Author Topic: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".  (Read 9225 times)

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LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #60 on: December 05, 2012, 11:54:12 AM »
Now, to throw a wrench into the 'it might be useful someday' thinking.....it works!!

My father is still living in the house that he bought in 1962.  The house I grew up in.  Sometime in the 70s, he remodeled a lot and put all new windows in.  He carefully removed and saved all of the asbestos shingles that the new windows displaced.  They've been in the garage all these years.

A couple of months ago, some lady lost control of her car and ran it into the corner of house, taking out a bush and my brother's car in the process.   Wouldn't you know, my father HAD those shingles to repair the side of the house with!??   

Tea Drinker

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #61 on: December 05, 2012, 11:55:29 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.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

Sophia

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #62 on: December 05, 2012, 12:42:09 PM »
...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. 

magicdomino

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #63 on: December 06, 2012, 11:23:14 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.

guihong

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #64 on: December 06, 2012, 11:59:38 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.



Luci

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #65 on: December 06, 2012, 12:57:18 PM »
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!

Lynn2000

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #66 on: December 06, 2012, 01:28:01 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.
~Lynn2000

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #67 on: December 06, 2012, 01:49:14 PM »
Thanks to this thread, I finally unglued my fingers and gave up my rotary dial phone from oh-so-long-ago.   I loved that phone.  it was the first phone I ever bought, when they first started making us buy our phones, and I paid a whole $99 for it, which was a LOT of money when I was only 20 and making $5 an hour.   It was used in every apartment of mine for so many years, hanging on the wall. 

But someone on Freecycle was looking for a rotary dial phone for a scavenger hunt, and I decided that if I had to let it go, at least it was for a good cause.  She was most appreciative.

And so goes the uncluttering....

RegionMom

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #68 on: December 06, 2012, 05:55:53 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!
Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.

Amara

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #69 on: December 06, 2012, 05:58:25 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.

Luci

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #70 on: December 06, 2012, 06:36:41 PM »
Ah. The plague of National Geographic! At least they have an index and libraries have most copies.

Lynn2000

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #71 on: December 06, 2012, 10:02:33 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!
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BarensMom

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #72 on: December 07, 2012, 08:51:24 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.

Luci

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #73 on: December 07, 2012, 09:23:01 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.

SCAJAfamily

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to get rid of "stuff".
« Reply #74 on: December 07, 2012, 10:27:26 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.
SCAJAfamily = dd S 22, ds C 15, ds A 12, dh J and myself dw A