Clutter Maintenance

Every time I have moved house I have had a reasonable length of notice. Although, sometimes the definite ~ “Yes we are moving.” ~ may have come a little last minute but the maybe had been on the cards for long enough to have me get the preparation ball rolling.  And by that I don’t only mean decluttering but also…

  1. …rounding up of like items throughout the home.
  2. …bagging up tiny like items that might get lost if not secured together.
  3. …cleaning items that may have become soiled either by constant or lack of use.
  4. …running down of consumable items such as, toiletries, food stuffs, cleaners etc
  5. …getting the outdoor area in order by removing unwanted items, weeding, trimming and scrubbing down.
  6. …dismantling items that you don’t want to waste time with on moving day.

And I am sure the list could go on but I think you get the picture.

In my case I even had to do an itemised inventory of every item that was going in the removal for insurance purposes. I must say this was the worst job of all, so if you don’t need to do it then I am very pleased for you.

However back to the decluttering, because this is one of the most important parts of preparing for any move. My mini missions this week gave a hint to some of the major areas to keep in mind when you are about to move house, and lets reflect on those and some others soon. But first allow me to repeat the warning my last post on this subject carried. Sometimes the necessity to pick up and move house doesn’t come with very much notice. Just like the move that I was involved in last week end. All manner of circumstances can arise that will force you to pack up and move on almost in an instant.

So the moral of this post is to always be prepared. Don’t allow your possessions to accumulate beyond control. Don’t neglect the condition of your home or your stuff so that you have to scramble to get it into moving and move out condition. And don’t allow junk to build up so disposing of it at the last minute requires skips or trailer loads to get it all off the property.

So lets look closer at this weeks mini missions and perhaps some other areas of your home that are best kept under control at all times. Keeping in mind that there can be so much waste by being forced to toss or donate great quantities of things when being forced to move in a hurry.  And not being on top of things will require extra last minute preparation and/or expense to haul away.

The kitchen: This would have to be one of the most cluttered areas of many homes I would think. With cupboards full of stuff often rarely if ever used. Some of which require a lot of wrapping to avoid breakage, thus filling many boxes and a lot of room in the removals van. There is also the potential for lots of liquid items that can get really messy if they break during moving. Some companies won’t even allow you to pack such items. Then their can also be lots of little-used food stuffs ~ sauces, spices, dry goods…~ that, if seldom used, are a waste of space in your pantry but also time consuming to sort through and prepare for careful packing when moving.

The Bathroom: I couldn’t count the number of houses I have visited that have bathroom cabinets full to overflowing with toiletries and other items that are no longer used. They have just been shoved to the side at some point and are now sitting there wasting space and spoiling. Just throw them away and don’t replace them if they have become unusable or offer them to someone else if they are still fine to use.

My preference for the use of toiletries is, if you decide you don’t like a certain item either use it up before replacing it. Or, as I mentioned above, offer it to someone else but don’t just let it linger. I personally use them up, because I don’t like waste and the products usually aren’t that bad that I can’t stand to finish them off. Using them up teaches me to be more careful about what to buy in the future. It also teaches me that many of these products are just a gimmick that aren’t worth wasting my money on in the first place. I came to this conclusion after trying one product after another and being constantly disappointed.

The Garage: Like Nicole stated in her post last week, the garage is a place where things, already rejected elsewhere in the house, go to be ignored until you “might need them someday”. Well guess what, someday rarely if ever comes. Except the someday when you have to move house and you have a garage full of useless-to-you stuff that has now become a real millstone around your neck. If it isn’t being used, and isn’t likely to be, get rid of it now. Some examples of this sort of clutter from the move last week are boxes from electrical items purchased over two years, sporting equipment not used since moving into the house, unwanted kitchen gadgets, motorcycle accessories, excess pet equipment.

The Bedroom: Need I say, clothing and shoes. Then there are fiddly bits in bedside cabinets, dust collecting decor items, rarely worn costume jewellery, clothing, shoes… Oh, and did I mention clothing and shoes. Two huge boxes of clothing and shoes were donated from the house last weekend. That screams excess, wasted money and not nearly enough clutter upkeep to me. But at least it was decluttered and sent on to the thrift shop rather than wasting space in a moving van.

The Yard: The bigger the yard the more work involved in keeping it in order. Some people love that kind of work and would rather be out there pottering than spending time inside. I am not one of those people but I do understand their choice. Others however make this space their dumping ground. Plastic plant pots, discarded leaky garden hoses and building supplies (bricks, boards, wire etc) stacked up against fences. Pet toys and bedding, used and unused, scattered here and there. Kids outdoor toys in varies stages of condition some used some long forgotten. You get the picture. Without this sort of build up of stuff the yard is very easy to prepare for moving out. However where there is no upkeep what a chore it becomes rounding up all these unwanted items and hauling them off to the tip.

Cleaning Supplies: My laundry room is cluttered with excess cleaning supplies at the moment. Not because I usually use these items but because they would otherwise have just been washed down the drain during the last two home moves that I have been involved in. I would prefer to bring them to my house and use them up than see them go to waste, because they are unwanted or are dangerous to pack for an interstate move.

This is another subject I have written about more than once in the past. Purchasing one cleaning product after another in a bid to make cleaning easier is a fools game. Cleaning requires effort not copious amounts of chemicals.  Trust me, I know this from experience. Microfibre cloths, water, and a good organic multipurpose cleaner will clean most things in your home. Enough said. Keep your cleaners to a minimum in your home and you will save a whole lot of space and money.

Home Decor Items: Nick nacks, curtains, rugs, cushions, throw rugs, lamps, picture frames etc etc, can make your home look warm and inviting, however they all collect dust. At all times they require maintenance and if neglected will need extra attention when moving. Prior to moving, your soft furnishings will require laundering or cleaning while the fragile stuff requires dusting and careful packing. So less = less in this area. The less decor items you possess the less work required to prepare and move them. Unless you don’t mind moving dust and grime along with everything else to your new home.

In summary, a little effort and decluttering here and there on a regular basis will keep your home and its contents in good condition and under control. Then whether you suddenly find yourself having to move, have a rental home inspection or have visitors arrive on short notice you won’t have to experience  unnecessary stress or embarrassment. And if none of these things do happen at least your relaxation time will be all the more enjoyable knowing that there is not grime and clutter building up around you.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter or use up some liquids that are sitting unused. That might be toiletries, cleaners, paint or other chemicals that were once used but then set aside wasting space and spoiling.

 

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Eco Tip for the Day

Don’t leave tasks linger for so long that you have to redo them such as drying the washing or folding it. This can cause you to have to waste more electricity rewashing and ironing. Need I also mention your wasted time and wear and tear on your appliances.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Perishables Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It […]
  • Owning your life skill ~ By Doodle One of our long time regular readers Doodle has kindly agreed to help out here at 365 by writing a blog post for me every other Wednesday. Today is her first regular post although not the […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Moving is so much work! I haven’t moved in ten years, but ask myself would I move this if I was moving. More often than not the answer is NO. Into the disguard pile it goes. I know even with constant decluttering I still have a lot more than I need or want. Good luck with all the work that lies ahead!

    • Hi Calla, the work is all done for me but that kind of work is never going to happen for me again because I have my clutter under control and my house clean and organised. I recommend that for everyone and especially is they are in a profession where moving is likely to be inevitable.

  2. What a good reminder Colleen. Every year at the beginning of the year I try to take some time and look through every room to see what I can declutter. I have done this for years. When I get ready to move I can quickly go through and chuck what I don’t need at the next place. I’m hoping this next move will put me at the place where I no longer have anything to chuck but only things to replace or switch out.

    • And no longer have to move again too I hope Deb. Although I actually like to move so it may be a while yet before I get settled in one place. My mum is 75 and she still likes to move too, so perhaps there is no getting over it for me either. As she always said, it must be her Gypsy spirit.

      • Yes, I hope to not have to move again. While I used to like to move (thus the fact I have lived in 10 states) I now find it quite hard due to my health.

  3. It looks like my check list for clutter 🙁

  4. Hi Colleen, I think about these issues all the time! I don’t want to move because we currently have great neighbors all around us. But as you said, events sometimes conspire to force a move. It’s my goal to be “move ready” at some point just in case. (Plus the many other good reasons to declutter!!!)

    The other day, I lost an earring ‘back’ (clear, small as an ant thing that holds French hooks in) in my bedroom. I was upset because I didn’t want to be tempted to buy a pack of them just to replace one. This morning I crawled around on the carpet for a few minutes. I found it right next to the trash can, whew that was close!

    The elastic on the fitted sheet on my husbands bed was stretched out. This sheet and the matching flat one are in the wash and when they’re done, the set is going to the pet shelter. We had another, newer, set on standby so hubby is okay 🙂

    Found a decorative glass jar without a lid on my back porch. It’s going to my workplace to hold pens, scissors, etc.

    A couple of plasticware sets (like you get when you buy fast food) are also going to work with me, to be left in the break room for anyones use.

    Sometimes these decluttered items are just small things, but at least they are no longer in residence at my house 🙂

    • Hi Peggy, I can sympathise over sheets giving out on you. I have had tow sets get holes in lately. Lucjily for me one was the fitted sheet and the other the top sheep. So between the two sets I ended up still with one mix and match set. I don’t care if they don’t match so long as I don’t have to go out to buy another set just yet.
      Well done with the rest of your decluttering too. It sounds like you are putting some clever thought into where to pass your stuff on to now that you have decided you no longer need it. Good for you.

  5. I have been on a bit of a roll lately, so I re-visited last week’s mini mission for the attic (it had gotten untidy, so last week I straightened things up). There are a few things that have made their way to the ‘out pile’ but not as much as I was hoping. About half the stuff up there has an expiry date of December this year, so I shall just have to be patient. I’m not good at being patient.

    My hall cupboard needs a tidy up and re-visit what has expiry dates in there too. A friend of mine lived in a rental with no attic space while he was building a new house and he found it quite challenging. So I’d like to give thought to that possibility and am toying with consolidating the attic and hall cupboard in the future. Lately, when replacing items, we have trying to make a policy of opting for compact versions which take a bit more research and may cost a bit more but I think that as we are approaching an empty nest situation that living lighter is will be smarter. For example, I have seen cat cages that fold down into a flat pack when not in userather than the two big cages we have.

    Another loose end that I want to put some thought into is electronic gear. I’m not adept with electronics which is why it is a bit of a jumble lately. I mean cables, external hard drives, gaming machines etc etc. It gets stuffed into the entertainment centre and it would be an area that if we had to shift suddenly would just get bundled into a box and then would get bundled into the next house, without any clear stewardship.

    Aside from that my daughter is back on a roll to re-visit the upstairs storage room at work as it has gotten very untidy lately. We are also storing someone else’s stuff but the guys just dump stuff inside the door. There are some items of ours that she wants to sell to put towards her student loan but its the getting to them that’s the problem.

    • Hi Moni, you seem to have problems with the same areas over and over again. The Attic and the upstairs storage at work to be precise. Why do you think that keeps happening?

      • Colleen – I know exactly why I never conquer these. Both areas are too hot in Summer and too cold in Winter to work long in.

        My attic has about 1/8th of what it used to have. About 1/3 to 1/2 of what is currently up there will leave around December/January by expiry date. The balance is items like:

        Wedding dress is waiting for the next call up of Angel Gown donations,
        Suitcases (all the same age) which are breaking rapidly
        Our out of season duvet inners, plus one spare
        Two cat cages – would love to replace with a fold up one
        A ‘keeper’ box each for my daughters and myself. We do review once a year and two of us could probably downsize our containers, one person is angling for an upsize.
        A box of toys. Mainly Teletubbies. My daughter’s are adamant that they are not to be given away because modern children don’t know what a teletubbie is and wouldn’t value them. At least one of the teletubbies was bought in the Teletubbie Riots, so its kind of got heroic sentimental value.

        • Hi Moni, from your response I would say that you are doing pretty well with these areas then. They sound like they are vastly improved from what they once were like. It seems to me that it is your standards for the spaces that has changed. You are now only working towards better expectation all the time. So I would say, yes you have conquered those areas.

      • Colleen – whoops I hit the button too quick. The upstairs storage room is an elephants, rhino and a few hippopotamus graveyard. It is storage for work, a few other people’s stuff, our out of season recreation gear, the balance of the girl’s dance costumes. Also some furniture that my son put ‘dibbs’ on but weren’t required for his current flat. Unfortunately, the guys just dump stuff inside the door or on the first available clear space. So its constantly untidy and difficult to get to things.

        But there is about 1/4 of what used to be up there.

        Every now and then I make a pledge to clear just one thing a day but it doesn’t seem to last. It wouldn’t be like putting something aside in a donation pile, it would need to physically leave to make a difference. I would really love to put a lot of energy into clearing this room once and for all but this year has had a lot of pot-holes, tangents and detours.

        BUT yesterday I did sell on Trademe an outgrown ski suit from this room and there are a couple pieces of furniture that I would like to sell. I just need to borrow some furniture polish off a friend and a bit of help from Adrian.

        There is also a free-standing cupboard up there which is empty and I’d be happy to give away but I need some guys to bring it down stairs for me.

        It is also where Adrian keeps his recreation gear: his mountain bike, surf boards, wet suit and whatever sport he is dabbling in. Most items only make one outing per year, but it keeps him happy.

        And yes there is work equipment amongst it all too.

        • Moni, it sounds like the only way to keep that storage space organised is to put a lock on it. That way they have to come and see you for the key and you can then supervise where and how they place things. Either that or a big stick to beat some organising sense into all the blocks you have working there. 😉

          • Colleen – further down you will read about how I dragged Adrian thru it and made him understand why I can’t “just do my decluttering magic” as it calls it. Nothing like being hands-on during a declutter-fest to learn some hard lessons.

          • Colleen & Moni, I like this idea.

  6. Our move is much like you described. We had planned on moving “in a couple of years” but we fast-tracked the process to one year and then our house sold in a matter of days rather than the months we expected.
    The decluttering we have done since moving here 8 years ago, and the decluttering we’ve done in the months since deciding to move really helped but we still have more stuff than we want. We just didn’t have time to deal with it all. Packing up the remainder gave us both a chance to assess what we have and we have vowed that when we move our stuff from storage into the new house, we will be doing a LOT more decluttering. Kinda backwards but it’s the best we can do. We hope our next move won’t be for quite some time but we will be better prepared for it.

    • Hi Wendy B, after having read your comment and emails over the last several years I know you have been in a much better position to handle this mover that you were way back when we first started conversing. Handling it all, I have not doubt, will inspire your to let go of a whole lot more. Good luck with the rest of the move.

      • Actually, it is IAN who has had his eyes opened the most. He is coming to terms with age and decreasing physical ability(and accepting limitations with grace — sort of. Need to work on it). However difficult this move has been, the next one will likely be even harder and perhaps suddenly or for only one of us. Far better to make changes on our terms than have them thrust upon us.

        • Oh yes I am aware Ian was a hard case to begin with. Life happens and forces our hands sometimes though. I am glad that he is being reasonably graceful about it all.

  7. I think moving highlights the need for decluttering. It’s like death , divorce, dementia and debt. We don’t expect to deal with them but it sure helps to have a plan B or a Mum who is ready to jump in and help clean up the mess. 😉
    Cheers

  8. Hi, Colleen. This is spot on. I remember someone once saying that the minute she lets her guard down, her stuff takes over and takes control. The part about being prepared made me think of us all as decluttering scouts of sorts. I winced as I read about the itemised inventory of every item … ouch … I feel for you!

    For home decor items, we try to walk the fine line between accent pieces and overwhelm. We edited our items over time, asking whether we’d want to put something up or out on display if we moved to a new place. I remember seeing photos of a home that was decorated according to a wild, wild west theme, but the overall theme that kept jumping out at me was ‘clutter’ and not ‘wild, wild west’. It seemed to me that some editing would have been nice, rather than everything screaming ‘yee-haw’ for attention. But that’s just me, and to each his own.

    • Hi Nicole, you are right about letting your guard down. One area I have noticed that seems to have filled up lately is the box with electrical cables in it. I think I might have to drawer attention to this. We did get a new Television and a convection microwave oven recently but that doesn’t explain why the cable box is suddenly overflowing.

      Now that house with the yee-haw decor ~ YIKES!

  9. I love the “moving house” themes lately! We are moving in November (one year early), to a completely different environment. So I am in the process of trying to figure out what to take, what to store, and what to get rid of. The take and store categories are 4 suitcases + one large duffel bag and a 5×10 storage unit, respectively. That leaves a lot to get rid of. Thankfully, I started getting rid of things back in December, and then I found this blog shortly thereafter, which has made the process so much more fun. (I’ve always loved getting rid of things, but some of the comments here are pure comedy gold.)

    My kitchen and bathroom are very minimalist, so they will be easy. I’m on a use-it-up campaign for food and cleaning supplies. I got rid of all those storage containers some of you may remember me talking about (I could have opened a store). I don’t have knick-knacks or things on the walls (gave those up years ago). My biggest challenge will be to sell furniture, kayaks, and my Jeep in the next couple of months.

    So that’s my elephant in the room (house) that Nicole V and Colleen were talking about. Yikes, where’s my wine…….

    • Oooh Melaine, my heart bleeds for you. Sell everything, but not the kayaks…. (hint: redesignate them as cartop carriers, required for transporting your worldly goods to your new home).

      • Wendy B,

        These kayaks are the really nice Hobie inflatables with the foot pedals. They are excellent kayaks, but they just take up too much room. I think eventually we’ll replace them with a two-person sit-on-top kayak. With this move, hopefully we won’t be traveling with much, but great idea on the cartop carrier! LOL.

  10. This is such a great post Colleen. While travelling last month I spent some time at my dad’s and once again saw the effects of the difficulty he has in parting with anything. As usual it motivated me to keep decluttering here and I am thrilled that my sons have also seen the light so we have been working very hard on clearing out their closets. I am ashamed to say that their closets were both stacked quite literally to the ceilings with school stuff, art projects, toys dating back to early childhood, greetings cards since they were born, the accumulation of 21 years of life. I apologized to them for keeping all this stuff, much of which they can’t remember and which means nothing to them, but which has taken up so much space and created closets that simply can’t function. I now have an immense pile of papers to recycle, clothes to donate, etc, and we are still only perhaps a third of the way through. I’m trying not to get overwhelmed with it all and keeping in mind the thought that we have already made huge progress and especially that the sentimental side of all this is not getting in the way, thanks to the decluttering I had already done of my own things and everything that I have learned here. In the process my sons have both commented that they would not want to move all this stuff nor pay to store it and they don’t want me and my husband to do it for them. I’ll let you know how things go!

  11. I read your post Colleen and just wanted to shout “Preach it sister!” 🙂 I don’t know what is worse, moving your own stuff or moving someone else’s hoard. I know that we will be moving again in a year or two and have a note card in my calendar with a list of things to get rid of before the move. Things like furniture that I don’t love that probably won’t survive another move and other stuff that isn’t worth moving but I may be using now. I add to that list whenever I come across something I wouldn’t want to move. I still declutter and donate other things in the meantime but I think that list will help whenever the next move does pop up. I have thought through all of these items already and won’t have to do that again in the chaos of moving.

  12. I have decluttered to the point where I am looking forward to my move. My bedroom now has a bed and a chair. Nothing on the walls. My new living room will have a recliner and an easy chair for a guest plus the craft table I use now for when we play Hand & Foot and for working jigsaw puzzles. I will also have a wheeled dining chair. There are 3 closets in the apartment. The one in the bedroom area will have my clothes plus has shelves where I will place baskets for my underwear, etc. There are two closets in the living area. One will be my pantry and have some storage area. The other will be my office, library, storage. Now I need to decide what to put on the walls if anything. The bathroom will have the bare necessities. I’m so looking forward to this.

    • Hi Deb J, It sounds like you are as ready as you can be for a move! We have maybe one framed print or painting in each room. My bedroom has 2, one a sentimental view of Mt. Monadnock, NH (very small frame) and the other is an unframed canvas painted by my elder daughter… It just happens to “go” with my bedroom colors 🙂 My husband has a framed print in his room that shows the Amish working together to build a barn. We got it on one of our adventures to Lancaster area (Pennsylvania). Our livingroom has a faith-based painting of a robed man in a cave. It was painted by my best friends sister. Our dining room has a framed painting of a mysteriously foreign woman, also painted by our elder daughter. Our family room has a painting by Viers Mace which just suits the corner it’s in. These things all have meaning for us, so will probably not ever be decluttered LOL

      • I have absolutely no non-people pictures at this point. I will take my time and see if I find anything I can’t do without.

      • Peggy,

        That sounds like artwork that really brings personality into a home. I love art, but it’s just not conducive to living in a rental house/apartment. Most of my previous art tended to be my own photographs (taken by me, not OF me), and the few expensive pieces I had were sent to my mom. I have virtually zero decorations at this point. My house looks Amish, now that I think about it. LOL. I visited the Lancaster area two summers ago, and it was absolutely gorgeous!

        • This art conversation is interesting. I am glad I am not the only one who wants almost nothing on her walls. My dinning room has a black table and six black chairs and one black small side piece with two drawers and one black framed mirror. That is it. It is the most favorite room in the house. Easy to clean, relaxing, fun to fill up with people and family and friends and enjoy simple cooked meals or coffee or wine. That is what brings in art and color is the people we invite to our home. I love it!

    • That sounds wonderfully minimalist, Deb J! Good luck with your move!

  13. We are currently team-decluttering (not helped by my sister-in-law who has the family’s Procrastination Gene) my late mother-in-law’s house: so much STUFF! But it’s prompted me to consider what I, myself, am hanging on to, that I neither know to be useful nor believe to be beautiful. Suddenly I feel cluttered: but one day at a time, your way, is a great inspiration and I’m looking forward to – one day – being almost minimalist.

    Except for books and music.

    • Hi Pauline and welcome to 365 Less Things. I wish you success with the decluttering of your mother-in-law’s house. Just send all the stuff your sister-in-law is procrastination about to her house. I am sure she will soon start making some decisions then. Just kidding, well sort of. 😉 I am sorry that the experience has made your home seemed cluttered, but as you say “…one day at a time…” I still feel like my place is cluttered at times. Of course having moved into a two bedroom apartment will account for that. I enjoy the decluttering though so I happily just keep moving forward. I enjoy the little thrill every time I donate something or use something up that has been hanging around for a while.
      Happy decluttering.

  14. If you all want to think up some sort of challenge for me re: the upstairs storage room – Colleen and the 365ers are welcome to come up with some suggestions. It can’t be to completely empty it as is also a work storage area and a few other people have stuff stored there plus it has Adrian’s recreational gear. But I am happy to consider ideas, and I may even have some ‘before’ photos from several years ago.

    • Moni,

      This isn’t really a challenge so much as a suggestion, but I think when you have things you need/use/want/love they need to be properly organized and containerized. The organization makes the items look nice and neat, and the container(s) keep the situation from growing and getting out of control (and also provide protection for the stuff). My other suggestion is to designate separate zones for each group of things so they don’t get mixed up. (For example, I would never keep a box of camping gear stacked on top of a box of office supplies….if I could help it.)

      • Melanie – all suggestions and ideas are welcome.
        Nothing is going to be able to leave until there is some sort of organisation and room to move. I took my husband up yesterday and made him clamber thru as I have to (he is the chief culprit of ‘shove things in the door or in the first clear space’ and ‘shove things out of the way when rummaging for something’) it went something like this:

        “Right-o step around the golf clubs, be careful of the dehumidifier with two boxes stacked on top, step over your son’s spare dif (car part), slip between this wooden crate and this stack of storage bins, but you’ll have to step thru your upside down mountain bike. Yes dear, you put one of the wheels over there, the other one is over here and the bike carrier is over by your surf board. No dear, I don’t know why you did that. Why are these containers stacked like this? Well they were over there, but they got moved when I had to get into the cupboard. Who do they belong to? I don’t know, XYZ I suppose, the rest of his stuff is over there. How did it get seperated? I think it was when you were looking for your diving belt, but it was with your wetsuit in that box over there. Be careful of the camping bbq by your feet, its supposed to live up on top of the beer fridge. Why is it down on the ground? I don’t know, you took it on your last fishing trip. Here I’ll scoot around the rack of ballet costumes and you pass it over to me, just a moment, I need to move XYZ’s shade tent. Why do we have his stuff? You offered. Just a moment, I’ll just push XYZ’s washing machine back against the wall. That’s better. OK, where were we? Yes, we were heading for that cupboard there, what is in it? Nothing, its empty and I want to put it on Freecycle but your surfboards are sitting on top of it. Well, I’d need to clear a path to get it out.”

        It sounds a bit like Hoarders: Buried Alive doesn’t it?

        Does it need organising? Yup, but I needed husband to get on-side as a lot of it is his gear or his work equipmentor stuff he has agreed for us to store. I also needed his brute strength to help shift stuff, so I could take some photos of two pieces of furniture up there that are going on Trademe. Around the time my husband had to help me shift stuff so we got a clear photo of one piece and then had to move everything again, to get a clear shot of the other piece of furniture, he realised why I haven’t been able to make any progress.

        Today we are moving two pieces of reasonable size/weight equipment from the middle of the floor. As one is in a wooden crate, I’m confident that the other could be stacked on top. I’m hoping we can get everything lined up around the walls so we have a clearer picture of what there is, put like with like etc and then I can do my decluttering magic without tripping over my son’s spare set of tyres!

        • This Might be a bist early to suggest, but i spent a week in a park trying to organize costumes and props in tents for an Open air Theater and somehow your description Sounds so familiar…
          The biggest and Most important thing for orgnizing and storing is labelling. We ended up labelling corners and Boxes, with a detailed Map hanging at the entrance of the tents.

          Decide in which corner goes what, Label that corner (big sign: “xyz Stuff”, Or “Camping gear/Diving geAr”) and then try to sort the items into their corners: find big seethrough Containers that Hold those big unhandy things, and then Stack the boxes. (Dont forget the labelling on all sides of the boxes) create pathways and “Workstations”, where you can put things while searching. Maybe you Even want to think of ways to use the ceiling/upper walls for storage (i have Friends who hang their bikes under the ceiling).
          Of course you need to go a bit dictator and make clear that you will not accept any Chaos and if someone is just “searching” something, Leaving a mess, you can go as apeshit as possible… If you announce this behaviour beforehand, but giving the easiest infrastructure at Hand, you Might aktually See a difference…
          Of course this requires time and a lot of effort but it will be Worth it.

          (So sorry for the mistakes- i dont know how to ignore autocorrect Or switch to english on this bloody iPad)

          • Lena – we did get everything lined up around the wall a bit better but as there are a number of large pieces involved, at this point I haven’t been able to put like-with-like yet as I wanted things to fit around the perimeter at this stage. A number of pieces of furniture should be leaving this week, so that will give me a bit more lee-way to move things around.

            As I made my husband help with the tidy up, I suspect it made an impression as I overheard him telling one of the guys who has some car parts up there, that he has to keep them tidy and altogether from now on or he has to take them away. Maybe he now has a small appreciation for the effort that goes into decluttering.

  15. If I was planning a move, would I want to take this? That seems to be one of the most helpful questions.

    I’m getting rid of a lot of Tupperware right now. My cousin’s children can use it. My cousin will be here next week, and I can’t wait for it to be gone. I hope she’ll also take my large Cuisinart food processor (which I hate and never use) and a smaller one (which I love…but it’s a duplicate). I knew it would be hard to wait till she comes to pick it up because it’s covering my guest bed right now. I considered the thrift shop but knew that her children needed some things…patience, patience.

  16. This is so good! Yuck on moving, I have done it too many times over my entire lifetime! We are staying put for a long while because my husband will soon retire from the military. However, I crawled into our attic and did a major cleaning. If I haven’t used an item for a craft project or decorative project or whatever, in the past year, then I gave it away. I am too busy with work and middle school age kids to even consider the time for that (besides, my time is better used towards weeding our gardens!). I am probably classified as a horder, with clean and organized piles. Those piles are smaller and smaller as I have taken two car loads to the thrift stores in the past week. It’s not one item a day, which I do around the house for the rooms I see regularly, but to get that stuff which is ‘out of sight and out of mind’ (yet putting pressure on me because I know it is in the attic and over my head!) now out of my house is a relief. To give up those project dreams and relieve myself of that is a life savor. I am not saying that is the right course of action for anyone else, but for me I am happy. There are other projects I can do and I don’t need to keep dreaming that I am going to be the craft Queen anymore. My identity is redefined and it is such a relief.

    Now as to moving, even though we are not, those things I gave away and my new identity and knowing we have the space to store stuff does not mean I can refill it up! I am also on a very strict financial budget. Little purchases all add up to big money in the long run. No need to continue to be the middle man! Rather than decorate, I choose to UN-decorate! Yea! So now if we should have to move unexpectedly, I am ready!

    • Annabelle – I love the UN-decorate!

      • Annabelle,

        It was probably a typo, but you said it was a “life savor”. And, I thought what a great thing!!
        When we get rid of stuff, it is a life savor—-we can savor life!!!!! It is a life saver, too. It saves our life from unnecessary time cleaning, etc. I want to remember that life savor term!!!!

  17. Hi Annabelle, …”Rather than decorate, I choose to UN-decorate!”… Love it! Although I do have some prints and paintings (and a framed mirror) around, I totally get why some choose not to decorate this way. I probably wouldn’t want any more décor than what we have around now 🙂

  18. Colleen, I found your website a few weeks back, and I love it. I have been de-cluttering for months, but you have given me more great ideas. This “would I move it” mindset is exactly what I needed, thanks!