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De cluttering for a new beginning

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Runningaway posted 5/20/2013 19:10 PM

I have always been a fairly tidy, organized person. Having 3 children certainly changed how I keep my house but I didn't realize how much until just recently. The house I own is co-owned by myself and my ex. I don't want to stay here and he so far has been waffling on how to proceed. I finally just said to him that I refused to pay property taxes next year. I paid them last year, I will pay them this year but next year he either has to come up with the money or we need to sell the house before July 2014. He sounds for now like he is in agreement to sell so I am planning to move within the next year. Which is thrilling to me. I love the thought of having a new home for the kids and I, but I took a good look around this place and had a full blown panic attack. The amount of work needed to be done is overwhelming. I can't believe I have only lived here for 7 years, every closet is full the attic storage is full the "storage room" is a safety hazard.

I read an article on simplifying your life and living with less and one of the suggestions was to get rid of 3 things every week. So last week I decided to implement this rule thinking I have a year, 3 things a week x 52 weeks that ought to make a dent in it anyway. And this week was a dismal failure

I added 5 things to the house and didn't get rid of anything. Now I'm not sure if I'm on the right track at all.

Does anyone have any experience down-sizing with children? Did anyone else wait until after the divorce to move and settle issues regarding the marital home? I know there are no magical answers but if anyone has any tips or tricks that worked for them I would love to hear about something successful.

UnexpectedSong posted 5/20/2013 20:20 PM

How old are your kids? I found that as soon as I was able to enlist their help in find toys to donate that the amount of stuff went down. Of course, I have not made any dents in the amount of paper in the house.

How exciting to be moving.

npain posted 5/20/2013 20:49 PM

It took me a year. I have 2 kids 5 and 8 and I started with the garage and sorted out all of their old clothes and toys. I found a charity that would pick up the stuff and I worked through everything week by week until the garage was empty.

Then I started inside the house. I needed a fresh start so I packed up all of my linens, towels and comforters from the marriage and bought a few items to get by. I donated at least 1/2 to charity and gave the remainder to STBX. Having everything in each category out of the house at once really helped.

I am now working on the furniture. Anything that STBX doesn't want, I am donating to charity or giving it away. My house looks much better than it did when he moved out 17 months ago.

The key is slow and steady. If you can dedicate even 1/2 hour every day, maybe 3 days a week, you would be surprised how much you can get rid of. I have since gone through every room in the house and every closet. The house is much cleaner and easier to maintain now that I got rid of so much stuff too.

Good luck!!!

Runningaway posted 5/20/2013 22:07 PM

My kids are 12, 14 and 16.
It's not really a kid stuff problem although there are still a few toys in the house it's more volume of stuff.

UnexpectedSong paper is the only thing I've done. I cleared through a lot of it while I was grieving and it was the first thing to be reorganized after he left. I love my filing cabinet. I would probably try and rescue it in a fire.

npain I think I could do that, think of things in categories. I have done a bit outside and a bit in some closets and I feel very scattered and out of control but looking to make sure all of one category is dealt with at once could keep me on track.

Thank you!

MyVoice posted 5/20/2013 23:47 PM

YUCK!! couldn't think of a bigger task than packing up my home I've been here for over twenty years. I'm sure some of my junk has grown roots

Good luck bet you will feel lighter and clearer with every little space you organise

Bluebird26 posted 5/21/2013 05:13 AM

I love de-cluttering I find it's really freeing for the soul. I do it regularly

Best advice : Try and concentrate on one room at a time, even one cupboard, one drawer at a time.

Have 3 piles one for re-selling, one for donating and one for rubbish.

In my house if it doesn't have a function it goes, if you haven't used it in more then a year it goes. I am also not very sentimental, to me the memories are in your heart & head not in things.

Good luck with downsizing

[This message edited by Bluebird26 at 5:15 AM, May 21st (Tuesday)]

Amazonia posted 5/21/2013 06:11 AM

If you are sentimental, as someone who has done quite a few international moves with literally just two suitcases and a carryon... Take photographs of things that hold a lot of sentimental value but aren't practical to keep. Then donate them.

Helen of Troy posted 5/21/2013 10:40 AM

I love decluttering. It is therapeutic for me.

A funny and helpful book I read a long time ago is called Clutters Last Stand.

Be KIND to yourself. You're doing the best you can. One room at a time, or one dresser at a time. You'll get there.

why2008 posted 5/21/2013 11:07 AM

Have 3 piles one for re-selling, one for donating and one for rubbish.

When you start decluttering, the minute you lay your hand on an item... think do I really need this, does it need work, will I ever really get around to selling this on ebay?

Then it goes into one of three piles keep, donate or trash.

I found that having a HUGE box with lined with a giant leaf and garden bag to be the best thing to help. That way the item goes straight away into the donate pile and I don't keep putting it off for later.

Also when you are on the fence, think about the item costing you money to move, since the more you move the more you pay. So are you willing to pay to keep that old popcorn popper and half finished sewing project.

Crescita posted 5/21/2013 12:10 PM

I'm sentimental so I am big into finding ways to repurpose things. For instance, if you saved a lot of your kids old baby clothes, maybe you could make them into a quilt and just save that for future grand babies. A scrap from a wedding dress can be turned into a pendant for a necklace. If things have monetary value rather than sentimental, consignment shops are an easy option to get some return on things you are reluctant to just donate. And so maybe you brought in more than you got rid of one week, that is ok, expect it from time to time, donít let it derail your goal.

Runningaway posted 5/21/2013 19:41 PM

I'm not especially sentimental. I don't keep stuff for memories. I have one small box of baby things that were handmade for the kids and that's it. I used to be really good at keeping things organized. I just let it go for a few years ya know? It was 4 years of "I'll deal with that later" and now I'm paying for it. I've never had to work on such a large scale project before b/c I always dealt with things as they came up. Now I have 4 years of outgrown rollerblades, ski pants and ice skates to deal with. Plus construction materials for projects I haven't gotten to yet and left over materials from stuff I've finished already. Wow I'm going to hyperventilate if I'm not careful.

Thank you for all the suggestions. I feel like I can maybe try this again next weekend.

Kajem posted 5/22/2013 14:25 PM

I think I'll join you...Little by little we'll get it done.


nowiknow23 posted 5/22/2013 14:41 PM

I did this last year when I had to sell the marital home and move into a rental.

The key concepts for me:
1. Focus on one area at a time. One box at a time. Don't let yourself follow spaghetti trails - stay focused on the task at hand.

2. Chunk up your time. I started with 15 minute chunks. I would set an alarm for 15 minutes, and put all my attention on a drawer for that time. When the timer went off, I re-set it and stepped away to take a break. When it went off again, I dove back in. It helped me get the momentum going when things seemed so daunting. After I got going, I started ignoring the timer and just kept working.

3. Have the donate/sell/trash boxes ready and labeled. Items go right in as you make the decision and DO NOT COME BACK OUT. Period.

4. I scheduled time each Sunday to take items to Goodwill and the consignment shop. And every Sunday, I made sure I had something for each of those places. The routine of that helped drive me when the inspiration was lacking.

5. Leave the really difficult stuff for last. If there's a category of item that will trigger you or take an inordinate amount of time, leave it for last. For me, that was photos, videos, scrapbooks, etc. I actually ended up moving all of that with me and have been picking through it over time.

6. The "get your house ready to sell" thread was started by me last year for this very purpose. I had a list a mile long of things I had to do to get the house ready, and it was overwhelming to consider it. I knew other NBers were in the same boat, so I started a thread where we commiserated, encouraged each other, and kept ourselves accountable. I think that kind of thread can be very helpful.

persevere posted 5/22/2013 14:46 PM

The "get your house ready to sell" thread was incredibly helpful to me last year.

I like the concept for spring/summer/cleaning too. I'm in the new house now, but I've not yet gotten to all of the unpacking. I still need to organize and unpack my office (my kitchen counter has been my desk for months now, lol), and both extra bedrooms since I'm about to have my two adult college kids back in the house at least through the summer. That should lead me to my garage so I can organize and clean it out in the hope that I can one day PARK in it.

So Runningaway, if you start a de-clutter/reorg thread, I will certainly participate.

nowiknow23 posted 5/22/2013 14:54 PM

Runningaway, if you start a de-clutter/reorg thread, I will certainly participate.
Count me in, too. I just went into my sewing room/office closet to find something specific and realized my work is not yet done.

Amazonia posted 5/22/2013 15:12 PM

Maybe a new kind of "three things" post?

nowiknow23 posted 5/22/2013 17:16 PM

Maybe a new kind of "three things" post?
Oooh, Ama! Interesting idea. Something like this?

1. Selling:

2. Donating:

3. Trashing:

With a regular check in?

Amazonia posted 5/23/2013 05:31 AM

I was thinking "what three things did you get rid of today?"

But I'm not moving for several more months... So I'll let you guys figure out what works best.

risingfromashes posted 5/23/2013 06:59 AM

I recently dealt with this overwhelming task. The ex filled the house with stuff and left it here. If he couldn't find a hammer or scissors etc. he would go out and buy more. I found 8 humidifiers in the basement!

It was enough to incapacitate me. I would wander around the house like a deer in headlights then climb into bed.

It became clear I could not do this alone. The kids did not want to deal with the mess either and who could blame them!

I called a very organized friend. She helped me sift through the stuff with questions like "Would you really use that again?" or "Is that the style you want to ave in your new home?" or " Does that have any special significance to you?"

It really helped! There were items I was hanging onto that would only serve to trigger me in the future.

Ask for help!

newnormal posted 5/23/2013 07:11 AM

I had a professional organizer help me. Iknownow and why have already posted those tips.

For encouragement remember this. Donating items to others is helping them more than you know. Find a psych hospital and ask if they need donated clothes or shoes. These people have nothing. Secondly, be sure to celebrate with each full box, clean area or 15 minute success. It was hard work and dedication to get that done and you did it! Each one you are stronger - hear you roar!

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