Thursday, August 22, 2013


You may know that we're building an addition onto the house and my husband and I are moving into it. We will have considerably less space than we're accustomed to, although it is a very welcome change (and is still a lot of space!) At my ripe old age, I find myself less into the big house, lots of cleaning (occasionally) (seldom) thing any longer. I'm looking forward to adequate living space, not 4 extra bedrooms that always sit empty.

BUT, before we can move, we have to downsize. I'm thinking of waiting until the addition is finished and then taking what we want out of it and lighting a fire to the rest  taking the remaining stuff to Goodwill or another local thrift store.

Unfortunately, it's not just an accumulation of the 24 years we've lived here, but of the years before that too. Today I found a couple really helpful tips:

1. You can't organize clutter
2. Get a label maker

The Little Bobcat That Could

One day when a friend was here, I was trying to decide what to do with some empty Stax potato chip containers. (I know. I know.) My problem is that my parents lived during The Great Depression (and maybe that I've been a Vacation Bible School craft lady!) Anyway, some of that 'we may need it sometime' is in the genetic code (although it missed my mom and my sister, oddly enough). But both my husband and I seem to have the ability to look at an item and think, 'Hey, this could come in handy some day. It would make a great...' 

 Building a Temporary Ramp for the Cement Truck

I told my friend that I can't think of a category that the Stax potato chip container fits into, so I don't know where to put it. She said that my problem is that I immediately think in categories, rather than simply asking, 'Do I NEED THIS???'  Hmm. Never thought of that.

SO, I'm going to start downsizing.

Pray for me.

P.S. I threw away all the Stax potato chip containers and the Planters Lightly Salted, Dry Roasted Peanut jars. And I'm sure I'll need them next week. It always happens like that.

I'm off to clean out another closet. :-(

Got a helpful tip for me?

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Trace4J said...

Oh thats a toughie.
I like stuff. :)
But exciting too.
We have many empty rooms too.
Woolie Hugs

Anonymous said...

I can be quite ruthless when it comes to getting rid of clutter, but husband can't. One thing I cannot do though, is take stuff to the waste recycling centre. I can send it, but if I take it myself I end up feeling sorry for it as I drive away! How ridiculous is that?

Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

I wish I could give you a few tips, but as you probably know, I need my own intervention! Good luck!

Melissa said...

That's how my husband & I are too! I HATE stuff, and my husband is the "we might need this someday" type. Although I must admit, I keep paper.

Good luck downsizing, we've been married 4 years - I can't imagine the task after 24! Plus I love the view at your place, quintessential northern WI <3

Parsley said...

I dear friend, I feel for you! After years of marriage, kids, and more you likely have many things that also hold memories. You WILL need prayer because it is tasking, to say the least.

I am excited for you!

Unknown said...

Aaaahhh.... when we moved into our house, I had to force Chris to get rid of some of his clutter. He had graphic art magazines from the 90's.... I mean is that stuff even relevant anymore? lol I think the best tip for you is this... just "let go" and be okay with it. As your friend said.. do you really really need it? And if you were meant to need it - even if you toss it, you'll end up with another :)

Paulette said...

What an exciting time for you and your husband. Another chapter in your life story, you are finishing a chapter and are about to began a new one. I have a stack of stuff that I have saved for 'just in case' I will be following you on your journey of downsizing and taking in all of your tips.

J said...

You actually threw away those chip canisters? Nooooooo!!!!!
lol - just kidding!
But seriously, with that beautiful, peaceful view of the countryside you are wise to do what you are doing!

TexWisGirl said...

i have never liked clutter, but i have to admit, i've got a bunch of netted bags from lemon purchases that i'm saving 'to do something with' someday. :)

MadSnapper said...

my mother and her sister had the keep everything you use and all containers and never throw anything away gene.
when mother died, here were hundreds of styrofoam egg cartons, a whole wall of shelves full of them. yes she did do Bible School but that had been many years before. that gene skipped me and i throw everything away.. i do recycle jars if i have something to keep in them, like dog bones and other things. i don't buy containers i use what containers come already full.
toss toss toss if you don't use it. but that is in my genes so it might be hard for you to do.

Ruth Kelly said...

My daughter said to me "you never throw anything away." Well, that put me into action and I actually donated items and cleaned some things out. I am down sizing too. Less is better.

Deanna said...

I was just talking about this with someone yesterday. We don't have any immediate plans to move but the very thought of packing everything we have sends chills up my spine. I'd like to devote this winter to doing some serious downsizing of our "stuff". Btw, I understand the chip container thing. My husband recently accused me of being a glass jar hoarder (I use them for leftovers, homemade salad dressing, freezing stuff, etc.). He was right. I bit the bullet and put over half in the recycling bin. I wish you luck!

Kim said...

I fall into that "I might need it" category too. Its terrible. Lol I suggest you finish the addition and then start by just moving the stuff you absolutely need (or love). Once you have done that I expect what to do with the rest will become clear.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

We counted up all our rooms in the big house and then counted how many we actually use! Only half! Time to move!
Even though it is hard to get though, having just enough stuff is a happy thought!

A thought or two on cleaning out..... Do you want your kids to have to deal with all that stuff when you are gone? (This one always makes me think and I don't even have kids yet!) The idea of burdening a family member with a task like that is enough to make me go clean a closet! Lol! Have you ever heard of Don Aslett? He writes cleaning books that are very motivational. One of his suggestions is to sort things into three categories, Love It/Can't Live Without It, Not Sure, and Needs to Go. Then the Not Sure stack can either be packed or put in another spot and after a few months of not even remembering one owns that item, get rid of it. Or in some cases, you can always dig it out again! And since you are moving to smaller quarters, you could always move everything you know you want to keep and see if you have any room left!

Good Luck! And I certainly will be praying for you!

Eileen said...

I think the best thing to do is categorise possessions into one of four groups: keep, throw, sell or charity.
Good luck with it, not easy I know. I am now decluttering all the possessions I spent the first fifty years of my life collecting :-)

Vintage Gal said...

No helpful suggestions here. I am just as bad at hording (ahem, I mean collecting). Have fun ;-)

Rachel said...

I'm such a pack rat, I'm TERRIBLE at downsizing. I probably wouldn't be great help. :(

My friend did give me advice about downsizing clothes in my closet. She said to hang all the hangers "backwards" on the rod (if that makes sense- meaning hook it around from the back with the tip of the hanger facing out). She said when I wore something, I needed to hang it up the "normal" way. She said after 6 months go through my closet and all clothes on hangers that were hanging "backwards", get rid of. She said if you don't wear it within a 6 month period, you aren't going to wear it. That's about all the advice I have. :)

If I were closer, I would so come help you pack though, I know what a pain it can me! Try packing up all your stuff in a week!! :/

Happy Thursday!!


Muffy's Marks said...

We've gone through all of that two years ago. It feels so good to be burden free from all that stuff. We now keep what we need and use. I'm done saving stuff for just in case or if someone else might need it. Besides pick up some stacking storage containers and see how neat your cupboards will look. A little trick I used when we had to combine our home and cottage stuff to make one household,-- was my kids! We went through the house room by room, and if they wanted something they told me. If I absolutely couldn't part with it, I told them so!! Otherwise it was theirs. Now when I go to their homes, I see many of my treasures and family heirlooms. Makes me feel good that they can use and even treasure some of my old stuff!!!

Chatty Crone said...

We cleared out the basement this summer - at first it was totally painful. But once we got going and by the time we were done - it felt great - we felt much lighter and happier. Love, sandie

Terri D said...

I always hear "if you haven't used it in a year, toss it out". I hear it, but I don't practice it.

We downsized when we moved to Florida 24 years ago. But, in that 24 years, way too much has accumulated - again.

Keep talking about downsizing. Put me to shame!! :)

Suzan said...

Isn't it interesting how --- you marry and start off with nothing. So you collect and get more and get a bigger house. Then you get to the point that you want to down size and you try to pass your collections to the kids!! We're trying to downsize as well, and my Mom is trying to get us to take her stuff as well! "But it's family!!" Grrrrr! My kids want to collect their own stuff and do not want mine or their Grandmothers!!
So- you're downsizing- but adding more to your house????

Denise said...

Wishing you luck, and success.

Yenta Mary said...

Oh, my goodness, look what I find when I have a few moments to stop by and visit! Sorting! Downsizing! Moving! Family returning! So much excitement!!! This is even better than Anglophile Friday, which is really saying something ... :)

Donna said...

I understand the pain of letting go! We moved into this cottage a little over three years ago, and we downsized to 40% less square footage. We also said goodbye to 6 country acres (and privacy!) to a postage stamp size lot in a subdivision.

How do you get rid of things? Quickly! It's like pulling off a bandaid. Just get it over with and forgive yourself up front if you later discover that you should have truly kept something. Donate and sell. "Stuff" in this life are really only loaned to us, afterall. We started with nothing and we will end with nothing. Ask yourself if each item will give you joy and will it serve a function. I tell you, once the clutter is gone, you won't believe the relief that comes afterwards.

Samantha said...

I like to take everything out, then put things back that I definitely want to keep, then split the rest into donate, throw, or have another think about. I've too quickly thrown things out before to only regret it the next day so I make sure to keep the box for a week or so. I don't go back through the box because that way lies the danger of keeping things for the sake of it, but if I lie awake at night wondering why I wanted to get rid of my pineapple corer I can easily get it out again!!

Samantha said...

Also, I do feel for you, it's hard work motivating yourself to get sorting, I like to listen to the radio while I clear out. Either music or a good talk show!

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I can't give you any tip as I seem to be born with the "I might need that sometime" gene too!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I have to work on cleaning out clutter all the time! (we downsized to a house half the size of our last one) I say...don't get overwhelmed, do a little at a time. And take the stuff you want to donate out to the car when it's bagged. Don't go back through it! Play some good music to energize you! heehee! Sweet hugs!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

Hugs and a prayer!

That's really hard. We downsized into the home we are now. I gave a few rooms of good furniture to my sisters, but I still have a shed full of I don't know what! So I am no help in regards to advice.

LivingVintage said...

Wow! I'm so happy to have discovered your blog. I love old homes so much and yours is lovely. We're also remodeling too, and I've built on before, so I can definitely relate. I think I found it via It's Overflowing. Anyway, I love your home and I'll dive into looking at your blog ASAP.

lorraines resources and rewards said...

Hi! You have a lovely home. I am a pack rat. What I do once a week is take a bag to good will of toys, clothes and what have you. Just because I know where I'm at now is not where I wont to stay forever.

J_on_tour said...

A Mammoth task. I need to get rid of clutter too instead of storing more of it up in the loft.

Marianne (Mare) Baker Ball said...

It's always easier for me to clean out if I keep in mind that I'm going to donate what I'm getting rid of. If I remember there are people who have less than me, it's easier to "share" my stuff by getting rid of whatever I'm not using.


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