Home Forums Living Spaces Living, Dining, Family Areas Your best decluttering idea ever?

This topic contains 52 replies, has 35 voices, and was last updated by  tmichelle 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #159182

    I think mine was when I got rid of the 3rd toilet. By locking the door for a year I was certain life would go on smoothly without it. I then got the toilet and tiles taken out and replaced the floor. I lined the long wall with Ikea Billy bookshelves and the short wall with Ikea CD shelves. I have about 10 books myself, but my husband and children have loads and loads. I then put all the books in there. The cd shelves are perfect for paperbacks. I got lots of extra shelves so I could configure the shelves to take loads of books. Instead of having an extra toilet to clean, we now have a great home for all our books. Better to have them in there than spread over the house.

  • #182746

    mugwump
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    A miniature library! I love that idea!

  • #182747

    jbeany
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Nice! But then, I’ve heard bathrooms referred to as the “library” before….. πŸ˜‰

    I think my best uncluttering idea was starting to do it!
    Designating a storage bench by my front door as an outgoing area for donations and things I’m giving or taking to other people and places has worked wonders for me as well. Things I no longer need or want don’t get left in closets or on shelves even when I realize I’m ready to get rid of them, just because there isn’t any other convenient place to store them. OUT stuff is out of sight, but already in a bin ready to leave. The bench is still useful for holding book bags and purses or for putting on shoes by the door, so it’s not a waste of space just for storing outgoing junk.

  • #182750

    Zora
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    FIRST STEP: Back when there were only cardboard jigsaw puzzles, I cut out the top of the box, to get the picture, and then put all the pieces in a sturdy plastic ziploc bag. Matching labels on picture and bag. Instead of a stack of large, flimsy boxes, I had a jigsaw puzzle collection that fit into a drawer.

    SECOND STEP: I bought a computer program called Brainsbreaker that lets you turn any JPEG image into a jigsaw puzzle. You decide how many pieces and what kind of pieces. When I do a puzzle on the computer, the cats can’t knock all the pieces onto the floor! Also, I now have a collection of hundreds of puzzles, using pictures I glommed from the net, that requires no physical storage space at all.

  • #182765

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Imposing strict spatial standards/goals.

  • #182766

    Ella
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Seeing as I’m fairly new on the decluttering bandwagon, my best idea so far has been joining this forum. It keeps the process always in the forefront of my thoughts instead of hidden away. Er… the down side, though, is that it keeps the process always in the forefront of my thoughts. :-/

  • #182771

    ArtGal
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    My best idea is in hindsight…DON’T BUY ANY MORE STUFF!!! πŸ™‚
    (I actually made a little card that says this and put it in my wallet.)

  • #182774

    anitamojito
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    This isn’t really my idea, as I came across it somewhere or other, but it may be my favorite: never organize when it’s possible to just declutter instead. Also, I set some limits with objects I have a weakness for, such as books…I am not buying another bookcase to accommodate my habit.

    When I have the money to do it, I look forward to implementing the next great uncluttering idea: going digital as much as possible. Clutter and allergen reduction, all in one!

  • #182798

    Sky
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    When I put like things together, I realized how ridiculous it was to have so many of each item in different places all over the house. I had office things (tape, stapler, paper clips, etc.) in my kitchen, family room as well as the office.

    Now, I have office things in the office, kitchen things in the kitchen, tools in the toolbox and so on. Basically, I’ve eliminated multiples.

    Until I did this, I didn’t know how much unnecessary stuff I had because it was spread out all over the house. I got rid of the multiples too!

  • #182800

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    My best idea was a mental turning — to do this on my own and to have no expectations that DH will join in or resentment if he doesn’t. It’s been liberating for me, and although he is still not uncluttering, he is a bit tidier, which is good enough.

  • #182821

    Emilie
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    To echo some other folks, my best ideas were to start decluttering, stop buying new stuff, and to do A Thing a Day.

  • #182827

    bandicoot
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    yes, i think that the simple act of consciously deciding to declutter was the single biggest thing for me.
    once the mental switch was flipped, everyything else just followed on from there.

    joining this community at unclutterer was also a brilliant idea!

    setting physical space limits has been wonderfully helpful for me.
    realising that it is ok to get rid of books has been so freeing.
    realising that i will never make a quilt out of damaged discarded clothing has been another huge moment.

  • #182840

    Lauren
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    I think for me, joining this forum and just taking things one item at a time has been the biggest thing! It’s so easy for me to get overwhelmed and want to throw the towel in on being decluttered all together, but ATAD and looking at things ONE item at a time has helped tremendously.

    I don’t need to declutter every single thing overnight. I just need to declutter one thing a day!

    I’d also have to agree with bandicoot, getting rid of books has been freeing! I’ve realized I can ALWAYS buy a book again in the future if I really really want it back. Chances are, I’ll forget it had been sitting on my shelf for several years waiting to be read.

  • #182898

    Emilie
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    I just got the book “The Joy of Less” out of the library, which was written by the woman that does the Miss Minimalist blog. Anyway, in one of the early chapters, she encourages you to think about some of your happy memories, and the role of stuff in them. While reading that, I realized that one of my fondest memories was my study abroad semester in college. While I still had a ton of stuff back home, I only had access to 2 suitcases of things. Same thing with some of the vacations I’ve been on. One suitcase, but better memories than a ton of stuff could ever compete with. And no technological clutter, too. That was a huge revelation for me!

  • #182902

    herisff
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Mine was to finally scan and get rid of the pounds and pounds of paper I had been hauling around and kept in files. Now just about everything is scanned in at some point, and the paper is shredded. It’s made a big difference in my approach to all paperwork. It’s easier for me to process/pay/scan/shred than it was to process/pay/file/review for tax implications at end of year/bundle into tax folder by year/shred after 7 years. Whew! I no longer have a file cabinet. I do make sure to back up my computer every other night, though.

  • #182919

    Rosa
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Just deciding to respond to criticism with “Fuck off.” Which I actually did this weekend finally.

    Yes, I totally could be taking the old computers to some charity that is only open 2 hours a week on the other side of town, and I could be shredding every single piece of junk mail just in case I missed something with our information on, and I could be combing Freecycle for people who want our 10 year old magazines…but the people telling me I should be doing better area always people drowning in clutter and not making progress on it. So fuck ’em.

  • #182920

    irishbell
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Rosa- I’m with you. Somedays it pays to just trash stuff, as opposed to cluttering your mind and time with driving, calling snd waiting all dang day!

  • #182928

    BevAnn
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    I’ve decided I love Rosa!!! LMAO

    God I wish I could get the nerve to tell my mother that! She’s a CLEAN freak. but…not a decluttered person.

    She has told me my whole adult life, how my house isn’t clean, or how I could do this or that better. Now that I declutter, I LOVE…LOVE saying…gosh mom…why have 58 pairs of socks??!? That’s really ridiculous. I decluttered to 10 white and 2 black. Who needs anything other than that? And she just looked at me stammering. LOL I really secretly enjoyed turning the tables on her. Now she has hardly any socks. LOL

  • #182929

    irishbell
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    BevAnn- I’m sorry your mom says those things to you, it’s not right and i don’t think it’s the norm. parents should be their children’s best cheerleaders every single day.there’s a way of offering constructive criticism and your mom has not found it πŸ™‚

  • #182931

    Julia
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Years ago, I was selling my house, had tossed my husband out his ear**, and the garage was full of, excuse me, crap we had picked up here and there (auctions for entertainment, anyone?) You couldn’t walk through it, it just wasn’t possible.

    I found a guy with a pickup and no job, and gave him $400 (yes) to a) load it up and b)haul it away, with the understanding that anything he wanted to keep was his.

    That was the worst of my cluttered days; no matter what I’ve brought into the house, it’s never been anywhere near that bad again. I just think “$400…”

    ** wait. THAT was my best declutter ever!

  • #182942

    anitamojito
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    You know, I hadn’t even thought of it that way until Julia mentioned it, but some of my best decluttering work has been relationships! Like the “best friend” who always managed to make me feel terrible about myself. She had a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease, and I was very sensitive – disaster for both of us! Another major decluttering success was (feel free to laugh) math. It just tormented me when I was a student! When I was in college, it finally sunk in, I am free to never work a quadratic equation again as long as I live. Woohoo! Seriously, I do feel like clutter can come in so many forms…the physical stuff is usually the easiest to recognize.

  • #182945

    Rosa
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Julia, that’s freaking awesome.

    BevAnn, we went to visit my mom a few weeks ago, spent a lot of money and all our vacation time on tickets to go see her, and out of the blue when we were talking about something else she said “Have you cleaned your fridge? It was really gross last time I was there.”

    There’s probably a trick for ceasing to hear it, but I seem to get more sensitive as I get older, instead of less.

  • #182961

    Sky
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Rosa….I agree. We all do the best we can taking things to charity, etc. but at some point, it just needs to go away and sometimes that means trashing stuff.

    I constantly get told I’m going to regret getting rid of something and my house looks empty. It doesn’t, theirs is just overflowing.

    I like living simply without piles of crap and I don’t care what anyone thinks.

  • #182968

    charmed2482
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    I don’t care about decorating anymore. I know this isn’t for everyone. I would always make these plans on how I wanted to decorate my apartment, color schemes and everything and go buy some of the stuff. Then it would sit around b/c i was unmotivated to actually do anything with it. Or i’d accumulate stuff from thrift stores and stuff b/c i thought it would look good in my apartment and it just ended up taking up space and getting in the way. I just stopped caring. I have a few pieces of art on the walls most of which is my own from highschool that I will eventually be giving away to my mom and anyone else who wants it after I take some pictures. that’s pretty much it, I don’t care about colors or nick knacks or decorative stuff anymore. that stuff is nice to look at, but it doesn’t serve any purpose other than that and i like my things to serve a purpose and I’m not going to spend money on a fancier version of something so it looks better, like lamps and furniture. I got my couch free, my lamps free and everything else I already had. I try not to buy something unless I actually really need it. like right now I don’t have a microwave b/c my ex took it when he left. I was supposed to get a free one from a friend but her dad never got around to finding it. I’ve been without once since Nov of last year, and sometime a few weeks back I realized I don’t need a microwave, I haven’t really missed it and I’ve just adapted to life without it so i don’t care if I get one or not, I’m certainly not buying one or letting anyone buy me one when I don’t actually need it and am perfectly happy living without it.

  • #183030

    lazycow
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    @BevAnn, my sister AND mum are clean freaks, and would constantly point out the dust in my house. It’s an OLD house, and gathers dust, get over yourselves! Now my sister (dearly loved!) lives interstate, and my mum lives in a nursing home and I can now be the clean and neat person with anyone nagging me:-)

    My best decluttering decision was deciding to move to the beach. Now my house – about to go on the market – is pictureless, spare, light, clean and calm – I LOVE it! I know most would say it was too bare, but I still have handmade quilts and crocheted rugs, and books to make it cozy for US, and my family are what matters, not what anyone else would say.

  • #183037

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    @lazycow… From the way you describe your house, I know I would feel comfortable there.

  • #183050

    greymac
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    New member here — you guys are all awesome and so inspiring!

    Well, for me my best ever (besides just getting started!) was to get rid of ALL of my unfinished projects. Some I trashed, some I gave away — like several of the needlework projects I was obviously NOT going to finish — and some I actually finished myself. I’m slowly getting better at limiting myself to only 3 or 4 projects at a time — and feel much more energy to attack my clutter than I felt when I had dozens of unfinished piles vying for my attention!

  • #183052

    Ella
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Last summer I did the unthinkable and decluttered my only car. Sold it and haven’t regretted it, even though it was a fully paid-for and highly reliable Toyota. I can’t exactly call it my “idea,” but rather, the need for going car-free was forced upon me when I moved downtown. I initially thought I would simply shell out $300 a month for a garage space because after all, I couldn’t possibly live without my car! But two months later, I took the plunge. This has been an amazingly liberating decluttering step and probably beyond most people’s imagination (unless you’ve already done it yourself).

  • #183053

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Charmed2482 you rock. This weekend I am decluttering everything I can get my hands on decorating stuff especially. I have 2 beautiful granddaughters 18 months and 20 days old. I have one wall with photos of Emma one for Clara everything else is out of here!

  • #183066

    bandicoot
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    i’ve always been phobic about microwaves and have never had one in my home.
    they take up so much damned space and they destroy food.
    i am having coffee right now in my cute little paris apartment and throwing glares at the hulking microwave which takes up about a quarter of the kitchen and is so utterly unneccessary.

  • #183072

    lazycow
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Awww JuliaJayne, thanks so much, that’s very sweet πŸ™‚

  • #183085

    Rosa
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Ella, congratulations!

    I am not sure if our sharing one car is less clutter or more, because instead of a second car our garage is full of bikes and trailers. But the bikes are sure cheaper and more fun.

  • #183115

    tammy
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    once our kids were all adults, we decided to move into a condo. our middle child and his wife wanted to buy our 100 year old 4 bedroom house …. so we took the things we loved to the condo and let everything else behind for them, as they were starting out in life and had almost nothing. so they didn’t feel dumped on, and we didn’t have to think about what to do with every little thing. we took about 25% of our stuff with us.

    then 5 years later we moved for my job, and our youngest son wanted to stay behind in the condo and live there while finishing college. so we once again we only took what we loved, and left about half of our remaining stuff for him. Like his brother, he was starting out and needed stuff, and we had stuff to get rid of.

    our oldest child is an extreme minimalist and made it clear she didn’t want anything, so our parental guilt over any perceived unfairness was assuaged.

    best declutterings we have ever done.

  • #183189

    Mimi
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    i am an organized person and i recognized that you can put a lot of things in wardrobes and boxes, if they are organized very well. so i had a lot of things: not needed, not loved but well sorted. it didnΒ΄t seems to be cluttered but it was, just well organized.

    my best uncluttering idea was to create a kind of artificial disorder by reducing the “storage solutions”. i got rid of things like boxes, shelves, tins, jars etc.
    every time i decluttered an storage unit like e.g. a drawer or a box filled with postcards, i tried to squeeze the remaining rest of the content in another box and toss the box it came from. so i had another disordered box to unclutter in the same way: unclutter, squeeze the rest in another “storage solution” and toss the original container. this leads to permanent process of uncluttering.

  • #183219

    foilhead1
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    I totally agree with Rosa. I have decided on one charity. Our town does not recycle. I have been so overwhelmed decluttering in the past where I had to stop. Everyone, just do what YOU can. Relax and declutter your own way!

  • #183241

    jbeany
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    bandicoot, is the microwave wall mounted? Can it be relocated temporarily?

  • #183246

    charmed2482
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    I don’t have a microwave anymore and I don’t miss it. It wasn’t my choice to get rid of it, my ex left and took it with him since it was his. I missed it a few times at first and kept forgetting I didn’t have one, so I bought a few things like microwave dinners and then realized I had to figure out how to cook them in the oven(which wasn’t hard). Now I just don’t make to much food or I reheat it in the oven or on the stove, its not that hard and I don’t miss the microwave at all.

  • #183247

    tmichelle
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    The best decluttering idea I had was to downsize from a large home into a 2 bedroom apartment. We haven’t regretted it yet and our standard of living is so much higher. Not only do I spend less time cleaning, but our complex has a pool and so DH and DD can go swimming anytime and life is a lot more leisurely. We LOVE it!

  • #183257

    Sky
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    tmichelle….that’s exactly what I want to do but DH likes space between him and the neighbors. I would love a small apartment/condo with amenities. No yard, exterior of house, or big storage areas to collect junk in and a workout room and pool to use without the cleanup. Sure sounds like easy living to me!

  • #183271

    tmichelle
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Sky, I hope you DH will come around. My DH always did the yard work when we had our large home but wasn’t a huge fan of it, so having no yard has really been freeing for him.

    But, I do understand not wanting to be so close to your neighbors. We live on the top (third) floor on a corner unit so we don’t usually hear our neighbors, but we have to be careful because we don’t want to annoy them with our noise.

  • #183338

    charmed2482
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    I love apartment living b/c having your own house can be a lot of work and expensive when things break. When things break here I don’t have to pay for the repairs. The only thing I would change if I could would be to have a downstairs apartment. I’m kind of attached to this place right now though and I don’t want to move. Also I think the downstairs apartments my landlord has are much smaller than the one I currently have so I’d be downsizing and I like my empty space. the only reason I want to live downstairs is so I can play Dance Dance Revolution.

  • #183564

    mili
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    I guess I can’t say ‘keep only things you need or love’ lol, even though I did get to that principle long before I came across this site πŸ˜›

    So I’ll go with this: Really Useful Boxes (http://www.reallyusefulproducts.co.uk/usa/) The first time I bought some, I was ambivalent – I kind of had a bit of buyer’s remorse even, grumbling to myself that I was such a dolt for spending money on boxes of all things, when I could just collect various shapes and sizes from anything from pins to wine bottles through chocolates and shoes.

    But oh ho, have I changed my mind since – not squared, cubed! First of all, I had totally underestimated the extent to which having all storage in the same uniform style helps create a sense of order and really bring out the work you did decluttering, especially when you really don’t have enough space. Second, despite my experience, it had totally sailed over my head just how darn handy it is to have all storage be clear (not all RUBs are, but mine are – it’s all I can get anyway).

    In addition to the above, there is how the boxes themselves are designed, which means that even in sections of the house where I only need a single box, they are still my top choice (at least, if I only want storage and don’t want it to double up as decoration):
    – they close up super-tight. Picture this: the other day I had to take some grotty inked-up craft stamps to the store to be shown how to clean them, and I just plucked them off the shelf right in their little box and put them straight into my favorite bag – which is fabric and light-colored πŸ™‚ – because I could be totally sure they wouldn’t spill out. Uncluttered awesomeness!
    – they stack securely, even without the lid. I have honestly moved stacks of four boxes in one hand without a hint of a wobble, even empty.
    – You can drop them on a marble floor from adult height and they won’t break. Unless they are pretty old and the snaps on the lid have worn a bit loose, they won’t open either.
    – they are supposed to handle the weight of a person; I haven’t tested that, but I sure have filled them with all kinds of heavy crap and they have held great.
    – they are easy to carry. I once got the large suspending folder box size from the store and WALKED it all the way home – 30 minutes away. I even put the convenience store shopping in it and walked the last five with no problem – there was no doing that with a cardboard file box, the cut out handles would have dug into my hands too much.

    I sweartagawd I have never plugged anything like this before! Ever. I just reread it and it’s a total love-fest lol. But in my current large-scale decluttering I have been soooo grateful for these that they really feel like the single best decision I’ve made in this area. In fact, after I’m done with tonight’s task, I’m going to order a few more of these little suckers to use on the next part, because I just can’t stop finding uses for them. Then, in a few weeks when I am starting another decluttering project (’tis the season chez mili, I guess), I am ordering a big case of these bad boys to have plenty of storage to hand – the situation there is far more dire than what I am dealing with here, but I will feel better about it if I have the cream of the (box) crop by my side πŸ˜›

  • #183634

    Anonymous

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    When I first bought a house alone in 2001, I outfitted it from the Goodwill and was fortunate to be in a city that had dozens of GW stores. It taught me that if you declutter and give something away, it is very likely that you can find another one again if you really need it. Selling stuff on e-bay is the same way. Lots of people are selling things just like it.

  • #183640

    lucy1965
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    @tmichelle That’s what I’m hoping will work for us: downsizing from a large house with a big food-producing garden to a 2-bedroom apartment with amenities.

    I think that the best idea ever has been giving myself permission to change, to realize that the life I thought I wanted wasn’t making me happy, and was in fact getting in the way of what I genuinely needed, as opposed to what I thought I should need (that it took the “earnest urban homesteading” route rather than “I deserve all the shiny things!” isn’t really a point in my intellect’s favor).

  • #183657

    tmichelle
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    @Lucy We have a small balcony that I would love to fill up with a container garden. I even bought some of those topsy turvy planters to hang over top. I am not much of a green thumb, but I have container gardened once before and enjoyed it. I know it won’t be the same as having a large food-producing garden like you are used to, but it may give you some enjoyment (and without all the garden pests like bunnies).

    I think having amenities in our complex is really key to our enjoyment as well. Besides the pool we have a work-out room and a club house that has a kitchen which is free to reserve.

    For anyone who may be thinking on downsizing to an apartment/condo I would also suggest looking for a complex with older residents. We kind of fell into ours, but it is so quiet and peaceful here that now I will put that on my list of things to look for. Also with an older crowd, the pool is never crowded and even on the hottest days sometimes DH and our little daughter are the only ones there. Also, if others do come DH is happy he doesn’t have to worry about being tempted by young, firm, half naked bodies lounging around the pool πŸ™‚

  • #183696

    lucy1965
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    @tmichelle There is a portable community garden (when the economy tanked, the neighborhood residents obtained permission to put raised 4×10 beds on an unused building site: there are 100 of them now, and they’re looking at expanding) not quite a block away, and there’s room on the balcony for some herb pots. Looking after multiple large fruit trees and four grape arbors is exhausting, so I’ll enjoy having less to do! Plus if we’re lucky enough to get one of the 5th floor apartments, we can “borrow” the roof terrace garden as part of the view.

  • #183707

    tmichelle
    Member

    Your best decluttering idea ever?

    Fabulous Lucy! I hope you do get the 5th floor apartment too!

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