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Thread: Trying to get rid of stuff (non-quilting)

  1. #1
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    Trying to get rid of stuff (non-quilting)

    Hi Everyone! I have finally gotten to the point of trying to get rid of some things I have been hanging on to.
    These things were from parents, grandparents, other family members or just when I was much younger.
    I know the saying is: if you haven't used it-get rid of it. The only trouble is some of these items are sentimental items.
    I freely admit I am too emotional (can't think of right word right now-soft, etc), hope you get my drift.
    I thought about keeping just 1 of some things. People have said sell it, take it to resale shop-you'll get money from it.
    Well, lot of people are doing the same thing, downsizing. I can't just throw some of this away....I blame my mother, grandmother-lol.
    I have asked my son "if I was to die tomorrow, what would you get rid of?". That has worked for some things, but not so much on others-lol.
    Okay everyone, how did you do the downsizing...what is your secret to get rid of items that are just taking up room???
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 07-06-2019 at 04:01 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps
    Vi

  2. #2
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    In November I came across a YouTube video on this very topic, and posted a link to it here. Several members posted that they watched it and enjoyed the presentation and approach. She deals with the emotional aspects that you're talking about. I think you'll find it timely.

    https://www.quiltingboard.com/person...g-t300946.html

  3. #3
    Super Member redquilter's Avatar
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    My church has a thrift shop. I'm always bring bags there. Someone can use the items and get a good price, the church can make a little money and I feel good knowing it's not going in the trash. I rarely throw anything away if it's not damaged. Just let it go. I understand your emotional attachment, but you'll get over it. I assure you!

  4. #4
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    A small book “Swedish Death Cleaning” is helpful. I’ve been looking at things and saying to myself “if I move, do I want to take this ?”

  5. #5
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    I am not emotionally connected to most things. Exceptions - quilting things and some things from when our girls were little. People and memories carry my emotions, not things. I have no problem getting rid of most things, and have been doing a lot of it over the last 2 years. I retired and started with my clothes. No need for many dress clothes now, only for an occasional dinner out or special occasion. I don't like knickknacks. We remodeled our kitchen/bathroom/laundry room, and a lot of things that were rarely, if ever, used have been donated. Most of my donations go to Salvation Army as it is convenient. I have a large box that I drop things in and take when I am in the area.

    DH, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. While one daughter was here and going through things that are hers, she came upon an acrylic rug that her grandmother made. It's the type that has precut acrylic yarn, not wool. Not terribly cute in its best days, it has a hole in it where several of the loops came out. Into the trash it went. DH pulled it out. When I asked him about it, he said he would put it in the garbage. Nope, I found it again, moved to a different spot in the garage. It'll never be used - but his mother made it, so it has to be kept. The garage (including rafters), shed and basement are full of "stuff", much of which I call junk. Some he feels attached to, or was given to him (shirts in boxes that are not his taste - still in the box), or it might be useful someday (scraps of wood, etc.).

    The remodel we did on the house is way beyond what we (or our children) will ever get out of the house, due to the location and other issues with the house. He was willing to spend the money because he simply cannot move.

    It is what it is. I'm not going to change him. People are all different with different comfort levels. I just feel bad for our daughters, who will end up dealing with it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    A small book “Swedish Death Cleaning” is helpful. I’ve been looking at things and saying to myself “if I move, do I want to take this ?”
    I like that "if I (had to) move, do I want to take this?" I also will be looking at the link and you-tube others have posted.

    I haven't quilted in so long. I get frustrated because I can't get organized.
    I have donated some things and even did some Ebay. But Ebay takes too much time I think. Which is stupid because when I donate, my mind says "I bet someone will put this on Ebay and make money off of it". Dumb and lazy, huh??
    Vi

  7. #7
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    When I want to get rid of something, I either think about how someone else will love it far more than I do, or I picture the executor of my will rolling their eyes and saying, What on earth did she keep that for?

    I did an almost complete cleanout when we moved as we were going to a furnished condo. It is a very freeing feeling to get rid of so much stuff.

    If there are sentimental items, take pictures of them, keep the pics, donate the items.

  8. #8
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    When "getting rid of stuff"-

    such as items commonly found at yard sales, such as vases, dishes, clothing, shoes, etc. (items sold for $5.00 or less) -

    have you found it worthwhile having a yard/garage/rummage sale - or is it easier/simpler to just bag up a few items at a time and drop them off at whatever place will take them?

  9. #9
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    I have a rule: If I buy one pair of shoes/pants/blouse, then one of the same item has to go. I am deeply committed to this rule, but obviously not, because my closet got so packed it was hard to put away clean laundry. So yesterday, I sorted out 3 garbage bags of perfectly good clothes, eliminated store/dry cleaning hangers, and put remaining clothes on my best/matching hangers.

    I tried not to think of how nice they were, so I said if I was going to a funeral, what would I choose? I kept that one. going to church? kept 3; going out on the town, kept 2; everyday outfits? kept 10; raincoat? one; topcoat? one. Anyway....the result of a workable closet and the ability to see my choices as well as not dreading laundry putaway is so worth much more than owning all those clothes that I was only going to "pick over" anyway for that best outfit.

    Now, if I can just practice my "rule", I might not get so overwhelmed again.

    That is how I tackled my closet, best wishes on your journey.....

  10. #10
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Make a photo album then get rid of the items. You won’t miss them.
    Sandygirl

    Janome 9900 / Janome 9700 / Janome 3160 QVC/ Janome 1100D serger, Juki 2020 Mini
    Singer Centennial model (inherited from my late, fav aunt!)

  11. #11
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I have a box that has ongoing things I want to get rid of. When it's filled I take it to Goodwill.
    I have purged a lot of things at once as well. It's such a good feeling to get rid of stuff. I am sentimental too, but it can border on ridiculous so I keep very special to me things and let the rest go.
    My kids are not collectors, although they are sentimental too. They have told me what they want me to keep. It's not a lot.
    Like someone else said- pictures and memories are sufficient for me.

    I will say this too- I haven't missed one thing I've ever gotten rid of!

  12. #12
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    I am a collector and over my lifetime I have collected many things I truly love and I love my home with my things in it. My sons probably don’t want anything so I have given them the name of an Estate Sale group. ( it is with my will and all the things they need when I am gone) My only requirement is I want a sign in the first room saying “my parents loved collecting and Estate Sales. Please enjoy and my mom hopes you will love the treasures you choose.”

    I did downsize after my husband died and I left NJ. I miss a lot of what was sold, donated, etc. it is my hope I will stay in this home the remainder of my life.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  13. #13
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    We had hoped to move this spring, so last winter I got a box and put it in the kitchen. Whenever I ran across something I wasn't using and probably never would again, I put it in the box. When it was full, I took it to the Salvation Army and got another box. I kept that up all winter long and really did get rid of a lot of junk. We had a lot of duplicate and triplicate kitchen items. Books went to the library for the book sale, and I sold some quilt-related ones on Amazon. I advertised on our community bulletin board for some big things like our old stereo. Now we have decided not to move, and I like the space we now have. I also have a sentimental DH problem, but even he likes the more airy look (except in his "office").

  14. #14
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I had a lot of my grandmother's things. Mostly items that I never used but they were hers and I felt I had to keep them. I asked my girls if they wanted any of it and they said said not really. I realized they had no memories attached to the items. It was like seeing an old china set in a thrift shop, pretty but you don't buy it. My kids have all gotten the little things they want to keep from my house. I was surprised that they each had attachments to the oddest things. An old hotel desk bell to a bathroom vanity tray. I know that they have the things that had memory attached for them. Items I probably would have gotten rid of never thinking they wanted them. The rest I can do as I want with it and not feel like I should save it for them. I have found I have forgotten what I have gotten rid of so I know it won't bother me later. LOL
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  15. #15
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    We moved a few years ago and got rid of a lot of things that had no sentimental or monetary value. I kept a few things that were important to me and don’t miss anything else. I used to collect things but got tired of it and gave everything away. Good suggestion to take pictures of some things and then let them go. As Peter Walsh used to say on Clean Sweep, it’s usually the memories associated with the item that are valuable so a picture can evoke those same memories. We are in a bigger house with less stuff and I like it a lot. Also easy to clean. I have adopted the Marie Kondo method of folding clothes and that has freed up dresser drawers.
    Alyce

  16. #16
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    I'm getting older (67.... What????) and have started to realize that there would be an over-abundance of stuff to get rid of should I pass away. Children may want a few pieces of furniture, but my jewelry, quilts, fabric, dishes, small appliances etc. are my main concerns.
    So I'm thinking ahead and going through all the extra my stuff a little at a time and giving to DAV and Salvation Army. Don't want to be a burden on anyone.

  17. #17
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    I have had great success with watching Wanted ads on Craig's List.

    I also place free ads, most times the items are done as a "loot and scoot" where they are out but protected by weather and the person comes by at their convenience and we don't always meet. Sometimes I take the items to them, it all depends.

    I've given away fabric, non-working sewing machines (they were close to working, not parts just ones I hadn't fixed yet), craft supplies, furniture, dishes, food, pet food... all sorts of things.

    The reality of a lot of the little knickknacks and such is that pretty much no one wants them. Anything that comes in a fancy box specific to that item, well the world is full of useless little boxes that were too good to throw away. So in that sort of circumstance I ask myself how much stuff am I willing to hold onto? Then I find an appropriate sized box and I allow myself to keep what fits in it. And the rest of it is designated as "I don't want it as much as I want that".

    Keep the things you love, don't distract yourself with the things you don't and just want or might be good for some day or whatever. If that some day comes and you don't have what it was, well chances are the thrift store will have something that works.

    It's an on-going process for me. Part of my ever changing life style, but at this point I recognize that I have too much stuff and ultimately it is too much stuff that I don't want. I have enough room for the stuff I want. But if I want to bring something into the house, well something else has to go...

  18. #18
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    My uncle was a hoarder of sorts. He never got rid of anything. My aunt would wait until he was gone and then go fill a box with stuff she knew he would never look for. She took the box to a dumpster. He never missed a thing because he never knew it was gone.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  19. #19
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    A friend kept mentioning Marie Kondo and her "tidying up" system. I finally searched the library and got out her book. After reading it, I have decided to do the sorting and folding her way. Some of what she does is too extreme for me, but her basic philosophy is to keep only those things that bring you joy. She wants you to start with clothes, but my clothes are not my major issue -- it is my quilting fabric. I have a small walk-in closet with shelves on 2 walls that holds my fabric, stacked by color..sort of. I found that I would walk in that closet, touch a few fabrics, pull some out, put them back and never get anything accomplished. It was an absolute zoo in there. I watched a YouTube video by SewVeryEasy on how she folds her fabric over a 6" ruler. I have spent the better part of this July 4th weekend refolding all my fabric. I was amazed at some beautiful fabrics that were buried within the stacks. I also found some that will hit the free table at the next group mtg. But Marie Kondo changed my mindset of keeping "stuff". Good luck.

  20. #20
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    Here are a few "tactics" I employ when I need to just dive in and dejunk.

    1. "27 Things" -- I think the Fly Lady calls it a 27 Things Fling Boogie, but the idea is to get rid of 27 things in one fell swoop. Start with obvious trash. Every handful or big item is 1 thing. After that, grab a bag or box and start putting more things in it till you get to 27. Then give yourself permission to Stop. I would guess you could find 27 pieces of fabric or zippers, a UFO you don't like, notions never used, etc.

    2. The Mt Vernon method. The name comes from the housekeepers at Mt Vernon. They clean by starting at the door of a room and work counterclockwise, one section at a time (not zigzagging across the room , not leaving the room) till it's done, then move on. You can easily see your progress if you concentrate in dejunking one area before moving on.

    3. Set a timer. My most often used method. 15 minutes is my norm. I work uninterrupted for 15 minutes. Then, if I still have motivation, I set another 15 minute timer. I'm usually good for 1.5 hours till I'm burnt out from decision making, but if I set a timer for 90 minutes, I would feel overwhelmed. Bite sized chunks of time work better for me
    mentally.

    4. Before and After Photos. I sometimes do this when I'm overwhelmed. I take photos of the whole room, then photos of each section I want to tackle. Set the timer for 15 minutes, work fast, taka a photo. It's amazing what we can do when we race the clock and then see progress via a photo.

  21. #21
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    Stuff creates anxiety for me, and I didn't want to get rid of stuff for 3 reasons: 1) It was something passed down in the family and had emotion attached to it; 2) I paid my hard-earned money for it and I didn't want to just give it away; and 3) I might need it some day. As I went through the pass-downs, I asked family members if they wanted it. If they really wanted it, fine, but if they said they would take it if no one else would, I either found an extended family member who valued it or I let it go. The only exception was the family Bible that dated back to the mid-1600s. If it was for reason 2 and I had had it 2 or more years and never used it, out it went. If it was reason 3 and again, I hadn't needed it in 2 years, out it went. There are people out there who are really hurting financially, and for them, something that has been in my closets for 2 years without being used could be a real need they have. For me, it was wrong to hang on to stuff that someone else might be able to use. And, these days, there are so many yard sales, unless you live in a wealthy part of town where I live, traffic for yard sales is pretty low, so why waste your time. My memories are not in the stuff but in the memories my family created when we were together over the years. Although I felt twinge-y about some of the items, I let them go, and it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. No more looking through multiple boxes trying to find something, or opening a closet and getting depressed because it was crammed full and I needed more storage space. Side note: when my mother died, I inherited all of her sewing stash, which I held onto for 13 years and never used the first item of because I had so much of my own. I got in touch with my local Linus Project coordinator who is also a clothing construction teacher at a high school and asked if she was interested. She was and she came and picked up 15 boxes of quilting and garment fabrics, notions including zippers, buttons and rulers, a barely used sewing machine cabinet, an AccuQuilt Go and dies, numerous books and patterns and the like...enough to fill an SUV and a truck. She later told me she had girls taking clothing construction who could not afford to buy the fabric for their clothing projects and the fabrics I sent (basic wool crepes, wool flannel, knits and linen) would be a godsend for them. That immediately got rid of my itchy twinges about letting go of stuff. I was delighted that there IS a new generation of sewers coming up and was proud to help encourage that. To me, the overall secret is to find someone who needs what you have...homeless assistance programs, the Restore shops run by Habitat for Humanity, domestic violence shelters who are trying to help women get back on their feet, and programs that provide business clothing for low income women and men who are interviewing for jobs and trying to get back on their feet. There are also numerous charities that will take used toys and bicycles and rehab them for children whose parents can't afford items for birthdays and Christmas. That helps take the anxiety and sting out of getting rid of perfectly good stuff.

  22. #22
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    I need to....................... should just put a sign on my Front door that says "Trash and Treasures"+ make me an offer..LOL I won't give to Good Will.. I Will donate to Salvation Army and Hospital Thrift Shops.
    Friend who can share your laughter and tears are the only ones you need.

  23. #23
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    My Daughter and oldest Granddaughter tell me to keep what I like. After I am gone they can do whatever they want with my stuff. If I die yhe least they can do is get rid of what I leave behind.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  24. #24
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    We are in the process of moving across the country (2 states). It is hard to give up some things. I have downsized my fabric but probably could have downsized more. It is all in boxes now and I will not open them. I have purged several things in the kitchen and other rooms. The garage is next. My husband seems to be able to give up everything and wonders why I can't. After reading your replies, I am deciding what is left to pack I will be able to discard without regrets. I know my boys don't want anything and I don't want my daughter overwhelmed. My friends and quilting group got my fabric, books, and scrap booking supplies, the library got books, Savers, Deseret Industries, and Salvation Army stores are being filled just by what I have discarded and I am just to lazy to have a garage sale.

  25. #25
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    A small book “Swedish Death Cleaning” is helpful. I’ve been looking at things and saying to myself “if I move, do I want to take this ?”
    I had not heard this particular term before, and so went to Google: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/healt...-it-ncna816511

    Many of us are at a stage in life where this concept makes a great deal of sense. My problem is that a lot of stuff represents potential for doing things. I have already eliminated hobby materials for things I'm sure I won't ever go back to, such as counted cross stitch, but there are other items - some quite bulky - that I'm pretty sure I will get back to sooner or later, if I live long enough. That's a pretty big "if" because I'm already quite a lot older than either of my parents lived. We all have to plan as if we might live to 100 or more, but also consider the very real possibility that we won't. Finding a balance is a hard and continuous task.
    True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. ~Brianna Wiest

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