PDA

View Full Version : Is it always good to get rid of stuff?



rosarugosa
5-15-11, 6:47pm
It seems like purging of stuff is almost a fad right now, so I have to wonder. I've started the semi-annual cleaning of the closet, and I usually get rid of a lot of clothing and accessories during this ritual. I've already encountered some things that I forgot I've had, or haven't worn in ages (even a couple of never worns). But if it fits, and has nothing wrong with it, and is neatly stored away, am I really better off without it? I'm not very faddish, but sometimes one's taste or sense of style shifts a bit. For example, I've got several really nice hats, but I don't really wear hats these days. But I might go through a stage where I want to wear hats again, and it would be silly to have to buy new ones. These are cool hats from nice boutiques; I didn't get them at the mall.
Then there are relics like the big black fur muff I got from my folks as a kid. It's lovely and in perfect condition, but I have no use for it and cannot imagine anyone who would. And beautiful scarves, but I'm just not into scarves now (nor have I been for several years).
I've been wondering the same thing about some of my home accessories. I feel like I could walk around the house and "edit" out a bit, and never miss it. Does that mean that I should?
By the way, I don't "purge and splurge" - I've gotten very careful about what I allow to come home with me in the past few years!

Mrs-M
5-15-11, 8:05pm
Here's my way of thinking when it comes to getting rid of stuff/things.

Is it in the way?
Are you cleaning and organizing around it all the time and not utilizing it?
Has the item or thing worn out it's welcome?
Has the item or stuff simply seen it's day?
Is it just stuff hanging around clogging up valuable space that will never be put to use?
Now, of course my list only grazes the surface as to things you need to ask yourself related to purging, but what I'd do is sit down and compile a list as to things that are important to you, things that aren't important to you, things that mean nothing to you, and start an organizational campaign from there to ascertain what exactly you need to keep and what exactly you need to get rid of.

Fawn
5-15-11, 9:48pm
I promise you, there is someone [a little princessy girl, or a theatre group] that would LOVE to have your black fur muff. And there is someone else that would like to have your hats. In my conservative town, the ladies that wear hats are either "Red Hat" ladies, or "English Tea Society" ladies, or the members of a couple churches here in town where you CAN NOT show up to church w/o a hat...you would be undressed! Or, again, the theatre group would like your hats.

If you are going to wear that angora sweater or that snakeskin skirt again....by all means, keep it. But if you are not, it doesn't matter how weird or retro the item of clothing is, there is someone out there that would think that it is the bee's knees and be ever so grateful you decluttered.

If you don't love it, there is someone out there who will...set it free!

Madsen
5-16-11, 1:29am
If you don't wear it, get rid of it. Yes, fashions can come back around again, but both you and the fashions are different when they do. For example all the 80's-style neon stuff that the kids are wearing nowadays is different than the neon was 25 years ago.

ApatheticNoMore
5-16-11, 2:15am
For clothing, it is hard to say. I don't think I really approach it like you do, I mean my tastes don't change much (I buy new shirts sometimes that are close to shirts I wore several years ago that wore out, that's how little my tastes change!). Although sometimes I do decide that something is ugly yes, but that's a pretty final decision. So I guess it really is about knowing your own personality and the real likelihood that you will use the item in the future.


I've been wondering the same thing about some of my home accessories. I feel like I could walk around the house and "edit" out a bit, and never miss it. Does that mean that I should?

Well I wouldn't use the word should, but these are things I would probably get rid of. Again what is the probability it will ever get used?

I don't know that things released into the world always stand a great probability of finding a great new home either. It seems to me the world is awash in a glut of stuff, a tidal wave of stuff, drowning in it. But if you aren't using it anyway it is better to give it away. Of course I certainly wouldn't put much in the landfill, I'd make sure it all gets reused to the extent I can.

rosarugosa
5-16-11, 5:51am
The cleaning thing is something I've been considering - if my only relationship with an item is to periodically dust it, and I don't find it particularly lovely, then it should go.
I usually donate my items to the Salvation Army, but I would feel better about giving something like the muff away if I had an actual personal recipient. I'll have to give that one some thought.
And I don't know that my tastes really change that much in a back & forth sense; it's perhaps more a matter of them shifting and getting more focused as I get older, which may mean that I won't be going back to hats & scarves again. Maybe I'll cull through these items and just keep the best of the best.
Thanks for the input!

iris lily
5-16-11, 9:28am
No! ha ha.

A few weeks ago I got rid of a big dog crate. It was sort of broken which is why I didn't donate it to Stray Rescue up the street.

Well wound't cha know, the next week we got a call to rescue 6 French Bulldogs. I needed more crates.

Fortunately Stray Rescue had an excess and we borrowed theirs.

tgardella
5-16-11, 6:09pm
And I don't know that my tastes really change that much in a back & forth sense; it's perhaps more a matter of them shifting and getting more focused as I get older, which may mean that I won't be going back to hats & scarves again. Maybe I'll cull through these items and just keep the best of the best.

Sometimes it takes two or more passes to completely part with stuff, and that's OK. Like you said, you could keep your favorite hats or scarves for now, donate or consign the rest. It's possible that when you're decluttering again in 6 months or a year, you might be decide to part with the entire collection.

Juds
5-16-11, 8:22pm
The larger problem, for me, is the whole being frugal about my resources. It seems wasteful to get rid of something that I might find useful at some future time. I struggle with that most of all. But, this stuff, a lifetime of things that meant something at some point is too heavy a burden to continue to carry.

No matter how careful and considered my donations of my stuff, it is inevitable that there will come a time when I wish that I had held on to something. I have too much stuff and am willing to take the risk.

For a very long time, our house was the repository for all of the family stuff that people wanted to keep, but for which they did not have space in their own homes. There came a time, as it always does, when all of it had to go. I called everyone and told them that they had a deadline to come over, go through everything and take what they wanted. Everyone agreed, and I followed that up by sending a reminder, through the mail, shortly before that date. Then, the day arrived and only one person showed up to take stuff. I called the others and their preference was that I continue to hold the things until a better time for them.

I then gave them a new deadline, two weeks ahead, and a week after that date, I got rid of everything.

Now, if I could only get myself to adhere to a reasonable deadline. :)

Jemima
5-17-11, 2:35pm
I've thrown away some things I now wish I had kept, so my current policy is to keep things I like no matter how long it's been since I've used them and pass along what's left that might be saleable at a charity thrift store. Damaged items, junk, or things that make me wonder what I was thinking go to the curb for trash pickup.

I've noticed that sometimes decluttering can become quite un-simple in that people get obsessed with it, in which case they're just as involved with stuff as the most acquisitive and materialistic of people. My tendency is to let things go until I start feeling crowded or can't remember where I've put things or even if I still have the particular whatsis needed now or in the near future. I have a really good memory, so when things get to the latter point it's definitely time to start emptying and sorting the contents of closets and the shed.

H-work
5-17-11, 3:21pm
My girly-girl 6 year old would love and treasure a vintage fur muff! She bundles up in stocking cap, ear muffs, scarf and mittens even on a sunny day. Then as she plays in the sun, starts to shed layers. I have her go pick up her layers several times a day. The princess does not have a tolerance for cold (and we live in the mountains! poor thing). When we get into the car, she asks us to turn on the heat conditioner, lol.

If you don't find a local girly-girl, I'd buy the muff from you :) If you'd accept a money order, as I don't have paypal.

rosarugosa
5-22-11, 9:42pm
Well I decided I would ask Mom if she knows another little girl she would like to give the muff to, since she has lots of godchildren, surrogate grandchildren, etc. I figured that would be appropriate because she gave it to me in the first place. If she doesn't, I'll keep your DD in mind, H-work.
Mrs. M, I found your question "has it had it's day?" to be a useful one. Just becase I loved something once, doesn't mean I have to keep it forever. Like certain old boyfriends, there might be some good memories, but you wouldn't want them still hanging around!
I've got a few hats, some scarves, belts, and a few miscellaneous pieces of clothing in the donation pile. My wedding hat is going - I'm keeping the husband and that's all that really matters :) Some things are unworn or barely worn, but I might as well reclaim the space and move on. The important thing is to spend more wisely going forward, and I think I'm doing pretty well in that regard. There's definitely more going out than coming in. Oh, and I asked my niece (who has a 1 y.o. daughter) if she might like my collection of dolls from different countries that my Dad bought me when I was little (he was in the Merchant Marines and bought us lots of nice things over the years overseas), and that has been languishing in a box in the basement for decades. She said she is definitely interested, so the dolls might get a new lease on life.

H-work
5-22-11, 10:30pm
Well I decided I would ask Mom if she knows another little girl she would like to give the muff to, since she has lots of godchildren, surrogate grandchildren, etc. I figured that would be appropriate because she gave it to me in the first place. If she doesn't, I'll keep your DD in mind, H-work.


That's awesome, I hope your mom has just the right little girl in mind. And you've given me an idea on something to look for (or make) for a birthday present :)

DarkStar
5-23-11, 12:55pm
No, I've gotten rid of albums because I was tired of listening to them, and now I wish I had them back. I've occasionally had that experience with books, too.

I'm in the final stages of clearing things out of my old house. It's been a real tug at my heart to get rid of some items. I hope I don't regret it later, but I can't bring everything to my new place. I'm trying to look at is as clearing the doorway for my new life rather than actually giving up things.

Gardenarian
5-23-11, 6:02pm
I like the idea of the "outbox", as described in Apartment therapy : the eight step home cure. Put things away for a period of time and then revisit them. If you still want them, put them back in your closet; if not, you have lost nothing. This assumes you have a space where you can put things you are considering getting rid of.

This has worked really well for dd, who has a hard time letting go of things. I put things away and she knows she can have them back. By the time 6 months or so has passed, her attachment to her things is broken, and she is willing to give them away. (I'm not talking about precious toys or anything, just old t-shirts she has outgrown and the like. She has her grandma's hoarding tendencies.)

bicyclist
5-24-11, 6:56pm
There are several good suggestions in this thread. One which has worked for me is to put clothing items aside for a few months before deciding whether to keep them or give them away. Choose to revisit the item after some reflection. That's true for many kinds of decisions, not only decisions about possessions. Sometimes the answers aren't obvious. I have kept some things like boots for many years but other personal items for just a short time, even after setting them aside.

I am going to think more about my memories that are connected to an item. That's a new one for me to do. What's a way to honor a memory I have that is connected with something? I might write about it in my journal or photograph the item before giving it away.

poetry_writer
5-24-11, 10:46pm
My church is going to try something cool. A garage sale where you dont sell it, but give it away! I think its a great idea, someone at my church is organizing it who has done this in another city. It turned into a festival , with balloons and food etc. It was a huge hit. You can get rid of stuff and help others at the same time. I am hoping to get rid of some things and help others at the same time.

fidgiegirl
5-24-11, 11:16pm
I called the others and their preference was that I continue to hold the things until a better time for them.

I then gave them a new deadline, two weeks ahead, and a week after that date, I got rid of everything.

Of course they did: forever! HUGE KUDOS to you for holding strong and getting rid of it! I am truly impressed.


I like the idea of the "outbox", as described in Apartment therapy : the eight step home cure. Put things away for a period of time and then revisit them. If you still want them, put them back in your closet; if not, you have lost nothing. This assumes you have a space where you can put things you are considering getting rid of.

This has worked really well for dd, who has a hard time letting go of things. I put things away and she knows she can have them back. By the time 6 months or so has passed, her attachment to her things is broken, and she is willing to give them away. (I'm not talking about precious toys or anything, just old t-shirts she has outgrown and the like. She has her grandma's hoarding tendencies.)

We are using this at our house, too. It's working well, especially as we continue to feel out how to work on this issue as a married couple (I moved into his house). At least if something is bothering me and he won't take action because he's not ready yet, it can go sit in the outbox for a while and we are both satisfied. Some things have come back out and been repurposed, some are still sitting there, and many have been sold or given away. BTW our outbox is a whole room upstairs! That kind of bugs me, but I figure it's better than having crap all over in the WHOLE house. (ETA: My hubby isn't a pig, BTW. He just has a lot of decorations :) )

To the OP, I have only regretted one thing that I gave away: a jacket. This is out of thousands of things, I would bet. I see what you're saying about maybe using it. Also to the poster who commented about taking several passes - very true here, especially when I was first downsizing. It feels so great to be lighter. Our upcoming potential move is motivating me to get rid of more.