Decluttering support thread

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  • I just scheduled interior painting and ceiling re-surfacing of most of my house in November (it will be done in two stages). So each room can be decluttered as I pack things away for the painters. It's as bad (or good) as moving house.
    :eek:
  • We will soon be getting ready for the decorators, but I can’t see much being thrown out from hall and landing, or kitchen.
    We do have far too much China which is rarely used, but I am not ready to get rid of it yet. After all, once the decorating is done we might invite people round!
  • There is a chance that 2 people will stay in my house over Christmas when I am away, which means decluttering 2 bedrooms. If it were just the one I’d move clutter from one bedroom to the other, so this could be a Good Thing to make me do a proper declutter. Although I suspect a lot of the task will be to find proper homes for things as most of the clutter consists of things I need. All for a chance of a couple of nights bed occupancy /wry smile/
  • I started on the garage today. This may take a couple of weeks. There are boxes up high that I cannot reach without a step-stool, so clearly I do not need whatever is in them for the last 5 or 10 years. Alright it could be 15 when we last moved. In the meantime, paper towels, toilet paper, and boxes of tissue are in neat rows, looking very tidy on shelf one and two. Shelf three is neatly folded rags. All this took an hour so you can see what a clutter mess it was.
  • I started on the garage today. This may take a couple of weeks........ All this took an hour so you can see what a clutter mess it was.
    Sounds like great progress already, and I love the image of such order and tidiness - may you find some gems in those boxes.

  • daisydaisy wrote: »
    I started on the garage today. This may take a couple of weeks........ All this took an hour so you can see what a clutter mess it was.
    Sounds like great progress already, and I love the image of such order and tidiness - may you find some gems in those boxes.

    It’s this image that keeps me on the decluttering task. One day my whole house will be like that.
  • Chilperic is working in China. As a result I've had a chance to find his desk. There's now a box of batteries to check, one of recharged, and one to recycle. Also decluttered the medicine box and consolidated the corn plasters. And where did all those nail clippers come from?
    Have already cleared old/holey and unrighteous stuff from his wardrobe. Now for mine.

    Goes in search of dusters and something to wrap round head. Channelling my internal Hilda Ogden, for those who remember her.

  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I love the image that brought to mind - a blast from the past.

    Well done!
  • Still decluttering chez Dowager, like eating an elephant, a bite at a time (though without the Hilda Ogden headgear!)

    Latest trophy was a set of melamine cups, saucers and plates from when we used to holiday in a caravan, in the years before my father's death - he's been gone these 40 years, may he RIPARIG. I tried to get rid of them earlier, but 'no, they might come in useful'. Can't for the life of me think how!

    Mrs. S, on first-name terms with charity-shop staff
  • Thank you Mrs S, you are helping me to keep up the declutter so my children do not have to. Heading off to remove some dishes I no longer use day to day.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    <nostalgia attack>

    Ah, those melamine caravan dishes! Ours were bright yellow - what colour were yours? :)
  • Orange, and turquoise! It was the fact that they were cups and saucers that amazed me most, I think - my kids regard saucers as small plates and nothing else!

    Yay, Graven Image - and thank you :smile:

    Today I tried to clean out some Picquot Ware - teapot, coffee jug, hot water jug, sugar basin and milk jug. The Dowager had them as long as I can remember and to do them justice they are all still as solid as ever. The tea pot was - well, you can imagine how brown it was inside - but two applications of some magic stuff from Lakeland (I'm trying not to advertise here!) brought it up a treat. However, what it did for one of the jugs was to reveal three fossilised lumps that might have been tea bags, lurking at the bottom!

    Mrs. S, extremely glad to have cleaned them before sending them to the charity shop <notsurewhatemoticontoputhere>
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Mrs. S, your parents and mine are obviously of a fairly similar vintage - mine had the Picquot tea set as well! The teapot is still in use whenever the family's at Dad's old house; sadly, I don't think I'm likely to be back in the house again as we can't afford to cross the Pond until we get our share of the money from it being sold. :cry:
  • Decluttering going on here prior to settlement mid October. Have just taken a pile of rather disreputable old clothes down for rubbish collection. Not useful for anything, including polishing cloths etc. all sorts of things hiding at back of wardrobe drawers.
  • A cheaper way to remove tea stains - add a tablet of denture cleaner. Any make will do. Worked a treat on Victorian teapots in the museum that were too delicate to treat in any other way.
    Haven't decluttered today; more like redistributed. Consolidated all Chilperic's stage makeup and false beards, found and relocated wrapping paper and ribbons and all those things you can't find at Christmas.
  • Fredegund wrote: »
    A cheaper way to remove tea stains - add a tablet of denture cleaner. Any make will do. Worked a treat on Victorian teapots in the museum that were too delicate to treat in any other way.

    It's how we clean the wine cruets at church, and I use it on coffee cups.
  • And vases - when we lived in an area with hard water, they needed a tablet of a Famous Denture Cleaner every time they were used.
  • Thanks for the denture tablets idea!
    The house needs a serious run through with a bulldozer. When my husband started his own business 4 years ago he worked from our lounge. Now he has his own building but still hasn’t got out of the habit of distributing electronics and software across the lounge. This has added to the general untidiness of the house which all needs an overhaul. So yesterday I started on the kitchen in the hope that this will spur him on to do the lounge. I cleared all the sides of junk and tidied the sill, wiped down cupboards and sides. Today I will tidy the shelves.
  • Yay @Heavenlyannie ! It's a wonderful feeling..

    Mrs. S, just wishing it would stay like that
  • A minor achievement, but I have found a home for the knitting patterns I can no longer use - as they go back to my great grandmother, there is a lot of fashion history (and hilarity) there.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I decluttered some small Christmas cross and back stitch pictures of shepherds and the library no longer has the book, bugger :cry:
  • Huia wrote: »
    I decluttered some small Christmas cross and back stitch pictures of shepherds and the library no longer has the book, bugger :cry:
    Oh no! I had a similar experience with a cobweb baby shawl that I almost finished then put to one side for 20ish years.
    Have you tried Ravelry? There are a few cross stitchers there. Or Pinterest?
  • LothlorienLothlorien Glory
    edited October 2018
    Ravelry is free too in case you don’t have much experience of it or know what is on offer and has a good search function.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Thanks, I was thinking of Ravelry. Because I am a technopeasant I have been loath to try many new sites but it does sound as though it could be useful.
  • Huia, it has not only many thousands of patterns, mostly knitting but there is a forum forjust about any aspect of textile type crafts. It can be a bit overwhelming and it definitely is good at gobbling up time, but have a look
  • Oh dear. Just preparing for the decorators and saying I might advertise a few items on local buy and sell F...b..k page, DH erupted, absolutely furious, might as well be dead if he can’t have his things around him, how much he already had to get rid of when we moved here.......phew! I can partly put it down to being woken by the phone at 8 am, a genuine call, but so unnecessary at that time of day.And that was just a couple of decorative ( could be useful but not by me) items. He accused me of being mimimalist whichI am definitely not, But I just don’t set such store by so many possessions, and none of our children will want them when we are dead.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    But I just don’t set such store by so many possessions, and none of our children will want them when we are dead.

    My missus feels like that, but I like stuff - especially 'ingredients' type stuff which I can turn into something else, and if it's free and chucked out by someone else, I like it even more.

    If you're going to stay together, I guess steering round someone else's sh*t isn't such a big deal, so long as there are some wide open spaces you can retreat to. And who cares if my kids hire a skip when I'm dead? I certainly won't, and if I get a bit of a heads up on being dead, maybe I can flog some stuff myself since I'm the only one who knows the value in it and who to sell it to.

    One more suggestion - I don't know how motivated your other half is by Good Causes, but one approach which works for me is to do things up and sell them online for charity. I keep private tabs on how much I raise, and it makes me feel good.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    All the clutter in our house is mine.

    Mr Boogs is a busy person with his cycling and drumming, but - apart from bikes and drums, which have their tidy places to reside - he has no clutter at all.

    I want to live in a tidy, clutter free house, with a place for everything and everything in its place.

    I started this thread many moons ago on the Old Ship - and here I am, still fighting the clutter monster.

    🙄🙄
  • I came across this quote today and found it helpful. St. Cyprian: "Do not let anything sleep in your coffers, which could be profitable to the poor."
  • My dad collected all sorts of junk, freebies, auction lots, other people’s throw aways. It took three skips to clear this, just from the outbuildings, garden and loft.
    That’s before we started on the house. A few pieces were sold, a few we kept in the family, but most went to house clearance.
    It was almost all junk. We vowed not to put our children in this position.

    Our house is full of collectibles, books, cds, items bought at antique fairs, and a few family treasures. I can’t say it is all junk, but our children will think it is. So we ought to dispose of a fair number of items of which we know the value, whilst we can. That is my view anyway.
  • Just so, @Puzzler !

    I'm gradually working my way through my mother The Dowager's home of 50 years, throwing stuff out, despatching it to charity shops, and giving it away to anyone who can make sensible use of it. But it's soul-destroying. I can't sling stuff out by the armload because every now and again I find something important mixed in with all the dross; and lots of it (like Mum's diaries, for instance - back to 1957?!) I don't feel I can just put in a skip.

    There are so many decisions to be made that it's exhausting. And just exactly what does one do with a whole double wardrobe full of photograph albums from her various holidays? Can I stick them straight into landfill, or must I pick out all the photos and shred them?

    So, anyone out there who thinks 'they'll just put it in a skip*' - as The Dowager did - for pity's sake do everyone a favour and set aside anything of legal rather than sentimental importance - don't, for instance, leave your birth certificate in with the orders of service from every memorial service you've ever attended *sob*

    * and do you know how much a skip costs? £140 for 2 cubic metres, that's what!

    Mrs. S, not waving but drowning in cr*p

  • Maybe have a charity pick stuff up from the home with a truck? E.g., Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. You'd probably have to sort out and remove papers and any actual trash. But you'd need fewer skips, ISTM.

    BTW, if anyone would like a humorous take on this, try one of Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow mysteries. Specifically, "Owl's Well That Ends Well". There's a *lot* about getting rid of stuff, including what to do with a deceased person's house that's *filled* with stuff.

    Meg is a blacksmith, married to an actor/teacher, and has a very eccentric extended family. All the Meg mysteries are hilarious (and also contain murders), but this one is my favorite. They're of the "cozy" mystery genre, BTW.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    My dad collected all sorts of junk, freebies, auction lots, other people’s throw aways. It took three skips to clear this, just from the outbuildings, garden and loft.
    That’s before we started on the house. A few pieces were sold, a few we kept in the family, but most went to house clearance.
    It was almost all junk. We vowed not to put our children in this position.

    Our house is full of collectibles, books, cds, items bought at antique fairs, and a few family treasures. I can’t say it is all junk, but our children will think it is. So we ought to dispose of a fair number of items of which we know the value, whilst we can. That is my view anyway.

    Please please please do your children this favor and distribute the funds while you are still alive (if it is your intention that they receive the value after your death).

    My beloved parents passed away last year and to put it bluntly, my mother was a hoarder. Not a junk hoarder, but a high class hoarder. Ming, celadon, oriental antiquities, Duesbury Derby, Imari, jade, snuff bottles, netsuke, 17th century English porcelain, Napoleon and Josephine Sevres, temple carvings, satsuma, antique oriental carpets, 17th century silver, Sheraton, Hepplewhite, OMG the list is exhausting.

    My mother said she couldn't live without her stuff and when Dad preceded her she looked at it all lamented that it was all foolishness. But by then it was too late and she realized that deciding what to keep and what to let go of was more than she could do.

    When my mother passed almost a year ago this month, I was absolutely buried under the tsunami of STUFF. Somebody had to inventory it or the auction house would have robbed us blind.

    I sat alone in my mother's house for FOUR MONTHS doing the estate inventory and packing for auction. There were thousands of pieces.

    And that didn't include the hundreds and hundreds of things given to the local thrift shops. Thirty six SUV loads.

    And I sure wish I hadn't had to.

    You would be doing your children such a service. If you can live without it, I beg you to consider doing so.

    AFF





  • Well after his earlier outburst, DH has now said I can sell three items, and he has also removed (I don’t know where to) some of his collectibles from the sitting room. Is this the start of something?
    Big day of clearing and packing tomorrow for me before the plasterer arrives the next day and decorator next week. Ironically DH is off to another antique fair.......
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Did he say you could get rid of 3 things because he is planning to buy 4? :naughty:

    Huia the stirrer
  • Ha ha. Probably! I am not holding my breath.
    Feeling very cross because I can’t even find any safe space to park stuff I am clearing from kitchen diner. The garage is full of his tools and half finished jobs... and stuff he might (not) find a use for.
  • He bought nothing! That has to be a first.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    YaY!

    Um... not so innocent myself, having bought some fabric to add to the stash. :blush:
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    edited October 2018
    Perhaps The Stash is like sourdough starter, and needs to be fed? ;)
  • Yes, I am missing my stash and looking forward to re-acquainting myself with it after move. I did not have much material as I have not done much sewing but wool?? Another matter. I knit, I have wool goes the saying. Or I did, till DIL packed it several months ago and all my needles. I am looking forward to seeing what is there and seeing the shawl which was to have been this winter’s major project. Outside made of squares with celtic knots crisscrossing each edge to the next square. Stitches picked up for centre. Beautiful yarn chosen and bought, and then I decided on this major life change.
  • Help! Youngest has decreed that we are doing the cupboard under the stairs tomorrow. Ok, it has to be done to get to the gas meter to read it and then tell British Gas where to put their service, but on a Sunday when I have the cold from Hades? Last time we did this it took days, with the hall covered in miscellaneous stuff. There's a bale of hay in there, for goodness' sake!
    I foresee a trip to a certain Swedish retailer to get more boxes for what will be a lifetime's supply of nails. The only good thing is there might be SLOE GIN in there somewhere. I've tried everywhere else.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Good luck with that, Fredegund! I hope you find the sloe GIN - it'll do the world of good for your cold.
  • If only. I've been up all night feeling like - er - the brown stuff. Youngest realised I'd be no use and has decided to go out for the day. With my car.
    Having a gentle potter through old theatre programmes, press notices, in an attempt to file it all. Just found Chilperic's first notice from the Birmingham Evening Mail in 1989. How time flies.
    GIN can wait until I can taste it. Did find the blackcurrant one, which is even better than sloe.
  • We have had three sets of visitors in fairly quick succession. The first set were only visiting for dinner, and so I tidied the dining room by dumping the clutter in the study. The second set were staying in my daughter's vacant bedroom, and so I tidied by dumping the clutter in my son's room. This weekend my sister-in-law and nephew were staying. SIL got my daughter's bedroom (still tidy from previous visitors) but my nephew got the single bed in the study, which meant that the combined normal study clutter plus the displaced dining room clutter had to go somewhere and so I boxed it all up and shoved it, stacked floor-to-ceiling, in a cupboard. Son is planning a visit home soon, so prior to that I'll have to move the clutter dumped in his room back out.

    I really need to sort the clutter out, rather than moving it from room to room.

    Also, my son has suggested we catalogue our books, weeding out as we go. Has anyone done this? Is there an easy way of doing it?
  • I was a librarian once and I have just been forced to declutter many boxes of books. My solution was to 'catalogue' them as books I like, books I love and books which are my absolute favourites. I then passed on those it caused me the least grief to part with. That took months. If you don't really want to weed any out, then true cataloguing will be a wonderful way to make sure you never have time to give any away ;)

    My most recent efforts have been directed at the late Mr Ll's garage. The gas pipe which runs through it has to be replaced. I have managed to empty the half where the pipe goes. DD has taken a car load, the neighbours have picked over the rest and I am about to book the second man-and-van rubbish clearance. I cannot imagine when he thought he would use all that, but in my mind's ear I can hear his howls of rage at losing it all.
  • I dare say, NEQuine, that you may have spent as much effort relocating the clutter as it takes to actually sort it.

    I personally find it's the decision-making that goes with decluttering that is so very wearing, because the mere action of throwing away, stowing in its place, or boxing for charity is very low energy activity. If someone else were to have made all the decisions and just put things in piles, I could have gone through and boxed up my mother's hoard collection in a week.

    In my own case, I moved to Spain four years ago with sixteen cartons of stuff and moved back last spring with eighteen, and picked up a few cartons of linens and cleaning supplies from my mother's estate. Everything I own, including four twin mattresses and box springs and two bicycles, still fits in a 6 x 12 UHaul trailer and I certainly don't want any more stuff than that.

    AFF

  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    The decision-making is exactly why I don't know how to declutter. I just don't know if I need to keep things or not, or what to do with them. It is much easier when someone is with me saying, 'You don't need that!' or 'That's important, and should go with that other thing - let's find a box for that sort of thing,' when I don't know.
  • I passed a yard sale today that had two outdoor chairs that I almost bought for the garden. Then I drove on because it is fall and how much longer will I really sit in them. I would have to find room to store them for the winter. I can just continue to move chairs off the porch when I want to sit in the garden. Two less things to add to stuff I already have. Graven Image, still thinking about those chairs.
  • A Feminine ForceA Feminine Force Shipmate
    edited October 2018
    I passed a yard sale today that had two outdoor chairs that I almost bought for the garden. Then I drove on because it is fall and how much longer will I really sit in them. I would have to find room to store them for the winter. I can just continue to move chairs off the porch when I want to sit in the garden. Two less things to add to stuff I already have. Graven Image, still thinking about those chairs.

    OMG I did the same thing! There was a perfectly beautiful patio set with glass topped table and four chairs set out on the curb in my neighborhood yesterday and I was thinking "Wow. I'm driving an SUV with roof rack and strapping coiled in the spare tire hold. I could just pop out and get that stuff and take it home!"

    But then I looked at the calendar and thought "Nah - I would have to stow it over the winter and I'm not going to use it before April ..."

    Even though I have so little stuff - my dining table and chairs are a 60 year old folding card set my parents bought as newlyweds - and I have been conditioned by a decade of severly imposed necessity, the impulse to accumulate is still so strong!

    AFF
  • A friend of mine moved back home from Oz some years back. All the stuff they were bringing with them was in a shipping container, and as they stood on the dock watching it being loaded, she just wished most fervently that the chains would break and it would drop into the sea! I so sympathised.

    And you're right about the decision-making. Apparently you only have the capacity to make a certain number of decisions in a day, which is why the late, great Oliver Sacks either ate a tin of tuna fish for every meal, or (if eating out) chose the first thing on the menu!

    One thing I'd like to share - when someone gives you something, they should give it unconditionally, so you can do Whatever You Want with it. Just because they liked it enough to give it to you, doesn't mean you have to like it, or keep it, or give it house-room for ever.

    Also - my mother has a little Hummel figurine of 'The Bookworm' which she loved because it reminded her of me. I was assuming that I ought to hang on to it, for that reason, until it dawned on me that it had served its purpose - she loved it, enjoyed having it, and has now forgotten all about it. That doesn't make it my problem!

    Mrs. S, full of bright thoughts tonight
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