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Too much stuff, too little space

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  • Too much stuff, too little space

    I am in the process of downsizing. Not my home, my possessions. I have too much stuff. I've helped clean out other people's homes and I am determined that I am not going to leave a mess for my kids to have to go through. Another problem I have is, I don't have enough storage. I live in a mobile home with poor closet spaces and no shelving, which I'm trying to improve. But the real problem is STUFF. Anybody in the same boat?

    So here's what I've done: I bought a couple of large wire shelving units and put them in a smaller extra room, and all like items are in tubs or plastic shoe boxes, labeled and shelved. I had been doing this before, just storing in stacks in the closet. Now it is organized and neat. And everything has a place. Then, I emptied my dressers and closet, and made stacks for 2 different charities. I only kept things that fit well and that I like. No more standing in front of the closet staring and trying to decide. No more overstuffed drawers that I have no idea what is in them. I even have 7 empty drawers! No more bras or nightgowns that I'm not going to wear. No more pillows, quilts and blankets falling out of closets - pitched, given away - who needs it all? Another thing I did was reorganize the kitchen, which is small with deep cupboards/pantry. Food gets lost in the pantry, so I ordered an over the door organizer for spices, vitamins, prescriptions and foil/zip locks. It hasn't been put together yet. I removed all the food and put most of it in the extra room previously mentioned and organized. There is a wire shelving unit in that closet for that purpose. In the old kitchen pantry, I put all the small appliances - air fryer, toaster, blender, etc plus a couple of huge pots. And I REALLY like this set up. It is working great! I got rid of some mugs, glasses, other dishes. Moved the plastic/Tupperware to a pullout drawer instead of a cupboard. Organized under the sink - what a mess that always is. I'm tackling the bathrooms next.

    One last thing I did was send a beautiful, large, expensive alpaca rug to my daughter. She's always wanted it and will cherish having it for her home. (I have a smaller one and 2 pillows still that I am keeping.) I didn't tell her, I just sent it and was she surprised! That brought me such joy.

    It's too hot to go through the stuff in the shed but - Go me! It looks so much better without all the stuff, I don't miss it and I'm going to continue the downsizing (for instance, I have a KitchenAid in the kitchen, and an older mixer with stand/bowls stored. Why? I'm getting rid of duplicates.)

    Can anybody relate?


  • #2
    Hooo boy, can I ever relate! We have lived in my parents very large home with them for 25 years. The living situation was easy and comfortable for 2 families in that there were 2 separate living areas and 2 kitchens. My father passed away at the end of 2017 and my mother passed away last month. My husband and I have been wanting to move to Washington State for several years. The problem here is this place is huge, 4100 sq ft of house, 1000 sq ft of basement storage and a 4 car garage. My dad, bless his heart, never EVER threw anything away! Were still finding stuff in hidey holes. Add to that, we had a tendency to save things rather than throw them out as well. We have been systematically sorting, purging, recycling, donating, selling, giving away as much as we can for the last 4 weeks and were making headway now, but we need to rent a dumpster next week for the cast offs. Its exhausting and were only halfway there. We have a tentative agreement with a realtor to list the house for sale August 1 and I think well be ready, at least I hope so. In the meantime, its a lot of why did I keep this?? going on all day. We figure once were moved we might spend about a week or so doing absolutely nothing!

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    • #3
      When I moved into the new house 2 years ago I vowed not to keep stuff! Now every few months I go through the house with a few boxes of things to get rid of, if I havent used it in over a year no need to keep it. Now if I could keep my husband from bring home chairs from the auction life would be great. I swear I have a chair farm in the basement.

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      • #4
        Im sorry to hear about your mom Charlene. My deepest sympathy to you. Its so hard to lose your mom.

        Im a saver and a pack rat but Im sorting and decluttering. We recently had to toss tons of stuff due to water damage and its helping me realize how much junk we have. Some things we had to toss were painful to get rid of. My new method is to ask myself how bad I would feel about having to throw something away because it got ruined. I keep the things that really matter to me like photos and a few special things from my grandparents and get rid of stuff that I dont care as much about. Less stuff means less chance of damage, I dont need to store things I want to keep in the basement and risk them getting ruined.
        Some sentimental stuff I take picture of and then get rid of it. I dont need the item to keep the memory on a thumb drive.

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        • #5
          Charlene I'm so sorry to hear about your losses. I cleaned out my M&D house after they passed. It was a struggle but also a healing time.
          MaryJo-stay strong and you will win this chore. I keep saying I'm gonna do the same but always say Tomorrow

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          • #6
            Thank you mellon and Happy@home. We have found many interesting things, many are being distributed throughout the family. But OMG, that garage! My dad kept every single used rusty nail, nut, bolt and screw he ever took out of anything and rather than buy 2 new nails for a 2 nail job, hed buy 50 of them. Theyre squirreled away in drawers, stuffed in empty pill bottles, empty Spam cans, empty film canisters and buckets hidden everywhere. Thank goodness we have connections with a metal scrapper that will come and get them. Were talking at least 200 pounds of stuff.

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            • #7
              We don't have a lot of stuff in our house but we desperately need to clean out my green shed and the garage. The pack rat in our family is John... he still has stuff that he brought with us when we moved from Canberra to Melbourne and I swear he never touched any of it in the 34 years that we've lived here.

              The biggest job I have to take care of before I depart this earth is to sort out thousands of photographs. Many will be tossed out and the rest need to be sorted according to who is the subject in the photos. Big job.
              I love my computer because all my friends live inside it!

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              • #8
                Too much stuff. We purged with the move last year and Im still purging. I swear when we sell, well have a huge sale! Everything goes! We will get a small cabin in the mountains and call it a day!

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                • #9
                  With each generation we seem to accumulate more things that we can't part with. I now have items that were my Mum's that I will never let go. Also have a few things from my Grandmother and a precious few from my great-Grandmother. It will be a dilemma if none of my children want these treasures but of course it could happen. None of it is worth $$$s but they are precious to me. Young people possess less 'stuff' and don't want to be weighed down with it. Supposing my eldest daughter says that she will take what I keep for sentimental reasons and then there's a few things that she has already said she would like to have after John and I go. Where or when does it stop?
                  I love my computer because all my friends live inside it!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CharleneG View Post
                    But OMG, that garage! My dad kept every single used rusty nail, nut, bolt and screw he ever took out of anything and rather than buy 2 new nails for a 2 nail job, hed buy 50 of them. Theyre squirreled away in drawers, stuffed in empty pill bottles, empty Spam cans, empty film canisters and buckets hidden everywhere. Thank goodness we have connections with a metal scrapper that will come and get them. Were talking at least 200 pounds of stuff.

                    My father was the same way. Must have been because of going without/making due during the Great Depression. I feel your pain!
                    Now, here's something cool. My sister's best friend has her own business, building [mostly] birdhouses from repurposed wood and decorative items. For instance, when one of the major wineries shut down, or a well-known restaurant i.e., she would take items from that place and make a birdhouse from it. Maybe a wine crate or barrel, barn wood, etc. When our dad was put in nursing care, the friend [Diane] took many truckloads of lumber, scrap, tools and misc items, and used them to create masterpieces. Then, she gifted each of us (4 girls) with one of the birdhouses, with a card saying where the items came from. It is very special.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Happy@home View Post
                      Im sorry to hear about your mom Charlene. My deepest sympathy to you. Its so hard to lose your mom.

                      Im a saver and a pack rat but Im sorting and decluttering. We recently had to toss tons of stuff due to water damage and its helping me realize how much junk we have. Some things we had to toss were painful to get rid of. My new method is to ask myself how bad I would feel about having to throw something away because it got ruined. I keep the things that really matter to me like photos and a few special things from my grandparents and get rid of stuff that I dont care as much about. Less stuff means less chance of damage, I dont need to store things I want to keep in the basement and risk them getting ruined.
                      Some sentimental stuff I take picture of and then get rid of it. I dont need the item to keep the memory on a thumb drive.
                      Great idea, Happy. I remember reading a few decades back (yes - decades) from Dear Abbey perhaps? Ann Landers? Anyhow - it was a list of things similar to what we are all commenting on, and she wrote that she "would have displayed and burned that decorator candle instead of storing it in the shed" where it melted in the heat. Yes, pictures! I have given most to my kids, but I was thinking how we do everything digitally now and have TONS of photos that we don't even care about.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chayote View Post
                        With each generation we seem to accumulate more things that we can't part with. I now have items that were my Mum's that I will never let go. Also have a few things from my Grandmother and a precious few from my great-Grandmother. It will be a dilemma if none of my children want these treasures but of course it could happen. None of it is worth $$$s but they are precious to me. Young people possess less 'stuff' and don't want to be weighed down with it. Supposing my eldest daughter says that she will take what I keep for sentimental reasons and then there's a few things that she has already said she would like to have after John and I go. Where or when does it stop?
                        Young people still want the stuff, they just want new, bigger and better stuff. From my parent's I have miniature antique oil lamps and 2 candy dishes. I also have some old and not the greatest jack knives that belongs to my father. I've already passed on items from my folks to my kids - things they really wanted. Mostly collectibles or antiques, fountain pens, medical instruments from my g.g. grandfather, most coveted - my son was given the baby ox yoke that was hand hewn by a great uncle in the 1800's and my daughter the rocking chair, which does have the rockers replaced and also the caned seat had to be redone - however it is well worth having these repairs because she is the 8th generation to have the rocking chair. That's important legacy to treasure and pass along. Most of what I have is worthless!

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