View Full Version : Facing a huge decluttering project...

10-30-12, 1:22am
When we move in the soon future we have about 250 boxes that we had a lot of things in when we had a five bedroom home. We are going to a three bedroom home. A lot of the things I feel I still need to use or have sentimental value, like the first Christmas ornaments we had 28 years ago and ones I made on our honeymoon.

We are just going to go through a little at a time since we have all the basics that we have been living with.

Really feels like it will be very hard emotionally. Maybe I will take pictures so I can look at them once in awhile which someone recommended once. Oh well. I guess this is downsizing at its best!

10-30-12, 3:22am
I get what your facing, but for some perspective, you might visit with some people who have survived a fire, that their houses were total or near total losses. It can help put perspective on what we really need/want.

10-30-12, 6:05am
Tussie, I would have a hard time doing this too. Taking pictures would be a really good idea. My advice would be to not get rid of anything you absolutely love, because I think you would regret it eventually. I know I would. Good luck with the decluttering.

10-30-12, 6:21am
And I am of the other camp that says all those boxes are holding you down both physically and mentally (also money wise). If you had a fire or other natural disaster, you would grieve but are they adding to your life in any way?

My husband just said that if we were in the way of the Hurricane, he only wanted me and the cats and all the other stuff was just that "stuff".

When Mominlaw moved to our area just 4 months ago, she only brought what could fit in part of the smallest UHaul moving van and sold all the rest. She kept just enough to make her new apartment her own.

10-30-12, 12:49pm
Sometimes I have to sit with the idea that I'm going to get rid of something for awhile - even months on some things - before I ready to let go. If I feel a clutch when I try to hand it over, I sit with it awhile. One day I'm ready, and off it goes. Then again, I'm still the one with a 2 br appartment here in Honduras, and 2 10x20' storage units in Missouri (one does have my Jeep in it...), so take that into consideration.

If I can't be a good influence, I can be a horrible example.

10-30-12, 2:40pm
I haven't posted in several months as I just did a cross country move and downsized.

I moved to an over 55 community, into a smaller one story home, and lost a bedroom, basement and family room. Many of my neighbors cannot use their garages as they are filled with boxes and their houses are filled to the brim.

we sold, donated or gave away about 75% of our stuff before we moved. Since we have been in our new home, I can only say that I am very grateful that we did so, while many of our friends and new neighbors are bogged down with "stuff", we were able to start living our new life right away. I will say that the only thing we should have kept were lamps, we had to go out to buy a couple. Otherwise, my cabinets, closets and rooms are nice and clean and neat and uncluttered.

I read about a guy who put all of his stuff in boxes and took out stuff as he needed it. If it was still in a box in six months then out it went.

for your closet, put your clothes in backwards and after a year any item that is still on a backwards hanger goes out, except for a few special occasion things you might have for a wedding or funeral for instance.

Everything we gave away ended up enriching someone else. We had nieces in college who were thankful for furniture. Tools and such that we sold people were grateful for. Some of my art stuff went to an art guild and a school. Clothes, blankets etc went to people less fortunate than us and I know every day people are using things that were just sitting around getting older and more out of fashion.

You can do it, just make a plan (one box a week for example to go through) and stick with it.

Float On
10-30-12, 3:03pm
So nice to see you back flowerseverywhere!

10-30-12, 4:57pm
thanks Float On.

10-30-12, 8:40pm
I could so easily get rid of stuff but when it is time to downsize, it is going to be so hard for my DH. I'm glad you were able to keep not too much, not too little, but just enough!

10-30-12, 9:47pm
Good luck with that. I just close the door...

Miss Cellane
10-31-12, 8:03pm
Tussiemussies, back on the old boards, someone very wise, I think it was Diana in Wisconsin, posted something that has stayed with me.

You can have anything you want. You just can't have everything you want.

I think she was talking about spending money, but it works for decluttering, as well.

You can still have those Christmas ornaments that are special to you. You just need to be aware that by keeping them, you will need to let go of something else.

So pull out all the Christmas tree decorations. Put them all where you can see them. Think about keeping half of them. Then put them all in order on a big table. The ones you absolutely must keep--the ones you made and the ones from your first Christmas. The ones you'd like to keep. The ones you can easily let go.

If you haven't identified half to let go yet, look at what remains. Do you need to keep all the ones from your first Christmas? Could you keep half and let half go? Do you need to keep all the ones you made? Could you keep half and let half go?

Maybe your goal isn't to let half go. Maybe it is to have just enough to decorate a 5 foot tree. So cull the collection down to that amount.

I think you are viewing this as an all-or-nothing decision. It doesn't have to be that way. You can keep some of the ornaments; just not all of them. You get to keep the ones that mean the most to you.

You may make decisions that other people wouldn't. That's fine. You make the decisions that feel right to you. You may want to keep all the Christmas decorations and get rid of some books, or china, or furniture, or clothing. It doesn't matter, as long as the decision feels right to you.

10-31-12, 9:04pm
You can do it!

We pared down to about 25 boxes in the US and our 8 bags to come here. Since then, we've collected a fair bit, though I do try to control it all! LOL

Still, we went through the boxes with my parents, and guess what? I think we have it down to 5, which we'll divide up and slowly send with the other necessities that we have sent to us (DS's ongoing clothing needs). And, we might get it down a few more.

End of the day, you'll be happier. Honestly. I am. Every day happier.

11-1-12, 2:12am
You really can do this. It's hard at first but it does get easier with time and practice. And yes, try not to think in terms of all or nothing...that's great advice. Think about what you actually need for how you actually want to live your new life, and go "shopping" in your boxes. The rest is truly unnecessary.

11-1-12, 8:43am
Very good advice from everyone. I agree with the sentiment that you can pretty much get anything you want. I've been working on that fear of getting rid of something I "might need later" and it is easier to declutter when I realize that - with ebay, amazon, freecycle, craigslist, etc. - I can pretty much find whatever it is I truly "must" have. (which is turning out to be "nothing" so far)

I agree that sometimes decluttering REALLY is hard! But it is possible! Good luck to you.

11-1-12, 3:42pm
Wow, that really is a huge project! I do think it gets easier as you go along - the first items are the toughest. Good luck!!

11-1-12, 3:48pm
You can do it. Don't confront it as 'I have to go through 250 boxes!'

Small bites.

Aim to weed through 10% first. Make small goals.

Out of all of the things that we've rid ourselves of, it's a rare occasion that we have had A) regrets or B) found ourselves needing whatever it was. Sure, there may have been times that with a few things, it would have been nice to have had somethng specific. However, it wasn't a need and I/we made due without it.

And above is right, if you find later whatever it is really should have been kept, you can always find a replacement later.

Like someone mentioned about tea parties. And I realized how much I reallllly have missed my tea set. However, the one that I sold was part of a Royal Doulton print that really is no longer my style. And it really was TOO much, service for 8, I believe? Maybe at most, I could use a service for 4. So.. that's something that for Christmas, I'd really like to replace and will probably torture (take) husband to various antique shops to shop with me. :) See. It all works out in the end.

11-1-12, 8:33pm
I have found that what works for me is similar to the method espoused by Miss Cellane. First, I have to get all like items together in one pile. Somethings, this is as big a project as the purging because some of my things are scattered throughout the house, closets, and garage.

However, once I get all like items together, I can much more easily decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

I'm doing this right now with office supplies. I used to run a company out of my house and am downsizing my home office. It's located in the biggest of the four bedrooms in the home and has a large 10-foot wide closet that is stuffed with office supplies, a copy machine, computer equipment, etc. from years past.

I started with pens, pencils, and markers and found dozens of each. I kept a small box full and put the rest in my donation bags to my favorite charity. Next, I'll tackle file folders and hanging files, labels, etc. Same process. Then, it will be computer equipment and monitors, etc.

It's a big project and I'm giving myself a couple of months to complete it.

I'm actually going to get rid of my big L-shaped desk and get a wall desk, something like this: http://dornob.com/fold-down-slide-up-simple-wall-mounted-wood-mini-desk/?ref=search instead and keep one small file cabinet. I'd like to end up with lots of space in the room as I will eventually downsize into a smaller home.