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Old 09-08-2014, 03:18 PM   #1
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Help us! Decluttering & Purging

We seem to endlessly be trying to get rid of the mountains of stuff we have. We did the 2013 challenge and met the goal in 5 months. We've continued on purging as week go, week by week. Yet we still have never got to that place of controllable bliss. The kids truly don't that much stuff. (Certainly not compared to our peers.)

It took some time to figure out the problem was not just what we already had, but that MORE stuff kept coming in. More useless things we did not need or have room for. All new things and gifts, very generous but not at all what we would use. (No Mom, I don't need a throw blanket per person!!)

We have a small condo, and even before kids, we were busting at the seems. A LOT has been purged and we're focusing on organizing and utilizing space. I am looking for some guidance, ideas, and encouragement.


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Old 09-08-2014, 07:27 PM   #2
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Re: Help us! Decluttering & Purging

Right there with you! The argument I hear all the time (from gift givers) is that we have a large house with lots of storage, so we have plenty of space!

Anyway, my best tip is to sit down and make a list of exactly what you want in your home (8 dinner plates, 2 dolls, 1 throw blanket, etc). What exactly does a family of your size, in your location, really use on a regular basis (for example, we do have a throw blanket for every child, because it gets so cold in winter here that they are added to the beds in addition to their winter blanket and quilts in wintertime). Do it away from home, if you can, so the emotion is separated from your stuff. Then purge down from there, going "shopping" among your existing things to get exactly what you want. You may want to put the excess in storage for a month or two to make sure your list is accurate, before ditching it altogether.

Once your list is fairly accurate, use it to specify what you want for yourself and kids for gifts. Be very specific, send email links if you need to. You can request bath towels and specific clothing items for your kids Christmas gifts, and most grandparents would enjoy buying those things if they knew they were appreciated. Be firm if you must, indicating that you appreciate the sentiment behind other gifts but are needing to keep it more simple. Some people think this is rude, turning gift-giving into a mail order. Maybe it is. But in our current culture, with our extreme excess and waste, I think it is the lesser of two evils.

If you truly don't need anything, ask for contributions to college savings funds, zoo passes, museum tickets, and "dates" with gift-givers.

If you receive something that you know is not needed or wanted, immediately put it in your car (preferably the trunk or a black garbage bag where kids can't see it and remember that they looooooooved it!) to be donated.

If all else fails, send an email indicating that your family no longer wishes to receive gifts, but donations to ________ charity are welcome if givers are insistent.

Last edited by Melinda29; 09-08-2014 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:11 PM   #3
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One thing that might help is a no-buy list. It will help keep you on track. I second begging grandparents for experience gifts. It hasn't been easy for my parents, but they are catching on. Lastly, most families with a small space will feel like they have too much stuff unless they are pure minimalists. Definitely continue to work towards your goal, but also cut yourself a little slack.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:43 PM   #4
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Thank you both for your insight!

It's more of a struggle at times because when we visit others, on the drive home conversation between DH and I is always "OMG, I feel like we barely have anything/and we think we're cluttered!" Then we feel like a) we're somehow depriving of kids of the joy of 40 million toys or b) like we've actually accomplished decluttering and end up falling back into a lazier mode. LOL

We don't want to be extreme minimalist (as in say 10 items of clothing per person), but we just want to not have crap everywhere. There's a balance between having stuff/being organized/keeping a limit on things... And we just have to get there. Good Lord, it's been a LONG road!! And some days (like today) I feel as if we'll never get there.

I've tried FlyLady, but that just doesn't work for us. I like some of the concepts, but overall, it made it more overwhelming.

Last edited by HugeBabyBoy; 09-08-2014 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:43 AM   #5
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Re: Help us! Decluttering & Purging

My husband and I have been good about not bringing much stuff in, but everyone else keeps giving us stuff when they come over. It's hard to say we don't want the stuff, our son has enough toys, we are trying to downsize, etc. because you don't want to offend or seem ungrateful so I end up having to keep getting rid of the stuff given to us.
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