Author Topic: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".  (Read 7940 times)

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LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2012, 12:49:42 PM »
I have discovered the perfect way to keep me decluttering - move.   It's not a perfect solution, but it's worked for me a lot in the past.  As I get older, stuff means less (sometimes).   When I'm packing, a lot of it goes into the 'what was I thinking?' pile and is thrown out or donated.  I'm a huge fan of Freecycle.

I live in a 2-bedroom apartment that is absolutely CRAMMED with stuff right now.  My friends say that I need more room, and I keep saying that I need LESS STUFF, so I'm slowly clearing out what I really don't need, don't want, or don't use. 

I'm older and single, no children, and it bothers me that my sister will most likely be the one going through all of this stuff when I'm gone, so I'm just trying to make it easier for her.  All of the stuff that has sentimental value to me, means next to nothing to her, so it's got to go.  It's hard, though, when you have 6 sewing machines and the requisite amount of fabric and notions. 

Reader

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2012, 01:33:57 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!

SCAJAfamily

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2012, 01:38:54 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.)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 01:48:07 PM by SCAJAfamily »
SCAJAfamily = dd S 21, ds C 14, ds A 11, dh J and myself dw A

girlysprite

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2012, 01:44:18 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.

hobish

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2012, 01:46:00 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.
It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
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Sophia

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2012, 01:59:07 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. 

snowflake

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #36 on: December 03, 2012, 02:19:01 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.

bopper

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2012, 03:00:38 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.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 03:04:23 PM by bopper »

Amara

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2012, 03:57:34 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.

lowspark

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #39 on: December 03, 2012, 04:27:20 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.

SCAJAfamily

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2012, 06:40:33 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!
SCAJAfamily = dd S 21, ds C 14, ds A 11, dh J and myself dw A

crella

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2012, 07:48:17 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!

« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 07:51:39 PM by crella »

CakeEater

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2012, 07:04:41 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."

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2012, 07:45:54 AM »
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.

And that's where the beauty of Freecycle comes in.  Some people have an easier time getting rid of stuff if they know that it'll be wanted and well-used at the new place.  Freecycle is all about keeping items out of the landfill.  Even broken items are fair game, since people have given away broken vacuum cleaners, tvs that have no sound anymore, and even clean grocery bags that they'd otherwise throw out.

I can't watch it regularly, but every so often I DVR and watch an episode of Hoarders, because it keeps me inspired to NOT keep the stuff I have no use for.   

BarensMom

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2012, 11:29:18 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."