Author Topic: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?  (Read 12495 times)

ichangedmyname

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De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« on: December 30, 2013, 05:01:46 PM »
We've been renting a duplex for almost 18 months now. Our lease expired June 2013 and we're currently month-to-month. Due to laziness and just lack of discipline our place is still a mess. I've been wanting to make improvements, like a custom-built desk in the office my husband and I share so I could do my crafts there or even just a pot rack. But should I even bother improving this place if we're just renting? I don't want to spend money or time making improvements if we have to move out a few months from now (possibility) or get kicked out (not likely).

We have organizing issues and picking-things-up and putting-things-away. The place is old, maybe built in the 70's so the cabinets and closets are not really well-planned. We've bought many different shelves to help organize but it's just too overwhelming for me to do by myself. I've actually scheduled a professional organizer to visit and see what needs to be done first, the consult is free. I simply don't know where to start.  I thought we could get things organized by buying shelves but the more shelves we got the more stuff we bought and just stuck them on the shelves and when there's no more space, things are left on the floor, by hallways, doorways.

The mess is frustrating me but I am guilty of it which frustrates me more. I know I should do small things at a time but by the time I'm done organizing the pantry, another area has accumulated mess. :( Any ideas would help. Thank you.

CNM

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 05:10:19 PM »
How long do you intend to rent the duplex?  Unless you intend to stay for a long time, I would not spend money on improvements that you can't take with you. 

Also, it sounds like your problem is not lack of desk or pot rack.  It's too much stuff.  Decluttering and organizing can be a lot to handle all at once, so don't stress yourself out by biting off more than you can chew.  Before you even tackle the organizing aspect of it, I'd declutter first so you know what you have and what you need to do organization-wise. 

Take one room, or one closet, or one problem area at a time.  Your house was not cluttered in a day and your house won't become decluttered in one day either. 

AccidentalMiser

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 05:18:01 PM »
http://mnmlist.com/

This blog has inspired me to eliminate about 75% of our possessions.  We aren't done yet, but we are already enjoying the benefits of not having so much stuff. 

Food for thought.

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 06:03:00 PM »
Some thoughts on decluttering vs de-owning http://www.becomingminimalist.com/dont-just-declutter-de-own/
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 08:40:51 PM by Janie »

MKinVA

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 06:16:25 PM »
I am in the same mode and condition having sent my youngest off to college. Now, to get my act together. Here is my plan. Four large boxes and I mean large. 1. Trash, 2. donate, 3. sell, and 4. find somewhere to put it. I'm going to work through each room which will take days per room.

So you know you are not alone, I just walked through my second floor and see two baseball caps on a table, four pairs of shoes under a chair, dog toys strewn on the floor, dog bed we never could get pup to sleep on (3 years now), pile of papers to be filed, basket full of laundry to fold, massage chair on floor of den, electrical switch that was to be installed I don't know where, Xmas tree to take down with boxes for ornaments and wrapping papers "hidden" behind living room couch, ....I could go on forever, and that's just the crap that was pulled out this weekend.

Here's motivation. This fall I sold more than a dozen old pocketbooks at a yard sale along with a bunch of music CDs and made $110! I'll get rid of the trash and donate immediately, and save the sell for a yard sale in the spring. I like to do a church sale where you pay $10 for a table and it gives you ready customers. I find eBay to be a pain for small stuff.

Russ

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 06:24:56 PM »
own less stuff

to that end, the method that's been most successful for me has been:
-put everything I don't use often in a box / corner of a room / closet.
-If it sits there for more than a few months without using it, get rid of it (unless you have a very good reason to keep it)
-don't buy more things

for the pantry, just eat it down. try to buy no food for a while and make do with what you have, then when you literally can't make a full balanced meal start buying the few things you need to pull one together. There's a thread or two here for that exact purpose I think. Then, again, don't re-buy the shit that filled it up in the first place.

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 06:53:01 PM »
I'm not a very organized person by nature, so the keys for me are these:

1) Get rid of everything that doesn't get used. This strategy got my closet down to about 5 shirts.
2) Find a defined place for everything you own, and make a concerted effort for you and your husband to make sure everything gets into that location.
3) Allow yourself a pressure relief valve, ie one location that stuff that doesn't fit in any metaphorical box can get dumped in. Your secret 'messy' area. Mine's a basement closet.

The one area I still have a lot of struggle with is paper. I've never gotten the hang of using a filing cabinet, and I hate paying bills. Paper tends to pile everywhere if I don't watch it.

CrochetStache

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 09:31:31 PM »
My cleaning & decluttering is greatly helped by this 15 min/day yearly calendar:
http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/declutter-calendar.html

Each area of the home is tackled in tasks that usually last about 15 min per day. Some tasks are done quicker, some take longer but it is literally a basic to-do list that at the end you will have gone through each area of your home.

It's set up as a yearly calendar but you can just go through it at your own pace, of course. I did sign up to receive the free calendar last year and have rec'd no plethora of sales pitches, etc from her site. Just the once/week reminder of where in the home I will get clean that week :)

One step at a time things will get organized if you keep plugging away at the list.

pac_NW

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2013, 03:43:12 AM »
Just went through an office and media center declutter day last week. I am called a whirlwind in my house when it comes to declutter projects. I schedule a half day, warn my family it's coming, enlist their help if they would like to, and then plot my plan. Each declutter project includes a mental list of stuff to go to Goodwill, stuff to sell on Craigslist, some type of goal like "release half my books" or "donate clothes not used in past year", an organization of what remains into now empty bookshelves or drawers, removal of furniture no longer used to lighten the room, rearranging furniture if needed, and a spring clean of the area.  Once planned and ready to go, I am judicious and militant so that it gets done and there is no waffling. Each time I declutter, I feel lighter. My kid said to me yesterday about the office, "wow, it looks and feels so much bigger and open."  Exactly.

kms

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 07:10:23 AM »
My wife and I have been on the de-cluttering path for quite a while now. We've never been your typical hoarders, and yet still have managed to get rid of most of our stuff in the past two years. Our friends and family are dumbfounded whenever we tell them we found even more stuff to get rid of. However, both my parents and my brother and sister in law are really bad when it gets to filling every last square inch of their apartments with stuff.

I love having less - the more stuff you own, the stuff owns you. To me, your situation sounds like you need or seriously de-clutter your life before you start reorganizing your stuff.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 07:14:01 AM by killermilchschnitte »

JessieImproved

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 07:16:12 AM »
I've been working on decluttering as well.  What seems to work for me is picking an area, taking EVERYTHING out and laying it out on a floor/table/bed.  Then I pick out items I use every single day and set them to the side.  After that, for each item I ask "Is this item special to me?" and then "Can I get away without having it?" Notice I don't ask "Do I  need it?".  That question is too susceptible to delusion.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 07:20:28 AM »
own less stuff

to that end, the method that's been most successful for me has been:
-put everything I don't use often in a box / corner of a room / closet.
-If it sits there for more than a few months without using it, get rid of it (unless you have a very good reason to keep it)
-don't buy more things

for the pantry, just eat it down. try to buy no food for a while and make do with what you have, then when you literally can't make a full balanced meal start buying the few things you need to pull one together. There's a thread or two here for that exact purpose I think. Then, again, don't re-buy the shit that filled it up in the first place.

Jacob at ERE suggests a similar technique. Take a month of cooking. Every ingredient you use, keep out on the table. At the end of the month, whatever's not on that table, get rid of.

We just went through round 10? of de-cluttering here. Amazing what we still find that needs to be donated or set aside for a future rummage sale. The few valuable items have already been sold online, but we have a lot of kids/baby stuff that's easier to sell via a rummage.

ichangedmyname

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2013, 07:45:37 AM »
I love all the ideas. Thank you!

One of the obstacles is I married into this household so in the past 2 years of being here, I have accumulated some stuff. But my mother-in-law owns about 80% of the stuff/crap/junk and it's all "things I cannot live without, I HAVE to HAVE that, DON'T THROW ANYTHING AWAY". My husband and I have been secretly de-junking by throwing things out she bought at Goodwill or a dollar store that was just left on the floor still in the bag and forgotten.

The organizing consultant will come by next Monday and will check out the place. The kitchen is where I really need ideas. I think I would need to make partitions in the cabinet so we'd have space to put stuff on. Maybe a good idea is to keep basic pots and pans handy and some that are not being used as often could go in the basement.

Thanks for that calendar CrochetStache. I've downloaded it.

One step at a time.

hybrid

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2013, 08:05:29 AM »
A personal favorite of mine is if you haven't used it in three years get rid of it.  I think this is pretty conservative actually, but a nice place to start when the task seems overwhelming.

Also, get rid of just about every (non-reference) book you have already read.  If you want to read it again, that's what the local library is for.  Count the number of new books left.  Get rid of all but three.  That's what the local library is for.

My wife and I have been struggling with this for years.  She does not have a "throw it away" instinct, she has a "hang onto it" instinct.  It's much better than it used to be though, she has made a lot of progress.  I am relatively Spartan by comparison but I still have a decent amount of stuff.  I purge it fairly regularly, however.

Less is really more, because it frees up your mind as well as your space.

CommonCents

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2013, 08:29:13 AM »
I invite you to join our decluttering thread over on the gauntlet.  I found getting rid of 7 items a day was really helpful (a challenge I did with a friend) - I tossed over 500 items and started being more critical of incoming items into my home.

Also, get rid of just about every (non-reference) book you have already read.  If you want to read it again, that's what the local library is for.  Count the number of new books left.  Get rid of all but three.  That's what the local library is for.

Sigh.  There is such hatred for books in folks homes in the decluttering circles!  You probably have your own "gazinga" - that thing you have too much of and should stop bringing into your home.  You may feel yours is books.  Mine is candles. 

But I just want to say that libraries (which I adore and greatly increase their circulation stats) are not always open.  In fact, they are often not open at 8PM when I want to curl up with a good friend (book).  They often have books you want to read at that moment checked out.  (Yes, I do request books, but my many favorites - I like to keep near me.)  It's also not bad to support those who have written the books by buying them (electronic is ok too - but be mindful batteries do run out on trips away from plugs).  I'm a voracious reader and buy only a teeny tiny fraction of books I read.  I just want to validate that it's ok to keep books you know you'll reread.  Just promise you'll get rid of those you are keeping from guilt or because you think it makes you look smart or any other ridiculous reason.  And sell those old textbooks before another moment passes and loses more value.

ichangedmyname

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2013, 08:34:24 AM »
We might start putting things to sell on ebay. My husband started doing this with little gadgets, his weakness is electronics and he has a big box of cables and wires odds and ends that he goes through if he needs something to be replaced.

I do know for a fact that there is a dutch oven, a slow cooker, cast iron pans and pots that have never been used. These were all Christmas gifts from my husband to his mother and I really don't feel comfortable getting rid of them by selling or donating or throwing out.

I have a lot of clothes I need to throw away, too because I will never be young again or skinny enough to wear them LOL I'm 33! Get rid of those bedazzled jeans already! I'm far from innocent or perfect and I know I have accumulated a lot of cosmetics and lotions and colognes, etc (SO CHEAP! ON SALE! CUTE!) and purses as well. I am going to start a box with these to be sent home to the Philippines, hopefully my mother could give it away or use it.

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2013, 08:58:17 AM »
So, your MIL lives with you, and is very resistance to getting rid of everything? That's by far your biggest obstacle. Is it your house or hers?

hybrid

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2013, 09:17:56 AM »
I invite you to join our decluttering thread over on the gauntlet.  I found getting rid of 7 items a day was really helpful (a challenge I did with a friend) - I tossed over 500 items and started being more critical of incoming items into my home.

Also, get rid of just about every (non-reference) book you have already read.  If you want to read it again, that's what the local library is for.  Count the number of new books left.  Get rid of all but three.  That's what the local library is for.

Sigh.  There is such hatred for books in folks homes in the decluttering circles!  You probably have your own "gazinga" - that thing you have too much of and should stop bringing into your home.  You may feel yours is books.  Mine is candles. 

But I just want to say that libraries (which I adore and greatly increase their circulation stats) are not always open.  In fact, they are often not open at 8PM when I want to curl up with a good friend (book).  They often have books you want to read at that moment checked out.  (Yes, I do request books, but my many favorites - I like to keep near me.)  It's also not bad to support those who have written the books by buying them (electronic is ok too - but be mindful batteries do run out on trips away from plugs).  I'm a voracious reader and buy only a teeny tiny fraction of books I read.  I just want to validate that it's ok to keep books you know you'll reread.  Just promise you'll get rid of those you are keeping from guilt or because you think it makes you look smart or any other ridiculous reason.  And sell those old textbooks before another moment passes and loses more value.

We'll agree to disagree.  My wife is also a voracious reader (easily 100 books a year, and I suspect I am being conservative) and has had zero issues obtaining the book she wants either through the library (in physical or virtual format), or very occasionally through a download.  She never has a lack of reading material onhand.  Yes, the local library keeps hours, what of it?  Check out more than one book at a time I say (the wife often has four or five out at a time).

Books (and magazines, and newspapers) are all too often just a common form of clutter, period.  I don't hate reading material.  I do hate clutter.  When my current issue of The Economist is over two weeks old, out she goes.  A book is no different.

Zaga

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2013, 09:25:24 AM »
You have the same problem we did.  First DH moved in with his grandmother, then I married him and moved in too.  To say there was a ton of crap in this house would be an understatement!  We had 7 couches at one point for crying out loud!

The long and the short of it is, we didn't manage to get rid of a significant amount of her crap until after she passed away.  You just can't force someone else to change, especially someone older.

CommonCents

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2013, 09:40:44 AM »
Quote from: hybrid link=topic=11921.msg189151#msg189151

We'll agree to disagree.  My wife is also a voracious reader (easily 100 books a year, and I suspect I am being conservative) and has had zero issues obtaining the book she wants either through the library (in physical or virtual format), or very occasionally through a download.  She never has a lack of reading material onhand.  Yes, the local library keeps hours, what of it?  Check out more than one book at a time I say (the wife often has four or five out at a time).

Books (and magazines, and newspapers) are all too often just a common form of clutter, period.  I don't hate reading material.  I do hate clutter.  When my current issue of The Economist is over two weeks old, out she goes.  A book is no different.

Indeed, we will have to agree to disagree.  (And I do check out about 20 at a time, request books in advance to be held for me, etc.)  However, some books I like to reread and consider old friends.  Those are the ones I buy (1-2 a year, a little more if there is a good charity book sale), and I've reread every book in my library at least several times, if not many more.  My point is that if they are being used, they're not clutter.  We both agree that if they aren't being used, they are clutter - which is why I've worked hard to eliminate magazines.  My suggestion is to focus on eliminating what constitutes clutter for her - which may be books for her, or something else. 

My dream home includes a library.

OP, you married into this house you say.  Does your husband/you own the home, or are you living in your MIL's home?  If you are living in her home, you may just need to move out to your own place.  If it's your home, then it's simple - she can keep what fits in her room, otherwise, it's fair game to be eliminated.

Consider putting things on freecycle.  I've given away things I didn't want but emotionally couldn't throw away or donate where they might be thrown away that way (e.g. my grandfather's briefcase).

hybrid

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2013, 10:17:39 AM »
But it reads more to me like "Declutter, but feel free to make personal exceptions".  Books aren't your friends, books are things.  They give you the warm fuzzy, well and good.  I won't argue that point.  I will simply state that you keep inanimate objects in your house that give you the warm fuzzy.  Hey, we all do that to an extent.  However this is also what every clutterbug does, their glaringly obvious difference being scale.  Any encouragement to carve out exceptions feels counter-productive to me.

The path of "(insert inanimate objects) are friends" is the road to clutter, plain and simple.  Getting rid of the emotional attachments to things not worthy of it is the path away from clutter.  So I'm just not big on carving out any exceptions at the outset.  It's like going on a diet without giving up sweets.

Not to sound like a hardass here, but I totally get that some books in fact should be in the house and do carry emotional attachment (oh, a wedding album comes to mind, for example...).  But to be plainly honest I have yet to meet a clutterbug that isn't hounded by reading material they just can't bear to part with for some clearly irrational reason, so I'm rarely sympathetic to the point, not when perfectly viable alternatives are readily available. 
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 10:30:37 AM by hybrid »

frugaldrummer

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2013, 10:42:30 AM »
This website is really great for motivation and ideas when it comes to cleaning and organizing:

http://www.flylady.net/


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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2013, 10:48:36 AM »
Yes, the local library keeps hours, what of it?  Check out more than one book at a time I say (the wife often has four or five out at a time).

Hah, I wish I had that few checked out. Normally we have 30-50 out at any one time, though some of it is for homeschooling rather than pleasure reading.

somepissedoffman

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2013, 10:59:29 AM »
But it reads more to me like "Declutter, but feel free to make personal exceptions". 
That actually sounds quite reasonable.  I'm generally pretty cluttered, and plan to take steps to de-clutter, but for me that means evaluating what things actually make me happy (bikes, musical instruments) and what things don't.  I don't think I'd want to get rid of things just for the sake of getting rid of things.
Not to sound like a hardass here, but I totally get that some books in fact should be in the house and do carry emotional attachment (oh, a wedding album comes to mind, for example...). 

I'd totally trash a wedding album before I got rid of 'The Art of Electronics,' haha

_JT

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2013, 11:17:36 AM »
I'm happy to make an exception for books, even if it makes the clutter gods angry. I only keep reference books and stuff I reread, but that's still hundreds of books. Maybe more.

hybrid

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2013, 11:24:45 AM »
I think of getting clutter under control just like I think of getting spending under control.  If you have your spending under control, what's the occasional trip to Chipotle now and then?  If you don't have your clutter under control, your (and your family's) quality of life can potentially suffer dramatically.  I've seen a horror story personally and know of others struggling, yikes.  The worst part is how so many people live in the past instead of the present because their (usually worthlees) stuff is a catalyst for memories of the past.  These folks aren't living remotely to their fullest in the present.

If it's truly a problem for an individual, treat it like the problem it is.  All things should serve a purpose.

ichangedmyname

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2013, 02:14:01 PM »
We are renting a duplex.  We split the rent andutilities 3 ways. The reason we moved to this place was because we needed more space but now that we got space we've been filling it up. Our basement is half finished but the finished half can't be used because it's where all the crap that haven't been unpacked yet from the move in June 2012.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 11:13:11 AM by ichangedmyname »

mm1970

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2014, 10:08:01 AM »
The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

mm1970

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2014, 10:12:04 AM »
I invite you to join our decluttering thread over on the gauntlet.  I found getting rid of 7 items a day was really helpful (a challenge I did with a friend) - I tossed over 500 items and started being more critical of incoming items into my home.

Also, get rid of just about every (non-reference) book you have already read.  If you want to read it again, that's what the local library is for.  Count the number of new books left.  Get rid of all but three.  That's what the local library is for.

Sigh.  There is such hatred for books in folks homes in the decluttering circles!  You probably have your own "gazinga" - that thing you have too much of and should stop bringing into your home.  You may feel yours is books.  Mine is candles. 

But I just want to say that libraries (which I adore and greatly increase their circulation stats) are not always open.  In fact, they are often not open at 8PM when I want to curl up with a good friend (book).  They often have books you want to read at that moment checked out.  (Yes, I do request books, but my many favorites - I like to keep near me.)  It's also not bad to support those who have written the books by buying them (electronic is ok too - but be mindful batteries do run out on trips away from plugs).  I'm a voracious reader and buy only a teeny tiny fraction of books I read.  I just want to validate that it's ok to keep books you know you'll reread.  Just promise you'll get rid of those you are keeping from guilt or because you think it makes you look smart or any other ridiculous reason.  And sell those old textbooks before another moment passes and loses more value.
I've worked very hard to declutter my books.

My husband and I, while dating, went to a bookstore every week.  We are voracious readers.  But now there are four of us (three readers so far), so we have to share bookshelf space with the kids (and with their toys and games).

If I haven't read it in years, I get rid of it.  I still keep a fair number of books if I want to curl up with a familiar book.  But I don't need 200.  20 will do.

smalllife

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2014, 10:48:35 AM »
Apologies for what is about to be a spurt of links and recommendations - I find organization to be fascinating and have been through a fairly intense and introspective de-cluttering journey myself.   

This article I found really interesting in beginning to understand your sources of clutter and what the rationalization behind each is.  Personally, I found it much easier to organize (and let go of a few things, but you mainly asked about organization) when I understood what the purpose of the object was.   http://minimalistpackrat.com/2010/10/31/10-clutter-personality-types/


This article talks about the different ways of processing information and how that translates not only to the best organizational system for you, but also the system that you are most likely to use and keep tidy.  Personally I am a visual processor but don't like a lot of visual clutter, so I have open shelves and few possessions. 
http://unclutterer.com/2008/05/14/understanding-how-you-process-information-to-help-you-get-organized-part-i/

I would also second the Joy of Less, but we don't really know the situation between your mother in law, her stuff, and the faculty over the living space so I don't know how much control you have.  The two links are those that I've referenced and passed on many times - hopefully you find them helpful!

babysteps

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2014, 07:33:50 AM »
Sadly you cannot clear out other people's clutter - at least not in my experience.

Sometimes leading by example is enough - I would focus on your 'own' clutter first and try to talk about your own clutter & goals without being too judgmental of everyone else in the household (bite tongue gently!).

It might be tough to "change the rules" now, but giving your mil space that is 100% hers to clutter or not, and shared space that is meant to be clutter-free might work.

If your mil is a hoarder (not merely clutter-prone), you could even try the website/organization 'children of hoarders' (used to be coh.org, I am not double checking this because if I do I will spend way too much time there - my dear departed Mom was a hoarder).

ZiziPB

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2014, 07:41:24 AM »
Why not start with the space you alone control:  declutter, organize and streamline your bedroom so that it becomes an oasis of peace and tranquility for you and your husband.  Having a peaceful retreat to go to at night makes a huge difference in how you feel.  Then move on to other areas that you can tackle without impacting (offending?) your mother in law.

This post (and blog) may be an inspiration for you:

http://readysetsimplify.com/2012/02/29/love-by-decluttering-the-master-bedroom-project-before-and-after/

ichangedmyname

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2014, 10:34:27 AM »
I really appreciate the links and all the ideas! The only reason I want to start with the kitchen is I love to cook and the clutter frustrates me, when I can't get to a shelf to get an ingredient or grab a seasoning because there's bags from Walmart or the Goodwill or the Dollar store or 12 packs of Diet Coke in the way, I find myself getting so frustrated that I wanna act like a two-year old having a tantrum. The reason it frustrates me is because I know I, too am part of the problem.

But I would also like to try the master bedroom too. My husband and I try to get our "sides" controlled but the room is tiny enough as it is without all the stuff that's on the floor. We have to keep putting up air conditioning units during the summer and my husband takes them down during fall and winter. Nowadays we just have them lying in a corner, the one in our bedroom is sitting by our door, the one from the office is by the already tight hallway. I was hoping we could just store them close by maybe the linen closet just so they're not too far to carry (they're heavy!) when we need them.

Also the idea of giving my MIL her own space to clutter, I guess sounds good. But in the old apartment, the reason why she was sleeping in the living room was because her own bedroom was full of stuff. When we were moving, she packed her own stuff and my husband strongly believes that she hardly threw anything away. We have boxes upon boxes of cookbooks and Taste of Home editions all in the basement because she can't put them in shelves (she keeps saying she will but her hands are bad).

We are all guilty of the "I know I have a/an *insert random item here* but I cannot find it in this mess so let me buy a new one".

But this year I will definitely discipline myself. I've been picking up more, giving myself at least fifteen minutes a day to do something. I know i can do this slowly and I have tried in the past (do the kitchen one day, then the living room next, etc) but after a week whatever I've cleared is back to being cluttered again. This shouldn't disappoint me or dishearten my efforts but they did and they do. I have to be stronger.

Example. One of my days off I organized the pantry, cleared the floor around it, threw away empty boxes, etc. There was actually NOTHING sitting on the kitchen floor, not a bag, nothing. My MIL came home from work. "Oh wow! Look at this! You cleaned! OMG it looks so good! Thank you thank you!" Promptly drops her purse, her plastic bags of lunch, and big ass cup and leaves her shoes by the door. *sigh*

willn

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2014, 10:56:03 AM »
http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/category/basics/

Bite off small chunks regularly to make a habit.  Small changes accumulate over time. That's how it got fucked in the first place.


ZiziPB

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2014, 11:17:29 AM »
Quote
but after a week whatever I've cleared is back to being cluttered again

Being clutter-free (just like maintaining a clean house generally) requires constant effort and being vigilant.  It's definitely not "declutter once and be clutter free forever"... The mail (esp. junk) comes in every day, groceries, magazines, etc. show up at regular intervals.  You buy things, you get gifts.  It does get easier after the initial purge and organization, but it does require constant tending to.

oldtoyota

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2014, 11:25:02 AM »
The idea of not taking in more stuff can not be overstressed.

As you go through the process of decluttering, be sure you are not replacing what you tossed with yet more stuff you will eventually toss. =-)


ichangedmyname

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2014, 11:26:01 AM »
Quote
but after a week whatever I've cleared is back to being cluttered again

Being clutter-free (just like maintaining a clean house generally) requires constant effort and being vigilant.  It's definitely not "declutter once and be clutter free forever"... The mail (esp. junk) comes in every day, groceries, magazines, etc. show up at regular intervals.  You buy things, you get gifts.  It does get easier after the initial purge and organization, but it does require constant tending to.
http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/category/basics/

Bite off small chunks regularly to make a habit.  Small changes accumulate over time. That's how it got fucked in the first place.

The behavior has to change, yes, I agree.

oldtoyota

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2014, 11:28:31 AM »
http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/category/basics/

Bite off small chunks regularly to make a habit.  Small changes accumulate over time. That's how it got fucked in the first place.

I second this.

babysteps

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2014, 11:52:23 AM »
+1 on focusing on your own bedroom

Also, celebrate all progress!  If you can still see any part of the pantry floor, you are ahead of the game ;)

Hang in there.  It is quite a process going from stuff-bound to less clutter.  Reducing the total bulk of your stuff will definitely help on the clutter front - and might even help your budget (oddly, the less I have, the less I "need").

Un-asked for AC unit advice - could you leave the AC units right where they are for the moment and work on de-cluttering other stuff in your bedroom first?  Any reduction in stuff will help, even with no change in storage capacity.  If that's a non-starter, could you clear out enough space to put AC units in the bottom of your bedroom closet?  Or put your bed on risers & slide the AC units underneath?  Or get heavy-duty brackets and store the AC units high on a wall?  Feel free to get creative - you could even replace a dresser/bureau with stored AC units & a shelf on top of them (similar bulk & footprint to a bureau). 

One relatively easy new habit to consider that's helped me a lot: don't add any net "stuff" - if you get groceries and consume them, that's fine.  But anything not in the soon-to-be-consumed category, you have to "let go" of a similar item or items of similar total bulk.  For example, a new pair of shoes means letting go of an old pair.  A new book means letting go of an old book or a few magazines or...you get the picture.

For the kitchen, I hear you.  My Mom used to have no free counter space (not even the stove top) - but would yell at adults who opened the fridge without washing their hands first...we all have our own standards of cleanliness ;)  Maybe try keeping the kitchen sink clear as step one?  (That's a favorite approach of flylady.net among others.)  Semi-crazy idea - sounds like your household has multiples of most items. - you could do what I did in grad school (tiny kitchen shared by 12) - I kept my 1 pot, 1 fry pan, 4 plates etc. all in a box in my closet in my bedroom, and took what I needed for each meal to the kitchen, cleaning & returning whatever I used to the box after each meal.  If anyone thinks you have "left the room of sane", just blame it on "a phase" you're going through :)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 11:54:54 AM by babysteps »

ShortInSeattle

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2014, 02:14:37 PM »
Lots of great advice already. I'll add that it's useful to keep a permanent "donate" box somewhere unobtrusive. I'm always finding little things to go in the box, then once it is full go donate it.

You may need to do several "rounds" of getting rid of stuff.  That's just fine.

SIS

Mumintheburbs

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2014, 06:24:30 PM »
My tip is one shelf at a time. Repeat. One shelf at a time. Repeat.
Also, stop bringing things in for a while.
Over time it becomes a habit. I have been going for three years on and off. I also try to make use of quarterly council pickups that let me get rid of large items or amounts in one go.
I'm not there yet but definitely improving. Good luck!

cats

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Re: De-cluttering, organizing ideas please?
« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2014, 07:32:40 PM »
The real key is definitely cutting down on your "stuff" intake.  I have a one-in, one-out rule for a lot of items.  I also periodically go through some part of my "stuff" (clothing, books, craft supplies, kitchen stuff) and reevaluate whether or not I still need an item.  Your do change over time and your needs will probably change too.  For example, I used to make waffles for weekend brunch at least once a month, so it made sense to own a waffle iron.  But over time I've shifted more to liking a fancy omelet for my weekend brunch.  At some point a couple of months ago I realized I hadn't used the waffle iron in over 2 years.  Off it went.  I've had this experience with other things too: used to use it a lot, not so much any more.  Unless it's a very obscure item, I am certain I can find an acceptable "new" version at the thrift store or on craigslist if my needs change again in the future.

We also have a small box where we put items "to donate".  Every few months I go through the box and double check that we still want to ditch the items.  Then I head over to the thrift store and drop off.  This slower method of disposal actually helps with letting go of things--putting it into the box doesn't feel too "final", but once items are there, they very rarely come back out...