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

  1. #1
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    Cleaning up and clearing out your space, what have you done?

    It seems that several of us are in a clean up and clean out mode these days. Maybe it is the arrival of spring that brings it out in some of us.

    I have two big bags of bags that are going to a local resale store. The proceeds from the store are used to support the local food pantry. A cause near and dear to my heart. I still have enough backpacks to outfit half a platoon. Maybe they can go later. I mentioned in an earlier thread that I cleared out two pickup loads of stuff last fall. I hope to do as much again this year.

    I am in awe of FrankII's ability to clear out enough stuff to pack everything that was left into a small storage space so he can travel full time. Do we have a bowing icon?

    So what have you cleared out, donated, trashed, big, small, doesn't matter, it all counts.
    Moose

    PS, I will give a good home to anyone decluttering TB bags.
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

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    Registered User flaneuse's Avatar
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    Good for you! I love trying to lead a somewhat minimalist lifestyle, but with kids it's a bit of a challenge. With out last move from CA to Germany, I thought I had done a good job of going through our HHG (household goods) and donating a fair bit, but once we got our house and our stuff back, we ended up donating even more. Which was good. We still have a few more items that I think it may be time to part with in the garage, and it may be time to part with the DVD/cd collection, and a few more dining/serving items, and maybe a couple of cookbooks.

    At this point I am owning only things I love and enjoy caring for. It makes life easy. I can clean the house in an hour, I know where everything is, and I like how it all works together.

    For me it is hard to decide if it is worth keeping some of my oldest son's clothes for my youngest son. There is a 6 year age difference, so that can amount to quite a bit of clothes in storage. The oldest is getting to the age where the clothes disintegrate from all the outdoor play before they can be saved, so that may help me decide It is hard to part with some of the baby's (a girl) items too. No more babies are in the future, and deciding what are heirlooms worth saving and carting around the world with us is kind of a pain. Some days I want to donate it all.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    flaneuse, when I was a kid we moved from Colorado to Germany but, our HHG moved to Italy. My mom had packed one sauce pan and one frying pan in our checked baggage so we were set. We had disposable dishes for the six weeks it took for our stuff to catch up with us. My mom traveled all that way with my brother and I in tow. My brother toting a huge stuffed dog and me with a big stuffed caterpillar. She was one gutsy lady to take that on. Of course I didn't realize it until decades later.



    This is where I learned to pack. I have family that asks me to pack their bags becuase they know I can make it all fit. We all have a talent, so I hear, mine is getting a lot of stuff into not much space. It is also where I learned to ALWAYS have one change of clothes in my carry on bag, period, no exceptions.
    Last edited by Moose; 05-25-2014 at 09:33 AM.
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

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    I am slowly decluttering and organizing. I have a really nice set of rubbermaid tubs and bins and have told myself everything must fit in them (luckily I still have a couple empty ones, since rubbermaid no longer makes that style and color and I like things that match). Some of it is easy like manuals and receipts for electronics I no longer own, ratty t-shirts I shouldn't be keeping just to sleep in. The harder stuff is the bin full of cards and letters from various family members and friends (and I still have mix tapes from various ex-boyfriends). I also have a lot of books (I come from a family of readers and books get passed around) and art - photography I've shot and a couple family members are artists.

    The old t-shirts and linens go to a textile recycling center in town - they make cotton insulation for houses and donate some of it to habitat for humanity. My parents' church runs a thrift store with a couple other churches so nicer household goods and clothes get donated there. My parents' church also collects backpacks and luggage for homeless families so I donate the bags I get at the conferences I go to a couple times a year.

    When I am going through stuff, I try to remember something I read on the Minimalists site: "Is organizing well-intentioned hoarding?" When shopping I also try and ask myself if it's something I really need.

  5. #5
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    I am not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination, but am slowly trying to declutter and to be mindful of what I bring into the household. It's harder because I am ridiculously sentimental. Some of the tactics that help me let go of kids' stuff:

    - I take pictures of beloved things (and eventually will turn these into themed albums - Artistic Creations; 2012; 2013; Cherry Blossoms; etc - but for now they all live on a hard drive and on Shutterfly), then donate/sell/give away.

    - I turned a bunch of DD's clothes into a quilt. (I didn't make it myself, I had someone else do it. Eventually I will make my own quilt, but I decided that if I couldn't bear to part with her clothes, I should go ahead and turn them into something useful in the meantime. ;P) I have a box of DS' clothes that I am going to convert as well.

    - I give favorite clothes to a friend with younger kids, so that I can still see them from time to time.

    - I gave some clothes that were too big for the younger one to a friend, then she gave them back to me when her son had outgrown them and DS had grown into that size. (Note, this only works if you are okay with some wear-and-tear risk.)

    - I sell things (car seats, baby carriers) so that I can fund new things the kids need (the next size up in clothes/shoes, for example) which will hopefully become new favorites.

    You sound like you are well ahead of my own process, though! Love this thread for inspiration.

    Quote Originally Posted by flaneuse View Post
    Good for you! I love trying to lead a somewhat minimalist lifestyle, but with kids it's a bit of a challenge. With out last move from CA to Germany, I thought I had done a good job of going through our HHG (household goods) and donating a fair bit, but once we got our house and our stuff back, we ended up donating even more. Which was good. We still have a few more items that I think it may be time to part with in the garage, and it may be time to part with the DVD/cd collection, and a few more dining/serving items, and maybe a couple of cookbooks.

    At this point I am owning only things I love and enjoy caring for. It makes life easy. I can clean the house in an hour, I know where everything is, and I like how it all works together.

    For me it is hard to decide if it is worth keeping some of my oldest son's clothes for my youngest son. There is a 6 year age difference, so that can amount to quite a bit of clothes in storage. The oldest is getting to the age where the clothes disintegrate from all the outdoor play before they can be saved, so that may help me decide It is hard to part with some of the baby's (a girl) items too. No more babies are in the future, and deciding what are heirlooms worth saving and carting around the world with us is kind of a pain. Some days I want to donate it all.
    Last edited by haraya; 05-25-2014 at 09:27 AM.

  6. #6
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    My MIL used to save old clothes and make quilts. It was great to say, I remember that dress, or I loved that shirt. Her sister made a quilt of her husband's suits after he passed. It was a great memory, weighed a ton though. I've cut the backs or fronts of several tshirts that I wanted to keep the rest went to the rag bag. Takes up almost no space, I keep telling myself anyway. I hope to (right another project) make a quilt from them some day.
    haraya and eWalker like this.
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

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    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    This is something I started seriously working on three years ago. It kind of becomes a lifestyle change, where I evaluate spaces in our home regularly and cull out what no longer works for us. It takes a lot of energy to start, but once going, the things almost seem to jump into the give away pile. Afterwards, it feels so good!
    The next space that I want to work on is my daughter's room. She has a ton of toys. She could easily give up half and still have plenty. It will also make her cleanup time easier/faster/more likely to be tear free.
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    Moose, I wouild be happy to give a good home to any Tom Bihn bags you feel you need to declutter.

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    Registered User Aeon's Avatar
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    One tip I'll give anyone reading this thread and wants to begin decluttering: GO SLOW and START SMALL. Start with a space or area that you know you can tackle in X amount of time (like a kitchen counter or 1 drawer in your dresser). Only after you have tossed, donated, and decided what to keep, then you can focus on the organizational tools (if any) to keep that space in check. It's perfectly okay to live with that space for a time period before you figure out how it needs to be organized.

    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.
    so far: small clear OP (steel), small padded OP, small and medium DOP (burnt orange), Side Effect (black/steel), Synapse 19 (burnt orange/steel), Synapse 25 (burnt orange/steel)

    want: Aeronaut 30 (black/steel), more BURNT ORANGE: OPs, keystraps, Side Effect, Ballistic Nylon, 200d Dyneema

  10. #10
    Registered User Aeon's Avatar
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    I am currently in a one in, one out mode for most day to day items. I just gifted my 15+ year old LL Bean Brain Bag sized backpack to someone to make room for my newly acquired S25. I plan on doing the same thing with a duffel bag when I save up for the Aeronaut 30.

    My biggest problem is that I have a 5 ft x 10 ft storage unit. Where I currently live the furniture and kitchen stuff was already here when I moved in (and in good shape and mostly to my taste) so I had no need for my stuff. I have much of the contents of my previous 500 sq ft apartment in storage. There is stuff I know I want to keep (kitchen stuff, couch, mid-century dresser, possibly my washer and dryer), but all the other stuff I should donate or sell. It's not much but I'm at a point that even knowing I have things in storage I have no need for is bothersome.
    so far: small clear OP (steel), small padded OP, small and medium DOP (burnt orange), Side Effect (black/steel), Synapse 19 (burnt orange/steel), Synapse 25 (burnt orange/steel)

    want: Aeronaut 30 (black/steel), more BURNT ORANGE: OPs, keystraps, Side Effect, Ballistic Nylon, 200d Dyneema

  11. #11
    Registered User binje's Avatar
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    I recently ordered 2 shop bags (and they arrive this week!) but I have huge problems throwing away things that still have life but aren't really good enough for thrift stores. So I was bemoaning my large collection of cheapie shopping bags until my husband suggested that we challenge ourselves to fill ALL of them with things to donate. So we're doing something we've done successfully before. We each have to chose three items to discard every night until the bags are full. It's going to be tough - usually we set a time period so we know when we get to stop rather than try to fill a (regrettably) large number of bags. But, like dorayme says, it gets easier!

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    Love this conversation. I am a natural organizer and have dabbled with the idea of doing professional organizing on the side. I already live a fairly lean existence in terms of stuff but does that mean I don't have anything else to pare down? Absolutely not! I moved to DC for a job about 4 years ago. I now live in a 700 square foot apartment after having an 1800 sq ft bungalow in Minneapolis. Boy do I miss that house (and Minneapolis, except in winter)!! DC is so expensive that I couldn't hope to afford my Minneapolis house here and most people are in the same boat. Anyway, that's another thread. I sold or donated at least 50-60% of my possessions for the move and still have knickknacks, clothes, and impulse buys to constantly thin down.

    Other issues are my desire not to be so consumerist! A perfect example is that I've been eyeing TB Shop Bags for a long time and want to get a couple but I can't justify their cost when I have several perfectly good and fairly well made shopping bags that work (now if they add zippers to the Shop Bags so they can be zipped closed, all bets are off). Their packable could be a deciding factor but again, fight myself from time to time when I lean towards buying when I don't really need to. I do plan to buy some other TB items soon, though, just as soon as the new crop of lovelies are released

    The ways I am focusing now on downsizing further including getting my photo albums digitized so that I can recycle the physical albums (I can't remember the last time I looked at them so this is a good solution). Scanning paper documents (but keeping important tax and other hard copy docs) is another way. If anyone knows of a good way to scan large amounts of paper (30-50 pages each doc) without spending a fortune, I'd love to hear it, especially if it's a service, rather than my needing to buy a scanner, which I don't want to do.

    Anyway, I could go on and on. I love hearing what all of you are doing or have done!

  13. #13
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    I've been gradually decluttering this spring, though it's a long slow process! So far I have sold or donated to charity shops:

    * 2 backpacks, a duffel bag and several handbags
    * a large shoebox full of cards for a collectible card game
    * a bag of comics
    * travel kettle, travel iron and some non-TB laundry/packing bags
    * 2 pairs of folding shoes (never worn - they were a total impulse buy)

    I still have a few pre-TB items to dispose of - I'm streamlining my travel so that I don't need to take my rollaboard every time.

    I've also recycled a binder of old magazines and a shopping bag full of ancient mail (as in, 6-10 years old!!) and winnowed out the crud from two desk drawers. E.g. I really don't need those two old card readers that probably don't work any more when I have an SD reader in my Mac Mini!

    As a result of all this hard work, I can finally get at the bureau and bookshelf in my home office and start decluttering those as well
    Collections:
    black/aubergine + wasabi (WF, SA + UMP, CP, TT, TSSs, SE, Swift, QK, YSSs & KTPs)
    forest/cork/linen + steel/olive (Imago, Pilot, SCB, COW, QK, OPs)
    olive/plum + steel/UV/wasabi (S19, SE, MCB, TSSs, SSBs, YSSs, LSS, 3DOCs, OPs)
    black/steel + iberian (S25, DLBP, SE, SCB, FJN, TSSs, YSSs, 3DFOC)
    Hoping for: FJN for iPad Mini; more bags in Aubergine; the return of Portable Culture!

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    Addendum:

    Having read "The Joy of Less", I'm giving serious thought to getting rid of stuff for hobbies I no longer pursue. I've had to face the fact that I'm probably not going to do much embroidery in future, as my eyesight isn't up to it these days, so it makes sense to just keep a couple of projects that I'd like to finish, and get rid of the rest of my threads and fabric and accessories. Likewise I have a load of craft odds and ends around the house - I'd like to make up the semi-precious beads I bought into a couple of necklaces and then get rid of everything else. Then there's all the books that accompany said hobbies...

    All I really need to keep is a small basket of sewing supplies for mending, etc, plus my needle-nosed pliers (which come in handy for fixing jewellery as well as making it). Nowadays I get my craft fix from knitting, which is easier on my aging eyes and a lot more useful than embroidery!
    Collections:
    black/aubergine + wasabi (WF, SA + UMP, CP, TT, TSSs, SE, Swift, QK, YSSs & KTPs)
    forest/cork/linen + steel/olive (Imago, Pilot, SCB, COW, QK, OPs)
    olive/plum + steel/UV/wasabi (S19, SE, MCB, TSSs, SSBs, YSSs, LSS, 3DOCs, OPs)
    black/steel + iberian (S25, DLBP, SE, SCB, FJN, TSSs, YSSs, 3DFOC)
    Hoping for: FJN for iPad Mini; more bags in Aubergine; the return of Portable Culture!

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    Here's what I learned from my clear out (and some of these have previously been mentioned):

    ) Break the job down into small, manageable compartments. (one drawer, one cabinet, one shelf in a closet.) Do this room by room.

    2) Take your time.

    3) If you're having trouble deciding with an item, ask yourself: Does it have sentimental value or have I used it in the last year or six months? If no, why am I keeping it? Wouldn't it be better giving it to someone who will put that item to good use? Like light packing, try to limit the "what if" items. If you're really having trouble getting rid of something, ask yourself "how hard would it be to replace it?"

    3) Give yourself a deadline or make a schedule of each compartmentalized area if you work better with deadlines or schedules.

    4) Budget at least twice as much time as you think you'll need. I learned this the hard way and wound up putting a few extra items in my storage unit that need going through.

    5) Have friends come over to help and if they see something they like that you are getting rid of, let them have it as a thank you.

    6) Be realistic on what you can donated. Half bottles of household cleaners are not to be donated. Plastic cups that sold new at 4 for $1 can be thrown out.

    7) Do a major clear out in two rounds. If you're really having trouble getting rid of something, hold on to it and come back again in round two.

    8) Don't get into the "I spent money on this so I'll be wasting money if I get rid of it." No you won't. You've already spent the money. This was an issue I dealt with a lot and I had to get over it. If you think an item has real value, sell it. Or donate it and get a tax break.

    9) A major clear out can be extremely stressful. Be patient and I'll say it again--give yourself plenty of time.

    10) If you have a good deal of stuff to donate, including furniture, many charities have trucks that will pick your stuff up at no charge. If you plan to throw away a great deal of stuff that can't be left for your regular trash, there are companies that, for a small fee, will come and haul that stuff away.

    11) Moving items to a storage unit without moving yourself to a smaller place is not decluttering or having a clear out. It's the first step to hoarding.

    12) Stop buying or get into the habit of waiting before you purchase something. If let's say you want to buy item "x" and it's Monday. Give yourself at least until Tuesday to buy it. In between, ask yourself if you really need it, will you actually use it, or do you already have something else that does the same thing. And if you do buy something then realize it was a mistake, return it.

    13) If you buy something new, get rid of something old.

    If you're really willing to take this seriously, do the following:

    1)Find an extended stay hotel in your area. (These usually include kitchens in the rooms, laundry facilities, gym, free breakfast, free wifi, etc. )

    2)Take only clothes, toiletries and any electronics you use on a daily basis.

    3)Cook your meals in the room as most include pots, pans and dishes.)

    4)Make a list of everything you used in the room.

    5) Make a list of everything you missed from home (exclude sentimental items.)

    6) Ask yourself this question: If I had to move out of my home and into this hotel for six months, what would I bring from home? Write it down.

    7) Anything not on these lists, excluding sentimental items, is icing on the cake and may be things you can part with.

    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 was also posted on my website.)
    Last edited by Frank II; 05-26-2014 at 02:56 AM.
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