Drowning In Stuff

It’s been almost 4 years since I started decluttering.

I’m a little confused.

We’re still drowning in stuff.

When the journey to a simpler family life began, I was full of optimism. Surely a few ruthless months of purging would reduce our stuff considerably and alleviate the stress caused by material items. I was reading blogs a plenty that had successfully purged their possessions and clutter and were now sitting back enjoying the fruits of their labour.

Yet almost 4 years on, I am once more posting about how much stuff I need to dispose of. Still. You can see why I’m confused.

I can only conclude that;

a) I’m ineffective at decluttering

b) My tolerance level to stuff has reduced considerably and therefore the less I have, the less I can tolerate

c) My efforts are being sabotaged by an inward flow of stuff from external sources

Considering all 3, I actually believe all of them to be true to some degree.

My blogging buddy Robert was interviewed a while back and talked about how the battle with stuff can be compared to bailing out a sinking boat whilst water is still pouring in. This analogy has stayed with me. I cannot think of a more effective way of describing it.

A plug is required before I go any further. Else, I’m on a slow boat to nowhere.

I do not want to be posting about this January 2014.

A metaphorical buoyancy aid is going on today. I won’t drown. Action is required.

IMG_0682

I just need to come up with a plan…

Please feel free to share your thoughts. Are you winning the battle or are you on a sinking ship?

{ 96 comments… add one }
  • sarah@everydaylifeonashoestring January 7, 2013, 10:16 am

    I ponder the same thing! Despite getting rid of never ending bags of stuff to charity, periodic ebay splurges and trying to have a minimalist mindset, the stuff builds up! I think it’s probably one of those instances of the journey being as important as the destination…imagine what your house would look like if you hadn’t decluttered over those 4 years! Also I would add to your list, having children! I find that decluttering their stuff is a continual process. They are constantly outgrowing toys, clothes and games, so just keeping on top of that is a full-time job in itself, let alone my own clutter!

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:22 am

      Thanks Sarah it’s good to know I’m not alone. I seem to be filling bag after bag. Where does it come from?
      Rarely a day goes past when I do not wish I’d started this all pre-kids. I would have loved to have seen just ‘how low I can go’ with the stuff.
      The point of this post was to get the ole brain juices flowing. It’s good to hear how others are doing. Your comment about kids is spot on – I have decided to rationalise toys by 50% this week. But I’m not going to dispose. They are going into storage. I cannot dispose of them – it wouldn’t be fair. I had a remark just yesterday from my 4 year old. He found a playmobile knight in a pocket in the car that he hasn’t seen in months. He told his sister ‘I thought Mommy had sold this’. They’re getting paranoid! 🙂

  • sarah@everydaylifeonashoestring January 7, 2013, 10:16 am

    I ponder the same thing! Despite getting rid of never ending bags of stuff to charity, periodic ebay splurges and trying to have a minimalist mindset, the stuff builds up! I think it’s probably one of those instances of the journey being as important as the destination…imagine what your house would look like if you hadn’t decluttered over those 4 years! Also I would add to your list, having children! I find that decluttering their stuff is a continual process. They are constantly outgrowing toys, clothes and games, so just keeping on top of that is a full-time job in itself, let alone my own clutter!

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:22 am

      Thanks Sarah it’s good to know I’m not alone. I seem to be filling bag after bag. Where does it come from?
      Rarely a day goes past when I do not wish I’d started this all pre-kids. I would have loved to have seen just ‘how low I can go’ with the stuff.
      The point of this post was to get the ole brain juices flowing. It’s good to hear how others are doing. Your comment about kids is spot on – I have decided to rationalise toys by 50% this week. But I’m not going to dispose. They are going into storage. I cannot dispose of them – it wouldn’t be fair. I had a remark just yesterday from my 4 year old. He found a playmobile knight in a pocket in the car that he hasn’t seen in months. He told his sister ‘I thought Mommy had sold this’. They’re getting paranoid! 🙂

  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn January 7, 2013, 12:51 pm

    It does take work to keep your surroundings in a non-cluttered state (and that’s a different thing for all of us.) However, while I work on it, I try not to get to worried about the whole thing. I know a person that always laments about the state of her house and how someday she’d like to get things under control. So even when there has been good progress in cleaning up and things look pretty good, she’s never happy. I’m trying not to be like that.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:20 pm

      I can certainly see how the more you do, the more you want to accomplish. It’s hard to remember how far you’ve come some days! Perspective required maybe? Thanks for that!

  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn January 7, 2013, 12:51 pm

    It does take work to keep your surroundings in a non-cluttered state (and that’s a different thing for all of us.) However, while I work on it, I try not to get to worried about the whole thing. I know a person that always laments about the state of her house and how someday she’d like to get things under control. So even when there has been good progress in cleaning up and things look pretty good, she’s never happy. I’m trying not to be like that.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:20 pm

      I can certainly see how the more you do, the more you want to accomplish. It’s hard to remember how far you’ve come some days! Perspective required maybe? Thanks for that!

  • Joyce January 7, 2013, 1:29 pm

    We just have to keep it up. After the children are moved out it will be emptier. Of everything. 🙁

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:21 pm

      What’s a few toys today for the pleasure of their company? I need to keep that in mind also!

  • Joyce January 7, 2013, 1:29 pm

    We just have to keep it up. After the children are moved out it will be emptier. Of everything. 🙁

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:21 pm

      What’s a few toys today for the pleasure of their company? I need to keep that in mind also!

  • Nicole January 7, 2013, 1:38 pm

    And I would put some ‘rules’ for stuff in place – I have a couple, but the one that seems to save me is “Nothing is allowed IN, without something going OUT’. Whether that is a knick-knack, an article of clothing, or a decorative item.
    That said, I still have a LOT of crap in the house… more decluttering is on my list of to-dos.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:22 pm

      One in, one out is always a good rule…but I’m wondering if my stuff is breeding silently at night. The sums just don’t add up!

  • Nicole January 7, 2013, 1:38 pm

    And I would put some ‘rules’ for stuff in place – I have a couple, but the one that seems to save me is “Nothing is allowed IN, without something going OUT’. Whether that is a knick-knack, an article of clothing, or a decorative item.
    That said, I still have a LOT of crap in the house… more decluttering is on my list of to-dos.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:22 pm

      One in, one out is always a good rule…but I’m wondering if my stuff is breeding silently at night. The sums just don’t add up!

  • ~Carla~ January 7, 2013, 1:46 pm

    I’m on a mega decluttering challenge this month and we WILL win! lol! I have a charity coming to pick up my items in a week, so I have a week to pare down as much “stuff” as I can! So far, so good!! I think the trick is writing out a plan of action and going from there! Good luck!!

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:23 pm

      Hey Carla – I’ve been popping by yours, but have been a rather quiet guest! haha! I know you like your action plans – I agree, definitely one required, too easy to wander off track!

  • ~Carla~ January 7, 2013, 1:46 pm

    I’m on a mega decluttering challenge this month and we WILL win! lol! I have a charity coming to pick up my items in a week, so I have a week to pare down as much “stuff” as I can! So far, so good!! I think the trick is writing out a plan of action and going from there! Good luck!!

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:23 pm

      Hey Carla – I’ve been popping by yours, but have been a rather quiet guest! haha! I know you like your action plans – I agree, definitely one required, too easy to wander off track!

  • Lili@creativesavv January 7, 2013, 1:47 pm

    My guess is it’s likely points b and c that are plaguing you, both a desire to have even fewer material possessions and a household that brings in “stuff” faster than you can sort through it all. I’m in a family of 5 “collectors”, and I’m the only one who ever thinks to cull through our belongings, ever. So, I just consider this to be a job that doesn’t come to completion, and accept that. Good luck with your efforts and how you see this part of your life.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:24 pm

      I think you may be right Lili – maybe there is no end as such!
      Maybe it’s the new year getting to me? Thinking I need it all sorted finally.

  • Lili@creativesavv January 7, 2013, 1:47 pm

    My guess is it’s likely points b and c that are plaguing you, both a desire to have even fewer material possessions and a household that brings in “stuff” faster than you can sort through it all. I’m in a family of 5 “collectors”, and I’m the only one who ever thinks to cull through our belongings, ever. So, I just consider this to be a job that doesn’t come to completion, and accept that. Good luck with your efforts and how you see this part of your life.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:24 pm

      I think you may be right Lili – maybe there is no end as such!
      Maybe it’s the new year getting to me? Thinking I need it all sorted finally.

  • Tina Lemna January 7, 2013, 3:00 pm

    I have no problem at all with purging and keeping my clutter to a minimum however my husband is a bit of a hoarder! Just do what you can Jo. I’ve had to remind myself that loved ones are more important than stuff. He will come around in his own time.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:29 pm

      Would I swap the Kids for a clutter-free home – no way! Loved ones are more important – you’re right…

  • Tina Lemna January 7, 2013, 3:00 pm

    I have no problem at all with purging and keeping my clutter to a minimum however my husband is a bit of a hoarder! Just do what you can Jo. I’ve had to remind myself that loved ones are more important than stuff. He will come around in his own time.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:29 pm

      Would I swap the Kids for a clutter-free home – no way! Loved ones are more important – you’re right…

  • Tina Lemna January 7, 2013, 3:59 pm

    I realized I sound nicer than I am in the above comment! The house itself is kept tidy and clutter free. I also wait 30 days minimum before new things come into the house. Tim’s clutter is kept to his closet, the shed and our garage. I am also sneaky and purge when he is not around. That’s my plan. 😉

  • Tina Lemna January 7, 2013, 3:59 pm

    I realized I sound nicer than I am in the above comment! The house itself is kept tidy and clutter free. I also wait 30 days minimum before new things come into the house. Tim’s clutter is kept to his closet, the shed and our garage. I am also sneaky and purge when he is not around. That’s my plan. 😉

  • Denise @ My House, My Rules January 7, 2013, 6:21 pm

    I often pounder the same question. I have gotten rid of a bunch of clutter in the last couple years and yet my life and home feel more cluttered than ever before! I think it comes down to two things. 1.) I am sort of a minor slob so don’t always have a good plan as to putting things back in their rightful place. 2.) As I get rid of stuff I increase the “white space” in my life. And so I become less tolerant to clutter and, even though I technically have less, it still feels like it is growing.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:31 pm

      Denise – we sound very similar. I’m not great at putting things back. I move onto the next task too quickly! Also when you focus on something (aka reducing stuff) possibly you become much more conscious of it about? I suppose it’s trying to keep things in perspective!

  • Denise @ My House, My Rules January 7, 2013, 6:21 pm

    I often pounder the same question. I have gotten rid of a bunch of clutter in the last couple years and yet my life and home feel more cluttered than ever before! I think it comes down to two things. 1.) I am sort of a minor slob so don’t always have a good plan as to putting things back in their rightful place. 2.) As I get rid of stuff I increase the “white space” in my life. And so I become less tolerant to clutter and, even though I technically have less, it still feels like it is growing.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 6:31 pm

      Denise – we sound very similar. I’m not great at putting things back. I move onto the next task too quickly! Also when you focus on something (aka reducing stuff) possibly you become much more conscious of it about? I suppose it’s trying to keep things in perspective!

  • sarahthompson2012 January 7, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Have you ever looked at the Flyladys site? Its probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is full of advice and enthusiasm for those of us who are a bit more challenged when it comes to keeping the house in order. Or you could take a look at Channel 4s “Britain’s Biggest Hoarders” and suddenly your clutter will magically disappear!

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:03 pm

      Thanks Sarah! I do like Flylady’s site, and there’s some good info in there…but ironically I find it rather visually cluttered, and hence I really have to be ‘in the mood’ to navigate my way around it. But having said that there’s some great info there.
      I love, love, love hoarding programmes. There’s one soon to be shown on ‘really’. They make me feel sooo much better! But at the same time I can empathise with the hoarder – it’s fantastic when they make a break through.

  • sarahthompson2012 January 7, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Have you ever looked at the Flyladys site? Its probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is full of advice and enthusiasm for those of us who are a bit more challenged when it comes to keeping the house in order. Or you could take a look at Channel 4s “Britain’s Biggest Hoarders” and suddenly your clutter will magically disappear!

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:03 pm

      Thanks Sarah! I do like Flylady’s site, and there’s some good info in there…but ironically I find it rather visually cluttered, and hence I really have to be ‘in the mood’ to navigate my way around it. But having said that there’s some great info there.
      I love, love, love hoarding programmes. There’s one soon to be shown on ‘really’. They make me feel sooo much better! But at the same time I can empathise with the hoarder – it’s fantastic when they make a break through.

  • Claire January 7, 2013, 7:23 pm

    I think I am winning the de-clutter battle but not as fast as I might like. I am currently undertaking a ‘forced’ minimalist experiment which will hopefully spur me on – check out my latest post for details (you even get a mention!)

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:06 pm

      Hey Claire – just read about your experiment. It sounds great and very minimal…I’ll have to keep popping by to see how it’s going. Good luck!

  • Claire January 7, 2013, 7:23 pm

    I think I am winning the de-clutter battle but not as fast as I might like. I am currently undertaking a ‘forced’ minimalist experiment which will hopefully spur me on – check out my latest post for details (you even get a mention!)

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:06 pm

      Hey Claire – just read about your experiment. It sounds great and very minimal…I’ll have to keep popping by to see how it’s going. Good luck!

  • Sharron January 7, 2013, 7:46 pm

    I honestly don’t think you ever finish! I’m a constant thrower away, and although i’m happy with the state of my house i realise that i have to keep on top of it in order to achieve a balanced state. I accept that things we use now, we may not use in the future, kids will grow out of clothes, toys will become redundent, i don’t want to keep every picture my kids draw and paperwork (although i mainly go paper free) will need to be sorted out. I think if you keep your eye on the ball you will never stop decluttering. Be warned though, take your eyes off the ball and it will BREED!!

    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:08 pm

      Hey Sharron – Welcome back!! I’m back at the breeding stage (and there was me thinking those days were behind me ;-)). I know you’re super organised and a chuckerawayer – so if even you have a constant job on your hands, I reckon it may be a work in progress for a while yet here!

  • Sharron January 7, 2013, 7:46 pm

    I honestly don’t think you ever finish! I’m a constant thrower away, and although i’m happy with the state of my house i realise that i have to keep on top of it in order to achieve a balanced state. I accept that things we use now, we may not use in the future, kids will grow out of clothes, toys will become redundent, i don’t want to keep every picture my kids draw and paperwork (although i mainly go paper free) will need to be sorted out. I think if you keep your eye on the ball you will never stop decluttering. Be warned though, take your eyes off the ball and it will BREED!!

    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:08 pm

      Hey Sharron – Welcome back!! I’m back at the breeding stage (and there was me thinking those days were behind me ;-)). I know you’re super organised and a chuckerawayer – so if even you have a constant job on your hands, I reckon it may be a work in progress for a while yet here!

  • bellscave January 7, 2013, 8:15 pm

    Drowning. We are drowning in STUFF! Years of it. We purged extensively 7 years ago when we moved. But, yes we still brought way too much with us. I willl be traveling for the next 6-7 weeks and when i get home then I want too will be getting rid of more. I have learned one thing and that is i will take far less with me on this trip than i used to take.
    i am glad you seem to be feeling much better.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:15 pm

      Hi Kate – whenever I’ve been away I always want to come home and reduce. We tend to stay in small minimal accommodation (twas a log cabin in Lapland – very rustic and natural – open fires etc). maybe this is why I’m feeling a little cluttered. We’ve been away and had Christmas.
      Hope your travels go well! Have Fun!

  • bellscave January 7, 2013, 8:15 pm

    Drowning. We are drowning in STUFF! Years of it. We purged extensively 7 years ago when we moved. But, yes we still brought way too much with us. I willl be traveling for the next 6-7 weeks and when i get home then I want too will be getting rid of more. I have learned one thing and that is i will take far less with me on this trip than i used to take.
    i am glad you seem to be feeling much better.

    • simplybeingmum January 7, 2013, 10:15 pm

      Hi Kate – whenever I’ve been away I always want to come home and reduce. We tend to stay in small minimal accommodation (twas a log cabin in Lapland – very rustic and natural – open fires etc). maybe this is why I’m feeling a little cluttered. We’ve been away and had Christmas.
      Hope your travels go well! Have Fun!

  • Clare January 8, 2013, 2:57 am

    I know what you mean :), but I do think it’s a gradual thing, and some things that you think have to stay one month are in the donation bag the next! And as you grow and your priorities change, so do the things you think are essential. The most important thing is to keep at it, steps in the right direction and all that 🙂

  • Clare January 8, 2013, 2:57 am

    I know what you mean :), but I do think it’s a gradual thing, and some things that you think have to stay one month are in the donation bag the next! And as you grow and your priorities change, so do the things you think are essential. The most important thing is to keep at it, steps in the right direction and all that 🙂

  • EcoCatLady January 8, 2013, 3:15 am

    I fear I’ve been going through similar gyrations here – it just seems that no sooner do I get things “set” – whether it’s having a home for everything, or a system in place to keep messes at bay or whatever – when something will change and throw everything off again!

    But you know what they say… stuff expands to fill the space allotted! I swear I’ve been at this for well over 15 years now and I am coming to the conclusion that it’s really a journey not a destination.

    I’m just trying to come to peace with the reality that I’m gonna have to re-make everything constantly. A desk system that worked for me 6 months ago might not work now (as evidenced by the 6 inch deep pile of junk on its surface!) A closet system that worked in summer might not work in winter (as evidenced by the pile of clothes atop my dresser.) A kitchen cabinet that made sense during gardening season might not work so well in the winter when we’re eating more frozen veggies etc. etc. etc.

    I’m trying hard not to see this as organizational/clutter failure on my part, but just the constant evolution of my life. I think I’ll be hauling more crap to the thrift store soon!

    Good luck and let us know if you come up with some magic solution!

    • simplybeingmum January 8, 2013, 9:24 am

      Thanks Cat. I think what I find most exhausting is the constant decision making. As you describe above an uncluttered/organised/minimal life requires one to be on the ball – with systems etc… it is so much easier to just let go. I know that one of the issues with hoarding is procrastination and lack of decision making ability (of which I suffer a tad of both myself).
      As you state – it’s a process. I’m not sure there is an end?

      • EcoCatLady January 8, 2013, 9:43 pm

        I used to watch a decluttering show called “Neat” featuring an organizer named Helen Buttigieg. One of the things she was always saying is that clutter is really just postponed decisions. So true, so true, so very, very true!

  • EcoCatLady January 8, 2013, 3:15 am

    I fear I’ve been going through similar gyrations here – it just seems that no sooner do I get things “set” – whether it’s having a home for everything, or a system in place to keep messes at bay or whatever – when something will change and throw everything off again!

    But you know what they say… stuff expands to fill the space allotted! I swear I’ve been at this for well over 15 years now and I am coming to the conclusion that it’s really a journey not a destination.

    I’m just trying to come to peace with the reality that I’m gonna have to re-make everything constantly. A desk system that worked for me 6 months ago might not work now (as evidenced by the 6 inch deep pile of junk on its surface!) A closet system that worked in summer might not work in winter (as evidenced by the pile of clothes atop my dresser.) A kitchen cabinet that made sense during gardening season might not work so well in the winter when we’re eating more frozen veggies etc. etc. etc.

    I’m trying hard not to see this as organizational/clutter failure on my part, but just the constant evolution of my life. I think I’ll be hauling more crap to the thrift store soon!

    Good luck and let us know if you come up with some magic solution!

    • simplybeingmum January 8, 2013, 9:24 am

      Thanks Cat. I think what I find most exhausting is the constant decision making. As you describe above an uncluttered/organised/minimal life requires one to be on the ball – with systems etc… it is so much easier to just let go. I know that one of the issues with hoarding is procrastination and lack of decision making ability (of which I suffer a tad of both myself).
      As you state – it’s a process. I’m not sure there is an end?

      • EcoCatLady January 8, 2013, 9:43 pm

        I used to watch a decluttering show called “Neat” featuring an organizer named Helen Buttigieg. One of the things she was always saying is that clutter is really just postponed decisions. So true, so true, so very, very true!

  • Linda January 8, 2013, 2:40 pm

    Have you checked out the blog – 365LessThings – it really helped me to go slow and steady.

    • simplybeingmum January 8, 2013, 4:45 pm

      Hi Linda…yes I have been by Colleen’s blog. However I haven’t checked in lately. Thanks for the recommendation (it is a great blog!) – I’ve popped a link in here for anyone who may want to check it out
      http://www.365lessthings.com/
      I’m hoping to pick up the pace a little – I’ve been slowly and surely decluttering for a while now – and of course that is the best way long term as with any habit change. But I’m getting impatient, it may be I’m ready to take that extra step and really purge. I’ve started reading Gail Blankes book ‘Throw Out Fifty Things’ http://www.throwoutfiftythings.com/
      I’m hoping her mega direct approach is what I need to give me a kick!

  • Linda January 8, 2013, 2:40 pm

    Have you checked out the blog – 365LessThings – it really helped me to go slow and steady.

    • simplybeingmum January 8, 2013, 4:45 pm

      Hi Linda…yes I have been by Colleen’s blog. However I haven’t checked in lately. Thanks for the recommendation (it is a great blog!) – I’ve popped a link in here for anyone who may want to check it out
      http://www.365lessthings.com/
      I’m hoping to pick up the pace a little – I’ve been slowly and surely decluttering for a while now – and of course that is the best way long term as with any habit change. But I’m getting impatient, it may be I’m ready to take that extra step and really purge. I’ve started reading Gail Blankes book ‘Throw Out Fifty Things’ http://www.throwoutfiftythings.com/
      I’m hoping her mega direct approach is what I need to give me a kick!

  • SarahN January 8, 2013, 8:33 pm

    I know that buying stuff is my main problem (though admittedly I buy with a place/function in mind). I don’t accept freebies and the like anymore – or corporate gifts. But I also know in the last 6 months, I’ve really not been as active getting rid of stuff. Seems no one wants my stuff on freecycle of late, and it’s not really op shop sort of stuff (hardware offcuts etc). That being said, I’m not yet at ‘drowning’ in stuff, but I know I’m feeling like I’m not as on top of it as before :s

    • simplybeingmum January 9, 2013, 3:08 pm

      The dreaded freebie! I too steer clear! To be honest, I may have been a little hard on myself. I started some decluttering yesterday, and I really struggled to find my own items to throw away…

  • SarahN January 8, 2013, 8:33 pm

    I know that buying stuff is my main problem (though admittedly I buy with a place/function in mind). I don’t accept freebies and the like anymore – or corporate gifts. But I also know in the last 6 months, I’ve really not been as active getting rid of stuff. Seems no one wants my stuff on freecycle of late, and it’s not really op shop sort of stuff (hardware offcuts etc). That being said, I’m not yet at ‘drowning’ in stuff, but I know I’m feeling like I’m not as on top of it as before :s

    • simplybeingmum January 9, 2013, 3:08 pm

      The dreaded freebie! I too steer clear! To be honest, I may have been a little hard on myself. I started some decluttering yesterday, and I really struggled to find my own items to throw away…

  • Jane January 8, 2013, 9:40 pm

    So what kind of stuff are you drowning in?

    Is it “just everything” or something specific like childrens toys, clothing, home decor accessories, large furniture, occasional tables, kitchen gadgets, periodicals, toiletries, stuff on the kitchen counters, books, electronic items?

    If it’s indeed “just everything” then look for a common thread to start pulling at. Start w/only the stuff under your feet. Start with the stuff only on the walls. Start with the stuff only on the longest kitchen countertop.

    Or pick a theme that is not necessarily item specific, that is, declutter only red colored items, only socks, only kitchen unitaskers, only holiday ornaments, only make-up, only visible items (not hidden in drawers), only hdden items (not out n the open).

    Once I got spun up on decluttering, I made a very conscious decision to not get all wishy-washy & think thru each item. It was wasting my time & taxing my patience. So I made super quick snap decisions & have only regretted about 2 or 3 of those decisions (even then, it’s no big deal).

    You really know what you do & don’t need. You also really know what you do & don’t want to keep, or will use, etc. it’s just human nature to stare at it, justify it a million ways, fret over it, ruminate over it, etc.

    To be blunt, screw the fact you paid money for this stuff &/or maybe sorta could kinda might need it or maybe will use it. Declutter it woman & be done with it. You’ll feel like a giant among elves!

    • simplybeingmum January 9, 2013, 3:14 pm

      Hey Jane love your approach! Very similar to Gail Blanke’s (the book I’ve read and am now re-reading). I had a bit of a declutter yesterday, and I think it dawned on me that it’s probably my tolerance level that’s the issue here. I looked around my bedroom and realised that I have nothing out on a counter except for a clock. I have 2 pictures on the wall, and one rug. I then took a look at the dining room and realised there’s nothing i could throw out (I’ve been following Gail’s book – she goes room by room – but I love your idea about doing by colour! Now that mixes it up a bit). I did throw away a few items of make-up.
      I think maybe I’ve reached that that where I just want to be done with it, no more “wishy-washy”
      Totally agree with making the decision and also accepting that money was spent on the item. It’s just gotta go!

  • Jane January 8, 2013, 9:40 pm

    So what kind of stuff are you drowning in?

    Is it “just everything” or something specific like childrens toys, clothing, home decor accessories, large furniture, occasional tables, kitchen gadgets, periodicals, toiletries, stuff on the kitchen counters, books, electronic items?

    If it’s indeed “just everything” then look for a common thread to start pulling at. Start w/only the stuff under your feet. Start with the stuff only on the walls. Start with the stuff only on the longest kitchen countertop.

    Or pick a theme that is not necessarily item specific, that is, declutter only red colored items, only socks, only kitchen unitaskers, only holiday ornaments, only make-up, only visible items (not hidden in drawers), only hdden items (not out n the open).

    Once I got spun up on decluttering, I made a very conscious decision to not get all wishy-washy & think thru each item. It was wasting my time & taxing my patience. So I made super quick snap decisions & have only regretted about 2 or 3 of those decisions (even then, it’s no big deal).

    You really know what you do & don’t need. You also really know what you do & don’t want to keep, or will use, etc. it’s just human nature to stare at it, justify it a million ways, fret over it, ruminate over it, etc.

    To be blunt, screw the fact you paid money for this stuff &/or maybe sorta could kinda might need it or maybe will use it. Declutter it woman & be done with it. You’ll feel like a giant among elves!

    • simplybeingmum January 9, 2013, 3:14 pm

      Hey Jane love your approach! Very similar to Gail Blanke’s (the book I’ve read and am now re-reading). I had a bit of a declutter yesterday, and I think it dawned on me that it’s probably my tolerance level that’s the issue here. I looked around my bedroom and realised that I have nothing out on a counter except for a clock. I have 2 pictures on the wall, and one rug. I then took a look at the dining room and realised there’s nothing i could throw out (I’ve been following Gail’s book – she goes room by room – but I love your idea about doing by colour! Now that mixes it up a bit). I did throw away a few items of make-up.
      I think maybe I’ve reached that that where I just want to be done with it, no more “wishy-washy”
      Totally agree with making the decision and also accepting that money was spent on the item. It’s just gotta go!

  • economiesofkale January 9, 2013, 3:59 am

    I am struggling with this too, since I live with a hoarder! He has about four times as much stuff as I do, but whenever I suggest decluttering he takes it as an attack on his possessions. He owns 11 bottles of eau de toilette, and he never uses any, but wants to keep them because they were gifts! Okay, rant over 🙂

    We have talked about decluttering this year and have decided to set aside some time to do it on the weekends. We know what doesn’t work (me making him piles to look through – he just puts it all the cupboard), so we know we have to go through things together. I am not perfect either, so I’m thinking if I let him go through some of my stuff he won’t be so resistant to me going through his. It will be a slow process but at least we might get somewhere 🙂

    • simplybeingmum January 9, 2013, 3:19 pm

      Oh boy I feel for you. My Hubby is a bit of a minimalist (although he’d never admit it). He nags at me to get organised!
      Talking about the other half making piles – apparently my Hubby made a ‘craft’ pile for me over the holidays. He stacked it up high in the utility (next to kitchen). After about 10 days he asked me if I was ever going to deal with it. He commented that I hadn’t even mentioned it, and that had he a pile of ‘stuff’ hanging around it’d drive him insane!
      Good idea on letting him chuck some of your stuff – that’s always contentious point here. The Hubby loves chucking my stuff, but rarely sorts through his own (he doesn’t keep a huge amount in all fairness – but still there are a few things that aren’t required). I often comment that instead of badgering me he ought to deal with his own clutter! 🙂

      • sarah@everydaylifeonashoestring January 10, 2013, 9:44 am

        We have the same discussions here…I get accused of untidiness and hoarding around the house, but the husband has way stuff than I do – it’s just all hiding in his man drawer and the garage. If only I had a man-shed… 🙂

  • economiesofkale January 9, 2013, 3:59 am

    I am struggling with this too, since I live with a hoarder! He has about four times as much stuff as I do, but whenever I suggest decluttering he takes it as an attack on his possessions. He owns 11 bottles of eau de toilette, and he never uses any, but wants to keep them because they were gifts! Okay, rant over 🙂

    We have talked about decluttering this year and have decided to set aside some time to do it on the weekends. We know what doesn’t work (me making him piles to look through – he just puts it all the cupboard), so we know we have to go through things together. I am not perfect either, so I’m thinking if I let him go through some of my stuff he won’t be so resistant to me going through his. It will be a slow process but at least we might get somewhere 🙂

    • simplybeingmum January 9, 2013, 3:19 pm

      Oh boy I feel for you. My Hubby is a bit of a minimalist (although he’d never admit it). He nags at me to get organised!
      Talking about the other half making piles – apparently my Hubby made a ‘craft’ pile for me over the holidays. He stacked it up high in the utility (next to kitchen). After about 10 days he asked me if I was ever going to deal with it. He commented that I hadn’t even mentioned it, and that had he a pile of ‘stuff’ hanging around it’d drive him insane!
      Good idea on letting him chuck some of your stuff – that’s always contentious point here. The Hubby loves chucking my stuff, but rarely sorts through his own (he doesn’t keep a huge amount in all fairness – but still there are a few things that aren’t required). I often comment that instead of badgering me he ought to deal with his own clutter! 🙂

      • sarah@everydaylifeonashoestring January 10, 2013, 9:44 am

        We have the same discussions here…I get accused of untidiness and hoarding around the house, but the husband has way stuff than I do – it’s just all hiding in his man drawer and the garage. If only I had a man-shed… 🙂

  • Jo H. January 10, 2013, 4:27 am

    I’m not sure there’s ever an end, because there will always be stuff coming in. But the inflow can be reduced by a number of methods (stop buying, digitise paperwork, etc.) And then, once the inflow is more of a trickle than a gusher, I’m pretty sure there’s a place where the incoming stuff gets to a level that is manageable on a daily or weekly basis. At least that’s what I’m dreaming of 🙂

  • Jo H. January 10, 2013, 4:27 am

    I’m not sure there’s ever an end, because there will always be stuff coming in. But the inflow can be reduced by a number of methods (stop buying, digitise paperwork, etc.) And then, once the inflow is more of a trickle than a gusher, I’m pretty sure there’s a place where the incoming stuff gets to a level that is manageable on a daily or weekly basis. At least that’s what I’m dreaming of 🙂

  • Isabel January 26, 2013, 5:30 am

    I just found your blog and I am really enjoying it. It is rare to find a blogger who has a family and is trying to simplify. I am also on a decluttering binge. I have taken the challenge to rid 2013 things this year. But it does seem to breed. I am finding that children are a very big problem in this..schoolwork, toys, permission slips, projects,clothes and shoes that they outgrow…..and on. The amount of ads and catalogs that come through the mail are horrible ( and we are on the Federal do not mail list ).
    I handle all my parents papers so that all gets lugged to my house for recycling or filing…or just lying on the table LOL !!! Now I play a part too…I have learned that I need to do a little every day or weekend because a couple of good purges 2 a year doesn’t do it. I also get lured a lot by “cute” gizmos in great colors…that I DO NOT NEED…

    I am looking forward to following you !

    • simplybeingmum January 28, 2013, 9:26 am

      Hi Isabel – great to have you here! I can totally relate to all you’ve said, including managing parents paperwork… as you say it’s a ‘little everyday’ and I too need to remember that!

  • Isabel January 26, 2013, 5:30 am

    I just found your blog and I am really enjoying it. It is rare to find a blogger who has a family and is trying to simplify. I am also on a decluttering binge. I have taken the challenge to rid 2013 things this year. But it does seem to breed. I am finding that children are a very big problem in this..schoolwork, toys, permission slips, projects,clothes and shoes that they outgrow…..and on. The amount of ads and catalogs that come through the mail are horrible ( and we are on the Federal do not mail list ).
    I handle all my parents papers so that all gets lugged to my house for recycling or filing…or just lying on the table LOL !!! Now I play a part too…I have learned that I need to do a little every day or weekend because a couple of good purges 2 a year doesn’t do it. I also get lured a lot by “cute” gizmos in great colors…that I DO NOT NEED…

    I am looking forward to following you !

    • simplybeingmum January 28, 2013, 9:26 am

      Hi Isabel – great to have you here! I can totally relate to all you’ve said, including managing parents paperwork… as you say it’s a ‘little everyday’ and I too need to remember that!

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