Decluttering Discovery

A bull with horns
Time to Take
the Bull by the Horns

Would you like to know my secret to “Disciplined Decluttering”?

While I would not consider myself a “pack rat” or in modern terms, a hoarder, I sometimes keep things longer than I should. Recently, things were a little out of control, and it was time to do something.

There were things I hadn’t used in a long time, but I thought I might use them again someday. There were things that I used to like but didn’t anymore, and thought perhaps, someday I would like them again. There was some home decor I didn’t really have a place for anymore, and probably wouldn’t, going forward. There was stuff that we paid a good amount for, but we questioned if we should just give it away even though we spent good money on it?

A bench with a lot of fruit piled on it.
Why are we keeping these things?

There were gifts I treasured because they were given with love, but I didn’t really use them any more. There were things from the early days of Dan and Betty. Remember when we took a hike at Castlewood state park and played Scrabble with that little travel Scrabble game on a bench with a scenic overlook? Our love was new then; am I’m supposed to just dump that game?

Do you have trouble deciding when to keep something and when to get rid of it? What do you do to conquer the clutter? Are some categories of stuff easier to deal with than other categories? How do you decide?

Recently, a new thrift shop opened near us. The profits from this resale shop benefit children in foster care. Children, who frankly, got the short end of the stick. Suddenly, all those things I pondered over, back and forth and over again, had a new purpose. A better purpose than sitting in our garage or our basement. Our castaways could help a child. Even if just a little.

Remember, the Spiralizer? I used it twice in the last couple of years. I still had the box and the receipt for the warranty. I never got into making oodles of zoodles, like I thought I would. And I now I know, I’m not ever going to do that. Goodbye Spiralizer.

Remember the long-slot toasters I bought for Dan’s Christmas gift? One for the house, one for the travel trailer. When we got these new Cadillac toasters, the old ones went into the basement. You know. For back up. In case we ever need a toaster. Or if someone I know ever needs a toaster. Really? Has anybody ever asked me for a toaster? Toasters, you’re outa here!

Remember the bike rack? Well, yes, one we gave away to the neighbor, the one that hung on our travel trailer. We also had one for the car, but it didn’t work for our new e-bikes. We seem to be in the business of giving away bike racks. No matter. We’re giving this Swagman bike rack a ride to the resale shop. The only man that should be in our garage is Dan, and he has all the swag I need.

Dan sitting on a bench at Dallas Arboretum with a bronze statue of William Shakespeare
To Keep or Not to Keep.
That is the question.

We had some outdoor folding chairs. Six of them. There’s two of us. So, we kept four in case two of you ever want to come over. Adios to the other two.

We also had some indoor folding chairs which frankly, I have outgrown and can no longer sit in comfortably, if you know what I mean. We still have enough regular chairs and folding chairs for all those who want to come over for dinner.

Many moons ago, my parents gave me a picnic thermos. I haven’t used it in ten years or more. I did get a lot of use out of it years ago. Now someone else can, too. Getting rid of that thermos didn’t remove even one ounce of the love in my heart for my parents.

And so it goes. Clothes. Books. Games. Christmas decor. And those kitchen canisters with the roosters on them, too. I’m farmin’ it all out.

That was Phase 1. Phase 2 is coming. There’s a lot more stuff in the basement. Now, if I want to keep something, I will. But if I haven’t used it in years – or I’m hanging on to it for some irrational reason, knowing it will make a difference, even a small difference, is enough to tip the scales in favor of donating.

What’s the worst that can happen? Five years from now I have to buy a toaster? Maybe?

We usually donate to Goodwill. I know there have been criticisms of Goodwill; however, they do do a lot of good. But donating to a charity with a cause closer to my heart helped me decide more easily that I could get rid of something.

There are many charities which take our castaways and use the proceeds for a good cause. Veterans. Habitat for Humanity. Salvation Army. Homeless shelters. Animal shelters. The list goes on and on. What charities speak to your heart?

You know what the best part is? The garage hasn’t looked this good since we moved in ten years ago.

Next up: the basement!

An orange rose
Everything’s comin’ up Roses!

49 comments

  1. Your post this morning has motivated me to get going with our annual purge of “stuff”. We always hold a garage sale, and whatever is left over, we donate either to Blue Earth (recycling stores here) or to Community Living (this organization has second hand stores and their profits go to help those with intellectual difficulties) We’ve purged every year for the past 20 or more years, and you know what, Betty? I couldn’t tell you a single thing that’s gone. We’re definitely not hoarders and we keep our living space uncluttered and minimalistic. Like you, we have so many things collected over the years – via gifts, souvenirs etc and so many duplicates we don’t need for the two of us. To me, the hardest “stuff” to part with is anything of sentimental value. I always offer those things to our daughter and grandchildren first, then to my siblings and after that, if there are no takers, it’s sayonara.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Terry! I was hoping this post would motivate others, so I am happy to read that it motivated you! It seems I have continually purged, but, like you say, more stuff still accumulates. And I agree – I’d have to think hard if there was anything I gave away that I regretted. The sentimental things are the hardest for me, too. Thanks again for your comment, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was doing very good at decluttering in 2020 and 2021. That activity has virtually stopped in 2022. I need to get back to it. I find it so easy to give away “stuff”. There is a “Helping Hands” Facebook group in our area. I place a “for free” post in that group for porch pickup. So far everything I have put out has been picked up, usually the same day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The porch pickup works out nice. Helping Hands is great, too. We’ve given stuff away on our neighborhood Facebook group. I’m often surprised at the stuff our neighbors offer for free. The best thing is stuff doesn’t get thrown away and end up in landfills. Our garage looks really good now, but I need to work on our basement.

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  3. This is a very timely topic for me. Go you for taking the bull by the horns and letting go of some things. It helps to think of the things going to someone else who will use and appreciate them. I am currently in the process of logging and considering what to do with all my mom’s sets of china and dishes and related things she had in her china cabinet and displayed on shelves (some is in the basement bathroom!) (we are talking A LOT of stuff)(6 sets of “china” and 5 sets of more casual dishes), and then I had Wayne bring 8 boxes of stuff from my own china cabinet and kitchen that has been packed since we moved here into my parents house 3 years ago, plus more boxes under the stairs in the basement. Some things are easy to say “I liked that 35 years ago but no I don’t need it and I am never going to use it”, but other things are harder. I keep thinking that our kids do not want any of it and I don’t want to leave this mess for them, and sooner or later we will downsize and not have room for it. I have to review all of my mom’s stuff with my sister, so there is another layer of decision making. I applaud you for attempting to keep on top of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my! You do have a lot to go through! 11 sets of dishes! Plus what you have. The sentimental things seem to be the hardest. Are there any grandchildren who would be interested in a set of dishes – if not now, maybe down the road? I agree – I don’t want to leave a mess for my kids. Though I hope to be around for a long time, but I feel good now. Later, it could be harder for me to take care of these things. I also subscribe to the slow and steady wins the race philosophy. 🙂 Good luck with your task!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My son who got married in September took a set of plain white mid century modern looking china. Are you familiar with Replacements.com? It is an online company that buys and sells pre owned china, crystal, dinnerware, etc. You can find pieces of your own dishes that might have broken. They will give you cash for your china, etc, depending on the supply and demand of that pattern. I think we are going to be able to sell some of it that way, unless the grandkids want it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Perfect timing! Rand is gone for a few days and my goals this week are to get back to the sorting and disposal! I just made a Goodwill drop off this past week also. It is so easy to keep accumulating, but I am pleased to say I have made a personal commitment not to buy anything else unless it is truly something we need or something I use all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a good personal commitment. I have been much more mindful of accumulating “stuff” the older I get. Good luck this week with your task. It is helpful to work uninterrupted! It always feels so good afterwards. I’ve gone out to our garage a couple times to just look. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have “broken up” several homes through the years, and I totally agree with you about my heirs. Plus, the decluttering does make for a better environment to live in now. That’s the best part for me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I tend to keep things longer than I should although I too would not label myself one of this negative names. The worst thing I have in my garage now is an old pressure washer from several years that has a perfectly good engine but needs a new liquid pump. I intended to get a new liquid end and give the unit to my son but alas with the time that has gone by now, I doubt I could find the replacement parts. Sounds like you have found a really great organization to donate your things to and I suspect one day when we decide to downsize, I will need to do the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David. I like to be organized, so it is helpful to me to get rid of things. It seems I always find something useful when I reorganize. That thrift shop opening up gave me the incentive to declutter. Hope you have a good week!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m actually pretty good at decluttering – the hardest part is getting started. Kenn set up a box in the basement which is where we put items for Goodwill; when the box is full, we drop it off. Clothing goes to our local Rescue Mission which helps those in need get back on their feet. Habitat for Humanity and an animal shelter are right down the road for other donations. Good luck with your basement!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like you have a great system set up! I have a box that we fill up. The problem was our last trip, I forgot about it. LOL. I’ll have to bring it along when I work on the basement. Thanks for the good luck wishes! The basement has lots of sentimental items, so I’ll need it!

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  7. You are fantastic to declutter so wonderfully. I also give all decluttereing items to a charity shop or away to someone who wants it for free. It feels good to get space and help someone else. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We downsized about 4 years ago. I donated things, sold things on-line, took things to Good Will and gave things to family and friends. It is so nice to have less clutter. But I know the feeling when it is time to give it up – what if I later decide I want it, it was a gift and I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, there are many dilemmas when going through things, but it does feel really good afterwards. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings either, but often times it is me holding things up. 🙂 Enjoy your day!

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    • Hi Phil! Somehow that stuff accumulates, doesn’t it? I also think it is a life long process, but it is worth it. Hope you have a good week!

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  9. Love this. The part about the toasters made me laugh. I recently cleaned out our basement. Eeks- so much stuff. It’s all organized now though. Our house is pretty much clutter free. However, we still have 2 rented storage units in our old town. I’ve donated many things from them to a thrift store there. I need to get back over there and do more cleaning out. So much work though. Ha ha. It’s easier to just pay the storage rent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good on you for the clean basement! Ours is a bit of a disaster. I have so many sentimental things that are hard to part with. My daughter painted a wizard when she was little. It fell and his hand came off. She told me to pitch it, but I just can’t! Good luck with your storage unit. Sometimes my strategy is to make incremental progress. Baby steps. It all adds up eventually!

      Liked by 1 person

      • We sound similar- I can’t part with sentimentals. Glad I hung to them now. I kept everything my momma gave me through the years- cards, letters, gifts. Never imagined she’d pass so young- two months ago, age 75. I say, if the heart leans towards keeping something, keeping it sure won’t hurt. Can always reassess later.

        But, other stuff, yeah, easier to let go. Thanks, incremental process is great advice!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, I’m sorry about your mom. Two months is not very long at all. I like your sentence, “if the heart leans towards keeping something, keeping it sure won’t hurt. Can always reassess later.” I will keep that in mind! Enjoy your day!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you and thank you. It’s getting a little better every day. Miss her like crazy. This also reminds me of my kiddo- I shared a lot of his toys when he was little, but I hung onto all the baby clothes and all the papers from every time he drew or wrote something. Ooo, plus every acorn, rock, and leaf he every gave me. Super sentimental, ha ha.

            Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a hot topic in my home. While neither of us are thankfully hoarders, my wife is much more prone to donate/toss something too quickly in an effort to declutter. Far too many times I’ve seen her re-purchase something (a certain coffee maker comes to mind) because she got too hasty. I’m glad your garage is looking spiffy, though! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marty! Well, if it was donated and one has to buy it again, it’s all for charity anyway. Sounds like Gorgeous is pretty generous! That’s a good thing. 🙂 There are just a few things I got rid of that I wish I hadn’t, but that’s better than the clutter exponentiating which it seems to do. Enjoy your day!

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  11. Living in an RV full time the rule of thumb was always, you bring something new in you must, and I mean must, get rid of something else. We stuck to this for four years and it served us well. We were never over loaded on any corner nor front to back. Now that we have a house we’re trying to stick to the same rule.

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  12. Oh my! I’m going through the same process, just in a start-stop process. I’ve been taking loads of former treasurers ot the Assistance League thrift store (they are a philanthropic organization that helps children and they have a wonderful store here). My perspective, like yours, has changed greatly in the last year. I just can’t figure out where all this stuff came from and why it won’t go away!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thinking it is a life long process. 🙂 It sounds like you donate to a wonderful organization. For me, that gives me that extra push. However, I start-stop, too. But as long as I am making progress over time, that’s what matters. Enjoy your evening!

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