Joyful Decluttering: Now with photos!

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Joyful Decluttering: Now with photos!

Post by MamaMagoO? » Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:03 pm

As a person who is terrified of decluttering* but who is also sick of having so much stuff, I like the idea of a joyful approach to decluttering. But could it work??

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle ... are_btn_fb



*For example I haven't been able to read Mummy woo!'s bag toss thread. I've tried a couple of times but even reading the title makes me feel a little panicy.
Last edited by MamaMagoO? on Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by Mummy woo! » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:58 am

Ai think the process of saying goodbye to things you know you should pass on might help if you are reluctant, but she is spot on about starting with the easy things. Maybe MM you have a drawer in the kitchen with the spare potato peeler and the plastic lids without matching containers that you could clear out to get started?

It is time for me to take another pass at the fabric stash - I got rid of the polyester, but now I can probably have a go at a SWAP where I only keep the things I am likely to wear or make for particular others. I'd like to get it down to all fitting in one cabinet in my lounge room instead of tubs stashed under beds etc. could up my toss total for the year in the next few days.

I did chuck out a full cubic metre or more of out of date ABA records before Christmas (they were cluttering up my dining room) but they don't count to the total because I'm interested in knowing what I have that is potentially of use to others, rather than just trash.

What is it that makes you worried about de cluttering MM?
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by fellare » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:07 pm

Do you need a hand? I'm getting quite good at this game :wink:

seriously, though, it's hard. Because of that emotional attachment and the fear of one day needing it. I actually did what she suggested, mostly. I dclutteredby topic. Books, yarn, fabric, admin, toys, etc. It's much more bearable this way. Some things were easy, others required ceremony. But I did sickly learn that most things actually made me unhappy! Bit like eating too much cake, it's nice but then you get sick.
I just did a little bit at the time, stopping when I felt done, not when the job was done. It's a boring mind numbing job most of the time! And that makes it hard too. Tedious sorting and endless decision making. It's easier when you had 8 weeks of 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Can you start with 1 drawer? Or one shelve?

I promise you, it feels good done!
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by Yankee » Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:02 pm

I think that is a beautiful sentiment. I like the idea if thanking the item. I'm not a hoarder but there have been sentimental items like old tshirts that just hurt to throw them out. I felt like I was betraying them. A thank you ceremony sounds sweet.
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by MamaMagoO? » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:31 pm

Mummy woo! wrote:What is it that makes you worried about de cluttering MM?
I think fellare was pretty spot on when she said the emotional attachment and fear of needing it again one day. Both of those are pretty big factors. But it also seems like such a big overwhelming job when I already feel so short of time to everything.

Then there are the boxes in the shed filled with all the stuff I collected while attempting my PhD. I'm not attached to that stuff. I don't want it hanging around anymore. But to get rid of it I'm going to have to touch it, look at it, acknowledge its existence which could bring up some really difficult emotions for me. Although I am starting to feel like I'm almost ready to let it go... although would it be nice if it would all just disappear.

In fact, that is what I wish would happen with all my clutter!

I have downloaded a sample of this book on to my e-reader now and she raises some really good points in that as well. For example she says, "you can't tidy if you've never learned how" and goes on to talk about how no one is ever taught how to tidy, it is just assumed that we intuitively know how to do it (reminds me of something else that is thought to come naturally but really is a learned skill :wink: ). She says, "Think back to your own childhood. I'm sure most of us have been scolded for not tidying up our rooms, but how many of our parents consciously taught us how to do it as part of our up bringing?". I could really relate to think. My mum was always on my back about tidying, it was a huge source of stress for us both but I don't think I really understood what I was supposed to do. I think Mum really struggled with it too. On the surface our house always seemed pretty tidy but beneath that surface it was chaos. I remember draws stuffed full of old papers, stuff everywhere, but well hidden. My Dad is even worse. He has piles of stuff around his house. I have often said, "I was raised by 2 hoarders, I have no idea how to throw anything out"... and it is true. I really think that is a very big part of my problem. Drives DH a bit crazy, I know, his family were not at all like this. His Mum never keeps anything very long and is becoming more and more minimalist all the time. Which kind of makes me a bit uncomfortable- I've always liked semi- cluttered, lived in spaces. Where you can see life going on around you... but it has got out of hand in my house. We barely have room to move!! So I know I have to change. It's just hard.

I read another book on decluttering a couple of months ago which made it sound like something I could actually do. I might steal a bit from both of these approaches and make 2015 the year MamaMagoo got her shit in order!!
fellare wrote: Can you start with 1 drawer? Or one shelve?
Yes. I have actually already done this. I woke up one morning and the first thing I saw was a pile of stuff on a shelf in my room and I thought, "I'm sick of it!" and that day I tidyed it up. Threw out a lot of stuff and organised the rest and yes it did feel good.

Small steps, starting with the easy stuff. I will get there in the end!!
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by fellare » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:03 am

Baby steps. Just 15 min at a time.

another one I like is pick up 30. 30 bits of rubbish, put in bin, throw out. Then 30 things to donate, put in box and in car. Then 30 things to put away. It takes 5 minutes for me per 30 and because you can be totally random it doesn't matter where you start.

Southery one is "I will feel better once I'm done" motivates me a lot, because as soon as I've said it, I have no choice but to do it. I'll feel rubbish until it's done.

And yes, most of us don't get taught. Then some I'd us get scolded for trying to clean up :roll: I had no idea 18 months ago, but am proof that you can learn it!
that said, my house is utter chaos now. 2 weeks until I move out, there are still so many choices to make.
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by PellyintheWilderness » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:33 am

One of the things I love about Steiner early childhood education is that children do learn to tidy up. The play items and storage are designed to facilitate that.
Once you've got your space decluttered, it's a good idea to have an acquisitions policy - no new things unless there is a place for them. Some people get rid of one thing for every new thing that gets brought in.

About your PhD stuff boxes - can you not simply pick them up and put them in a trailer? Or do you need to go through it all?
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by fellare » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:04 am

It's the same with montessori one of the many reasons why I like it! Practical life is the absoluut basics of montessori.
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by Penguin » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:00 pm

I've said a lot of this in MW's thread but you said you hadn't read it.

similar to what fellare said - I found it very counter intuitive, but none the less somewhat effective, to 'fill a bag'. Just go around and find things. It's kinda the opposite of the one-section-at-a-time approach, but it can also be done in bit. As a perfectionist, I found this oddly freeing - I didn't need to have time to go through a section, it didn't matter that things were disorganised, I could just get some thing that weren't being used and donate them. Some progress is still better than no progress.

Another thing which I found helped me was to think of empty space (and yes physicists, I know it's not empty space but you know what I mean...) as a possession or an asset. That is, a cupboard stuffed to the brim may be full of things of some value, but it's not full of valuable space. The space is valuable because it means you can see what's in there, you can get to all the items, that is, it increases the usefulness of the other items. EG - the upper corner cabinet in our kitchen is stuffed full, but with stuff that rarely gets used - wedding china etc. I still want to keep it but I could go months at a time without opening it. Extra space isn't really valuable in there because I'm not in there all the time trying to get stuff out, put it away or move it around. That cabinet is, however, the exception. The glasses cabinet, the coffee mugs, the plates, the plastic ware cupboard etc - having space in there is valuable. If they are chocked full so that matching lids can't be found, a mug can't be retrieved without knocking over another one etc then the effectiveness/ values of the items is reduced because I can't access their value.

As an extension of this - if you can't get to it, or you don't know where it is, it's less valuable because you can't access it. If you have too many clothes so you can't get to them easily, you still end up wearing the same favourite items most of the time anyway. It also creates inefficiencies and spirals the problem. Eg, ten years go my sister gave me a super doper expensive passport/ money holder when I went overseas. When I went to California a few months ago, I couldn't find it. I didn't even look for it because I had no idea where it would be. I bought a cheapy from the $2 shop. When I was cleaning out few weeks ago I found it in the back of the wardrobe. So I had the perfect item, but because it didn't have enough empty space around it, I couldn't use it when I needed it. This helps me get past the 'what if I need it' mentality to an extent - I DID need it but because I couldn't find it because we have too much clutter, so I didn't get the benefit of using it (as if I had given it away ten years ago ) AND I had to store it for a decade. It was lose-lose, the worse of both worlds. By keeping it, I was bringing to fruition the actual thing I was worried that giving it away would cause - not being able to use it if I needed it again. We had a similar issue with baby gear. I kept most of DD's baby equipment, but because we didn't really have the space to store it properly, a lot of it got ruined. They were out on the patio wrapped up in a tarp and in plastic boxes but they perished from the sun. We had to chuck her high chair and bouncer because the straps had all perished. So I didn't get rid of them because they still have wear in them and I knew we would use them again, but because we didn't have the space they got ruined. I'm in the same position now as if I'd gotten rid of them years ago, but instead I've had them cluttering up everywhere AND someone else didn't get to use them.

I also now consider paying myself a 'storage fee'. Eg, if I won't need this item for a long time or if it's used rarely, is the space it's taking up cheaper than replacing it? Eg the bouncer - I saw at the shops that DD's bouncer (the same as the one that got wrecked in storage) is $25 bucks. That replacement cost is cheaper than the theoretical cost of the space it was taking up - ie, what would it cost if I was storing it?

I struggle to get rid fo things because they have some value left in them, but when I consider 1) is the space it's taking up MORE valuable and 2) the 'storage fee' vs 'replacement fee' then I find it much easier to get rid of. Even if I end up rebuying it, it often works out cheaper when I consider the 'storage fee' that I've saved and the value of the empty space.



Re learning to clean, it's definitely a learned skill. some thoughts in no particular order
- maintaining a home is different to our grandparent's time. Replacement is often easier, cheaper, better and more accessible than repair. You can save all your envelopes to clip together and write phone message on the back, but you'll still get given the freebie marketing notebooks. Children's clothes don't need to be home made - which is time consuming therefore you do it of good quality and repair as needed so it can be worn by several children year after year - a trip to the department store and you could have your kid clothed in brand new clothes that fit for that season for what may be only several hours' pay.
- There's a lot more stuff around now - cheap toys, cheap kitchen stuff etc.
- we also have access to 'storage/management helpers' that our grandparents didn't. Can you scan receipts, look up manuals online etc?
- in girl guides, we had a section of the program which used to be called 'Becoming a homemaker'. It got renamed about 15-20 years ago to "Developing life skills". The thing is, it's actually the same stuff, they just changed the name. An unfortunate downside of much of the rhetoric surrounding 'women's lib' is that in some ways it has coincided with the devaluing of domestic work. When I consider cleaning/ decluttering/ managing stuff more as a project or something in which I'm using skills and models to achieve a goal, I get much less shitty about then than when I think "I hate cleaning stuff!"
- have a look at the blog 'A slob comes clean'. It talks a lot about learning to manage possessions etc. Her article about containers being for CONTAIN-ing things was mindblowing.
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by Mummy woo! » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:00 pm

MamaMagoO? wrote:
Mummy woo! wrote:What is it that makes you worried about de cluttering MM?
I think fellare was pretty spot on when she said the emotional attachment and fear of needing it again one day. Both of those are pretty big factors. But it also seems like such a big overwhelming job when I already feel so short of time to everything.
I had a book from the library about this a while ago, I think it was 'does this clutter make my butt look big' or something ridiculous. He talked a lot about needing to examine those fears and work through them to effectively de clutter. And to deal with the feelings of guilt for having accumulated in the first place. I imagine it is hard to let go of the PhD you were thinking of - they are a major life decision and have a lot of emotion wrapped up in the (Dr Magoo? :-D )

But the thing is that you have the capability to do all that emotional work - I was in awe of how well you worked through the different issues and feelings about little Magoo wearing a dress to a wedding - you can definitely chuck out a bunch of old pens!

Maybe check out some of the books on decluttering at your library - most of them deal with feelings as well as practical things - one of them will click for you and help you get started.

(And ask fellare to come over and supervise you loading all the stuff into the trailer!)
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by Bailey's Mum » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:10 pm

You lot have inspired me. I just discarded enough un-needed books to fill a 50L storage tub! Considering we moved 12 months ago, and I had only just gone through the shelves then, I'm pretty pleased with that effort. There are a few shelves that still need some close attention, with some very old and out of date volumes, but I've gotten rid of half a bookcase today. And made room for the childrens' books that are stacked in the hallway :oops: - next effort is to shelve those, and discard the ones I don't want to keep - I could fill another whole tub if I try hard.
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by Mummy woo! » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:48 pm

http://sanaeishida.com/?p=12129

So she made it on to one of my fave sewing blogs. Would it be ironic to buy the decluttering book because I love that textured coloured cover design?! :roll: :oops:
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by snowie » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:34 pm

This thread has inspired me. I've just been in DD1's room cleaning up clothes and toys. So much of it is true for me - I hoard things too - I guess some of that has to do with being the child of parents who were born in the Great Depression and World War II. Also I'm the eldest of 7, so things were reused especially clothes and baby gear. Everything was about keeping things when I was growing up.

DH on the other hand is great about clearing 'junk' as he calls it. But he's so great that he has the own things out that were being used a few times a year - boy did he get into trouble. Now he's pretty good about asking, and I'm getting much better about giving permission. Now that we are definitely finished having children, I feel quiet happy about moving things along. And while I feel sad that DD2 has grown out of 0000 and is almost out of 000, I still feel ok about passing on those clothes. Which is a good place to be.

So thank you for sharing your thoughts about tidying up of wise forum women. :-D :smt023
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by fellare » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:17 pm

PellyintheWilderness wrote:
About your PhD stuff boxes - can you not simply pick them up and put them in a trailer? Or do you need to go through it all?

This is what I did with my clothes. Sorted out what I wanted to take with me, the rest went in a box. Ok, 20 containers and they were overflowing.
After a month I just picked them up and drove them to the op shop. I did my best not to look, but I did drop one container. Seeing all those precious clothes I hand made, I broke into tears.

If you want to sort trough them for recycling purposes, get a friend to do it. One I've moved I'll have plenty of time and being a waste manager I enjoy such things.
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Re: Joyful Decluttering

Post by MamaMagoO? » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:03 am

Penguin wrote:I've said a lot of this in MW's thread but you said you hadn't read it.

similar to what fellare said - I found it very counter intuitive, but none the less somewhat effective, to 'fill a bag'. Just go around and find things. It's kinda the opposite of the one-section-at-a-time approach, but it can also be done in bit. As a perfectionist, I found this oddly freeing - I didn't need to have time to go through a section, it didn't matter that things were disorganised, I could just get some thing that weren't being used and donate them. Some progress is still better than no progress.

Another thing which I found helped me was to think of empty space (and yes physicists, I know it's not empty space but you know what I mean...) as a possession or an asset. That is, a cupboard stuffed to the brim may be full of things of some value, but it's not full of valuable space. The space is valuable because it means you can see what's in there, you can get to all the items, that is, it increases the usefulness of the other items. EG - the upper corner cabinet in our kitchen is stuffed full, but with stuff that rarely gets used - wedding china etc. I still want to keep it but I could go months at a time without opening it. Extra space isn't really valuable in there because I'm not in there all the time trying to get stuff out, put it away or move it around. That cabinet is, however, the exception. The glasses cabinet, the coffee mugs, the plates, the plastic ware cupboard etc - having space in there is valuable. If they are chocked full so that matching lids can't be found, a mug can't be retrieved without knocking over another one etc then the effectiveness/ values of the items is reduced because I can't access their value.

As an extension of this - if you can't get to it, or you don't know where it is, it's less valuable because you can't access it. If you have too many clothes so you can't get to them easily, you still end up wearing the same favourite items most of the time anyway. It also creates inefficiencies and spirals the problem. Eg, ten years go my sister gave me a super doper expensive passport/ money holder when I went overseas. When I went to California a few months ago, I couldn't find it. I didn't even look for it because I had no idea where it would be. I bought a cheapy from the $2 shop. When I was cleaning out few weeks ago I found it in the back of the wardrobe. So I had the perfect item, but because it didn't have enough empty space around it, I couldn't use it when I needed it. This helps me get past the 'what if I need it' mentality to an extent - I DID need it but because I couldn't find it because we have too much clutter, so I didn't get the benefit of using it (as if I had given it away ten years ago ) AND I had to store it for a decade. It was lose-lose, the worse of both worlds. By keeping it, I was bringing to fruition the actual thing I was worried that giving it away would cause - not being able to use it if I needed it again. We had a similar issue with baby gear. I kept most of DD's baby equipment, but because we didn't really have the space to store it properly, a lot of it got ruined. They were out on the patio wrapped up in a tarp and in plastic boxes but they perished from the sun. We had to chuck her high chair and bouncer because the straps had all perished. So I didn't get rid of them because they still have wear in them and I knew we would use them again, but because we didn't have the space they got ruined. I'm in the same position now as if I'd gotten rid of them years ago, but instead I've had them cluttering up everywhere AND someone else didn't get to use them.

I also now consider paying myself a 'storage fee'. Eg, if I won't need this item for a long time or if it's used rarely, is the space it's taking up cheaper than replacing it? Eg the bouncer - I saw at the shops that DD's bouncer (the same as the one that got wrecked in storage) is $25 bucks. That replacement cost is cheaper than the theoretical cost of the space it was taking up - ie, what would it cost if I was storing it?

I struggle to get rid fo things because they have some value left in them, but when I consider 1) is the space it's taking up MORE valuable and 2) the 'storage fee' vs 'replacement fee' then I find it much easier to get rid of. Even if I end up rebuying it, it often works out cheaper when I consider the 'storage fee' that I've saved and the value of the empty space.



Re learning to clean, it's definitely a learned skill. some thoughts in no particular order
- maintaining a home is different to our grandparent's time. Replacement is often easier, cheaper, better and more accessible than repair. You can save all your envelopes to clip together and write phone message on the back, but you'll still get given the freebie marketing notebooks. Children's clothes don't need to be home made - which is time consuming therefore you do it of good quality and repair as needed so it can be worn by several children year after year - a trip to the department store and you could have your kid clothed in brand new clothes that fit for that season for what may be only several hours' pay.
- There's a lot more stuff around now - cheap toys, cheap kitchen stuff etc.
- we also have access to 'storage/management helpers' that our grandparents didn't. Can you scan receipts, look up manuals online etc?
- in girl guides, we had a section of the program which used to be called 'Becoming a homemaker'. It got renamed about 15-20 years ago to "Developing life skills". The thing is, it's actually the same stuff, they just changed the name. An unfortunate downside of much of the rhetoric surrounding 'women's lib' is that in some ways it has coincided with the devaluing of domestic work. When I consider cleaning/ decluttering/ managing stuff more as a project or something in which I'm using skills and models to achieve a goal, I get much less shitty about then than when I think "I hate cleaning stuff!"
- have a look at the blog 'A slob comes clean'. It talks a lot about learning to manage possessions etc. Her article about containers being for CONTAIN-ing things was mindblowing.

I LOVE this Penguin! You should write a book! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
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Miss Magoo 10/11. Breastfed for 4yrs3mths.

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