Dealing With Massive Clutter Issue

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Organizing' started by sillysally, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. sillysally

    sillysally Member

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    I have to confess that I've ignored the obvious clutter problem in our home for way too long (clutter picks itself up if you ignore it long enough, right?), and the house has reached critical mass. There is stuff everyway, and I am just overwhelmed and don't know where to start.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
     
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  2. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member

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    I'm in a similar position. I came across a website called "40 bags in 40 days" that was encouraging, but even that seemed to much. So I downloaded a system that is sort of working -- if I work it.

    http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/declutter-calendar.html

    I'm planning on moving in the next few months, so I made a commitment to myself to give away/ throw out / put up / store at least 10 items a day. I've been pretty good at keeping to that commitment, but it seems the place looks worse than when I started. That's because I pull things out of drawer or closet and it take a couple of days to handle it. I figure it will take another month before I actually see visible results, but with over 15 boxes/ bags of items removed from the house I know I'm making progress.
     

  3. gibbsgirl

    gibbsgirl Well-Known Member

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    My best advice is to just start clearing stuff out regardless of how much or how fast or where you take it (trash, donate, give away, etc). You just have to make it a habit, even if it's just a few things a day, or making sure whenever you dump trash you make sure you find enough to top the containers off with a few things.

    The other trick is to really work on not addind to the clutter by bringing more stuff in.

    Best wishes. And, don't be discouraged if progress is slow. It's still progress.
     
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  4. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    Clean one room or part of a room at a time. Work outwards from there if possible.
     
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  5. Txsteader

    Txsteader Well-Known Member

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    Start small. Rather than looking at the entire problem, break it down into individual tasks, such as a closet or cabinet, for example. 'Today, I'm going to clean and organize that cabinet.' Relish the feeling accomplishment when you're done, let it be your motivation for the next project. ;)

    Remember, purging is actually very therapeutic. It not only clears space but it clears your mind as well. :)
     
  6. Laura Zone 5

    Laura Zone 5 Shut the front door! Supporter

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    This is what I did.

    Start in the bedroom.
    If you have a bathroom IN your bedroom, start there.
    Empty, the bathroom. Everything out.
    Start w/ the ceiling. Clean the vent fans, the ceiling, the light fixtures, the windows.
    Get a new shower curtain, wash the curtains on the window.
    Wash the walls, wash any shelves in the closet (if there is one)
    Clean the sink, mirror, toilet, etc.
    Clean out the sink vanity-drawers, etc. Inside and out.
    Scrub the floor, base boards.
    Look at all the brick a brack you have in the bathroom and rethink how much of this do I REALLY need.

    NOW you have a clean room.
    ONLY put ABSOLUTE nescessities back in the bathroom.
    Throw everything else away. Put it in a huge green bag and immediately drag it to the curb.
    If storage space is an issue, got to WalMart and get 2.00 plastic Sterilite tubs and store your items in there. MAKE SURE to label the tub so you know where things are.

    Now you have a 'safe spot'. A clean spot. Free of clutter and you can think.

    Next, the bedroom.
    Same thing.........
    Empty everything out of the bedroom. Everything. I know this is a huge pain in the postoodle........but get it all out. First thing: Strip the bed of all it's linens.
    Start cleaning top to bottom.
    Ceiling, light fixtures, ceiling fans, vents.
    Walls, windows, curtains, blinds.
    Carpet,(clean carpet/vacuume) hard woods, vents, etc.

    Now you have a clean room.
    Put the bed back, and make the bed with fresh linens.
    ONLY put the furniture that FUNCTIONS back in the room.
    If the furniture is only there to 'hide' stuff or 'hold stuff'......get rid of it and all the 'stuff' that it's hiding / holding.
    Take everything that does not function to good will or the dump.

    Now get in your bedroom closet.....
    Same thing
    Totally empty, clean top to bottom, purge all non essential items.

    You will sleep better.
    You will be MORE motivated to attack the rest of the house.
    You will feel better.
    You will have a 'safe' place to go when you are overwhelmed w/ the rest of the house.

    This is what worked for me and kept me motivated to purge a 4,000 sq foot home into a 1200 sq foot apartment, and again into a 14ft moving van.
     
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  7. Kawren

    Kawren New Member

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    Following this since we're downsizing from 5 bdrm 3000 sq ft house to a 3 bdrm 1200 sq ft house. Then moving again in 4 years.

    Laurazone10, I'm impressed!
     
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  8. Crankin

    Crankin Well-Known Member

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    Laura Zone 10 Is absolutely right.

    A few years ago I decided to reorganize my shop. I had been moving my "junk" around for years in my shop. I saved everything that might have any potential use. And I rationalized that I was saving trips to the hardware store because I had collected a great variety of nuts blots, washers, tools, scrap metal, pieces of equipment and so on. One year in March, I decided to move everything out of my shop and very selectively put the stuff back in. one at a time. When I thought, " I might be able to...." "This could be used to..." "Maybe I..."
    It did not come back in. :duel:

    Old habits die hard. They didn't become habits overnight. I had to train my self to NOT go back through the give away pile, trash, scrap metal, old car parts etc.

    Now it is relaxing and fun to work in my shop.
     
  9. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Throwing away is absolutely essential. And, doing the entire room is absolutely essential. If you have to do it in five minute units, then do it but keep going back. Begin with 2 trash bags and a box or basket. You divide everything into the throw away bag, the give away bag, and the keeping box. Go through the keeping box a second time and see if you can’t throw away or give away things.

    When keeping, is it sentimental? Is it a necessity? Is it time to replace it? If it’s sentimental, would your family throw it away if you died tomorrow? Photos can go into an album or scanned into your computer. Towels can go to the Humane Society. Three boxes of the same thing can probably all go into a single box. Old cleaning supplies are old because you don’t use them- throw away. If you have stuff that really belongs to other people, box these and tell them to come and get it- you are not the keeper of other people’s sentimental junk.

    Go through everything, every shelf, every corner. Once you clear off a shelf to divide into three bags, your shelf is now ready to be cleaned and you can put the “keep” onto the shelf, after you’ve gone through it a second time. Move to the next shelf. Divide, wash shelf, put away. A closet you may need to completely empty, but you can also begin with the shelf above the rod, deal with that, wash shelf, put things away. Remove 1/3 of the clothes and hangers, deal with it, move to the next 1/3.

    Spend all day if you have to but finish the room. If you only have a small space to declutter, like a desk or your car, you can do a little at a time and get it done in a week. For an entire room or entire house, you will never finish it if you do a little at a time. Once the room is tidy you can spend five minutes every day to keep it that way. Put the dirty clothes in the hamper, put the book in the book case, dust, etc.

    If you don’t know where to start, look up. You probably have a top shelf, or top of a tall boy that you can start with. Work your way down by shelf and drawer. Clear a space on the floor to do your sorting. You have to remove everything from the drawer or shelf, not rummage through and throw out one item. Empty the shelf or drawer. Keep, give away, trash. Do I use this? Do I love this? If you don’t love it then you don’t need it. Does this make me feel good, or does it bring on guilt? Does it make me feel good, or neutral? Trash, trash, trash.
     
  10. Chickensittin

    Chickensittin Well-Known Member

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    I am in a similar position. I read on a blog that for every item she purchases or brings into the house, she matches it with 1-2 items going out. At least your clutter won't grow if you stick with this method.
     
  11. NEfarmgirl

    NEfarmgirl Well-Known Member

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    I joined a group on another website and we started a 40 bags in 40 days challenge. After that we have been doing a monthly challenge to throw or donate 465 items. We can start by getting rid of 1 item on day 1 of the month, 2 on day 2 and so on. You can work in reverse and get rid of 31 (or 30) on the last day of the month and work backwards. Every individual item counts as 1; including paper! When we keep track and log it online for others to see, it seems to be a big motivation to keep going.

    We have a rule, if we haven't used it in a year we get rid of it. Most will say it should be 6 months but some items we have are seasonal and can't justify getting rid of them unles they have sat for an entire change of seasons.
     
  12. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I turn the TV set on when I feel overwhelmed, to distract me from the feelings as I work. For me, it helps. And, I pat myself on the back if I can work for the entire talk show (or whatever)!
     
  13. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    I, too, believe if you bring something in then something goes out. I continually work on any clutter. My husband is the packrat. Throwing things away is good! It took me a while to do this. Extra blankets go to the homeless shelter and they will LOVE you for this. I keep one box in my closet to donate and when it gets full, I put it in the car to take to town.
     
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  14. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member

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    Well, I just found out yesterday that the apartment in the senior housing complex I had hoped to get just became available. <gulp> So thinking about paring down from 1600 square feet and two outbuildings to 800 square feet and a small storage room just became reality. I've taken 4 pick up loads out of this place already, but a lot more still needs to go. Plus I just added a quilting machine on a frame that takes up 4 x 10 feet. <double gulp!>

    I think I'm going to use Laura's method, but I won't be able to completely empty each room and then put back what I want to keep, but I can do perhaps a half room at a time (except the furniture that I can't handle on my own).

    Then again, I might just wait until I take possession of the apartment and hire movers to just take what I know I can fit and then get rid of everything left over. Any ideas on that method?
     
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  15. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    I just ignore her.:nana:
     
  16. mustangglp

    mustangglp Well-Known Member

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    This should be a sticky
    I brought this up with starting in the bathroom and the wife said should add another shelf:hrm:
     
  17. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member

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    And why should people ignore me? I said nothing in my post that could in any way be considered offensive. Trolling is not nice.
     
  18. Laura Zone 5

    Laura Zone 5 Shut the front door! Supporter

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    For me personally, I went through every box, tubby, ect....I wanted to see it, and release it. ALSO things like 'cookbooks' (my daughter and I had TONS of them) we donated them to our small country library instead of Goodwill.....All of my gardening / canning things, I put in one (ok, multiple boxes) box and gave it to my girlfriend.
    I found money in books, coat pockets, jean pockets, drawers, etc......so I am glad I went thru everything.

    It was also good for me to see what I was getting rid of so moving forward, I didn't "pick the same thing up at a thrift shop" because I really, really, don't need it.

    Do you have anyone that can help? Someone from church, or a club or group you belong too??
     
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  19. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I found an easy way to pare down on cookbooks. I went to my handy dandy computer and entered, by hand and in large print, the recipes I actually use. I put two sheets into several clear pages and put them into a duo tang folder. I&#8217;ll keep the Julia Child books, but I have no need for a book that I use only two or three recipes from. It&#8217;s so much easier to find the recipe I need, and the page is washable and the folder lies flat.
     
  20. Little_Bit_Red

    Little_Bit_Red Novice

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    ok, How long should one hold onto clothing that does not fit "right now"? I am trying again to get healthy and if I got rid of everything that does not fit, then lose weight - I'd have nothing to wear. I am strapped for cash - picking up a second job very soon, possibly a third as well - so purchasing even used clothing in a smaller size is difficult - the Salvation Army around me doesn't always carry the nicer stuff in plus sizes.:rain: