5.07.2008

Decluttering


I don't know about you, but accumulation is a major problem of mine. I am not even the type of person who measures life by material goods. Who cares what kind of car you drive or how many designer purses you have? Tell me how many stories you've written or animals you've cared for or places you've traveled or people you've helped, and I'm in.

Nevertheless, I find myself gathering weight around me like a bedroom floor gathers dust bunnies. From literal weight in fleshy pounds to hundreds of books to gew-gaws and knick-knacks, I'm a human flea market.

My life has reached a tipping point of late in the clutter department. I am having trouble focusing on reading and writing because I am so distracted by junk. So, I've been working on decluttering.

All of which points to my sharing this newly found resource with you: Freecyle.

Here's a description of what Freecyle is: The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,355 groups with 5,062,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free.

Isn't that cool?

Share your tips on how to declutter! The best tip will get a FREE book!!!! (Hey, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this decluttering thing!)

11 comments:

3M said...

My best de-cluttering tip? MOVE!!! I just moved last year, and it was painful to get rid (donated to Libraries and Goodwill) some of my books, but it was absolutely necessary. I still had 50! book boxes, though.

I've struggled with clutter in the past (and still do), but decluttering really frees you up. Like I said, I don't know if I could have done it had it not been for the move, so I'm thankful for it.

I'm going to be moving again soon, so that's even more incentive to get rid of even more stuff. Mostly clothes and stuff this time.

I was in a panic about moving the first time, but it really was one of the best things for me. I realize not everyone can do that, of course, but it does definitely help with de-cluttering, and it was perhaps the only way I was going to do it.

Michelle
1morechapter.com

Eva said...

My best decluttering tip:
If you're not sure whether to keep something or get rid of it, put it somewhere you can't see it (maybe w/ the stuff you're definitely getting rid of) for a week or two. Then see if you think about it or not! In my case, this usually makes me realise it's not really important, and I get rid of it. But sometimes I realise that I care about it quite a bit, and then I'm grateful to be able to 'rescue' it. :D

Andi said...

I try to declutter by giving the things I don't need or want anymore to people who will appreciate them. I give used magazines to friends; I hand out books through bookmooch (I give a lot more than I get there); I see things on my shelves (a knick knack, a book) and it reminds me of a friend, who I then give it to. I try to take my things and give other people small bits of joy with them, even if they then move the item on to someone else so that they don't accumulate clutter. In Lewis Hyde's The Gift he makes the point that wealth is only finite when it's stagnant. I'm trying to live by that motto. And Thomas Merton once said, "For everything I own, someone owns less." That's a good one, too. So pass on the love.

And Freecycle rocks!! I've given away many a thing - rugs, cds, even used hangers - through that network. Thanks for reminding me about this.

Dark Orpheus said...

Oh. I tried to declutter my life about 6 years back. I threw away my bed (I sleep on a mattress on the floor now), threw away my over-sized study-desk (I work on a laptop on the floor), I threw away my chairs (I sit on the floor, on a cushion)

Threw away books I hadn't touched for more than 5 years. Threw away old magazines. When i travel, I bring old T-shirts that I wear and leave behind.

It was really cleansing. The living space really felt brighter - like there's more sunlight.

But then I find out: The real challenge is maintaining this decluttered space. It requires constant attention and effort to keep the clutter from coming back.

Litlove said...

I love decluttering, whilst my husband hangs onto everything unti the last bitter minute. I have at present two boxes of stuff, a box of books, a bag of wearable clothes, a bag of recyclable worn out clothes all waiting to go to the Salvation Army shop or the recycling parts of the dump. And they've been waiting since the beginning of the week. I'm going to start lining them up before all the exits to the house shortly. My best decluttering tip is the right frame of mind: you don't use it, you don't need it, it's filling up your emotional and creative space and you're going to be lighter, body and soul, without it.

Dorothy W. said...

I do something similar to what Eva does -- I leave things lying around for a while, the amount of time varies, and then I look around, realize I haven't thought about or needed any of the stuff, and I throw it all out. But I don't have much of a cluttering problem -- it's not hard for me to resist dumping everything in the bin!

Anne E said...

I use the following criteria to declutter: beautiful, useful or sentimental. To stay, something has to fall in at least one category, and ideally it hits two. I put a limit on the number of purely "sentimental" items I'm allowed - they have to fit in this trunk I have, if they don't fall into another category also. Other than that, I take it slowly. Decluttering one table, drawer, or pile a day is better than nothing.

snackywombat said...

oh all good suggestions! i have more problems with consumerism than with keeping unneeded things around. so everytime i bring something new into the house, i give away, junk or recycle something else. so that's a good tip for maintenance once you learn to let go of some things. :)

Iliana said...

Oh I can so relate to this right now! I feel the same way too though, that I am not really a person who collects a lot of material things but I guess I do. With this move of mine I'm hoping to "simplify" going forward. Granted, I still can't stop buying books so that might be a problem. heh. I haven't tried Freecycle yet but maybe this summer I will!

dennis said...

Dennis says Boycott China--that will cut back on spending as they make so many of our "things" and "stuff". Since he started boycotting, he has paid extra for things he needed (a teakettle hand made in England cost him double what a cheapo Chinese disposable kettle cost--and garden shears cost 10 dollars more to get good ones not made in China.

But it works out OK, he buys way way way way less, and what he does buy is made to last.

some things are an insurmountable obstacle-- appliances and electronics made in China--but this will change as more people are boycotting many of the crappy goods from China.

Writer Reading said...

Here's my decluttering post:

http://ritereading.blogspot.com/2008/04/book-dump.html
Writer Reading: Book Dump