I love this thread, I've read all six pages of it and it feels good to see we're not alone.
Between the two of us, my wife has always been the de-cluttery part. I've never been really bad but usually decided to keep stuff around just in case. After all we did have enough space. Recently, however, I've felt more and more overwhelmed by how much stuff we've had around, even though all our friends thought our apartment was basically empty. Truth be told we really didn't have much stuff compared to our friends and family, and what we had was stowed away in closets. My wife's had the idea many years ago that we need to de-clutter once a year, and she picked Jan 1. Apart from the fact that she picked to worst possible day, one that inevitably comes with a massive hangover, I liked the idea. I'm not sure what exactly gave me the final push, it may have been my parents' house - they're not hoarders but really bad when it comes to getting rid of things, and I certainly know where my cluttery side is coming from. They're more collectors than hoarders, keeping random stuff they aren't emotionally attached to gathered at yard sales or random family members' attics, several sets of everything "just in case" (like three complete sets of ironing equipment, three fridges, probably around twelve chairs, etc.) - but it's all usable and good, no trash or broken things, just way too much of everything.
Either way, we've started to de-clutter our apartment step by step, room by room. Over the last six months we got rid of:
- Around 450 books, we're down to around 50 now
- Around 50 pounds of clothes (all donated)
- All of our music CDs - we haven't had a CD player in years
- All of our DVDs - I realized that we never really watched a movie twice, also we've trashed our DVD player about two years ago and never bothered to replace it
- Decoration - my wife really loved putting lovely things up here and there, like a vase or a bowl, candles, etc. - it's all gone except for a few very special items she's still emotionally attached to in one way or another, such as wedding gifts
- Cables and old electronics
- Old cell phones (two Android smartphones, an iPhone 3GS, laptops (my old netbook), old monitors, hard drives, spare parts, etc.
- Kitchen appliances we once bought, used maybe once or twice then never looked at again
- Old tools I've had many times over - I don't need five hammers, two differend size ones are enough
- Silverware, old plates, cups, mugs, a tea set we got for our wedding but never used, etc.
The thing is that I have absolutely no idea where we've kept all that stuff - we have a 74qm / 800 square feet inner city apartment, just thinking about it now gives me the jeebies and yet even before we started getting rid of everything our friends considered us to be minimalists living in a basically empty apartment. When we told them we'd started purging our apartment the thing that amazed them most was the fact that we still owned stuff in excess. And still there's always more and I feel like it never stops - "And however much I seem to get rid of, there is always more. It seriously is like peeling back an onion."
- very true. I still have way too many spare parts for my bicycles for example - do I really need four spare saddles? I hardly think so.... Speaking of which, I also have three bikes, two of which I use regularly but the third one I haven't used in years. Maybe I should get rid of that one too.