10 Excuses We Make to Keep Our Clutter

posted by Andrea | 03/11/2013

10-excuses-we-use-to-keep-our-clutter

When it comes to the clutter in our homes and lives, it’s often much easier to make excuse after excuse, listing all the reasons it might actually be best to KEEP our clutter than to actually make work of getting rid of those things we no longer need, use, want, or love.

We KNOW we don’t need, use, want, or love many of the items we’re holding onto; we KNOW we would be happier with less clutter and more space for the items we actually do use; and we KNOW we should set aside an afternoon (or even just 15 minutes) to get started.

However, the catch is that even though we KNOW all of this, it’s often difficult to ever DO anything about it.

Sound familiar?

If you’ve been making excuses to keep your clutter, I hope that today’s post might be the “wake-up call” that motivates and encourages you to clear some of the clutter from your home and life!

And if you don’t make excuses to keep your clutter, let me enlighten you on 10 of the most commen excuses I hear time after time!

1. I might need it again some day.

There is always the chance that you might need your purged clutter again some day. However, speaking from an experienced purger, there’s probably a much better chance you WON’T need it again… ever.

In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you don’t even know half of what you actually have in the first place!

I understand the idea behind this — it’s wasteful to get rid of something only to have to purchase it again in the future. However, if you’re honest with yourself, chances are you don’t even remember the last time you used this item… and if you do ever need something like this in the future, you’d probably be able to borrow it from a friend or make do with something else you already have around the house.

2. I paid good money for it!

Yes, you paid good money for it (probably too much money) but that still doesn’t change the fact that you don’t use it, you don’t need it, and you don’t love it. The money has already been spent and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it anymore except continue to feel badly that you paid a lot of money for something you’re not using.

You could try to sell it, but in my experience, this often slows you down on your organizing journey, and (depending on what the item is) you often won’t even get a fraction of the purchase price by selling it. Plus, you will most likely spend many, many weeks and months holding on to the item and re-listing it while you wait for potential buyers that might never come.

On the flip side, by donating these items now, you instantly have more space, have less clutter, and you never have to think about these items (or bemoan the fact that you paid too much for them in the first place) ever again!

3. It’s still in perfect condition.

Good, then someone else will be thrilled to find it at a local thrift shop!

If you’re not using it,  don’t need it, and don’t love it, then donate it and let someone else enjoy all the life still left in your cast-offs.

4. It might be worth something.

Well, it MIGHT be — and it also might not be.

If you simply keep it in your home because you think it MIGHT be worth something — you’re just wasting space. Unless you’re willing to do the work of listing it on Craigslist or selling it to a collector or auction house, you won’t make money anyway.

If you don’t want it in your home and you’re not willing to make the time to try and sell it, then it’s time to donate — even if the item MIGHT be worth something.

5. I want to give it to ________.

I’ve worked with so many people who don’t get rid of things because they have a super specific organization or person they want to give the items to.

It might be an out-of-town relative, a friend from the past, an old co-worker, or a charitable organization way across town — whatever this specific person/place is, it’s not convenient to just stop by and drop off your unneeded items.

So there the items sit… in their car, in their basement, in their closet, in their garage. These items continue to take up space in their homes, they continue to walk past them every day and think, “oh shoot, I still need to give that stuff to ______”.

While I realize the intentions here are in the right place, my theory is that you need to set a reasonable time frame (like 1 month) and if you don’t deliver the items to the specific person/place by then, it’s time to donate to the closest thrift store and get the items OUT OF YOUR HOME!

6. It was a gift from _______.

While you should always be thankful for gifts, please remember that a gift is a gift.

It’s yours.

You are an adult, and once something is yours, you are free to do with it what you please. If it pleases you to remove it from your home to make room for something else you might like more, then by all means, remove it!

I realize this is an overly-simplified, black and white explanation – but it IS true.

Yes, you may offend friends or relatives if you donate their gift — and I completely understand if you’re not willing to compromise family relations for a little clutter. However, if it’s a lot of clutter and the gifts just keep on coming, it might be time to share your honest feelings with those dear people who continue to gift you.

This type of conversation might be easier to handle in writing (email) if possible. And if it’s your in-laws, I’d definitely make sure your spouse is 100% on your side before you start the conversation. It’s tricky business, but if all these gifts are ruining your relationships, it’s time to have a talk.

Also, keep this in mind the next time YOU give a gift, and consider giving a clutter-free gift instead!

7. It’s always been “in the family”.

Family heirlooms are another tough call when it comes to purging — and honestly, this is the ONE category I would encourage you to think about before you just purge everything.

My favorite way to clear the clutter of family heirlooms is to try and use them in my own home and life. I actually use my grandma’s old table cloths, and her baby pictures are in Nora’s nursery. I have old pictures of my grandpa from WWII hanging in our home and I use my grandma’s sewing stuff on a regular basis.

By using these items, I can actually enjoy them and I’m not wasting valuable space storing things we never use.

If you can’t think of a way to use family heirlooms or you just want to get rid of stuff (I can totally relate!), I’d suggest setting a time-frame of 3-6 months and informing all your family members that they may come take whatever they want before that specific date. After that date passes, you can sell or donate anything that’s left — guilt-free!

8. I’m saving it for my kids/grandkids.

I don’t want to sound overly harsh here — but unless you personally ask your children and grandchildren if they want specific items (and they said ‘yes’), there’s probably a good chance they don’t want them.

They have enough stuff – probably too much stuff — and they don’t need more from you.

Also, remember that if you continue to give your children and grandchildren things they don’t need or want, you could potentially be inflicting unnecessary strain on your relationship (if they want to get rid of the items but feel pressured to keep them). I have seen too many relationships compromised because of these types of situations.

My best advice would be not to save things for your children or grandchildren unless they specifically ask you to save them. And if you DO save things for them, make it clear that you will not be offended if they decide not to keep the items.

9. It’s too sentimental.

Emotional and sentimental clutter is one of the most difficult types of clutter to purge — even for people like myself who aren’t super emotionally attached to things.

Items in this category are most likely baby clothing/blankets, drawings and projects from your kids, photos, artwork, memorabilia, family heirlooms (see #7 above), letters, cards, etc. etc.

Since I’m not a total scrooge, I would encourage you to keep SOME of these sentimental items. However, if you’re drowning in a sea of sentimental stuff, or if your home is too small to store everything, it’s probably time to take control.

Here are a few ideas of what you could do with your sentimental clutter:

  • ask other family members if they have a use for these sentimental items
  • designate a Memory Box for each person in your family and only keep items that can easily fit in that space (see our memory boxes here)

It’s extremely helpful if you can separate your emotions from your stuff — because your memories are not in the actual items, they are in your heart.

You will still remember how happy  you were to bring your newborn babies home, even if you don’t keep the outfit you brought them home in. You will still remember how special your grandparents were to you, even if you don’t keep every single item they left behind. You will still remember how you felt when you won those championship trophies, even if you purge your entire trophy collection.

You don’t NEED the items to remember those special moments. 

Here’s a link to a bunch of other posts I’ve written about mental, emotional, and sentimental clutter.

10. I have enough space so it doesn’t matter.

Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter right now, but what happens when you have to move, or your basement floods, or if something unexpected happens and your children are left to weed through all your stuff?

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about being organized for the unexpected and I received many comments and emails from people who had to weed through friend’s and family’s unorganized homes and lives — trying to pick up the pieces and put two and two together. These people shared how much easier and less stressful it would have been if things had been more organized.

Even if you have plenty of storage space, I’d still encourage you to spend a little time trying to weed out those items you don’t need, use, want, or love.

If you ask me, the state of our homes comes down to whether or not we’re going to keep making these excuses for our clutter or get to work clearing our clutter.

Yes, there are many variables of time, space, money, the number of people living in our homes, etc. but ultimately, if we’re not willing to take control of our homes, we will continue to be held hostage by our possessions.

If you don’t want to be a hostage, it’s time to stop making excuses, shove your emotions aside, and get to work.

It might not be easy.

But you can do it! 

What area of your home are you going to tackle first?

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41 comments

  1. Christina

    03/11/2013

    You always have such a way with words. To the point of hitting exactly the nerve to get us moving! I am attacking the stuff from a relative, with much of it nicer than my own stuff, so it’s a huge job of sorting through. It’s worth it and it’s good to hear to ‘let go of things too’. My own is harder to pass on than theirs, ironically. I love the hostage sentence! Thanks, as always for great tips and advice!

    I applaud you for the bypassing the weekend posts too, we are all busy on weekends, and that should be time with your precious family! You do a fabulous job with priorities!

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  2. Andrea Urban

    03/11/2013

    “My name is Andrea and I’m addicted to clutter” How much to you charge to come and recite these reasons into my ear, while I balk at putting anything at all in the donate box? Just curious :)

    I think there might be an actual disconnect between my brain, that knows I NEED to do this and my hands that will be doing the work… Just a theory. :/

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  3. Deb

    03/11/2013

    I LOVE this post. Keep up the good, practical, no nonsense advice!

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  4. KIMBERLY

    03/11/2013

    Number 4 hits home for me. When I graduated from high school in 1986 my mother bought me a 17 inch princess Diana doll in her wedding dress and the train was proportionally. I wasn’t really sure what to do with the thing and and 27 years later I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do with. It sat in the closet of my apartment when I was single, she moved with me to Las Vegas when I married and then again when we moved into our latest home. Always in the the box in the top of the closet. I pulled her down 2 weeks ago and made a post on facebook that if anyone was interested in having her they could pick her up. I casually said something to a friend at the gym and she was immediately interested and now Princess Diana has a new home. I have had no regrets or second thoughts about letting her go……

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  5. Five4fivemeals

    03/11/2013

    Don’t I know this! Our house is FILLED with things that my husband is unwilling to part with. A lot of it was his father’s stuff. His father died to years ago and was the definition of a horder. We have a new baby coming and I have to be TOUGH and tell him he can go through and get rid of things we don’t use/need/want or I can do it for him.

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  6. christina f

    03/11/2013

    This post is a good one to keep around–getting rid of clutter can be difficult and exhausting, it’s easy to lose our way, even with the best of intentions. I’m going to look at this next time I need someone to talk some sense to me!

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  7. Melissa

    03/11/2013

    How rude of you to write a blog post about all my excuses! :) You nailed it. I have purged some things because I was only keeping them so I wouldn’t offend anyone. But I have this stupid comforter in my basement, I way overpaid for it, and I rushed my decision to buy it and now I can’t seem get anyone/craigslist to pay me a fraction of what I paid to take it off my hands so I won’t feel so stupid about the mistake I made buying it. I think I might have to listen to you and just donate it already. Thanks Andrea.

    p.s. you have a misspelling in your bulleted list – “make a quilt from old clothing, t-shits, baby items, etc.” :)

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  8. Debby

    03/11/2013

    Another great post Andrea!!! I look forward to reading each day. First so happy for you and the changes coming. I have told you this in other posts, but I found your blog when I googled organizing files. Happy to tell you that that decluttering project is finished. 6 file drawers and 3 cardboard file boxes were all condensed to a 2 drawer commercial size file cabinet. And there is room to spare!!!! It was so freeing. My next stop is the basement which has lots of clutter. I joined a group on facebook called 40 days 40 bags. You can start anytime and it’s very inspiring to see all the before and after pics. I feel as though overall my house is organized, but that darn basement is the clutter catcher. Hopefully not for too much longer.

    Also thanks for the t-shirt quilt link. My daughter’s have played soccer all their lives, and I wanted to do something like this next year for my oldest daughter’s graduation. Then she could take it to college with her

    Thanks again for all your great post and encouragement. (Also trying your monster cookie recipe tonite for my oldests’ birthday. 17!!! goes by so fast)

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  9. Jen

    03/11/2013

    This is a great post, and so absolutely true. I’m not super-sentimental about most stuff, but my bad habits tend to be the ones where I hold on to stuff to donate or sell. Not a LOT, mind you, but enough. I had a beautiful prom dress taking up tons of space in my very small family room for months because I was going to donate it to Cinderella’s Closet. Their drop-off location is across town and I kept forgetting to load it up when I was going to be over there. Finally I said “Enough!” and just gave it to Goodwill. Someone will still get some use out of it, but it’s no longer in my home, stressing me out.

    I pretty much never point out typos in blogs posts because I think it’s rude and condescending, but I it says “t-shits” under the “things to do with emotional clutter” header and I thought that one might be worth pointing out. I won’t pretend I didn’t giggle, ;)

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    Andrea Reply:

    fixed it — thanks! :)

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  10. Leslie

    03/11/2013

    Hi Andrea! I LOVE your blog! You inspired me this morning to tackle all four kid closets in my home. I had been putting it off because it seemed to overwhelming…I had been holding on to clothes that relatives and neighbors had given us, even though they weren’t being worn. My kids wear the same outfits pretty regularly. I am proud to say that we are taking 5 FULL trash bags and a huge, heaping laundry basket and donating it! Then heading out to lunch to celebrate:)
    Now I just have to figure out what to tackle next Monday…I’m thinking my pantry. That’s kind of a scary one!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Leslie — and 5 bags! That’s insane — way to go!

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  11. Mary

    03/11/2013

    Love all your practical advice. I have 3 grown children. My weakness is pictures plus alot of their school report cards, tests, papers, etc. I made scrapbooks with the items for each child — 2 done, one more to go.

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  12. Melissa

    03/11/2013

    I have been working on and off for the past year to declutter our home. One area where I run into a lot of issues is getting rid of gifts. Specifically gifts from my mom. My mom lives in a different state and she is very generous with the gift packages she sends for Christmas and birthdays. I know those gifts are meant to bless us and don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but we live in a small condo and don’t always have room or a use for every item she sends. I am able to decide to donate the items that we can’t use, but the problem comes when she asks me if I kept an item or not. I don’t like to be dishonest so I do tell her if I’ve given it away and then she gets upset. So now it seems that when she sends an item she frequently asks if I’ll keep it and if I say no, she wants me to send it back to her. I am trying to understand and not be frustrated by this, but it’s time consuming and a touch expensive to be mailing things back.

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    Andrea Reply:

    This is a really tough situation Melissa. I think you need to have a long talk with your mom and basically tell her that from now on, if she sends you anything, it’s YOURS to do with what you please. You will not be sending anything back to her (that’s craziness) and if she’s worried you won’t keep something, then maybe she shouldn’t send it in the first place.

    I know this might sound harsh, but it sounds like her “gifting” is already putting strain on your relationship… so while she might initially be upset, it will hopefully help to alleviate future issues.
    Sorry I can’t be of more help!

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    Melissa Reply:

    I think you’re right. The only advice that really makes sense is to stop the problem from the source. Thanks!

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  13. Tara

    03/11/2013

    This is so good Andrea! I am nearly done completely purging and reorganizing our home and I want to avoid the build-up of “stuff” again. I plan to implement a couple of inexpensive tall kitchen trash bins with liners in a couple places where I frequently set things “to donate” that sit there for WAY too long. One will be in my walk-in closet, which likes to collect all the things that have no home, and one in the garage (another clutter collecting problem area I have). The idea being to fill up the giveaway bins as quickly as possible (I will challenge my family to see how quickly we can fill it) and then tie up that trash bag and haul it off or call for a pick-up as soon as it is full. Hopefully this will help all of our household to get into the habit of recognizing a superfluous item and to give it up before it begins to add stress to our environment. Another great idea from “The House that Cleans Itself.” :o)

    I can resonate with the above frustration about gifts from people who are concerned that you keep them. My husband’s 88 year old Korean grandmother recently moved to be near us and be under our care. She is an amazing hoarder when we unpacked her she has nearly every piece of clothing she’s ever owned since moving to the US in the mid 1980s. And she will give my 4 year old daughter armfuls of junk either from her collection or from her most recent trip to Goodwill EVERY time she sees her. Then she will ask about those items later. She recently gave my daughter a long piece of rainbow colored nylon cord that she has kept since my 23-year old SIL was a baby and apparently played with. She told me I can’t get rid of it because she is saving it. What?! :-S

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    Andrea Reply:

    WOW Tara!
    Maybe you could insist that the “toys” and items she gives your daughter have to stay at her house?? That’s the only suggestion I can think of right now that wouldn’t totally offend her!
    Good luck!

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    Melissa Reply:

    My goodness! The situation with your husband’s grandmother sounds super stressful! A nylon cord kept for 23 years? Wow.

    It sounds like you’re making great strides in decluttering your home. Congratulations! That’s no easy task. I have a problem in the garage as well. It’s too easy to find room on a shelf for something you don’t feel like dealing with at the time it shows up in your life. I like your idea of dealing with the item NOW rather than letting it build up for later.

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  14. Gen

    03/11/2013

    I have to say, #7 (gifts) are my weakness. I used the item at the time, and liked it, but I no longer use it because I’ve upgraded or whatever (I’m thinking a purse and a wallet my parents got me from Italy). I know I won’t use them again, but I feel bad giving them away. And can you even give a used and dirty old wallet anyway? But apart from that I’m relatively good at purging. My mom always enlisted my help when she went purging the house.
    My other weakness is broken/old/obsolete electronics. I know they are broken and not gonna be useful to anyone again, but I don’t think I can just throw them in the garbage either. And my bf makes me keep his old electronics, too. Gotta find a solution to this…

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    Brenda Reply:

    Recycle them. Many stores (Target, by me) have bins by the doors for small electronics and many recycling centers (usually county or township) have special days for them. Also, some ‘junkers’ collect them and then take them apart for the recyclables. Then you are rid of them helping the environment too.

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    Demaroge Reply:

    Our Best Buy has recycle bins for headphones, microphones, batteries … there are at least 5. Call around so you don’t waste your time and gas money!

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  15. Hannah

    03/11/2013

    All I have to say is THANK YOU. On this exact day these are the exact words that I needed to hear (read?). I can’t thank you enough, and I am off to purge some clutter from my life!!

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  16. Janet

    03/11/2013

    Have you ever heard of purging by starting, not in the living quarters of the cluttered home, but in the basement, bringing stuff upstairs to go through and purge first??? Just wonder if anyone else’s brain works like my hub’s does. Already wading through clutter, my idea was to start here, as we got cleared out, then bringing stuff from the basement, etc. (places I’m physically unable to go myself) and I’d help purge here. This is taking forever. His rational was that he wanted to make space to put stuff from upstairs once we got rid of the stuff in the basement. I guess that’s logical on some level, but we’re not on the same level,lol. It is slowly getting done, though. Haven’t looked at emotional clutter yet, though there is very little and most is usable or able to be in shadowboxes. Nice to have a neutral place of like thinkers to vent!!
    Janet

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    Andrea Reply:

    Janet, I can kind of see the rational of starting with the basement (kind of) but if you’re starting in the basement, you should keep things down there, sort down there, and only bring the things up that you’re getting rid of. Otherwise you’re doing SO much extra work hauling everything upstairs and then bringing some of it back down again. Plus, your main living areas will always be cluttered with the stuff you’re sorting from the basement.

    That’s just my opinion though! Sorting something is always better than nothing :)

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    Melissa Reply:

    Hi Janet. Your husband and my grandmother are on the same page. When I was in college I spent a summer living with her so that I could live near where my internship was. During that summer I would bring boxes of stuff up from her basement almost daily so that we could sort through it together. It was also a VERY slow process. We must have made a dent, after all I was visiting Goodwill with a carload of donations once a week, but it was difficult to see the progress. Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all, but I think I can understand your frustration.

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  17. Lauren {Rustic Honey}

    03/12/2013

    I’m am guilty of all of the above! I will keep these phrases in mind next time I clean out my closet!

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  18. Vanessa

    03/12/2013

    This is such a great post. I’m going to keep it, re-read it, and forward it. Thanks!

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  19. Ashli

    03/16/2013

    How do you deal with a child who won’t let go of ANYTHING? Seriously, my 7 year old son will not part with anything he owns. My other two (4 and 9) will easily part with things they don’t use anymore, but my middle one is a borderline hoarder. The only way I can clean anything out is to purge his room while he is at school. If I do that he doesn’t notice that the special (rock, stick, broken rubber band, bent paper clip, empty tic tac container etc) is gone, but trying to throw it out in front of him is impossible. I really do worry about his unnatural attachment to random objects! I should also mention that I am the anti hoarder, I clean out every cupboard and closet in the entire house every 2-4 months and have a permanent goodwill area in my closet that gets emptied every month. Any suggestions?

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    Andrea Reply:

    This is tricky Ashli — because I know some adults who feel like they NEED to keep everything because they were always forced to throw away their things as a child. But on the flip side, I know plenty of other adults who were never taught to throw things away and still end up keeping everything.

    There’s a fine line between saying “this is my house and you need to listen to my rules and keep your room clean” and helping them learn to make their own decisions (even if they aren’t the decisions you want them to make). I’m honestly not sure what to tell you because it sounds like your other children are doing just fine. It sounds like your 7 year old definitely has more emotional attachements to his things — and that’s not something you can really reason with him about.

    The one idea I have is to give him a special cabinet, bin, box, shelving unit, etc that he can store/display all his treasures in. But when that specific space is full, then he has xx number of days to clear out some of his old stuff to make room for new stuff. If he doesn’t do it himself in that specified time-frame, then you will do it while he’s gone.

    Not sure if that will work, but it’s worth a try! Good luck!

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    Kelekona Reply:

    I think it’s called the “time capsule” method.

    Tell him to box up some stuff that he doesn’t need right away and you’ll store it for him.

    I’m not sure about the psychology of how to proceed. I don’t like the thought of throwing it away without him knowing it’s going. I like the thought of making a new box every month and eventually mention the idea of tossing the old ones gently.

    Perhaps a memory test, set an old box down, and then give him the option of keeping anything he names.

    Actually, once he’s warmed to the idea of tossing old stuff, have two types of boxes, one box that he gets to go through before tossing and one he can’t. Warn him what type of box he’s using when he fills it. See which one causes the least anxiety.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I like your memory test idea. Really, that might be a route that would work for you!

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    Demaroge Reply:

    I have a suggestion. It may be that he needs to feel ‘in control.’ Middle child is not the ‘baby’ and is not the ‘oldest’ so doesn’t have ‘defined’ things to be in control. So…. here is my suggestions:

    Give him a number of items. (If he has categories then give him a number in each category.) Then he gets to be in control of which items he chooses. Sometimes a new item will be more important than an older one and vice versa. I do think it would be very important to use wording that let’s him know he is control rather than ‘you can ONLY keep 10 items because I said so’ kind of wording.

    You can also give him a box/container that is reasonable for his items (an under the bed storage box might be good.) Then he can put whatever his little heart desires into the box and the lid must fit on properly. So, it would be a similar situation to above after that.

    I have heard some parents have great success with photographing items and making digital libraries of the items. The child would certainly get to be a photography and photo organizing whiz that way!

    We had success with some items by giving them to ____________ . Now, don’t worry; it isn’t giving them to someone else to junk up their room. If it is rocks, sticks, pine cones, etc. then a place in the yard, a park or some other outdoor place to build a rock garden or give the item to the birds, etc. Clothing or outgrown toys are often easier to give away to a younger person. (In our case my daughter had a younger cousin she sometimes wanted to have an outgrown item.) Maybe you could find an orphanage, preschool or daycare that would really appreciate his outgrown items …. and maybe he would love to help them.

    With my children it really helped them to choose when I would hold up two items and ask them which one? And we would keep doing it until the ‘set’ number of items was reached. This really gave them control over their decisions.

    If you still have trouble maybe ask him why the item is so special. That might give you some insight. I wonder if he is finding his self-worth in possessions? Does he see others who he admires do this?

    I do hope you find some reasonable solution. I know I had one hoarder, one tosser and one that can go either way. Believe me, either extreme can be a real issue.

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    Demaroge Reply:

    Hi again ~ I just want to add that my daughter needed to say ‘goodbye’ to things. Kids are constantly growing (so they are outgrowing everything) and they are in a relentless state of change. All of their things they appreciate and love …. end up marching right out that door. For my daughter that wasn’t easy. She would often cry when her ‘favorite’ outfit didn’t fit anymore or a toy wasn’t her age anymore. It really did help for her to ‘say goodbye to it.’ She would mention a few good memories of the item, hug it and then put it in the box. If she was crying then I would hold her while she said goodbye and wait for her to be ready.

    We don’t think about that as much as adults because we don’t outgrow things as quickly … well, unless you include the ‘new’ cell phones! ;)

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  20. Dia

    03/19/2013

    I e-mailed this article to my husband…in a love-you-but-you-don’t-need-that sort of way. When we first got married almost 4 years ago, I spent $7 on a box of contractor bags and got to work. Between Goodwill and the trash, the house (really a second-floor unit) lost some weight. Air flowed nicely. The paperwork, though, is another story. I have a filing bin for important stuff like our monthly bills and insurance stuff. But in the office drawers…you open a drawer at your own risk. Cords for stuff that hasn’t worked in years. “But I’m going to get it fixed,” as he blows dust off of [name that electronic dinosaur].

    He actually has more shoes than I do. Seriously. And shoes that haven’t been worn in years. About 2 weeks ago, he went through his ties. He could open a store with the ones he KEPT. I told him that he has another stage of purging to go through. (He doesn’t like wearing them anymore so why keep them? “I paid good money for them.” “I bought this one in [name a country].” “[So-and-so] gave this to me and would be upset if I gave it away.”)

    We won’t touch the clothes that are now too big or out of style. :-/

    My daughter helps in purging her toys and too-small clothes. At first it was, “What if you have another baby girl, Mommy?” Mommy is a little old for that and there are children right here in town who would love to have toys to play with and clothes to wear. That explanation makes it a little easier to clean out her closet.

    Rumor has it that warm weather is coming soon (as I look out at the snow) and it’s back to the contractor bags. I’m actually excited about freeing up space. I purged our linen closet about 2 months ago and it looks pretty good. That is still a process. (Who needs so many towels with only 3 people in the house?)

    Thanks so much for the article. I, too, plan on re-reading it for a reminder.

    [Reply]

  21. Kristie

    03/26/2013

    Thank you for this article. I have been wanting to do some cleaning, to get ahead. And if I get it cleaned out now, we can have so much fun this summer by not staying home and cleaning it! Thank you!

    [Reply]

  22. Kelekona

    03/26/2013

    Number 1.5 is “I don’t want to spend money or effort on a replacement.”

    I’ve gotten rid of stuff that I later started to want again. I know that I’ll face a choice between storing something that is temporarily inconvenient or having to search for a new one. The good thing is that many of my sentimental items are common enough to find a duplicate.

    [Reply]

  23. Demaroge

    04/12/2013

    It has all become so overwhelming for me. I try to focus on one spot (and I do me spot!) and when I take item X to put it away … I then realize the place to put it away either does not exist or needs decluttered, too. I try to put like items together but then I have boxes all around trying to get all the like items in one place. It really is getting ridiculous. I have so much inexpensive jewelry that I rarely wear, clothes that don’t fit well but I can’t find ones that do, piles everywhere …. and I have done it all to myself. Gosh, it was a lot easier to think I am the ‘victim.’ LOL ;)

    Working on it; still.

    My husband purchased me a real dresser. It has fit the clothes from my old dresser and my nightstand (which was holding my socks and underclothes instead of nightstand-kind-of-items) and I still have one drawer left. Now my spare room has a dresser and nightstand that will now double as the linen closet (which we don’t have.)

    That is a beginning.

    [Reply]

  24. Jennifer

    05/25/2013

    Such a great post and helpful comments, especially Demaroge up there! I’m a counselor, and I can’t seem to help looking for issues behind behaviors. Since my son was born (18 mo today!! :) ) I have been a lot more motivated to declutter. I don’t want him to grow up in a cluttered home and with bad hoarding habits. The problem is we weren’t so motivated before, so there is a LOT to declutter. But I’m working on it.

    I was able to buy a laptop last summer after having a yard sale, so I’m pumped to do it again this year. The goal this year: to be able to purchase a good closet system! Any suggestions???

    [Reply]

  25. Appetite for Reduction | latterday bohemian

    01/14/2014

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  26. Tianna

    01/23/2014

    Super points! The only thing I’d add/alter is that you can easily earn cash for your items. As an owner of a consignment shop, I rely on gently loved things from others. In turn, they receive payment. When items don’t sell, we donate them on behalf of our client. It’s a win-win-win situation for everyone.

    [Reply]