Home Forums Challenges My ongoing decluttering efforts

This topic contains 19 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  liannelavoie 6 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #159400

    liannelavoie
    Member

    I’m not much of a shopper (except for books; I will acknowledge that weakness). So I often wonder why it is that no matter how much I declutter, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone through all my clothing, being as picky as I can, yet before long I can’t close my drawers again, even though I generally only buy clothes once a year.

    Four months ago I moved out of my parents’ house, into an apartment with my boyfriend (who was also coming from his parents’). I knew I had a lot of stuff and that it would be hard to pack, so I decluttered like I’d never decluttered before, and other than the 16 large boxes of books (I know, I know), it seemed like I did a pretty good job. But now, I’m in a 2 bedroom apartment with only one other person, and there’s stuff everywhere. It doesn’t seem possible. However, the last few days I’ve been working through another large scale decluttering, with some success, I think. So, I started this thread so I could keep track of what I’ve decluttered. Eventually my home should feel decluttered, right?

    This past weekend:
    -Somewhere around 23 shirts. These were pretty easy, since they were ones I wasn’t really wearing. My two tshirt drawers can open and close easily now!
    -7 pairs of pants. OMG this was hard. They were all pants I like. And they all fit me. I wore all of them at least occasionally. But I realised that I had to use tougher standards since my pants drawer couldn’t close, and I was keeping some pants permanently on the floor since they wouldn’t fit. Now the drawer closes. There’s no room for even one more pair of pants, but it closes. Yes!
    -1 hoody. Admittedly, I just got a new hoody, so these balance each other out.
    -30something books. A huge accomplishment for a bibiophile for me. I got myself down to 990 books, and plan to stay permanently under 1000. I accomplished this mainly through donating the Dover classics I used to collect which are in the public domain, and hence are free on my boyfriend’s Kobo. I’m also trying to be more honest with myself about which books I really will reread, and getting rid of books that I won’t, even if I did like them.

    Also, I’ve been getting Jonathon (the boyfriend) to declutter as well, and he got rid of 65 books! He’s much stronger than I am in that way.

    For the first time since moving in, our bedroom is clean (no more piles of clothes or anything), and all my books are on shelves. I didn’t even have to pack any of them away!

  • #190016

    Irulan
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Good work, Lianne! It’s wonderful that your boyfriend is also on board with uncluttering your living environment. There are a lot of book-lovers on this forum, you’re certainly not alone in that! They can be hardest to deal with because it feels like throwing away ideas or memories.

    It sounds like you know your priorities regarding your stuff and your space, and you’re consistent about purging when it gets overwhelming. Now that you’ve done a major cull, the forums can help you with maintenance ideas. Check out the “Thing a Day” threads for some inspiration. The one in, one out rule is a good method for dealing with purchases because it keeps your total amount of belongings steady. If you only shop rarely, you can also schedule smaller cleanouts before each shopping excursion.

  • #190085

    Ashura
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    That’s awesome! Great job uncluttering your things! I love books too, so I know how hard it can be to get rid of them. It’s a great idea to keep track of the things you’ve gotten rid of, to encourage you on.

  • #190094

    liannelavoie
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Thanks for the support! πŸ™‚

    Getting rid of books is sooooo hard. I tend to think I’ll reread everything, even if there are tonnes of books that I’d rather read, so my main strategy is going to be being more honest about that. Each time I finish a book, I’m going to really think about whether I’d read it again when there are pretty much unlimited unread books out there, plus my old favourites that I really will read again. I’m hoping this will help me keep my number of books fairly steady.

    Jonathon got rid of even more books last night! He’s gone through all of them now I think, and all of our books can now fit on our bookshelves! It’s so exciting!

    I have looked through a few pages of the Thing a Day thread. I don’t think it’s a challenge I’d personally take, since I’m better at occasional purges than gradual decluttering, but there’s definitely some good inspiration in there.

    Next step: Organising the computer desk!

  • #190109

    lottielot
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Getting rid of books gets easier the more you do it, I think. You come to realise that if you’re not going to re-read a book, why on earth keep it? Sadly not a view my dh subscribes to, hence we still have far too many books. It’s good to have books for different occasions and moods, but there are actually very few books I re-read, and you tend to have a bit of an instinct about which ones you really won’t ever re-read. Plus, like you say, there are so many other great books out there waiting to be discovered πŸ™‚ I just re-read a Jane Austen book on my Kindle and it made me realise I can pretty much go ahead and donate all my classics now, they’re all free or cheap electronically, so I can save the shelf space πŸ™‚
    Well done though, great job!

  • #190121

    Emilie
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Good job so far! I can relate to feeling like you’re not making a dent. I think it must be some kind of optical illusion! As far as books, I have a very time-consuming strategy, which is re-reading books I may not want to read over and over. I find with a lot of books, I may want to read them twice, but I probably don’t want to read them more than that. I find it’s easier to get rid of a book right after reading it. What also helps me: Checking the local library catalog–if they have the book, less need for me to keep it–and tracking what I read on Goodreads.com so I don’t need the books to remind myself what I’ve read.

  • #227574

    liannelavoie
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Time to revive my old decluttering thread, in the wake of getting even more clutter for Christmas!

    Jonathon and I are still living in the same apartment, but now we’re engaged! πŸ™‚

    Since my last update, my book collection has increased again, because I buy so many, but I have gotten a lot better at getting rid of books after I read them if I didn’t love them. So that’s something!

    Mainly, the thing that’s bothering me now is knick knacks. I got rid of a tonne of little odds and ends when I was moving, but it still feels like every surface is covered! There’s everything from Willow Tree figurines (mine) to action figures (his) to goddess statuary (mine) to old birthday cards (his). So I’m going to try to be more strict about that kind of stuff so things don’t look so cluttered.

    Right now I’m watching Hoarders on the computer while dusting the computer desk, and other than the usual moving stuff to its proper place in the house and throwing empty drink cans in the recycling, this is what I’ve accomplished from that:

    Garbage: 9 pens that don’t work, and some Werther’s Originals that Jonathon admitted were old.
    Donation: The fancy tin that the Werther’s Originals were in.

  • #227582

    TatiLie
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Well done, Lianne!
    I’ve found that the easiest way to declutter from books is to give them to friends. You put in your head “when I want to read them again, I can borrow from them”. You may not find them again with your friends (good for them if they can pass it on) but it makes the process less abrupt.

  • #227583

    chacha1
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    What worked for me with books (a serious weakness) was 1) the Kindle; 2) a reading journal.

    I have found that by simply noting what I’ve read, with perhaps one or two sentences about it or copying out bits I particularly liked, I have been able to “let go” of things that were previously considered permanent treasures. Generally my journal entry will bring the whole story back to mind.

    And of course, being able to replace things on the Kindle, in the event that I absolutely, positively MUST read it again has been key. I am probably at 80/20 now in ebook/paper ratio on new purchases.

    ETA: oh yes, and: I am trying hard to stick to “one in = one out” on physical books.

  • #227592

    liannelavoie
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    I actually do have a Kobo (now an even nicer one; I got a Kobo Glo for Christmas!), but I tend to read different books on my Kobo than in paperback. Mostly I read free ebooks, whether they’re classics, review copies, etc. Most of the books that I buy, I wouldn’t even consider buying digitally. I think it’s the price. If ebooks were a lot cheaper than paperbacks, I’d buy more of them, but I’m finding that often they’re the same price, and it makes me feel ripped off.

    I agree that keeping track of your reading does make it easier to get rid of books! I’m positively obsessive about it now! I keep track of all my reading on Goodreads, and have a book review blog where I review every book I read. That definitely does make it easier to part with books, knowing that I’ll still remember them. πŸ™‚

    Good luck with the 1 in 1 out challenge!

  • #227595

    ron
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Hi Lianne I also have a problem with books and also magazines. over the past two months I got rid of a bookcase full of books and that was tough. I threw out a book case and desk I had from childhood. Got rid of a lot of clothing and furniture projects, most of it was hand me downs from friends and thrift store bargins I could not pass up – that had to end because I had no room for anything and it became a problem, the house was packed. I would throw my coat on the sofa because there was no room in the closet. Tonight is the first time I hung up my coat in my closet. My mess is clearing up little by little. My bedroom is messy, I managed to clear the papers and clothing off the bed, and I now make my bed every morning. There is a lot to do and im often frustrated and confused, all of this stuff clutters my head, since ive started this clean up I do feel Im thinking more clearly and feel less of a scatterbrain.

  • #227599

    Endof20s
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    I like the idea of a book journal, I might try that in 2013! I’m not reading or watching anything until the first of the year because I need to finish writing a book before Tuesday. Thus, I’m online procrastinating.

  • #227603

    badkitti
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Congrats on the engagement!

    I have done several book declutters and have dismissed the following
    – textbooks from my degree which will never be used again
    – old chick lit / light reading as these are always cheap in charity shops should I want to re read them
    – books I always passed over when searching for an old book to re read.

    My kindle has helped – books on there are extremely cheap – esp the 99p sale ones, and my reading has expanded since.

  • #227609

    sleepykitten
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    @chacha – I’ve been meaning to keep a book journal (probably in electronic format) but haven’t ever managed to make it happen. Most of my books are from the library and I tend to forget what I’ve read, especially when people ask for recommendations! A journal would help immensely…

  • #227610

    Claycat
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Yes, congratulations on your engagement and good job on the uncluttering! πŸ™‚

  • #227614

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Inspired by this thread, I downloaded a book catalog program to my new phone πŸ™‚ It had the ability to scan barcodes, so logging in books is a snap. It’s meant to catalog one’s own collection, but I can see how I can also record library and other borrowed books — and there is room for notes. The one I got is called “book catalog” for Android and it is free.

    The new phone also has a bigger, brighter screen than my old one, so I downloaded the Kindle mobile app and found all my downloaded books already indexed and ready to be downloaded. Too cool!

  • #227631

    liannelavoie
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    @ron – Congrats on your progress! You can do it! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the congratulations, and for the encouragement!

    Looking around at my books, I think that I have done really well with getting rid of books I’ve already read. The ones I have left are ones that I love, and can’t imagine parting with. There are only a few hundred of them.

    The problem is the ones that I haven’t read yet. My TBR pile is legendary (in fact, it’s the inspiration for my blog, The Towering Pile). I currently have 754 books that I own and haven’t read yet. So my main problem is that I buy faster than I can read!

  • #227721

    ron
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    chacha1 thank you for the reading journal idea and also the list of questions from another post its been a big help to help me focus. Lianne I have about 500 books and started to organize them by subject. I found I have 10 books on Anatomy and was able to part away with 2. I have a pile of about 20 books that Ive started going over and write up in my reading journal whats important to remember. if its a whole page I make a copy and tape it the journal its time consuming but there is a dent in my pile.

  • #227871

    chacha1
    Member

    My ongoing decluttering efforts

    Hi Ron! I think you’ve been doing great.

    I too found it became much easier to part with things once I did a “by subject” reorganization. I found, for example, I had ten books on yoga and five books on container gardening. Well, of course, once you have been gardening or doing yoga for a while you don’t really go looking in a book anymore. πŸ™‚ So now I have five and two … which is still more than I NEED but it’s better!

    I also managed to divest a lot of art, design etc books by using scanners. My previous job had very high-quality, high-speed color scanners; I went through two cartons’ worth of books and scanned just the pages that I wanted to refer to in the future for design ideas. I stored the scans in my “art & design” folder on my computer. Then I traded those books in to an art & architecture bookstore for just three books that I’d been coveting for a long time.

    My present job doesn’t have equivalent tech, so I got myself an Epson V330 scanner which does the job quite nicely. It isn’t as fast, but it works beautifully for color pdf or jpeg scans and can also do printed photos, slides, or negatives. And it was inexpensive. πŸ™‚

    re: the reading journal: mine is analog, just a nice blank book that I keep in a drawer of the bookcase next to my bed. I write up each book as I finish it and then put the book where it belongs: back on the shelf, into the library donation stack, or into the Goodwill donation bag. I keep my library index in the same drawer and any book I’m divesting gets crossed off.

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