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Obssesing about decluttering


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Ok so my family in general is not worried about the material possessions we have in our home, but it's been bugging me for years, 'cause we have a freaking ton of things we don't use nor need. Specially my mom has some small hoarder behaviour (she's not a hoarder, I know that's way more serious, but comments like "we may need those things we haven't touched in the last 5 years", "why would you want to throw them away, we may need them more in the future that the people you want to donate them to", "this is completely useful, it's not broken, just store it"...). Three years ago I decided that I was going to declutter my own bedroom and nothing else, but they keep storing their things here because it's the only room where the space is, you know, not cluttered, even though it's the smallest room in the entire house. So I decided that this summer I'm going to declutter EVERYTHING, even the basement, 'cause if I don't get it done nobody is going to throw anything away. They aren't going to help me.

Again, I decided to start with my bedroom. I moved out for the academic year and had to buy a lot of stuff I don't need in my parent's house, so now it's crowded. I thought the best method would be bringing three boxes, one for "keep", one for "donate/give away", and another for "recycle/throw away" BUT it bugs me SO MUCH that I can't sub-order those three boxes into "toiletries", "academic stuff/notes I won't use anymore", etc because my room is SO small and they won't let me use the living room... I'm also having a hard time figuring out how to recycle certain things, like pens and plastic hair clippers with mettallic stuff. I suppose I'll have to go to my "clean point" in town (which is out of town) and ask them.

It's bugging me so much I have to stop every now and then so I don't panic. Should I try the 3 boxes method and then sort it out into smaller boxes, even if it just drives me mad? I can't ask a friend to come over and help me 'cause there's simply not enough space for two people. What can I do?

I don't suffer from OCD, I just don't want useless material possessions hanging around and taking up space, and to keep my house as clean and decluttered as possible.

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I think you are on the right track with decluttering. The 3 box system works really well in my family. A lot end up in toss if you keep at it. If you are tripping over stuff in your home and suffocating in every room, I agree it's time. I also applaud you for trying to recycle as much as possible.

My family has started to agree with tidying around our house but it was gradual. There was a lot of resistance at first but I wouldn't give up. When we cleaned a drawer for instance I tried to get them to associate tossing out unused stuff with how easy it is to find things in that space now. If we cleaned a shelf we left it empty and tried to enjoy the 'space'. I think don't push too hard and make it a positive experience. It was really emotional at first (overwhelming!) I tried to start with items that did not have emotional value, like Tupperware, rather than photo albums or trinkets. And now they are surprising me by doing shelves or boxes by themselves. :)

If you are really deep in stuff could you rent a storage unit for a short time just to help get started?

 

I also had a 'maybe keep' box for things we felt unsure of. That helped make it less stressful and move things along. Don't put too much in that box or you just make a bigger problem. 

Edited by paintedsky
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Decluttering is always my goal but I rarely succeed for long. Where do I take stuff?  The 3 box system is good only if I actually empty the boxes into their places when the box fills. I found a women's shelter to take toiletries and such and sent off a lot but otherwise I sit with my sorted boxes staring at me. I think that's the key, get it out as soon as each box fills. At least that's my downfall. 

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Maybe you could use the 3 box system and only work on one category at a time? All academic, then all toiletries, and so on? You could then take the contents to their destinations and the boxes will be ready for the next category. You might end up needing a few extra boxes for donate/recycle if they are going to different places.


I'm also very keen on decluttering. I find a sense of order around me very soothing, and it reduces the stress that comes from misplacing things and having to take care of all that stuff.

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On 31/7/2017 at 4:15 AM, paintedsky said:

If you are really deep in stuff could you rent a storage unit for a short time just to help get started?

Damn you US citizens and your storage units hahahaha We don't have those around here yet, it's starting to become a thing in the big cities.

On 31/7/2017 at 4:15 AM, paintedsky said:

I tried to start with items that did not have emotional value, like Tupperware, rather than photo albums or trinkets.

Yes, when I clear out my room I'm going to try and make them throw out veery old magazines and things like that :) Can you give me some advice if they still don't want to cooperate even if I try to make it seem easy and positive?
 

On 31/7/2017 at 8:13 PM, Ion said:

Maybe you could use the 3 box system and only work on one category at a time? All academic, then all toiletries, and so on?

That's actually a very good advice, thanks! It gave me the idea of sorting it all out while cleaning everything and tidying it up so I have more space to work.
 

On 31/7/2017 at 5:01 PM, sugarsugar said:

Decluttering is always my goal but I rarely succeed for long. Where do I take stuff?  The 3 box system is good only if I actually empty the boxes into their places when the box fills. I found a women's shelter to take toiletries and such and sent off a lot but otherwise I sit with my sorted boxes staring at me. I think that's the key, get it out as soon as each box fills. At least that's my downfall. 

I can't do that. As I'm quite obsessed with the categories and I'm going to declutter every room, I think I need everything from everywhere sorted out before I can rearrange the things we're keeping. I don't know, we have tons of books in my room, the living room, and the basement, so I feel I need them all to decide which ones I'm going to give away and which ones I'm going to try to sell? But if that's what you need, it's ok, I just don't think it'll work for me.

Thank you all for your answers. I'm going to clean everything and make big piles of each category while I make an inventory (do you use that word? maybe "stock"? I'm not sure how you say it in English), so I can color-code in which box they will be and make some notes about it, and that's going to give me more space, too, so it's going to be easier :)

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I read recently, can't remember where, that serious decluttering has a very positive affect on mental health. So, yay, go for it! 

My husband is a wannabe hoarder, I've found that just simply quietly doing away with things on the sly is what works. Unfortunately a lot of stuff goes in the trash, which I put out very early on trash pickup days, while he's still asleep. There's a clothing donation bin across the street, also a book donation bin closeby as well. He honestly doesn't even miss what I get rid of, only rarely he asks hey, where is _____, I manage to look innocent, nothing further mentioned. 

Good luck! It actually gets addicting once you get into it. 

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