Clutter Challenge - January 2008

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Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby alwen » Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:59 pm

Because I need it (and because I find 19-page threads hard to read), I'm starting a Clutter Challenge for January here. The other day my son's friend's mother came to pick him up, and I wince at the memory of her face as she looked at my living room. What she could see of it under my snowdrift of stuff! It was like . . . the face of someone looking at an accident and trying not to show any expression. I've been up and down with dealing with my cluttering tendencies, and this past year was definitely down. So my personal clutter challenge for January: Shovel out the living room. Keep it shovelled out for the whole month.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby kashtanka » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:53 pm

I'd like to join you in the challenge. Last year I did a great deal of decluttering, and the living quarters part of my abode is decent enough for company. My challenge this year will be tackling my basement. My husband and I haven't used any of the stuff down there since me moved in 3 years ago, and it's time to weed out. We decided that we are going to put everything in storage containers and put content labels on them! Wowee!
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Unity » Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:21 am

I've got a lot to do. I plan to tidy and sort my home in such a way that come next January I'm not looking at the same thing - stuff moved from Christmas - I can't believe what I had on the worksurfaces, tables etc and it's still in boxes to be sorted. As well as the usual muddles. There's a massive pile of socks on my dressing table it's like a permanent artwork :D I'm planning on using the method illustrated in my post in the link below (covert persuasion) scroll down the page to my post. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=20963&p=201484#p201484 Good Luck everyone! Good Luck everyone!
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008 (from December & continue)

Postby Scenario Thinker » Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:19 am

I had completely cleared the two bedrooms of ALL the junk on December 27. Yuck. Then, it was all over the rest of my house. Then , I started going through boxes and throwing out papers. My toss limit was rather loose, but as I kept going, I started getting more and more brutal. I know even if I throw something out that I'm on the fence with, I won't regret it. Initial decluttering session from these: viewtopic.php?p=201087#p201087 viewtopic.php?p=201105#p201105 viewtopic.php?p=201201#p201201 My junk categories are: Books.
(Lot's of) I just put two 6 foot bookshelves worth up of my favorite books a few months ago. I still have several boxes of other books. Too many types to mention them all, old programming books, relationship & dating type books, misc. job hunting and career, misc. business, old books from my childhood, high school year books. I still have two other 6 foot bookshelves besides the first two, so I may keep some to partially fill them, but I had already packed these "left overs" into these boxes to get rid of them, and they started creeping back out :) Later ... OK. Stressed about how to sort out the books. Since I had two completely empty bookshelves upstairs in a bedroom, hauled several boxes of books back up, leaving easily determined NO's downstairs (maybe 15/20%). Lo and behold, out of ten total shelves, I only filled six. AND, I see some more that will probably be easy NO's. Now that I got ALL my books up on shelves, I can see everything "at once" and evaluate the situation better. I also determined I'm sort of a librarian. I have all these books, plus a lot of movies. I even repaired some book jackets with clear packing tape. Works good!
Well, I have 583 books (I counted). That may seem good or bad, depending on how you look at it, but when you consider I still have books like "Hop on Pop" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (Dr. Suess), and "Security is a Thumb and a Blanket" (Peanuts) from when I was a kid, maybe that's not too many books for a lifetime (I don't think I've ever thrown out a book). I have 4 large bookshelving units, but they aren't entirely full. Plus, I've mentally earmarked a few entire shelves to be tossed or donated. I do have receipts for the last couple years, and I plan on seeing if there's a pattern to my spending. A large proportion of that 583 is from recent years, and I'd say very close to 75/80% is from after my marriage over 8 years ago (I guess the inner book geek came out :) ). Magazines.
I don't know how many years worth of Consumer's Reports. I can look everything up online now, right? :) (I've subscribed online, so I think when my paper copy runs out, I'm just going to keep it online only. I've gotten 5 years at a time in the past, so I think I have a while. Psychology Today, Scientific America Mind, Skeptic. Interesting stuff, but will I ever use them again?
The magazines are still sitting in stacks. Even though I have every Consumers Reports for the last several years, and a half foot stack of PT and Mind, I haven't got to what I'm going to do about them. Everything's together, though. Photos.
TONS of regular film photos all in bags and still in the boxes with their negatives. I've put a couple travel trips in their own albums, but since then they're just in bags. Now, I'm in the digital age with my camera, so it's just a matter of disk space and backups, which I'm much better at than dealing with paper photos.
Still sitting there in bags. At least they're all together. One other good thing, except for the latest bags of photos still in their boxes, I was good about putting the photos right into an album. So, I might just need a small shelf to hold my photo albums (I think many of those bags just have the second prints and negatives of the photos already in the albums). Art work.
I still have all my art work from college. Now that I have a digital camera, I'm going to take pictures of everything, still keep the best (and maybe hang some), but the other stuff I can weed out. Still have a lot of art from childhood to teenager, high school, etc. Maybe I can also keep the best and take pictures of the rest.
Yesterday, I took pictures of almost all my projects, and my favorites, to be sure. I have one big vinyl portfolio case full (I used to haul that back and forth to art class full of drafting equipment, etc.), a second paper case. Plus, a bunch of good drafting tools and perfectly good paints, brushes, etc. Everything's together. Movies
I forgot about that one (VCR to DVD conversion), I'm doing that while I sort other junk (it takes as long as watching the movie to copy). I'm copying my favorite movies, then tossing the rest, it's not worth the bother. Later ... OK. the DVD/VCR machine I bought a couple years ago isn't the best. I thought the movie didn't look the best quality, so I played the tape on one machine and the DVD on the other and yes, there was a definite quality degradation. Not as bad as a sound only movie ( :) ), but I don't like it. I think I'm going to keep the best tapes and just get rid of the ones I don't want any more. I don't have that many anyhow compared to DVDs. I'll have to deal with them when Blue Ray is the way to go or something. Sometimes if you just accept the technology transition of your inventory at the point where you converted, it makes it easier to take.
My DVDs take up one medium sized shelving unit plus an overflow on top. The overflow is getting a little large, so I think another DVD shelf is in order. The one I have is thin, not a big thick shelving unit like my bookshelves, so I'd want another similar one. PAPER This is a problem category for me, but it's thankfully the most lenient on my toss meter gauge. In other words, I don't have much of a problem throwing out paper compared to (bound) books or movies. This includes mail (envelopes, catalogs, etc.), Internet article printouts (I seem to have gone in spurts and have at times created tons of reading material), files and notebooks from classes I've taken (I've just kept the things I deem important for having taken the class), old cards, old papers I've scribbled notes on (including many sticky notes). As far as tossing things, I've filled a few large trash bags full of mostly papers. Other than that, there may be more tossing or donating, but at least I have all the above categories stacked in their own respective piles. Now, it's just a matter of organizing them and/or whittling them down. But, before I go back to work Monday, I'm neatly placing these "stacks" back up in my other bedrooms which are completely bare right now, so they look good! The key will be keeping them from having the junk creep back and taking them over again.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Tituba » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:18 am

PAPER This is a problem category for me
This investment will change all of that. http://www.amazon.com/ScanSnap-S510M-In ... 531&sr=8-2 I've scanned most of the paper in my house and no longer have to have file cabinets etc. One of my customers had a huge stack of fishing magazines. He was only keeping them because in each were directions on tying lures. We ripped out those pages, scanned & ocr'd them an tossed the magazines. Doesn't Consumer Reports do an annual book so you can toss the individual magazines? In any case, I think you can get them in the library.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Scenario Thinker » Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:41 am

Tituba wrote:This investment will change all of that. http://www.amazon.com/ScanSnap-S510M-In ... 531&sr=8-2
I've thought of doing something like that, but it turns out it's not even worth it :) , they're just not that important to me ...
Tituba wrote:I've scanned most of the paper in my house and no longer have to have file cabinets etc.
... like with your business, etc.
Tituba wrote:One of my customers had a huge stack of fishing magazines. He was only keeping them because in each were directions on tying lures. We ripped out those pages, scanned & ocr'd them an tossed the magazines.
I do the tear-out-the-keeper-pages sometimes. It does save a lot of (paper) space, even if you don't scan them.
Tituba wrote:Doesn't Consumer Reports do an annual book so you can toss the individual magazines? In any case, I think you can get them in the library.
Not only that (and I have all them, too :) ), but I'm an online subscriber. So, for the pure research aspect of it, I could just go online, and I have many times. But, I also like browsing through the paper copy too, although I have to weigh how important that is, really. Well, this morning, I just got done decluttering my WORK e-mail. They've made it a lot easier to work from home recently, I don't know if that's good or bad :) . But, it's good for the fact that I never seem to get around to it AT work, so it's good to be able to concentrate and not delete hastily. By the way we have a space limit with our e-mail, so we HAVE to clean it up once in a while or we lose the capability to receive e-mails and they bounce back to the sender. But, now it's back to home decluttering ...
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Tituba » Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:00 am

I've thought of doing something like that, but it turns out it's not even worth it , they're just not that important to me ...
Then the obvious question is, if it not not that important, why hang on to any of it?
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Scenario Thinker » Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:39 am

Tituba wrote:
I've thought of doing something like that, but it turns out it's not even worth it , they're just not that important to me ...
Then the obvious question is, if it not not that important, why hang on to any of it?
Well right, that's why I'm able to throw out almost all of my papers, which I've done.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Unity » Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:47 am

Hi Alwen and Kashtanka - good luck on your work towards getting sorted. Scenario - you've been very busy, hope you get all clear. I'm finding it enormously difficult to get going after the holidays so all I'm doing is when I pass something that is glaring out at me, I do it. I'm starting small so today I decided once and for all to throw out a food grill as I used it and smoke was pouring out. It's been hanging around for years. Christmas cards. I've kept mine from years. Today I threw this years out bar a few that I needed for something. Now I'm going to dig out the old ones and go through them too, just keeping a few back for this project. Not sure when I'm going to tackled the massive sock mountain on my dressing table but that will teach me for buying so many I suppose. How come nearly all of them are odd ones too. In the cupboard I've got a small sack of odd ones. Tituba, are you joining this thread too? Life must have been easier with less stuff.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Unity » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:13 pm

Well just posting spurred me onto dig out 5 years worth of cards and sort them, also start on the socks. You might see me posting a lot on here I have often found that as soon as I post I feel like doing something.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby kashtanka » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:25 pm

Whew! I just did some work on my basement, and I filled six bags with stuff I'm throwing out, as well as the emply boxes I now have as a result. Urszula, I threw out most of my old cards, and kept the ones I had gotten from my husband. It wasn't that hard to do, because I hadn't looked at any of them since I got them. I also threw out: my very outdated skates and ski boots, shoes, decorations that I no longer need, tons of paperwork including manuscripts, some of my son's college books and stuff that he doesn't seem to need because he hasn't asked to take any of it, miscellaneous dishes and plastic containers, plus a lot more. My husband has about 30 boxes of legal papers that he has to keep for the work he did while practicing as an attorney. (Legally he has to keep them for 7 years, but I'm quite sure that some of the records are a lot older than that.") He says..."You never know". Urszula, hurray for throwing out your grill! I am still debating on mine. Scenerio Thinker, you seem to have a LOT of stuff! Congratulations on your efforts to rid yourself of some of it!
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Tituba » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:29 pm

In the cupboard I've got a small sack of odd ones
Buy some cat nip, fill the socks and tie them off with ribbon. Donate them to a shelter.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby alwen » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:53 pm

I'm a scanner, and I tend to have multiple projects going at once. My big bad problem is a tendency to pile projects on chairs or sofas until I can't sit on them. Or to pile them on the table until I can't eat at it. Right now I have two pairs of socks on the needles, a scarf, my "Sampler M" from the Yahoo group, a miser's purse, a tiny knitted bag . . . that I can think of. And all of these get piled next to me on the loveseat until there's only one seat free. Today's goal is to shovel out the orange chair. I like the covert ad. idea. Thinking of the mess as snow works: snow melts, I rake it off my roof or shovel it off my driveway. Ergo, it's a thing I feel competent to handle and move out of my way to get where I'm going and keep my roof from being damaged.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby Scenario Thinker » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:59 pm

urszula thomas wrote:Christmas cards. I've kept mine from years.
I used to do that and put them ALL (well, I kept my favorite ones) back up every year (with the new ones) around doorways as decorations. No one would know which year they were from! It looked nice (and it looked like I had a lot of friends), but I eventually threw them all out somewhere along the line.
urszula thomas wrote:You might see me posting a lot on here I have often found that as soon as I post I feel like doing something.
I know what you mean. I've been bouncing from downstairs and the junk piles, to upstairs here on the computer. It's not that I'm not decluttering, just bouncing from one to the other. :) I thought of an idea for the photos. I'm going to go through at least once and put sticky notes on the boxes after I look inside to see what they're from. Then, I'll get them out of the bags (still in the ones from the photo store) and put them all together and make a second pass to try and organize them. I decided my new rule for my stacks is to go through at least once. That way I'll at least know what I've got. That's better than fretting about wondering what's in all those photo bags for example. Like yesterday I went through my art work. I took pictures of most of it, but at least I know (or reminded myself from the past) what's there to deal with. I'll probably never toss any art work, but that's just an example.
urszula thomas wrote:Scenario - you've been very busy, hope you get all clear.
Thanks. I'm a lot further than I may be presenting here. I have most everything segmented into categories, so at least I have a good handle on inventory. Mentally, I've rated many things like books, for example, so if I get brave, I'm going to start tossing chunks of book stacks that I already know about into the donation pile. But, then there's books I'm not going to part with yet. So, I've been going through this mental ranking system as I go. At any rate, the house is going to look a lot neater, and I can even show guests the inside of my bedrooms/"attic", and it won't look like a disaster.
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Re: Clutter Challenge - January 2008

Postby mango » Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:03 pm

Me too, me too! I want to declutter, clean, and do some home improvements and decorating. I cleaned house for the last few days because I was having an appraisal done this afternoon. Now that it's over with and the place is in some sort of order, I feel like continuing! It's nice that others are doing this too, the camaraderie will be lovely.
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