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  • #158482

    One small item of clutter one giant leap towards a clutter-free home. That is my approach to decluttering my home. I have committed to one item a day every day of the year and eventually that one small step will make a big difference. I feel relaxed about it, happy with my efforts and confident that I will reach my goal in the end. The pressure is off but the job is getting done never-the-less.
    Is anyone else tackling this problem with the same approach and if so how is it working for you?

  • #164429
    Avatar of Mrs.Mack
    Mrs.Mack
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    I’ve never done it, but I’d suggest writing down each thing you get rid of. At the end of the year, I bet it’ll feel great to see such a long list! Or better, weigh each item before tossing. Then you can say your house has shed this many pounds/kilograms/etc. of stuff, which will sound very impressive!

  • #164430
    Avatar of Aunt Cloud
    Aunt Cloud
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    Amen to that. I’m still working on downsizing after moving into a smaller house and trying to shoehorn everything in place. The daily mini-purge is the way to go, for me, and it’s amazingly effective. The best side effect is that after getting used to having less *things*, I’m more sensitive to any overflow of stuff. It’s like, at my current weight, I could gain 5 lbs and not really be bothered, but those 5 lbs would really show on a tiny 110-lb frame.

    One little tweak – I’m trying to keep a mental account of “stuff-in, stuff-out”. I actually organized my fabric stash and ended up with a large bag of unwanted fabric. The next day a friend told me about the big mama of all fabric sales at her church, when all the sewers, quilters and crafters of the community dig into their stash and bring it out for sale (all proceedings go to a charity organization that provides for African grandmothers, so I was very happy to shop there). I came back with a piece of fabric destined to become a curtain and some craft supplies that were used the next day for a school project. I didn’t buy anything just because it was pretty and on sale. And knowing I had a big bag of fabric on it’s way out gave me peace of mind.

  • #164435
    Avatar of Bobbi
    Bobbi
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    I’m on board with this challenge! I started November 9, 2009 and am going strong. I record the item(s) by date and “cheat” a bit by recording ahead of today if I get on a roll with purging lots of stuff. I noticed on your 365lessthings blog that some photos have more than one item for the day. I do that, too, since I don’t want to list “picture frame” twenty times (that’s a story by itself) and “a handful” of small items is counted as “one”. Not only does the list encourage me but reminds me of things I have purged over the last ten years (and two cross-country moves). I’m pretty sure I have enough to finish the year’s challenge. It’s been fun! I rarely shop for non-consumables so I’m able to stay ahead of the game.

    Mrs.Mack: another way to measure is by boxes. Sometimes it’s an estimate (how many boxes is a couch?) but still a fun way to go. My friend uses a banker’s box as a starting point. Her goal is 100 boxes this year.

  • #164436
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    I haven’t been keeping track of each item I’ve uncluttered, but my goal is “net loss of stuff,” so every time I bring something new in, *at least one* old thing must go out. I am pretty sure I’ve reduced by net 100 so far this year, when I count items of clothing, books, dvds, music cds, and miscellaneous.

    In fact, I’m finding it easier to resist getting new things. Particularly movies: we have a huge (ridiculous) collection of movies, but I can see the day coming when we can order any movie we want on pay-per-view, so for the past year I’ve really only gotten things that were, say, $5 – and intended for one-time viewing – or that had loads of special features. Movie geek, dig features. :-) And I’m surreptitiously getting rid of movies we watched once years ago and never again.

    My goal is to have only one layer of “stuff” on any given shelf or in any given cabinet. No piles or stacks, and nothing I can’t identify at a glance. And nothing that I wouldn’t buy again or that I resent paying rent/insurance for!

  • #164437
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    An internet friend of mine started a 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge. It was very successful and fun in the beginning because a lot of people were working on it and laughing about it. Everyone eventually adapted the challenge so it worked best for them. Some people stuck with one thing a day or a few things a day and some of us couldn’t open a drawer or closet with out finding many things to get rid of. We started in February of 2008. After a while other things in our life too priority and the challenge slowly faded away. It was disappointing but that how life goes.

    I tried doing it again on January 1st this year. I worked real hard in January and February to get rid of stuff, but hit a wall. Partly because there isn’t much to get rid of anymore, but mainly I’m to the point that nearly everything involves some sort of project; photos, the basement, garage, etc.

    Getting rid of one thing a day is good discipline, and it keeps you thinking about and looking for clutter every day. I recommend it to those of you who don’t know where to start.

  • #164440

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    Thanks for all your responses so far. I am enjoying all your useful tips. My blog http://www.365lessthings.com for those of you who haven’t had a look is where I photo archive all the items I purge.

    I hadn’t thought to measure it by weight or box load, since most loads I take to the thrift store go over in plastic crates I could have used that as a measure. Perhaps I could guestimate from the photos and have a bit of fun with that.

    There are at least ten items I had forgotten to photograph along the way some of them quite large but I have itemised every thing I have purged on our Google Calendar so I can look back on that and add the missed items from there.

    I hardly ever go to the shops any more except to buy groceries so there isn’t much coming into the house. What does come in is usually replacing something that is going out and I don’t count those items as part of the 365 less things unless represents a significant size reduction like the iPod dock for the huge speakers and tuner it replaced.

    Thanks again for your responses (keep them coing in) and all your contributions to this forum it is always a please to visit here and read all the stories and helpful tips people have.

    Colleen http://www.365lessthings.com

  • #164441
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    LOL – I’m sorry, it’s 3 a.m. here and I read the new subject line “Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering” and my tired brain thought: YES! Maybe I will just send all my clutter to the moon! ;o)

    Great idea though, to do one item a day. I would just be afraid of accumulating a huge “take this to charity, put this on ebay, etc” pile (or do you have to -deal- with the item that same day, too?). And I tend to have short outbursts of energy where I would unclutter something I had in the back of my mind for a year, and get done in 15 minutes. So I’m not sure I would work well with the slow 1 item a day approach… but it’s something to bear in mind, it’s a lot less stressful.

    Mrs.Mack: Good idea with the documenting. My mom is currently uncluttering and taking a picture of every full trunk of her car that she takes off to recycling/charity — it’s amazing, I really wonder where the stuff had been hiding before. So I guess instead of boxes she uses the measurement unit “full trunk” :o)

  • #164447

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    trillie, that’s hilarious but I don’t think our clutter is wanted up there either.
    Bobbi, I also “cheat” by planning items ahead of time that’s when the google calendar comes in handy.

    I spend more time writing the blog than I do decluttering really but it keeps me inspired.

    There are plenty of things I have put in the too hard basket for the time being like my old motorbike leathers that no longer fit me and aren’t ever likely to. I don’t know if they are worth selling because they seem in good order but I fear the stitching may have perished over time and I wouldn’t want them to fail while they were meant to be protecting someone.

    Then there are the my old sports trophies that we am planning on photographing before I get rid of them. We already did that once but my husband didn’t think the photos were very good.

    The point is I will get to these things when I am good and ready because there are other things that are easier to deal with right now. that is the beauty of 365 item in 365 day there is always another day and that day will come soon enough.

  • #164449
    Avatar of Amy
    Amy
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    I really enjoy your blog 365LessThings, and I receive it every day in my inbox. I forward it on to several of myfriends, and they enjoy reading about your journey, too!
    We are getting ready to begin a summer of yard sales, having just remarried in mid-life and combining two households.
    I figure it will take that long to get rid of all the duplicates, and maybe even upgrade to nicer newer stuff.
    It’s going to be fun!

  • #164450
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    it has taken me pretty much a year of quietly chipping away at the clutter….yes, one small item at a time!… to see the beautiful clear light at the end of the tunnel.

    i really didn’t have that much to begin with.
    there were a lot of books and sentimental paper clutter that were initially difficult to release…but once i began, i couldn’t stop. it felt so liberating.

    then there were the leftover kitchen items from my previous career, that simply didn’t fit the way i like to cook and entertain NOW.
    i got rid of those too.
    all that took was a mental adjustment and the rest was simple.

    some very overdue renovation helped spur things along.
    instead of building drawers and closets and pantries to house stuff….i gave the stuff away instead.

    i know i’ve still got too much stuff to be really a minimalist.
    for instance, i love beautiful ethnic textiles and i’ve probably got too many pieces.
    but now i am USING them, instead of storing them.

    and even as i am writing this, i am looking around my combined office/wardrobe and thinking hmmmm, there IS some clothing that could be pared down still further.

  • #164451

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    bandicoot, I couldn’t have said it better myself “all that took was a mental ajustent and the rest was simple” that is the key to decluttering I think. Knowing what should go is one thing, bringing yourself to be able to let it go is a whole other kettle of fish. Sounds like you’ve got it all worked out to me. By the way your soap looks delicious.

    Amy, thanks for the kind words I am glad you are enjoying my blog. Don’t forget to leave a comment occassionally I would love to hear from you. Good luck with your garage sales I hope my tips on that subject come in handy.

    Another day another declutter, today I am going through the old ski gear since we are coming into the ski season here is the land down under. Hopefully it should sell on eBay quickly and that will be one giant leap for decluttering because there is a mound of gear that has to go.

  • #164508
    Avatar of badkitti
    badkitti
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    Lol – I did read the title and wondered if the answer was ‘post it all to the moon’.

  • #164532
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    High five, badkitti :oD
    *radio news voice* NASA today found clutter — old furniture, single socks, children’s toys, and much more — filling up half of the Moon’s larger craters, while a few peculiar unitaskers were sighted still orbiting the Moon or floating aimlessly through space. “We have no idea how it got there”, a NASA spokesman said, “we suspect a conspiracy and just found out today when a steak branding iron collided with one of our satellites, destroying its transmitter module…” *radio fades out*

    365lessthings, thank God you’re “cheating” by planning things ahead. That sounds much more manageable to me. Hrmm.. if I consider doing this with my Basement Of Doom, I might have already a fully scheduled 2010 and 2011, hee hee ;o)

  • #164537

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    Hi trillie,
    a humorous yet curious response.

    I understand my approach to unclutterering isn’t right for everyone but it sure beats the throw your arms in the air and give up before you even bagin approach which can easily happen when you focus too much on the overall enormousness of the task ahead.

    I have found that as time goes by my enthusiasm grows and I find I can tackle those harder jobs I have been avoiding. Luckily I don’t have a “basement of doom” that does sound quite scary.

  • #164540
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    Mwahaha… Well, The Basement Of Doom is called that only in a self-deprecating way, because the Doom is really in my head: It’s the area that is still cluttered and mostly untouched (my apartment is doing pretty good by now), I always want to unclutter it, and I never get around to it, procrastinate, make excuses, or if I do start, I get fed up easily and leave it alone for another half year. And it’s never “urgent” enough to follow through. You get the idea ;o) Unfortunately, it won’t be too easy to get rid of its contents one per day (makes sense to haul them all away at the same time, there are mostly old building materials, paints, wood, metal and so on).

    Anyway, enough about that basement, I really just wanted to say: Oh no, I hope I didn’t offend you with the stupid moon joke, 365lessthings, if I did, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to :o/ My humor sometimes carries me away and then people think I ridicule them or their ideas when actually, I just find one fragment really funny when I think further about it. So if that happened, I’m sorry! — After all, I find your approach smart and, well, enviable (as I said above somewhere I think, I wouldn’t be able to stick with it or have the discipline), and it just makes perfect sense, because you don’t get overwhelmed and you do have progress every day :o) And it’s so much less stress!

  • #164542
    Avatar of paperdog
    paperdog
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    trillie- I thought your moon post was quite funny. In fact, I literally laughed out loud and the dog is looking at me like I’ve finally lost it! Dog better watch it or she goes on my decluttering list for tomorrow. (Not really-I love my dog!)

  • #164543

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    trillie
    No not at all offended I found it quite amusing myself. I have enjoyed the images that subject title has evoked from the members who have responded which is why I went with it in the first place. We could all do with a little light hearted humor when having to tackles tasks we don’t really want to do.

    I hope you find the strength to take care of that basement soon, it sounds like one of those areas you just need to dive into head first and get it out of the way so it can stop haunting you. Procrastination really is the arch enemy of decluttering.

    Good Luck, I look forward to hearing the happy ending to the “basement of doom” story.

  • #164545
    Avatar of KarenS
    KarenS
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    Trillie – “Basement of Doom” is exactly what I’m facing. Even at my mom’s house when I was young, I was always “cleaning the basement.” My childhood friends tease me about this…But it’s really sad because I am still “cleaning the basement.” My basement is full of sentimental clutter. I’m not so bad with the general “stuff,” but it’s really a challenge for me to send off the things I’m attached to, even if I know it’s ridiculous. Even as I type this, I wish I were home so I could get down there and send some stuff off. I did just donate a huge load of Christmas decorations I didn’t use the last few years, and sent some baby things off with an expecting friend. I’m making progress, but it’s s l o o o w. I really feel like I need my husband to take my kids somewhere for the weekend so I can have two days just to get down to it…And then I can continue with a one-item-a-day approach. Maybe I just need to get that on the calendar?

  • #164564
    Avatar of Bobbi
    Bobbi
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    Karen S: It won’t happen on a weekend. Three hours of decision-making (keep? toss? recycle? sell?) is exhausting. I vote for “Serenity to accept the things we cannot change.” That means it’s-going-to-take-time — one step at a time. It won’t be done in a day, or weekend or week (sorry, Erin).

    We need to learn to deal with the anxiety, guilt, grief, and “whelmed-overed-ness” (are those real words?) while in process. Ditch that nagging voice on your shoulder. It’s just like losing weight. It won’t – and shouldn’t – happen quickly. I’m speaking from experience, both in being impatient, and learning to do what I can when I can.

    Good luck, and give yourself a break!

  • #164583
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    @365lessthings – phew! Good thing I asked. Yup, you’re right, that dreaded basement room is one of those things where you can spend months on inventing the right strategy, but in the end you simply have to START… so guess what I did yesterday! I actually went down there and sorted. I didn’t throw anything out, but now I know what is actually there, what is worth keeping, and what is just going straight to the garbage or civic amentiy site. The next step will now be to ask my friend if I can borrow her car to haul it all away ;o)

    @paperdog – glad to make you laugh! And your dog is probably happy when you’re happy ;o)

    @KarenS – Bobbi is so right, especially if you have sentimental clutter to deal with, it’s emotionally exhausting and just not possible to quickly decide things within two days. My basement is only one room (I live in an aparment building, and the basement storage room is maybe about 75 square feet (7 m²), and there is nothing sentimental down there. But I have touched and evaluated everything that is in my apartment (740 square feet / 69 m²), at least three times, and I have found that some things are really easy to let go, and some are hard, and you need time.

    Like Bobbi, I think that the same emotions you go through when you mourn or when you have a break-up applies to stuff, too! When uncluttering a box full of mementos (movie tickets, sea shells, postcards, you know the kind) the second time, I knew I had kept everything in this box half a year ago because I thought it was important, I needed it, and I couldn’t possibly part with it. That second time, I actually looked at some of the items and incredulously asked myself: Why doesn’t it mean anything to me now, and why did I ever think it was important to keep? – So I figured those 6 months in between were important for my inner growth, for letting go of certain emotions connected to this stuff… Maybe I needed to be reminded of situations when looking at the stuff, like a thought-provoking impulse, and then I had half a year to deal with the connected emotions. Anyway, what I’m just trying to tell you is: If it’s sentimental clutter, give yourself some time. You wouldn’t expect yourself to get over a break-up in 2 hours over the weekend, and even though it is just a basement of lifeless stuff, uncluttering that basement is a similar process for your brain.

    (What a wall of text! I’ll hit “send” now! lol)

  • #164631
    Avatar of pol
    pol
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    I read the title and thought of “Lance Armstrong”… I thought it was going to have to do with winning against incredible odds or something. (But Moon voyages are cool too).

    I’ve been decluttering regularly and it simply gets easier and esier the more I do it! “Sentimental” clutter has always been the worst with me. Oh and the “I might need it one day” clutter and the “but it has value” clutter… okay I admit, I had ALL the clutter excuses! Unclutterer.com has been my saviour connecting me with other like minded sites and people.

    Each small step has opened my eyes to the damage I was causing myself, the stuff owned me. In fact, I have the potential to be a hoarder if anything traumatic were to happen to me… and that’s a scary thought!

    But releasing “the stuff” one peice at a time with no strings attached has been liberating! If there is something that I am afraid I will miss, or a memory associated with the thing that I am afraid I will forget, then I stage a nice digital photograph of the item and store the file instead of the thing. It’s been a great thing for my needy stuff-bonding tendencies.

    Like I said above, the more I “let go” the easier it is getting. My life is “lighter” when I think of the things in my home like it has never been before, and its just plain GOOD for myself, my marriage and my kids.

  • #164642
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    trillie…good for you!
    what a great feeling to have started that big job!
    very liberating.

    i agree that a lot of our uncluttering work is mental work.
    it starts in our heads for sure.
    for some people it is easier to deal with the clutter than to ever have to deal with the thinking behind it.

    my uncluttering is pretty much completed…i am in maintenance mode now.
    but i know i have emotional tendencies to clutter (pol, i have all the same clutter excuses too! it’s like a greatest hits album!) and i have to be vigilant.

  • #164662

    The Neil Armstrong Approach to uncluttering

    I agree bandicoot, good for you trillie, I am go glad you have made progress with that basement and I agree with everything you said about the hard decisions when it comes sentimental clutter and the inner growth that gives you the strength to part with things you couldn’t bring yourself to part with previously.

    And pol, you raised the hairs on the back of my neck when I read what you wrote… “Each small step has opened my eyes to the damage I was causing myself, the stuff owned me.” that was such an AH HA moment for me. The stuff owned me is so right, it is not always for the same reasons but seeing it in that light is one major leap towards getting past the emotional attachment to items that in reality I card so little about that they are stuffed in the back on a cupboard somewhere but haven’t been able to part with anyway. I will think of this everytime I come across one of those items in the future.

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