Declutter, Clean, and Organize My Life Catch-All

This thread is intended for discussion as well as support for those who wish their both their inner and outer lives to become more organized, productive, peaceful, and happy.

So I've been "eating the elephant" over the past few days to try to get my life back in order, and more organized and productive, and thought it would be neat to have a thread dedicated to this sort of thing for anyone and everyone in the same boat. I'll likely revise the thread summary at some point to be more descriptive, but as I don't ordinarily create threads and didn't want to keep procrastinating on this idea, I went ahead and just created the thread!

I've figured out that paper calendars, planners, etc. don't work well for me, so over the past week or so, I've set up a bunch of things on Google Calendar, Tasks, and Keep. I sorted through, decluttered, shredded, and organized ALL the papers I'd had around the house, and have been working on my "office" room in general. I have a couple of printer stands waiting to be put together...one for an actual printer that has just been sitting on the floor in the way, and the other a small under-desk sort that will replace the plastic milk crate that I've been using for my woofer and backup UPS, router, and cable modem. I'm still not entirely sure how I want to organize these to make them both accessible and not looking like a jumble of devices, but this little printer stand should help.

I'm also trying to slowly get into some daily and weekly routines.

I'm also working on being very mindful about cleaning. I've never particularly hated cleaning, but would often get overwhelmed and let things go for days on end.

I've been reading a book called A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind that has been giving me a good bit of inspiration in this area! Apparently, they clean a LOT in Zen monasteries.

I've been doing some cleaning. I was shocked by the amount of paper I had. I've been putting my shredder to work. I was also shocked by how many toys I have so no more toys until I make more space. I have some cool stuff with nowhere to put it.

I thrown out a bunch of useless stuff like a scanner. My printer has a scanner that I never use. No need for two. Gave away a razor scooter I only rode twice before getting a better one. Tossed a bunch of game controllers that I will never use again. Got rid of a large number of game cases and a few games that I now own on steam or other places.

The paper just keeps coming and will start piling up again in less that a WEEK if one is not vigilant at staying on top of it. I wish I could just cancel all the daily mail with the exception of anything that I've ordered or asked for as a start.

It seems like the more I work on getting things decluttered and organized again, the worse the house looks. I *know* that ultimately it will look the opposite, but I have so many boxes of things that need to be put together all over the floors on top of all of the dust and everything, but I just keep plugging away at it little by little. Finally finished putting a wheelbarrow together today, so perhaps it will help me in getting the outside sorted without having to bend over so much to pick up things.

Last night I conked out at 6pm and was in bed until 11am this morning, so my daily routines I set up are already off kilter, and I still have a lot to do this week for an online class I'm taking.

I put up one of these little keyholder things next to the front door because I've been trying to take my shoes off at the door and put on at the door and then realize once I've put the shoes on, I forgot to get my keys and sunglasses in the dish in the other room where I'd been keeping them. So I'm going to try keeping them near the door.

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In the last month I've probably *thrown out over half of my collected amassed things from the last 10+ years. Some of this stuff I carted up here to Canada in the first place just to store and end up throwing it away now, so I know it was the right choice.

Due to the mixed bag of feelings of this divorce, there's a lot of stuff I probably should have tossed that I'm not ready to let go of, yet. Those are things I need time and distance to process, and they will be dealt with at that time. For now, I take comfort in their sentiment.

What I now ave could have probably all fit in the back of a pickup truck if it wasn't about to be winter in Manitoba. Just mailed it all in the post instead. It really helped to assign monetary value to weight; I literally will have to pay for everything I choose to keep. I feel I want to look at slowly reducing and simplifying to someday achieve something of a minimalist lifestyle.

I'm gravitating towards small. Small, long-lasting, well crafted. Organized. Clean. Austere. It calms me in a way I used to fear made me seem boring. Thankfully, I'm nearly forty and give 0 f*cks anymore.

As a former interior design snob I love it, I love konmari, and I will fight anyone who feels the need to tear it or Marie Kondo down right now. Let her thrive, she did a good thing.

*includes recycling, donating, and giving away.

I've been wanting to see Marie Kondo's series on Netflix, but I only have Amazon Prime Video, so perhaps one day! I have read her book though after seeing it recommended somewhere a couple or so years ago as one of my favorite categories of books to read are about decluttering, organizing, simple living, and the like. (Back in the 90's, I had a collection of every Don Aslett cleaning/decluttering book he wrote as well as a few others lined up on the bookshelf and people would visit and laugh that I had so many books on decluttering cluttering my shelves.

I do have Kondo's book on Kindle though. Found it for $1.99 during a daily deal.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to tear Marie Kondo down. I love how respectful she is of her and others space and the things that "spark joy".

I first started decluttering after I moved out of my parents' home and I took what seemed like half the house with me. I grew up in a cluttered environment (though not anywhere near like hoarders) because my mom didn't like to throw away anything that was still good, especially if it seemed valuable or we paid good money for it, so rather than get into an argument about it, I would just stuff it in the closet or wherever there was space.

Then once I moved and was in a much smaller apartment, all the stuff and boxes did look almost like something out of a Hoarders episode, and I started slowly getting rid of things and would read decluttering books for motivation and inspiration.

I've gone through many waves of it over the course of my life, and only in a very few cases have I regretted something I've gotten rid of. This sort of regret would occur when I would declutter for the wrong reasons. For example, my anxiety would crank up to insane levels and I was convinced in my mind that I was teetering on the border of homelessness, and since I would be driven from my home when it happened, there was no point in having anything and so I would just go through and slash and burn, and so I wasn't making rational decisions about much of anything at the time. Even so, I still didn't really get rid of anything completely irreplaceable, but I ended up using up more money to buy back some things later.

I still get these pangs of anxiety, but it's been decades and I still haven't been driven to the point of homelessness, so I have allowed myself more things simply because I enjoy having them around me, but after having gone through a couple or three years of having extremely low energy as well as anxiety over yet more major life transition and menopause on top of that, things began to pile up, get disorganized, get dirty, etc. and so now I have another big job to tackle.

I can't start in the closet though like Kondo recommends. I've gained weight and still have hopes of getting it back down again once the hormones are more settled and so I'm putting that off until later when I'm not reminded of the last time I got rid of nearly my entire closet and then spent a few years literally having nothing to wear when income was also drastically down.

But I have a lot of other areas to work on and tend to use a mixture of cleaning and decluttering methods that I've picked up over the years.

My wife is super good at this and I am not. My desi is always a mess and thus my life is often chaos. Work I usually have nailed down. There I am somewhat organized but due to my lack of certain organization my calendar and email suffer time to time. And I am in account management and project management.

I really need some great plan to out into place. It sucks that I've tried so much my whole life but it never sticks.

Hobear wrote:

My wife is super good at this and I am not. My desi is always a mess and thus my life is often chaos. Work I usually have nailed down. There I am somewhat organized but due to my lack of certain organization my calendar and email suffer time to time. And I am in account management and project management.

I really need some great plan to out into place. It sucks that I've tried so much my whole life but it never sticks.

I'd suggest starting very small. Find one small thing that you're not doing now and making a regular habit of it. For example, making the bed, or washing dishes directly after dinner, or spending just 15 minutes (use a timer) every day to work on getting your email organized. Just getting that one thing under control and making a habit of it will do wonders for motivation!

Apartment Therapy's January Cure is starting up very soon...still time to get on board for some motivation in getting a whole house clean-declutter-organize done. I'm hoping that this will be the year that I finally remain motivated to complete the entire cure.

Currently I'm in my mid-40's with kids and more crap than we know what to do with. We're slowly realizing that we didn't need most of the stuff we've accumulated over the past 15-20 years and would be almost retired already if we hadn't bought it. We lived in a 3,000 sqft house and it's filled with stuff we hardly ever even see.

For instance, we held onto a ton of baby stuff thinking we'll have a garage sale or give it to our girls when they decide to have kids. As we age and look back though, half the crap we thought we needed, especially with the 1st child, we didn't need at all. Like the play pens and changing tables and all that crap. We hardly ever used them after the 1st kid but still set them up anyways.

My goal is to slowly just get rid of all the crap (giving most of it away or trashing it) so by the time we are ready to retire and kids are gone, we can live in a tiny house pulled behind our car or in a 10'X10' cabin on some cruise yacht until we die. We are going through room by room and if we haven't used something within the last year, it's going bye bye. Once we hit the main areas it will be time for the attic storage and the basement closets. God give me strength!

Anyone want to start investing now in a medium sized yacht?

Timeshare yacht....Share...Time....Time Share..... Oh I get it!

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Sydhart wrote:

Currently I'm in my mid-40's with kids and more crap than we know what to do with. We're slowly realizing that we didn't need most of the stuff we've accumulated over the past 15-20 years and would be almost retired already if we hadn't bought it. We lived in a 3,000 sqft house and it's filled with stuff we hardly ever even see.

For instance, we held onto a ton of baby stuff thinking we'll have a garage sale or give it to our girls when they decide to have kids. As we age and look back though, half the crap we thought we needed, especially with the 1st child, we didn't need at all. Like the play pens and changing tables and all that crap. We hardly ever used them after the 1st kid but still set them up anyways.

My goal is to slowly just get rid of all the crap (giving most of it away or trashing it) so by the time we are ready to retire and kids are gone, we can live in a tiny house pulled behind our car or in a 10'X10' cabin on some cruise yacht until we die. We are going through room by room and if we haven't used something within the last year, it's going bye bye. Once we hit the main areas it will be time for the attic storage and the basement closets. God give me strength!

Anyone want to start investing now in a medium sized yacht?

Keep us updated here on your progress! I personally find it motivating to hear what others are doing, even if just the smallest of steps!

My house is only a little over 1000 sq.ft. and I often feel that it is too much. I would love to do the RV thing in some way, but trying to figure out how to drive and park and maneuver something so huge would be a big issue for me, especially considering I've never driven anything larger than a sports car or small sedan.

Living in a monastery or something like that would be pretty ideal for me too.

So, I recently sold my Gamecube on craigslist. The person who bought it came in to test it, and saw my collection of PS2 games. He was very interested. Recently, he asked me how much I wanted for the whole thing. Which has been quite a puzzle.

Outside of PriceCharting and checking eBay for items in a similar condition, anyone has an idea on how to evaluate that stuff?

Going with PriceCharting, the whole thing is probably around CAD1.7k, and around CAD1.9k when checking prices on eBay. I'm not going to ask for that, but that at least gives me a starting point.

I haven't really been doing so well in this area the past few weeks. I've had so much going on with working and taking classes that cleaning and organizing has taken a back seat even though I REALLY need to get motivated and do it!

I did order a couple things to add to my entry way set up though. A couple of long mesh bags for those plastic grocery bags. I plan to hang one on my coat hooks and when it gets full, take it to recycle the bags and hang up the empty one in its place and keep switching out. I also got one of those medical glove box holders to hang on the wall under the key rack thingee I posted above. I plan to put one box of gloves and one box of shoe covers in it.

I also got my house powerwashed and my car serviced, so I suppose that's something.

I just haven't been able to get things in-hand, so today I am renewing the effort. I decided that Mondays would be washing and finance days, so every Monday I will wash whatever needs to be washed, and do whatever financial things need to be done that can be done (pay bills, taxes, etc.)

Then Tuesdays will be all about the yard.

Wednesdays will be prepare for Sunday church services.

Thursdays will be electronic declutter and organization.

That's all I've decided so far. I know there is much more that needs to be done, but even if I just do the above, it would be an improvement.

So how did my plans go last week?

Actually, quite good!

Last Monday I got all the weekly clothes washed along with sheets, mattress cover, duvet cover...things I haven't been very regular with washing. Also got all bills paid and a couple of financial things sorted.

Tuesday was a bit of a problem though. It rained on and off all day, but I was determined and did get out and do some weeding and some manual trimming of some bushes. And then it rained even harder the rest of the week. BUT I still consider it a success because I did get out and accomplish *something* out there.

I have decided though that rather than designating a day for the outdoor stuff to just decide what I want to accomplish for the week and then try to make sure it gets done, so if I can only do 15 minutes a day rather than doing it in a day, that's still great.

I've decided to add correspondence to Mondays as well since much of that has to do with finance or returns anyway.

Wednesday I got all my work done that I had planned, but I decided that for this week (and later) that I would divide up what I did on Wednesday in three parts -- one for Monday, one for Tuesday, and one for Wednesday with the idea that it would still be done by Wednesday, and if I miss a Monday or Tuesday, it all works out but I wouldn't have so much for Wednesday.

Thursday I started decluttering my email inbox and made good progress there. What I am trying to do each day is keep up with that day's email and declutter a day of past emails along with more focused efforts on Thursdays until the inbox is clear. Then I'll pick another electronic decluttering/organizing project as I have various files built up in my Downloads folders on multiple devices that need to be tended to at some point.

Fridays may end up being a catch-up day and Saturdays for rest. Sundays is primarily church-related and I end up doing a lot of traveling for that so I don't want to plan anything else for that day.

But overall, it was a good week last week, and this week has been going good so far too.

Yesterday, I did the week's laundry and also again the sheets and pillowcases. (Will save duvet cover, blankets, and that sort of thing for less frequent washings.) Paid whatever bills came in for the week and gathered things together for preparing taxes and contacted one of my places for the W2 that I realized never came. I made an appointment for today to get my car inspected so I can get the registration paid, and contacted the car insurance agent to go ahead with transferring my policy so I can get that all paid up for six months too.

I'd been procrastinating contacting a couple of companies for replacements and did that too, and they are both sending me replacements in the mail. One shipped out that very day!

This morning I had a work meeting in Zoom and will be going to my car appointment. Hopefully I'll be able to keep distance from people, but I can't really put it off much longer and I don't have anyone to help with a drop off, and so it has to be done.

Also this morning, I did a few minutes of mowing in the front yard and hope to be able to use the electric trimmer to do more bush trimming. Wednesday work due is proceeding as planned!

Got the bushes chopped up before it started raining again, at least in the area I intended to work on this week, so even though it's supposed to keep raining through Saturday, I can still do more weeding and get all of the debris from the chopping cleared out.

Did a whole bunch of sorting and organizing last night of a couple of piles of stuff that I had shoved into a bookshelf, so now it actually looks put together rather than all in a jumble.

So some thoughts I had this morning (and for the past couple days in fact) concerned a podcast I listened to about the Enneagram, hosted by a lady who has written a couple of books on the Enneagram (Suzanne Stabile I think.) Well there was a guest on the show and I can't remember what his Enneagram number was, maybe a Two, but Suzanne (who is also a Two) mentioned that one of her best friends was a Five and there was a question about how people keep from getting overwhelmed. Well Suzanne mentioned that this Five friend coped by just doing everything slow.

Now I am also a Five on the Enneagram, and once I learned about the Enneagram and Fives, it seemed to explain so much. Out of the nine numbers, Fives have either the least (or second least) amount of energy and so energy-management is really a must for Fives.

So this Five did everything slow.

And it made me think.

What if I implemented this same practice? And outside of mindfulness, why haven't I thought of "slowness" as an intentional practice before?

So I got deeper into my thoughts and I remember as I was growing up, my mom would often complain about my dad being "slow." My mom was always on the go and it was always go, go, go with her, and my dad was much more laid-back, and I take after him in a lot of ways.

But I think I may have been conditioned to view "slowness" as a negative, and even though I get "slow" because I run out of energy and need to pace myself, I don't think I've viewed it as a positive or intentional thing.

But now I'm thinking I might make an *intentional* practice of being slow.

I have a bunch of things to put for sale on eBay that I've been procrastinating on for, well, years at this point. I listed a few things today and, for whatever reason, two of them sold within the hour. I took some more photos today, and I plan to spend some time tomorrow adding a few more things.

I also started a list of various French-language comic books I want to get rid of, and will list them later on Kijiji. English-language comics and graphic novels are next. Once I've pruned my collection, I should be in good shape.

Someday my life won't be so cluttered. That day is still a long way off though. At least it feels pretty good to finally do something about it.

I know all about procrastinating things for years! Great job!

Over a year ago, some wall decorations fell off of my wall in one corner of my front room (they were stuck to the wall with that blue tacky stuff) and on the way down bumped into a glass ornament that was on the windowsill and completely broke the ornament into many glass pieces that then scattered all over the floor. At the time it happened, I put most of the glass pieces in a bag for the trash and then left the bag along with the smaller glass shards alone for months. Never got back to cleaning it, so not only were the small glass pieces still there, and the bag with the larger shards, but many spiders had done their own decorating. On top of all of that, I had dismantled a brass table because I wanted to polish it, which meant the fountain on the table was also there in the midst of the mess.

Well this past week, I finally finished polishing the table, cleaned up all of the glass and spider mess, and set the fountain back up, and for the past couple of days, I have been hearing the falling water and the bell chimes and it's wonderful to know I have a clean corner again. I still have a ways to go though.

My next step will be to clean the window and the area next to that corner. I did a bit of vacuuming already but I need to dust and actually wash things down.

Though there is some clutter, I don't really have a lot of stuff...it just all needs to be cleaned and put into order and I've just been struggling with energy and motivation. It's slow going, but at least it's going.

Two borderline hoarders with delusions of nostalgia and two kids in a small home with inadequate storage. The clutter is real.

Let the purge begin. Taking some photos of the current state to use as encouragement for clearing stuff that hasn't shifted in years.

Rezzy wrote:

Two borderline hoarders with delusions of nostalgia and two kids in a small home with inadequate storage. The clutter is real.

Let the purge begin. Taking some photos of the current state to use as encouragement for clearing stuff that hasn't shifted in years.

Good luck! Let us all know your progress!

First carload went to Goodwill. A bunch of kid furniture and toys that had been cluttering up the basement and inhibiting access to cabinets.
A modicum of elbow-room has been achieved. We'll call it phase point 5.
Next thing on the list... an old couch that will need to be dragged to the curb. With those pieces gone we have some space to regain access to the crawl space under the stairs to clear out some stuff we haven't looked at in at least five years.

Our biggest issue is that not much in our house has a true dedicated spot. Every flat surface seems to accumulate some kind of detritus or a box or a stack of something that doesn't really have another place to go.

Edit: And we spent a good hour trying to research other places we could donate things to without having to drive an obscene amount or having to split the stuff up and came up dry. Goodwill has problems, but it still beats the dump.

AWESOME! Great job getting that stuff out and having plans for other things!

I have that same flat space problem too in my front room. There are some things I want to keep but have no idea where I want to put them.

Managed to put together a few listings on Kijiji for English-language comic books, and these seem to be getting some attention. I haven't sold anything yet (although I'm waiting for payment on my Futurama comics), but I've been getting plenty of messages. I might be able to get rid of those fairly easily.

I haven't been so lucky with the French-language comic books though. Granted, the ones I listed aren't the most popular series. Oh well. I probably should have done that during winter 2019, when I was living in Quebec City, rather than here in Ottawa...

I have to say, this been one good thing about this whole COVID-19 shïtshow: it forced me to face my clutter and to start doing something about it.

bobbywatson wrote:

Managed to put together a few listings on Kijiji for English-language comic books, and these seem to be getting some attention. I haven't sold anything yet (although I'm waiting for payment on my Futurama comics), but I've been getting plenty of messages. I might be able to get rid of those fairly easily.

I haven't been so lucky with the French-language comic books though. Granted, the ones I listed aren't the most popular series. Oh well. I probably should have done that during winter 2019, when I was living in Quebec City, rather than here in Ottawa...

I have to say, this been one good thing about this whole COVID-19 shïtshow: it forced me to face my clutter and to start doing something about it.

Yay, you've made some good progress!

I managed to get all my taxes sorted out and mailed on Tuesday! I'm so glad this year and last year are done as I had so much trouble with getting correct information out of one of my employers. Last year, I couldn't get a correct EIN number that the IRS would accept with online file, so I had to mail everything in leaving that part blank, and this year, they wouldn't even send me the W2 even after trying to get it numerous times, so I had to send in that form that replaces the W2 and use paychecks and everything to fill it out myself. If I did make any errors, I tried to err on the side of having more income than less so that if there is an adjustment, I'd hopefully get something back rather than having to pay more.

Well I don't have that employer anymore and so that problem will be GONE for next years taxes. Also, I have a better idea of what I need to send in for estimated taxes for self-employment, so I won't end up having any surprises there next year either.

And now I can clear away all my tax clutter and not have it all over the place between trying to get the W2, (unscuccessfully) contacting the IRS (can't get ANYONE on the phone it seems with COVID-19), and I think this whole next year is just going to be much less stressful all around tax-wise.

In the past 2 days, I've managed to sell 2 of my old PS2s, all of my old Star Wars comics, and the entire run of the Marvel adaptation of Stephen King's 'The Stand'. Things are not really selling all that well, but at least there is some progress on that front!

I have to admit, it feels pretty good to see things go. I've been dragging my feet at selling some of that stuff for years. I'm not sure it would've happened had I not been stuck at home all day, looking at bookshelves full of stuff I'm never going to use or read again.

bobbywatson wrote:

In the past 2 days, I've managed to sell 2 of my old PS2s, all of my old Star Wars comics, and the entire run of the Marvel adaptation of Stephen King's 'The Stand'. Things are not really selling all that well, but at least there is some progress on that front!

I have to admit, it feels pretty good to see things go. I've been dragging my feet at selling some of that stuff for years. I'm not sure it would've happened had I not been stuck at home all day, looking at bookshelves full of stuff I'm never going to use or read again.

Awesome! I did something similar a few years back with a bunch of tabletop RPG stuff. Sometimes I think I regret it, but then when I really think about it, I have a lot of the books on PDF now and I don't have it all cluttering up the house just waiting (and failing) to be dusted.

I managed to get a small pile of clutter in my main room cleaned up and the space completely clear. A small thing, but still a step in the right direction!

Posted my Spider-Man comics today.

Some guy is interested in the "Amazing Spider-Man" issues I have, and asked me to take photos of their spines. I'm thinking: "They are all in plastic sleeves, taking them out and putting them back in will take more than an hour, so no." I did it for a few issues, and that's all he gets. If that's not good enough for him, too bad, I'll wait for the next buyer.

We're staaaalling. The couch is gone. The kids and I watched from the front door while it got chewed up by a garbage truck.
Thus ends the reign of the first piece of furniture I ever bought for my first actual apartment.

We had planned to do another donation run, and then there were thunderstorms. We had planned to do another purge, but then the kids decided we needed other plans. We were going to sift through the office and then work decided that I'm part of phase two of our reopening plan and need to spend time on campus prepping for the dozen or so people that will take them up on the voluntary return. Until it isn't voluntary anymore.

I'm willing to put in the work in the house; what I need is a contractor that'll just show up, take my sorted stuff, and make a good faith effort to donate/recycle everything before taking it to the landfill. Do such contractors exist?

I've only been able to find junk/cleanout people who just trash everything; I hired one of them to clean out my parents' place after taking a lot of stuff to Goodwill, but they still trashed a lot of stuff I'd also have donated if I had more time. (They'd also told me that they load trashy stuff first and stuff they think they can donate last and then stop at goodwill, which I am not super convinced was true.) Or on the other end there's the consultants who'll help you go through the stuff. I don't need that either; I know what I want rid of, I just want to send it away responsibly.