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My husband and I are going to retire in 3 years, and we are trying to downsize our clutter now, as we know we will probably be moving into a smaller house. I thought I had gotten rid of a lot of stuff, but we were still bursting at the seams. After all that cleaning, I still did not have "a place for everything and everything in it's place" which was the goal. It was a constant stress living with the mess. Then I found Marie Kondo's book, ("the life changing magic of tidying up"). For me, this was the missing key to learning how to de-clutter properly. I never had any "teach" me how to do it before. I mistakenly thought that if I just kept buying more storage bins, it would contain the clutter. But guess what? You actually have to learn how to throw stuff out (or donate it). I am almost done with the de-cluttering method she teaches, and I can't begin to tell you the huge sense of RELIEF I have at finally having some breathing room and now the house is slowing getting back to how it was when we first moved in with all the possibilities of the world were lying before us. When I had trouble getting rid of the family "heirlooms", I realized, Hey! these are just the things that no one else wanted cluttering up their house, and so they dumped them on me! Along with Marie Kondo's book, some of the best advice I have ever gotten on getting rid of the clutter was from Laura Whitman's book "Clutter Rehab". She said, "If you're having trouble letting go of people or clutter eating up your space or your time, think about what it requires you to sacrifice." In my case, the sacrifice I was making was peace of mind, living like I was living in a storage unit instead of a house, never being able to find anything, and living in constant chaos and mess. I am now experiencing the peace I have wanted for years. My newly organized house feels like a brand new home, and I am so thankful for the Marie Kondo book!

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Having read all the previous comments I want to add- throw out the guilt of keeping things if you do love them! I am very organized and also like to keep cool old things and especially toys. I have moved internationally several times and gotten rid of whole households of stuff when doing so. There are always a few things that stay in our lives. I don’t want my home to look like a tourist curio shop so we put things in some pretty wooden boxes, labeled where they were from and my husband plans to take them out sometimes and show them to the grandkids. It will be a chance to also tell them about our adventures. They already love playing with their parents old toys.
Sometimes I think “no one else actually needs this item so I can keep it for the memories”. The world is too full of stuff, it’s a result of our affluent culture. Having organized labeled storage is the key. Like a good museum.
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Suzanne Lamberty Moe

When I graduated college, my brother gave me a nice set of Revereware cookware as a gift. I loved that set and used it daily. A few years after we got married, my husband decided to get me a few expensive Calphalon pots and pans, and encouraged me to sell my original set at a garage sale. It take me long to realize that I really disliked enjoy using the Calphalon pots & pans, because they are SO heavy, and left me longing for my original cookware, that got sold for a pittance. Since then, I have re-purchased some Revereware on e-Bay, and have become more reluctant to get rid of things, even as I am overwhelmed by clutter. I am nearing the end of my child-bearing years, but still have all the kids' clothes, because I have always wanted one more baby. With my oldest nearly 16, that is a LOT of bins of clothes!

Also, what do you do when your elementary-aged child gives you a gift that you don't really want or for which you have no practical use? Discarding or donating the item seems a bit harsh, with the potential to trigger hurt feelings.

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