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Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

Think it, Plan it, Do it
Tortoise1000
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Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#8588

Postby Tortoise1000 » November 24th, 2016, 2:30 pm

The Decluttering board on TMF was a spin-off from YTST, iirc. So I reckon de-cluttering threads can go on here too. Too much junk stops us getting anywhere. I could sit and think about my investments, if the house was not piled with boxes.

Lets me bring you up to date with the project. The history of my decluttering, 2007-2015, is summarised in post no. 2569 on the TMF Decluttering board:

In December 2007 I sold a fully furnished three-bedroomed holiday house, sans the furnishings and a loft full of junk which all landed in my own small house.

Having deluttered that lot to some extent, in September 2008 I sold that house and moved to a tiny two-bedroomed rented bungalow. I had to get rid of loads just to fit us in.

In March 2010 I bought my present home, a small three bedroomed bungalow. Its hard to declutter entirely before a move, because you don't know what will suit the new house, so some of it has to be done afterwards. Work troubles and illness delayed that, but in 2011 I made a good start.

In 2012 I fell ill again, and then Dad fell ill and in 2013 I inherited my parents' lifetime possessions, the entire contents of a large detached house, double garage, shed etc. What a setback. It was worse than clearing my own stuff.

Having mostly cleared his house, in 2014 I found a buyer for it. In my house I set to to clear my garage. Before completing the sale of Dads house I had to clear out the oddments of furniture that were still there and the last vanload of stuff from the outbuildings. It didnt look much where it was, but it does in my small home. With building work imminent, I am getting started again.


That decluttering thread ends with most of my remaining house contents going into store during the building work. I have managed quite well without them. Now they are back :-( Hence the piles of boxes. Time to get cracking again!

I am opening them very gingerly, I can tell you. What the heck is all this stuff i have done without for a year? I mentioned yesterday that I would sort out the bedding first, so that is going on in the background. I am washing and drying pillows and duvets and so on, preparatory to winnowing the stock down to a minimum.

Today I have advertised an air cooler on Freecycle. I was pleasantly surprised this summer to find that with the removal of the glass porch at the front of the house I have lost a significant heat store. It got tremendously hot in there on sunny summer days and then presumably released the heat slowly into the house all evening,. I have a large open porch now, like a long loggia (not with arches) on the front of the house, relatively shady. So no need to cool the house at night.

Also advertised a cat carrier, the one that came with the little cat that passed away :-(

I have put two rather battered (by TJ) bedside tables in the car to take to the recycling centre. While they were in store the new next door neighbour offered me some from his previous house that are better, so I am keeping those instead. Illustrating Thoreau's assertion that there is never a need to buy furniture, everyone has an attic full they can pass on to you.

On to the boxes. I started on one in the kitchen and the first thing that came out was an empty Robinson's squash bottle. What a ridiculous thing to store! It didnt seem so ridiculous to keep it in the first place, it case it came in useful, but a year in store has certainly shown that it didnt.

I noticed just now that a lidded rectangular seagrass box has appeared near my desk. Packed full, when I opened it, of old copies of Investors Chronicle and Which, dated just before the move into store. When on earth did I think I was going to read them? I have a new pile of much more up to date unread magazines now. Maybe one day, when I finish decluttering, I shall have time actually to keep up with reading them each week.

So I thought would start posting about this again, for some moral support. The clutter is neatly corralled at present, mostly in these boxes. I have a one-off chance to get rid of it as it comes out.

T

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#8595

Postby DeBriefed » November 24th, 2016, 2:55 pm

Good luck! Sounds like a big project, but hopefully the last declutter you will have to do for a long time?

I am just chucking out old magazines myself (old copies of The Garden, mainly), realising (finally) that if I haven't read them so far I never will (and also that there are, shall we say, certain similarities between e.g. the January edition or the June edition each year :lol: )

Have you ever tried Marie Kondo? Some of it is slightly mad, but I think she is really insightful on a couple of points:

1) Trying to think about whether a thing "sparks joy" or not sounds bats, but actually if you don't want to spend your life surrounded by things like empty squash bottles and old magazines that "might" be useful one day then it works quite well. I still don't have the full courage of my convictions on it, and keep lots of stuff that is not really joy sparking ... but each time I go through it I get closer to a "core" of things that really bring me pleasure (even if that pleasure is from knowing I am fully equipped to deal with a practical problem).

2) Grouping like things together is really powerful. I used to have hundreds of pens in my house because they lived everywhere, a few rolls of sellotape, a few pairs of scissors, a lip balm in most rooms, etc. etc. Now I really try to just have *one* home for each type of thing. It has cut down on duplicates massively, has given me a much better sense of what I've got, and I've found it much less annoying than I expected to have to e.g. always go to the kitchen for scissors (at least now I know there will definitely be scissors there ... previously I had to look in about 4 potential homes, at least half of which the scissors would be AWOL from).

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#9494

Postby Tortoise1000 » November 27th, 2016, 8:57 pm

I must listen to her. TJ is a fan and keeps reading me little lectures on the topic. He has sent me audio book extracts. I read one of her books some time ago, and there seems to be a new one now.

I have spent some time battling with the bedding, laundering and folding and re-opening and comparing many acres of it. I seem to own a great deal of high quality single bedding which is hard to part with despite no longer owning single beds. At the same time , double bedding, for my two double beds, is mysteriously scarce. I am cautious about buying more in case a heap of it springs out at me from somewhere. Anyway I am making progress. I've emptied a feather pillow onto the compost heap, resisting the temptation to keep it in the garage for the nesting season. The good pillows are neatly stacked; they are down to 12. But I don't need 12 pillows for two double beds, one a guest bed, do I?

This evening I am puzzling over my sugarcraft equipment. I used to make beautifully decorated cakes when TJ was younger, wonderful ones for his birthday and for friends and other occasions. So I have all the equipment for that, quite an expensive collection of kit. If only I knew someone deserving to pass it on to! I might start this hobby again one day, but I suppose it isn't likely. A large box full of it all is occupying the kitchen table, reproaching me each time I go in. I could put it on a high shelf in the garage, but Marie Kondo would not approve.

What is making all this more urgent is Black Friday. I have been on a shopping spree. I even had to phone up and increase my credit card limit today, which is not like me, is it? New stuff will be arriving shortly; old stuff has to be out of the door.

T

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#9615

Postby felixcanis » November 28th, 2016, 11:07 am

We ended up with a lot of 'stuff' from my F-i-L's house, and then more from my parent's home. It's all been sitting in the loft or the garage in boxes - some of it since 2006.

We've finally decided to sort it through - all the useful bits - china tea sets, pictures, books, videos, curtains, small household items, dog bowls have gone to our local Wastebuster - it's a charity that recycles goods, teaches schools about recycling and gives employment to local people. They sell such goods in their shop. Anything else has gone either to the scrap metal merchant - we got around £80 for 2 old copper HW tanks and some offcuts of copper piping, or to the council dump.

Amazingly, we can use our garage for our car now - first time we've been able to do that & should come in useful as the weather has turned a bit chilly - no more scraping off inches of frost...

Decluttering is somehow liberating too - we kept a lots of stuff 'just-in-case' - and would have felt guilty about throwing away good things. Now we have realised it makes more sense to free up the space & use our home for our own stuff.

FelixC

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#10403

Postby doone100 » November 30th, 2016, 1:44 pm

My house is stacked to the rafters and it drives me nuts from time to time, especially at this time of year. For me the problem is threefold, I am reluctant to get rid of anything that may be useful in future, there are four adults in the house all with "stuff"(plus a lot of Miss Doone's thing in the attic) and I can never find the time to deal with the clutter properly. I also have a problem with forming emotional attachments to things.

Perhaps I should make a new year irresolution to tackle the clutter?

Doone

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#11039

Postby Tortoise1000 » December 1st, 2016, 9:10 pm

Do it Doone, it is so liberating! Here is a book for you to read:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clutter-Contro ... er+control

Oh dear, I see my copy is ‘worth money’ these days, now I can't get rid of it :-) (But there is another edition that presumably is much the same and cheaper.) He knows all the reasons you are hoarding! I think of them as I plod through the process. It makes one reflect in many different ways.

I do seem to be getting slightly better at it. I have been doing the pots and pans over the last few days, and I was relieved to find not a lot of old unused kitchen equipment in these boxes. I was worried there might be. I must have decluttered successfully before.

Ive been ruthless on the dynamic decluttering too. I bought some new pans at the weekend and the old ones were straight in the Oxfam box. Nothing wrong with them, they were almost new, but they did not work well on an induction hob. Odd, because they were very smart Germans ones that came with the hob, you'd think they would work well. Maybe pan technology has moved quickly over the last year or so. Certainly there seem to be a lot more induction pans about, ranges being upgraded, and these new ones are streets ahead of the old.

Shopping and decluttering at the same time is working better than I expected , in fact. Never tried this before. Maybe sometimes it is a hindrance that one doesn’t have exactly the right things? I mean, if you have a crummy collection of everyday plates, say , and a magnificent china cake plate with matching cake knife that you never use, what do you get rid of? None of it, typically. Whereas the correct answer is all of it . Then get one set of good new plates that you can use all the time . Shopping while decluttering is making this point very clear.

You might say, that all very well, Tortoise, but new things cost money. The fact is , though, that some of these old things are worth money if one took the trouble to sell them. They could be the source of funds. That’s another reason why we are hanging on to them. Household possessions are wealth. Good plate and linen and china have always been assets. Its difficult to think of parting with them and not having that store of family treasures. Its an issue that needs tackling head on, looking at it all together and deciding what really is the right amount of treasure to keep. But until it is down to a manageable number of objects, getting them all together and making choices is difficult. How do you chuck out enough to get started? No wonder people don’t, and leave the problem to their descendants.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebri ... tance.html

Luckily my china surplus is on a smaller scale. The decorative china objects that are actually worth something are either in the Oxfam box or packed up in a couple of small boxes to think about after Christmas. The worthless one are in the bin. China teasets, I got rid of Grandma’s when I cleared Dads house, so that just leaves Mum’s and mine. Mum’s is quite pretty, she was ever so fond of it. My parents, being misers, hardly ever bought anything . So I remember vividly the few occasion when they did, such as Mum getting her treasured Minton . I have unpacked and washed it and arranged it neatly in a cupboard near the teapots. Maybe when someone comes round for tea it will actually be used.

The Christmas shopping is helping put that in perspective too. Keeping inherited nice things. Why bother? The shops are full of them. Walking round John Lewis this week I noticed how many different well-designed teasets one could buy, if one wanted one. The older I get, the more I seem to like new things and the less I am inclined to tether myself to the past with the old.

I decluttered my own teaset, too. I used to have twelve of everything until a lot of it was lost in an avalanche, following a loose shelf. I still had twelve teacups though. Will I have eleven people round for tea at once? I think not. I took the bull by the horns (there was one handy, they tend to hang about near china) and culled the number to four. Drastic, huh? I am proud of myself for that. Admittedly I do still have twelve teacups altogether, because there are eight of Mum’s. But I have winnowed the mugs down too, and put all the ones I don’t like in the box of castoffs for TJ to have a look at next time he is here.

The bedding surplus is nearly gone. Again I have been combining buying new (double) bedding with clearing away the single. The surplus went off to charity and the textile recycling bin. I am down to two set of single bedding, which is still two more than i have single beds but a lot less than there was.

Its moving house that causes this, changes of room configuration and life changes being confronted. All the stuff is wrong and needs to be replaced. But on the other hand, if you don’t move, it still stores up because it never has to be dealt with. Moving and not moving both cause clutter.

T

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#11360

Postby WrenChasen » December 2nd, 2016, 6:51 pm

The older I get, the more I seem to like new things and the less I am inclined to tether myself to the past with the old.


I'm the complete opposite. As I grow older I can no longer see the point of keeping items "for best". We have a large (eight setting) Wedgwood dinner service in a design which is now obsolete, which I love. (I suppose it's debatable whether china is capable of being loved. 8-))

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Wedgw ... Gy4UTgM%3A

Until now it's only made an appearance on high days and holidays, which is nuts because I really like the design and feel of it, so now it's being used on an almost daily basis. The only drawback is the gold on the plates means I can't warm them in the microwave. ;)

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#11539

Postby WrenChasen » December 3rd, 2016, 5:16 pm

Please accept my apologies for my last post. I'm sure no-one's interested in my china set, but I can't see an obvious way of removing the post.

I can't believe I wrote that; clearly the effects of an unaccustomed long, lazy lunch with the girls hadn't quite worn off. :oops:

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#11674

Postby futuresaver101 » December 4th, 2016, 9:18 am

WrenChaser,

No need to apologise ! I clicked on it and thought what lovely china :)

I have started to take the same approach to china. I have two plates from my gran's tea set now living in the kitchen (the rest is in the sideboard, also from my gran). I also have the problem with a bit of gold and the microwave (not much gold at all, not bling like yours :))

T - I'm a big fan of reading Marie Kondo, and have implemented part of her method (I think if you go the full hog it's over kill). I was at a works do last week and my colleague and. She had done her underwear drawer Kondo style and it gave her joy each time she opened the drawer. I started with my underwear drawer, it took a few months to then start to apply the method elsewhere.

Good luck, we're rooting for you. I'm thinking about a decluttering target for 2017

FS101

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#11699

Postby WrenChasen » December 4th, 2016, 10:45 am

Thank you, FS, for those kind words.

I've decided to enjoy Christmas and shelve all the decluttering I need to do until 2017; note I haven't said which part of 2017... ;)

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#11739

Postby Tortoise1000 » December 4th, 2016, 12:48 pm

I agree with FS, I can see no harm in your post at all. If you think that is humdrum, you haven't read my freezer lists. Or maybe you did and Mother Nature has kindly blocked the memory for you :-)

T

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#13199

Postby Corvid » December 8th, 2016, 6:50 am

I seem to own a great deal of high quality single bedding which is hard to part with despite no longer owning single beds. At the same time , double bedding, for my two double beds, is mysteriously scarce.

Here's an opportunity.

The German / Austrian way is to use 2 separate single duvets on a double bed. You could at least do this on your spare bed and keep the doubles for your own. Give it a try on your own bed and you may never go back. No fighting over the duvet.

We had this arrangement before moving to our new house where we now have a super kingsize bed and each of us have a double duvet. Wonderful.

It is a real pain when staying with someone or in a UK hotel and we have to share a duvet.

Corvid.

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#13386

Postby todthedog » December 8th, 2016, 3:56 pm

Moving tends to concentrate the mind.
We moved from France to Sweden you really do not want to be carting junk (treasured possessions) long haul.
A 5 year rule was decided on not used in 5 years then out. Sold or given away.
Have reached an age where keeping things for best makes no sense, did it ever?
Have we missed the disguards, not at all. Trying very hard not to accumulate more stuff.
Good luck!

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#13484

Postby Tortoise1000 » December 8th, 2016, 8:51 pm

I have already forgotten the things I discarded at the start of this thread, todthedog. I read through it again just now and realised.

Good tip about the duvets, Corvid, thank you.

A tough piece of decluttering today. I mentioned family treasure above. Well, we didnt have much but the commemorative mugs were something Mum unwrapped occasionally and we children looked at with awe. Celebrating the end of the World War, for example. How poignant that it doesn't say the first. The mug issued in anticipation of the coronation of Edward VIII, and so on. Her little collection of Goss souvenir china. These things are worth a few pounds each on eBay, and nothing at all packed up in store. So hard to extract the memories though. And we weren't even allowed to touch them! How could I dare to think of just giving away Mum's stuff? They weren't precious to me, but were precious to her, because of their associations I suppose, so vicariously I thought I should not part with them.

Hardly, however, had I placed the box of objects on a shelf in the store room a couple of days ago when an Age UK collection bag fell through the letter box, for collection today. Excellent, I had a couple of bagsfuls of clutter waiting to go the charity shop already, they could have those. But was this a sign that the box of commemorative china should go too? It was very difficult to do, but I parted with it. Age UK is an excellent charity, their helpline is great and what a suitable place to bestow an old person's things.

I didn't put the china outside in case of villains, I put the bags out and a note to ring the doorbell. When I explained my reason to the collector he said oh yes, that happens all the time, there is a van going round now but I have got his number. Haven't you called the police? I asked in surprise. No, apparently the police aren't interested, he has tried reporting it before. He would do what he usually does, catch up with them, confront them and make them hand their contraband bags over. I had no idea collecting for charity requires such derring-do! I was glad I had taken precautions. I gave his the spare cat basket too, the one the little cat that had to be put down came in. I had wondered if it would be as well to keep a spare that my cat would not recognize. But it certainly did not 'spark joy'. I handed it over, and the collector was off on his travels again, skirmishing round the suburbs in his Age UK van.

I haven't quite come to terms with giving those things away yet, that is partly why I have written this little elegy for them. But anyway, its done.

T

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#13647

Postby kodokan » December 9th, 2016, 1:00 pm

Your mum's china is continuing to spread happiness and create memories, Tortoise. I really enjoyed reading your anecdote about the different historical (non) events commemorated, and your donating of it to the have-a-go-hero collector!

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#13907

Postby Stonge » December 10th, 2016, 11:16 am

Sometimes in my decluttering I choose one thing to keep and photograph the others. It helps to make it easier. I did that with some of my childhood toys but eventually they all went.

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#15844

Postby oldcharlie » December 16th, 2016, 8:13 pm

I am trying to sell my bungalow and move into small 2 bed sheltered flat.

I find it hard to let go of things that I paid a lot of money for within the last decade: ie the SAD lamp, the machine that produces negative ions, the George Forman machine, the big Italian steam cleaner that cost over £400! All useles and taking up space.

My aim is to sort and throw away from one drawer or cupboard each day. This is not going to help with Mum's display cabinet sitting in my bedroom! It is full of fine glassware. Mum saved up and bought one glass each month of Swedish glassware in South Africa. I use one wine glass for my daily tipple. Then there is the lovely Irish cut glass decanter she gave to me and the antique German beer musical cut glass tankard (that the Auction house would not take!) coming down four generations already.

I have thought my grandchildren would take the stuff over but they will not be careful custodians until they are much older.

Sentiment is important. Is it right to get rid of things just because they are useless? Perhaps, I like it to keep things because they remind me of family departed. I have cleared away all family photos from walls and don't think I will put them up again. The frames are bulky so maybe take the photos out and send off to the Charity Shop?

Oh Dear!

OC

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#21778

Postby Tortoise1000 » January 10th, 2017, 8:46 am

That is a tough project you have there, oldcharlie. Don't your children want the treasures? Why straight to the grandchildren?

I have depressed myself by writing a list of all the areas I need to de-clutter:

Furniture
TJs stuff
The boxes of books
The boxes in the garage
Bedding
Shoes
Things in bedroom drawers
Email inbox
In-tray papers
Dad estate paperwork
Mum and Dads diaries, photos etc
Grandma's photgraphs etc
My photographs
Recipes
Store room
Garden equipment
DIY tools
Surplus timber
Bags of sand and things in the garden

However I suppose I could aim to do one a month, and get a fair amount done in a year. I have made a start on TJ's stuff and it is going fairly well. Now he is a disciple of Marie Kondo he is willing to discard things he wasn't before. His Sea Scout uniform for example. That was expensive so I need to find some deserving little Scout to pass it on to. I shall email the Scout leader for advice.

T

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#23674

Postby Tortoise1000 » January 17th, 2017, 9:12 am

OK, the Sea Scout uniform is handed over. I went down to the scout hut yesterday evening and gave it to one of the leaders. He seemed glad to have it. Hopefully useful to someone . The price of a Sea Scout hat alone, for example, is £41, and they wear them only for best so TJs was in pristine condition. You see why I could not just bin it all.

I didn’t pick a good day to go through the estate paperwork though. Blue Monday! It is a dismal job. But it needs thinning out. You might say, haven’t you filed all that in a distant corner by now, T, it’s been four years. But it’s surprising how long things trickle in for. I had an unexpected letter from Santander only the other day, saying Dad had been mis-sold something. I could have told them that :-) I thought they were ‘Wise’ as soon as I looked at them, as I remarked at the time

http://boards.fool.co.uk/hi-tom-good-to ... 04068.aspx

But so much of this is simply got away with, just part of the way the industry works. His adviser gave him piles of bumf to prove her was advising correctly. The older person knows no better and the grieving relatives don’t waste their time belatedly looking into it. It must be happening everywhere. Anyway Santander’s conscience seems to have pricked them for some reason. Only as regards one small, particularly egregious item, I would add, not any significant sum alas :-) But anyway dealing with this stuff does bring the sadness back. I left it half-finished yesterday, I’ll have another go today and see if I can get it done.

T

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Re: Decluttering the Tortoise crate again

#24142

Postby Tortoise1000 » January 18th, 2017, 2:11 pm

TJ's stuff

Yes! I posted off two 10kg boxes of it to him via MyHermes this morning. All out of the door, thank goodness. I have been collecting and sorting t for some time, putting things aside, checking batches of it on Skype with him,, thinning out his possessions and some of my spares to a collection of what he actually wants. A packing challenge too, interlacing the large bike parts with the crockery and pillows and what-not. I have been avoiding it. But this morning I found yet ANOTHER batch of Dads paperwork, depressing stuff, and then killed the shredder with it, even more demoralising. So I turned to a job I could get done. Everything of TJ's that he doesn't want is recycled or donated, and everything he does is with him

The thing now is to make sure those two boxfuls dont come back, along with the rest of his stuff, when he leaves university.

T


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