Home Forums Welcome Hello! When decluttering generates clutter

This topic contains 32 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Profile photo of Netleigh Netleigh 3 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #159183
    Profile photo of candy
    candy
    Member

    I have been steadily decluttering for quite some time now. As soon as a batch of stuff left my home, I started a new decluttering project.

    As a result of this, I have a feeling that I’ve been constantly living with charity bags/boxes/miscellaneous stuff to get rid of on my bedroom floor for the past year or more.

    This is beginning to feel like serious clutter.

    I have made a huge effort these past few weeks to really get things out of my home. I have also dedicated a small cupboard for storage of stuff that is on its way out (a simple IKEA storage unit like this: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S09837712)

    I really want no more visible clutter. Do you thing I will be able to keep my decluttering projects confined to this small unit of storage? I sincerely hope so.

  • #182755
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    Charity
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I know what you mean – I always seem to have a heap of plastic bags (for donation) on the sideboard in the playroom. At least I can close the door on them though. There are boxes of stuff piled up in the spare bedroom too that are “for sale”.

  • #182756
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    candy
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I live in a one bedroom condo, so there is unfortunately no spare room. Or perhaps “fortunately” since it would probably be filled with stuff if I had a spare room :)

  • #182757
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    Sky
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I keep my donation bag in the trunk of my car. It’s out of my house and when I’m near, I drop it off.

    Trash goes out immediately.

  • #182758
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    jbeany
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    Yes, you can contain the outgoing in one small space! Once you get through the worst of the purging, it’s easy to keep things to a certain area. As I was saying in the post about best decluttering ideas – I’ve got a storage bench I use as my OUT pile. When the bench is full, it gets emptied. When I was doing major sorting, I put everything in the car immediately. I had my station wagon wedged top to bottom a few times when I was getting rid of furniture and other large items. Now, with so much gone, the OUT stuff is much smaller – clothes, books, magazines. I’ve rarely had anything that didn’t fit in the bench. The few stray items that didn’t went immediately to the garage and into the car.

  • #182759
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    candy
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I don’t have a car – I decluttered it years ago when I moved into the center of Stockholm. I think that I’m through with the worst of the purging, so I’ll just give this a try for now.

  • #182760
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    JuliaJayne
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I would be careful that your storage unit doesn’t become a permanent storage.

    How are you getting rid of stuff? Is there any way you could schedule a day to get out as much as you can, and have whoever carts the stuff away come on the same day?

  • #182762
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    Ella
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    Candy: I can sympathize! I have the same problem but on an even tighter scale. I live in a tiny studio apartment, don’t have a car, and all my decluttering stuff is piled up in my living space during the process. My hallway, for example, is lined with seven big shopping bags full of papers to sort. It’s a challenge, for sure, and the process is often slowed way down by living in and working on the clutter at the same time. Some days it’s downright depressing to the point of near-paralysis, but I soldier on and try to keep at least one *area* clean, clear, and livable.

  • #182763
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    luxcat
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    This is a challenge for me right now too. I spent quite a bit of time decluttering yesterday (almost to my goals!) and ended up with: a large bag of materials to take to haz mat drop-off, a large bag of cassette tapes to take to special recycle center, and two bags of kitchenwares and clothes plus another pile of clothes on hangars to get rid of…also I still have a box of computer CDs and paperwork to sort and a box of business cards to input and a pile of slides to sort for scanning… and oh my goodness it’s a mess!

    I try to chip away at it all a little each day but I can sure sympathize with you all. I just keep telling myself as I drag all this stuff away… as soon as I get to my equilibrium point I can start with the “one in one out” plan and never have to do this again!

  • #182778
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    Mimi
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    i created a rountine for my decluttered stuff. after deciding to declutter a thing it goes to my donation box. i bring glass and paper and electronic recycling stuff to the recycling place (we have to recycle these things) every week and the donation box is taken to the homeless shelter afterwards. so i make sure not to keep it for too long. it´s a quick thing to do: “hi there, this is this week´s box, CU next week” :) if they didn´t take everything, i would recycle/toss it immediately.

  • #182792

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I’m lucky: I have a car and room to store stuff. They’ve opened a Goodwill dropoff point very near my house — on the way to places rather than a special trip. For giveaway items, I but a plastic tub with a lid in the bedroom — when it’s full, off to the charity shop I go.

    My mess-creator is projects that are too time consuming to do all at once, when it is ultimately more efficient to keep everything spread out until the project is done instead of pulling it out of hiding little by little or packing it back up every day.

  • #182794
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    Anonymous

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I know what you mean. It always takes me a long time to get donations out, because I don’t have a car and the closest drop-off point is not within walking distance. My system is: have one bag going at a time, in a closet. When that bag is full, it goes down to the basement (I live in an apartment, but it comes with a small storage unit in the basement of the building) and a new bag replaces it. Repeat until we either rent or borrow a car, at which point I sort through everything and all donations are dropped off in one go.

  • #182797
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    Astreja
    Participant

    When decluttering generates clutter

    My holding area is currently the Once and Future Bathroom, a little room at the back of the kitchen that was built over a very cold crawlspace. The room itself is partially gutted — The old shower has been removed, the plumbing is partially removed, and the walls are being opened up and reinsulated — But eventually this little room is going to be a smaller bathroom/darkroom and a pantry.

    Advantage: It isn’t currently an active room and it has a door, so it’s the perfect place to store items that are waiting to be shipped off to the thrift store.

    Disadvantage: The giveaways have to be out of there before I can work on the room itself.

    I’m hoping that by the time I’m ready to do serious work on this room, our household clutter will have decreased and I won’t actually need to use the room as a storage area.

  • #182803
    Profile photo of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    Candy, I totally sympathise! I have this issue too – the “donate” box in my entryway is a constant fixture, and it often outgrows its box.

    Your cabinet sounds like a good idea, too. I have another, if you’re a bike rider – invest in a separate set of panniers or basket-sized bags, whatever you haul stuff in. They can be spendy, but having a ready-to-haul version of your giveaway is really helpful for actually hauling it away.

    Also, I have really good luck just puting things out near the trash for other people to pick up. I wonder if that would work where you are? Some places have a culture of picking up free thigns and some places don’t.

  • #182824
    Profile photo of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    candy, i sympathise too.
    there really seems to be no good place to store the outgoing stuff.
    once i have decided that an item is clutter, i want it out of the house ASAP!
    the best i can do is to be conscious about keeping it moving and not allowing it to stick anywhere.
    and i try to lighten up on my tendency for “absolute perfection, rght now” and remind myself that life is a work in progress.

  • #182829
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    chacha1
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    We have more dining-room chairs than we use on a regular basis, so one of those serves as my staging area for decluttering stuff. Right now there is a miniature roombox (like one room of a dollhouse) sitting on it, and a bag for the library underneath it, and a bag for Goodwill beside it.

    I am weird but I kind of get a kick out of having an OUT bag going … enjoy looking around to see what else I can pitch into it. :-)

    Even though technically the OUT area itself is cluttered, because I know it is transitory it doesn’t bother me.

  • #182832

    When decluttering generates clutter

    Yes, it seems that there is a storm before the calm when it comes to decluttering.

  • #182833

    When decluttering generates clutter

  • #182864
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    mdfloyd
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I and some friends are having a yard sale in mid-May — I’ve got lots of bigger items (tables, appliances, etc.) to sell as well as lots of smaller stuff. I’ve been piling it all in my study/office just to keep it out of the way. Which means I’m doing my work at the dining room table. But come mid-May it’s all outta here!!!

  • #182866
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    Mimi
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    @needtocleanhouse. so true…the storm before the calm… and it´s getting stormy again and again :)

  • #183011
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    Parsifal
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    You can get a lot of mileage out of being more picky when it comes to what to donate and what to simply discard. Yes, it is tempting to find each and every item a good home, but let’s face it – most of what we currently own will eventually end up in the trash, no matter what its next destination is. I say it’s better to make a clean sweep and get on with a low-clutter lifestyle!

    You could also decide to keep a small ‘outgoing’ area and make a commitment to clear it before getting rid of more stuff. It might take longer, but deciding to give away half the house doesn’t accomplish anything if the clutter doesn’t actually leave.

  • #183104
    Profile photo of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I have a big storm happening, ds came home to visit this weekend and we have been through his room separating the remaining stuff into going out, going with him to his room in London, going in the loft for the day when he can have a whole flat.
    Then when it’s all passed over I will have my craft room and office in what was his room.

  • #183182
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    lottielot
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    sounds good, Netleigh!
    I had a huge pile of bags for donation going last year when I was uncluttering with a vengeance. Those bags REALLY got me down, but then I did 3 trips to the charity shop and about 3 to the tip and it was all done. Now I have a lot less stuff to unclutter I keep a bag going and it lives in my wardrobe under the clothes, so doesn’t take up too much space. I have another bag there too to go to ds2’s school for recycling and fund-raising, but again it doesn’t take up too much space. If I have stuff to take to the tip for recycling then I try to do it once every few weeks so it doesn’t build up. And the car boot thing doesn’t really work for me, in the past when I’ve put stuff for donation/recycling in my boot it has made itself at home for months or years on end :)

  • #183195
    Profile photo of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    lottie,
    I’m feeling a trifle OVERWHELMED with the scattered stuff storm at the moment, there is his ‘put in the loft stuff’ in the spare room that I need to pack up in Really Useful Boxes that we used to transport his things backwards and forwards to uni.
    Ds has identified boxes of stuff that can go that are under his bed, skateboard, snowblades that his feet are now too big for the bindings on, old videos and all the empty dvd and cd cases (he has the discs stored in binders from Muji that are more portable and compact for him). But dear Mum has to bag them up to get them out, but I do want to use the room, it will free up space to store other things that can’t go in the loft.
    The charity bags in progress get to live in a corner of the spare room so aren’t too depressing. However I have moments of excitement when I get a new charity bag through the door with a kerbside collection. Two arrived yesterday, one for just clothes will miss out because the bags contain mixed stuff but the Red Cross are coming next Monday for anything, hooray.

  • #183224
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    candy
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    It is good to see that I’m not alone with this problem. I have not managed to keep my promise to stay within the boundaries of that small cupboard, but I have promised myself that on Saturday this week, I’m going to make a few trips to the charity shop.

    It is also very nice to see all the good ideas. I am particularly fond of Parsifal’s advice: “You can get a lot of mileage out of being more picky when it comes to what to donate and what to simply discard.” I will work on that! Or more particularly, to know what to donate to charity and what to save for friends that just may want it, perhaps, maybe… you know the drill.

  • #183265
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    mskris
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I have an even worse problem, Candy…I put the items to be donated into the garage (usually in bags, but I do tend to get lazy and just toss them into a pile). The charity to which I donate picks up once monthly. If it’s a weekday I usually miss the pickup, because I work full time an hour from home and have 3 kids to keep me busy. I have to make a real effort to organize/bag the stuff and have it ready for pickup on time…

    Therefore, one area of my garage is full of donatable clutter! Ugh. I know I just have to “make” time to do it, but that pile does become overwhelming. Also, since it’s in the garage, it tends to be “out of sight, out of mind” until the charity notice comes in the mail. I intend to really work on it.

    One other related question: when you donate, do you make a list of items for tax purposes? I’ve been doing that, but it adds another “must” to the process and it takes so long to go through and write each item down…any suggestions would be appreciated!

  • #183273
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    candy
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    In Sweden, we don’t get a tax reduction for donations to charity, so I don’t have to deal with that particular form of clutter :)

  • #183286
    Profile photo of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I’ve never quite understood this donations tax reduction thing, doesn’t happen in the UK either. Just bag it up and let them collect it from outside the door!

  • #183288
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    herisff
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    mskris – yes, I make a list of the things donated. I keep the list on the shelf above the bag being filled. Nothing goes in the bag until it’s written down. Of course, this means that I have piles at times until I get the energy to write it down, but in general this works. I just hate pulling apart a bag and then stuffing it again. And when I’m going to be running by the charity, the bag goes even if partially full. It does help that I’ve gotten a lot pickier what actually goes to charity vs just tossing. It has to be good enough to be resold – if not, it gets tossed.

  • #183561
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    mili
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    I think it might not be so much actual clutter (I think of clutter as something of a chronic and unevolving situation), but rather mainly a case of things having to get worse before they get better, or even IN ORDER to get better ;)

    I know I’m kind of at the same stage, and it’s mighty awkward especially three days from Easter :p Like others in the thread, I have the problem of stuff being right in the middle of my living space, because basically, my house is just too small (city centre apartment) – we should really have one extra room to accommodate our interests. This has happened to me before, so in my experience the best idea is probably to just power through it. Accept that you are going to have to spend some time feeling a little put out of your own house lol, and maybe even a bit miserable, and let that act as a motivator to finish that much quicker.

    THat said, reducing the ‘for sale’ and the ‘give as proper gifts’ piles to a bare minimum as other mentioned really is solid gold advice: putting as much of the stuff that is getting booted into the donation or trash pile is good because you can make daily trash-disposal trips, and donation stops can also be as frequent as several times per week.

    By contrast, selling and gift giving do generate clutter themselves, of your schedule if not your space (and the trunk of your car counts as your space too!): you have to set aside time to list them on ebay or craigslist and to take care of follow-ups (answering questions, getting the item to the buyer), and with gift-giving, you are going to have to wait for the next occasion – even if that is just whenever you next see the person you have in mind.

    So think about only gifting the items you are pretty sure the person will want. In fact, with whoever you’re close to, it might be a good idea to just ask them. Call them up and tell them, ‘I have an x or y I no longer need but works great, if it’s useful to you it’s yours’ This works great and we’ve always gotten rid of uncluttering victims like that in my house and my parents’ ;-) obviously though, you have to be clear that you’re not using this as their next b-day gift!! That would be a good way of not making them feel valued :) If you set your heart on using it as a proper gift for a specific occasion, that can complicate things on the clutter front because you might be months away from the next suitable occasion.

    My favorite thing about this method is that I really don’t have to wait at all – if your schedules don’t combine for a proper catching up get-together during which to do the handover, you can still do a quick drop-off, and – wait for this – even if they live on the other side of the country, you can just mail that suckah to them and then it’s their problem *cackle*

    As for selling, stick to the items that would REALLY fetch a price. Of course, that is different for every budget, so to figure it out, you might want to try this: look at the item and try to think how much it can be expected to fetch (if you find yourself hopelessly stumped, and suspect you’re liable to underestimate, spend a few minutes on ebay searching for like items to get a clue). Then, take out 5-10% to represent the effort involved in listing it etc (the more experienced you are with the process, and the more stuff you have to list, the less hassle it will be for any single item, so that figure will be closer to the 5% end). Then consider whether the amount left over is something you would think twice shelling out on a new item, or a meal, ticket, etc. If it is, sell it. If the amount is something you regularly blow without a second thought on something trivial like dinner out or ‘time-killing’ reading material, then chances are selling it won’t be worth the hassle to you :-)

    And now I have to go back to decluttering makeup brushes, because now I’m just procrastinating ;)

  • #183567
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    Rosa
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    MsKris, I don’t. If I had a big single-item (like artwork for a charity auction, which artist friends of mine have done) then I would deduct it, but the heaps of little things aren’t really worth the effort – so if I donate 100 items of clothing and they’re realistically worth $2 each, I can deduct $200 from my taxable income and that earns me about 10% (I make less than $35k) so…$20 a year.

    Not worth the effort.

  • #183607
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    lottielot
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    how is the uncluttering of your son’s stuff going Netleigh?

  • #183820
    Profile photo of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    When decluttering generates clutter

    Thanks for asking Lottie.
    About 7 bags went to the latest charity collection, I took two boxes of stuff up to him in London on Good Friday and only came home from London with a pair of sandals to replace some falling apart ones and 6 hangers. Still to pack up the stuff for going in the loft and get rid of the cd and dvd cases he no longer needs. I’m spending some time with friends this week and am having a week off the uncluttering treadmill.

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