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Old 09-29-2012, 12:29 PM   #1
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Where to begin???

We are 4 kids and 2 adults in a 2200 sq ft house.
I feel like I'm am drowning in stuff.
A lot of the stuff is hand me down stuff and I just can't seem to part with things. From the 4 kids I have 20 zillion baby blankets but seem to have an aversion to getting rid of any.
I have baskets of odds and ends that things get buried in and I can't find them.
I have cleared out cupboard and closets several times only to end up with some cleared out but looking much the same.
I feel like I can't get rid of the big stack of coloring books that none ever uses because some day the kids might decide to sit down a color 600 pages

Any tips?

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Old 09-29-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
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Re: Where to begin???

Just pick a room and start! I would start with the coloring books. A blank paper is MUCH better for the imagination than any coloring book. I kept like 1 or 2 coloring books and the rest were given to other kids. Also blankets, they are hard but how many blankets does a person really need? I would just pick an area and jump in feet first. I started with toys.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:07 PM   #3
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Re: Where to begin???

Start small and see how it feels. There's got to be one baby blanket that sits at the bottom of the stack because it's your least favorite... get rid of that one. Let each kid pick one coloring book and keep that. When I started cleaning out coloring books (I too had at least a dozen dollar store books), I got rid of all the 'Disney' and 'name brand' marketing books and kept a few that had just pictures of animals and generic princesses. (Thosee are just examples).

What's that quote 'Keep nothing that you don't find to be useful or believe to be beautiful.' It is hard to get started. Feel free to continue to check back in here with more questions and help.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:38 PM   #4
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Re: Where to begin???

They say to start with what bugs you the most, so if it's blankets, start there. Think about the other babies and kids and parents in these tough economic times that would really appreciate those blankets. The stained ones can even be given to animal shelters. For me, I got motivation by going for volume; so I looked for the low hanging fruit and first purged stuff no one likes, then outgrown clothes, then my stuff b/c I didn't have to wait to ask anyone's opinion on what to keep, etc. Big stuff like an outgrown baby sled and unused bed rail felt especially good to unload. One thing that helped me was to think of what pp mentioned and about how nice it'd be if everything in your closet was loved...every piece of clothing fitting well, being in good condition, etc. You can do it, just start small and try to get a project to completion (if possible) before moving on. Gutting a closet only to leave most of it in the hallway when the weekend ends, will likely cause you to lose steam fast. Instead, just work on one shelf then pat yourself on the back and only do more if you can and want to. Even 5 minutes (if that's all the time you've got) a day will help you feel like you're moving forward. Also, try to curb what comes into your home and even ask for non-material things for gifts. BTW, none of these are my own ideas, just stuff the lovely internet has taught me.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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Start with the coloring books and blankets, since you mentioned them. Don't worry about getting rid of anything with emotions attached to it yet - start with trash. Papers, torn clothes, whatever. Things no one will want or use.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:51 PM   #6
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Re: Where to begin???

What really helped me was to sit down and make a list of what I think our family really needs and how many of,each item. I found it easier and less stressful when I did the actual purging to be able to say, "I need to keep one bedspread and one heavy blanket for each bed for winter and 1 light throw for each couch, so 4 twin bedspreads, 4 twin blankets, 1 queen bedspread, 1 queen blanket, and 2 throws". It was already decided, which removed the emotion from it. I made lists of everything like that, from dishes to clothing for all of us to blankets, towels, you name it. My husband was able to help then, too. Just gave him a list and sent him to a room.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by TypeAMom
Gutting a closet only to leave most of it in the hallway when the weekend ends, will likely cause you to lose steam
This is what always happens.
On an up note the 2 bags of stuff I cleared I got dh to take to value village to donate yesterday
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:09 AM   #8
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Re: Where to begin???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda29 View Post
What really helped me was to sit down and make a list of what I think our family really needs and how many of,each item. I found it easier and less stressful when I did the actual purging to be able to say, "I need to keep one bedspread and one heavy blanket for each bed for winter and 1 light throw for each couch, so 4 twin bedspreads, 4 twin blankets, 1 queen bedspread, 1 queen blanket, and 2 throws". It was already decided, which removed the emotion from it. I made lists of everything like that, from dishes to clothing for all of us to blankets, towels, you name it. My husband was able to help then, too. Just gave him a list and sent him to a room.
I like this idea!

A lot of people have trouble cleaning out their kitchens, but I've found that that's the most rewarding area for me. I recently cleaned out utensils and knives, and condensed two drawers down to one. Now the drawer doesn't get jammed, I don't hve to sort through 200 recipes to find the 1 I want, the dishes don't pile up because I'm forced to wash them if I want to use them again (rather than letting them pile up because I have other clean ones to use), I have counter top area to prep food so meals get done quicker, it's easier to clean counter tops because I don't have to lift up a bunch of stuff to brush crumbs off. It's kinda my decompress zone - when I'm getting frustrated by my house, I think of my kitchen and how far it's come, and it's revitalizes me and encourages me. like PP said, I get a the most bang for the buck by keeping the kitchen minimalized.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda29
What really helped me was to sit down and make a list of what I think our family really needs and how many of,each item. I found it easier and less stressful when I did the actual purging to be able to say, "I need to keep one bedspread and one heavy blanket for each bed for winter and 1 light throw for each couch, so 4 twin bedspreads, 4 twin blankets, 1 queen bedspread, 1 queen blanket, and 2 throws". It was already decided, which removed the emotion from it. I made lists of everything like that, from dishes to clothing for all of us to blankets, towels, you name it. My husband was able to help then, too. Just gave him a list and sent him to a room.
I thought I was the only one to do this! My husband thought I was nuts...
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The time has come, my online friends, to talk of many things:
Of flats, and wool, and hybrid dipes - of breastfeeding and slings-
And why our bed is cramped at night,
and the joy my munchkin brings!
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:54 AM   #10
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Re: Where to begin???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda29 View Post
What really helped me was to sit down and make a list of what I think our family really needs and how many of,each item. I found it easier and less stressful when I did the actual purging to be able to say, "I need to keep one bedspread and one heavy blanket for each bed for winter and 1 light throw for each couch, so 4 twin bedspreads, 4 twin blankets, 1 queen bedspread, 1 queen blanket, and 2 throws". It was already decided, which removed the emotion from it. I made lists of everything like that, from dishes to clothing for all of us to blankets, towels, you name it. My husband was able to help then, too. Just gave him a list and sent him to a room.
This is really an excellent idea, thanks so much for sharing it! Now, to get my husband to declutter the way I want him to.
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