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cleaning house!

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diamondsrock

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May 5, 2005
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ok, so I''m cleaning house this week as I''m off from work. Keep in mind, I come from a family of packrats (you should see my parents house!)

What do you guys do with birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc... Do you keep only the really sentimental ones (like from your spouse or children) and pitch the rest after the holiday? Do you reuse the covers for scrapbooking? I can''t use my family as a reference since I think my mom''s saved every greeting card ever given her. Not kidding.

Did you ever find yourself cleaning house and wanting to get rid of something but feeling like you shouldn''t because so and so gave it to you? I have so many gifts, knick knacks, etc. which I was given which I don''t use, but I feel bad getting rid of them. The pscyhology behind clutter is fascinating but it stinks when you''re in the middle of it. I try to give gifts now to people that they can use up rather than just take up space and become dust collectors, but I don''t receive too many gifts like that.

Sometimes I think I should be on Clean Sweep but my house isn''t that bad!
 

nejarb

Shiny_Rock
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Aug 3, 2006
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324
trash it all!!!

the only cards i ever keep for more than a few days are ones where someone actually wrote something other than "love so-and-so." i keep letters too, so i just put cards w/ hand-written notes with the letters.

it feels good to get rid of junk! i guess i''m lucky b/c i don''t get many junk gifts. if i do though, they go to goodwill.
 

poptart

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2006
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1,899
I''m always fighting the urge to keep everything that people give to me. I try not to keep ANY cards at all. I keep letters when they are given to me, but a hallmark card just isn''t worth it IMO. As for gifts that are just collecting dust, I try to give them away to others who actually want them, or you can take them to the DI or something. No one has to know, lol! DH is always urging me to throw stuff away and I am slowly getting the knack of it. If I can throw it away and not cry, I don''t keep it because it''s not THAT sentimental. I''m kind of a crier, so it''s a pretty good judge. Sort of a silly rule, but it helps.

*M*
 

eks6426

Ideal_Rock
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2,011
I''m somewhere in the middle on the pack-rat scale but my husband is a total sentimental pack rat. He wants to keep all sorts of things because they were given to him...sometimes as much as 40 years ago...even though he has never used it. He definitely has kept nearly every card/letter ever given to him. Not to mention every knick-knack etc.

When we got married 1 1/2 years ago we merged his stuff into my already full 1400 square foot house. Initially we had a yard sale to deal with the extra furniture but just put the boxes of his stuff in the garage/basement etc. Last winter, around our 6 month anniversary, we did the initial go through and he wasn''t will to part with very much so most of it got boxed. We have found the best way to deal with the sentimental stuff is to put it by category in plastic tote boxes and put it in the attic. We have a box for all the cards/letters etc. We have another box for all his childhood stuff. Another box for all the knick-knacks that I wouldn''t be caught dead having up in our house but he wants to keep. Well, the reality is, there are several boxes for each category. But at least they are labeled and separated from our regular household stuff.

Now, we are going through round 2 of the boxes and he is willing to part with more things so we are eliminating some boxes. I figure we will be doing this sort of thing as a winter project every year.

Another helpful idea, is to watch the Mission Organization show...they really do a great job of helping people sort through their stuff and deal with storing it. I had my husband watch several episodes with me and it certainly helped motivated him. Just an idea for you.

Good luck. It''s tough to change especially when it''s such an emotional tie. One way to think about it, is will you TRULY miss it if it is gone? Just because someone gave it to you doesn''t mean you need to keep it. Maybe it deserves a home where someone truly loves it?

DONATE DONATE DONATE DONATE
 

Efe

Brilliant_Rock
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Aug 8, 2006
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I am all for getting rid of stuff you don''t use. I feel worse about keeping things I don''t need/use when there are people who are in real need. My husband, on the other hand, would keep everything if he had his way. Finding the happy medium is the challenge. As to cards, I keep the ones from my kids.
 

Rosebud8506

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
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665
I would toss it as well. Unless its something from a sentimental time in your life, marriage, baby etc. I would trash it...
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
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17,761
I''m really not a big packrat. I do have a hard time throwing away birthday cards, Christmas cards, correspondence from my family, etc. My mother kept all of her mother''s and grandmother''s cards and letters, and I have enjoyed reading through them over the years because I didn''t have either of them in my life, they both died before I was born. I don''t have children yet, and I have this fear that my kids will never meet my parents, and since my mother is an avid letter-writer even aside from email, I have kept all of her cards and letters. My father even used to write me a quick note once a week while I was away at college and he was sending me "grocery" money (read: clothing and beer money, lol), so I have all those little notes as well. To me, cards and letters are very sentimental, and they honestly do not take up much space in my house (a few plastic bins is really all), so why not keep them?

The rest of the clutter as far as gifts I don''t want, or clothing, I donate...
 

FireGoddess

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
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12,145
Most stuff I try to get rid of because carting it around every time you move stinks!!! I do keep some of the more sentimental cards but certainly not all of them. I have kept a few from my grandmother which I am happy about because she is no longer with us.
 

AGSHF

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 7, 2004
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147
I think you got good advice on the holiday cards, etc. If the cards are not from people you see currently, love or gave birth to or contained a particularly lovely sentiment worth re-reading, I would cut them up and recycle the recyclable parts. But keeping the cards begs the question of when you might ever look at them again, right? Keeping them in plastic tubs requires that you lug out the tubs, brush the dust off and then read through loose piles of cards. If the cards are really worth keeping, especially if they are from children, nieces & nephews or mark important events in your life, then they deserve to be put into some sort of (and I normally detest the concept) scrapbook. Yes, it''s a great deal of work but these are articles worth saving, right? And the joy of having them around is so you can look at them again, particularly at special times spent with the writer or giver.

Letters are a different story. I worry about having my child read (when I''m no longer in the picture) correspondence that isn''t appropriate for her to share. Unless you are trying to leave a family history or legacy in letters, you should try to be judicious in weeding through these. Again, by whom, how and how often will these be read? Important event-markers deserve a place in the "scrapbook," if for no other reason, no one will know they are important and meaningful if they are sitting in the bottom of a large pile. The romantic notion of going through boxes of one''s grandparents'' letters in the attic has, I believe, largely faded with the decline of true letter writing. So, if there is a wealth of good family letters, those should be saved and shared.

I''ve found that the occasional purge of our belongings is cathartic. It''s good to look through some of the not-so-smart purchases, learn not to do that again and pass them on before they become truly worthless. Needy people shouldn''t only get clothes that are 10 years out of fashion. (Sometimes, therefore, I feel that I''m just shopping for charity giving.)

As for less-than-useful gifts, perhaps you can start a tradition of gift exchanges only for the children in the family or ask for donations to charity. It''s a shame to think of all the materials and manufacturing that go into "stuff" that does little more than get bought and then gather dust.

Several years ago, my grandmother gave back most of the gifts of jewelry that she received from her children. She has seven children and several have been very generous to her, marking birthdays and wedding anniversaries, etc. with expensive items. She had worn the jewelry over the years and felt that as she grew older, she would have fewer opportunities to wear and enjoy them. She was also concerned about any family infighting over the jewels after she passes from the scene. I thought it was very admirable of her to do this and the jewelry having been worn by her made them so special and her children would have something very meaningful. It was up to each child to whom to pass on the jewelry and I hope most of them shared the jewelry with their children as something from grandma. I hope I can part with my things with as much generosity when the time comes.
 

Finding_Neverland

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
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Date: 2/12/2007 9:17:38 PM
Author: FireGoddess
Most stuff I try to get rid of because carting it around every time you move stinks!!! I do keep some of the more sentimental cards but certainly not all of them. I have kept a few from my grandmother which I am happy about because she is no longer with us.
Doing that when we were younger was easier. Junking before every move. Because we didn''t stay in an particular house, apt, or condo for more than a year,........ 2 tops. But then we landed in the house our kids grew up in.

When we started working to get ready to move, we got rid of sooooooo much stuff. Old school papers and projects. Holiday cards. Clothes that didn''t fit any more. Remodeling stuff from changing our lights and windows. We had 5 dumpsters full of junk hauled off. Not counting all the better quality stuff we gave a way to Goodwill and Churches and such.

The sense of relief was unbelieveable. How much lighter we felt.

Literally, that''s what happens to you when you sit in one home for 10-15 years or so. Junk just seems to collect. You start filling nooks and crannies you didn''t dream you would at the start.

Honestly,........... We unloaded all that stuff and haven''t missed a thing.
 

Ellen

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jan 13, 2006
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24,426
I keep any card that really touches me, if not from my kids or hubby, I keep all those.

I really didn''t ever think about how much stuff I had, until my dad passed away. We had to clean a house with a thirty year collection from a major packrat, God love him. It was a nightmare. He had boxes of BROKEN pieces and parts in the basement, along with a million other items. I vowed I was not going to do that to my kids.

So I''m starting to pitch....
 

ladykemma

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
2,194
I am ruthless about what comes into my house. i have my collections, and both of us have hobbies, including historical reenaction which takes up a lot of space. As an adult ADDer, I cannot afford to lose myself in unmanageable clutter -- which has happened a few times and took heroic effort to clear out. when it's messy I can't think or function.

tiny home. I have even asked various people not to give us gifts, because they invariable get tossed out. If i don't have a use for it out it goes. no junk mail is allowed to collect. read and handle each piece of paper once.

my hubby and I tell each other what we want for birthdays and christmas, so no waste there.

Messies Anonymous and a good weekly "cleanie" housekeeper keep this home rather nice.
 

aquarius_ser

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
269
funny I read this because I just started cleaning out last night. We had an ice storm and there''s nothing else to do, especially since my FH is a lineman for the power company working 16 hr shifts.
Anyway, I can''t get over the junk I have. I''ve only lived in my house for 7 yrs and I''ve realized I''m a pack rat. I have clothes from years ago, and I shop a lot (too much) so I have a bins and bins of clothes. It''s just ridiculous....I''m having a hard time throwing things away, particularly clothes, because I think I might wear them someday.
Errrrr... I need someone to come over and tell me whether to keeps things or not because I can''t decide for myself! I''m going to tackle it again tonight.
 

diamondsrock

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
970
aquarius I can relate! I''ve given away so many clothes this past year it''s not even funny. I had sweaters from years ago that I never wore. I just kept making trips to the Salvation Army with bags of stuff. It took a while but I got through it.

You can do it but it''s not an overnight thing. It''s a new way of thinking. I am very careful now when I buy clothes to make sure it''s something I really love and will wear. Bringing less into the house means less to clean out later. The packrat mentality is strong but it can be overcome!

You can do it!
 

Maria D

Brilliant_Rock
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The three moves we''ve made since our first tiny house were corporate moves which meant we neither paid for the move nor lifted a finger. The movers packed and unpacked every bit of it. We also moved to increasingly larger places so room for junk wasn''t an issue. The other day I opened up a kitchen drawer and way in the back found a dictaphone (?!) that I last used for work in 1990. I know why it''s "saved;" my daughter recited her version of the ABCs into it when she was a toddler. I can''t throw it out so I just tossed it back in with the other junk. Someone help me, LOL!
 

aquarius_ser

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
269
thanks for the encouragement!! I know what my problem is.... when I go shopping, not only do I buy what I love, I also buy because it''s such a good deal, I can''t pass it up!! Like if I would find a nice sweater that I liked on sale for say, $15, I would buy 3 of them in different colors or buy a $12 shirt because it "might be nice for work," I''d buy 3 of those too and then never end up wearing them.

I was pretty much single for most of my twenty''s and I didn''t have much to do besides go shopping at night and on the weekends (I know, tough life). Now I''m stuck with all these clothes, I can''t imagine how much $$$ I spent, I kind of makes me sick!
 

aquarius_ser

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
269
Also, I ventured into my storage area in the basement and I found twelve vases from when my ex-boyfriend that used to buy me flowers all the time, yes, twelve -12 vases!!!! We''ve been broke up for several years, why in the world do I keep them?? It''s not sentimental (at all!), I just figured.... Hey, I might need a vase sometime! Needless to say, they are all going in the trash this weekend!
 

Dee*Jay

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 26, 2006
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13,379
Two times ago when we moved there was this box called "Paperwork." It was about 36" high and 24" square. So heavy that it took two movers to lift it. I had been moving this thing around (sealed shut with packing tape) for about 10 years and it once again got put into the storage area. Well, when we moved this last time I said *what the hell IS IN here?* and opened it up. A yellow pages phone book from 1988. Utility bills from a condo that I owned in the early nineties. Student loan applications from when I started law school in 1993. That sort of thing. Geez. I went through two shreaders getting rid of the stuff in that box (no, I didn't shread the phone book, LOL, just the stuff that had my name or any sort of account number on it). I think looking through your stuff occassionally is a good thing! Now we have a two car garage, which has become one car + miscellaneous crap. We could NEVER get a second car in there now. The cycle begins again...

Good luck to everyone who's in house cleaning mode. Just stick with it. Have another glass of wine and go through one more box. You *will* get to the bottom of it all some day!
 

Sundial

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
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5,532
OMG don''t be one of those families on Clean Sweep who have all that awful stuff piled everywhere! Go through your things and get rid of what you don''t want or need. Purging really feels so good and so empowering!!!
 
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