Jump to content

Clutter/decluttering


aileen
 Share

Recommended Posts

Does anyone out there have masses of clutter? I'm an instinctive hoarder and my husband has a huge number of books which fill shelves all over the house. Currently, we also have a whole garage of stuff from my mother's house (plus china in a cupboard in our kitchen, many photograph albums in the living room and further boxes scattered throughout the house) pending a decision by my sister about what she actually wants. We have lived in our current house for 13 years and before that we lived in a house round the corner for 10 years. Before that my husband and I had our own flats. Unfortunately, each time we moved we just took our clutter with us and as the space in our home increased so did the potential to store more clutter. Having recently had to clear my mother's house of 50 years of accumulated stuff I have resolved to declutter our own house. The last few days I have been going through a massive pile of my children's schoolbooks, drawings, paintings etc trying to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Fortunately, now that my children are at secondary school the 'artwork' has dried up, neither being particularly artistically inclined. I hope that I don't sound like one of those people on 'Britain's Biggest Hoarders' or whatever that programme is called. I'm really not that bad!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm terrible!  In our house we've got our accumulated clutter, stuff from when I worked in Bath, stuff from work and stuff from my sister's house.  So far, despite my good intentions, I've disposed of 3 things this year!

 

Good luck with the decluttering!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aileen you can't be as bad as me!! Well and my partner.....he has some blame too!!

 

I retired a year ago now and have taken a year just to decide what to do with all my school stuff accumulated over the years!

In the spare room are ten boxes floor to ceiling full of stuff and still six more boxes under the bed!!

 

Goodness knows what a Feng Shui expert would say!!

I have a couple of ex colleagues coming to look at these boxes to take away what they want then I don't know....books and resources for Africa? Try out local schools first? Now I have finally made decisions on what is going and staying can't wait to free up the space it's all taking!! It will be nice to have a bedroom back without sleeping on top of ones work for a start!!

 

The Loft is chock a block.....mostly with Partners stuff and certainly no room in the garage for a car :(

 

There is something ridiculous about it all as there are some things in the loft I wouldn't know where to find.....so why do I need to keep it! I haven't even the excuse that I'm saving it for the grandchildren!

I need the spirit of my dear departed friend to have a go......come on Linda what is all this....you dont need it!! Just get on with it!! She herself was remarkably clear of clutter!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am having to do this in preparation for our move. I have rooms bursting with books, children's toys, all the screws, pieces of string and cardboard that my husband feels are vital to his wellbeing and far too much heavy old furniture from my parents in law's house. It is hard going!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I HAVE to declutter twice a year. I just accumulate so much "stuff" [ok,junk off Ebay!] This is a 3 bedroom house but the spare bedroom room is full of ballet books,DVD`s music cd`s, a huge box full of Moulin Rouge programmes and memorabilia from decades ago.Plus things I have from various countries I worked in that I would never throw out. Then there`s Sean`s old schoolbooks,in chronological order from Primary 1 through to Year 12 last year.His handwriting when he was little was so sweet.! The dining room is full of pointe shoes; an enormous plastic box full of them,and a slightly smaller box on top of that one,also full. Oh,and then balanced precariously on top of both ,all my vintage pairs. Keep meaning to move them all to the third bedroom, but I like having them in the dining room near me,so I can go in next door and take a few pairs at a time so I can look at and inspect lovingly at my leisure while sitting on the sofa. But seriously,my dining room needs to start looking like a dining room again. If any of Sean`s well to do relatives ever came to visit me i`d die of shame.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This all makes me feel a bit better. Why don't we get rid of the clutter though? A good suggestion that I read was photographing things if you want to remember them but don't want to keep them. I agree that children's early writings (and drawings) are sweet but is it really necessary to keep all their spelling and maths books?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a terrible hoarder of magazines - I never seem to read them when I first get them and there's always an article I want to keep.  I'm also a cross stitcher (a very frustrated one at times!) and I have kits and magazines stored everywhere.  I have at least cancelled my subscription to Country Living.  I also had to clear my mother's house a couple of years ago and acquired quite a bit - most of it with emotional attachments so that's all here for good!

 

I am going through a lot of the magazines and cutting out what I want to keep but as for the cross stitch, well three lifetimes and I might get it all done!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can recommend moving, or probably, even better, downsizing, because if you have to put large amounts in storage with Big Yellow or somebody the prospect of some very high weekly payments does tend to concentrate the mind beautifully!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moved a couple of years ago and got rid of quite a lot but still have way too much.  I am sure that I'm going to need to use the item, magazine at some point and yes I have thrown out some things by mistake - not needed them, but feel a loss.  I'm a lost cause! :)

 

 

 

edited for typo

Edited by porthesia
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The trouble with clutter is it does slowly build up again!

I had a massive clear out when I moved from London to Brighton with the help of two very good friends and my mum (alas two no more now) who were able to be ruthless with me at the time(for fear of things not fitting into the Removal van!)

So I started with more or less a clean slate here.....apart from some crockery and books which stayed in the garage for another five years!....

 

Well Ive now (unbelievably) been in Brighton for over 14 years and the clutter has accumulated again.

Recently while looking for something of actual importance in the loft found several carriers of old Christmas and birthday cards that had somehow got up there(no doubt because some relative was about to pay a visit) instead of being recycled........well they have now.....except for the card I was given and signed by many from leaving London job just couldn't bring myself to throw that out so Ive hidden it somewhere and will now probably never find again!!!!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Currently, we also have a whole garage of stuff from my mother's house (plus china in a cupboard in our kitchen, many photograph albums in the living room and further boxes scattered throughout the house) pending a decision by my sister about what she actually wants." 

 

Aileen this sounds so like us but my mother in laws stuff and waiting for a decision from my brother in law - she died 20 years ago and every time we mention the stuff he says oh yes he really wants it but hasn't got time/space at the moment! Over the last few years it has slowly started moving into the disused play house as all he has taken is one photo album and a clock. 

 

I am trying hard to have a massive clear out at the moment but find I am so easily distracted! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jane, you're scaring me.....20 years!!!! I'm fed up after 4 months. My sister keeps promising to write lists, skype, come over (she lives abroad) but nothing has happened so far. I'm definitely going to impose a time limit. I take the view that if one has lived without seeing, or even storing, the supposedly cherished items for years then one does not really want them. It's really about not letting go of the past or not coming to terms with the loss of someone though, isn't it? Only occasionally is there a real dispute about who is going to get what.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To all of you who wish to declutter, a cry from the heart: please don't palm your decluttered items on  to someone else. 

 

My late father spent the last few years of his life inflicting things he no longer had a use for (chipped vase, decrepit kitchen gadget, hideous tablecloth, collection of DIY magazines, moth-eaten jacket) on friends and relations.  Such was his insistence that most of us felt obliged to accept these unwanted offerings, thus adding to our own clutter.  In the end I stopped arguing, accepted the "gift" and consigned it to the dustbin, praying that he would not ask to see it on one of his rare visits. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anne, the desire to see one's discarded objects put to good use is a common trait of the natural hoarder! As well as unwilling relatives, the poor charity shops must have loads of absolute junk off-loaded onto them which they then have to pay to dispose of! To my husband's great amusement, I once helped a friend to de-clutter and I spent my time telling her to put her stuff in the bin as the local charity shop really would not welcome her rubbish. I may be a hoarder but one thing which I don't do is accept 'donations' from other people. I always refused offers of secondhand clothes, toys etc as I knew that I would end up with vast amounts of stuff which I probably wouldn't use. One friend, whose daughter I had learned had 20 plus Barbies, offered me her daughter's old toys. I had visions of her turning up in a hired van full to the roof with toys and so I said no. I also know mothers who are at the opposite end of the clutter spectrum. One friend used to throw out her son's artwork as soon as she got home from school and occasionally he used to ask where it was. The funny thing is that she is best friends with the woman whose house I helped to de-clutter.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, a topic after my own heart.

 

Recently I have had to single handedly go through the house that has been in our family for 80 years.  You would not believe the junk, the entire 3 bedroomed house was stuffed to the loft with books, papers, old clothes, ornaments...the list goes on and on.

 

I found it hugely helpful to try and tackle one category at a time.  First off was clothes, sorted into wearable and falling apart.  I am fortunate to have several charity shops within walking distance.  One would take "vintage" clothes, which appeared to be anything over 10 years old in good condition.  They got some wonderful 70s flared trousers and floral shirts, my brother's 21st birthday suit (he is now in his 50s), my mother's 80s shoulded padded suits, and so on.  Another one got money from fabric recycling, for which they provided special bin liners.  Out went all the moth eaten clothes, old shoes and handbags, old sheets and towels - I must have taken them about 50 bags of stuff, which they appeared to very happy to receive.

 

Next on the list was books.  First off was paperbacks that were falling apart - that went straight into the recycle bins. All the others were sorted into piles according to the original owner, and a phone call made saying that if they did not collect them within a month they were all going to the charity shops. 

 

After that, there were the nick nacks which I dealt with in the same way as the books.  Anything remaining that was in good condition and sellable was washed, wrapped in newspaper, and off to the charity shops again. 

 

I found it hugely helpful to have my partner evaluate stuff.  Without any sentimental attachment, he could easily decide what could go to the charity shops, and what was total junk, and throw things away accordingly.  Although I must admit I sneaked my old, broken music box out of the dustbin when his back was turned!

 

I am now taking a bit of a break, before tackling the vinyl records, furniture and magazines.  Not to mention the sporting equipment, garden tools, crockery, old papers, pictures....

Edited by Fonteyn22
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fonteyn22, what a mammoth task! You are very good taking such care to re-cycle so much. I felt rather guilty about not taking unwanted items to charity shops whilst I was clearing my mother's house but it is a three hour round trip and I really didn't have either the time or the energy to do anything other than take what I thought one of the family members might want. My mother had moved into a home and I wanted to spend time visiting her. I was also under considerable time pressure because the house had to be refurbished so that it could be let. Well done to you, though. I admire your meticulousness. How much have you ended up with?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My friends who finally sorted their double garage of clutter went to a couple of car boot sales with some of the stuff and sold some things at least.

 

It does help to have someone who is not emotionally involved with it all to help though I completely identify with Fonteyn22 when you say you sneaked something out of the bin I have done this too! And had to find somewhere quickly to hide the odd thing!

 

My partner always goes through vinyl records at car boot sales(as if he hasn't enough already) so yes these might go for resale as Janet says!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fully appreciate that for some people it is impossible to recycle.  3 hour trips are definitely not on!

 

I've never been to a car boot sale, so would not have a clue what to do, but I will try ebay, thanks for the tip.  And I must say it did help to set deadlines.  There was simply no room for people to dither, they either had to make their minds up by a certain date or it was gone.  I have to be ruthless, because the house has to go on the market soon.

 

Now, all I need is for someone to come round to my own house and declutter for me.  I am completely unable to throw any of my own stuff away!  I am particularly addicted to Homes magazines, such as Ideal Home.  I just HAVE to get every new issue that comes out, even though I know it is going to be the same stuff each time.   I have about 10 years supply cluttering up the spare bedroom, but I just can't seem to bring myself to get rid of them. 

 

And does anyone else keep magazines with recipes or gardening tips?  I have masses and masses of them.  I keep meaning to cut them out or scan them and file them away, but I never get round to it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Fonteyn 22, I used to know someone who collected rare vinyl records and some of them are worth quite a bit.  I have an old Donovan LP which if in perfect condition (it's not) could be worth about £20.00 it but then I probably only paid £2.00 for it, yes it's that old.  There is a book or magazine which gives the updated value but I have no idea what it is called - sorry - I'm sure W H Smith's would know.

 

I too am an addict for Home magazines - especially around Christmas.  I am getting better and I do cut out the recipes and articles I want and file them in poly pockets until I can find the right kind of scrapbook to put them in.  I really want to find the clipping about melting a Foxe's glacier mint to make a pond for the Christmas cake - can't quite remember where it is but I've got it!  I have Country Living going back until it first started, but I try and go through a magazine a week, take out what I want (if anything) and then re-cycle.  I have pondered about selling them at a car boot but wonder if anyone would pay say a £0.50 and issue or is that asking too much? 

 

When we moved I took a lot of knick knacks to a local charity shop, things the girls had been given from peoples holidays - some of them were a bit naff.  I was horrified at the price the charity shop was asking for them when I next went in, they were asking way too much for them.  Hope they managed to sell them.

 

The village library was ecstatic at the books and video tapes, DVD/s I took in for them.  They were particularly happy as the local authority had taken away all funding so they now run themselves with an annual fee. 

 

Some of the unwanted clothes, sheets even if not in a good condition get sent off to make carpet tiles.  I always sort those items into a different bag and let the charity shop know so they don't waste their time sorting through.

 

Non-dd did some voluntary work at the local Sense so I know they do welcome stuff.

 

Still have got the piano though, couldn't give it away and believe me I tried - but no one wanted it :( It was left to me in a Will and now unless I can find a home for it now where it will be loved then it's staying - much to other half's dismay!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I was obliged to turn my loft out earlier in the year to prepare for the loft insulation. Several things went to a charity shop but I have since disposed of several items through Freecycle, which seems to have groups worldwide. People will take things which charity shops can't, such as small electrical goods or upholstered items which do not have a fire retardant label. Seems very friendly too. I can recommend Freecycle

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Porthesia if you do manage to find the article on melting a Foxes Glacier mint and it does get incorporated into your Chrismas Cake it would be nice to see a picture of it....sounds wonderful!! :)

 

If anybody knows of an organisation which is interested in children's books and children's learning books and resources ........age range 5-11...I have a huge many in boxes here.

 

I'd be happy to drive to some sort of depot within 50 mile radius of Brighton!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still have got the piano though, couldn't give it away and believe me I tried - but no one wanted it :( It was left to me in a Will and now unless I can find a home for it now where it will be loved then it's staying - much to other half's dismay!

 

I would love a piano, but I don't think I have the room for it.

 

I was only talking about this to someone yesterday.  When I was a child, we lived in a town which sold musical instruments, including second hand pianos.  These were very reasonably priced, and consequently most of the children I went to school with took piano lessons from a local woman, and practised at home.  Once the family had grown, or decided they no longer wanted to play, the shop came and collected it free of charge, and back it went to be retuned, repaired and so on, and sold again.

 

Brilliant system, which enabled people such as myself, who came from a family of very modest income, to learn and enjoy music.  

 

We also had 3 second hand bicycle stores as well.

 

All long gone, nobody buys second hand any more, it seems.   

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A plea to anyone with elderly relatives - next time you visit, PLEASE help them go through all their old photos and write the names on the back (in pencil). I have a big box full of old family pictures, and nobody still surviving who knows who they all are...

 

Even if you're not personally interested, there will be a family member interested in genealogy, and they will be tremendously grateful in years to come.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was recently visiting the oldest remaining family member on Dads side.....his sister(87) and we had just that problem!!

She had some old photos and there were quite a few very ancient photographs there that probably only her mother would have been able to say who the people were in them. One of the pictures shows an old lady all in black on Bournemouth beach.....looks like Queen Victoria though of course it isn't. We don't know who she is alas!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fonteyn, we had a similar set up where I used to live with regards to violins.  I can't quite remember how it worked, but as long as you kept going back and upgrading to the next size it was ok.  Worked out a bit cheaper and no violins in the loft.  Was very glad of the system when dd first took lessons as the desire to play came out of the blue, well they had a session at school where they all tried out different instruments and she came home and said I want to play the violin.  She did quite well in the end.  I was terrified of the sounds that we were going to endure but honestly, probably because she started on the smallest size violin, it was ok. Of course dd's violin teacher did find her just the perfect full size violin which was not from the shop so we did have a violin kicking around for a while, but then the violin teacher managed to sell it to a pupil at the school she taught at as dd had taken good care of it.  Apparently the boys where she taught were a bit hard on their instruments.  Was just glad to get shot of it.

 

Taxi, totally agree I have loads of pictures from my mom and not a clue who they are.  She did tell me some of them, but afraid whenever I try and remember I just can't.  I think it's part of the grieving process because I just seem unable to remember anything, makes me sad.  I did ask her to write down things for me but sadly she didn't.  Wish I'd written them down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...