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(35 Posts)
mollie Tue 21-Jun-11 11:52:27

OK, I think we've discussed this before and I know I would declare myself anti-clutter but I am sitting here, in a spare bedroom that I've claimed for myself, surrounded by the contents of a built-in cupboard. I can identify the pile of things that are going to charity and the pile of things that are going to the tip. I've got an overflowing bin of ordinary rubbish but it's the rest of the stuff that I'm worried about.

This is the cupboard that holds all the memories - old photos, documents, stuff from my late father and my late son, all the cards my husband has ever sent me not to mention the craft things I've been meaning to do something with but never got round to...I have a passion for paper and notebooks and thank goodness I didn't succumbe to another purchase yesterday - I've just found nine unused books calling out for my words... I started out this morning hoping to reduce the stuff down to perhaps one full shelf-full but I think I was too optimistic... am I the only one?

mrshat Tue 21-Jun-11 12:04:07

O Mollie - I am with you all the way. It could be me who wrote your message! How does one manage to be strong enough to really 'clear out'? I had a similar discussion with my DD yesterday who needs to do exactly the same thing before next GC arrives - a hopeless task. It is the memories that stop us just throwing the lot in the bin. I get so far and then put it all away again 'to finish next week when I have more time'.............................

frida Tue 21-Jun-11 12:37:48

Mollie, you have done really well to have a 'tip' pile and a 'charity'pile, someone will benefit from all the things you are donating, as for the treasured items, they are special to YOU for a reason so I say keep them all, put them back in the cupboard and enjoy looking at them next time, don't even think of de-cluttering them. It's very trendy at the moment to de-clutter and I am in the middle of a mega clear out at the moment, tip and charity piles are fairly straightforeward to do but I've come to the conclusion that I need certain things around me even if it is in the attic where it is 'safe' and will probably stay there for years. (Now where did I put those lovely maroon loon pants ?)

grannyactivist Tue 21-Jun-11 12:43:26

I have an answer ladies! grin Empty the contents of your messy drawers and cupboards into carrier bags. Put nice neat things into now empty drawers and cupboards and enjoy. After a suitable time has elapsed deal with sorting one bag at a time. Keep handy a 'Treasure Box' and accept that it has only limited space, then begin to 'rate' one article against another; e.g. would I rather keep dad's old ration book or Johnny's first school report? Put discarded items into a bag or box and place said bag/box into recycle bin WITHOUT opening it again. Oddly enough this is what I was doing before coming on to GN today. I love having tidy drawers and cupboards, but hate the mess of sorting stuff.

mollie Tue 21-Jun-11 13:01:52

Good advice, grannyactivist. The trouble isn't necessarily mess 'cos I keep it all boxed and squared away, it's deciding that that I really don't want to carry all this 'baggage' from the past, do I? I've just managed to throw out the trainers my son died wearing...why did I need to keep those for the last seven years? But I couldn't part with them...until now. I am reducing these piles gradually ...

But what do you do with the stash of fabric 'you might someday need'? or the three dozen crochet squares that don't make up a blanket but were made from good quality wool? All the left-overs of fads that have passed me by...

Right now I'm tearing and shredding old diaries and journals - I don;'t want them ready by anyone else but they served their purpose at the time...more stuff that needs to be carried about or discarded but it takes some will-power...ho hum!!!

supernana Tue 21-Jun-11 14:05:02

grannyactivist...I also love tidy wardrobes and drawers. Get into a heck of a mess when I do decide to have a grand blitz and feel awfully smug when, after an afternoon of utter chaos, I achieve some order and the wardrobe has space. I put loads of clothes aside for re-cycling, take good items that I haven't worn for some time to the charity shop and, if I have any super garments that I really cherish but am never likely to wear, I ask close friends or family if they would appreciate them. must be a lovely lady. I admire the way you are gradually disposing of items of special significance. The fact is, things are things, and the real treasures - memories - have a permanent home in your heart. smile

mollie Tue 21-Jun-11 14:32:28

Thanks supernana, I'm realising it's not things that matter but the memories we hold within us... but try telling the OH that! Lol!

gma Tue 21-Jun-11 15:49:24

When my ma in law died 3 years ago at the ripe old age of 97 Hub and I had to sort out all her belongings. She had lived in the same house for 72 years and had thrown very little away! (or so it proved) It was the most heartbreaking thing to do. She was a very private person and to have to go through her personal bits and pieces, which meant nothing to me, but obviously did to her, was very distressing. I found letters-personal ones from the 1930s, clothes which I had never seen her wear, presents, opened and re wrapped in their original paper, photographs by the hundred (no idea who the people were). We found enough used string and elastic to circumnavigate the world (War time economies) Buttons by the tin full, torn up cereal boxes to use to write on, stubs of pencils 1" long , empty ball point pens and handbags by the dozen. A Cupboard was full (literally) of unused towels and sheets, whilst the ones she used were full of holes, she was still mending holes in sheets at 95.
The point of this little story is....I do not store anything which I cannot foresee a use for in the near future, or one of the children can make use of. I do not want my daughter to have to do the same for me. De clutter now whilst you still have the ability to do so, your children will thank-you for it. grin

baggythecrust! Tue 21-Jun-11 15:56:26

I'm decluttering my boxes of fabric scraps into patchwork quilts.

mollie Tue 21-Jun-11 17:38:44

There is a positive side - I discovered a discarded pair of jeans in the material bag that fit nicely now I've shed some weight...I'd forgotten them so that's my pay-back for all this diligent de-cluttering (oh, and the stiff joints!!!) lol!

HildaW Tue 21-Jun-11 19:08:29

I think if you are not quite sure about something...........stick it in a 'not quite sure' bag or box...and if you dont miss it 6 or 12 months later..........dispose of it!

Hattie64 Tue 21-Jun-11 19:35:14

My problem is that though all my 3 children are married with children, they still have 'stuff' in our home. My youngest Son is the worse, he even has clothes, shoes and even slippers here. His wife now has a spare dressing gown and her slippers here now!!! There are also a lot of his Beano/Dandy annuals, toys, oh all sorts of things.
In fact there is far too much 'stuff' in the house. Of late we have started talking of downsizing, which has shocked the family. We live in a four storey house, with loads of cupboard space which is crammed with loads of 'stuff'. I think all I would like to keep now is all the photographs. I am bad with clothes though, the rule of thumb is if you don't wear something for 3 years, find a new home for it. The problem is when you turf out all these clothes and start trying them on, they then go back into the wardrobe.

goldengirl Tue 21-Jun-11 21:08:04

Oh Hattie64 you could be talking about our house - though ours is a two storey! My husband is a major hoarder and I'm a minor hoarder though I'm making every effort to at least start a clear our of my desk drawers in the spare room, but that room is now full of papers to be shredded! And of course there's the children's stuff and the grandchildren's stuff. Someone visited me and thought I ran a creche!!!!!!! I do chuck out clothes every so often - but even the bags hang around until they get taken to the charity shop. I crave the luxury look of those houses in magazines such as 25 Beautiful Homes, but alas I think that is one dream I won't be able to fulfill. I am still renting at great expense a storage unit for my parents' furniture as I've not had time for a good sort out yet. At least I can never use the excuse that I've nothing to do grin

beachcomber Tue 21-Jun-11 22:45:25

After helping her sons clear my best friend's house after she died tragically at the age of 60, I decided that I could not inflict this on my daughter after my death. I have been totally ruthless, putting my financial affairs in order, organising a power of attorney, revising my will, filing documents.

Also clearing useless odds and ends from my drawers, wardrobe, kitchen, bathroom, and [not very successfully so far!] disposing of far too many clothes and shoes and fabric remnants.

A marathon job, but life is so much simpler now. I am far more relaxed, and on the whole I now know where everything is in the house.

From being the worst hoarder ever I am now determined never again to collect all that 'stuff'.

joshsnan Wed 22-Jun-11 00:06:31

It must be declutter day for everyone today as I have emptied my wardrobes and drawers and filled 5 bags full of clothes, some of the clothes still have the price tags on ( I'm ashamed to say ) put a little weight on and know I wont wear them, and I'm still stuck for room. Ive had to store the bags in the spare room so my husband doesn't see them, till I can take them to the charity shop on Thursday. He is a major hoarder and it does annoy me when he refuses to let things go, like books for instance....hes read them all, but wont let them go... hes read them why not give someone else the pleasure of reading them. He still has the wedding suit in his wardrobe that he wore 35yrs ago when we got married hmm I could go on and on about the things he hoards....Ive finally decided to take a couple of things at a time to the dump in the hope that he doesn't notice. Sorry rant over. grin

crimson Wed 22-Jun-11 00:55:00

Can't throw anything away. My mum threw all of my stuff away when I left, books etc and I would so love to see some of them again. My kids lecture me about it, but I have everyone elses stuff here...sons, daughters, ex husbands, ex husbands dads, sons ex girlfriends...I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Went onto a forum called unclutterer once, but that didn't help. I am beyond help, alas.

mollie Wed 22-Jun-11 07:15:00

Beachcomber, I think that is at least half the reason why I continue to declutter, declutter, declutter. The other half is that I moved four or five times in almost as many years and that was no I aim to keep only the essentials...however, one woman's essentials is very different from another woman's as Crimson neatly points out...

Valkyrie Wed 22-Jun-11 09:25:17

I do wish charities would collect the bags I leave out for them when they've posted a collection bag through my door.
I have a full one now waiting in the cupboard under the stairs.
I will transfer the contents to the next collector. Shouldn't be long because I get a collection request about every other week!

gma Wed 22-Jun-11 09:40:44

Well done Beachcomber-I am going to be even more ruthless now. You must be very proud of yourself and your daughter will bless you for it (Not for ages and ages yet we hope!!!)

harrigran Wed 22-Jun-11 11:32:38

I got tired of all the stuff belonging to other people cluttering my house. I bagged it all up and delivered it to people concerned telling them to keep it or bin it but if left with me it would be disposed of. When my son got his bags he discarded 99% of the contents, why could he not do that 20 years ago ?

crimson Wed 22-Jun-11 18:26:25

My daughter throws things out all the time; if you do so you don't miss it but if you try to throw something away several years later it hurts more. A friend said to me that she thought it was something to do with being poor as a child, and feeling that if something gets thrown out you won't be able to replace it in the future. I also like looking at old things. I've got a drawer full of old cameras, because I'd like my grandsons to see the sort of cameras we used to use [box cameras etc]. I've even got a rag rug maker that was my mums; like to quiz people with a 'bet you don't know what this is for'....

Elegran Wed 22-Jun-11 19:03:13

I do! I do! We used to make rugs. I used to have one of those but I don't know where it is now. Is it the one that pinches the rags to pull them through, not the one with a hook and a latch for doing a sort of semi-crochet act with wool?

(sorry to pipe up without coming in and introducing myself. I peeped in as I was passing)

crimson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:30:46

The former; it looks like an instrument of torture! We used to get suit sample books fom a tailors to cut up to make the rugs. think the EEC banned rag rugs as a health hazzard a few years back confused.

pompa Wed 22-Jun-11 21:11:36

Crimson, we saw rag rugs for sale at Beamish a few weeks ago, and they are available on the www. Perhaps it is the source of the rag that is controlled.

HildaW Wed 22-Jun-11 21:25:20

Rag rugs are alive and well here........I'd like to see the EEC pinching mine!