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decluttering is hard to do

December 27th, 2016 at 05:42 pm

Don’t take my stuff away from me, don’t you leave my heart in misery. Smile

During my holiday break, I’m attempting to tackle some mounds of clutter that have accumulated in my house over the past 12 years. It is so hard for me to get rid of stuff!

In a recent post, I shared photos of boxes in one of my closets and commenters wanted to know what was in them. Well, those boxes mostly contain piles of unmade decisions.

Of course, I’m breaking all of the cardinal rules of decluttering. My house is a disaster as I move from one area to another pulling stuff out and sorting. I just can’t focus on one thing at a time although I know I should. Oh well – it is what it is, as they say. Smile

Something I struggle with is the fact that I want to donate and toss everything, not try to sell any of it. I feel guilty that I’m not trying to make some money and that I’m taking the easy way out or something. But, I know that I won’t ever get around to selling and, honestly, nothing is worth much. I’m trying to focus on the time and space that I will gain and feelings of freedom and relief. I’m also trying to let myself feel sad and disappointed about the money that I may be missing out on. There are pros and cons to each way of decluttering. Getting stuff out of the house is my main goal. I admire my fellow bloggers who sell items on eB@y and FB and at yard sales. At this point, I just can’t wrap my head around organizing any of that.

I also worry that once I clear out the junk, I will have the head space to deal with selling and then I’ll be disappointed that I don’t have anything to sell! It’s a vicious cycle that spins in my head.

So, I’ve made the decision to donate usable items. There is a consignment shop in a nearby town where I thought about taking some decent clothes, but it turns out that they only give store credit, not cash, for sold items. There are consignment shops in the closest city to me, but it’s almost an hour away and I don’t get there much these days. So, I’m going to split my stuff between three thrift shops in the town where I work. One supports the local hospital, one gives grants to local non-profits and one helps families in need. So, I will at least be giving back to my local community with the donations. Oh, and I have a few items to donate to the local animal shelter, too.

If I can acknowledge and then tolerate my uncomfortable feelings about “giving it all away” and do it anyway, then I will be free! I have to get things moving along – I’m stuck in so many ways and time is flying by. Life is short.

If anyone reading this has decluttered by donating and tossing rather than selling, please share your experience in the comments. I don’t know why I’m struggling with this scenario, but I am and I’d love to hear others’ stories.

Part of the problem is I imagine that if I lose my job, then I will regret not having the discarded items to wear, use or sell. I seem to be missing the belief that I can persevere and take care of myself no matter what happens in my life.

A few years ago, I got rid of a bunch of stuff by using a personal organizer whom I paid to help me sort and discard, and I seemed to have lived through that experience. Now that I think about it, once the items are gone, I probably won’t remember any of them since my post-50 memory is not as sharp as it used to be. Smile

OMG, my mind is still arguing with me about the consignment clothes…keep them and take them up to the town that has consignment stores. I also started to look on line for places to sell books and CDs. Most of my book titles aren’t sellable and the CDs would net about .40 each. I don’t have that many, so I don’t think it is worth my time to punch in the IBN or barcode for each item.

I’ve been going through clothes and toiletry articles and some boxes with papers and other various junk.
So far, I have gathered:

One bag of garbage and a small box of recycling that I will dispose of on Saturday

One bag of clothes and shoes to donate to local thrift shops

One bag of worn out clothes for textile recycling

I have to go to town for an appointment on Thursday and will drop those two bags off during that trip.

I also have a big box of clothes that I would have tried to consign and am now deciding what to do with.

I feel kind of embarrassed to share all of this drama and craziness, but this really is a very difficult challenge for me. I’m hoping that I’ll read this post next December and realize that not only did I accomplish my goal of doing some decluttering and my house is easier to live in, but that I survived giving the stuff away (and without the potential extra money) and that I’m ok. And, that if any feelings of loss, sadness, regret and anger about it surfaced over the year, that I felt and accepted them with compassion and kept moving forward as much as possible.

Back to sorting! Smile

17 Responses to “decluttering is hard to do”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I think you need to go with your gut and do what is easy...toss and donate. And make the donation as easy as possible too. Pick one or two favorite charities. The items will get to someone in need in some way. Yes, there can be value in our things. However, there is also value in reclaiming our space, and value in the freedom you feel from letting go. You sound like you have come to a new place in dealing with your things. Keep up the great work!

  2. debtfreeme Says:

    I've made 5 trips to thrift stores this year. My time is more valuable working or donating time versus trying to sell something small on eBay for a few dollars or cents. I will be selling some big items this next year furniture that I no longer want or need and a few collectible type thing but that's all everything else makes sense to me to donate and take the tax write off. Tell yourself a specific date to which you're going to consign all of your items. If it doesn't happen by that date they get sent to the thrift store. Tell yourself a specific time and date you'll finish doing X in the corner of your house 15 minutes every day for two weeks. Don't touch another area until one area is done. Choose one box a day and go through it either save and file toss donate what you can aim for one box a day and you'll get through it in no time without feeling overwhelmed. The secret is to immediately load your donattions nto your car. Don't let them sit in your house.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    I know how you feel -- I've got about 5-10 boxes of papers and things from my past to go through. I know 99% of it will be thrown away, but I'd rather do just about anything but go through it. It's sitting on shelves, fairly unobtrusive but occasionally bothering me. I may need to set up a tangible reward for getting through them or something.

  4. scottish girl Says:

    I started the decluttering process a couple of years ago. I've mostly donated stuff although I have sold a few of the kids toys. Clothes (kids) and paper are my main issues. I just got rid of a ton of the kids' old clothes the other day to make way for their new stuff. Now, they're all in their drawers and I'm feeling better. I'm going to try to sell a few of their toys but if they don't sell within the deadline I set, I'll donate. Good luck!

  5. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Don't worry I saw your pictures of your study and ours looks a lot like it! We also need to go through B's drawers and give clothes away because we can not fit anything in his drawers anymore! You are totally not alone.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    Some time ago I let go of the feeling of obligation to have a garage sale. The last few I had yielded very little money for the work, and I ended up having to donate most of it anyway. By all means, donate if that is what you want to do! If you are up to it; keep a running list of what you give away and you can take a tax deduction.

  7. Turtle Lover Says:

    I used to have a lot of "stuff" ... not quite a hoarder but just hard to get rid of things you paid good money for! Where I live I can't have a garage sale and I wouldn't want to sell anything on craigslist to have anybody come to where I live. I'm not doing the ebay thing because I don't think it would be worth the money for the amount of "work" plus I already live a fairly busy life ... One day I just went through and got rid of 75% of stuff... just a mood struck me ... and off I went. I put a big pile of anything good enough to donate ... the rest all went in the trash and/or recycle bin. It was really hard but I was just sick of having a house of "stuff" . Now I just don't keep stuff. If I haven't worn something in a year I put it in a donate pile. If somebody gives me something for Christmas that isn't something that I would use or enjoy ... I either re-gift or donate ..I try to encourage people to not give Christmas/Birthday gifts of "stuff" but I would prefer "time" (go to the movies... go to dinner and visit ... any gift of "time") . Then I got a room mate who had a lot of STUFF ... and it felt so odd to have my house back full of "stuff" I think clutter in your house clutters your mind.
    Anyway ... I don't know if there is a moral to my story ... just that I do understand and I like what kiki had to say about giving yourself a deadline. And also that it isn't the end of the world to just give stuff away or throw it out.
    On another note... I just helped my friend move her dad into assisted living where he tried to take too much STUFF and half of it had to go to the GARBARGE DUMPSTER because there was nowhere to put it ... and no way to get rid of it quickly ...I think the staff workers there had a good time shopping in the dumpster that day. Also he had a HUGE house full of STUFF ... and then WE had to get rid of it all ... that was HORRIBLE ! I tell myself that I don't want to be like that. Ok enough rambling.

  8. pjmama Says:

    Different processes work differently for everyone. If you don't have the time or patience to sell, then by all means, do what works for you Smile Decluttering is about eliminating the stress your stuff causes you. If selling it causes you stress, then I'd say there's not much point in it all.

    Best of luck in going through everything! It can feel overwhelming, but is so worth it in the end.

  9. ThriftoRama Says:

    I've been paring back and donating and sorting for a cople of years now, and while it's hard,it's also freeing. Free of stuff, free of caring for stuff, free of the boxes, free of clutter. It feels great!

    For me, it helps to direct my donations to the places where they will do the most good. For instance, there is a church-run free store for low income families in town, and they are always looking for toys and children's clothes. So, I donate my nicest and most gently used kids clothes and toys to them. I have a box dedicated to that store, out all the time, and when it fill sup, I take it in. This is handy especially during season changes when I have to go through the kids' drawers to see what they've outgrown.

    I've donated bikes to a local charity that fixes them up then gives them to low income families.

    I have another box for Goodwill/Volunteers of America. They have a ragstock sale division, so not everything item you donate has to be perfect.

    I send all my home improvement types of cast offs to the Habitat for Humanity Restore.

    If I have anything vintage, I try to sell it on a fb group, and if it doesn't sell, I donate it.

    Sometimes, I put big stuff out on the curb then post a "curb alert" with a picture on Craigslist. It's usually gone in a few hours, and without all the hassle of emailing people back and forth setting up pick-up times only to have them no show.

  10. snafu Says:

    I've a different view point. Sunk funds are not recoverable. No matter how long you retain items not used, not needed, the sums spent acquiring them will never return. You didn't buy the stuff with the idea of selling in the future. If you need a push to declutter , many of us have read and followed the ideas presented in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The author explains a different view observed as a result of 20 years as a professional organizer. Some of the ideas are foreign to N Americans as she overlays her suggestion with her Japanese culture. , Staples electronic recycle bins, and free Shred-it service whenever the truck was at a nearby mall. it was already in the garage, easily put in the trunk to drop off as another donation.

    sorry so long and wordy

  11. snafu Says:

    so sorry, my computer timed out

  12. snafu Says:

    attempting to re-capture...

    , Staples electronic recycle bins, and free Shred-it service whenever the truck was at a nearby mall. it was already in the garage, easily put in the trunk to drop off as another donation.

  13. PatientSaver Says:

    I donated a ton of stuff to goodwill when i was cleaning out my mother's condo. There are some times when it's just not worth the time or trouble to try to sell stuff, and honestly, i find it hard to sell things these days, whether it's thru a garage sale, Craig's List or Facebook.

    People seem to want an incredibly good buy, for next to nothing or they won't budget. There is something to be said for judiciously using your time on other things than making a few bucks. It's a judgment call. Don't feel guilty.

    I still have so much of my mother's stuff that I'd like to dispose of. I had a few old SLR cameras I tried to sell at an area camera store, but they didn't want it. I thought I would try one more place before donating, but haven't been able to execute yet. Then there are a few heat lamps, a tripod, a headboard and so on. Certain things I hung onto because I believed I could sell them. I may be wrong.

  14. creditcardfree Says:

    One other thought I had for you is to give yourself permission to keep a certain number of items you could sell. Pick a number, 10 for example. If you find more than 10, figure out which 10 would bring the most money. Maybe the items have to be stored in one cabinet or box. If it's full, than you have enough to sell, and can't add any more until they sell.

    I've sold a lot of stuff on eBay over the years, but I know that is not for everyone. I sure wouldn't harp on you for donating! Smile

  15. LittleGopher Says:

    I only give away, donate and throw. Like Snafu above states, the items weren't bought (or received) with the intent to sell, so I'm thrilled to be able to pass on useful items to others having a need for my unused items. I do recycle as able to, and actually throw out very little.

    Best of luck in figuring out what works best for you!

  16. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I've sold some things, but for the most part it is easiest to just toss or donate.

  17. snafu Says:

    ...one more try

    There is a lot of information on You Tube on Marie Kondo's books and audio.

    I can confirm there is a lot of value in taking a leap of faith and ofllowing her suggestions as they apply to your lifestyle and circumstances. We completed the process in May 2015 and I had a massive heart attack a few months later. I had nightmares as I recovered from surgery about the state of our home. I was gob smacked to realize everything had stayed tidy. No one wanted to go back to ‘seek & search.’ The place has stayed ‘company ready’ with a 20 minute, daily routine. Best of all, by having what we need, when we need it, where we need it, my bank account stays plump and flourishing. I’m sure it’s because I have a criteria for what’s being bought.

    It’s downright joyful to have clear flat surfaces, cupboards, shelves and drawers hold what’s used and needed and makes me smile every day. Truthfully, while following the process I was repeatedly filling the SUV with stuff going to Staples and Thrift Stores bins at the nearby Mall. Check with your bank and local administration for free ‘Shred’ services. Can’t remember what left…nothing has ever been missed. I did a rough tally of how much square footage is used for storage and worked that out as a percentage of the value of our home. It feels horrid to spend so much time and effort looking after ‘stuff.’

    DB and I had a bad experience with yard sales as we prepared our mom’s home for sale after she passed. People offered so little we ended up sending furniture, electric appliances and household stuff to auction. I set a minimum recoverable of $ 25. for items I chose to sell on local FB. That process is fraught with security issues and so many timing problems when you’re busy. If it didn’t sell after two weeks of updates, it was in the garage, easily loaded into the car and donated.

    Sincerely hope all SA comments help

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