Author Topic: My "Stuff" is stressing me out  (Read 7091 times)

Zero Degrees

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My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« on: June 17, 2017, 04:51:14 PM »
Hello All,

I am in the process of getting my house ready to go on the market. I am a neat freak and I dislike clutter. Two years ago, I did a major purge of my belongings and I got rid of/donated more than what I kept.  Now I am doing some  major purging and cleaning again.  How the hell did I get so much STUFF?  Everything looked neat and people often comment that my home looks like a model house (not lived in). I guess I was good at organizing stuff.

Last night, I emptied out my walk in closet which looked very tidy and minimal, or so I thought.  I had plenty of space left for more clothes if I needed it. My closet is 65 sq ft.  Nothing was on the floor and items on the shelf were in baskets. It looked great.  I took everything out and my room looked like a disaster and this is a 340 sq. foot room! I painted my closet a bright white, touched up the trim and put back about 10% of what was in there. I probably donated 80% and trashed 10%.  Why the hell did I have four pair of slippers?  Why do I still have a bucket of scarves that I no longer wear? I am not a clothes hound, it was more accessories and just a bunch of other things.  WHY???? Also, when I buy something new I always try to donate something to even things out. Apparently I wasn't keeping track very well.

I am downsizing from a 4 bedroom house to hopefully a 2 bedroom apartment.  This is an incentive to get rid of stuff. I really think having a big house just made me collect crap.  Because I kept it neatly stored I didn't realize how much had accumulated. What is it about our American culture that says we must have a bigger house, more stuff, bigger closets? How did someone such as myself fall prey to this brainwashing?

 I was shocked and ashamed as I looked around my room at all the stuff I had that  I don't use, don't need, and certainly don't want. Ten years of stuff.  I feel like such a wasteful person and am disgusted with myself for the footprint I have left on this earth.

I am very interested in the minimalist lifestyle. Any tips on how I can prevent this creep from happening again? I don't have a problem parting with stuff at all. I just do not want to repeat the cycle.

geekette

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2017, 05:01:17 PM »
After 20+ years in our house, yeah, stuff accumulates. I started volunteering at a thrift store, so every time I go in, I take stuff. It's been a stress free way of clearing things out.

marty998

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2017, 05:39:39 PM »
Yeah it's quite incredible how many things fill up empty spaces.

When you stop for a moment, look around a room and start counting things... sometimes it scares me.

life_travel

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2017, 05:53:59 PM »
Ha! That could be writen by me ! We just downsized from 4 bedroom house ( we had boarders with us there ) to 2 bedroom townhouse and like you our 4 bedroom house looked very minimal .
We did manage to accumulate things though , maybe just not as bad as you, as it's only been 3.5 years .
Lucky for me( clutter stresses me too) we only had half of old kitchen cabinets full so smaller kitchen is ok .
We do have to go though some clothes and donate as our new wardrobe is very small for two of us.
My plan is. Only replacing something ( kitchen stuff, linen) if it's breaks or worn out . For clothes doing twice a year purge of clothes and shoes no longer needed. Like , formally scheduled clean and purge :) would something like that work for you ?

epower

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2017, 08:12:52 PM »
The Minimalists, Becoming Minimalist and Zen Habits are good blogs to follow.

I generally do a purge like you have done 3-4 times a year, means I never have too much stuff for any longer than 3 months.

Zero Degrees

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 09:30:02 AM »
Thank you for the replies and links.  At least I don't feel so alone in the "stuff" trap.

I just did my kitchen and it wasn't too bad.  I have a lot of serving stuff that I will be donating or giving to friends.  I used to entertain a lot, but those days are over and I will not have space or table size to do that even if I wanted to. 

The walk in pantry!  Oh. My. God!  I am constantly reorganizing that thing. I have my teenage boys and their friends who are always rummaging in there and it gets out of control. I keep it fully stocked because my older son always has friends over. I want to encourage that, because if they are here I know what they are up to. Also, I just enjoy having my kid around.   They know they are welcome to eat whatever they want here and I am used to cooking for one to three extra kids several times a week.

Today, I had to get the pantry "stage ready."  So although I always kept it neat, it now has to be neat and fairly empty.  Sorry boys. I just packed up a ton of food to take to the local food shelf.

It got me thinking that I overspend on food. Sometimes I buy too much and it goes bad before we can get through it. I think having a smaller space will definitely help with that. Only buy what you need and what you will consume.
 

Laserjet3051

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2017, 11:05:16 AM »
Knowing where every single dollar of your income goes, and allocating those dollars to only things you highly value, helps a lot. This alone, can yield a minimalistic lifestyle.

I don't hold much value in shoes (other than having one good pair), scarves, slippers. or clothes in general. When people offer me free shit, with rare exception, I politely decline. My clothes closet is tiny and mostly empty.

I rarely ever buy "stuff." Exceptions would include food and replacement parts for things that wear down (e.g bike, car, vacuum, computer). I DO spend my $ on experiences. In full disclosure, I am guilty of accumulating massive amounts of paperwork, that includes tons of mailings, and paper records of virtually everything. 30 years of paperwork does add up no matter how much I try to cull the pile.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2017, 11:20:38 PM »
I'm a big fan of http://pancakesandfrenchfries.com/.

Not solely about decluttering, but her decluttering posts are gold.

For me, The Minimalists are a lot of style and very little substance. I mean, how many times can you tell people to get rid of crap they don't need? And yet they spin this into thousands of words of blog spots, speaking tours, a documentary, and books.

Mr. Green

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2017, 06:45:25 AM »
It still amazes me how much stuff we can cram into small spaces. We've been preparing to move for a year or so, slowly moving around the house and decluttering so the move will be as easy as possible. We went through our linen closet last night. Same deal, it all fit but when we got through everything it looked like our closet had vomited linens all over the hallway. We now have a chest high pile of sheets, etc. to be donated, all of it stuff that we basically moved in with 12 years ago and it's never been used. We had two sheet sets for bed sizes we don't even own! We had too many blankets to possibly use as well. A charitable organization will be receiving a hefty donation from us soon.

Trudie

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 08:43:18 AM »
The thrift store is on my way to work, so I load up small batches and drop them off when I'm coming and going.  I also have a penchant for doing it when my husband is out of town.

Lately I've been tackling the garage and basement deep storage.  As for the garage, many of the tools were old and inherited from parents and grandparents.  Gone.  I am not sentimental about them and feel that if I REALLY need certain tools in the future I can just borrow a more modern version or buy something better.  Life is too short to put up with old tools.  The older I get I realize the importance of having the right tool for the job.

I also got rid of things like a huge chest cooler in the basement.  That thing is hold, heavy, and I've only used it like once in 15 years.  If we need such a large cooler in the future I will most definitely buy a newer one with wheels.  Or a collapsible version.  But quite frankly, for two people who don't camp or boat our smaller cooler with a strap and our thermal/cooler bags are probably sufficient.

My biggest debate was whether to donate or sell.  I finally just donated.  Garage sales where I live are a waste of time.  I take the tax deduction and move on.

Our recycling center also takes hazardous materials year-round.  That's my next project -- getting all the used motor oil and paint stripper out of the garage and storage.

ZiziPB

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 09:53:29 AM »
Very timely thread for me, as I will be downsizing from about 1600 to 650 square feet next year!  I've been getting rid of stuff for a while now (I hate clutter and it really stresses me out) and even though I feel like I made lots of progress, I still have a long way to go.  I did notice that the more I declutter, the easier it gets to get rid of stuff... 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 10:13:34 AM by ZiziPB »

FireHiker

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2017, 10:03:18 AM »
I spent a lot of my weekend clearing out stuff we don't need, and I totally get it. We fell prey to lifestyle inflation big time 5 years ago when we bought our giant house, doubling our square footage (before discovering MMM/FIRE). The excess stresses me out much more than I realized. I have three kids (including a teenage boy), and the stuff is overwhelming. Like you, because our house is so big, it doesn't LOOK that cluttered (except a couple kid-related parts of it...) but there is a huge amount of storage space. It is an on-going process. You are definitely not alone! I am jealous of your downsizing though...it's at least a few more years before we can realistically consider that (likely 6, when we're done with elementary school and have a bigger housing area to choose from without changing schools).

gggggg

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2017, 02:30:36 PM »
It's old and cliche, but if I haven't used it in the last 12 months, it's gone (except some tools, medical supplies, etc). My house looks fairly empty, and I like it that way (easier to clean). Also, I really try to only buy what I truly need, and not what I want. My computer monitor for instance, is a first gen thin flat screen, very old. I don't replace things until they break, regardless of how "out of style" they are. It's shocking how much stuff people have, once you pull it out and pile it on your floor; even if you think you're minimalist.

Zero Degrees

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2017, 07:41:41 PM »
Wow, so awesome to know that this affects a lot of people!  I am going from 3700 sq feet (counting the unfinished basement where this is crap) to probably about 1100 sq feet.  I keep thinking - where will I put that in my new, small apartment.  Even the kids are on board and helping me donate and throw away stuff that is no longer usable.

I have never been one to sell stuff, I usually just donate or give to friends.  This time, I decided to post some things in the classifieds on my work intranet. Oh my gosh, things are going as soon as I post them.  I've posted free stuff on the board as well.  Most of it is gone within a few hours of posting it, with multiple people interested.

I have an added layer of stress as I am having my ceilings knocked down on the main level. Man, is that messy!  The dust is driving me mad and there is stuff all over because I was in the middle of unloading stuff down the stairs.  I wish I could fast forward a week from now when it will all be nice and clean!

Zero Degrees

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2017, 07:32:41 AM »
Does anyone know who I could call to pick up all my stuff I don't want. I have a tiny car and have made countless trips to Goodwill. I have some bigger items that will not fit into my car.  I also have a lot of trash I keep putting out and paying high fees for. I cannot even find where the local dump is and how much it cost.

I am trying to rent a cargo van, but I'd have to drive over 30 minutes away just to pick it up.  I've asked my "best friend" who has a larger vehicle and she responded with crickets.  So, here I am stuck with all this crap in this great big house that I don't want.

I wish my house would blow away or just sink into the ground. I hate it and everything about it.   The second my carpet goes in, I am putting a for sale sign on this damn thing. I just took two days off work so that the carpet guys could cancel on me today. So now, I have to show my realtor the house tomorrow while it is a freaking mess. 

 

Mountainbug

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2017, 07:52:18 AM »
Some smaller thrift stores and charity organizations might do pickup. But honestly the quickest way is to put out a sign that says free and post an ad on Craigslist or similar. Someone will be there in minutes if it's stuff worth having 😊

rockstache

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2017, 09:54:17 AM »
Big Brother/Big Sister does pickups in my local area.

ZiziPB

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2017, 10:36:11 AM »
Some charities (even Goodwill) will pick up if you contact them.

List your stuff for free on Craigslist - people will be more than happy to come and pick up things.  Or instead of listing specific items for free, you can do a "curb alert" in the free section of Craigslist where you give the address and let everyone know that stuff can be picked up outside of the house for free.  I've done both with great success.

Zero Degrees

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2017, 12:18:50 PM »
Thank you for the fabulous ideas.  This morning I was able to find a cargo van close by that I could rent. We loaded it up and went to the Goodwill. My Goodwill does not do pick ups. I have to share my experience because I need to get it off my chest and I am just shocked.


I entered the donation bay and was greeted by a scowling man who obviously did not want to deal with the amount of goods I had brought. He started taking things out of boxes and throwing them back into the van, exclaiming, "I can't take this!"  He kept on with the attitude so I finally told him that I would just leave and that I obviously made a mistake in donating to the Goodwill. 

He then picked up a solid wooden sofa table (which he had deemed as not good enough to take) and put it back in the van and slid it back right into my son!  It hit my son and was pushing him further into the van.

OK, so now you have messed with my kid and I don't care if he is 18 and can hold his own. That's my baby and now momma bear has come out.  I let him know I was not happy with his behavior and that I was going inside to speak to the manager.

The manager and someone else came out and my stuff was suddenly acceptable.  There was a few things they didn't want and that's fine, but they were nice about it and respectful to me and my property which I was donating to them. The sofa table was accepted too.

I will never donate to this organization again.  I'll see about some other options moving forward.

stoaX

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2017, 12:36:01 PM »
Here's a tip:  Don't marry or join your life together with someone who doesn't share your dislike of clutter.  Of course, this isn't much of a tip if it's already too late.  Best of luck with your efforts..

Livinginthemountains

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2017, 04:41:28 PM »
I can so relate to this. I had a house built and when I was unmustachian I purchased a lot of things I didn't need. I lived in this house for 10 years. That was the longest I lived in one place. I moved out almost 6 years ago and turned that house into a rental.  I sold so much furniture, clothes,dishes, exercise equipment  and on and on. That cured my shopping habit because I was so upset with myself about all the time I traded for money to buy it all and I learned that when you buy stuff it is worth alot, however when you want to sale it no one wants to give you much for it. To this day before I buy anything I think about how long I will use it and how much could I get if I were to sale it when I'm done. I hate selling things. It is a huge hassel. Now the things that I didn't sale are so worn out and rather than replacing I just keep downsizing.  One person can only use so much. I could already be retired if I figured this out sooner in life.

Mr. Green

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Re: My "Stuff" is stressing me out
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2017, 06:28:53 PM »
Easy answer. We fill up empty spaces because barren spaces are not appealing to most of us. A smaller space will undoubtedly mean less stuff by default, unless you are a serious "stuff" collector and then you'll have clutter no matter how big the space is.