Author Topic: I have less stuff!  (Read 8522 times)

Cherry Lane

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I have less stuff!
« on: December 31, 2015, 04:31:09 PM »
About a year ago, someone posted a "declutter one item per day" thread, which has since been removed. (I guess the OP decided not to pursue that strategy.)  While not agreeing to do this every day, I wanted to see how much less stuff I could have at the end of the year.  I kept a log of every time a non-consumable item (I didn't track food or toilet paper, for example) came into or left my house, with a goal of having less stuff at the end of the year than I started with.

For 2015
Outgoing: 259 items
Incoming: 119 items
Net "Stuff": -140 items

I've been tracking incoming and outgoing $ for my entire adult life, but I'd never before considered tracking Things.  Tracking incoming items was really useful.  Every time I considered a purchase/acquisition, I remembered I have to put it on the list and thought about whether it was worth it.  This definitely curbed some impulses, thought I found I still cannot resist the free tshirts associated with volunteer activities.  Still, 119 incoming items seems like a lot.  I'm going to do this again next year (maybe I'll start a Gauntlet thread?) and see if I can do even better on reducing acquisitions.

lbmustache

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 07:56:06 PM »
I like this!

Astatine

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2015, 08:33:50 PM »
Well done!

I mostly try to avoid freebies unless they're consumables we will actually use.

little_owl

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2016, 07:34:56 AM »
I really like this idea!  How did you keep track easily?  Did you use technology or good old fashioned pen and paper?  I'm wondering how I would be able to ensure I "keep the list up to date" if you will.

albireo13

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2016, 09:58:50 AM »
I like this.   I've decided that stuff is the devil's spawn!
The more stuff we have, the less freedom we have.
Each piece of "stuff". is like a dependent.  It takes time and energy from us to keep it.
Cars? ... maintenance, insurance, etc
Major appliances?  .... use electricity, occasional maintenance, etc.
Pets? ... demand attention, limit our freedom (travel is more complicated), etc
The house?  ...  a major dependent
Power tools? .... maintenance, replacement parts, etc

I've come to realize, after pursuing the American Dream of a big house, nice property, bunch of stuff,
that most of my free time and weekends are spent taking care of these "dependents"!
I now feel they took away time I could have been doing things with my family while the kids were young.

As I contemplate retirement I now want to shed everything I can, within reason.
How many cars do I really need?   How many computers do we really need?
Do we really need that new electronic gizmo?

My mission over the next year or so is to get rid of stuff and enjoy what I have more.

alleykat

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2016, 01:38:54 PM »
I have been decluttering for quite a few years now and will continue in 2016.  I am really loving it. I feel freer and freer everyday.  I will stop at my kitties though.  Lol

I hope to tackle some of the hard items this year.

ArcadeStache

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I have less stuff!
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2016, 02:41:45 PM »
Outstanding! Everyday I fight the "War on Clutter" and drive my wife nuts, but man is it freeing. I'm actually excited for my used book store and Salvation Army drop off run tomorrow. I hear you about the "dependents" ...I'd like to downsize to a townhouse or ranch if we could find one in the area, but that's going to take some time to convince the wife.

JLee

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2016, 02:46:14 PM »
Awesome! :)

I moved recently and took the opportunity to only take stuff I thought I really wanted/needed (i.e. one way airline ticket and two checked bags). I cleaned my bedroom today (I'm renting a furnished room) and it took so little time...it's pretty awesome.

Cassie

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2016, 03:46:09 PM »
I have been doing this for a few years and like a leaner look much better. I still have pics nik-naks etc but just some so things look nice but not cluttered. My friend was over today and noticed that my house looked so much better.  I also have done this to my closets. While I have not counted I know that more stuff when out then what I have brought in.  I won't be de-cluttering the 4 doggies any time soon though:))

VAR

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2016, 10:38:12 AM »
I've always been more of the "keep it just in case" mentality. But in 2014 I had a major move coming up and I went on a crazy multi week purge. I ended up taking so many trips to goodwill, the local library, and an Autism center to drop of things. It became a fun thing for me to see if there was even more to take and drop off.
Having moved and stored things, and moved again - I'm appreciating more and more the hidden cost of the stuff - labor moving it, having a bigger truck, taking more time to move it, storing it, etc etc.
It was also depressing how unwanted all my stuff was at the goodwill. At some point they actually tried to refuse my drop off because their storage area was full. That helps me reconsider when I'm thinking of adding a new doodad to my life. Do I want to dust it, track it ,organize it in my home,pack it up to move, pay to transport, and then find a spot for it and start over again...and then when I'm done with it have goodwill refuse it because they have too much too??
Maybe it's better left at the store

Bardo

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2016, 12:00:52 PM »
I've always been more of the "keep it just in case" mentality. But in 2014 I had a major move coming up and I went on a crazy multi week purge. I ended up taking so many trips to goodwill, the local library, and an Autism center to drop of things. It became a fun thing for me to see if there was even more to take and drop off.
Having moved and stored things, and moved again - I'm appreciating more and more the hidden cost of the stuff - labor moving it, having a bigger truck, taking more time to move it, storing it, etc etc.
It was also depressing how unwanted all my stuff was at the goodwill. At some point they actually tried to refuse my drop off because their storage area was full. That helps me reconsider when I'm thinking of adding a new doodad to my life. Do I want to dust it, track it ,organize it in my home,pack it up to move, pay to transport, and then find a spot for it and start over again...and then when I'm done with it have goodwill refuse it because they have too much too??
Maybe it's better left at the store

That's pretty impressive!  I've been doing sort of a rolling purge of stuff over the last six months in anticipation of a cross-country move in the next year  or so.  I know they say we are supposed to go Kondo and do it all at once, but to me that is a bit intimidating.  I do feel though that I've made decent progress.  To me it has become kind of an ongoing process, and I'm making a mental list of what will go in the next Goodwill run.


VAR

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2016, 10:02:52 PM »
I think it was easier purging chunks at a time. It sort of built up momentum.Some things didn't get purged at first but then on a later trip those things got into the pile - without it being a feeling of loss.

I still have too much stuff...It's tough when you have some free storage in a relative's house. I'm kind of between places and not sure where I want to go next which makes it confusing about what I might need.


 

Ogriv

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2016, 12:52:44 AM »
While I'm still living in London for the next few years it would be interesting to see if I could rent a slightly smaller bedsit, so purging would be really helpful.

I have a five-level bookshelf, and I think I could reduce use of it to just three shelves, which would look better but it would not actually reduce the square footage used. I've been looking at all these books I've kept for years and it seems insane that I'm building them up like some kind of monument to my identity. That is what we do with our stuff, right? And it is insane.

I actually dislodged so much dust with an attempted purge of these shelves that I had to retire to bed, as dust mites must have triggered an allergic reaction!
 
On one had, a rolling purge sounds sensible as one gets used to it emotionally. But part of me is almost tempted to throw money at the problem and enlist a house clearance company to just take a shitload once and for all. I found a good one online who even factor in saleable items when charging you. But I suspect that from their point of view I only have one saleable item: a piece of art.

Power to all of us, anyway!

misshathaway

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2016, 01:48:34 AM »
I am probably going to downsize and move to someplace warmer with a lower COL. To that end I am purging my stuff and  the collected stuff of my parents. I inherited their house and the stuff in it. It is taking forever.

Can relate to the goodwill opinion of your donations. Just got the word back from a local antiquarian bookstore about our family book "collection", some of which goes back to the mid 1800s.

"I was able to look at your photos. These would be good for library/charity donations."

LOL

I think I can get rid of some of it on eBay so all is not lost.

Squirrel away

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2016, 02:51:18 AM »
Good work.:)

YogiKitti

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2016, 03:10:35 AM »
Awesome! I'm also reducing what I own and it is great.

Exhale

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2016, 12:19:16 PM »
Maybe it's better left at the store

+1!

Rosy

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2016, 11:46:32 AM »
This forum certainly inspires us all - it is nice to see the different approaches everyone takes to get the job done. Somehow I managed to declutter my fair share in 2015, even threw a gauntlet for a month this past July.
 In 2016 I intend to finish what I started and I will post a gauntlet from Jan to Mar as I'd like to make a major push to get it all done early in the year.

Inkedup

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2016, 12:31:38 PM »
That's great! I'm trying to do the same with my books, which for a bibliophile with a humanities background is tough...but not impossible.

PathToFI

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2016, 03:16:10 PM »
7 years ago my wife and I moved out of the U.S. for work.  We sold everything we owned except some clothes and 2 computers.  We rented furnished apartments for 3 years abroad and owning almost nothing (besides investment accounts) was fantastic.

4 years ago we moved back to the States when our first child was born.  We purchased a small house and it rapidly overfilled with stuff. 
Everyday I wish for less stuff in my house.   
Christmas is tough because our families are so used to buying unneeded stuff for each other and us.  They don't understand why my wife and I don't buy each other a bunch of crap to further overfill our house.

We have 2 young kids now which is amazing but kids really add a ton to the stuff pile. 

I'm lucky that my wife has recently taken to selling things on Facebook and several times a week people have been show up at my house to take away stuff I don't want and leave cash in its place.

I'm gunna redouble my efforts to reduce my personal pile of possession.  I like the idea of tracking the item count in verses out.  I'm gunna try that also. 


Tyn

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2016, 07:11:39 AM »
Nice one!

After moving a few times and to successively smaller places in the last few years I'm definitely losing my attachment to 'stuff'.  Now I'm much more likely to balance purchases not only on cost, but also the hassle of storing and maintaining it.  I've started selling things that I no longer need and donating or recycling/trashing when something really isn't worth anything (I've kept hold of things with little sentimental or material value and it was quite a revelation for me when I realised I could just let them go - I have a bit of a hoarder mentality).

I'm currently not in a huge hurry to declutter (I'm hoping to stay in my current flat for a few years more), but I find it nice to slowly chip away at the things I've been holding onto and I'm slowly expanding my mental list of things that aren't necessary to keep (over Christmas I added my TV to this list as I barely use it and it takes up quite a lot of space).


njimport

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2016, 08:00:42 AM »
That's great! I'm trying to do the same with my books, which for a bibliophile with a humanities background is tough...but not impossible.
Download an app called Book scouter or visit their website. You can scan the books bar code and it will let you know which sites will buy your books. Really easy.

Bardo

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2016, 12:00:22 PM »
7 years ago my wife and I moved out of the U.S. for work.  We sold everything we owned except some clothes and 2 computers.  We rented furnished apartments for 3 years abroad and owning almost nothing (besides investment accounts) was fantastic.

4 years ago we moved back to the States when our first child was born.  We purchased a small house and it rapidly overfilled with stuff. 
Everyday I wish for less stuff in my house.   
Christmas is tough because our families are so used to buying unneeded stuff for each other and us.  They don't understand why my wife and I don't buy each other a bunch of crap to further overfill our house.

We have 2 young kids now which is amazing but kids really add a ton to the stuff pile. 

I'm lucky that my wife has recently taken to selling things on Facebook and several times a week people have been show up at my house to take away stuff I don't want and leave cash in its place.

I'm gunna redouble my efforts to reduce my personal pile of possession.  I like the idea of tracking the item count in verses out.  I'm gunna try that also.

This is very much my story.  I ended up staying out of the country with what I had packed for what was expected to be only a few weeks, and just rented furnished apartments.  It is hard to explain how liberating that felt.  Unfortunately since it was unexpected I didn't have time to properly pack up my house and ended up just jamming everything into storage.  Now that I'm back I'm at least trying to lighten the load.  I'm not really aiming at a minimalist goal of only owning x things, but I do think I'm just about down to the level where I don't have much in the way of excess possessions.  That said, it is an ongoing process and you have to keep at it.

Salim

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2016, 03:56:22 PM »
Awesome, Cherry Lane! It's funny how less is more when it comes to stuff, isn't it?

We decided to downsize in place, without moving, since our house is already small. So, instead of needing the house plus renting an external office and art studio, we can fit what we need at home. Purging stuff that "might come in handy" is giving us more room to live and space to use the things we really want, as well as reducing the dust and the depressing constant clutter.

Still, I have found purging to be a challenge. I took one lot of clothes to a consignment shop and they sold pretty well, although the prices were rather low. I brought a second lot of clothes to the shop with a disappointing result: one was stolen and the remaining items sold for ridiculously low prices or bounced back to me.

Epic fail with books on ebay. I posted some popular cookbooks that never sold.

Group and yard sales have been pretty depressing. We spent days or weeks preparing and a whole day at the sales for very small results. At one sale we paid more for the table than we sold. At least, it was a donation to a good cause.

Had some better and easier results with Craigslist and Freecycle.

Now I'm keeping a box on the porch where I drop unwanted items. When there's a decent amount of stuff, we put the box at the curb when one of the charity trucks is coming to our neighborhood. This is turning out to be the least stressful option.

Lizzy B.

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2016, 12:09:54 PM »
Nice job, OP!

I've been decluttering for about 8 months now, not with any specific goal or quota in mind, just trying to have less stuff. I've gotten much better at this as I've gone along. My decision making threshold for keeping/ not-keeping has shifted substantially towards not-keeping. I guess as with everything, you get better with practice. Thought I'd throw this out there since the Kondo method of "do it all at once" seems to be more favored. I wouldn't have gotten rid of much if I'd done it that way. This way feels more gradual and natural.

Asdfg

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2016, 01:59:23 PM »
Me and the SO agreed to declutter our house. Today I put a sales post on the local market and the SO got really angry because I was going to sell two of their favorite books. I tried to argue that there is no emotional connection with the books and that you can get them from the library any time you want.

Not good enough. Feels like I'm stepping on their territory and am not really allowed to do anything even though otherwise said. So frustrating!
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 02:20:00 PM by Asdfg »

Conjou

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2016, 02:59:26 PM »
Good job! I think these little goals, tracking, and even games really help. Last year I did the minimalism game where you get rid of the number of items for each week in the year. Ex, week 1, get rid of one thing, week 17, 17 things, etc. I forget the exact number but this helped me get rid of over a thousand things. And I enjoyed the challenge. The more I get rid of, the more stuff I find I don't need. Plus, getting rid of stuff is such a pain that I find it a real deterrent to buying stuff.

Alaskan Stache

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2016, 12:05:56 PM »
I've been on this mission for about 1.5 years now.  I came across Marie Kondo's book online so I borrowed it from the library (!)

While there are certainly aspects of her approach that are silly (e.g. thanking your socks for the hard work they do??) there are some real gems in there.  I particularly like the 'all at once approach' she uses.

She divides possessions up by category and handles them individually.  Two most common are clothes and books.  You gather EVERY SINGLE book in your home and put them in one place.  You don't leave them on the shelf and look at them, you pile them on the floor.  You go through one-by-one and pick them up and really THINK whether this has REAL meaning to you.  If it does, it gets placed on a bookshelf.

This act of intentionally examining each book and placing it back on the shelf is much more effective than just scanning the titles on the spine.  I very happily got rid of over 90% of my books this way.

Then on to clothes, and kitchen items, and........

It is VERY effective.

cautiouspessimist

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2016, 03:04:41 PM »
Congrats! I did a good amount of getting rid of things in September. I managed to get rid of a bunch of stuff, and have been trying to be more mindful about getting rid of stuff since then. Your post has reminded me that it is just as important to be mindful of what's coming in. Thanks!

DagobertDuck

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2016, 03:23:26 AM »
I like this.   I've decided that stuff is the devil's spawn!
The more stuff we have, the less freedom we have.
Each piece of "stuff". is like a dependent.  It takes time and energy from us to keep it.
+1



kite

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Re: I have less stuff!
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2016, 11:50:12 AM »
I've been on this mission for about 1.5 years now.  I came across Marie Kondo's book online so I borrowed it from the library (!)

While there are certainly aspects of her approach that are silly (e.g. thanking your socks for the hard work they do??) there are some real gems in there.  I particularly like the 'all at once approach' she uses.

She divides possessions up by category and handles them individually.  Two most common are clothes and books.  You gather EVERY SINGLE book in your home and put them in one place.  You don't leave them on the shelf and look at them, you pile them on the floor.  You go through one-by-one and pick them up and really THINK whether this has REAL meaning to you.  If it does, it gets placed on a bookshelf.

This act of intentionally examining each book and placing it back on the shelf is much more effective than just scanning the titles on the spine.  I very happily got rid of over 90% of my books this way.

Then on to clothes, and kitchen items, and........

It is VERY effective.

I'm in full Kondo mode.  I thought the "thank your socks" bit was a little too woo, but did it anyway, giggling all the while.  My sock drawer is now a thing of beauty.