Author Topic: Rituals of deacquisition  (Read 6532 times)

Jill

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Rituals of deacquisition
« on: June 19, 2014, 09:52:30 AM »
So...as the Germans on the forum will know (hi again Germans) I am moving to Germany.

Which is pretty exciting, because I live in the UK right now and our German is...currently very basic!

But it has got me thinking, because I've had to pack up our house and decide what stays in The in-laws for the next 3 years (one small car load, <20 boxes) what comes with us (a couple o suitcases, cats, 4-5 large boxes to ship) what stays in the house (the furniture) and what gets given away or sold (everything else: car is sold, the rest is heading to various charity shops).

And why I've been thinking (aside from "we should live in a tinier house, that helps stop stuff building up") is this:

Moving and Death are the only two Official Occasions where getting rid of things is positively encouraged.

And if you're dead then someone else is going to have to do it.

As a culture we are wildly keen on exchanging Stuff with each other, but there is no holiday or occasion that encourages the opposite.

I guess "spring cleaning" and the professional organiser's favourite, the "seasonal closet declutter" come closest, but there we are.

The closest religious occasion I can come up with (as a Christian) is Lent, where we are encouraged to give things up, eat more simply etc. but even fasting from buying isn't quite the same as actually giving stuff away.

I'd be all in favour of an annual or seasonal ritual of de-acquiring things. Like you do before moving, but without all the other stuff that ones along with moving! (Though of course it would make any future relocations much easier.

Do any of you have a family/religious/household ritual of just Getting Rid Of Stuff?

And does anyone else really want to start one now? :)

HSLmom

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2014, 10:03:27 AM »
I have specific chores every day, and Saturday is my declutter day. I break down any boxes (I love amazon prime) I might have, take out all the bathroom trashes, and scout around the house for anything broken or that we don't need to donate. I clear kids' artwork from the fridge to start fresh this day too.

Emilyngh

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 10:38:45 AM »
I kind of do.

I switch out all of our wardrobes seasonally.    This takes at least an afternoon, during which I try on all of my clothes, get rid of things that I haven't worn that season or that I have put away for next season that I realize I won't be wearing.   I also go put away DD's out of season clothes, sorting them into things to throw away, donate, save that might still be large enough next year, and sell, and take out her new ones.   This usually results in a huge goodwill pile, which then prompts me to go through the rest of the house to find things to add to it (since I'm taking it to Goodwill anyway).   So, tons of stuff is donated at least with the change in seasons 3-4 times a year.

I also sort mail and paper trash as soon as I get it, but have a tradition of going through our files and recycling things that are no longer needed over my xmas break.   

I really don't like clutter and find organizing/getting rid of it relaxing, so that's a good motivator.   

The one area we could use improvement in is dirtier storage like our basement and barn.    They could probably use a good going through more often to get rid of trash, boxes, etc.   But, DH is more of a pack rat, and these are more his domains, so to a degree I leave them alone for his sake.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 01:16:56 PM by Emilyngh »

Frankies Girl

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 10:42:38 AM »
I used to do a big purge every Spring Cleaning... haven't been keeping up with it the last few years tho.

I need to do one major catch-up purge, and then make sure going forward that we don't have enough stuff to do "massive" purges every year ever again.

I think when I'm finally FIRE, I'm going to do a quarterly purge so I can catch the seasonal stuff that gets put away with the idea that I'd deal with it next time... and then don't.


bwall

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 01:13:06 PM »
Birthdays can be a good opportunity to change things up. Instead of asking for presents, ask for your friends to take something of yours.  It's a bit unusual, but it can start a good conversation about consumption, values and life.

For that matter, you could also do the same thing at Christmas. You could state that you wish to get away from the consumerism that has overtaken the holiday and hollowed out it's true meaning.

CommonCents

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 02:10:32 PM »
My family does, it's Spring Cleaning.

When you move every 2-3 years, you get 1 year of a deep purge (move year) followed by a year of a light purge.  I vividly recall mom handing us trash bags and informing us we need to go through our school papers.  We kicked our heels, resisted, and eventually let go of "precious items."  Now I'm amazed to find the crap mom did let stay around in her permanent home of ours.

After I moved a few times on my own (lived 5 places in 6 initially, now onto 8 in 13), I realized I needed to purge as well.  It particularly became obvious when I tried to move my 1-bed apartment worth of stuff into now DH's 1-bed already filled apartment.

Jill

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 12:39:47 PM »
I like all of this!

I tend to go through the house and declutter fairly regularly (I usually get the urge in October and March) but it never really pares away all the little things that seem to secret themselves into tiny corners. Or boxes.

Maybe I should try the birthday giveaway next year. That'd be pretty cool.

smalllife

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 12:53:10 PM »
Do any of you have a family/religious/household ritual of just Getting Rid Of Stuff?


I find the easiest thing here is just not to buy it.  We don't have a "ritual", but when things get too busy for me I tend to go through everything and clear out at least one item in every category.  I'd say that happens once a season.  Every season I find something that I wasn't ready to let go of the season prior - an extra book from the dozen or so I have left, a shirt I was hoping I could make work, etc. 

The closest I get to a ritual is open storage.  We have very few things stored behind closed doors.  If it doesn't fit on the shelf then I probably have too many things :-)  And this is in a 1940s house with very little added storage ;-)

CommonCents

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 12:59:33 PM »
The closest I get to a ritual is open storage.  We have very few things stored behind closed doors.  If it doesn't fit on the shelf then I probably have too many things :-)  And this is in a 1940s house with very little added storage ;-)

THis is a good point.  Modern houses have a LOT of storage, which you likely don't even realize (e.g. large closets, attics, basements, utility rooms, garages...).  DH wasn't keen that our 1933 house didn't have any "storage" space but I've chosen to look at that as a blessing.

Glenstache

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2014, 01:02:45 PM »
If it were a once a year calendar holiday, it should be on Black Friday.

shadowmoss

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2014, 11:24:05 AM »
Isn't the day after Christmas called Boxing Day because tradition has it you go through everything and box up items for charity?  At least in other countries, not the US.

abhe8

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2014, 12:03:15 PM »
We celebrate St nicks day, i think its Dec six, by going through things, boxing up and giving to charity. It helps better the Christmas roll in.

abhe8

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2014, 12:05:19 PM »
I also go through all the colthes with the season change and give a lot away. In the spring i have a non garage sale. Ie. Give it all to goodwill.

former player

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2014, 12:10:16 PM »
Bric-a-brac stall at the village fete.  Every June, without fail.  Sorted.

AustinKat

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2014, 01:26:54 PM »
Discardia! http://www.discardia.com/

"The quarterly celebration of Discardia—a new holiday—is the time to carve away all the nonsense that isn't making us happy, and uncover what does. We don't have too little; we've piled too much on top of ourselves. When we steadily scrape away the junk with one good decision at a time, our true selves begin to shine through. Discardia doesn't require us to radically change course; rather, it is the simple practice of leaning the boat in the direction in which we want to sail. Little adjustments lead us to wonderful new places."

(I promise it's not all as woo-woo as this makes it sound.)

Jill

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2014, 02:25:13 AM »
I'm all in favour of a bit of woo-woo-crunchy-hippiness myself. Unless people are pretending it's SCIENCE! (cough, cough, homeopathy)

We currently live in a 2 bed home built just after WW2 (because large parts of the city I'm in got flattened by German bombs, so they had to build a lot of houses fast). As it came, it had a hot press (airing cupboard? It used to have the hot water tank, before we got gas heating) for storage and two shelves in the utility room, some kitchen cupboards...and that was your lot.

We have added...a little cupboard under the bathroom sink, woo! But older UK houses (and even newer ones) don't really do closets. Space, especially in urban areas, is at too much of a premium to have a whole room to put your clothes in.

We don't really buy that much either, to be honest, but gifts of clothes etc tend to build up over time, and also PAPER. I know nobody BUYS paper, but MY GOSH. I mean, we have Internet banking and paperless billing and still, PAPER. Bills and receipts and final statements and blah blah blah. Mind you, I've got our trusty concertina file down to two flat A4 folders for moving. Helps that we're leaving all the manuals for the appliances here!

PPAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPEEEEERRRRRRR.

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2014, 04:59:56 AM »
The trusted and true North American method for getting rid of stuff is the Garage or Yard Sale.  At the end of the day put out a sign saying "Free" (you will always have stuff left over), or pack the remainders in your car and take them to a local charity shop.

For non-saleable items, recycle everything you can.  Consider donating books to local libraries, clothing to shelters, food to food banks.  Really, it is entirely possible to get rid of virtually all of your possessions without having to send much of anything at all to the garbage dump or to relations who don't really need anymore 'stuff'.

iris lily

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2014, 05:55:40 AM »
For some birthdays I've asked for an Unpresent. This means  that  I ask DH to get rid of something that I hate, something that sits around here that is ugly and that he won't get rid of. Usually it is patio and yard ornaments that he has dragged home from the alley.

My requests for Unpresents work!

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2014, 05:57:47 AM »
For some birthdays I've asked for an Unpresent. This means  that  I ask DH to get rid of something that I hate, something that sits around here that is ugly and that he won't get rid of. Usually it is patio and yard ornaments that he has dragged home from the alley.

My requests for Unpresents work!

That is a really cool idea.

You know, we could confuse the heck out of everyone we know and celebrate our birthdays like Hobbits.  Give everyone you know a Mathom for your birthday.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2014, 07:30:30 AM »
Weekly "Release and Receive". Go through ALL our stuff (we have very, very little) and release everything we don't want, then "receive" something -for my son, it might be a coin, or a coffee shop treat, a swim.

For my birthdays, I send an email to family members a few weeks ahead asking that anyone who wants to give me a gift pack up anything around the house for the thrift, send me a photo of the thing/pile/box, and release it.

For kid Christmas and birthday, a bigger release preceding each "to prepare space for new stuff".

starbuck

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Re: Rituals of deacquisition
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2014, 08:21:48 AM »
I try and do it continuously. Sometimes I get really in the mood for it - like last night after watching the documentary on tiny houses that's on Netflix. I have two boxes going - one for free cycle, and one for donating to the thrift store. Recently I put together a random box of office supplies we didn't need anymore, and put that on Freecycle. Dishes and knickknack type stuff goes in the thrift store box. Drop it off when full, start over!

Cheap furniture just goes out on the curb. We're slowly purging ourselves of the cheap ikea furniture that we bought years ago.

Anytime I get a statement or some kind of paperwork in the mail, I go online to see if there's an electronic-only option. It's helped somewhat, but I hear you on the paper. Most of the mail goes straight into the recycle or shred bins.

I really *really* hate throwing things out that still have life in them, but I also don't want to just pawn stuff off onto people who don't really want it. We have somehow become the intermediaries for some family members who will just chuck everything (luggage, kitchenwares, great quality furniture, EVERYTHING...) into a dumpster than rehome/donate it. Ugh it kills me. So I have to work hard to make sure that what comes into our (small) home goes right back out into the right hands, otherwise I go crazy.