but it sure took a long time to all the way back.


    Strongly agree to have an exit plan in place. Have boxes, bags and trash/recycling bins ready to go. Know where discards will be taken and even better know the hours of operation. I found that curb alerts were amazing ways to get discards gone. Freecycle is another way to get those sort of useful things out. This helps with burnout. Once the trash and recycling is full take a break until they are emptied.


    Definitely try for some good habits. I cannot sleep in so like it or not [not] I have to hit the sack at 10 pm. I set alarms all day long to get up and do something. The task might take 2 minutes or 2 hours but getting up throughout the day gets a lot of stuff done. I think the whole declutter started with the good habit of having a clean sink and starting the dishwasher every night back before I purged that garage. In the morning I finish the job by putting away the clean dishes before I eat breakfast. Another was to do one load of laundry a day.. I am not sure why folding and putting away 4 loads one day a week seems like 10 times the work but it does and I wasn't finishing the job by putting clothes away.

    CJ Mac thanked Kathy Yata
  • Current Resident
    last year

    Whats worked for me is just boxing up stuff too good (or sentimental value) to throw away, Before closing box put page on top with list of whats in box) and store it in the basement or somewhere. Then when I go back to it a year or more later its so much easier then just to send it off to Goodwill or wherever cos my attachment to it has been broken. Often Im surprised I still have that old junk!


    Also theres this native american tradition of the giveaway - you and your friends bring stuff to give away, lay it all out on a blanket, then everyone goes thru and picks out things that speak to them. I dont know why, but somehow its easier to give things to people I know will love them than just throw them out.

    CJ Mac thanked Current Resident
  • wednesday morning
    last year

    If you attend a "give away", it is important that you only give and not take home anybody else's stuff!

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    last year

    " I dont know why, but somehow its easier to give things to people I know will love them than just throw them out. "

    Related to this -- what helped me get rid of more stuff was donating it to places where I really felt the benefit of what would happen to it (giving it organizations I truly believed in, or ones I felt really needed the help because they were often overlooked).


    With a little on-line searching, I found places to donate specific things around town that I hadn't really ever thought of before - like donating art supplies to an after-school program for kids, or donating books to a drop in center for homeless people, who rarely feel comfortable in the library. There are a few organizations in town who provide "business" and "dressier" clothes to needy men and women going on job interviews; I also found an organization in town that provides free furniture to needy families setting up new homes either because they're formerly homeless or leaving an abusive home, etc. Or women's shelters, who need clothes and bedding for women and children who sometimes left an abusive home with virtually nothing. Those are the kinds of places I feel better (and more motivated) about donating to, and it's helped me feel better about getting rid of a lot of stuff. I also found that there are several retailers who accept used fabric/clothes/textiles that can't be reused but can still be recycled (like odd socks, or worn sheets).

    CJ Mac thanked Toronto Veterinarian
  • Denita
    last year

    One of the tricks I use is to put an item I no longer want on Offerup. It's a selling app. I put it on for a low price, especially if it is a heavy item and people pay me and they pick it up :) It beats having to pay someone to haul it off. Remember that old saying: one person's trash is another's treasure.

    CJ Mac thanked Denita
  • Hansen
    last year
    Getting rid of your stuff and moving are two very difficult actions. We are going thru 2 moves and selling 2 homes this year. We are moving out of state, where we have no friends or relatives.

    I get frozen too, but then I make a list of what I want to accomplish this week, force myself to get started each day after breakfast; and, reward myself when I'm done.

    Some days I only work for an hour, and sometimes I get into it and work for several hours.

    It is impossible for me to ask for help. I don't want someone else going thru my stuff.

    Be patient with yourself but also, be disciplined.

    It happens one box at a time.
    CJ Mac thanked Hansen
  • tqtqtbw
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I love My Great Challenge! I started watching her after the kitchen-repeat videos. I've been doing her technique. One section as time allows. I can't wait for my year end vacation. I like to identify places I can take donations at any time and have found two donation bins neaby - one for clothing type items and another for books. Mostly, my goal is to have a good sized donation for my favorite charity resale shop every weekend until year end.

    I try to visualize our next phases of life. We have one in college and another going next year with one more at home. I want a much less cluttered, more showroom home and am getting rid of what doesn't fit my vision. I dont need to be ready for everything kid-related thing anymore.

    CJ Mac thanked tqtqtbw
  • CJ Mac
    Original Author
    last year

    Thank you everyone. I wanted to specifically reply to a few of you, but now all your advice is mixed up in my head. I'll just say that over the last 2 weeks we made 2 car-loads of donations to places that give directly to the needy. Because of my weight gain it really hurt to give away some almost-new or barely-worn winter coats and other items. When I was debating about whether to keep them in the hopes that I'll lose weight, I felt that God gave me the inspiration: "But someone could be wearing them NOW." The man who runs this one particular charity said that "Poor people like new things too." He appreciated that just about everything we gave him was in near perfect condition.


    So that's a big load gone, but my office is still a disaster area because I've been using it and our guest bedroom as a catch-all for the things I can't decide about. A lot of empty boxes which is good, but there are still those darn little things that are my Achilles' Heel: fancy bookmarks bought as souvenirs, travel-sized containers and items that MIGHT be useful on a trip. Things that I consider too nice to just give to Salvation Army, such as a Cross fountain pen, nice jewelry I never wear, small decorative or religious items, etc. (My family would probably not want any of these things in case you wanted to suggest that.)


    And still can't make decisions about papers. I loaded up one box of stuff that all had to do with my husband so he could help share the load; he glances at it but like me can't seem to decide about any of it. Argh!


    Oh, as for my health, I have lupus and fibro and a few other problems. I am finally waking earlier than I used to, but with a new very comfortable adjustable bed, I'm having trouble making myself get out of it in the morning and usually sit there 2 hours praying and then just looking at my tablet (or falling back asleep because my cats come and sleep on my lap). I know perfectly well and scold myself often that I've GOT to get my butt out of the bed earlier. I tell this to myself every night but fail every morning--except on days my husband is home: then I'm able to get up and get at it.

  • jmm1837
    last year
    I don't know about where you live, but here in Australia the charities lust after things like nice costume jewellery and pens, because they can sell them in their shops and the money all goes to the needy. Nothing is "too nice" !

    As for paper, get a shredder and start with any bills paid more than three months ago. Get rid of tax papers beyond the years the IRS requires (here, I shred mine after 7 years). Bank records, credit card bills, etc are all available on line. Shred the paper versions and move on. Once you get going, you'll find it quite cathartic - the thing is to ste your parameters, look at the date, and if it's past that date, shred. No one needs receipts for a coat or a holiday paid for 5 years ago:)
    CJ Mac thanked jmm1837
  • AnnKH
    last year

    CJ Mac, congratulations on getting rid of stuff!


    I suggest moving the empty boxes to an out of the way place (garage, basement), so the space you've cleared LOOKS neater. When you are ready to tackle the next phase, you can pull out boxes as needed.


    Well done, and thank you for the update!

    CJ Mac thanked AnnKH
  • wednesday morning
    last year

    jmm is right that you need to get rid of most of that paper clutter. There is really very , very little that needs keeping. I go through our assortment of paper at least once a year. Hubby tends to just throw it all in a pile along with all of the ads, inserts, and envelopes. We don't have an overwhelming amount of it. No one needs an old reciept or an old credit card bill that has been paid and done with. No one needs old checkbook ledgers and three year old pharmacy receipts.

    Each year the insurance company sends us a new set of printed matter for the new year. They must spend a fortune printing all of that stuff out and sending it in the mail! These references are at least two inches thick! And, have either of us ever, ever looked at it? NO. Must be required by law but the references are a bunch of legal stuff and yackity, yackity that is probably intended to serve a liability issue or some type of disclosure requirement. All of this stuff needs to be weeded out on a periodic basis.

    Just start shredding! Or, just let it go into the trash. There is not really that much need to shred everything. Most printed statements don't really have that much privacy information printed on them anymore.

    The last time I went through and shredded, I stopped about half way through the pile because, on second look, I realized that there are really very few papers with any personal information on them. If there was valuable info to be had, the bad guys could steal it from our mail boxes instead of sorting through the dirty trash for it with the chicken bones and dirty diapers and meat wrappers. And, the guy who is riding on the back of the trash or recycling truck is much too busy jumping on and off of that truck to take time to look at my old credit card statement.

    Some of it does seem to call for a special way to destroy it. But, a lot of it can just be chucked into the recycle bin. Bad guys have many more high tech ways to steal our identities and assets.

    Don't let that unfounded fear be a reason to NOT get rid of the paper clutter.

    CJ Mac thanked wednesday morning
  • hcbm
    last year

    On paper clutter I just want to share this experience. My father, an attorney had his office completely destroyed on 9/11. We did not lose anyone thankfully, but we lost every piece of family papers. He was the keeper of his 6 adult children's mortgage, tax, insurance etc. papers. Not to mention the complete destruction of 40 years of professional and legal paperwork. Not one of his children had difficulty either navigating life without the paper or replacing whatever we really needed. Some of my father's professional paper took some effort to recreate, but mostly it was unnecessary. I still keep some papers, like the deed to my home and several years of tax returns, but mostly I either recycle or have electronic only delivery.

    Letting go is hard, don't berate yourself it's ok. However, baby steps move one forward and you seem to be moving forward. Good for you.

    CJ Mac thanked hcbm
  • Kathy Yata
    last year

    Paper is hard mentally and easy physically. You can sit down with a file drawer or box of loose paper on the chair next to you and a box on the other side to catch stuff going into recycling with another on the table for keepers. I find it nicer to do with natural light and try to be near a window or even outside on the patio. Paper really weighs you down even though it may not appear to be a burden. The 2 filing cabinets with apparently tidy files i started with looked just fine but weren't. If DH won't help then put it aside for now. You cannot declutter his stuff.


    I did shred. Since a home shredder can only run a few minutes at a time it made a nice break. Go through several inches of paper, rip of any personal info and go shred. Rinse and repeat.


    Get as many bills and statements online as possible, most are easy to do. I get a couple paper bills but pay online.


    Went from 2 4 drawer filing cabinets and 2 desk drawers to 2 desk drawers plus a couple file wallets over the past 3-4 years in half a dozen purges. Don't pressure yourself. If you get anxious about throwing away some bit then keep it for now.


    As for empty boxes I'd collapse the useful sized ones and keep and recycle the rest. With a roll of tape you can restore the box in less than a minute. I dislike being without any boxes, necessary to take some types of discards to the thrift store.


    Use the stuff. I lost a a pretty bookmark when I returned a library book but at least I enjoyed it. Use the Cross. If you don't enjoy it then donate or sell. I donated mine, did not care for them at all. Stick the hotel shampoos right in the suitcase so you'll carry them next time you travel or drain them into your regular bottle and discard the empty bottle. If I'm using the bar soap from my last trip now and loving it but won't take the shampoo.


    Set timers and use alarms. When I was recovering from a bad accident I set a timer for a 5 minute work session then took a break. Got lots done. If I worked until tired [about 20 minutes] I'd be down for a week. Treat yourself. Promise yourself something tasty or watch that show if you accomplish X number of up minutes or boxes out the door or whatever. I wrote up massive lists of to dos including estimated times when on breaks, helped get me going.


    Many people like to count things going out or take before and after photos. Keep updating this thread too. A record of how far you've come is very motivating both for you and others with the same issues.

    CJ Mac thanked Kathy Yata
  • CJ Mac
    Original Author
    last year

    hcbm, that's EXACTLY what I've been wondering--and I'm pretty sure I started this thread talking about it: what would happen if our house burned down? What would I miss? What would I not even care about? I need a group of people like you to keep reminding me: if you lost this item, would you really care? In nearly all cases the answer would be No.


    My husband and I are both very indecisive (you should hear us when he gets a few days off trying to figure out where to go and what to do--until we often give up and stay home), but he at least agrees with me that with most of this stuff in various Rubbermaid containers, we wouldn't even notice if someone else threw it out. But when we start to look, we get immediately bogged down with memories and attachments to each little item.


    For some good accomplishments since I started--as Kathy Yata mentions above, in the past several months:

    1. Got my husband to allow me to unload several bankers boxes of educational materials to a group that really appreciated it.

    2. Both of us have reduced our clothes greatly: mine almost by half.

    3. I have a bag full of expired medications that I will take next time they have one of those "turn in your old meds" days.

    4. Several bags of decorative and household items to Salvation Army.

    5. This week many bags of winter clothes, blankets, food to a local charity.

    6. Went through all our instruction manuals and was able to dump a lot. Got a entire file drawer down to less than half of a file box.

    7. Did the same with greeting cards: putting them in order by category and throwing out dorky ones I've had since the 80s. Threw out a lot I knew I would never give anyone. (But my sister just sent me a really cheesy Christmas one that she got free from a charity--now I wish I had kept one to send back to her. While I'm on a tangent: my other sister sent me the ugliest one for my birthday writing "I didn't pay for this." She wanted me know that she hadn't sent a donation to the charity she got it from. Nice.)

    8. Have gone paperless as much as possible this year. Throw out most catalogs without looking.

    9. There is a military chaplain stationed in Japan who told me he would love to have a load of religious DVDs and CDs we have. (We used to lead studies but have retired from that.) So that's the next load of stuff to get out of the house.

    10. This was in the Spring, but I nearly emptied out our attic except for things like suitcases and the Christmas tree. Maybe just a few boxes of pretty things from my mom and wedding presents that I have trouble parting with but they don't worry me. I hope some day to have a way to display them.


    Kathy, thanks for suggesting this: I feel pretty good about myself even though I'm still looking at a box or 3 full of miscellaneous stuff. The above proves to me that I CAN do it!


  • jmm1837
    last year
    Good on you, CJ - you're on the way! A while back, I realized I was clinging on to a lot of things that held memories - but many of them were of the same memory - so I started to pick just one or two of the best things from each of my experiences. I reduced a couple of boxes of albums and photos to a shoebox of the best photos. All sorts of ornaments from my time in Greece went to garage sales and thrift shops, with only a few of the best left - and they give me all the memories I need :) So next time you hesitate to get rid of something because of the memories, ask yourself whether it's the one best reminder - and if it isn't, let it go and keep the one that is.
    CJ Mac thanked jmm1837