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Sue 30 April 2018 03:04 PM

We are planning to move within the next few years and as I look around I am determined that I am only packing the things I really need. Or the things I really love. Or really need. Sigh. The point is I have got to make some hard decisions! Has anyone else here gone through a move or decided to get rid of a ton of stuff? How did you do it? Did you have certain criteria you followed? How successful were you?

I have books, so very many books. This should be an easy place to start. Accent on should.

Lainie 30 April 2018 03:15 PM

I've done it more than once. And I'm still finding things that I could probably have gotten rid of. I tend to start with clothes and paperwork/files. If it's been more than a few years since you moved, you may have a lot of paper you don't need any longer.

I can't help you with books; for a variety of reasons, despite being an avid reader, I buy very few books.

Sue 30 April 2018 03:21 PM

I don't buy many books anymore - I do buy to complete collections though. Which is part of the problem. I have a lot of collections - many of them kids series books that I add to but don't read. Waste of money and waste of space. But giving them all up after I've spent so many years collecting them isn't something I want to do. But the idea of boxing them all up and moving them and then unboxing them again is making me think - enough already!

GenYus234 30 April 2018 03:21 PM

I'd suggest a two part rule: Have I used this item/thing in the past x years? Do I have concrete plans to use this item in the next y years? If the answer to both is no, throw it out/donate it. (x and y to be based on how decluttered you want to be.) YMMV of course, but I generally don't keep sentimental items except for photographs.

Esprise Me 30 April 2018 03:38 PM

For me, getting rid of clothes was tricky, because I do wear everything, just not necessarily often enough to justify keeping it. I found it helpful to start by clearing out a bunch of stuff--everything but the essentials--but then putting it out of sight for a while without getting rid of it. There were a few things I ended up going back for, which I then returned to my closet. But others were out of sight, out of mind, and easier to let go of after the trial run.

With your books, you might find it easier to let go if you're giving them to someone who would really appreciate your carefully collected series, instead of just dropping it off at Goodwill. I don't have any specific suggestions on that front, but it seems like the psychological barrier is that you know these things have value as a set and you don't want to feel as if you're just throwing them away or scattering them to the winds. If you found someone to cherish them, you might even feel good about getting rid of them.

RichardM 30 April 2018 03:51 PM

I, and I mean me personally, moved everything 700 miles in the last half of 2016. Several footlockers full of paperbacks and old text books went to Half Price Books. Over 1000 pounds of scrap steel went to recycle and I got $49.50 for it. Moved several hundred tee shirts which is of course more than we will ever wear. I lost 20 pounds doing it. And yes, both of us could be considered hoarders. Ugh!

kitap 30 April 2018 03:53 PM

I suggest the Lori* method.

Have a friend with zero sentimental attachments to whatever you're going through come over and ruthlessly make 4 piles with you: keep without question, give away, think on it, and not going to keep but not in good enough condition to sell/donate. Then go over think on it. A true Lori will yank an item out of your hands and say "you hate this. It's getting tossed".

* Named for my friend Lori. She actually did yank books out of my hand while telling me "I'm donating this. You hated it the first time you read it." She pared me down from about 2000 to about 600.

Seaboe Muffinchucker 30 April 2018 04:00 PM


Originally Posted by kitap (Post 1977699)
A true Lori will yank an item out of your hands

Any friend of mine who physically yanked anything out of my hands would end up bouncing down the sidewalk on her rear end with the slam of the door echoing in her ears. I consider that completely unacceptable behavior.

On the other hand, have a friend to say "you hated that, don't keep it" is extraordinarily helpful.

When I was prepping for my remodel, I unpacked all the boxes in storage that contained books (primarily inherited from my mother). Everything had to fit on the shelves I already had. If there wasn't enough room, things had to go. In the end, I probably gave away close to 5,000 books.

What I did (and am still doing) to declutter is declare three things: i) nothing stays in boxes; b) everything has to fit into the amount of storage I'm willing to give it; 3) when storage over flows, something has to go.

I'm not finished (there are still boxes around), and I may never be finished, but those are my goals.


Errata 30 April 2018 05:14 PM

When I moved to my current house I got rid of over half my stuff, and I've managed to keep it very uncluttered since, though there are a few closets I should make another pass through at some point. A lot of stuff it was clear I wasn't using and didn't need, it just required some effort to go through and actually dispose of things like that. Moving is a good opportunity since you don't really have any choice but to go through things, and disposing of it is in some ways easier than transporting it.

Lainie 30 April 2018 05:17 PM


Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker (Post 1977700)
Any friend of mine who physically yanked anything out of my hands would end up bouncing down the sidewalk on her rear end with the slam of the door echoing in her ears. I consider that completely unacceptable behavior.

Same here, but presumably Kitap gave her friend Lori different instructions than you or I would have given one of our friends.

Beachlife! 30 April 2018 05:24 PM

I don't have a Lori. I have some close friends, but having one help me de-clutter without affecting our friendship isn't something I think I could do.

dfresh 30 April 2018 05:34 PM


Originally Posted by Beachlife! (Post 1977727)
I have some close friends, but having one help me de-clutter without affecting our friendship isn't something I think I could do.

My wife has been asked by a good friend (who is a packrat, married to a packrat, raising two kids) to help purge a lot of stuff, since their house is at the point where there are narrow pathways through the living room, and big parts of the bedrooms that are inaccessible. My wife thinks that it would really hurt their friendship, but feels she should for the sake of the kids, so they could have a healthier house for a while at least.

Aud 1 30 April 2018 05:51 PM

I'm not sure why books get attacked first when looking to declutter. My mom is always after mine but they sit calmly on the shelf and are cataloged.
If the books situation is causing you stress then look around for something easier to deal with. Linens are an issue at my house and it is nicer to think of getting rid of them since they can go to a animal shelter.

There are various apps than can help. I had some success with one that gamified various tasks that you set for yourself. It is called Habitica. Use a timer and see what you can get done in 15 minutes. One time we got a dumpster at our hold house. It was to get rid of a fence but there was enough room for a lot of other stuff as well.

If all else fails think of who will be cleaning if something happens to you. Emptying out the home of my hoarder father was the more horrible process. It was incredibly stressful for my family.

Lainie 30 April 2018 05:57 PM

I wasn't aware anyone here had "attacked" books. As for why they're a frequent target of decluttering before moving, maybe it's because they're heavy.

ETA: And yes, people who don't like them may see them as unnecessary clutter. But I'd be surprised if there were snopesters who feel that way.

Alarm 30 April 2018 06:03 PM

I'll give decluttering advice once you can pry it from my cold dead hands...
And I say this as someone who actually bought bookcases and keeps them stored, unassembled against the day I need more space on my bookshelves...
And to avoid having to assemble these 'spare' bookcases, I double stack my books, two rows per shelves when possible.


Beachlife! 30 April 2018 06:07 PM

As much as I love books, and I have several bookshelves, they are not my issue when it comes to clutter. I have done a good job going through my books and purging as needed. My biggest issue with books is all the stacks of 'to read' and 'just read' books in my bedroom.

Bobcat Warrior 30 April 2018 06:55 PM

Ahh, the Old Assault on Books gambit. Except in our case, three of Mrs. BW's kids and two of her siblings tried to force me to dump my entire stereo and AV system, along with 200 LP albums, and a similar number each of VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs along with 22 cases of books.

Meanwhile, these same people insisted we had to keep 20 cases of family pictures and VHS tapes that no one else wanted, had room for, or in the case of the tapes, had the capability to play. My books fill 120 lineal feet of book shelving; the Stereo and AV system along with CDs, DVDs, tapes, and LPs are safely stored in our entertainment center.

All the pictures and tapes that are not ours can be found in their cases in our garage. When the entire family comes down to Florida for Mrs. BW's Birthday this summer anyone who does not leave with their own pictures and/or tapes will forfeit them, to be dumped in the trash.

BTW, all of our books, tapes, CDs, and DVDs are catalogued.


Seaboe Muffinchucker 30 April 2018 07:50 PM


Originally Posted by Aud 1 (Post 1977736)
I'm not sure why books get attacked first when looking to declutter.

I'm another who doesn't feel it's an attack to look to books first. Books are fairly easy to go through and getting rid of them makes an obvious impact. It's hard to see the impact of getting rid of items that are tucked away in drawers.

However, the emotional impact of decluttering can be tremendous, which is why I'm doing it the way I am (figuring out how much storage space I am willing to allot to various items). People who hate clutter would hate my house. I still have thousands of books in just about every room except the living room, more than 700 CDs, bins full of fabric, bins full of yarn, a closet full of costumes (most of which I'm currently too fat to wear), and two dressers full of clothes.


Sue 30 April 2018 07:55 PM

I've got a close friend who decluttered to the point where she got rid of all her books, most of her knick knacks and all but two sets of dishes. I admire her ruthlessness but there is no way I can emulate it.

thorny locust 30 April 2018 09:23 PM


Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker (Post 1977762)
It's hard to see the impact of getting rid of items that are tucked away in drawers.

If everything fits tucked away in drawers, one is not, IMO, in an advanced state of clutter. Though I acknowledge that many people do like to clear out their drawers. (Even I have been known to do it, from time to time; though there's never enough time to do them all.)

-- what's taking up most of the space piled up on surfaces is probably going to vary a good bit from household to household. But I think the thing about books may be that most people seem to think of them as something one reads once and then is done with; why keep it? For those of us who re-read a lot, this is an uncomfortable frame of mind; but it's pretty common.

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