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Thread: Cleaning up and clearing out your space, what have you done?

  1. #16
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    Here's what I learned from my clear out (and some of these have previously been mentioned):

    One last thing....if you have a significant other, or children, don't insist they clear out their items if they don't want to do this nor do it for them. Unless you are moving and have no choice but to downsize, they have the right to keep whatever they want. And please, please, please, don't force little kids to get rid of their stuff just because you're on a "clear out" kick. Their toys/possessions are very important to them. It's better to discuss the idea of decluttering with them first and let them decide to actually declutter.
    This is a very good point. And as I in theory would have never... I know me well enough that in the heat of the moment I do tent to make such decisions for others in the family. So thank you for including this and stressing it so my family can watch me in peace clearing out MY clutter.
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  2. #17
    Registered User Aeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    One last thing....if you have a significant other, or children, don't insist they clear out their items if they don't want to do this nor do it for them. Unless you are moving and have no choice but to downsize, they have the right to keep whatever they want. And please, please, please, don't force little kids to get rid of their stuff just because you're on a "clear out" kick. Their toys/possessions are very important to them. It's better to discuss the idea of decluttering with them first and let them decide to actually declutter.
    This x 1000. My mom is a hoarder in a very bad way -- think of the popularized hoarding TV shows. It got to the point where she had to move out of her house so some pretty extensive renovations could be done. But first her house had to be cleaned out top to bottom. It took over a year for my mom and I to work our way room by room to de-clutter and clean out. The process was painful for both, stressful, and at times we were not on speaking terms. When we first started I would say, "I don't care if you hate me. You. Cannot. Live. Here. Like. This." I definitely bulldozed her and we didn't make much progress. But by the end, we had come up with a system that worked for us. We would focus on just one room until it was decluttered to her liking. If I got overwhelmed, I would take a break until I was calm again. I made her make a list of the home she wanted to come back to, so when she was struggling about letting something go, I'd remind her about her list and ask her a lot of the same questions Frank II mentioned above. If she kept it, fine. If she let it go, fine. After all, it wasn't my house and I wasn't going to live there again.

    In the end she got the contents of her 2000 sq foot four bedroom house into two portable storage containers about 8 ft by 12 ft. I would have gotten rid of 80% of what was in those units (because of their condition), but to know how far and how hard she worked I could only hug and kiss her! We both thanked the heavens that the process was over, too.
    currently:
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    want: Aeronaut 30 (black/steel), DLBP (black or steel), Synapse 25 (grey/steel), more BURNT ORANGE: OPs, keystraps, Side Effect, Ballistic Nylon, 200d Dyneema

  3. #18
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Aeon I am deeply impressed by your story. It sounds like a long way you went with your mother and for you both to come out there still loving and respecting each other is marvelous. I am not sure if I was able to go through something like this with my mother but I truly hope, that if ever I/we have to we will work through it with the same determination for success like you did. And as a success I am referring the want of hugging your mother at the end of this "journey".

    Ilkyway

  4. #19
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Thanks Frank II, your last point is exactly why my daughter's declutter "project" is so long overdue IMHO. She, and my second child want to hang onto to every tiny speck they have ever been given/received. It has been difficult at times to get them to willingly participate in culling.

    With the boys, in our old home, they shared a room, so they had less space to keep things. Around the time I needed them to pare down, we changed the purpose of their playroom to be our homeschool, so what toys they had needed to fit into their bedroom. That was a joke, because their room was small, and had their bunk beds and dresser, and now train table (with huge storage drawers) in it. I gave each boy a container and asked them to put into it what they wanted to keep, not counting knick knacks, Legos, or books. After a predetermined time, what was left was donated, or garage sales. Dh turned their bunks into loft beds, built knickknack shelves, lego storage and a bookcase. They virtually instantly had a clean room, and they chose what stayed. There has been minimal grumbling over one or two items, that went away, due to misunderstanding, but overall, that transition was easy and they loved how easy clean up became.

    My daughter was too little to go through this exercise, but she had excess, so by our move, over half of her things had been placed into storage, and subsequently moved with us. When we set up her new room, she remembered everything, and asked for it all to go into her room. After the mele of moving calmed, I spent two days helping her find a place for everything, so as it currently stands, if she could focus long enough, she could clean her room. But developmentally, it's too challenging to sort and organize it all. Her room being tidy is constantly a sore point between us. I feel that children should be able to tidy and clean their mess, at whatever age they are. That equates to not giving very young children a ton of toys because they developmentally cannot clean it all up.

    My daughter is ready for the same transition that I had the boys go through. She's well past the toddler stage that she was before, so the vestiges of those types of toys can go, she is into toys with lots of small parts and accessories, but doesn't have patience to sort them, let alone put them away when clean up tim e comes because she has so many!

    Forcing a child to part with something they aren't ready to part with, I agree is bad, but empowering them with the tools they need to prioritize what to keep, with the realization, they don't need it all, and what goes will be enjoyed by another child, is a concept I believe my children must learn. Seeing them, able to really play with what's left, happy with those fewer things, and proud of cleaning what's left is priceless.
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    Aeon - that had to be very difficult. I joke that there is a 'packrat' gene - and I have to fight my genetic tendencies. My grandmother and a couple of my cousins have all held onto a lot of things - although I don't think any of them approached hoarder status. My brother and a couple other relatives have their c'ollections.'

    I agree with Frank II's comments about letting others know if you are decluttering/minimizing - just because it no longer has value for you, someone else may want it. When one of my aunts died, her daughter (who would I would classify as an extreme minimalist) went through and sold/gave away almost all her things. The hard part for me, my mom, and a few other relatives is we all thought my aunt has excellent taste and would have gladly taken/paid forsome of her things. (That's the simplified version of the story.)

    One of my friends used to joke and then said seriously when it became it an issue - that besides discussing religion, children, and money philosophies with your soon to be spouse before marriage you need to discuss your minimalist/collector tendiencies.

  6. #21
    Registered User eWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aeon View Post
    For example, I keep things in drawers to an absolute minimum. I just stuff drawers full and never know what's ever in them. No matter how hard I tried to organize drawers, they'd always end up cluttered very shortly afterwards. Then it dawned on me that drawers aren't for me, so after I relocated what I putting in drawers to other places (hung up shirts, put utensils in a crock on my counter, etc) did my cluttered drawer problem end.
    @Aeon I have the same problem! Not only with drawers but with all things out of my sight. My wife was the one that noticed that and from an architect friend of her we found a found a very practical but kind of radical solution.

    When we married, and moved first to a two bedroom apartment, we used one for us and the other we used as a waking in closet with everything in plain sight. I liked it so much that when we moved to a bigger apartment we kept the same strategy and even started to do the same on the kitchen.

    When we finally moved to a house, It was for a Loft like space to keep using the same strategy.
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  7. #22
    Registered User eWalker's Avatar
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    On the past years I have been downsizing and simplifying my life on various fronts.

    . From checked luggage to carry-on only
    . From Rottweilers to Yorkshires then Persians, and now none. I was with my mind set on a couple parrots but they would outlive me! My grandmotherīs parrot outlived her and looks like it is going to outlive my uncle too!
    . From shooting with various long guns to a single hand gun
    . From home library of hundred books to kindle
    . From news papers and magazines to tablet
    . From desktop computer to notebook and mini tablet
    . From house to apartment
    . From station wagon to compact car. Someday I hope to have only a small two seats!
    . From gardening to traveling and hiking
    . From scrapbooking and writing journals to evernote and wordpress
    . From photo albums to cloud storage
    . From CDīs to MP3

    I donated my collections (stamps, coins, orchids and others) to my cousins and friends
    I donated my printed books to the local libraries. Hardest thing I had to do!
    I shared my family photos with my family
    My pets died of old age
    Sold my long guns and CD s to friends

    My challenges now are:

    . From home office to no office
    . Project 333
    . Maximum 40 square meters apartment
    . Downsize myself (loose weight). Smaller outfits = less weight on my carry-on!

    What I am keeping:

    . Watch collection
    . Old journals
    Last edited by eWalker; 05-26-2014 at 12:33 PM.
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  8. #23
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    This is my new favorite thread! I've been slowly downsizing my belongings for several years now. The idea of minimalism appeals to me, but as a homeschooling parent with two kids, I have to find a balance between not owning too much stuff, but still surrounding ourselves with things that inspire learning and creativity. I *try* to follow a one in and one out model, which allows me to bring in new, interesting things to inspire the kids, without creating chaos.

    At this point, my home is uncluttered. I still have plenty of stuff that is sort of on hold before we get rid of it. For example, I want to get rid of old school yearbooks, but hubby isn't ready to let go of them. All those random pieces from the dishes we registered for when we got married, but don't actually use. A few furniture items that are stored in the garage that really need to move out.

    I'm not terribly sentimental, but I do have a keepsake box for each of us. Little tidbits (such as artwork, certificates, ticket stubs, trinkets) from our lives go in there, and I periodically go through it to see what should stay or go. I photograph a lot of stuff that I want to remember, and often write about it so I have a written record of my "story" of that item.

    I donate a ton of stuff to our local charity shop. It amazes me that I can manage a trunk full of donated items at least twice a year. Partly because I have growing kids, but also because I enjoy thrift shopping. This is where the one in, one out rule is important! If I think I can get a little money back for an item, I'll list it on Craig's List or eBay, but I really dislike the process.

    I could go on and on... :-)
    --Amanda

    Packing and gadget geek, collecting bags to disperse to my family.

  9. #24
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    I always say to myself, I will clear everything I don't need and then I get rid of 1% my stuff I don't use

  10. #25
    Registered User Aeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vecturist View Post
    Aeon - that had to be very difficult. I joke that there is a 'packrat' gene - and I have to fight my genetic tendencies. My grandmother and a couple of my cousins have all held onto a lot of things - although I don't think any of them approached hoarder status. My brother and a couple other relatives have their c'ollections.'
    It was indeed very hard, but when I look back at that time I realized how much I grew and matured from those experiences. I was also reeling from the guilt and shame of not checking in on my mom (we live 4 hours away from each other). So as much as I was screaming at her, "Why did you let it get this way?!" I was screaming at myself: "How did you not know this was happening?!"

    That being said: my mom knows if she ever lets her house get even mildly out of control again, she will be living elsewhere ASAP. I don't want that to happen, she doesn't want that to happen, so as a family we make a point to make sure that doesn't happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by eWalker View Post
    When we married, and moved first to a two bedroom apartment, we used one for us and the other we used as a waking in closet with everything in plain sight. I liked it so much that when we moved to a bigger apartment we kept the same strategy and even started to do the same on the kitchen.

    When we finally moved to a house, It was for a Loft like space to keep using the same strategy.
    So much yes to having things in plain sight. I stock up on clear plastic storage boxes from the Container Store (you can get them anywhere though) and put all the smaller things that need to be corralled in them. I hate the way they look when filled -- too much visual noise as I like to say -- so I don't keep them out on display, but I know by just looking at the box what's in it. Forgetting about the smaller stuff happens a lot less often now because the items are simply no longer in an opaque storage box.
    currently:
    • Burnt Orange: Synapse 19 (steel), Synapse 25 (steel), Organizer Wallet, 3D COC, small and medium DOP
    • Black: Side Effect (steel), small padded OP
    • Steel: small clear OP
    want: Aeronaut 30 (black/steel), DLBP (black or steel), Synapse 25 (grey/steel), more BURNT ORANGE: OPs, keystraps, Side Effect, Ballistic Nylon, 200d Dyneema

  11. #26
    Registered User Aeon's Avatar
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    Digital clutter is also something I'm working on. This really only pertains to my files and images on my computer now, but it also extended to my email, websites and RSS feeds I subscribed to, audio files, etc. In theory it sounds easy to consolidate and eliminate, but it is time consuming to do so.
    currently:
    • Burnt Orange: Synapse 19 (steel), Synapse 25 (steel), Organizer Wallet, 3D COC, small and medium DOP
    • Black: Side Effect (steel), small padded OP
    • Steel: small clear OP
    want: Aeronaut 30 (black/steel), DLBP (black or steel), Synapse 25 (grey/steel), more BURNT ORANGE: OPs, keystraps, Side Effect, Ballistic Nylon, 200d Dyneema

  12. #27
    Registered User eWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aeon View Post
    Digital clutter is also something I'm working on. This really only pertains to my files and images on my computer now, but it also extended to my email, websites and RSS feeds I subscribed to, audio files, etc. In theory it sounds easy to consolidate and eliminate, but it is time consuming to do so.
    Funny thing you mention that I was just thinking that I need to declutter my evernote. Under Tom Bihn tag alone there is over four hundred notes and I didn't realize I had gone that far!

    Sent from Samsung Note III using Tapatalk
    Last edited by eWalker; 05-27-2014 at 06:39 AM.
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    I have a love/hate relationship with places like the Container Store - for a number of years I was a real organization junkie (oh, look, plastic bins for ornaments and I can color code them for the holidays) - like I had color coded hangers for stuff in my closet. I'm one of those people who re-arrange and organize when stressed. Organizing stores and depts were nirvana - until I heard one of George Carlin's rants about stuff and buying boxes to put other boxes in. Now I'm trying to keep the stuff and boxes to a minimum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toblerhaus View Post
    I photograph a lot of stuff that I want to remember, and often write about it so I have a written record of my "story" of that item.
    I also take photos of things, but I really love the idea of writing a story to go with them.

    I went through a big decluttering process about a year and a half ago. One of the hardest things was letting go of all of my books. The ones I wanted to keep were put in storage, then brought back to the house and culled again, until what was left would fit on the bookshelves I had designated to books. I'm only allowed (self-imposed restriction) to buy e-books now with very few exceptions. The hobby related items were difficult too.

    I've lost quite a bit of weight since August, so my clothing has been pulled out of my closet and donated by necessity. Now, I just have to limit what I replace once I reach my goal weight. It really is amazing what a difference clothing size makes when packing.

    My projects for the summer are to start another major culling focusing on digitalizing the things I set aside to be digitalized, and to go through our storage unit and try to downsize that. When my mother passed away, my sister and I sold or donated most of her things, but we also ended up putting a bunch of stuff in storage because we just couldn't deal with it at the time. I think we've reached the point where we are ready to go through that stuff again.

    I find that focusing on my future goals (travel, housing, etc.) is most helpful when letting go of the things I've accumulated, and that giving the things I love to others who might also love them is better than keeping them in a dusty storage unit or stuffed in the back of a closet.
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  15. #30
    Registered User eWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vecturist View Post
    I have a love/hate relationship with places like the Container Store - for a number of years I was a real organization junkie (oh, look, plastic bins for ornaments and I can color code them for the holidays) - like I had color coded hangers for stuff in my closet. I'm one of those people who re-arrange and organize when stressed. Organizing stores and depts were nirvana - until I heard one of George Carlin's rants about stuff and buying boxes to put other boxes in. Now I'm trying to keep the stuff and boxes to a minimum.
    I donīt see boxes inside boxes and bags insides bags as a problem as long as it is way of organization. On my home and office I usually work in three levels: shelf, container and boxes, for example. And I will be doing the same with my packing now that I will start to use packing organizers on the Aeronaut: compartment, cube and pouches.

    I think it makes easier going from large to small, zooming to the specific.

    Hmmmm I didnīt realized that I was doing that with packing until you made your post! Thanks @Vecturist !
    Last edited by eWalker; 05-27-2014 at 09:07 AM.
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