Author Topic: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!  (Read 807710 times)

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2200 on: July 15, 2015, 04:46:37 PM »

Have any of you noticed connections between the threads that you post in or read?  I see that I am mostly into the following:

Losing weight in 2015
Clearing Out Clutter
No Clothes Shopping in 2015
Using up Fabrics, Sewing and Crafting Supplies
Eat All the Food in Your House

I am seeing a connection between being drained of energy and having too much STUFF whether it is stored food, stored fat on my body, too many clothes, too many unfinished projects or too much paper./snip

This is a very powerful observation you've made. I'm following most of those threads, too - I know what you mean.

I think the common denominator (for me at least) is probably taking on too much. May I presume you are a woman? I feel like this is endemic among women - the feeling that we should do and be everything. I struggle with it, most of my female friends do as well. It's the fast track to burnout.

As I've gotten further into Mustachianism I feel like many of these things get easier because I get better at saying No. No to stuff I don't actually need, no to obligations I can't fulfill, no to food that makes me fat.

But then there are all these ghosts all over my home from when I was less discriminate about taking on everything - when I was proud to be the girl who was trying to do it all, instead of realizing that's a particular sickness in itself. And in throwing out the clutter it's like you have to confront those ghosts all over again, and that in itself is exhausting.

I also have noticed about myself - when I allow my time to be stretched, stretched, stretched by other people - I have way less bandwidth to say no to unhealthy food, impulse purchases, etc. and so I slip back a bit.

And then there's confronting any underlying emotional things that make us want to be surrounded by a bubble of stuff, fat, protection, security, whatever....and all I can say is that's some deep inner child shit right there. But even making these connections like you have - that's got to be half the battle, right?

Thanks for bringing these things up.

I think you should throw away those lotions and things you are clinging to that are past their sell by. Like, just do it. Right now. Do the Konmari thank you or whatever, and get that burden off your shoulders. My 2 cents.

Melody

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2201 on: July 15, 2015, 04:47:40 PM »
Grantmeaname, what a terrific idea!  I will find out about that.  Do you know of one which is good for macs?
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Melody

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2202 on: July 15, 2015, 05:07:52 PM »
I love all these discussions about "why" we find cleaning out clutter hard. My 0.02... I suffer from "what if I need this". I think this is partially recognition of the money or time that went into procuring the item... Something which has helped me is letting myself know if what if happens I can borrow or buy another one and also finding a "good" home for the item (which will appreciate it) which seems to remove concern over time/resources. Decluttering gives me a sense of control over my life. Also I love love love the whole tiny house movement and can see the financial benefits to downsize when I move (pretty full on given I live in 36sqm/400sq ft)  so getting rid off stuff helps me work towards the move. Also I hate mess... My mother is always recognised as the clean one in her group of friends and seems like I am going the same way. Given my limited time (as Erica said we women do tend to try and do it all) an uncluttered house is an easier to keep clean house. I have noticed my volume of stuff declining steadily over time so I think I am doing ok... But still I was surprised how much I could purge from such a small space!!!

SarahMD428

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2203 on: July 15, 2015, 05:32:11 PM »
Okay, I need some help! I'm just starting to KonMari my clothes. What do I do with stuff that brings me joy and would be of the first things I pick if I hadn't put on 20 lbs? I keep telling myself I'm going to lose the weight, but since it's been a year and a half and I haven't taken any action to actually lose, I think I might be lying to myself, or just unable/unwilling to find the headspace and motivation to do it.
Do I keep something because it brings me joy and hope or ditch it because I don't know when/if I'll ever be able to wear it again?

jordanread

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2204 on: July 15, 2015, 09:11:23 PM »
Okay, I need some help! I'm just starting to KonMari my clothes. What do I do with stuff that brings me joy and would be of the first things I pick if I hadn't put on 20 lbs? I keep telling myself I'm going to lose the weight, but since it's been a year and a half and I haven't taken any action to actually lose, I think I might be lying to myself, or just unable/unwilling to find the headspace and motivation to do it.
Do I keep something because it brings me joy and hope or ditch it because I don't know when/if I'll ever be able to wear it again?
I have 75 liters of shirts that I put in a backpack. They were from the "shit I'm too fat to wear" section. I figured that by the time I need the backpack, if I can't fit them, I won't. Still haven't needed the pack, but the shirts mostly fit now. The fitness thread helped, as did anw. I have very little attachment to stuff, so I'm possibly the absolute worst person to respond. Still, the deadline I set obviously stuck in the back of my head. Didn't think about it at all, but I've done well with that kind of motivation. It was then like a fun surprise.
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horsepoor

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2205 on: July 15, 2015, 10:06:24 PM »

Have any of you noticed connections between the threads that you post in or read?  I see that I am mostly into the following:

Losing weight in 2015
Clearing Out Clutter
No Clothes Shopping in 2015
Using up Fabrics, Sewing and Crafting Supplies
Eat All the Food in Your House

I am seeing a connection between being drained of energy and having too much STUFF whether it is stored food, stored fat on my body, too many clothes, too many unfinished projects or too much paper.

I seem to have spent several years blindly stocking up on body fat, spare toilet paper, lotions and toothpastes, crafting supplies, useless boxes of paper, health supplements and broken things.  And, I am seeing that as the fridge gets clear I rush out to buy more food so that once again we have an abundance and once again I struggle to eat it all before it rots.  With craft supplies, fancy lotions, fancy health supplements and shoes I get them and never use them.  It is as though having them is soothing and if I use them up I feel an anxious urgency to restock, not in order to get a good price but to ease my anxiety.
 
After all these months of on and off de-cluttering and weight loss and regain and loss again I am seeing trends in my feelings when supplies get low.

Having used up so many things this winter and spring, the idea of going to a Costco type place and stocking up on supplies horrifies me, I can't bear the idea of more stuff sitting around.  I have spent months using up jars and bottles of spares and would rather rush out when the shampoo has barely a drop left than stock up ever again. And yet...

... At the same time there are things which I am still resisting using up because I don't want to be without them despite never touching them, ever.  With some of them it is because buying them is expensive and so I do not want to deplete my stores.  Consequently crafting supplies have hardened in their tubes, lotions have separated, supplements are well past their sell by dates…all wasted and ready to be thrown away.

We have quite a few broken things which others would have tossed out but I have held onto for years and years with the idea that I will repair them.  I have even bought broken things at yard sales since they are cheaper and I plan to fix them up but don't.

Is this due to growing up with few new things and no expensive things?  What is this mentality and how do I let it go?

Yeah, when you watch Hoarders, or Biggest Loser, there's always an emotional reason behind the problem.  Just because we have clutter, not a hoard, or 20 extra pounds, not 200, that doesn't mean there isn't an emotional problem behind it.  As corny as it sounds, I was able to start losing weight after  a life coach/animal communicator that was doing a session with my horse honed in on me instead and told me I didn't need to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and that I had built myself a sort of cocoon.  Maybe it was because it was the only profound life advice anyone had given me in a long time, but after letting that sink in for a year or so (guess I'm slow), I ended up losing 50#, and after that, started working my way off the debt hamster wheel and not making a martyr of myself, which has lead to a bigger desire to declutter the things that I see as weighing me down and preventing me from streamlining my life so I can enjoy doing stuff, instead of just managing STUFF.

mara

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2206 on: July 16, 2015, 05:20:05 AM »
Well, I feel as if I've been painted into a corner. We downsized from 2400 sq ft to 1200 by closing our office away from home, the MA winter was so bad DH took everything out of the attic and filled it with insulation, and my overstuffed clothes closet was ruined by a wall cave-in (from winter ice storm damage) and subsequent takeover by mold, to which I am allergic. Everything had to come out of the closet and be cleaned. It should have been a happy time, moving into semi-retirement, but my anxiety level went through the roof and the dentist said I might need an implant from breaking another tooth by grinding them at night. Yuck!

Being home again, I saw all the clutter around me from life, work, activities, and space reduction, and felt just plain awful. On top of that, the design supplies we brought home from work had pushed out all my art supplies.

Marie Kondo's book is helping me cope and dig out. (Thank you for directing me to the book!) DH, who usually hates getting rid of anything, is being very helpful, lugging bags and boxes and piles of anything and everything to all the appropriate destinations. He even agreed to part with my grandmother's set of the Harvard Classics because I found a Kindle edition for $2.50... unbelievable but true. As for my return to being a fine artist, we are turning an unused guest cabin in the back yard into an art studio. At first, I felt sad about being banished to the back yard, but I'm warming up to the idea. And, it would be very unseemly to complain when I do have a cute little building in the yard just waiting for me :-)

Melody

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2207 on: July 16, 2015, 05:36:59 AM »
I love the idea of a backyard studio I bet you can make it a beautiful and inspiring space :-)

SarahMD428

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2208 on: July 16, 2015, 08:46:52 AM »
I would love a backyard studio (as long as it has heat for the winter)! A little oasis away from everything - including that stress-mess and everyday chores that call your name. How lovely!

wintersun

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2209 on: July 16, 2015, 10:43:50 AM »
Horsepoor, thanks for sharing your experience.  I appreciate hearing it.  It is so cool that you got your advice from such an unlikely source!  I need to find thematic words that tip me into a new place.  Congrats on all the upgrades :)

wintersun

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2210 on: July 16, 2015, 10:50:19 AM »
Erica,

Quote
I think the common denominator (for me at least) is probably taking on too much.  I feel like this is endemic among women - the feeling that we should do and be everything. I struggle with it, most of my female friends do as well. It's the fast track to burnout.

... I get better at saying No. No to stuff I don't actually need, no to obligations I can't fulfill, no to food that makes me fat.

But then there are all these ghosts all over my home from when I was less discriminate about taking on everything - when I was proud to be the girl who was trying to do it all, instead of realizing that's a particular sickness in itself. And in throwing out the clutter it's like you have to confront those ghosts all over again, and that in itself is exhausting.

I also have noticed about myself - when I allow my time to be stretched, stretched, stretched by other people - I have way less bandwidth to say no to unhealthy food, impulse purchases, etc. and so I slip back a bit.

And then there's confronting any underlying emotional things that make us want to be surrounded by a bubble of stuff, fat, protection, security, whatever....and all I can say is that's some deep inner child shit right there. But even making these connections like you have - that's got to be half the battle, right?

Thanks for your input.  Definitely some deep inner child shit for me to address :)  I like the idea that it could be related to doing too much and doing too much for others.  I am looking at this as well as at saying NO. 

Thanks.

wintersun

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2211 on: July 16, 2015, 10:55:14 AM »
Chasingthegoodlife,

Quote
I love the feeling of order and efficiency that comes from only having what you need and managing resources well. So calming!

Let us know how the mending goes, that is upcoming for me.  Today I am going through files of old bills and statements.  I am getting tired of tearing them so I am going to investigate the community shredders.  I feel some excitement about getting rid of all this STUFFFFF.

wintersun

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2212 on: July 16, 2015, 10:59:43 AM »
ZiziPB,

I know what you mean by
Quote
I feel anxious if I am running low on stuff

Sigh.  If I figure anything out I will share it here.

MoustacheKnittah

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2213 on: July 16, 2015, 11:51:06 AM »

Have any of you noticed connections between the threads that you post in or read?  I see that I am mostly into the following:

Losing weight in 2015
Clearing Out Clutter
No Clothes Shopping in 2015
Using up Fabrics, Sewing and Crafting Supplies
Eat All the Food in Your House

I am seeing a connection between being drained of energy and having too much STUFF whether it is stored food, stored fat on my body, too many clothes, too many unfinished projects or too much paper.

I have absolutely been trying to tie together theses aspects of my life! Call it minimizing, optimizing, maximizing efficiency, whatever you like - but I am trying hard to focus on streamlining all of these things to free up mental energy, time and money.
1. Minimalist diet (less processed foods, less food shopping/impulse grocery buys, more taking lunch, eat down the pantry/freezer, process seasonal food in a timely fashion - canning/freezing)
2. Minimalist wardrobe (less clothes shopping and getting rid of clothes/shoes)
3. Minimalist household (clearing out clutter, only buying new when we run out or something breaks and cannot be repaired)
4. Minimalist fitness routine (free exercise that does not require a separate facility such as walking, biking, yoga/body weight exercises, yardwork/housework)
5. Minimalist media consumption (I have cut down A LOT on TV watching, but still could cut down on Facebook/internet. I am reading more and listening to a lot of radio/podcasts if I am in the kitchen or doing yardwork.)

As to how to get rid of the mentality and let go? I don't know. I'm not there yet. I started down a semi-minimalism/frugality path just a few months ago, so I haven't really had to make any deep cuts in terms of letting go of stuff or letting go of stress due to not having enough stuff. I know that feeling with food, in particular. I worry there won't be enough food so I make too much food or I pre-eat and then I eat more when I get there, etc. I just need to learn to plan a little better and throw a granola bar in my bag in case the hangry strikes. Everything else...a work in progress.

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2214 on: July 16, 2015, 12:04:03 PM »
Okay, I need some help! I'm just starting to KonMari my clothes. What do I do with stuff that brings me joy and would be of the first things I pick if I hadn't put on 20 lbs? I keep telling myself I'm going to lose the weight, but since it's been a year and a half and I haven't taken any action to actually lose, I think I might be lying to myself, or just unable/unwilling to find the headspace and motivation to do it.
Do I keep something because it brings me joy and hope or ditch it because I don't know when/if I'll ever be able to wear it again?

What I did was choose a couple of very specific items (one pair of pants, one dress, one top) that were things I loved but didn't fit any more and donated the rest.  I also made sure as I lost the weight that the things I loved but were too big left the house very quickly.  I discovered once those items fit again that they didn't match my life any more, and so I was able to pass them along with good feelings.  I still think it was the right plan to hold on to those things - first off it let me measure progress, and secondly, I would have romanticized those items otherwise, and regretting letting them go assuming I'd never get back to the right size. 

But I didn't keep those items in my closet.  They were left in under-the-bed storage, so I didn't have the constant reminder of how different my body measurements were.
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mara

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2215 on: July 16, 2015, 12:34:08 PM »
I love the idea of a backyard studio I bet you can make it a beautiful and inspiring space :-)

Melody and Sarah, thank you for the encouragement. I think I can make this work. The cabin does have window AC and electric baseboard heat. The water pipe is broken (and not winterized), so I'll have to wash my brushes up at the house. Not a big problem.

I do have a question, though. It may sound a bit odd, but I am serious: With my current buffed-up anti-stuff attitude, how do I justify making art? Where do I put it? We already have too much art and too many photographs to hang on the walls in our house. Even good art doesn't always sell. Isn't art just more stuff, most of which would probably end up in a landfill?

I would love to read what other artists and non-artists think about this.

simmias

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2216 on: July 16, 2015, 02:35:25 PM »
He even agreed to part with my grandmother's set of the Harvard Classics
Sacrilege!

MoustacheKnittah

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2217 on: July 16, 2015, 03:13:49 PM »
Quote
I do have a question, though. It may sound a bit odd, but I am serious: With my current buffed-up anti-stuff attitude, how do I justify making art? Where do I put it? We already have too much art and too many photographs to hang on the walls in our house. Even good art doesn't always sell. Isn't art just more stuff, most of which would probably end up in a landfill?

I would love to read what other artists and non-artists think about this.

Quote
I'm a knitter and I've struggled with this as well. If you hang around knitting fora a lot, you'll hear people describe themselves as product (I knit to have a sweater) and process (I knit because I like to knit and the sweater is incidental) knitters. Is there something similar for art? If it's the process of making art that you like, do you care if you keep the final product? Could you do something that uses less stuff (sketching)? Could you use waste materials (the back of scratch paper) so you feel like you aren't creating waste?

Shockingly, I am also a knitter :) I think for knitting/fiber crafts it's pretty easy, because there are a lot of charities for babies, homeless shelters, etc. that accept handknit/handsewn goods. So it's pretty easy to give things away if you're a process knitter. Photography, wall hanging, pottery, etc - yeah that gets a little trickier. At some point, your friends/family have enough of your beautiful art hanging in their houses, so it's hard to give away as gifts. I think electronic display of photographs has come a long way in the last few years, so that's an option to keep the collection "fresh" without creating any more physical objects. I don't have a good answer for pottery and other art that creates things that sit around on tables and shelves (and things where the only purpose is just to look cool and be interesting). I will have to ponder that one...

swick

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2218 on: July 16, 2015, 03:43:59 PM »

I do have a question, though. It may sound a bit odd, but I am serious: With my current buffed-up anti-stuff attitude, how do I justify making art? Where do I put it? We already have too much art and too many photographs to hang on the walls in our house. Even good art doesn't always sell. Isn't art just more stuff, most of which would probably end up in a landfill?

I would love to read what other artists and non-artists think about this.

I don't wrap my identity up in "being an artist" just like I never identified myself as "being a gallery/art center manager" I have always looked at it as "being a creator" The act of creating is what is important.

The art is the outcome of the creative process as are MANY other benefits - self-expression/confidence/stress relief...

Just because what you produce could be considered "just stuff" to you suggests to me that the "creative process" is more important to you then the finished product. If so, awesome!

Sell what you can. Donate to non-profits and fundraisers you care about. Hook up with women's shelters and bring some color and beauty to their walls. Donate pictures to hospices and end of life care facilities. If the value for you is in the creation - seek to connect with others who will value your end product. Even if you don't get paid for it, it will be doing some good in the world and inspiring others....Also if you do want to sell more of your work, this is a great way to get your name out there and build community good will.

You could also create your art and then let the originals go and use copies to make products people could use...Journals, planners, note cards, heck even downloadable wallpapers which will earn you a bit of cash and pretty up peoples computers without them having to have a physical "thing" in their home.

Art doesn't have to "be junk that ends up in a landfill" once you have fulfilled your purpose in creating, let it go to someone else who might need the beauty or inspiration in their life.

Melody

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2219 on: July 16, 2015, 04:51:25 PM »
I love the idea of donating to women's shelters and the like. My mum offers her art to local businesses for free (cafes etc) so this is an idea too.  Also I think if you sketch and paint then your art doesn't take up much space and over time you will find loving homes for these items. My personal art forms are photography and music so these don't take up space, and I sew (the items get used). Sometimes I sketch and I have a few sketch books. If I like it I keep it if not I tear the page out. I don't feel wasteful and I don't think you should either if it brings you joy.

swick

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2220 on: July 16, 2015, 05:01:16 PM »
I love the idea of donating to women's shelters and the like. My mum offers her art to local businesses for free (cafes etc) so this is an idea too. 

This is a popular thing for artists in Canada except they usually offer them for sale and split the proceeds with the cafe.

Another thing you could do if you have a huge body of work is an "Art Rental" where you approach local businesses and offices and offer them art on their walls for x$ a month and you change it up every so often (swapping your art between different clients) They get new art to enjoy, you make some money for it.

mara

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2221 on: July 16, 2015, 06:56:07 PM »
I love the idea of a backyard studio I bet you can make it a beautiful and inspiring space :-)

Melody and Sarah, thank you for the encouragement. I think I can make this work. The cabin does have window AC and electric baseboard heat. The water pipe is broken (and not winterized), so I'll have to wash my brushes up at the house. Not a big problem.

I do have a question, though. It may sound a bit odd, but I am serious: With my current buffed-up anti-stuff attitude, how do I justify making art? Where do I put it? We already have too much art and too many photographs to hang on the walls in our house. Even good art doesn't always sell. Isn't art just more stuff, most of which would probably end up in a landfill?

I would love to read what other artists and non-artists think about this.

I'm a knitter and I've struggled with this as well. If you hang around knitting fora a lot, you'll hear people describe themselves as product (I knit to have a sweater) and process (I knit because I like to knit and the sweater is incidental) knitters. Is there something similar for art? If it's the process of making art that you like, do you care if you keep the final product? Could you do something that uses less stuff (sketching)? Could you use waste materials (the back of scratch paper) so you feel like you aren't creating waste?

This is an interesting response! I think it is a little bit different for artists than knitters, but there are definitely some similarities. I'm not sure what direction my work will take next, but I love your idea of taking responsibility to be aware of limiting waste.

mara

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2222 on: July 16, 2015, 07:09:18 PM »
He even agreed to part with my grandmother's set of the Harvard Classics
Sacrilege!

:-) Not really. He gave me permission to give them to one of our kids.

mara

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2223 on: July 16, 2015, 07:16:07 PM »
swick and Melody, thanks for the great ideas! With all those options, I don't need to worry about it anymore.

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2224 on: July 17, 2015, 03:12:27 AM »
Speaking of clutter and donating, extra bathroom supplies (lotions or whatever) can go to shelters.

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2225 on: July 17, 2015, 04:56:45 AM »
Sorting through some of the office supplies tonight. I could write a bazzilion university essays and still have too many pens. Some are going to my dad, I know he'll use them, and some to work (yes I could take new work stuff from the stationary cupboard but better to use up something I already have) and keeping some of it stored neatly for using on job applications etc.

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2226 on: July 18, 2015, 11:24:55 AM »
So... Do I really need to save old tax records? If for some unforeseen reason I needed them, aren't they available from the IRS? I needed them for my divorce since as a means of harassment the other side asked for my tax returns going back 400 year or so. And I had them. But that is over, and aside from that I've never needed my old taxes.

Thoughts? Getting rid of them allows me to get rid of an entire file cabinets. (I"m also tossing old closing records and such on prior houses that I no longer own, etc.).

swick

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2227 on: July 18, 2015, 12:05:44 PM »
So... Do I really need to save old tax records? If for some unforeseen reason I needed them, aren't they available from the IRS? I needed them for my divorce since as a means of harassment the other side asked for my tax returns going back 400 year or so. And I had them. But that is over, and aside from that I've never needed my old taxes.

Thoughts? Getting rid of them allows me to get rid of an entire file cabinets. (I"m also tossing old closing records and such on prior houses that I no longer own, etc.).

It depends on the statue of limitations set out by your government. In Canada you can amend (and they can reassess) back 7 years, so that is required. If you were to be audited and didn't have your documentation, I'm not sure they are required to provide you with their records? Or if their records are different from yours, you have to be able to provide supporting documentation as to how you came up with your numbers.

wintersun

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2228 on: July 18, 2015, 01:18:08 PM »
MoustacheKnittah,

Quote
I have absolutely been trying to tie together theses aspects of my life! Call it minimizing, optimizing, maximizing efficiency, whatever you like - but I am trying hard to focus on streamlining all of these things to free up mental energy, time and money.

I will be curious to hear more  of your progress including the lows and the highs.  I am getting a taste of the freed up mental energy already and I want more and more.  I spent part of this morning looking at areas where I complicate things and thus overwhelm myself and found some useful ideas.  I will put them in another post.

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2229 on: July 18, 2015, 01:43:16 PM »
So... Do I really need to save old tax records? If for some unforeseen reason I needed them, aren't they available from the IRS? I needed them for my divorce since as a means of harassment the other side asked for my tax returns going back 400 year or so. And I had them. But that is over, and aside from that I've never needed my old taxes.

Thoughts? Getting rid of them allows me to get rid of an entire file cabinets. (I"m also tossing old closing records and such on prior houses that I no longer own, etc.).

It depends on the statue of limitations set out by your government. In Canada you can amend (and they can reassess) back 7 years, so that is required. If you were to be audited and didn't have your documentation, I'm not sure they are required to provide you with their records? Or if their records are different from yours, you have to be able to provide supporting documentation as to how you came up with your numbers.

So that is what I am trying to answer - do I actually need to save them? In the highly unlikely event that I was audited on records from x years ago (lets say 6) - I assume the IRS would have to provide a copy of my filings if I request them. I mean, I can request them *now* so I doubt they could refuse my records to me if I were being audited. I just feel like I could go back and get bank records and pay stubs (which I haven't saved anyhow) if needed and I am trying to see why this would be any different. I really want to toss all this paper!

wintersun

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2230 on: July 18, 2015, 01:54:16 PM »
I have been de-cluttering bit by bit for many months.  As I go along I have been separating out things we are not using (that are broken/need scanning or typing) and putting them aside to deal with later.  We are nearing that point and I am realising...

Why repair/mend/read/scan/type/photograph all the detritus?  Why not just say goodbye instead and feel the benefits now?  Why not allow someone else to enjoy sewing that pretty fabric or planting those seeds? Let's face it, I am no longer as enamored of these things as I was when I acquired them.

Toss out/Donate:

All the fabric for sewing into clothing
All the supplies for crafts other than the two I love the most
All the unused health supplements
All the seed packs for flowers
Empty picture frames
Some of the broken furniture
Ripped bags and clothing in the mending pile
Lamps that need wiring but we do not have room for
Jewellery that is broken and will cost more to mend than it is worth to me
Old prints that are in the closet

I see that up until today I was still harboring the idea that I must keep commitments to objects, and that not doing so was wasting the money originally spent.  How great will it be to end this burden this week?

Part of my issue is excess clutter in my mind.  Those broken things take up a lot of room in my head.  I do not love them.  In fact today I feel a huge urge to toss them out the window.

Watch this space...






iknowiyam

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2231 on: July 18, 2015, 03:04:51 PM »
So... Do I really need to save old tax records? If for some unforeseen reason I needed them, aren't they available from the IRS? I needed them for my divorce since as a means of harassment the other side asked for my tax returns going back 400 year or so. And I had them. But that is over, and aside from that I've never needed my old taxes.

Thoughts? Getting rid of them allows me to get rid of an entire file cabinets. (I"m also tossing old closing records and such on prior houses that I no longer own, etc.).

It depends on the statue of limitations set out by your government. In Canada you can amend (and they can reassess) back 7 years, so that is required. If you were to be audited and didn't have your documentation, I'm not sure they are required to provide you with their records? Or if their records are different from yours, you have to be able to provide supporting documentation as to how you came up with your numbers.

So that is what I am trying to answer - do I actually need to save them? In the highly unlikely event that I was audited on records from x years ago (lets say 6) - I assume the IRS would have to provide a copy of my filings if I request them. I mean, I can request them *now* so I doubt they could refuse my records to me if I were being audited. I just feel like I could go back and get bank records and pay stubs (which I haven't saved anyhow) if needed and I am trying to see why this would be any different. I really want to toss all this paper!

Yes! Save them forever, especially if you own a home. Find a friend with a decently quick scanner (if you don't have one), and save them on a backup drive or even a thumb drive. Shred and recycle the paper.
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riverffashion

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2232 on: July 18, 2015, 03:21:51 PM »
I have been de-cluttering bit by bit for many months.  As I go along I have been separating out things we are not using (that are broken/need scanning or typing) and putting them aside to deal with later.  We are nearing that point and I am realising...

Why repair/mend/read/scan/type/photograph all the detritus?  Why not just say goodbye instead and feel the benefits now?  Why not allow someone else to enjoy sewing that pretty fabric or planting those seeds? Let's face it, I am no longer as enamored of these things as I was when I acquired them.

Toss out/Donate:

All the fabric for sewing into clothing
All the supplies for crafts other than the two I love the most
All the unused health supplements
All the seed packs for flowers
Empty picture frames
Some of the broken furniture
Ripped bags and clothing in the mending pile
Lamps that need wiring but we do not have room for
Jewellery that is broken and will cost more to mend than it is worth to me
Old prints that are in the closet

I see that up until today I was still harboring the idea that I must keep commitments to objects, and that not doing so was wasting the money originally spent.  How great will it be to end this burden this week?

Part of my issue is excess clutter in my mind.  Those broken things take up a lot of room in my head.  I do not love them.  In fact today I feel a huge urge to toss them out the window.

Watch this space...

Lovely. Good for you .

Practical Magic

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2233 on: July 19, 2015, 09:15:37 PM »
So... Do I really need to save old tax records? If for some unforeseen reason I needed them, aren't they available from the IRS? I needed them for my divorce since as a means of harassment the other side asked for my tax returns going back 400 year or so. And I had them. But that is over, and aside from that I've never needed my old taxes.

Thoughts? Getting rid of them allows me to get rid of an entire file cabinets. (I"m also tossing old closing records and such on prior houses that I no longer own, etc.).


It depends on the statue of limitations set out by your government. In Canada you can amend (and they can reassess) back 7 years, so that is required. If you were to be audited and didn't have your documentation, I'm not sure they are required to provide you with their records? Or if their records are different from yours, you have to be able to provide supporting documentation as to how you came up with your numbers.

So that is what I am trying to answer - do I actually need to save them? In the highly unlikely event that I was audited on records from x years ago (lets say 6) - I assume the IRS would have to provide a copy of my filings if I request them. I mean, I can request them *now* so I doubt they could refuse my records to me if I were being audited. I just feel like I could go back and get bank records and pay stubs (which I haven't saved anyhow) if needed and I am trying to see why this would be any different. I really want to toss all this paper!

It's not just the returns themselves that you'd need in an audit but the receipts and backup (W-2s, 1099s, etc) proving what you claimed on the return. A few months ago I scanned over 20 years of documents and put them on a high capacity thumb drive with a backup clone. But also we have rental properties, so it seemed like a good idea to just scan everything. The shredding or burning afterward is highly cathartic!
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 09:17:17 PM by Practical Magic »

HappierAtHome

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2234 on: July 19, 2015, 09:23:26 PM »
I did well on the weekend, getting through several piles of paper, most of which is now in the shredding bin.

I was also able to set aside another two bags of clothes for charity - do my clothes breed and multiply when I'm not looking?!

theadvicist

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2235 on: July 20, 2015, 05:02:51 AM »

I seem to have spent several years blindly stocking up on body fat, spare toilet paper, lotions and toothpastes, crafting supplies, useless boxes of paper, health supplements and broken things.  And, I am seeing that as the fridge gets clear I rush out to buy more food so that once again we have an abundance and once again I struggle to eat it all before it rots.  With craft supplies, fancy lotions, fancy health supplements and shoes I get them and never use them.  It is as though having them is soothing and if I use them up I feel an anxious urgency to restock, not in order to get a good price but to ease my anxiety.
 

Wintersun, I too was overwhelmed by all the lotions and toothpaste etc, yet, when I started running out, wanted to purchase more. Here's how I dealt with it.

I just let the feelings sit, but I didn't give into them. I decided that if I gave into the anxiety and purchased more, I was just feeding the cycle. So, I didn't buy replacements, except the things I was genuinely using up. So, for example, the cotton wool pads I just wanted to see gone, I didn't repurchase (even though I felt the urge) because using them up had felt like a chore. The facewipes I use every day I did repurchase, because using them up was just... neutral. I wasn't 'trying' to use them up, or trying to keep them. I just needed to take my makeup off, and that was how I did it.

So, I allowed myself to repurchase neutral things I was using. Anything I had had to 'work' to use up, I did not repurchase, even though I thought, oh my goodness, what if I need x.

And things where I was nearing the end, and thought, "I don't want to finish this, because I know I'm not going to repurchase and I might need it", I finished, by promising myself that if I finished it, and then later needed it, I could repurchase. But I did not allow myself to repurchase for stock - only if the need arose.

What I found is that most things could be substituted. This wasn't my intention at all, it was just something that was revealed to me. I've run out of one potion, oh, I'll just use another. A lot of 'first aid' type stuff also had duel uses I found by reading the label. Something I bought to ease nasal congestion can be used a wound disinfectant, so, since I no longer have the congestion this can be my go to disinfectant when the Savlon runs out and I won't repurchase.

Anyway, that was a long way of saying my advice would be thus. Acknowledge the feeling of wanting to stock up and rebuy, but don't act on it. Try not to judge that feeling, just accept it. "I want to rebuy that, even though I also want to rid of it", or whatever. Don't give in to it, or you are just feeding the cycle of anxiety.

It's hard, but it gets easier. Resisting the first time is much more uncomfortable than the 20th time. And I found that as stores depleted, and I realised how little I used any of the stuff I had got rid of, my anxiety lessened significantly too.

Increasingly, I am happy not to hold onto things in that way. For example, the other day I was packing for travel and I needed a toothbrush to take, as my electric one is too bulky. I had a freebie from a flight in a drawer. I thought, "I don't want to take it! Then it will be gone. I might need it someday". And I thought to myself, "Yes, I do need it someday - I need it today. It has fulfilled it's purpose by providing me with a toothbrush when I needed one". Somehow this now feels -even better- to me than keeping it. Using things up, allowing them to fulfil their purpose.

My husband told me off for getting out the 'good glasses'. I told him, no, I want to use them. Hell, I want to -break- them all (in time!), because I want to know that I have had the use out of them, enjoyed them fully, and they have served me completely. I want to wear things out, so I can let go of them knowing they've served me well, and I've used up all that joy they contained. Does any of this make sense, or do I sound raving?

MsPeacock

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2236 on: July 20, 2015, 05:17:48 AM »
So... Do I really need to save old tax records? If for some unforeseen reason I needed them, aren't they available from the IRS? I needed them for my divorce since as a means of harassment the other side asked for my tax returns going back 400 year or so. And I had them. But that is over, and aside from that I've never needed my old taxes.

Thoughts? Getting rid of them allows me to get rid of an entire file cabinets. (I"m also tossing old closing records and such on prior houses that I no longer own, etc.).


It depends on the statue of limitations set out by your government. In Canada you can amend (and they can reassess) back 7 years, so that is required. If you were to be audited and didn't have your documentation, I'm not sure they are required to provide you with their records? Or if their records are different from yours, you have to be able to provide supporting documentation as to how you came up with your numbers.

So that is what I am trying to answer - do I actually need to save them? In the highly unlikely event that I was audited on records from x years ago (lets say 6) - I assume the IRS would have to provide a copy of my filings if I request them. I mean, I can request them *now* so I doubt they could refuse my records to me if I were being audited. I just feel like I could go back and get bank records and pay stubs (which I haven't saved anyhow) if needed and I am trying to see why this would be any different. I really want to toss all this paper!

It's not just the returns themselves that you'd need in an audit but the receipts and backup (W-2s, 1099s, etc) proving what you claimed on the return. A few months ago I scanned over 20 years of documents and put them on a high capacity thumb drive with a backup clone. But also we have rental properties, so it seemed like a good idea to just scan everything. The shredding or burning afterward is highly cathartic!

Apparently the federal statute of limitations on tax stuff in 3 years. States vary. There would be no reason to save stuff past the statue of limitations. 3 years I can deal with.

MrsPfennig

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2237 on: July 20, 2015, 05:28:10 AM »
We cleaned the top of the book shelf. Finally! We already decluttered the book shelf a couple of weeks ago but put papers on top that we needed to through. Now its all gone!
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grantmeaname

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2238 on: July 20, 2015, 05:44:47 AM »
Apparently the federal statute of limitations on tax stuff in 3 years. States vary. There would be no reason to save stuff past the statue of limitations. 3 years I can deal with.
You need to save documents for three years after the last time they appear on a return. For example, if you buy a house in 2000 and sell it in 2012, you need documents about the house through 2015, not 2003, because the paperwork affects your tax calculation in 2012. It's not safe to just shred all your documents from 2012 or before - you still need some.

Cookie78

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2239 on: July 20, 2015, 08:01:45 AM »
I got a good start on the garage on Saturday. I did more sorting and cleaning than decluttering, but I did get rid of a few things and it looks so much more manageable.

I also cleared away the donate pile and a couple other piles of library books and paperwork in preparation for having a dozen friends over for dinner. As soon as I did it I realized how much better everything looked and that I still have some work to do to keep those spaces clear permanently. :)

Does any of this make sense, or do I sound raving?

It all makes perfect sense to me. It's something I'm also working on, especially 'what if I need this someday? ...yes, like today' lol.


CommonCents

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2240 on: July 20, 2015, 08:05:05 AM »
Apparently the federal statute of limitations on tax stuff in 3 years. States vary. There would be no reason to save stuff past the statue of limitations. 3 years I can deal with.
You need to save documents for three years after the last time they appear on a return. For example, if you buy a house in 2000 and sell it in 2012, you need documents about the house through 2015, not 2003, because the paperwork affects your tax calculation in 2012. It's not safe to just shred all your documents from 2012 or before - you still need some.

+1
Although it can be longer than 3 years (up to 7 in some cases for federal returns) that you need to retain records.

This is for businesses, but still helpful:
http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/How-long-should-I-keep-records
amusingly, they tell you to keep them forever if you've made a fraudulent return!
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 08:15:22 AM by CommonCents »

Practical Magic

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2241 on: July 20, 2015, 11:25:18 AM »
If you've had very simple tax returns and don't have a 401k or other retirement plan or securities, nor own any real estate, then only keep 3 years' worth. But if you have any of those complications, you might want to read up.  A couple easy reference links below.

* The IRS has six years to challenge your return if it thinks you underreported your gross income by 25 percent or more.

* House/Condo Records
From six years to permanently
Keep all records documenting the purchase price and the cost of all permanent improvements -- such as remodeling, additions and installations.
Keep records of expenses incurred in selling and buying the property, such as legal fees and your real estate agent's commission, for six years after you sell your home.

Holding on to these records is important because any improvements you make on your house, as well as expenses in selling it, are added to the original purchase price or cost basis. This adds up to a greater profit (also known as capital gains) when you sell your house. Therefore, you lower your capital gains tax.

* Retirement/Savings Plans
From one year to permanently
Keep the quarterly statements from your 401(k) or other plans until you receive the annual summary; if everything matches up, then shred the quarterlies. --->Keep the annual summaries until you retire or close the account.

http://apps.suzeorman.com/igsbase/igstemplate.cfm?SRC=MD012&SRCN=aoedetails&GnavID=20&SnavID=20&TnavID=&AreasofExpertiseID=17

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/how-long-to-keep-financial-records.aspx

Practical Magic

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2242 on: July 20, 2015, 12:52:05 PM »
David at Raptitude has a new post about decluttering and he too has discovered the Marie Kondo method.

http://www.raptitude.com/2015/07/out-of-sight/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Raptitudecom+%28Raptitude.com%29
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 10:30:12 PM by Practical Magic »

acorn

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2243 on: July 20, 2015, 01:11:52 PM »
My husband told me off for getting out the 'good glasses'. I told him, no, I want to use them. Hell, I want to -break- them all (in time!), because I want to know that I have had the use out of them, enjoyed them fully, and they have served me completely. I want to wear things out, so I can let go of them knowing they've served me well, and I've used up all that joy they contained. Does any of this make sense, or do I sound raving?

Oh hell yeah. +1000

I used to be like that. I would have clothes/bags/shoes/notebooks/insert-random-item that I couldn't bear to use because then they'll get used and no longer be pristine and *gasp* might even break! Then I realized that I was using my B-list things daily while hoarding my A-list things in their pristine conditions. Like. Why am I doing that again??

So I got over it and started using all the good stuff, because they were meant to be used. I get more joy out of using them rather then keeping them in the closet. In fact, now that I'm actively minimizing, I almost want things to wear out so I can get rid of them by attrition.

FrugalShrew

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2244 on: July 20, 2015, 02:06:32 PM »
My husband told me off for getting out the 'good glasses'. I told him, no, I want to use them. Hell, I want to -break- them all (in time!), because I want to know that I have had the use out of them, enjoyed them fully, and they have served me completely. I want to wear things out, so I can let go of them knowing they've served me well, and I've used up all that joy they contained. Does any of this make sense, or do I sound raving?

Oh hell yeah. +1000

I used to be like that. I would have clothes/bags/shoes/notebooks/insert-random-item that I couldn't bear to use because then they'll get used and no longer be pristine and *gasp* might even break! Then I realized that I was using my B-list things daily while hoarding my A-list things in their pristine conditions. Like. Why am I doing that again??

So I got over it and started using all the good stuff, because they were meant to be used. I get more joy out of using them rather then keeping them in the closet. In fact, now that I'm actively minimizing, I almost want things to wear out so I can get rid of them by attrition.

I have been learning this lesson myself. I always used to save up my "special" items, thus losing out on the opportunity to use them and enjoy them.

What's even worse is that I completely wasted some things because I saved them past their shelf life (like some lotions and makeup that my mom got me when I was younger that dried up). How counterproductive is that!

Sibley

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2245 on: July 20, 2015, 02:36:59 PM »
I love the idea of a backyard studio I bet you can make it a beautiful and inspiring space :-)

Melody and Sarah, thank you for the encouragement. I think I can make this work. The cabin does have window AC and electric baseboard heat. The water pipe is broken (and not winterized), so I'll have to wash my brushes up at the house. Not a big problem.

I do have a question, though. It may sound a bit odd, but I am serious: With my current buffed-up anti-stuff attitude, how do I justify making art? Where do I put it? We already have too much art and too many photographs to hang on the walls in our house. Even good art doesn't always sell. Isn't art just more stuff, most of which would probably end up in a landfill?

I would love to read what other artists and non-artists think about this.

I'm a knitter and I've struggled with this as well. If you hang around knitting fora a lot, you'll hear people describe themselves as product (I knit to have a sweater) and process (I knit because I like to knit and the sweater is incidental) knitters. Is there something similar for art? If it's the process of making art that you like, do you care if you keep the final product? Could you do something that uses less stuff (sketching)? Could you use waste materials (the back of scratch paper) so you feel like you aren't creating waste?

I needlepoint (similar to cross stitch). Traditionally, you make seat and cushion covers and pillows by needlepointing. You can also do some Christmas stuff.

I neelepoint because I enjoy it. There's somethings that I make that are used - drink coasters (just made 50 this year for Christmas gifts to friends). Brick covers (door stops). The rest just ends up sitting in a drawer forever. I will at some point get it from my mom's house, take pictures, then just toss it all. Rarely do I want the finished pieces.

Melody

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2246 on: July 20, 2015, 04:45:12 PM »
+1 for using up the good stuff.

Zaga

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2247 on: July 20, 2015, 06:11:48 PM »
Yes, use the good stuff!

I have a story about that.  My grandmother had an entire floor on her house that was designated "the good part".  She would keep it pristine but never use it.  When she had a party she would spend hours cleaning it, then have all her guests in the basement.  Never made sense to me at all!  Why have it if you're not going to use it!

Extreme example of course, but it does show the silliness of saving the good stuff too long.

Now we have the house.  You know what?  I use the main living areas, cause it's the nice part!

Mrs.LC

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2248 on: July 20, 2015, 09:43:38 PM »
Yes, use the good stuff!

I have a story about that.  My grandmother had an entire floor on her house that was designated "the good part".  She would keep it pristine but never use it.  When she had a party she would spend hours cleaning it, then have all her guests in the basement.  Never made sense to me at all!  Why have it if you're not going to use it!

Extreme example of course, but it does show the silliness of saving the good stuff too long.

Now we have the house.  You know what?  I use the main living areas, cause it's the nice part!
Interesting story about your grandmother. We live in our house and use everything. If it's too good to use we don't own it.
Loving the early retired life!
MORE WITH LESS

www.loosechangeliving.com

horsepoor

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Re: Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out clutter!
« Reply #2249 on: July 20, 2015, 10:23:14 PM »
I currently have 39 items listed on eBay, and bids on about a quarter of the stuff, for almost $950 so far.  It will be really nice to get that stuff packed up and shipped out, but the place is a wreck in the meantime.  Would LOVE to have it all sold, as that would mean nearly $5K in my pocket, but some stuff is sure to no-sale.  Next, I really need to Craigslist my espresso machine and aquarium.  I don't have time for the aquarium any more, and it sucks electricity and creates mental clutter (oh no's, that tetra is all alone, and I need to clean the tank!).  The espresso machine lost its countertop space to the blender and Instant Pot, so it gets zero use.  Oh yeah, we have a printer that needs to hit road too.

I was thinking about hoarding/retaining clutter (hoarding lite?) while driving yesterday, and it seems like it is just a more primitive form of saving.  After all, having a cache of supplies is a much more tangible way of preparing for the future, than saving money, which is, after all, a pretty abstract concept.  So it makes sense that many of us are trying to make the mental shift from hanging on to stuff towards hanging on to intangible dollars in accounts.  When we were in Peru this spring, they were talking about how some Incas were able to make it through multi-year droughts because of their hoard of dehydrated potato.  It probably felt pretty good to be an Incan with a huge pile of 5-years' worth of dehydrated potato, but it's kind of a leap of faith to believe that some numbers on a screen are equivalent to 5 year's worth of basic needs.