Managing life after a breast cancer diagnosis, including rediscovering intimacy, coping with fear of recurrence, reconnecting relationships, sharing hobbies and interests, and finding inspiration in daily life.
Posted on: Mar 21, 2011 11:00AM - edited Feb 21, 2012 10:21AM by suzwes
Okay friends, I'm updating this info. I love the picture though so I'm leaving that!! I continue to look at a very unorganized house. My friend Zogo had an idea about a thread for decluttering and I thought why not get one started.
Feel free to share decluttering or organizational ideas or hold yourself accountable to us. We have a fun group to share with and want you to jump in! Below are a few links and info that might be helpful to get you started or to review from time to time.
Fly Lady: http://flylady.net/
Wonderland shared Jeff Campbell's Clutter Rules. Go to www.jeffcampbell.com/Rules-Clutter/ for more details on each rule.
1. When in doubt, throw it out
2. Use it or lose it
3. Efficiency counts, so store things accordingly
4. Handle something once (this is my personal favorite. Another way to state it is "Touch Paper Once")
5. Recycle it
6. Pick a number and stick with it
7. Use a file cabinet
8. Do Something (another personal favorite)
9. A place for everything, and everything in its place
10. Items displayed in the house have to pass a test
11. Don't do things "later"
12. Label things
13. Call in a professional
Posts 3841 - 3870 (4,273 total)
May 13, 2018 05:45PM Zillsnot4me wrote:
That's my child! She loves gift bags, boxes, laundry baskets, etc.
Took me a couple weeks but ...
Three bags of trash. Seven bags of stuff, a box of household goods to schools yardsale. I'm still not finished but it needs to go now. Tired of it cluttering up but my children don't notice toys underneath the piles.
May 13, 2018 08:28PM Jazzygirl wrote:
Zills- you are making progress. Congrats on the trash and things for the yard sale. I hope things feel freeing for you in the process.
I have been working on paper work and filing things this weekend (along with finishing some closet stuff and more bags for donations going soon). I keep a notebook with business cards which is something I began back in my early career days. I now have them for all kinds of things, professional connections, for contractors, businesses I patronize, etc. With the advent of social media like Facebook (where you can like business pages like stores, restaurants, etc.) and Linked In for professional connections (I have like 600 plus currently), there is less need to keep a lot of cards anymore. Although I have found not everyone uses social media.
Today I purge hundreds of old cards (who are these people anyways, I sometimes wondered?) and reorganized to have the ones I need to refer to regularly for my business, home, medical care handy and up front. It was a little tour back through time, but some of this stuff goes back decades (as we know it does when de-cluttering). Another task done!
Happy belated Mothers Day to all the moms and mothering types out there. Hope your day was special!
May 16, 2018 07:01AM octogirl wrote:
I've been lurking on this thread for a long while, time to speak up: hubby and I will shortly be moving and downsizing from a house of about 2800 sq ft to a condo of about half of that amount...honestly I can't wait! We will have a garage, but much smaller, and we want space for both cars in it.
When we started looking for a retirement home I really wanted something that was small, but big enough for two of us and occasional guests, with low maintenance. Amazingly, hubby agreed, and we found and bought a great condo, in a town where I have family I want to be closer to, about four hours drive from here.
There is lots to go through, sort, get rid of, and deal with...even though we've only lived in this house for about nine years. As was mentioned by someone earlier, we have boxes in the garage packed and never looked at from our move nine years ago! We also have more furniture than will ever fit into the new place. Some of it is high quality, so hoping I can sell those items. Anything I can't sell with be given or thrown away. Both of my adult children live a long distance away and don't want anything big for their homes right now (the highest quality stuff will go with us and they will inherit it someday).
So, I hope you all will help keep me honest and on track. We'd like to finish this process of emptying this house, moving in to our new place, and putting the big house on the market to sell by August 15th or so at the latest..AND it gets hot here in the summer so the sooner we can get stuff done, the better.
Will check back in with my progress! We are going up to the new condo this weekend and having the interior painted there next week, so after that we can get serious about moving furniture. In the meantime, we will take both cars filled with boxes of dishware and winter clothes that we really do want to keep. If we haven't used it in six months, it isn't coming along.
Wish me luck!
May 16, 2018 08:14AM - edited May 16, 2018 08:18AM by mustlovepoodles
All i can say, octogirl, is START NOW. It takes longer than you think it will. We did our downsizing in two stages. First stage involved making decisions about what things we DEFINITELY wanted to keep. I secured a 10'x10' storage unit and whatever we wanted to keep had to fit in there, no exceptions. Movers took the big stuff and about 25 boxes to the storage unit right off the bat. That freed up a lot of floor space at the house. Second stage was consolidating rooms--emptying one room at a time and moving stuff to another staging area. From there we made decisions to trash, thift, or keep. Still, the process took several weeks-to-months.
The thing that really helped us the most was getting all the rooms empty in anticipation of putting the house on the market. We kept only the minimum required to live in the space, so we really had an open feel, and deep we cleaned EVERYTHING. Took all the pictures down, filled in the holes, and repainted. It was so preeeeetty! Must have worked because the house sold within 2 weeks. Then we had the movers come back and get the remaining stuff. They were really experts at packing it all in there--I bet you couldn't slide a piece of paper into that storage unit now!
My plan is to keep the storage unit for 2 years. At the moment we are living in our RV and totally happy with that. But I wasn't ready to get rid of everything, just in case we decide we want to come off the road and live in a house again. Not likely, but you never know. We have just about enough stuff in the storage unit to outfit a 1Br apartment/condo.
May 16, 2018 11:21AM Wren44 wrote:
I totally agree with start now. We haven't moved in a long long time and I dread going through everything and deciding where it should go. It's too expensive here to stay and we're looking around for somewhere to go. DD lives in the next town and DS lives in Oregon. He has the little kids and is likely to stay put for 6 years until the youngest finishes high school. We've agreed that neither of us wants to live in the house without the other, so it would make sense to find a condo now.
May 16, 2018 11:27AM DivineMrsM wrote:
Octogirl, congratulations on making that step towards moving into a condo. You have started and that is great!
Mustlovepoodles, you had such a terrificly thought out plan of attack! And even tho it was quote time consuming, the plan no doubt made things a little less hectic!
May 16, 2018 12:45PM MinusTwo wrote:
Octo - welcome. Glad to see you here. Yes, this group will listen to your woes & try to help keep you on track.
I'm so jealous of the way Poodles was able to do her move. It really would make it easier.
Wren, I agree - great time to move to a condo. My family was from the SF Bay area & I could never afford that now, so I understand the prices in Washington. I had such a good visit on the Olympic Peninsula last year.
This week I've been working on clothes. Unfortunately I have truncal & Breast LE since the last surgery & wear a compression bra 24/7. Most of my tops are wide or boat neck & I won't wear them with the ugly bra straps showing. Well to be honest - I'm old enough that I wouldn't want any kind of bra straps showing. But each top has a corresponding jacket - perfectly matched. Sigh. Probably time to get rid of all of it since it's unlikely I'll be working back in an office that requires jackets again. Just snatching a half hour or so every day before I get dressed to try things on and the pile on the guest bed is growing.
May 16, 2018 01:47PM Jazzygirl wrote:
Octgirl- welcome to the thread. You can do this!
My suggestion to folks when cleaning out is always this:
Bin for paper recycling
Bin for paper shredding of sensitive documents (take to Staples or the like and it is inexpensive by pound)
Places you know you want to donate to up front (causes/orgs you like)- do ask if they do pick up in case you have a lot or bigger items you need to have taken. Many have trucks and happy to do pick up
Consignment places (I live in a place with many consignment stores and do well with bringing some clothing, or household items)
Decide if you want to deal with a tag sale/yard sale/garage sale and be sure to have plenty of help if you do
One quick idea, if you have things that have been packed away for 9 years you have not opened, start there. If you have not used those in 9 years, chances are you can take those right to some place to donate. But if they contain family mementos, heirlooms, etc., definitely take time to sort through them. I went through some boxes we moved from our mom's home last year after 15 years and kept a few more items and donated the rest.
Good luck, let us know as you go along any stumbling blocks you have so we can help you through
May 16, 2018 04:25PM octogirl wrote:
thanks all! Great tips so far....I started today with a bit of packing of things I know I want to take (to go up with us tomorrow). It was exhausting just to pack a few boxes. I can see this will all be good exercise!
We did buy a few pieces of furniture that are up there because we didn't have exactly what we wanted, so why pay to move it if we don't like it? Specifically, we bought a new bedroom set because our old bed is getting well, old, and a new (used) dining table and chairs because the old set was too big and heavy for the smaller space. A new small kitchen table for the same reason. So, we can feel more or less comfortable going back and forth as we move, once the painting is done.
I live in a college town now, so while I may try a garage sale later on I've been told that some of the student classified items listserves (there are at least two) are a good way to sell furniture. Faculty and staff buy from them too...
I did already throw out/recycle the contents of a small desk I want to take. Yay. and I like the idea of not even looking in the boxes from nine years ago, but I will take a quick peak to be sure there aren't any heirlooms, as was suggested. Many are filled with books. We have a ridiculous number of books. Our old house has lots of built in bookshelves, all full (apparently the house before that had even more bookshelf space!). Any best ideas for where to donate books? We will have to very picky about what we take, given the space limitations....and I think we have at least 1000 or more (I do plan to toss all of hubby's old software/computer books. I don't care if they are old enough to qualify as museum pieces!)
May 16, 2018 04:43PM - edited May 16, 2018 04:44PM by Jazzygirl
Octgirl- I find thrift shops are the best place for old book donations these days. Some of the ones I go to here to donate have whole rooms of them and book lovers will go spend hours there looking for new books, especially retired folks that may not have bigger libraries in their locations.
I do suggesting calling to ask what books they won't take as many won't take old textbooks or computer training books. I just threw mine out.
May 16, 2018 06:04PM MinusTwo wrote:
I like to take used books to the local library. What they want, they put on their shelves. What they can't use, they sell in their yearly or bi-annual book sales. Any profits go to the library so they can buy books they need or set up new computer centers.
May 17, 2018 05:58AM mistyeyes wrote:
Books!!! I think they multiply! I was going to have this humongous house with a library that friends and family would come to stay and go into the library to get a book to read at night. Well, that dream is not going to happen, and I don't want it to happen anymore. I am going through my books and will donate them. When I was young I got my books from thrift stores. Now, I try not to buy books anymore, I use the kindle or go to the library.
Good luck with the move Octogirl, you are making it sound so exciting.
May 17, 2018 08:21PM MinusTwo wrote:
I have a used book store not too far away. I take in a for 1/2 price credit & get a book for 1/2 price with a small handling fee. And every 5th book is free.
May 21, 2018 04:58PM - edited May 21, 2018 05:00PM by Zillsnot4me
Congrats! You've got a plan but yes it takes way longer than expected, even without the cancer fatigue.
You can ask at a nursing home or senior citizens center, donate to a library or sell at half prices books. Your grands might love gift cards to there. They buy all sorts of books, manuals, music, movies.
My weakness is children's books. Our school donates books and pjs at Christmas. Between me and another teacher, we usually have enough books. I'm trying to get my son to donate some of his books to either the public library or any school.
Our local school has a yardsale during the 400 miles yardsale in two weeks. Yikes! I need more to go! It's gets it out of the house without the hassle. There's also school resource that might take household goods. My mom heard of someone that had a fire and she loaded them up with the basics.
Good luck. Keep us posted. We'll cheer you on and prop you up!
My bedroom is a disaster. My youngest had her room stripped for being disrespectful. Today she's being "kindful". I have piles for vacation, piles I can't wear but want too, curtains to hang. Waiting for a big Memorial Day coupon to get four triple rods. But I did get bed rails and a new headboard. That should inspire me.
May 21, 2018 06:33PM MinusTwo wrote:
I've managed to get 6 more good sized boxes filled with clothes over the weekend & today. Not to mention 10 or 12 good jackets & blouses that I left on hangers. Tomorrow I'll drop them off at for the battered women. Lots more to do but I've made another good sized dent.
May 22, 2018 03:11AM NativeMainer wrote:
Zills--wow, are you busy! Keep up the good work!
MinusTwo--Yeah! Every dent adds up!
May 22, 2018 08:49AM Zillsnot4me wrote:
I forgot to add
Check out Everything But The House or ebth.com
I haven't sold anything but have bought stuff. They are wonderful.
May 22, 2018 04:01PM - edited May 22, 2018 04:03PM by AgathaNYC
Hi, everyone. I'm glad I found this thread. All through my breast cancer treatment I was embarrassed to have more than a few close friends over to help because of the state of my place, especially my loving but judgmental brothers. I really feel like the state of my apartment is holding me back in my recovery if that makes sense.
I've lived in my apartment for 30+ years and have always had a problem with packing away too much stuff. Right now 2 of my 6 rooms look like the rooms you see on TV. I'm able to keep the other rooms "normal", but I worry it will grow.
There are a few things I get hung up on in my mind that keep me from getting rid of stuff. Maybe you guys have some suggestions on how to overcome them. A lot are excuses I know, like I don't have a car, listing on Craigslist makes me a little wary since I live alone and don't want random people coming over, my city has strict rules about disposing of electronics, etc.
I did find a flyer at my hospital for an organization that accepts used bras and either distributes them to women's shelters of sells them for recycling with the money going to women's causes. That's great because I have a ton of underwire bras and bras that no longer fit.
Also I read the tip about shredding by the pound available at Staples - that's genius! I had no idea; going to check if my local Staples does that. I would love more help and support dealing with this. I'm looking for any support or more tips you guys could give me.
Wow, it feels so good to open up and admit I have this problem.
May 22, 2018 05:27PM Wren44 wrote:
Welcome Agatha. Are there consignment stores in your area? A woman who lost weight took her clothes to consignment and then bought a wardrobe that fit with her proceeds. There are also some programs for women returning to work from welfare. I can relate. We've lived in our house for 34 years and have way way too much stuff. I would like to sell the house and find a less expensive city to live in.
May 22, 2018 05:55PM Zillsnot4me wrote:
Yes clutter can weigh you down. Emotionally and physically.
Have a big scary friend to be there for transactions? Or borrow a big dog. May be easier just to donate? I've only bought one item that was picked up, everything else came in the mail.
Do you have a pragmatic friend that will not judge and help you go through your clothes?
These specialized hobbies? Maybe someone wants to learn but can't afford the supplies? Nursing homes, shelters, mentoring programs? A social worker might be a good resource.
Do you have a friend that has a booth at a local swap meet or flea market?
I don't have the time or patience so I donate almost everything to the school. The proceeds go back to the school and someone in the community got a great deal.
Baby steps. Kinda like weight loss. It took sometime to get to this place so it will take some time to get clutter free.
May 22, 2018 07:31PM Jazzygirl wrote:
Agatha- welcome to our thread. Please do not beat yourself up for feeling you have done something wrong at home. I think all of us can tell you during cancer treatment and beyond, a lot of things just have to get parked to focus on getting through treatment, and beyond. We are all doing the best we can through this stuff.
Couple ideas to start:
1) Let go of the idea of how much you spent on things, even if they are not going to be of use to you or others now. That keeps us all hanging on to things. Also, as you begin sorting, try to look at things more with how you value them, like "this is something I really love and want to keep" vs. this is just stuff to me. It will help you compile the things that need to go quicker so you can figure out how to get those out of your place.
2) Ask a friend to help, but if you don't have one you are comfortable with, if you know a teenage girl, invite her in to help you organize and sort. Tell her she can keep some of the things as her compensation (she might like the make up). Kids tend to be less judgmental about things. I used to clean and help some elderly relatives and would help them sort through some things they were needing to do things with. I worked with a business coach that said when you are doing anything mundane (like sorting through paperwork), listen to some good music, enjoy a favorite beverage just to make it all more do-able.
3) I am the person who takes too big clothing and brought it to consignment where you can get money or buy things on credit. It helped me to get some $$$ for expensive business clothing that was too big and hardly worn. Usually needs to be less than five years old for them to take it in, where I live. Since you mentioned you don't have a car, it may be hard to get it to a place like this. Are you in NYC? If you are, I know they have some nice consignment stores there. Worth calling a few to see what they will take? Some are very high end and others may take a variety of brands.
4) I am also the one who gave the tip on Staples. I have a home based consulting business and had a hard time keeping up with client documentation shredding after some things were finished and ended up figuring this out with time. Staples also sells good containers/bins to put the stuff in and they shred a lot for very little $$$.
5) With hobbies, look at where else things can be re-purposed, recycled, reused. Schools will always take art/paper supplies, if you knit or crochet, assisted living or nursing homes might like the supplies for some of their residents. They might like some books too, the big kind with great pictures are great for seniors. My mother used to love looking at art books (pictures of paintings) when she was in assisted living.
6) If you have old business suits or clothing, there are places that help women get back in to the work force (YWMA's My Sister's Closet) where you can donate outfits, purses, shoes to help women who may be needing help after leaving a difficult situation and need to get working to take care of themselves.
7) Start small, you sound like you have lots to do and that can feel overwhelming. Work on a pile to start or corner of a room, get some containers to sort things just to get a surface clean, and continue on an area or part of a room until you see clearing.
8) Oh and those brother's of yours? Give them a job if they have transportation of their own. Tell them you are working to get some things removed from the apartment and get their help to take things away. If it is old appliances you want to leave by the roadside, have them do that for you. They might willingly help you with something where they can pick up items and drop them off, easy for them and really helps you. They probably do want to help, but having them in criticizing your space is just not helpful so you have to give them another task to do.
Those are a few opening suggestions. Ask questions?
May 22, 2018 08:08PM Egads007 wrote:
If it were 1818 and not 2018, I’d be tarred and feathered for the state of one “storage room” in my home. Storage room lol, more like a biggie sized junk drawer! The rest of the house is minimalistic as I love order. I dread going in there, but the inspiration you gals on this thread provide has given me the slap upside the head I need. I’m going in! Fire in the hole!
If I don’t post back, send in the marines, I might be stuck in a box!
May 22, 2018 08:20PM MinusTwo wrote:
Agatha - another way is to start with only one category. For example - all your pants, or all your T-shirts or all your shoes. Pick a day, try them on, put them directly in a box or bag if it's not something you would currently wear or no longer fits or you haven't worn it in "X" years. Or pass things along if you have extras. Somehow I discovered 5 hoodies in different closets last weekend and I'm not even a clothes shopper. Down to two now - one white & one black.
Or like Jazzy suggests - when you pick a room, focus on one small thing. Like in the kitchen - do all the pot & pans & cooking things. Then do all the coffee cups (and watch out - those darn things multiply in the cupboards at night while the doors are closed.) Or do only the drawers first.
Even though I could use the extra money, I'm not willing to do Craig's List or have garage sales anymore. As you mentioned, too many weird people in the world these days. Where I live, Salvation Army picks up regularly. I can put 10 boxes/bags on my porch and call & they'll come every two weeks on their 'regular' route. We can give you a ton of good places to take the hobby stuff, but if you have no transportation you just need it out of your house as a start. Oh boy did it hurt for me to get rid of all the gorgeous silks & wools that I was going to make into lovely clothes once upon a time. Liquor stores have sturdy boxes. Keep one handy that you toss things into whenever you see something that can go. Then DO NOT go back & look in the box before you send it off.
Keep coming back here. We inspire each other. I've gotten such great tips from this thread. Thanks everyone!!!
May 23, 2018 03:44AM NativeMainer wrote:
AgathaNYC--welcome to the thread! I hear you about feeling held back by the clutter. I felt that way, too, and for a long time after. It actually took a health crisis to really motivate me to start decluttering and cleaning up. One year later things are MUCH better.There's lots of really good advice already posted.
When you are thinking of how much you spent on an item try asking yourself it that item is valuable enough to you that you would pay that amount per month to store the item, or that much per hour to look for the item in one of your storage rooms.
Are there any hobbyist groups near you? They may be very interested in the specialty hobby equipment to use for education or someone may be willing to pay some for it to get themselves started. Instead of throwing it away you would be creating an opportunity for someone else.
My cousin had a brilliant idea when she was cleaning out her mother's house. She boxed up items with emotional attachments and put them in storage. She is going to go through them box by box when it's been a year.My cousin lived out of state and already had a storage unit, so that makes a lot of sense. You could designate some boxes or one closet or a specific area for those items, and pick a date when you will start re-looking at those items. Mark the re-look date on the box.
I have found two things that really help me--1 timer and 1 rule.I set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and sort for that long, then set the time for a 10 or 15 minute break. It keeps me from getting burned out and overwhelmed. It's amazing how much you can do in 10-15 minutes! The 1 rule is that I handle each item only once. Once I pick up the item I must decide if it is going in the throw away bag, the donate bag,the put away bag or the emotional attachment box. To put something in the put away bag it must be something I canthink of 3 times I needed/wanted in the past month, and a place in mind where it should live. The last 10-15 minute work session is spent putting the items where they are going to live.
Someone mentioned baby steps. Baby steps work. I know. I've cleaned 22 cubic yards of junk out of my home last summer and fall using baby steps and 10 minute work sessions. Keep coming back here for support and more ideas. You'll make it!
May 23, 2018 06:13AM mistyeyes wrote:
I love it here. I get motivated from all of you and will go back and re-read some of the tips once in a while. I really wish I could work on a room and get it completely done, but I don't really have the time, so I have been doing small steps organizing and uncluttering. When I started I really thought that this was not going to work and it was like picking up a couple leaves out of the yard in the fall. I am happy to say that I kept at it and am now starting to see and feel a difference. My goal is to get my home so it is easy to go through to clean so I can spend more time living and doing things I want to do.
Egads - We will organize a search party is we don't hear from you in a week. lol
May 23, 2018 06:20AM - edited May 23, 2018 06:22AM by DivineMrsM
Egads, Mistyeyes and Agatha, it is great to have you. The threwd contains some great tips. Think of decluttering as editing your things and keeping what you love rather than focusing on what you are getting rid of.
I, too, would think of the cost of things and hesitate to unload stuff because of it. However, some things I had to admit I had gotten my money's worth out of. And some hobbies I no longer had an interest in and it was time to move on. That is okay! Give yourself permission to move forward in your life!
A reminder that The Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is a great read. Very helpful
“Let It Go" and “Its All Too Much" by Peter Walsh addresses more of the hoarding type tendancies, is very easy to read and helps you understand why you may be holding on to things and suggests ways to deal with those feelings and declutter your world.
May 23, 2018 12:00PM - edited May 23, 2018 12:03PM by Jazzygirl
About Craigs List, in my city, there are places designated as safety zones to do exchanges. Often they are next to a police station so there is no funny business. Also, because so much on Craig's List can be stolen (I learned this when my car was broken in to in 2011, watch Craig's list for your stuff to show up and in fact my laptop was there and I was going to do a "sting" with the police, but then it was gone. The reason I mention this is people may be leery of stolen stuff so if you have a copy of the bill of sale, it makes things go better.
I tried to sell a high end mountain bike on Amazon and found it to be a hassle. I got a good offer for it, and although I got a price to pack and ship it with UPS, they wanted me to shop around at various shipping services for the best pack & mail price. In the end, I traded it in at a bike shop (got less money, but also less hassle) and got a new and better bike for me. I think Amazon is good for small stuff like jewelry and other simple items you can ship. Consignment will take jewelry too!