Author Topic: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?  (Read 6108 times)

Johnez

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Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« on: June 24, 2018, 08:27:25 PM »
I'm moving again. The sheer amount of shit I've been carrying around with me is a serious drag. I've got school papers, some all the way back to junior high. I've got bandshirts from almost every concert I've been too. I've got books I don't read taking up space I barely have. I've got tools I've used in a previous career that I want to use again....one day, but haven't touched in 5 years. Knick knacks and mementos from relationships. It's kind of depressing at times because a lot of this crap reminds me of failed ventures and of hopeful dreaming. One day I'll put this stuff to use! Someday I'll accomplish what I wanted with this thing. Sometimes feels like total failure to contemplate throwing something out. Ugh.

So what say you guys? Any sort of facepunch logic medicine that might tick me off enough to toss the garbage? Some mental tricks to circumvent my proto-hoarding tendencies? I've tossed a lot of junk and donated a lot to Goodwill,zero it seems I'm paring down to the "essentials" and the  I come across boxes and boxes of stuff I figure to deal with later. Obviouslylogically trash, but emotionally, it feels like pulling teeth out of my face.

Oy, ok, time to move more crap....

Zikoris

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2018, 08:40:06 PM »
What if you just stopped thinking and started tossing? Like, the process your going through is something like 1. Find the thing 2. Think about the thing 3. Decide what to do with the thing. What if you just turned off your brain, eliminated the second step, and just tossed everything out that wasn't a 100% obvious YES I NEED THIS? And just decide that if one day it turns out you could use something, you'll just find another way to solve the problem?

Gronnie

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2018, 08:40:14 PM »
Going through this now. Just took a job in a HCOL area 1900 miles away and downsizing from a 4 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment and need to get rid of soooooooo much stuff.

Mikila

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2018, 08:51:08 PM »
It's difficult, I know.  The best way is to just get rid of it.  If you want the memory of it, take a picture of it.

We are going through this now, too.  It's difficult, especially with family items and items passed from family.

red_pill

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2018, 08:54:11 PM »
We’ve gotten rid of at least 60% of our stuff. Maybe 70. It’s awesome.

But, it’s surprisingly hard.  I read a great post on Becoming Minimalist that really resonated on this.  He was talking about how you’re actually not fighting with stuff - you’re fighting with emotions and thought processes.  The fact is you’ve known where the garbage can is this entire time. So figuring out why you haven’t chucked this stuff earlier is going to take some work.

But ultimately, you just have to get the gumption to chuck it. There’s no magic to it - just a conscious choice. It’s all momentos. You’ll never look for it again. “Oh, how did I do on that grade 9 math test twenty years ago” said no one ever. 

Start with the easy shit to build your throwing away muscles. It will get easier. Don’t try to do it all at once. Well, you could, but that could be pretty harsh. 

Just do it man. You know you want to. 




Daley

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your stuff?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2018, 09:15:00 PM »
There is a bit of family lore that I've been told from the in-laws that always stuck with me.

My wife's grandparents and family moved around a lot due to her grandfather's job. One day, some five or seven years after their last move, the old man found a packed and sealed box that had never been opened from that last move. He picked it up and dropped it straight into the trash, without even opening it up to find out what was inside.

When asked why he did it, he responded, "If I haven't missed it after this long? Whatever is in there, I clearly don't need it."

Personally, I find the waste aspect of the tale a bit unappetizing in the scenario. Not from an, "Ack! I could have made money off of selling it if I didn't need it," sort of thing; but more from a, "Might as well check to see if it can be given to help someone else who could need it, assuming it's a tool," position instead. But then, I have an itchy streak in me that dislikes our disposable society, too, and a desire to invest in people. So, there's that, but I still appreciated it as there was something about the story that stuck with me and resonated with my inner minimalist. Maybe it'll help you too, John.

Remember, everything in this life is just stuff. Not but dust and ashes. To paraphrase Job, naked did you come from your mother's womb, and naked will you depart. Act with love toward He who knitted you, as well as your fellow humans, and store your treasures where they'll endure.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 09:22:10 PM by Daley »

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2018, 09:16:06 PM »
I'm fairly sentimental myself but if I can get into a massive de-cluttering rage/purge, that will overcome my emotional tendencies.

Failing that, learn from the best by watching Der Siebente Kontinent.

Systems101

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2018, 09:21:38 PM »
I feel this too.  I literally have a film 35mm camera, with normal and zoom lens sitting on my coffee table begging "Why am I still here?!?"  (Truth be told it's there because a decent yearly bonus meant I finally bought a DSLR, so it really is useless now and I've been looking up ways to donate it or otherwise not trash it)

I'd unpack it ALL, and force yourself to repack it if (and only if) you can answer: "This is useful because..."

Consider what you can have digitally rather than in physical form (can you scan papers, etc.)

For the papers from school, you can reteach yourself that stuff from books (from the library etc.)  It's not like the knowledge goes away with the paper... and it will be trivial the second time around...   Scan or photograph the syllabus or text book covers so you have a digital copy and know HOW to find suitable materials on that topic later if it ever becomes an issue.  That's your "mental lifeline" to getting the re-education on that topic and lets you get rid of the physical materials.  Note also how this shows the "use" is the info in the book and not the dead tree portion... so think critically about the "useful" and realize there is a scale (and eventually you'll be able to catch yourself claiming something is useful that really isn't)

For other physical things, like books, I subscribe to some of what Zikoris says, but it's hard.  I sometimes do them in stages.  Pull out your books and separate the favorites, then make other piles of "good but not the best", "might be willing to get rid of this", "really not great".  Maybe a handful of categories if you need that many.  Take the lowest category and stack it near your exit door.  Leave it for a bit (more than a day).  Stack them so you can read all of the titles/bindings as you go by.   Look through it after that and make sure nothing is "I must keep this or else".  Anything that goes back into the save bucket needs to be swapped for something else.  Then get rid of it.  Note this process separates some of the emotion - you can safely stack it downstairs without it being guaranteed to be removed from the house... but after a while you've validated multiple times the books are "meh" and the pile downstairs gets in the way and needs to GO.  Lather, rinse, repeat (using the same number of categories with different meaning) until the collection is down to a smaller size... maybe limit the keepers to what can fit on XYZ bookshelf in your house.

Do you wear the band shirts?  If they are in the standard rotation, they will get worn out. No biggie, IMHO.  If they are collectors items, maybe see if you can get them made into a quilt.  At least then they are a blanket and not just a pile of shirts...  For clothing, I have a 2/2 rule.  If I haven't worn it in 2 years, it gets disposed of, unless it's a category I have <=2 of (think suit for funerals or some specialist outdoor gear).

For the tools, how far are you moving?  How much are they worth?  How heavy are they?  In my last inter-state move, I found out what it cost per pound and was calculating a lot of stuff... literally some items I could buy new for $80 were going to be $58 to move... needless to say, I didn't move the heavy stuff unless it was something where I had an active plan and was using that object frequently.

Also, ask yourself whether the "someday" is because you want the item to be used or because you actually enjoy doing that thing.  If it's the former, then that object deserves a home where someone will use it, even if you take a mental hit (from the "I spent money on that and never used it" zone).  If it's the latter, then start building a list of the things you actually enjoy doing.  Make it a 1..N prioritized list.  If something falls down to 5 or 6, do you think you'll ever get to it?  REALLY?  Because you shouldn't be saving everything, you should be saving the stuff you actually use, and MAYBE (but not always) the things for the 1-2 projects where you will really put the time in "someday" (especially if those items are expensive or hard to get).  Realistically, it won't be 5 someday things you'll get to...

When you move and unpack, force yourself to unpack EVERYTHING.  Nothing left in a box rule. If it doesn't have a place, it doesn't have a home, and needs to go.  This has helped me thin books and kitchen items that somehow had passed the "This is useful" test...


nick663

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2018, 09:23:43 PM »
School papers (and other flat paper items like photos) can be scanned.  Much easier to transport/store/etc and no reason to keep the physical copy around if you have a backup.

Regarding tools and other larger items, I list them on eBay or other sites at market value (determined by searching completed listings) on 30 day listings.  I figure that if they sell at that and I find myself needing that exact item 5 years down the line, I can likely buy it back for close to the amount I sold it for.  (This is probably too slow of a process if you're already moving but it's something to do once you get to the new place to keep from accumulating too much stuff again.)

I got lucky on my last move because it was paid for by my employer.  I figure I won't be as lucky if/when I move again so I'm not allowing stuff to pile up in the basement again.

bisimpson

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 10:12:33 PM »
Take a picture of anything with emotional value and let it go.

Just slip out the back Jack.

Abe

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2018, 10:59:51 PM »
Papers - scan anything important then shred and recycle. That's straight-forward.

My process for other things was:

1. Have I used, or will I plan on using, the thing in the previous or next year (seasonal equipment, for example).
2. How difficult would it be to rent or borrow the thing if needed in the future?
3. Can I imagine a scenario where someone else less fortunate than me would be happier with this thing than I am storing it in a closet? (Old books, toys, clothes, etc)

That managed to eliminate about 75% of the things accumulated over the years. Full disclosure - I am the opposite of a hoarder and most of these were things my parents brought over to my house "because I may need it some day". I'm sure it's harder if you buy the thing with your money.

snogirl

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2018, 11:08:16 PM »
I wore pants with no pockets and had green garbage bags so I couldn't see after tossing.
Next day dump.
Repeat

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Johnez

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2018, 11:58:04 PM »
I'm on my phone now so it's hard to multiquote properly, but dang you guys really came through on the suggestions and stories. Never thought of taking pics of the school stuff-great idea! Systems101-you understand perfectly about the lifeline lol.

Daley, I admire your wife's grandpa's attitude, I could never replicate it though! Stuff is stuff, and it's hard not to feel attached, but the truth is the objects I hold tight to have probably served their purpose long ago and hold me back more than anything. Every lesson or memory is contained in my brain anyway. Thanks for your story.

I'll keep on doing what I've been for the past few years and pare down belongings to "need now or within a year" and give away the rest. Thanks all for the encouragement.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 12:50:42 AM by Johnez »

ender

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2018, 06:47:50 AM »
When you move and unpack, force yourself to unpack EVERYTHING.  Nothing left in a box rule. If it doesn't have a place, it doesn't have a home, and needs to go.  This has helped me thin books and kitchen items that somehow had passed the "This is useful" test...

Another approach is to not unpack anything unless you need it. One year later, anything in boxes gets thrown out.

Similar to @Daley's grandparent's approach but more deliberate.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2018, 06:55:23 AM »
It has been on my todo list for quite some time to throw away old papers. But I haven't prioritized it. The plan was to take pictures of it.

As for old papers and textbooks, is your old school work really that interesting? Do you EVER sit down and re-read old essays?? I went to university for 11 years and have never once reread something that I wrote, except my thesis, which I skimmed 9 years ago and mostly just looked at the pretty pretty pictures of brain slices. Then I threw out the hard copy because I have a digital copy.

I have old school end of year diploma's. I have diplomas from the dancing school. I have a ordner full of old salary papers, I suppose the eldest are 30 years old. (facepunch)

But what to do with old photo books. I don't look into them anymore, they seem to belong to a previous life. But they feel a bit too precious to throw away. In the past I viewed them a lot. Now we have all recent photos electronically. Should I take pictures of the old pictures? The result is not equally pretty. Or should it just be the last thing to be kept?


ender

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2018, 06:57:53 AM »
But what to do with old photo books. I don't look into them anymore, they seem to belong to a previous life. But they feel a bit too precious to throw away. In the past I viewed them a lot. Now we have all recent photos electronically. Should I take pictures of the old pictures? The result is not equally pretty. Or should it just be the last thing to be kept?

I think Sams Club has a rapid photo scanner which can help a lot. You can take a stack of normal sized photos and it quickly scans them.

snogirl

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2018, 07:12:05 AM »
Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Milbourne known as The Minimalists have great essays on the methods they took to rid themselves of the physical and emotional anchors of stuff. Honestly those guys as much as MMM changed my life.
The method Ryan took was to pack everything in his oversized house, covering the furnishings with sheets then keep a journal for 30 days as he unpacked what he actually used. Uncovering the bed, toothbrush, unpacking his modem and TV immediately after getting home from work the next day. He paid attention to the why as much as the what. At the end of 30 days, whatever wasn't unpacked got donated, sold, removed. Drastic yes but highly effective.
I adopted Joshua's method that took more like 2 years to purge my anchor possessions. Now I only own what I really value and need. Recently moving, it was absolutely mind boggling how easy it was. Some of the suggestions here I did. The photo method for sentimental items. Boxes not unpacked from previous moves were opened in the company of non-attached friends who help keep it on point so I wouldn't slide back into organized hording. I sold, gave away, donated, and dumped everything no longer having a purpose or adding value to my life goal of freedom and FIRE.

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Frankies Girl

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2018, 07:16:01 AM »
I am from a family of full on crazypants hoarders. It took me years before I realized that other people had junk drawers... instead of rooms.

Big thing for me was realizing that saving things for the possibility I might someday want to use them was wasting storage space on items that would be easily replaceable in the small chance that I might actually need it someday. Sure the dozen pairs of shoes or the extra plates/utensils are technically "useful" but if I haven't worn most of them in years... why am I saving them? I can get new shoes or utensils at any thousands of stores out there. It's not like they're going to quit making them. So consider the object you're saving. If it has no sentimental attachment and you have "enough" then get rid of the excess.

Anything I'd been saving for fixing - same thing. If I hadn't gotten around to fixing it or stripping it for right-now useful parts within a year, then I needed to let it go. Unless it was a rare whatever the hell and I needed to send it off someplace special to fix... but even then, question the need of saving it. Can it be fixed enough to become something I use at least monthly? Is there something else I already own that does the same thing?

And as far as the sentimental junk...ugh. This is the hardest part for me. I was taught to save EVERYTHING, because memories are VALUABLE, and material items are the most obvious thing to save to remember things. But two things for me really made a difference: I have no kids, so there's no one to pass this junk along to; I'm the end for my particular memories, so why save junk that only I am going to understand/get maudlin over? And the other point is that memories are not physical. Sure, the objects can trigger memories, but like someone else already mentioned, snap a pic of the object and get rid of it. If you're not displaying or using the object and the only reason you're hanging onto it is for the memory, then you can get the same nostalgia from looking at a pic as you can from the actual object, and take up MUCH LESS SPACE.

And as far as the handing down stuff if you do have or end up with kids... they aren't going to love going through all your shit when you're gone. I was forced into doing so when we cleaned out my dad's hoarder house, and it SUCKED SO MUCH. If it was just a few boxes of things like photos or report cards and letters, sure, but my dad saved garbage mixed in with sentimental and utilitarian stuff. And from having to sort through all of that... I have a much better appreciation of just having things in your home that you love and/or use often and dumping all the other garbage - even if it was stuff that belonged to your great-aunt Fanny and had been in the family for generations. If you don't love it, or you don't use it, get rid of it. Pass it on to someone that might end up loving/using it themselves.


I just went through about 20 years' worth of photos. All the negatives are shredded, all the duplicates are gone and about 50% of the other stuff were culled out due to having tons of long-dead pets and friends from middle school pics are really pointless after a certain age. I'm not going to make a photo wall of my boring scenic shots and awkwardly posed portraits... so I save about 5 shots from each event that are decent, and trashed the poorly taken/odd/pointless stuff. I took the photos out of all the bulky albums and put them in a photobox too, because I'm not going to display a freaking album on a shelf or anything. Felt like I was doing something REALLY BAD, but it feels so good to see one small box of photos in the end. And I realized I hadn't looked at them in close to a decade, so no point in keeping them all anyway.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2018, 07:16:18 AM »
But what to do with old photo books. I don't look into them anymore, they seem to belong to a previous life. But they feel a bit too precious to throw away. In the past I viewed them a lot. Now we have all recent photos electronically. Should I take pictures of the old pictures? The result is not equally pretty. Or should it just be the last thing to be kept?

I think Sams Club has a rapid photo scanner which can help a lot. You can take a stack of normal sized photos and it quickly scans them.

The photos I talk about are pasted into a book. Not so easy to scan them quickly. Our home scanner is very slow and bothersome (uses a memory stick to save on). Taking a picture is faster.

Do you all throw away your old photo albums?

Linea_Norway

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2018, 07:37:18 AM »
I just went through about 20 years' worth of photos. All the negatives are shredded, all the duplicates are gone and about 50% of the other stuff were culled out due to having tons of long-dead pets and friends from middle school pics are really pointless after a certain age. I'm not going to make a photo wall of my boring scenic shots and awkwardly posed portraits... so I save about 5 shots from each event that are decent, and trashed the poorly taken/odd/pointless stuff. I took the photos out of all the bulky albums and put them in a photobox too, because I'm not going to display a freaking album on a shelf or anything. Felt like I was doing something REALLY BAD, but it feels so good to see one small box of photos in the end. And I realized I hadn't looked at them in close to a decade, so no point in keeping them all anyway.

Good input. I haven't looked at my photo albums for years either. And we don't have children to pass them on to.
Keeping just a few of each album might be a good alternative.

We keep the 6-7 photo albums in hobby room where they are not on display. But they still take up a shelf. And DH thinks we don't need to take that whole wall of cupboards with us to a new location. The cupboards are 20+ years old and are standing in a hobby room, containing mostly low priority stuff:
- photo albums
- hiking maps (used sometimes) and lots of other maps (used seldom)
- sun glasses of different kinds (taking of a high shelf, could have been in a low drawer)
- extra computer cables (could have been in a shed or thrown away)
- games that we never play anymore because we have grown out of them
- photo equipment that is not regularly used (otherwise it would be in the photo rucksack)
- 1 drawer with passports, solar eclipse glasses, proof of our marriage and some other stuff
- 1 drawer with official diplomas, some inheritance papers old children's school yearly reports and dancing class diplomas
- 1 drawer of car related papers (bills from repairs)

The content of the drawers is partly worth keeping. But I should definitely throw away the old school reports from childhood and from the dancing classes. No one will ever ask to see these. Maybe take a picture.

Many of the hiking maps will be used some time in the future and I like having them.

I guess the games can be given away. We don't play games anymore if we have time off. Today we surf on the internet instead. I might keep some small stuff like a few decks of cards and some dice. But games like Civilizations won't be used anymore.

Car Jack

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2018, 08:11:32 AM »
I own a wood burning furnace......


Things that have gone into it:

School and college papers.  I know that if I want to see my Undergrad thesis, I can find it at the college archives.  All the college notebooks and books that have zero saleable value went into the fire.

Band shirts:  I've been ultra surprised how much they bring on eBay.  I describe them accurately "cheap material with a hole here and a stain there" and all buyers have been thrilled to overpay, in my opinion.

Tools always have value.  If you no longer need them, gather them all together, take a picture and craigslist them.  If priced appropriately, the absolutely will sell.

I'm a believer that if I haven't used something in a year, it should go.  Over the last year, I sold the road race bike I custom built when I worked at a bike shop and raced regularly.  I built it in 1974 and it was state of the art for the time with all campy components and a Colin Laing frame from England (before Colin moved to Arizona).  But I have not ridden it in years and even years ago, I rode it for 5 miles a season.  It's sold and gone now for way less money than I would have thought......but it's not hanging in my shed doing nothing.  My son has a road bike, so if I ever want to ride, I can.....plus I still have my Cannondale mountain bike.

Other big volume stuff......Legos.  My older son made it a job last summer to research, build lots and sell on one of the lego sites.  He made well into the thousands of dollars.  We have very little left but I'm building a box of whatever I find and will empty this into a sale somewhere. 

Brio train sets.  As a parent when our kids were growing up, I thought these things would hold value and return a good deal of money.  They don't and I can barely get rid of this stuff.  $1000 worth retail struggles to bring $30.  We have very little left and I've grouped it all together.  If it doesn't sell by winter.....into the wood furnace it's going to go.

All my stereo equipment went in one fell swoop.  All was old but some of the amps had collector value.  I craigslisted and had to help the buyer with multiple trips. 

Old computer equipment and electronics have become a scrapping hobby for me and I now collect this stuff when people discard it.  I separate stuff out into types of boards, wiring, plastic, steel, aluminum, etc and bring it a couple towns over to an escrap business.  I have fun taking things apart, so this is good, mindless therapy with some $$ return.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2018, 08:25:51 AM »
I had a breakthrough when I read Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  It's a bit woo-woo in places, but her process is really simple.  I've gotten rid of about 25% of all of our stuff in the six months since I read the book, and if I can get my husband onboard more will go away.

Gather all the stuff that's in one category (start with clothes; end with momentos/pictures/emotional stuff).  Pick up and touch each item.  If it brings you joy/makes you smile, keep it.  If not, get rid of it.  It takes practices to get good at doing this.  I'm on round 3 or 4 now.

You don't have to keep gifts.  They served their purpose - the person who gave it to you received job by the act of giving.  The gift giver did not want the item to become a burden to you. Get rid of the stuff you don't like, even if it was a gift from somewhere.

Some items have already served their purpose.  They were useful to you in the past.  They aren't useful now.  Get rid of them without feeling guilty - they've done their job.

Aspirational items were hard for me.  I had all kinds of projects I wanted to do...that I've been wanting to do for years.  I got rid of most of the supplies.  If I haven't finished it by now, then it isn't a priority for me.  My things should reflect the person I am today, not the person that I once wanted to be or that I once was.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2018, 09:24:00 AM »
I'm just doing this now.  Getting easier...there is hope!  :)

I find it's similar to when I converted to a MMM lifestyle - at first you say, " I'm never giving up my car!" & "But I don't want to phone up all my service providers to see if I can haggle a new price." & "I'm too busy to start a side hustle!" & "I don't wanna ride my bike in the cold." "Whaa whaa whaa"  Then bit by bit, you find yourself saying, "I'm so glad I rode my bike, I feel great!", "I can't believe I just saved $XX /month just by making that simple 20 min phonecall!", "I love my side hustle; I should have done this years ago!" and "I'm so glad I don't have that gas guzzler anymore." The effects snowball and what was originally so overwhelming becomes fun and easy!

But you're just at the overwhelming part of decluttering so break it down.  Low hanging fruit first.  Put the harder items aside until you've built your decluttering muscles.

Personally I wouldn't bother with taking pics of most stuff - that's a huge demotivating chore in itself.  How much do you look at your digital photos now?  To each his own on that.

I found it helpful to read books and blogs to get motivated.   "Unfuck your habitat" was inspiring.  She suggests 20 min intervals.  Anybody can do 20 mins right?  It's amazing what a dent you can make in 20 mins, plus it tricks you into getting started which was the hurdle for me.  Commit to doing a minimum of 20 mins each day.

Another counterintuitive thing I did was go out and buy a new basic minimalist wardrobe!  My closet was stuffed with free and second hand clothes which Marie Konde and I would both agree did not 'spark joy'.  It was easy to get rid a whole lot of stuff once it was replaced with clothes I would actually enjoy wearing.

"Goodbye, Things" talked about  'you are not your things' and more on the emotional attachments to our stuff.  It had a few interesting snippets.  It's where I got the idea of wearing  a 'basic uniform' like Steve Jobs.

I can also tell you that I had 'stuff' that I was 'saving' for 'when I'd have more time in retirement' - been retired for over 2 years and don't regret getting rid of that saxophone, unicycle, wetsuit, craft supplies, etc.  Unfinished projects were a "silent To Do list" and I'm so glad those items aren't  (silently) screaming at me anymore.

There was also a decluttering thread on here somewhere you might like....

Moustachienne

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2018, 10:08:35 AM »
I love so much of this post but particularly like the image of a wetsuit wearing, saxophone playing, unicycle riding , crafting retiree - doing all that at the same time.  Like a one man band!  And after retirement we hone down our interests and/or discover new ones.  Freedom from the "silent to do" list we lay up for ourselves pre-retirement!


I can also tell you that I had 'stuff' that I was 'saving' for 'when I'd have more time in retirement' - been retired for over 2 years and don't regret getting rid of that saxophone, unicycle, wetsuit, craft supplies, etc.  Unfinished projects were a "silent To Do list" and I'm so glad those items aren't  (silently) screaming at me anymore.


zygote

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2018, 10:30:25 AM »
I totally agree with the suggestion for Marie Kondo. I roll my eyes at a lot of it, but the basic idea is great. Instead of figuring out what to discard, you figure out what you want to keep. If you saw the item in a store right now, would you still want to pay money for it and bring it into your home? You deserve to surround yourself with things you genuinely like and use, rather than things that feel like a weight.

It took a while for my mindset to shift, but it makes all the difference. Based on the way you describe your current relationship with your stuff, I think her book will really speak to you. There is a follow up book called Spark Joy that goes into more detail, and a Konmari app with checklists for each category of stuff.

Even when I know something doesn't spark joy and needs to go, I personally find it easier to take a picture first. It almost gives me permission, in a way. I don't need to keep the sentimental t-shirt to remind me of that concert if I know I have the picture of the shirt to spark the same memory. And then I honestly don't miss it once it's gone.

The mindset change has other benefits, too, that are hand in hand with Mustachianism. I find I am much less prone to buying stuff ever since I tried the Marie Kondo method. I ask myself whether x item in the store would bring me the same amount of joy as the things that already spark joy at home. 98% of the time the answer is no and I move on.

Cranky

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2018, 10:38:44 AM »
I am not a minimalist, and I don't really care if I have more "stuff" than you do. If I like it, I'm just fine with keeping it.

But we've cleaned out houses on both sides of our family in the last few years, and if you really want to get rid of stuff, rent a dumpster. Once you start pitching stuff into it, there's no looking back.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2018, 10:41:42 AM »
The Gauntlet area has a great, active, supportive thread on decluttering if you want to join us there, Johnez.

I love Marie Kondo's work :)

I have very, very, very little stuff. Even so, I'm doing a "next level" clearing, for which I came up with a new method: I put everything I'm not constantly using into a spare room (I sleep in my living room). Every day I go in there and delete more stuff.

My great challenge has always been and still is paper. I love paper! Screw scanning ;)  I shipped off several boxes to be scanned but opted to receive the physicals back, so I could check them. For whatever reason, the scanning company undid my very careful organizing of the docs and scanned stuff willy-nilly. It's hard to find a needed doc, and some pages didn't get scanned. So now I still have all those papers! Having this stack bugs me, but I'm not sure what is needed legally and I love things like handwritten letters from my (now passed) dad. The latter will stay because of happiness, but I'd love to delete more of the former.

One of my ideas is to set up a simple, password protected website to load all my child's scans to, so that it's all archived for his ongoing care or his personal reference.

So, even while having very little, I understand the emotional/psychological challenge of releasing whatever that last frontier is for any given person. This said, I've made new progress on my papers recently by doing work on my "insides" (meditating for grounding, centering, peace).

jlcnuke

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2018, 11:37:55 AM »
Step 1. Ask yourself: Is this a thing that I actually "need"? If Yes, keep.

Step 2. Ask yourself: Is this a thing that I actually want and actually USE (have used in the past year)? If Yes, keep unless you can justify getting rid of it (sure, you used that juicer once 6 months ago, but that was the day after you bought it and it hasn't been touched since then so you can probably just get rid of it).

Step 3. Ask yourself: Is there a really, really, really, really good reason I need to keep this thing anyway? If this place went up in flames tomorrow, how many days in a row would I wake up and lament it being gone (less than 30 days and you're just holding on to it, it doesn't really hold that much value to you)? If Yes, keep it unless you can justify getting rid of it (for instance the digitizing stuff mentioned earlier is a good justification to get rid of stuff without losing the value it has for you).

Step 4. Get rid of the rest of the "stuff" that's cluttering your world.

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Imma

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2018, 12:55:02 PM »
It has been on my todo list for quite some time to throw away old papers. But I haven't prioritized it. The plan was to take pictures of it.

As for old papers and textbooks, is your old school work really that interesting? Do you EVER sit down and re-read old essays?? I went to university for 11 years and have never once reread something that I wrote, except my thesis, which I skimmed 9 years ago and mostly just looked at the pretty pretty pictures of brain slices. Then I threw out the hard copy because I have a digital copy.

I have old school end of year diploma's. I have diplomas from the dancing school. I have a ordner full of old salary papers, I suppose the eldest are 30 years old. (facepunch)

But what to do with old photo books. I don't look into them anymore, they seem to belong to a previous life. But they feel a bit too precious to throw away. In the past I viewed them a lot. Now we have all recent photos electronically. Should I take pictures of the old pictures? The result is not equally pretty. Or should it just be the last thing to be kept?

It depends on how many photo books you have. If you have 100, you have way too many pictures. If you're talking about 5 or 10 books, it doesn't take up that much space, maybe half a shelf. If the space is really the biggest problem you could always take them out of the book and put them into a shoebox.

But of course it's personal. Because of certain circumstances, I lost nearly everything I had from childhood (except for the photos, thankfully). I honestly haven't missed it, although I dislike the fact that I had no say in it. Because of that I'm very careful with throwing out anything I do have left, much more careful then I used to be. When I'm not sure, I put stuff in a box in the shed. If it's still there a few months later, it can be thrown out.

Also: when you're throwing out entire unopened boxes, please make sure they don't contain valuables. Someone I know tossed out their university diploma that way and had to request a duplicate when his new employer asked for it. That's quite a hassle.

marble_faun

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2018, 12:57:26 PM »
Another vote for Marie Kondo!  I'm also a clutterer, and the child of a mild hoarder, so getting rid of things does not come naturally. But the KonMari method forces you to be honest about your life and what you actually need. Once you get started, it becomes pleasurable to get rid of things, freeing you from burdens.

I found that a lot of my stuff relates to guilt. Guilt that I once paid a lot of money for something that I don't really like. Guilt that a late family member gave me a gift and now I have to keep it or I'll lose a connection to them. Guilt that I didn't pursue all those hobbies I bought supplies for. Guilt that I became less wild and no longer wear the kinds of clothes I wore when I was 20.

The stuff keeps you mired. You live suffocated by evidence of past mistakes. You're keeping props for outdated versions of yourself, roles you will never play again. But once you release the stuff, and the guilt connected to it, you have the space (literally) to embrace the present and future.

Now, I will say that I would never in a million years throw away my photo albums, letters and diaries from younger years, or a certain highly curated collection of mementos. Having a shelf or a trunk dedicated to keepsakes is fine. It's only a problem when these objects start to overwhelm everything else and keeping you from embracing the Now.

And you should be thoughtful about what mementos you hold on to, choosing only the most resonant. Like maybe preserve one awesome band shirt to symbolize that era in your life and let the rest go.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2018, 01:23:37 PM »
It has been on my todo list for quite some time to throw away old papers. But I haven't prioritized it. The plan was to take pictures of it.

As for old papers and textbooks, is your old school work really that interesting? Do you EVER sit down and re-read old essays?? I went to university for 11 years and have never once reread something that I wrote, except my thesis, which I skimmed 9 years ago and mostly just looked at the pretty pretty pictures of brain slices. Then I threw out the hard copy because I have a digital copy.

I have old school end of year diploma's. I have diplomas from the dancing school. I have a ordner full of old salary papers, I suppose the eldest are 30 years old. (facepunch)

But what to do with old photo books. I don't look into them anymore, they seem to belong to a previous life. But they feel a bit too precious to throw away. In the past I viewed them a lot. Now we have all recent photos electronically. Should I take pictures of the old pictures? The result is not equally pretty. Or should it just be the last thing to be kept?

It depends on how many photo books you have. If you have 100, you have way too many pictures. If you're talking about 5 or 10 books, it doesn't take up that much space, maybe half a shelf. If the space is really the biggest problem you could always take them out of the book and put them into a shoebox.

<...>

Also: when you're throwing out entire unopened boxes, please make sure they don't contain valuables. Someone I know tossed out their university diploma that way and had to request a duplicate when his new employer asked for it. That's quite a hassle.

Thanks for the advice about the photo books. I think there is one that I can throw away that I'm not attached to. The other easily fit on one 40cm wide shelf.

My FIL tidied up at home after his wife moved to a nursing home. Now he can't find the heritage paper (stamboom) belonging to her cello that is standing unused in his house. The value of the cello is 3 or 4 times as high with those papers. He probably cleaned too rigorously. And this piece of paper should have been more carefully stored, in a place with valuable stuff.

red_pill

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2018, 01:40:38 PM »
One game I like to play is the “what if my house burned down” game.   I ask myself: if my house burned down and I was starting over - how many of Item X would I buy?  I figure out the number. And then I compare to what I actually have. Then I get rid of the surplus.   Works for pretty much everything. Would I go buy seven spatulas? No. Sixteen towels?  No. Guess I can get rid of some, then. 

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2018, 03:42:08 PM »
One game I like to play is the “what if my house burned down” game.   I ask myself: if my house burned down and I was starting over - how many of Item X would I buy?  I figure out the number. And then I compare to what I actually have. Then I get rid of the surplus.   Works for pretty much everything. Would I go buy seven spatulas? No. Sixteen towels?  No. Guess I can get rid of some, then.

I was inspired to start decluttering by Hurricane Harvey.  I helped clean out the houses of people who flooded.  We had to throw away almost everything they owned.  Piles and piles and piles and piles of rotting STUFF.  I imagined strangers going through my things after a storm to help me.  What would I ask them to try to preserve?  What of my things would I really miss?

If I got an insurance check after a flood, what would I replace?

If I wouldn't buy it again, do I need it now?
If I would throw it away without a second thought if it were waterlogged, do I need it now?
If I wouldn't feel sad to see it sitting on the curb in a pile of trash, do I need to keep it?

It helps me to think about "do I need to keep it" rather than "do I need to throw it away". 

It also helped to realize it wasn't the end of the world if I got rid of something I might later need.  I think I've spent about $30 replacing items I gave away thinking I didn't need....and I gave away or sold a huge amount of stuff.  In the grand scheme of things, I think that was worth it.

Noodle

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2018, 08:43:37 PM »
A few more things--for mementos of relationships, pick one or two things to represent each person. You don't need 25 of Grandma's items (if they aren't in active use around your house) just to remember her by.

If you can find it, the show Clean House is very inspirational. The hosts went into the homes of people who had way too much stuff, helped them clear it out, and cleaned out and redecorated the newly available space. Hearing someone on TV being ridiculous about their stuff can be inspiring to get a new perspective on yours.

It also helps to practice a one-in, one-out rule. I have to, because I live in a tiny condo, so there is literally not enough space for two coffee tables or two rice cookers. But you can be strict about getting things to the curb or Goodwill right after you acquire their replacements.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2018, 08:53:16 PM »
Also the rule of "Don't put it DOWN,  put it AWAY. " 
A tidy house looks less cluttered....

Linea_Norway

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2018, 05:23:01 AM »
Also the rule of "Don't put it DOWN,  put it AWAY. " 
A tidy house looks less cluttered....

Indeed. I often have to put away things that DH puts down.
Yesterday we made a cake together, he did the dough and I peeled the apples. DH "cleaned up" by stabling the dishes he had used onto the countertop above the dishwasher. I remembered that the dishwasher was only half full. If we would leave all these dishes on the sink the whole day until dinner next day, next day's dishes wouldn't fit in. Therefore I put them in the dishwasher and turned it on (it was full).

Just putting things down is not the same as putting it away.

asauer

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2018, 06:38:41 AM »
The concept that got me over the mental hurdle, was from Marie Kondo.  She asks us to consider reflecting on what the purpose of the item was and then, has it fulfilled its purpose?  If so, it's time for it to move on.  Love that.  I had a hard time getting rid of my kids school art, cards and gifts from friends.  But when I looked at the card, I thought, "the purpose was to make me feel remembered and special.  It did that so it's purpose is done.  Hope that helps.

SunnyDays

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2018, 12:41:15 PM »
Anybody seen the TV show "Consumed?"  It was on quite a few years ago, but it had an impact on me.  The host of the show helps families declutter by removing everything from the home but the basics.  The REAL basics, like bed, couch, table, etc, and allows one set of dishes per person, a couple of pots/pans etc.  As a family, they get to choose 10 non-essentials, but NO electronics.  After one or two weeks, when the family realizes how much happier they are and more connected to each other, they are allowed to refill their house with their stuff and it's amazing how little they choose to keep compared to what they started with.  So you could do that room by room in preparation for moving.  Box up what you're KEEPING, then get rid of the rest.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2018, 04:07:57 PM »
I've moved 8 times in 12 years. If I haven't touched something in a year, it gets tossed. I go through my house twice a year and just toss things. It teaches you not to buy stuff because it's absolutely wasteful to toss it in a year. I hung on to high school yearbooks and stuffed animals and all sorts of stuff until my most recent 2500-mile move where everything went out. The movers dropped off my stuff and literally asked, "is this it?"

Now I'm in a house that I hope to be in until retirement (so, 12 to 15 years), but I know I won't stay in this area once we no longer have to work. And I plan to travel for a solid year or two after retirement with no intention of storing a bunch of crap. I now view everything I bring into my life as temporary, which has changed my relationship with it.

letired

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2018, 05:40:49 PM »
The concept that got me over the mental hurdle, was from Marie Kondo.  She asks us to consider reflecting on what the purpose of the item was and then, has it fulfilled its purpose?  If so, it's time for it to move on.  Love that.  I had a hard time getting rid of my kids school art, cards and gifts from friends.  But when I looked at the card, I thought, "the purpose was to make me feel remembered and special.  It did that so it's purpose is done.  Hope that helps.

+1 so much this! I come from a very sentimental/semi-horder family, and have those tendencies myself. This framework has been hugely helpful. Also, I loved the rest of her book, but I enjoy that sort of whimsy; it's not for everyone.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2018, 02:16:53 AM »
The concept that got me over the mental hurdle, was from Marie Kondo.  She asks us to consider reflecting on what the purpose of the item was and then, has it fulfilled its purpose?  If so, it's time for it to move on.  Love that.  I had a hard time getting rid of my kids school art, cards and gifts from friends.  But when I looked at the card, I thought, "the purpose was to make me feel remembered and special.  It did that so it's purpose is done.  Hope that helps.

Maybe I should throw away our 2 still working MP3 players. They haven't been used for years, because our phones have taken over their function. In the past I brought along an MP3 player when running plus a phone that had so little memory that I couldn't put music on it. But my current phone is sufficient to do the job. I probably have a step counter thing somewhere as well, doing something that my phone does automatically.
The devices were appreciated at those times, and well used. Maybe it's time for them to go. I also think about the PC screen that we never use, as our laptop is in another room. But if we'd ever need to see something on a bigger screen, at home, it is good to have such a screen. Will as DH what he thinks about that screen.

red_pill

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #42 on: June 27, 2018, 07:28:25 AM »

The devices were appreciated at those times, and well used. Maybe it's time for them to go. I also think about the PC screen that we never use, as our laptop is in another room. But if we'd ever need to see something on a bigger screen, at home, it is good to have such a screen. Will as DH what he thinks about that screen.

Funny how the “what if” scenarios add to up saddle us with extra crap we don’t need.   I’d love to hear one reasonably probable scenario where you would  “need to see something on a bigger screen”. Lol. 


Wayward

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #43 on: June 27, 2018, 09:39:38 AM »
The book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is really amazing; it’s a quick read and gives actionable steps to cleaning out clutter!  Basically, she recommends tackling categories, not rooms – starting with the least emotionally loaded things, like clothes, and working your way up.  Don't start with really emotional items like mementos and photos!! 

The documentary Minimalism (on Netflix) may also motivate you to clear out the junk.

FWIW I am a (mostly) reformed hoarder, I’ve moved quite a few times and always found myself dragging stuff around from place to place.  So many mementos, books, hobby stuff I wasn’t using, stuff I didn’t need, clothes I wasn’t wearing, papers… so many old papers.  I used to be so scared of getting rid of things because I might need it/use it/emotional attachment/etc. and it really is draining.  Once you get going, it feels great to get rid of clutter, like a burden is being lifted.  My first choice is to sell items, then donate, then recycle, and lastly throw out. 

The truth is, one doesn't need much to be happy, and it's very freeing to not be held back by attachments :)

Imma

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #44 on: June 27, 2018, 10:08:24 AM »
A few more things--for mementos of relationships, pick one or two things to represent each person. You don't need 25 of Grandma's items (if they aren't in active use around your house) just to remember her by.



I've had to help clear out a few houses of relatives that passed away, and one house belonged to hoarders who had lived there for half a century. One lesson I've learned about inheritanced stuff is that I now usually pick a few use-able items instead of a crystal vase or other stuff that just sits around.

For example: I have a large chair that belonged to my late grandfather, a really nice art deco kitchen table that belonged to my great grandparents, and a few kitchen items from my late aunt, in whose kitchen I spent half of my childhood. Everytime I pick up her old Dutch oven I think of her and it's also a useful item. And if it would break at some point, I would of course not be happy, but it wouldn't break my heart because I've used it for years, she used it for years, it served its purpose. I have also accepted some brand new sheets and towels and some tools in the past.

One family fight I remember is about who would take some photo albums - not filled with photos, but with christmas and anniversary cards. I flat-out refused and everyone was pissed off (probably because they felt shouldn't be thrown away, but no one really wanted them). I picked some personal letters my relative sent home from the war, because they have historical value, but no way I'm taking books full of generic "Merry Christmas and the best wishes for 1974 from Mr. and Mrs. Jones" cards.

Cool Friend

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #45 on: June 27, 2018, 10:30:37 AM »
The book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is really amazing; it’s a quick read and gives actionable steps to cleaning out clutter!  Basically, she recommends tackling categories, not rooms – starting with the least emotionally loaded things, like clothes, and working your way up.  Don't start with really emotional items like mementos and photos!! 

This one helped me too.  Her animistic attitudes towards objects may seem strange, but make sense when you consider that we hold on to things we don't need or have use for for emotional reasons (also, she was once a Shinto miko and animism is a big part of that religion).  Her method makes the act of getting rid of crap a positive, energizing experience.  I love getting rid of things.  I just feel better when I have less stuff.

norabird

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #46 on: June 27, 2018, 03:01:10 PM »
Can you get someone to help you do this, a close friend you can delegate the task to? Have you read Marie Kondo, and would you consider taking photos of the papers, or scanning them? It's obviously weighing you down and you will feel *much* more free once you jettison the weight (while finding a way to commemorate what the objects are reminding you of).

Linea_Norway

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #47 on: June 28, 2018, 02:02:57 AM »

The devices were appreciated at those times, and well used. Maybe it's time for them to go. I also think about the PC screen that we never use, as our laptop is in another room. But if we'd ever need to see something on a bigger screen, at home, it is good to have such a screen. Will as DH what he thinks about that screen.

Funny how the “what if” scenarios add to up saddle us with extra crap we don’t need.   I’d love to hear one reasonably probable scenario where you would  “need to see something on a bigger screen”. Lol.

Determining edibility of other people's self-picked mushrooms by pictures they post in their phone app. I am responsibly for determining them correctly. Therefore I need to see the pictures really well in great detail. I already notice that my big screen at work shows the pictures moch better than the laptop at home.

red_pill

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #48 on: June 28, 2018, 07:30:58 AM »

The devices were appreciated at those times, and well used. Maybe it's time for them to go. I also think about the PC screen that we never use, as our laptop is in another room. But if we'd ever need to see something on a bigger screen, at home, it is good to have such a screen. Will as DH what he thinks about that screen.

Funny how the “what if” scenarios add to up saddle us with extra crap we don’t need.   I’d love to hear one reasonably probable scenario where you would  “need to see something on a bigger screen”. Lol.

Determining edibility of other people's self-picked mushrooms by pictures they post in their phone app. I am responsibly for determining them correctly. Therefore I need to see the pictures really well in great detail. I already notice that my big screen at work shows the pictures moch better than the laptop at home.

And @Linda_Norway drops the mic.....   

DS

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Re: Mentally, how do you get rid of your sh!t?
« Reply #49 on: June 28, 2018, 07:38:46 AM »
Listen to The Minimalists podcast while you toss things. Podcast is repetitive but helped when I did my last clean up.