Wicked…Thursday? Casting away clutter

Since we spent our Wicked Wednesday yesterday talking about Barb’s and Jessie’s new releases, we moved our last Cast Away post to today…and we’re talking about stuff.

I’ve gotten a lot better at getting rid of things. Having just moved, I took a lot of pride in tossing stuff I’d outgrown, or didn’t need anymore. I even got to the point where, if I didn’t have a place to put it, it was gone. I was totally sick of trying to find a place for everything.

Wickeds, what about you? What things in your home do you want to get rid of but haven’t done so yet? What keeps you from getting rid of them? 

Barb: My mother-in-law was a borderline hoarder and having spent literally years cleaning up and clearing out her mess, both during and after her lifetime, I’m predisposed to divest. However, it’s a constant battle. My brother’s take is that after millennia in which humans’ primary concern was scarcity, we are hardwired to collect and keep stuff. We’re maybe the first or second generation whose primary concern is getting rid of things.

Edith/Maddie: For me it’s hard to get rid of things with sentimental value. I still have my Chinese calligraphy kit that I haven’t used in decades. A hand-painted porcelain box from Japan that was my mom’s. Cards from my sons over the years. I also never know what to do with notes and handouts from writing workshops. I basically never go back and look at them, but I feel like I should keep them. Help!

Julie: I now live in a one bedroom apartment with no storage, and it’s full. Like Edith, I have trouble getting rid of sentimental things. That said, we’re helping our parents clear their house, which means I’m going to get more sentimental stuff, so this is a timely conversation. What I need to get rid of is paper. Files, books, wrapping paper, craft items. I’m drowning in paper.

Jessie: Good luck with this, Julie! Paper and sentimental items are so much to sort! There are always things I would like to winnow. I went through my studio space this spring and removed a large quantity of fabric that is not right for my life any longer. I also sorted out art supplies that were more appropriate for young children. I still need to cull photographs that need to be evaluated for inclusion in albums and my spice drawers could use some scrutiny!

Sherry: I have a basement storage room full of stuff that is easy to ignore. Some is from my grandparents’ farm, some from my daughter’s growing up years, and some is the sentimental things that are hard to get rid of. I’ve been working on it, but it’s easy to ignore. With a lot of paper things I just take a photo and sent them on their way to the recycler.

Readers, what about you? Are you good at casting away clutter, or do you keep everything? Tell us below!

15 Thoughts

  1. When you downsize, it’s like living in the space shuttle: a place for everything and everything in its place. The right-sized space makes you aware of when things need decluttering. And decluttering is like a merry-go-round — you’re never done!

  2. It’s hard for me to declutter when I’m married to a shopaholic. He does it mostly all online so I don’t know about it until the packages start to arrive. I’m constantly asking him like where are we supposed to put this? You won’t help me clean out or put away the stuff that is still in boxes that I can’t lift. I only buy what we need for the house or to replace clothes that have worn out. I could easily be a minimalist.

  3. Oh, yeah. It’s difficult. I even bought a copy of “The Gentle Art 0f Swedish Death Cleaning” where it warned me not to start with the photographs. I should have followed directions.

  4. I actually purged a lot last year with the help of two good friends. They helped me take the emotion out of decision making. I called the family over to take what they wanted before I did the purge. This way nobody could have any objections for items I got rid of. I had boxes and boxes of pictures, I went through them all and dispersed them to the families that appeared in the pictures. I let them make the decisions on what to keep, I happily got down to one shoebox sized box with pictures. I do still have some work to do, but it’s not so overwhelming.

  5. Like others, I’m bad at sentimental things. But I did take a hint, years ago, from something I saw on one of those home organization shows. If it means so much to you, why aren’t you displaying it? If all it’s doing is sitting in a box, give it to someone who will show it off. So a fair amount of stuff winds up at our church flea market because of that.

    With the new house, we are sorting through our belongings to see what we want to take and what we want to let go of.

    The bane of my existence is paper. I’m trying to follow something Hank Phillippi Ryan said: when all the bills are online, why keep the paper? It’s not easy. But I’m trying.

    1. Living in the same house for 22 years has allowed for a lot of clutter to accumulate. Last year, we finally got rid of all the school supplies that had piled up over the years. I still have a cabinet full of documents I haven’t looked at in years that needs going through. Good times!

  6. I have moved multiple times over my lifetime, upsizing and downsizing. I am amazed at how much ‘stuff” one can discard and accumulate again. My accumulations are neater, less space to place them and I have an aversion to too much clutter. Discipline? Not really. I noticed that finding time to collate the “collection” comes at a premium, so it is better not to get it in the first place. Heck, even my collection of Pyrex is now limited to only what I have!

  7. I’ve been decluttering since I retired 2 years ago. I do a little at a time. I have only a few of my Mom’s things that are very special and that Ilove. I joined a buy nothing group during the pandemic. It’s been a huge help in moving stuff out the door. I just put it out on the porch and it disappears. My biggest source of clutter is my art supplies. I have way more than I need, but I can’t let them go yet.

  8. I can be sentimental, too, but I also love to get rid of things. It feels so lightening to the spirit. I am always on the lookout for things I no longer need or want,and off to Salvation Army (or wherever) they go. I hate clutter. My husband, not so much. I never touch his office. He’s good about keeping the living room neat (mostly). Our daughter has asked us not to leave her a house stuffed with junk to go through. I respect that request.

  9. I have significantly decluttered my stuff over the past few years. (Check out the Minimalists podcast for inspiration!)
    Currently I have one firesafe bag with sentimental items and I have a few keepsake items on a shelf. All my counters are clear of stuff so I can easily clean up for the night. Less cleaning equals more time for cozy mystery reading!!

  10. I am way too sentimental, and a collector. My condo is scary. I really need to spend some time sorting and decluttering. But that sounds like way too much work.

  11. I’m good at discarding things. I’ve adopted the concept of if it doesn’t bring me joy, it needs to go. Hubs is the exact opposite, so there’s a fine balance.

  12. Hi, I do a little bit of both, but there is alot of things that I Do need to get rid of , alot of it is just taking up space. Have a great day and stay safe. I enjoyed reading this post.

  13. For years, with just hubby and I in a 3 bedroom home, we had the space so with kept “things”. Five years ago we downsized and built our dream home. We put the things we had always dreamed of in it and cut off the unused square footage for the room “stuff” was stored in. The more closet space you have the more room for “stuff”. We now have a large one bedroom with fireplace instead of 3 bedrooms and we only have one huge closet divided as clothes on one side and storage on the other side with a good 5 feet walking space in the middle.

    My problem is we inherited by parents “stuff” and grandparents “stuff via my parents. We had to figure out did we have it becasue it meant something to us or did we have it just because someone else once thought it was worth saving. We gave away, sold, and toss a LOT of stuff. Any you know what, we have not missed one thing. I don’t know of a thing I’ve went to get and thought oh no it’s gone.

    Now that the deed has been done and with no place to stash it, “stuff” doesn’t accumulate – at least not on a full time bases. We live in our home so not saying there’s never nothing laying around, but “stuff” doesn’t hang around for long.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  14. Well, we have clutter from my Mom that is now in a nursing home. We are both disabled so it takes us more time and energy to get through things. We now have to deal with my Dad’s things as well since he will be living in a nursing home too. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

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