Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: cheyne on December 01, 2012, 02:59:45 PM

Title: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: cheyne on December 01, 2012, 02:59:45 PM
This is an add-on post to a thread in the Family and Children folder.  The OP has asked opinions on what she should do with a gift her MIL gave her several years ago and the OP has never used and doesn't want to keep.  There are many good opinions in the thread.

That thread made me think about material possesions and why we keep what we do.  How do you decide what to throw out, what to keep, what to donate, and what to store for later?

I am interested in these opinions for personal reasons only.  I am not doing a psych experiment or using the data for a paper.  ;D

Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: afbluebelle on December 01, 2012, 03:00:56 PM
I don't find it hard to get rid of stuff emotionally... I am just lazy and don't want to sort through all of my acquired junk. The concept "a little at a time" hasn't quite sunk in for me. :P
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Luci on December 01, 2012, 03:16:24 PM
For both of us, it's a combination of "might need it later" and emotions. I'm a lot better than my husband. I have to sneak stuff out, acually. (My stuff, not his, of course!) I donated most of my sewing stuff when I had to quit (arthritis), including unopened needlework kits. I had a clost purge last year and donated over 1/2 of my clothes. I don't miss them. But, there still is my wedding dress, of course.

Kids finally have all of their stuff.

It's all very freeing.

I was so proud of my husband for only moving half of his stash of wood scraps when we moved! The garage is still a mess, but my kitchen and bathroom are barely cluttered at all.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Iris on December 01, 2012, 03:17:23 PM
Past or present poverty can also be a reason. When we were poor we hung on to a lot of stuff "in case we needed it again some day". I know that's almost a joke reason, but it's really true. That random bit of stuff that would cost $5 to replace becomes more valuable if $5 represents a significant proportion of your available spending money. Depending on the level of poverty and how long it lasts some people never recover, e.g. many people who lived through the depression and wars hung onto stuff until their dying day.

In my case I recovered to a certain extent in terms of small stuff, but I still tend to pay off a car and own it and keep it until it is junk rather than trading up to a better model and couldn't bring myself to buy a flat screen tv until the old CRT one broke. I also have a microwave from about 1984 - I could afford a nice new one, I would like a nice new one, but the old one still works and that would be *wasteful* (swoon)  ::)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: BarensMom on December 01, 2012, 03:24:31 PM
My parents were both Depression-era children, but were very different in how they handled "stuff." For instance, if a sock wore out, my father would put it in the trash, and my mother would pull it out and mend it.  When my grandmother died, Mom bought a storage building to contain her stuff.  After Mom died, among the things my sisters found were my grandmother's braid from when she cut her hair, and my brother's baby clothes from 1943.

With that background, I have the tendency to toss stuff if don't need it, even if it is still useful.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: yokozbornak on December 01, 2012, 03:46:57 PM
Both DH and I have parents who can't throw anything away (not quite hoarder level, but close), and I think that makes us both want to get rid of stuff we don't use or needed.  I think many people find comfort in their possessions, but I feel really suffocated if my environment gets too cluttered.  I don't like to be wasteful so I either sale, donate, or give away anything that is useful.  For example, I went through my Christmas stuff recently to get rid of anything that we don't use.  I gave several things away to friends who wanted it and the rest will go to Goodwill ASAP. 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Thipu1 on December 01, 2012, 03:53:03 PM
We like to think we're practical.  We probably aren't.

I have a book that was published in 1621.  It was given to me by friends who thought it was worth nothing.  That may be true but the history of the thing makes me want to keep it. When visitors look at the book and think they can't read it, a 5 minute tutorial shows them that they can. The response is usually, 'WOW!!!' 

Mr. Thipu has an old Apple 2 with a three digit serial number.  He also has software that works on the machine.  He doesn't have what you may call an 'emotional attachment' to the thing but it's still something he cherishes from his young adulthood. On the rare occasion when children visit, he fires up the machine and puts on a game.  The kids are amazed that Zork was the state of the art gaming in the early 1980s. 

 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: GreenHall on December 01, 2012, 03:54:10 PM
Mostly the number of times I've wanted/needed something within 24 hours to two weeks of finally getting rid of it.  I imagine there is a strong observation bias there, but I have problems overcoming it.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Kaypeep on December 01, 2012, 04:44:31 PM
My mom IS a hoarder, and I honestly don't know why she hangs on to stuff.  Some things sort of make sense in that they were given to her by family members long gone, but I don't get why it's kept in a closet, unused, for 40 years and now you have no room for things you do use and need.  And then there are things that don't need to be kept, but are. (Newspapers, junk mail, bags, etc.)

I loved school and am very social, and I kept all my school notebooks and texts, plus notes and letters exchanged between me and my friends.  As an adult I was fortunate to have an apartment with huge closets so I kept these things but they were out of sight.  But as I got older and saw my mom's hoard get worse, I started to purge my things.  And you know what, I don't miss them at all.  I ditched my hundreds of cassette tapes, old texts and notebooks, clothes, whatever.  I threw away gifts and clutter I'd received over the years but never really liked.  I did keep some scrapbooks from the 80's of bands and movie stars I liked, but I keep thinking I should toss them soon, too.  I never look at them except for once a year to show a friend for laughs.

I do understand some people who fear throwing out gifts in case the gift giver asks them where it is.  I've never encountered this that I can recall, which is good because I've tossed a lot of gifts.  It helps that I've moved a few times so that is also an excuse if it comes up.  I regift unopened items or now I put them in the lobby of my apartment building on the "misc table" where other neighbors put out books or items they no longer want, so others can take them.

It used to be hard for me to throw away things like notes, birthday cards, gifts but I think I learned that from my mom because she saved everything.  Let's face it, as a kid we saved everything.  Shells from the beach, bottle caps, etc.  I think that moving around a lot, for home and work, led me to realize it's okay to part with things.  The internet also gives me peace of mind because I know everything is available online if I need to replace it again or listen to a song, etc.  I do not want to become like my mom.  I think that's the biggest incentive of all. 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: crella on December 01, 2012, 04:47:07 PM
Yes, anyone who's been through the wars or the Depression has trouble throwing things away. A year ago June I started cleaning out MILs house. She had an attached storehouse (kura) like many old Japanese houses do...it's built of very sturdy materials to hold a household's delicate items and valuables. The coating on the wall breathes and regulates humidity. It was full to the ceiling, and she also had three of eight garages full, garages that were supposed to be rented out for income, but she was filling them. As she had Alzheimer's and had started hiding jewelry in socks and money in books and things like that, it took me 10 months. What she had a lot of were sheets for futon, towels, clothes, yarn, and all the electrical appliances (rice cookers etc) that she had ever bought. You can tell what was expensive in their day, or what they couldn't afford, by what they choose to hang onto I guess.

I just finished my mother's house as well. I made three trips to the old home town since August and have finally (with my brother) cleaned it all out. She loved to dress well and entertain, but when we were small the budget didn't allow for a lot of new clothes for her, nor for a lot of fancy dishes. She started seriously clothes shopping and dish shopping about 15-20 years ago and outside of what we gave her cousin and others (all clothes with tags) we still donated 100 40-gallon bags of clothing, and 63 cardboard boxes of dishes, serving dishes, kitchen tools, cookie cutters, etc after we took what we can use.

MIL's trash cost us almost $3,000 to throw away. My mother's house needed 6 dumpsters ( couple 10-yard, a 15 and two 30s), once the backyard sheds were emptied and knocked down, the attic emptied, and all the remaining items that could not be donated were tossed. Both had neat clean homes, MIL just kept stuffing things in the garages, and my mother's stuff started out in just her bedroom closet, but her clothes gradually filled the closets in the spare bedrooms as well. The kitchen! Things just kept coming, and coming and coming out of the cabinets...I would not have believed a kitchen could hold so much.

I know that MIL and my mother both went through tough times as children, and that's what prompted all the shopping/hoarding. It's been a tough year and a half almost, dealing with all of it. I am purging my own house starting this month. We don't shop a lot, but we have some things we don't need hanging around. I don't want my kids to have to deal with it.  :)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Amara on December 01, 2012, 04:48:04 PM
There are *very* few things I have an emotional attachment to so I can get rid of stuff pretty easily. The reason probably is that I am a minimalist. I do not like clutter, do not like being surrounded by a lot of things, and prefer to have lots of breathing room in my house. I keep my interior design magazines, but once they fill the cabinets I have for them I give away the older ones. Everything has to be able to fit in its space; once it overflows that out it goes. That said, I love to look at online stores for home decor and antique stores in person. But I rarely buy. It's the truth that while much of it is pretty and attractive and occasionally intriguing enough to interest me I still think of it as clutter.

ETA: My mom is not a hoarder but at 90 she wants to hang onto her things if not add to them. Her house feels crowded to me because I don't like so much in rooms. But it works for her, and she needs them for emotional memories. That's fine. Everything is spotlessly clean; when she dies we'll just clean it all out after taking what we want. (And for me, that won't be much.)

I just came from a condo where the woman gave away a bunch of Metropolitan Home and Elle Decor magazines. I was astounded when I walked in the small place because my very first thought was that she and her husband were hoarders. Though she said their things simply outpaced their space, I do believe that hoarding is there to at least some degree. I couldn't wait to get out.



 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: 25wishes on December 01, 2012, 05:10:12 PM
I have tendencies toward "might need it someday" but I try hard to overcome them. I have kept some of my mom's stuff (she died when I was nine) but lately I have been de-acquisitioning some of it. I try to think of someone else enjoying it (mostly non-valuable jewelry that I do not wear).

 I have an older friend who had to clean out her (very old) mom's house after mom died. It was a big, old country house. Friend said mom had one room with nothing but jars in it. I think about that when I want to hang onto a jar or other container.

Also, imagining your kids or other inheritors going through your stuff after you are gone, and rolling their eyes a lot, will give you a gentle nudge toward de-cluttering.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: lisastitch on December 01, 2012, 07:09:42 PM
It takes time and effort to go through possessions.  I need to LOOK at things, to say, "Yes, I still like this and use it enough to keep it" or "No, this has served its purpose, and I no longer use it".  (or, sometimes, "I thought that was going to work better than it did".)

Even if I'm not emotionally attached to it, at some point, I spent good money on it--am I sure that I really won't need to spend that money again to replace it if/when I decide I do need it?

And then there's the issue of what to do with the things you're ready to get rid of.  Some things can go in the trash, and others are easy to donate to Goodwill/Salvation Army/Hope, etc., but there are others that I'd like to find a good home for (case in point, the two sets of golf clubs DH is willing to get rid of). 

And there are always so many other things that I'd RATHER be doing!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Tea Drinker on December 01, 2012, 07:59:45 PM
Sometimes it's letting go of the past and bits of imagined future. If I got rid of my Greek books, that somehow would feel solider than just telling someone "I've forgotten almost all the Greek I learned in school."

I have managed to get rid of a lot of old notebooks (after they'd sat in sealed boxes for about twenty years). In the interests of my own stress levels, I'm giving myself permission to keep all the "maybe" items: I got rid of a lot of letters from people I didn't remember at all, and kept the ones I thought I might want to reread someday.

There's also a feeling of "this might come in handy sometime," even if it probably won't. In the last few months I've gotten rid of a bunch of clothes that no longer fit, but I kept warm pants regardless of size, because I've had a hard time finding those in the last few years. If I am that size again in a few years, I expect it'll be easier to find summer- (and even fall-)weight pants than winter ones, as it is in the size I am now.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Bijou on December 01, 2012, 10:22:02 PM
If someone gives me something I find it hard to part with it for fear of hurting their feelings.  Otherwise, I don't have a problem giving things away.
My sisters and I have an agreement that if we give one another something and no longer need/want the item we should just get rid of it, no guilt, no second thoughts...just do it.  Fat chance, though.  I still wouldn't feel OK doing it.   ::)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: kareng57 on December 01, 2012, 10:37:03 PM
Anyone who has cleared out an elderly person's home - either after a death, or a major-downsizing - will attest that there is stuff that absolutely no one will want.  Some of it's a no-brainer, such as canned foods or condiments in the basement fridge that expired in 1996.  (I'm not kidding, my mom had containers of Aunt Jemima pancake syrup that still showed her wearing the head-scarf).

But sometimes it's less clear, such as casserole dishes that have a chip or two in the rim.  They still seem to be perfectly serviceable - but the reality is that even a thrift shop or a "free" source probably won't take them.  My DS #2 actually had a good mindset about this - reminding my siblings and myself that Mom had been through the Depression and WW2 rationing, and it's hard to get rid of the mindset that Someone ought to be able to make use of this stuff.  The reality is that these days, unfortunately, they just can't.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: hyzenthlay on December 01, 2012, 10:38:32 PM
I use the guidelines from The Flylady.

'If you don't use it twice a year and if it doesn't make you smile, get rid of it.'

It's let me cut memorabilia down by 2/3rds, junk clothes that don't fit me, let my kids ditch their old toys, and generally keep my possessions to a reasonable level.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: stargazer on December 01, 2012, 11:01:24 PM
I have the hardest time with paperwork that I probably don't need but have a hard time throwing away.  Maybe if I could find my paper shredder again I would feel better about throwing out old statements and such.  I also keep financial magazines probably past their prime although I can throw those out more easily if they are more than six months old so I never have more than 6 and I think right now I only have 3.  Anything with my name or my husband's name on it - I have a hard time. 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: mbbored on December 02, 2012, 12:56:25 AM
I sometimes feel "Hey, I spent money on that!" I'm not poor, but my budget is certainly tight, so I hate to feel like I've wasted money and getting rid of something I paid for makes me feel like I wasted money on that item.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: cicero on December 02, 2012, 05:46:48 AM
i tend to not hold on to "things". and when DS and I ran away from ex husband, we purged a LOT of things (as in "left them behind"). suddenly my house was clean and neat and uncluttered. ex husband is a hoarder - he held on to everything (his mother was a holocaust survivor, his father was a soldier in WWII (hungary) and lost his entire family in the holocaust).

I do have a problem with clothing - good clothing that "i will fit into some day". and also with gifts - not that i get a lot of gifts but i always feel guitly about getting rid of gifts, even if i don't like them. Since I don't have a lot of clutter, i allow myself to hold on to unwanted gifts. With the clothing that doesn't fit, at some point i put them in a bag, put a note on it with the date and a note "if not used in one year then throw out". and i do.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: pwv on December 02, 2012, 05:51:01 AM
When I was little, my parents had this oddly shaped piece of wire hanging on a hook in the kitchen.  No one knew what it was for, but they refused to throw it out in case it was "important."  Dad was in the Navy, so this wire traveled across country every few years, and even made the trip to Hawaii and back.  After dad had retired, one thanksgiving we were preparing the turkey and discovered an oddly shaped piece of wire holding the turkey legs together.   After throwing it in the trash, they agreed they could also throw away the "might be important" wire.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Garden Goblin on December 02, 2012, 10:17:01 AM
In my case, I had so little growing up that was 'mine', I tend to be very territorial about my belongings.  Even stuff I bought with my own money or was gifted or won was fair game for my mother to throw out in one of her crazy episodes, and I had to share everything with my sisters no matter how badly they treated it or whether they left it out in the living room for my mother to decide it was a 'mess' and throw it away.

Sometimes I kick myself in the rear and do a purge, but may the gods help anyone else who dares.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Amara on December 02, 2012, 12:36:21 PM
I immediately thought of this discussion last night when I was reading a few of the Metropolitan Home magazines I got yesterday. In the May/June 1997 issue is an article by Joyce Maynard titled "In My Backyard: How a Flea Market Maven Sold Off a Quarter-Century's Worth of Collectibles in Order to Start a Streamlined New Life in California." (I tried to find the article online but could not.)

In it, she talks about this issue. Yard sales and flea markets, she points out, make sense financially ("you get so much more for so much less money"). Plus, they also allow you to get "glimpses into so many households and lives." But she also noted that her possessions were making her feel "weighed down by the sheer volume . . . and the time it took caring for and keeping track of them." So she decided to have a yard sale.

Quote
"This must be sad for you, seeing all your stuff disappear," several people said to me, and of course, I could see why they might think that. But the truth was, though the day held a lot of poignancy, it was a wonderful one. I felt as if I were scattering wildflower seeds al over my town; a teacup here, a beaded evening gown there, a garden sculpture of a chicken, my collection of plastic cake-decorating accessories and cookie cutters. And in every one of those households, where something that used to be ours ended up, there would be mothers making cookies, or women having tea with a friend, or children discovering a chicken in the garden, or fathers shaking up martinis to the tune of "How Dry I Am."

. . .

Six months since our sale, here's what I have concluded: The world is full of beautiful, funny, memorable, bizarre and lovable objects. There's no way to hold onto them all anyway, except in your memory. Knowing I can't take them with me, I'd rather put them in good hands while I'm around to enjoy it, than leave my children with the heart-wrenching task of disposing of them . . . without me there to help. Or leave them weighed down themselves in the same unhealthy way I was coming to be myself. . . . Going through a process like this one leaves you with a changed perspective.

. . .

There is a hidden price to acquisition, not reflected in the cost of so-called bargains. Carrying an item home. Finding a place for it. Dusting it. Worrying that it might break. Chasing after your kids when they leave it in a different place from where it's supposed to be. Having to deal with it when you move. From now on I consider all these questions before I take out my wallet.

Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: happygrrl on December 02, 2012, 01:36:43 PM
There is imdded a hidden price to an acquisions; a wise person once told me that we do not really own our possessions=they own us.

I am a combination of emotional and "maybe I'll use it" mindset. I have 2 very distant relatives, but other than that, I don't have a family, so by default, my stuff from when I was a kid becomes my memories since I don't have anyone to say to, "Hey, do you remember that walking doll that I had when we were kids?"  or something like that. I have paired down majorly, but I still need to get rid of more.

And as for the "maybe I'll use it" mentality, I've went from having it all to being homeless in my car in the blink of an eye, and that made me loath the throw away somethings. I've gotten better, and i see a purge coming on the spring.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 03, 2012, 10:21:44 AM
Great thread. I've been thinking about this a lot lately as the holiday season (aka gift-getting time) approaches, and I look around my very small apartment at all the STUFF. Mostly, they are things I really like and want, and will in fact use someday, but I honestly don't need to have THAT much stored up in advance. Books, blank notebooks, craft supplies, DVDs, magazines, etc.. So that's a case where I need to use what I have already, and stop acquiring more until I get a little ahead of the game.

Sometimes I keep stuff because it made sense at the time (years ago) to keep it; and now, I could get rid of it, but that would involve digging out the storage containers from where I've so expertly tucked them. Kind of bizarre, now that I think about it--I use those places to store things that I really want to hang on to, but they're so inaccessible, I can't use them to store anything I'll actually want to use anytime soon.  :P

Sometimes I feel bad just chucking something in the trash because I think, "Surely someone could use this!" But am I really going to go to the work of finding that person? Gently used clothes are pretty easy to donate, but what about textbooks from ten years ago? I feel bad throwing a book in the trash, but I know I'm never going to read it again, and it's probably at least a couple editions behind whatever the class requires today.

Also my dad's family are hoarders/keepers. Any space my dad gets fills up with junk mail and the like that he just can't part with. It is a deep-seated emotional thing, almost a phobia or anxiety--my dad is so nice and mild-mannered and easy-going, but if you threaten to throw out one plastic sack of ten-year-old grocery store sales fliers he just morphs into this entirely different, angry person. If he sits down and takes the time to go through the sack, he'll end up throwing out some (but not all) of it, but even doing that is visibly hard for him. His siblings are like this too. The worst part is that they don't actually take care of stuff--they'll always say, "Oh, keep that, we might need it later," but then when they really do need it, they either can't find the thing in the mess, or it's broken and useless because it was just at the bottom of a pile somewhere instead of really stored. Seeing this kind of thing is what really causes me to constantly rethink my stuff, look for whatever small amount I can get rid of, make sure I'm storing things properly so I can find them and use them if necessary, etc..

Perhaps oddly, I don't really attach much significance to gifts in particular. I love to get (and give) gifts, but I can throw something in the trash as soon as I get home, or regift it, and still think warmly about the person who gave it to me. I don't get much in the way of home decor, clothes, etc.--it's more like books, and I will cheerfully say I haven't read it yet if someone asks.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Just Lori on December 03, 2012, 10:38:56 AM
I tend to wrap memories and emotions around intangible items.  Hence, I have a huge garbage bag full of stuffed animals in my basement.  I will have to ask my husband to take them to the thrift store, because I look at those and can remember when my daughters played Pet Shop or School with a full roster of furry students.  I miss those days alot, particularly when I'm dealing with teen-aged surliness.

I alos hate to throw away things that someone might need.  So I'm donating "Windows 95 for Idiots."  Maybe there's a vintage collector who scours library sales for those kinds of things.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 03, 2012, 11:10:26 AM
If something is actually damaged or broken, I have no problem throwing it out.  But I do try to find out if it is recyclable, first.  I can recycle cloth, electronics, metal, etc.  And one of the centres in town will give you money for electronics and metal, based on weight.  It isn't much but it makes me feel better about pitching the items in question.  I'm also pretty good about purging clothes.  Higher quality stuff that doesn't fit anymore or I'm tired of, I'll take to a consignment store.  If it doesn't sell, they donate it to a women's shelter, if I don't go back and pick it up after the consignment period ends.  Cheaper quality stuff, I'll donate to Goodwill or to a lady who runs a small charity handing out food and clothes, since a friend of mine knows her quite well.

I do have a hard time getting rid of things that people have given me, especially if it came from my mother, since she's gone now.  I'm getting better at it.  When my Dad passes, I hope I'll have an easier time getting rid of stuff I don't want, either donating or selling it.

I have a set of book shelves built into my spare bedroom wall.  Once the shelves are full - and it is getting close - I will make myself donate books that are less treasured.  The local hospital runs a book drive every spring.  I've started using an e-reader so that has cut down on the number of books I've been buying.

I have a good system for paper; it might take a while to get around to shredding the pile but I have a box set aside to put the stuff in that needs to be shredded.  I keep 6 years plus the current year of records, since tax stuff has to be kept that long.  When I do my taxes, I shred the oldest set of records.

A year ago, we rented a dumpster and my brother and I went home to help my Dad clean out a bunch of stuff.  We filled that thing.  And there is still more to go but we made a huge dent.  Dad will be moving to a smaller place soon so we'll have to go through some more of that stuff and keep pitching.  I found it really difficult because we pitched stuff that could have been donated or recycled.  But if we'd taken the time to separate everything, we would have been there for a week or more.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: magicdomino on December 03, 2012, 11:14:51 AM
Anyone who has cleared out an elderly person's home - either after a death, or a major-downsizing - will attest that there is stuff that absolutely no one will want.  Some of it's a no-brainer, such as canned foods or condiments in the basement fridge that expired in 1996.  (I'm not kidding, my mom had containers of Aunt Jemima pancake syrup that still showed her wearing the head-scarf).

But sometimes it's less clear, such as casserole dishes that have a chip or two in the rim.  They still seem to be perfectly serviceable - but the reality is that even a thrift shop or a "free" source probably won't take them.  My DS #2 actually had a good mindset about this - reminding my siblings and myself that Mom had been through the Depression and WW2 rationing, and it's hard to get rid of the mindset that Someone ought to be able to make use of this stuff. The reality is that these days, unfortunately, they just can't.

It might be more precise to say that Someone won't make use of it, rather than can't.  Can you use a chipped casserole dish?  Yes, you might even be able to use it for a casserole, as opposed to feeding animals or as a water "saucer" for plants.  If you are having trouble paying the rent and buying groceries (like during the Depression or in really poverty-stricken areas), you'll keep it.  But once you have a little money, a new casserole dish doesn't cost that much (unless it is Le Cruset or Henri Emile), certainly not enough to deal with germs or a potentially self-shattering dish.  Thrift shops don't want chipped dishes because people won't buy them.  It costs just as much to ship damaged goods to poverty-stricken areas as it does to ship used-but-like-new goods, and it isn't much more to buy cheap new goods.

The problem comes when new stuff comes in faster than old stuff gets used up and thrown out.  My mother seldom bought anything other than groceries, but accumulated huge amounts of stuff because what did come in never left.  Glass jars do come in handy occasionally, so she carefully washed-out and stored every coffee, pickle, jelly, and mayonaise jar that happened to enter the house.   One of her friends had a necklace made from styrofoam egg cartons.  When Mother passed away, she had a huge box filled with styrofoam egg cartons, enough to make millions of necklaces even though she never made one.

I inherited the pack-rat gene, but try to fight it. 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 03, 2012, 11:19:29 AM
If something is actually damaged or broken, I have no problem throwing it out.  But I do try to find out if it is recyclable, first.  I can recycle cloth, electronics, metal, etc.  And one of the centres in town will give you money for electronics and metal, based on weight.  It isn't much but it makes me feel better about pitching the items in question.  I'm also pretty good about purging clothes.  Higher quality stuff that doesn't fit anymore or I'm tired of, I'll take to a consignment store.  If it doesn't sell, they donate it to a women's shelter, if I don't go back and pick it up after the consignment period ends.  Cheaper quality stuff, I'll donate to Goodwill or to a lady who runs a small charity handing out food and clothes, since a friend of mine knows her quite well.

I do have a hard time getting rid of things that people have given me, especially if it came from my mother, since she's gone now.  I'm getting better at it.  When my Dad passes, I hope I'll have an easier time getting rid of stuff I don't want, either donating or selling it.

I have a set of book shelves built into my spare bedroom wall.  Once the shelves are full - and it is getting close - I will make myself donate books that are less treasured.  The local hospital runs a book drive every spring.  I've started using an e-reader so that has cut down on the number of books I've been buying.

I have a good system for paper; it might take a while to get around to shredding the pile but I have a box set aside to put the stuff in that needs to be shredded.  I keep 6 years plus the current year of records, since tax stuff has to be kept that long.  When I do my taxes, I shred the oldest set of records.

A year ago, we rented a dumpster and my brother and I went home to help my Dad clean out a bunch of stuff.  We filled that thing.  And there is still more to go but we made a huge dent.  Dad will be moving to a smaller place soon so we'll have to go through some more of that stuff and keep pitching.  I found it really difficult because we pitched stuff that could have been donated or recycled.  But if we'd taken the time to separate everything, we would have been there for a week or more.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: lowspark on December 03, 2012, 11:21:15 AM
I've been on a "major" decluttering mission for the last year and a half. I didn't realize how much stuff I had that I didn't really need or even want anymore but when my older son moved out I decided to repurpose his bedroom and by the same token, the spare bedroom. And that led to going through multiple closets.

The reason it is taking so long is that I'm doing it slowly, bit by bit, so that a) it isn't an overwhelming task and b) I can sell stuff that actually has value. I've sold a bunch of stuff on ebay and craigslist and continue to do so. In addition I've given away a ton of stuff.

I work on it when I can, mostly on weekends. I might spend an hour or six hours or 15 minutes, depending what it is I'm doing. Clean out one drawer, list 10 items on ebay, pack up bags for charity, etc.

I also revisit stuff I've previously decided to keep. Just yesterday there were a couple of things I'd previously set aside as "keepers" which were important to me. Well, they were important to me 30 years ago! I keep reminding myself that whatever I don't get rid of, my kids will have to deal with. Those things are in the "to sell" pile now.

I am trying to get rid of (almost) everything that is not either being used or displayed or somehow still relevant in my life. If its only purpose is to sit in a box in a closet, it needs to either come out of that box and get repurposed or it needs to go.

It's still an ongoing project and I don't expect to finish any time soon. But things are definitely continually progressing!

I should add that a huge amount of the stuff I'm getting rid of are small collectible items that do have value. I'd collected them and then quit and never did anything with them. So each of them has to be photgraphed and listed on ebay which takes a lot of time and work.

Oh! and in the meantime, younger son moved out. He had a ton of stuff to contribute to the "this is worth something but I don't want it anymore" pile so I've been working my way through listing his stuff for sale as well. One of these days, all that stuff will be gone and I won't know what to do with myself! LOL

Reading through this, it sounds like I'm a hoarder. I'm not. Really! My house is pretty well kept and neat, it's not overwhelmed by junk. It's just that I do have a lot of closet space and places to store stuff so what happens is stuff gets stored and forgotten about. I've discovered many things that I'd intended to use and just forgot I even had them when the time came to use them. It doesn't happen often and I've learned not to do that anymore. I remodeled my kitchen 8 years ago and swore I'd never buy anymore gadgets and I've studk to that so it's not a real problem of no control, more just a problem of not realizing how much stuff I'd gathered.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Reader on December 03, 2012, 12:33:57 PM
My grandmother went through the depression.  She turned into a hoarder.  Food was a big thing, if was not uncommon to go to the store and buy 3 can of tomato soup only to come home and find 6 in the cupboard.  It was my job to rotate our stock after grocery shopping.  She also had no walk space in her bedroom, just a path to the bed.  Plus the basement was filled as well.  My mom just couldn't seem to throw out anything after my dad died.  Her room was always a mess.  Because I grew up with hoarders I tried to go the opposite way.  But after many losses due to moving so much when I was younger, and an issue not having clean clothes during middle school one day, I have a tendancy to hang onto stuff a little longer, and I somewhat hoard clothes so I will always have something clean to wear.  But in realizing what caused me to hoard clothes, has helped me to start thinning down what I have and only to buy something if I really like it.  The question I have to ask myself before I buy something is "will I really wear it, or will it sit on a hanger in my closet?"  It's a work in progress still but I'm progressing!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: SCAJAfamily on December 03, 2012, 12:38:54 PM
Attachment would be the main reason I believe.  Sometimes we have stuff for so long that at some point we just keep it because we've had it for so long already.  I have a box of all the Seventeen magazines from 1987-1990.  Why?  I don't know.  But I will keep them.

I'm pretty good at getting rid of stuff too.  I was very proud when I went through the CHristmas ornaments this year and threw out all the broken items and gave away a bunch to our oldest.  I also managed to whittle our games closet from 60 to 40 games (plus we are playing them so much more now.  We played Yhatzee, Battleship, and Dungeon this weekend alone.)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: girlysprite on December 03, 2012, 12:44:18 PM
I don't have a cluttered home, but some stuff tends to hang around because it is large, and needs to be hauled off to speciap dumping spots. My DH doesn't like doint it and gets grumpy when I suggest doing this. And some stuff requires several people to move it (old freezer), so it's something that requires organisation and planning.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: hobish on December 03, 2012, 12:46:00 PM
This is me-specific and probably not very widespread, but 2x in my life I have lost basically everything. Grammomís afghan? Gone. Stuffed animals? Gone. Books? Gone. The house fire that wiped out everything affected me psychologically in ways I would not have expected, and I think holding on to things is a part of that. I tend to get overly sentimental, definitely more than I used to. I know it is silly, but i still do it.

Also as a PP mentioned, i grew up relatively poor ... not impoverished, really; but in a way that makes me hang on to things in case they may be needed.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Sophia on December 03, 2012, 12:59:07 PM
In husband's case it is because his mother is what I call an anti-hoarder.  She once threw away a knife because she couldn't figure out where to store it.  She also threw away a $30,000 comic book of my husbands.  He didn't collect them, but in his younger years he had a local moving company with his brother and someone refused to pay.  They made a deal that DH could pick out any comic he wanted from the guys collection, and they would call it even.  The non-payer making the faulty but reasonable assumption that movers aren't geeks. 

In my case, I've gone back and forth, but right now I am more of a saver.  I really appreciated the stuff from my childhood that my mother kept. So, even after I know I won't have any more kids, I will probably keep a bunch.   I used to only keep books I really really liked since I never reread books.  But, now I think "DD will probably enjoy this."  She is 2 1/3 years old now.  But she'll probably be reading our books in about 5 years.  Before marriage I kept stuff because I could.  I lived alone in 1700 sq.ft. 3 bedrooms/4 closets/2 car garage.  I also had an ex-bf who was a genuine hoarder.  Thanks to him I once lost a case of wine in the house.  Yes, a case. 

On the other hand, I don't think Stuff has power over me.  I had the experience of having everything stolen while I was in Europe.  I remember stopping and thinking "Everything important to me on this side of the ocean fits in the pockets of my shorts."  I came out of that OK.  If I had to evacuate the house.  I don't think I'd load the car with anything non-practical.  Things for DD yes.  Me, no. 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: snowflake on December 03, 2012, 01:19:01 PM
I grew up in a house of sheer clutter and chaos.  My whole teenage "rebellion" consisted of becoming a crazy neat freak.  In fact, I was tipped off at work that I needed to look less organized or I'd look like I wasn't doing anything.

That said, I did develop a sense that clutter took care of itself.  I couldn't have anything breakable because it would break in the clutter.  Things got lost and thrown out all by themselves.  OR sometimes my family would wander off with my belongings to use in other ways.  (Don't get me started.) I graduated from HS with this sense that stuff would just wander off and take care of itself.

So now that I don't have the chaos/clutter eating all my belongings, it is really hard to remember that I have to do stuff management.  For instance, I got a crystal cat from my SIL when I was her bridesmaid.  I put it on my dresser and figured that it would just break or vanish or something.  15 years later, it's still there and she and my brother split up 7 years ago! 

That along with a pile of other cat paraphernalia is taking up some serious storage space in my small house.  I guess people know I like cats and just get me cat junk for Christmas assuming that if I like prancing, purring, loving kitties I won't mind having all sorts of gaudy cat dishes, or cat figurines or cat ash-trays or what have you.  I just realized that I've sort of been waiting for those things to go away on their own, but they don't.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: bopper on December 03, 2012, 02:00:38 PM
Another things is humans have a problem with dealing with "sunken costs"  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_costs)

Some economists say that Sunk costs are not taken into account when making rational decisions.

In the case of a movie ticket that has already been purchased, the ticket-buyer can choose between the following two end results if he realizes that he doesn't like the movie:

-Having paid the price of the ticket and having suffered watching a movie that he does not want to see, or;
-Having paid the price of the ticket and having used the time to do something more fun.

In either case, the ticket-buyer has paid the price of the ticket so that part of the decision no longer affects the future. If the ticket-buyer regrets buying the ticket, the current decision should be based on whether he wants to see the movie at all, regardless of the price, just as if he were to go to a free movie. The economist will suggest that, since the second option involves suffering in only one way (spent money), while the first involves suffering in two (spent money plus wasted time), option two is obviously preferable.

Many people have strong misgivings about "wasting" resources (loss aversion). In the above example involving a non-refundable movie ticket, many people, for example, would feel obliged to go to the movie despite not really wanting to, because doing otherwise would be wasting the ticket price; they feel they've passed the point of no return. This is sometimes referred to as the sunk cost fallacy. Economists would label this behavior "irrational": it is inefficient because it misallocates resources by depending on information that is irrelevant to the decision being made. Colloquially, this is known as "throwing good money after bad".

This line of thinking, in turn, may reflect a non-standard measure of utility, which is ultimately subjective and unique to the consumer. A ticket-buyer who purchases a ticket to a bad movie in advance makes a semi-public commitment to watching it. To leave early is to make this lapse of judgment manifest to strangers, an appearance he might otherwise choose to avoid. Alternatively, he may take pride in having recognized the opportunity cost of the alternative use of time.

So if you have STUFF, even stuff you don't use or don't like, you don't want to just throw it out because you COULD GET MONEY FOR IT or SOMEONE COULD USE IT or I MIGHT NEED IT.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Amara on December 03, 2012, 02:57:34 PM
This discussion made me feel the same way that watching an episode of Hoarders (*shudder*) does. I want to toss!

That said, I tend to be a minimalist so it's not like my home has a lot of fat in it. Still, I just posted to my local Freecycle (1) about two dozen gardening magazines; (2) three CDs; (3) fifteen food-safe glass jars the size of spice jars; (4) some used padded manila envelopes; (5) about two dozen books in the food history/cookbook genre. There will be more to come.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: lowspark on December 03, 2012, 03:27:20 PM
Attachment would be the main reason I believe.  Sometimes we have stuff for so long that at some point we just keep it because we've had it for so long already.  I have a box of all the Seventeen magazines from 1987-1990.  Why?  I don't know.  But I will keep them.

<snip>

Those Seventeen Magazines could probably get you some money on ebay. Back issues of magazines do sell, although I don't know specifically about Seventeen, but it's certainly worth investigating.

Regarding sunken costs, I agree that you really have to let go of that notion. You've paid for the item. That money is gone. Period. You can never get it back. Now, you have to move forward. It's the strategy I use when listing things on ebay and what I recommend to anyone who is selling used stuff, either on ebay, craigslist, garage sale or whatever. It's not about what you paid for something it's about what someone else is willing to pay for it now.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: SCAJAfamily on December 03, 2012, 05:40:33 PM
You are right lowspark.  I looked ones with now famous people (Cameron Diaz, Nikki Smith, etc) go for up to $10 each.  My favorite is of Angie Harmon when she won the annual cover girl contest.

But they have been in an open box for 20 years and smell like the attic.  Plus the fashions are fun!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: crella on December 03, 2012, 06:48:17 PM
Quote
A year ago, we rented a dumpster and my brother and I went home to help my Dad clean out a bunch of stuff.  We filled that thing.  And there is still more to go but we made a huge dent.  Dad will be moving to a smaller place soon so we'll have to go through some more of that stuff and keep pitching.  I found it really difficult because we pitched stuff that could have been donated or recycled.  But if we'd taken the time to separate everything, we would have been there for a week or more.

It takes time. We did go through everything in my mother's house and it took 4 weeks total (2 two-week trips over). I don't know if they are active in every state, but we had great luck with the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation pick-ups. They took a wide variety of things, from clothes to books to furniture. The local women's shelter took both clothes and kitchen ware, because they set women up in apartments. Between the two charities we gave away 100 bags of clothes, 63 boxes of dishes and 25 boxes of books. We filled 6 dumpsters of various sizes. The kitchen and study (any room with files etc) take the longest, after my mother's house and MIL's house I'd say start there. Attics can be a challenge too.

I forgot to say that many of the charity pick-ups have very strict rules about what they will and won't take. We had two weeks each time  and it wasn't worth it for us to put books out one day, clothes another..we looked for the place that would take the most categories at once, it's much less of a headache. Almost nobody takes mattresses. That's one thing you'll most likely have to toss.

Quote
My grandmother went through the depression.  She turned into a hoarder.  Food was a big thing, if was not uncommon to go to the store and buy 3 can of tomato soup only to come home and find 6 in the cupboard.

There was a tremendous amount of food in MIL's kitchen and she had two refrigerators that were full too. When she was a child in WWII they very often had only rice gruel with chunks of sweet potato in it for meals. If all the stuff was in code (some was 10+ years old) I could have opened a little corner store, she had some of everything, from basic cooking supplies to snacks and jams. I tried to weed it out over the years but she'd get to angry. I started to ask 'I haven't time to cook dinner tonight, can I have (whatever)? ' or say I had no time to shop and she'd load me down with stuff that I'd then dispose of. It's tough!

Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: CakeEater on December 04, 2012, 06:04:41 AM
We have renovated and added a couple of new rooms recently, and are in the process of sorting out cupboards and reorganising. Our new mantra is, "Everything we throw away makes our lives easier."
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: BarensMom on December 04, 2012, 10:29:18 AM
My DH hoards the boxes things come in, just in case we have to return it.  They're in the closets and out in the garage, where if I shift something, they come tumbling down.  His reasoning is "I may have to return something" or "we'll need those when we move" (yeah, in 7 years!).  He also will not flatten them, as it will "destroy the integrity."  By the time he is ready to use those boxes, they'll have been nibbled to bits by the field mice that get in there from time to time.

Recently, I discovered a 6' Xmas tree that I would love to have.  My DH doesn't want it because we have nowhere to put it.  I told him, "Get rid of your boxes and we'll have room."
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: snowflake on December 04, 2012, 10:47:33 AM
We have renovated and added a couple of new rooms recently, and are in the process of sorting out cupboards and reorganising. Our new mantra is, "Everything we throw away makes our lives easier."

Funny story:

After being light hoarders for 20 years, my parents moved into their retirement condo and did a great purge.  They had to rent a dumpster from their city to do so.  The lived in the 'burbs where they would occasionally see deer and coyotes.  Well in the middle of the night, they head some "heavy" noises.  That terrified them.  Did they accidentally put food items in there?  (It was uncovered.)  What was out there?  Would they get fined for attracting wild animals?  They were almost afraid that they would find a bear had gone to town.

Nope.  The next morning they discovered that their neighbors had seen the dumpster and decided to sneak their own purges in.  It was half-full of crap they didn't recognize.

Incidentally, the same thing happened to us when they put a construction dumpster in front of our house because we re-roofed.  Good thing our roof wasn't THAT big!

They're actually doing another purge now.  Thank you Mom and Dad!  I was terrified of having to clean up that mess in 10 years when they croak.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: makotohanabi on December 04, 2012, 01:47:06 PM
My DH hoards the boxes things come in, just in case we have to return it.  They're in the closets and out in the garage, where if I shift something, they come tumbling down.  His reasoning is "I may have to return something" or "we'll need those when we move" (yeah, in 7 years!).  He also will not flatten them, as it will "destroy the integrity."  By the time he is ready to use those boxes, they'll have been nibbled to bits by the field mice that get in there from time to time.

Recently, I discovered a 6' Xmas tree that I would love to have.  My DH doesn't want it because we have nowhere to put it.  I told him, "Get rid of your boxes and we'll have room."

My DH is pretty much the same way. We put together a 72 hour rule on cardboard boxes in the condo. We have 72 hours when a box arrives to use it for a specific purpose or it goes into the recycling bin. Otherwise we'd have enough cardboard to build a third bedroom.



Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on December 04, 2012, 02:24:11 PM
This is something Iíve been thinking about and exploring over the past two or so years. I grew up pretty poor and was raised partly by depression-era or depression-effected grandparents and a depressed mother who got so overwhelmed by a cluttered house that it would never be cleaned because she didnít know where to start.

So, between my childhood of clutter, as well as having lost most of my personal belongings in a series of evictions that also happened when I was a kid, I get really emotionally attached. I also have a pack-rat "this could be useful" mentality.

I have to say thoughógetting rid of stuff is starting to feel incredibly freeing. And I love having an uncluttered house. It helps that Iím not so poor as an adult that Iíve realized that I can get rid of things like that lotion I didnít really like, because I can *gasp* buy the kind I do like! And replace it when I run out! Or on the flip side, I can use that gifted organic soap I really, really do like, because I can buy it for myself if I choose to.

Itís an ongoing battle though. As time has passed, Iíve been abel to winnow down my collection of sentimental items to a small box. I still have a lot of issues with the ideas of having spent money on something or that it will be useful. We keep certain boxes if space allows, namely for electronics in case they need to be transported, but having just bought a house that we plan on staying in for a good long while, itís easier to say "weíre not going to be moving this TV, so why keep the box?"

Now, my craft supplies are another story. But, my SO and I each have our vices of things to hold on to (does he really need his collection of Mac OS disks spanning from 8.0 to 10.6 or that 1990s sweater from his grandmother that he hasnít worn since that decade?). Luckily, weíre on the same page of getting rid of other things so that we can have some exceptions.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Sophia on December 04, 2012, 03:04:55 PM
I've recently flipped from a clothes hoarder to a clothing de-clutterer.  I know that until recently it was because money was tight and I didn't want to get rid of any clothes I might need.  I also kept clothes with stains on them for "wearing around the house".  Then I lost 50 pounds since this summer (still more to do but I'm just maintaining at the moment)  I changed to being a clothing de-clutterer.  Now that I found a way to lose weight, I know I won't need the larger sizes and I've done some serious decluttering in my closet.  I even found some crushed velvet stirrup pants in the closet.  When was the last time anyone saw one of those? 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: CakeEater on December 04, 2012, 03:22:50 PM
I was thinking about this more over night, and I've decided that sometimes I don't want to get rid of stuff because it means admitting my own failure. Getting rid of my skinny jeans that I haven't fit for 5 years means I'm admitting my failure to get back into them. Getting rid of the half-done craft means I failed to finish it. Getting rid of the painting I bought 8 years ago but haven't displayed means I made a failure in judgement at the time of the purchase.

I want to hang on to the idea that actually I can get that diet workng/will eventually finish/did make a good decision.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: lowspark on December 04, 2012, 03:29:03 PM
Oh yeah, I'm the same way. But then by the same token you can turn it around (as I try to) and get rid of something because then it's no longer hanging around, taunting you and reminding you of your (perceived) failure. If it's out of my house and I don't see it anymore, I can forget it ever existed and therefore forget my failure.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 04, 2012, 05:04:13 PM
This thread inspired me to do some decluttering last night and throw stuff out! So I did a couple hours of inhaling dust, getting stuck under a table, and moving heavy things at strange angles. I threw out several old textbooks (barely used... shows you just how hard I worked in those classes!) and a bunch of related school papers/notes. Not anything creative like essays, but exams and notes mostly. I briefly thought about keeping some, but I wasn't much interested in looking at them myself, and I figured I wouldn't be interested in showing them to anyone else ever, because 1) if I've already forgotten most of the material, it's a bit silly to crow over a good grade; and 2) several of them did NOT have such good grades. Best to dispose of that evidence post-haste. Found some CDs I hadn't ripped onto my computer yet, so that was useful. Then I packed other things that I still want to keep (FOR NOW) into the freed-up space.

And when I was all done cleaning up... yeah, probably no one could tell I'd even done anything.  ::) But it's a start, right?
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Coralreef on December 04, 2012, 05:24:29 PM
When I left my EX, I had one evening/night to pack up.  A lot was left behind and I'm still alive.  I've never really had strong emotional ties to objects except for a few family heirlooms my kids will eventually get.  EX had strong hoarding tendencies : a jar full of rusted bolts and nuts he would 'derust' at some point, every single carboard box he laid his hands on, 25 years old nonworking radio we had to schlep from apartment to apartment to house, etc. 

My mother would never throw anything away.  When she went to the assisted living center, we found so much stuff, most of it useless. 

I am very careful not to buy anything that will give me work (dusting, cleaning) or that is not absolutely needed.  If it stops working and is not fixable, out it goes.  If it doesn't fit, out.  If it doesn't give me some enjoyment, out.  I even got a kindle just so I can buy books that won't take physical space. 

When I was taking programming courses (way, way back, in the time of the dinosaurs) the teacher told us about GIGO : Garbage In, Garbage Out.  Maybe this applies to more than computers, if I don't fill my house, I won't have to declutter it. 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: hobish on December 04, 2012, 06:15:16 PM
This is something Iíve been thinking about and exploring over the past two or so years. I grew up pretty poor and was raised partly by depression-era or depression-effected grandparents and a depressed mother who got so overwhelmed by a cluttered house that it would never be cleaned because she didnít know where to start.

So, between my childhood of clutter, as well as having lost most of my personal belongings in a series of evictions that also happened when I was a kid, I get really emotionally attached. I also have a pack-rat "this could be useful" mentality.

I have to say thoughógetting rid of stuff is starting to feel incredibly freeing. And I love having an uncluttered house. It helps that Iím not so poor as an adult that Iíve realized that I can get rid of things like that lotion I didnít really like, because I can *gasp* buy the kind I do like! And replace it when I run out! Or on the flip side, I can use that gifted organic soap I really, really do like, because I can buy it for myself if I choose to.

Itís an ongoing battle though. As time has passed, Iíve been abel to winnow down my collection of sentimental items to a small box. I still have a lot of issues with the ideas of having spent money on something or that it will be useful. We keep certain boxes if space allows, namely for electronics in case they need to be transported, but having just bought a house that we plan on staying in for a good long while, itís easier to say "weíre not going to be moving this TV, so why keep the box?"

Now, my craft supplies are another story. But, my SO and I each have our vices of things to hold on to (does he really need his collection of Mac OS disks spanning from 8.0 to 10.6 or that 1990s sweater from his grandmother that he hasnít worn since that decade?). Luckily, weíre on the same page of getting rid of other things so that we can have some exceptions.

Yep. This really resonates with me.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Jones on December 04, 2012, 06:28:17 PM
My problem is the kitchen. I have three objects that do similar things...but not the same! I have two sets of china (totally different colors, different occasions) and "everyday" dishes. Different sizes of pans and bowls, different types of bakeware. The "linen closet" is an extension of the kitchen. I do not have room for more kitcheny stuff. But....it's all utilized, most of it regularly, so I can't dispose of any either. Sigh.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Dindrane on December 04, 2012, 09:54:10 PM
I have found, since moving out on my own, that the majority of my issues with "stuff" stem from either laziness or poor organization.

When I was growing up, I'm pretty sure that both of those came into play, although there was more to it than that. It's hard to have a realistic picture of what's worth keeping and what's not when you try to throw something away, and one of your parents says, "no, hang on to that, you might need it." It also doesn't help when you throw things out and later regret it, or when your parents get rid of stuff and you only find out because you went looking for it.

When I moved into my current apartment, it was after moving across the country with just the contents of my Honda Civic. The only thing I asked my parents to ship to me was books. I actually did cram a surprising amount of stuff into that car, but it really wasn't all that much in the grand scheme of things. I left a lot of my childhood belongings behind, and did some serious decluttering before I moved out. My parents are hanging on to a lot of things for me that I will eventually have to either get rid of or reclaim, but I get rid of or reclaim at least a few things whenever I go home to visit.

The problem now, though, is that while I had very few belongings when I first moved in here, it mostly meant I had no way to organize anything. My apartment is not blessed with much built-in storage, so I ended up accumulating more than I really need or want just because I had no good way to really keep track of it all. What I find now, after buying a lot of primarily storage and organizational furniture, is that it takes me a long time to really use my space the way I want to. I have to go through what I have, sort out what I want from what I don't, and then determine the best way to organize everything. There are a million other things I'd rather do with my free time than that, so change is incremental at best.

Plus, when I first moved in, I kind of figured on at least moving to a new apartment relatively quickly, so I saved a lot of boxes and things that I would not otherwise have kept. That was 5 years ago, and I'm still here. We're still facing a cross-country move at some point, but I decided several years ago that there was no way I was saving boxes for that, both because they took up valuable space, and because I don't even want to think about packing up this apartment with the odds and ends of my move out here. Even if it costs money, I'll buy new boxes so that I have some shot at organizing things in a way that makes sense. The only boxes I've hung on to are for specific, fragile, and difficult to pack items that I know will be moving with me when we get to that point.

In the end, I haven't really gotten better about getting rid of things so much as I've gotten better at being organized (so I know what I have and what room I have available for storage) and sorting out the things I want from the things I'd really rather get rid of. That means that I am far less likely to throw something out and regret it later, because I'm not just pitching things in a random fit of decluttering. I'm actually planning what I really want to keep. I don't even really remember most of the things I get rid of these days, and if I regret it, it's the equivalent of a small sigh and shrug of the shoulders.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: JoW on December 04, 2012, 10:05:25 PM
..... We put together a 72 hour rule on cardboard boxes in the condo. We have 72 hours when a box arrives to use it for a specific purpose or it goes into the recycling bin. Otherwise we'd have enough cardboard to build a third bedroom.
My garage needs a serious cleaning.  I just through stuff out there in the spare parking space.  That clutter includes boxes of various sizes.

I make Christmas ornaments for family members every year.  I mailed this year's ornaments this past Sunday.  I packed them in small boxes I found in the garage clutter.  Which reinforces my hording tendencies.  But at least I got rid of those 5 boxes. 



We moved a lot when I was a kid.  I think some of my hording traits come from that.  Home is where your stuff is.   
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: ThatGirl on December 05, 2012, 06:41:34 AM
This post is so timely! DF and I moved from a 2-bed house to a 4-bed house over the weekend and I nearly lost my mind over the sheer amount of cr@p we had to shift - much of it being unloved and unused stuff that had been dug out of cupboards and drawers at our parents' houses when we moved in together over 2 years ago, was consigned to a cupboard or drawer in the house we moved into, and has now been exhumed a second time, still unloved and unwanted.

Both of us have annoying little hoarding tendencies if I'm honest - he loves DVDs (over 500 at my estimate) and isn't keen to throw away electronics and suchlike, even if they don't work and became obsolete years ago. Whereas I have a hard time parting with clothes, which I put down to growing up poor and never having much more than my school uniform coupled with a painful obsession with fashion. But this time I'm putting my foot down - we filled a small house almost to bursting in 2 years, so if we're not careful I shudder to think what we could do in this big house! So I'm spending the Christmas break sorting, throwing away, ebaying and donating as much of the clutter as I can (he doesn't know yet. Hopefully the wedding will still be on when he finds out!)

The posters who talked about Depression-era people who hoard things reminded me of my lovely Nanna - she grew up in Liverpool and lived through the Blitz (air raids, rationing), and when she passed away last summer we found so much stuff squirrelled away. Cupboards full of food and literally hundreds of pieces of clothing and underwear, mostly unworn, were donated to her church and a local women's refuge - it actually helped in a way, knowing that her accumulated stuff would be doing some good in her community.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Cricket on December 05, 2012, 10:42:28 AM
BarensMom: I've been reading through this thread, thinking when I get to the end I'd add my own thoughts. After I started reading your post, I had the thought, "Oh, I've already posted." Then I had a chuckle when I realised it was your post. My hubby is exactly the same about boxes, lol.

A couple of times I've become so frustrated with the clutter we have in our house, that I yell, "We have to much useless carp in this house!!" DH says, "I'll take some of it up to the shed". He then complains that there's so much in the shed that he can't find stuff he needs. I tell him we seriously need to get rid of things and his reasoning is "it might come in handy one day" or, "it's still works. Maybe we can sell it on ebay." But I hate selling stuff and he won't, and he doesn't let me donate to charity because we (meaning I) could sell it.

When I do declutter the kitchen, he pores through the bags to make sure I'm not getting rid of anything "useful". Most of it ends up in the shed or back in the cupboards. BLAH

As he gets older he is getting worse. I hang on to stuff, too, but at least my stuff really is useful ;)

After reading this thread, I am going to start decluttering my stuff and hope that he will follow suit when he sees how much happier and freer I am, and how much room we have to move once more.

Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Tea Drinker on December 05, 2012, 10:55:29 AM
A lot of the difficulty seems to be agreeing with a spouse on what to keep and what not. Some of that is pretty straightforward: different people cherish different books, for example, but if we agree on "keep books only if either we expect to reread them, or they have serious sentimental value" we can start to weed. It's a slow process, and I think that's partly that there are almost always more interesting things to do, and partly that it's hard to admit "no, I won't reread this. I'm not the person who liked X anymore." But at least we have an agreement in principle.

Other things, well, if we disagree on boxes or old electronics or such, they tend to stay. And anything that one of us has piled on our own desk, the other is unlikely to say anything about. And then inertia sets in.

And no, I don't know how a bank statement from 2001 surfaced on my table yesterday. But I do know where the shredder is, so out it went.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Sophia on December 05, 2012, 11:42:09 AM
...When I do declutter the kitchen, he pores through the bags to make sure I'm not getting rid of anything "useful". Most of it ends up in the shed or back in the cupboards. BLAH...

A previous boyfriend now known as Mistake and a hoarder used to do that.  One day it started when I accidentally threw away one of my favorite shirts.  I tossed the shirt into the hamper and unknowingly missed and it ended up in the trash.  Mistake saw it in the trash and asked if I'd meant to toss it.  I was grateful that he'd seen it, because I did love that shirt.  After that he started to go through the trash when I threw stuff out.  If he thought I would object, he would hide the stuff. 

I am embarrassed to say that instead of a Huge Discussion with Lots of Emphasis, I would put broken glass on top in the trash whenever I threw stuff out.  I never broke anything intentionally but when I did, it was a cause for some quick decluttering. 

I will never forget the day that now-DH then-new boyfriend stopped to garbage pick through some remodeling debris.  He came back with nothing, and I fell a little in love. 
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: magicdomino on December 06, 2012, 10:23:14 AM
When I do declutter the kitchen, he pores through the bags to make sure I'm not getting rid of anything "useful". Most of it ends up in the shed or back in the cupboards. BLAH

My mother used to do that.    Even when she had moved out and I was renting the house from her (Dirt cheap rent, but I had her Stuff as a roomie.   ::) ), she would go through the trash at the curb to see if I was throwing out anything "good."

Once when we were still in the same house, we had a particularly stubborn insect infestation.  I went through all of the kitchen cabinets and tossed everything that wasn't in a jar.  Got rid of the bugs, but good heavens, did I hear about throwing away a box of tapioca.  Never mind that the box had been there since I was a child, and I was in my early twenties.  Never mind that nobody particularly liked tapioca, and thus were unlikely to ever use it.  That box was unopened, and therefore was still good.  I *gasp* Wasted Food.  She complained about that for years!  ::)  Then Mother wondered why I never again volunteered to clean out anything.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: guihong on December 06, 2012, 10:59:38 AM
Thanks to this thread, I just went through the plastic tubs and lids cabinet under the sink  :o.

DH takes a lot of spaghetti to work in his lunch, so the tubs eventually get pretty stained.  But I've been loath to even recycle them because "they just look bad, they still work"  ::).  Or, if they don't have a lid: "I can use it somewhere else in the house"  ::).

I removed every tub and lid that wasn't a part of the brand-new 24-piece set I just bought with the locking lids (so they don't get all over the place).  I still can't bring myself to put them in the recycling because "they're so good for little things"  ::).  I'll bite the bullet, though.

And how many dishcloths do I really need, if we use a dishwasher 95% of the time?

The other day, I went through the pots and pans cabinet.  This one had pans without lids, lids from pans I scorched long ago and tossed, and the lid to the slow cooker that didn't have a handle but "I saved it because I can just pry it up with a spoon"  ::).  I tossed it, especially considering I had yet another slow cooker lid that fit but was to another one that I tossed. 

I also need to call a halt to souvenier cups from the fair or fast food places that take up so much dingdangity room.  The McD's glasses are pretty nice, though.

As for DH, we have an ongoing battle over his bag of wires and cords.  He'll look at three at a time before hyperventilating.  He's afraid that whatever appliance or electronic thing the cord is for will turn up, and if we toss it, we won't have a cord for it.  So far, he's tossed two cords for things we no longer own  ::).  But I'm the same way with unidentified keys, so I can't talk too much.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Luci on December 06, 2012, 11:57:18 AM
Once you bite the bullet and recycle that first margarine tub or glass jar, it becomes easier and easier.

I did kind of wean myself, though, because I only kept margarine tubs of a certain brand so they would stack better, and then Cool Whip containers got to be really thin and cheap, so they were easy to get rid of. Now I'm good with just the purchased containers, and I don't use margarine anymore, so the tub dies, gets recycled, and it's not replaced!

Now my problem is toilet paper tubes. I read to slice them lengthwise and use them around rolls of wrapping paper to keep the paper rolled, so I started saving them. I have plenty, but can't stop! By the way, it does work, but I still need to use a rubber band, but the tubes protects the paper for getting wrinkled by the rubber band. Oh, the horror of those wrinkles!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 06, 2012, 12:28:01 PM
This is such an interesting thread, and really inspiring for more decluttering on my part... On the "it might be useful someday" front, I think there's a delicate balance. Plastic grocery sacks, for example--if I'm at my parents' house and I'm helping my mom put the groceries away, she's like, "Give me all those sacks. Don't let your father get any, he'll just keep them forever." And she immediately stuffs them in the trash and puts something icky on top. I mean, they have sacks of sacks in the garage that he's gotten a hold of. And you would never want to use them for anything because they're all dusty and dirty. So he would claim they might be useful someday, but actually they aren't, due to the way he "stores" them.

Always wary of this tendency in myself (I feel nature and nurture working against me), here's my own plastic bag situation. I do actually find them really useful, for garbage bags in small cans like the bathroom, for bringing lunch etc. to work, for gathering up recyclables/trash so I don't have to lug a big bag around, etc.. I keep them in a shoebox in the kitchen--nice and clean. I only keep them if they didn't get wet while transporting groceries or don't have holes. And once the shoebox is full, I stop collecting them. I'm not gonna stop grocery shopping, so I know that I will be able to get plenty more once I use up some of the ones I already have. Some people are no doubt reading this thinking, how obvious, but it actually took me a while to come up with this limit.

So I try to apply this to other things. Empty folders? Yes, useful, keep some. Don't need to keep three dozen that are beat up and torn with five different crossed-out labels on them. Old pairs of shoes, after I replace them? Keep the most recent, just in case something happens and I need them. Don't need to keep the other five pairs of increasingly old, worn shoes.

It's a tough thing, because my dad is very much a "saver" of things, and my mom almost fanatically throws things away (probably the only way the house is still livable), and I feel like I want to be more in the middle.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: RegionMom on December 06, 2012, 04:55:53 PM


Always wary of this tendency in myself (I feel nature and nurture working against me), here's my own plastic bag situation. I do actually find them really useful, for garbage bags in small cans like the bathroom, for bringing lunch etc. to work, for gathering up recyclables/trash so I don't have to lug a big bag around, etc.. I keep them in a shoebox in the kitchen--nice and clean. I only keep them if they didn't get wet while transporting groceries or don't have holes. And once the shoebox is full, I stop collecting them. I'm not gonna stop grocery shopping, so I know that I will be able to get plenty more once I use up some of the ones I already have. Some people are no doubt reading this thinking, how obvious, but it actually took me a while to come up with this limit.


And that is my current problem-
my city/state is phasing out plastic bags.  I have been saving extra from the store, and when they ask, "Would you like you milk in the bag?" I say "yes" when I used to say "no" since I am stockpiling for the coming shortage.

Also, that leads me to another issue of mine--which bags should I use when no plastic bags are allowed?  Canvas?  Washable?  Sturdy plaxstic?  Bottom inserts?  Color-coded so meat only goes in one kind? 
Not too big, not too heavy, does my bag make a fashion statement, so should I choose it like I choose a purse? 
Oh my...what a first would dilemma. 
So I am collecting bags from yard sales and businesses, wondering which ones will suit my grocery shopping needs best.  And hopefully, the bags I choose not to use, I will be able to part with!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Amara on December 06, 2012, 04:58:25 PM
As I mentioned earlier, it is easy for me to get rid of things with few exceptions. This morning, for example, I took a lot of magazines, about sixty or seventy pounds worth (maybe more)--Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, and Architectural Digest--to the recycling center.

A couple of weeks ago a woman put an ad on Freecycle saying she  had a lot of these magazines and she hoped to give them to someone who would appreciate them. I answered her ad because I do love interior design magazines. I, however, have them all neatly stored in the bottom closed cabinet part of my dining room hutch and nowhere else. I'm not there yet but a couple of the magazines are reaching the point where I will have to start tossing the older editions as new ones come in because I refuse to keep any more than can fit neatly in there.

The woman who gave them to me didn't do that. She kept them all. I swear that when I stepped foot in her condo I thought I had stepped into an episode of Hoarders. Seriously. I didn't have to crawl over things but it was close. It took some effort not to blurt out "Holy cow! What a mess!" She had issues going back to the early 1980s (and that was just the magazines).

I took all of them intending to fulfill her request to treasure them. What I didn't realize is just how many there were! Numerous trips out to my car alarmed me because they filled up my entire (large) trunk, and when I got home I was able to take only about three or four dozen into the house.

Realizing how much there really was, and knowing that I was unwilling to turn my laundry room into a magazine overflow area, I decided to toss every one that was 1999 or older. I did. I still had an unmanageable mess. I changed the criterion to everything that was 2005 or older. Still unmanageable. And by this time mind-boggling. I switched to deciding that 2009 and newer were the only ones I would keep with the exception of going back to 2008 for Met Home (which is now out of business).

It is now much better. And it will all fit in its designated place. I am sorry I couldn't keep my promise to her but I am thoroughly unwilling to make my home into a storage unit. I was so relieved to get them all out of my car this morning. And I suspect that people who enjoy going through the magazine recycling bin at the center will relieve them of quite a few. So they will undoubtedly be treasured. Just by more than one person.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Luci on December 06, 2012, 05:36:41 PM
Ah. The plague of National Geographic! At least they have an index and libraries have most copies.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 06, 2012, 09:02:33 PM
Ah. The plague of National Geographic! At least they have an index and libraries have most copies.

And now there's "The Complete National Geographic--Every Issue Since 1888" on DVD-ROM for something like thirty bucks, at Amazon. Though I personally prefer leafing through the paper editions... but not every one since 1888, stored in my own house!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: BarensMom on December 07, 2012, 07:51:24 AM
Ah. The plague of National Geographic! At least they have an index and libraries have most copies.

And now there's "The Complete National Geographic--Every Issue Since 1888" on DVD-ROM for something like thirty bucks, at Amazon. Though I personally prefer leafing through the paper editions... but not every one since 1888, stored in my own house!

The Richmond High School library had every issue of National Geographic, Time, Life, Newsweek,  and other, now defunct (even Liberty) magazines going back to the 1920's.  I used to love to go into their back room and just read about FDR, Churchill and other historic figures in the (then) present tense.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Luci on December 07, 2012, 08:23:01 AM
Ah. The plague of National Geographic! At least they have an index and libraries have most copies.

And now there's "The Complete National Geographic--Every Issue Since 1888" on DVD-ROM for something like thirty bucks, at Amazon. Though I personally prefer leafing through the paper yueditions... but not every one since 1888, stored in my own house!

The Richmond High School library had every issue of National Geographic, Time, Life, Newsweek,  and other, now defunct (even Liberty) magazines going back to the 1920's.  I used to love to go into their back room and just read about FDR, Churchill and other historic figures in the (then) present tense.

My point was that when I was a school librarian, at least once a year some kind soul would be decluttering and proudly offer his collection of National geographics. We had to gently explain that we had them all and didn't have room for more, thank you for thinking of us. Then their faces would fall because we really were rejecting a valuable, kind, and genuinely thoughtful offer. It made me sad.

They really were a valued resource, particularlly when the indexes were published.

I thought every library had that problem, which is the reason I flipped it off that way. I apologize.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: SCAJAfamily on December 07, 2012, 09:27:26 AM
Quote
And that is my current problem-
my city/state is phasing out plastic bags.  I have been saving extra from the store, and when they ask, "Would you like you milk in the bag?" I say "yes" when I used to say "no" since I am stockpiling for the coming shortage.

Also, that leads me to another issue of mine--which bags should I use when no plastic bags are allowed?  Canvas?  Washable?  Sturdy plaxstic?  Bottom inserts?  Color-coded so meat only goes in one kind? 

I live in San Jose which now "plastic bag free" for 11 months now.  I'm still terrible at remembering to bring my bags.  I have one attched to my purse so I always remember at least one.  I had a huge stash of plastic bags at the beginning of the year but they are almost gone now.  I keep my cloth bags by the front door.  That helps me remember a bit.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 07, 2012, 09:35:26 AM
I have a bunch of different ones.  I like cloth ones for groceries that I can throw in the washer.  I've been given some sturdier ones that are wipeable but not washable.  I use those more for clothing purchases and other non food items.  I might use them for boxes of cereal but not for produce or meat.

Whenever I buy raw meat, that bag goes in the wash immediately.  I don't buy meat that often so it works out.  If I was buying it more often, I'd designate a particular bag for it.

The other thing I have are plastic bins for groceries.  They have strapping handles on them and you can easily carry two at a time.  They are also washable, which is great.  These are designated for my CSA veggies now, though.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: workingmum on December 08, 2012, 02:44:39 AM
This thread has inspired me to go through mine and DD's clothes! I have recently updated my wardrobe due to a change in job and size and have kept hold of all those old "around the house" shirts that i will probably never wear because either the arms are too long or they are too tight on the chest but are good for wearing while cleaning. Somehow I never do wear them for cleaning  :) DD is 9 and a terrible hoarder.. she still has a jacket I made her when she was 3 because she "can't bear to get rid of it".

I already have 2 bags full of clothes in near new condition to donate. Unfortunately I dont have anyone near to my size to give them to, so off to Red Cross they go!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Just Lori on December 09, 2012, 07:49:56 AM
I once read that when you're decluttering, ask yourself - If I were moving, would I keep this or get rid of it?

I would much rather get rid of things than pack them, so this works for me.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: BarensMom on December 09, 2012, 09:03:10 AM
Quote
And that is my current problem-
my city/state is phasing out plastic bags.  I have been saving extra from the store, and when they ask, "Would you like you milk in the bag?" I say "yes" when I used to say "no" since I am stockpiling for the coming shortage.

Also, that leads me to another issue of mine--which bags should I use when no plastic bags are allowed?  Canvas?  Washable?  Sturdy plaxstic?  Bottom inserts?  Color-coded so meat only goes in one kind? 

I live in San Jose which now "plastic bag free" for 11 months now.  I'm still terrible at remembering to bring my bags.  I have one attched to my purse so I always remember at least one.  I had a huge stash of plastic bags at the beginning of the year but they are almost gone now.  I keep my cloth bags by the front door.  That helps me remember a bit.

First, San Jose, then San Francisco - the bag bans are creeping closer to my town.  It's a good thing I already have cloth bags.  Now if my DH would just leave them in the car.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: VorFemme on December 09, 2012, 10:21:07 AM
Now if VorGuy and VorSon would just remember that the reuseable bags aren't to be absent-mindedly tossed away when they finish emptying them.

I swear that the reuseable bags that don't pack flat (rip stop nylon or similar THIN fabric) and go in my tote bag or purse vanish, forever, if I'm not the one unpacking them.  They have no memory of what happened to the ones I used in 2008 to take food to the resort where we spent our vacation (we had four more people joining us for most of the vacation and two extra coming by for meals on the weekend, but sleeping at a hotel as there weren't enough beds....).  Same group plus a new baby were invited for 2011 - but things didn't work out. 

VorGuy prefers NOT to buy the staples - and I picked a different "hill to die on" - at least as long as we drive a mini-van instead of a smaller vehicle.  We have space - might as well take the brands that we KNOW we like.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Wittyone on December 09, 2012, 10:29:30 AM
I once read that when you're decluttering, ask yourself - If I were moving, would I keep this or get rid of it?

I would much rather get rid of things than pack them, so this works for me.

I've heard that when decluttering you take each item and ask yourself "keep or toss". If you don't know the answer immediately then toss it because you are only taking the time to justify keeping it.  The stuff you know you need/want to keep you know immediately, everything else is justification, which means you don't really need it.  This has served me pretty well, although I'm not a pack rat.  My DH tends to be though and this works pretty well for him to, when I can get him to go through stuff.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: atirial on December 10, 2012, 04:00:54 AM
We are decluttering our storage room at the moment, and I swear some of that stuff just doesn't want to go.

In our area, the problem of getting rid of things is more of a bureaucratic one. Everything has to go into the recycling bins, or the recycling centre for items that don't have a specific bin, or you get fined. However the recycling centre will only allow users in if they are driving a car (no walk-ins), and over half the local households don't have access to a vehicle... ::)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: joraemi on December 12, 2012, 05:05:39 PM
What an interesting thread!  It has reminded me that it's about time to go through the storage room again and purge!  My closet also needs a serious culling of clothes.  It's getting crowded nd I know I'm just wearing the same stuff over and over again.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 12, 2012, 09:09:19 PM
Just gave a friend some old magazines, in good condition, to try and sell on eBay! One less thing cluttering up the house (okay, it was at my parents' house). My friend can keep the money, I will just be happy knowing that the magazines went to people who were really looking for them. And if something doesn't sell, she has my permission to trash it. But hopefully things will sell well enough that she'll want more, because... I have more.  :P
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Tea Drinker on December 13, 2012, 10:45:24 AM
Does anyone else feel as though they're not getting anywhere with decluttering? I can see the bag of clothing to donate/recycle filling up, but the drawers I'm going through look just as full as before.

There are places I know I'm making progress--notably my bedroom closet--but the lack of apparent progress isn't helping me here.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on December 13, 2012, 10:58:19 AM
Does anyone else feel as though they're not getting anywhere with decluttering? I can see the bag of clothing to donate/recycle filling up, but the drawers I'm going through look just as full as before.

There are places I know I'm making progress--notably my bedroom closet--but the lack of apparent progress isn't helping me here.

I had that issue when I decluttered my clothing (need to take another look soon, too). It might help to stop once youíve gathered a big bag to get rid of, then work on organizing what is leftórefolding, moving things into better drawers if needed, etc. I found that helped me better identify what was left, and started to make it look like less when I had things grouped well and the t-shirts actually folded instead of just thrown into a pile in the t-shirt drawer.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Bethalize on December 13, 2012, 11:01:12 AM
Does anyone else feel as though they're not getting anywhere with decluttering? I can see the bag of clothing to donate/recycle filling up, but the drawers I'm going through look just as full as before.

There are places I know I'm making progress--notably my bedroom closet--but the lack of apparent progress isn't helping me here.

It's like housework - it's on a cycle. Start in one place, and that needs doing again before you get to the last place!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 13, 2012, 02:27:10 PM
Does anyone else feel as though they're not getting anywhere with decluttering? I can see the bag of clothing to donate/recycle filling up, but the drawers I'm going through look just as full as before.

There are places I know I'm making progress--notably my bedroom closet--but the lack of apparent progress isn't helping me here.

Oh sure, sometimes. I've done some decluttering in several places lately (thanks, thread!) but my goodness, you wouldn't know it to look at my place. But, I know I did it, and I feel better knowing that what's left is stuff I really want to keep, and that it has a little more breathing room in its storage space and is less likely to be damaged. Honestly if I had a hole I could see I would probably just think, "Whoo! I can get more stuff now!" and fill it up.  ::)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: snowdragon on December 13, 2012, 02:35:48 PM
For some of us it's also that we have had parents give away things of theirs because "so and so wanted it" really? what makes so and so - so much more worthy of my stuff than I am?  At this point I next to never give things away, because I resent the idea that others can have my stuff but I can't.  My mom says she wanted to teach sharing,,,what she taught was "you need to hide and defend anything you care about because someone is always more worthy than you."
 
  I have several friends whose parents did the same thing - with similar results.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Carotte on December 13, 2012, 04:30:43 PM
I'm in a 'transition' phase, I just finished school and am starting to look for a job, right now I'm still living with my parents but that's likely to change in a few months so it's the perfect time to purge.
I was in art school, so over the years I gathered lots of stuff that I used/could use in my projects, little bits of doodads and odds and ends. I won't throw away what is usable 'prime' art supplies (paint, papers..) I've had to pay for it! but I've started asking myself if I'm really going to use that or if I really need that empty box of tic-tacs...
My objective is to have a room that will most likely be turned into a guest room, where people can spend the night in an 'half neutral/half carotte's' environment.
It helps that I'm starting to hate things that are too cluttered. My parents have tons of useless stuff, collections and stuff from places we've been to or lived, paintings.. And that I've always been kind of frugal with my money, I don't have much stuff or they are little, I can mull over buying something for even months before deciding if I really want it or not.
I think I might try allowing myself to have x number of shirts, x number of pants, sweaters,... I don't have that much clothes compared to some girls my age but it's still a bit overwhelming at times, and I end up using always the same ones.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: CakeEater on December 13, 2012, 04:36:46 PM
Does anyone else feel as though they're not getting anywhere with decluttering? I can see the bag of clothing to donate/recycle filling up, but the drawers I'm going through look just as full as before.

There are places I know I'm making progress--notably my bedroom closet--but the lack of apparent progress isn't helping me here.

Sometimes my drawers go from completely overstuffed full to just comfortably full, so it doesn't look like you've done much, but it's just easier to get stuff in and out, which is a bonus.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Jones on December 13, 2012, 04:54:55 PM
For some of us it's also that we have had parents give away things of theirs because "so and so wanted it" really? what makes so and so - so much more worthy of my stuff than I am?  At this point I next to never give things away, because I resent the idea that others can have my stuff but I can't.  My mom says she wanted to teach sharing,,,what she taught was "you need to hide and defend anything you care about because someone is always more worthy than you."
 
  I have several friends whose parents did the same thing - with similar results.
This sounds so, so familiar. Clothes I could, and still do, care less about, but I have many memories of beloved childhood possessions going to younger sibs and cousins. I remember hiding things under the drawer of a desk before a purge.
Suddenly my current cluttered state is making sense...
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 13, 2012, 08:00:38 PM
Does anyone else feel as though they're not getting anywhere with decluttering? I can see the bag of clothing to donate/recycle filling up, but the drawers I'm going through look just as full as before.

There are places I know I'm making progress--notably my bedroom closet--but the lack of apparent progress isn't helping me here.

Sometimes my drawers go from completely overstuffed full to just comfortably full, so it doesn't look like you've done much, but it's just easier to get stuff in and out, which is a bonus.

Yes, exactly, this is what happened to me. I went through one of my drawers and pulled quite a lot out the other day. If you look at it right now, you'd say it was full. But, it's no longer OVER-full, to the point where I had to push on things just to close it. Every little bit counts, in my opinion! :)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on December 14, 2012, 08:20:49 AM
Does anyone else feel as though they're not getting anywhere with decluttering? I can see the bag of clothing to donate/recycle filling up, but the drawers I'm going through look just as full as before.

There are places I know I'm making progress--notably my bedroom closet--but the lack of apparent progress isn't helping me here.

Sometimes my drawers go from completely overstuffed full to just comfortably full, so it doesn't look like you've done much, but it's just easier to get stuff in and out, which is a bonus.

Yes, exactly, this is what happened to me. I went through one of my drawers and pulled quite a lot out the other day. If you look at it right now, you'd say it was full. But, it's no longer OVER-full, to the point where I had to push on things just to close it. Every little bit counts, in my opinion! :)

Yep! (Now Iím getting motivated to clean out my overfull t-shirt drawer. Too bad Iím at work)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: RegionMom on December 18, 2012, 10:31:53 AM
This summer, while the boys were at Philmont, I did a huge purge and had a driveway load of stuff that a charity truck picked up, plus two vanloads to drop off, plus a vanload of recycling.
We have more receipts of charitable donations of stuff than this year than other years, but I still have so much stuff!
part of it is that I no longer have a classroom, but still have my teaching supplies and such. 
Still...
I really should not have so much stuff.  no matter that almost all of the stuff was bought 2ndhand.

Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: lowspark on December 18, 2012, 10:51:43 AM
Have you seen that commercial where the wife is having a garage sale and the husband comes along and pulls out the most useless, ugly, absurd stuff and says he's keeping it and how could she think of getting rid of these things. It's a commercial for storage units. So this guy is going to pay $$$/month (I have no idea how much those storage units cost but it sure is money out the window!) to store a bunch of garbage that he can't bear to part with but will probably never look at again. Hey it's the American way!

What kills me is how blatantly this is all articulated in the ad. They don't even pretend that what he's storing is useful or will somehow become useful in the future. Those people need a reality check, huh. But ya gotta figure, if they're putting it in a commercial like that, it's probably true in thousands of households across the country and these people are raking in the bucks!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: RegionMom on December 18, 2012, 10:59:44 AM
A storage unit is where I draw the line.

We already keep our vehicles in the driveway and store the "junk" in the garage.  I am not paying to store my stuff!  (Any more than I am already)
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Amara on December 18, 2012, 01:09:14 PM
Quick off-topic comment:

You know, from an entrepreneurial standpoint storage units are brilliant. Get cheap land; build inexpensive units that don't require much if any maintenance; advertise a little around your neighborhood that people no longer have to get rid of their stuff, that they can store it, and you have yourself a nice business going. Especially because once you get someone to make the initial move you have them almost for life, hopefully renting bigger and bigger units as their stuff accumulates.

Back to topic now.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on December 18, 2012, 01:29:55 PM
Amaraówe have a friend who did just that. His goal was to target people from the college down the road that needed somewhat temporary storage (students over the summer, faculty who are on sabbatical and renting out their homes, etc). He started running into issues with that goal when he began getting longer and longer term renters, and wasnít expecting it!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Amara on December 18, 2012, 01:46:05 PM
Ha!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: bopper on December 18, 2012, 06:19:35 PM
My DH hoards the boxes things come in, just in case we have to return it.  They're in the closets and out in the garage, where if I shift something, they come tumbling down.  His reasoning is "I may have to return something" or "we'll need those when we move" (yeah, in 7 years!).  He also will not flatten them, as it will "destroy the integrity."  By the time he is ready to use those boxes, they'll have been nibbled to bits by the field mice that get in there from time to time.

Recently, I discovered a 6' Xmas tree that I would love to have.  My DH doesn't want it because we have nowhere to put it.  I told him, "Get rid of your boxes and we'll have room."

We were box keepers too....and when we moved the movers only wanted to use their wrappings and boxes!
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: bopper on December 18, 2012, 06:44:01 PM
As I mentioned earlier, it is easy for me to get rid of things with few exceptions. This morning, for example, I took a lot of magazines, about sixty or seventy pounds worth (maybe more)--Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, and Architectural Digest--to the recycling center.



It is now much better. And it will all fit in its designated place. I am sorry I couldn't keep my promise to her but I am thoroughly unwilling to make my home into a storage unit. I was so relieved to get them all out of my car this morning. And I suspect that people who enjoy going through the magazine recycling bin at the center will relieve them of quite a few. So they will undoubtedly be treasured. Just by more than one person.

Whatever you told her, it made her happy to think her magazines were going to a good home.   You have done a good thing helping them get them out of her house.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Adelaide on December 18, 2012, 07:56:05 PM
I am becoming much better at getting rid of stuff. I moved out here in my car (with my mother taking up a seat) and basically had to take everything I wanted to keep with me. I had to box most of the rest up at home. There are some things, like my great-grandmother's pearls, my photo album, and perhaps my childhood stuffed animal, that I would strongly defend but...I'm quickly learning that it can be freeing to not cling too tightly to "stuff".

My dad is into what he calls "organized hoarding". He is very meticulous about stacking stuff (often in its original packing) and has pegboards and hangers for them. His storage shed (at home) looks like a store, the way everything's displayed. I personally don't see a problem with that though, as long as space/cleanliness isn't an issue.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 19, 2012, 09:48:58 AM
My dad is into what he calls "organized hoarding". He is very meticulous about stacking stuff (often in its original packing) and has pegboards and hangers for them. His storage shed (at home) looks like a store, the way everything's displayed. I personally don't see a problem with that though, as long as space/cleanliness isn't an issue.

Yes, I have some relatives like this who have a lot of "stuff," but they keep it organized and stored in good condition. They like to buy and sell things online and at garage sales, etc., and tend to buy more than they sell. I think they "just haven't gotten around" to selling things, rather than they're compulsively keeping things because it scares them to think about letting them go. As long as the other people sharing the house don't mind the space they're taking up, I don't see a problem with this type, either, though of course not everyone would want to live that way.
Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Reader on December 19, 2012, 02:31:52 PM
In my case right now it's an issue of time and available resources.  I'm in the process of trying to get rid of extra clothes, plus stuff abandoned by a previous renter.  I normally have a few choices to do so, donate to local charity, use my local free exchange, or use a free listing on craigslist.  I've tried joining freecycle over 3 times without success or I would use that as well.  There was supposed to be a free exchange this month but was cancelled, so I have to wait until the next one so I'll probably end up with more than the 4 boxes I already have on my porch.  Took 3 calls to local charities before I could get a pick on furniture that was too heavy for me to drop off and needed to be picked up.  2 Saturdays later and at least that's gone.  The weather is too wet to leave anything outside for free pickup using a craigslist ad, and with two jobs the only free time I have when places are open is Saturday, as most charity places are closed on Sundays.  Makes for conflict of time when I have to schedule appointments for Saturday for vet visits, oil changes, etc. 

By the way that reminds me, I should grab another box from work to take home lol.

Title: Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
Post by: Twik on December 19, 2012, 02:37:52 PM
I'm quickly learning that it can be freeing to not cling too tightly to "stuff".

I think that's very true.