Day 201 Helping hands

On Day 186 I asked for your help with examples of friends helping friends declutter. I received several emails from some very helpful people how had some wonderful experiences to share with you all.

Here is what our friends had to say…

Cindy

I have quite a bit of experience with this. My friend Holly and I have done it five times, in segments of about three hours each. The first time, the kids were playing together and I did not want to just sit around, so I asked if there was anything she needed help doing, and we went through her whole wardrobe. She tried on, and I “yeahed” and “nayed”, hung the clothes back up, and folded the items for the thrift store.

When we work together, the person who’s house it is usually does the sorting while the other person tidies the area, gets everything out, puts like things together, puts it away (with instruction), and offers encouragement.

I’ve also worked with professional organizers. It’s a similar, but faster, process.

It’s a lot more fun and more productive then going it on your own, and often I feel so excited afterwards that I get another couple of hours done by myself.

Valentina

At my place we regularly have declutter parties. That means that everybody still declutters on their own, but we bring everything to my place to make a fashion show out of it (for clothing) and an antique market for all other stuff. Everything that does not find a new owner then goes to local charity. And usually that’s more than half of the stuff.

We do this around every 4-5 months and it has become some kind of tradition, people are keen to bring stuff along, so they declutter to be able to participate.

Willow

I have a friend with whom I dejunk  with on a regular basis. We have similar attitudes although she has more stuff than I do because she still has three sons living at home. We schedule days and the ‘hostess’ has her plan in place for where and what we’ll declutter.

When my friend is at my house, she will load up anything I’m not keeping and take it directly to the goodwill on her way home. And I do the same thing for her. That way there is no way we can rummage in the bags and pull an item back out again.

I’ve helped other people in their homes and I have only one rule…”You may not get mad at me.” If I overstep my place, just tell me when an item is off limits. Setting parameters ahead of time keeps people from getting upset.

Meg

I’ve been doing my kitchen uncluttering pretty much all on my own, but I get “help” by having my daughter-in-law choose what she likes from everything before I move it on out. She and my son have recently bought their first house and they can now use a few things. My mom has taken a couple things to replace her more worn items, and I’m giving away many things to friends who own food-based businesses. Nobody can really afford to buy anything in this crazy economy.

Deb J

I have helped friends with decluttering several times. As an organizer I have a way that I set this up when there is more than one person there. I have the home owner(s) decide ahead what things need to be gone through so there is some order to the process. When everyone is there I have them divide into teams and assign them a particular room. They are to go through everything that has been designated to be sorted in that one room. They are to make 3 piles…keep, give and toss. Once that is done the home owner goes in and looks through the piles and decided if she agrees with the piles or not. If there is something in the give or toss pile she wants to keep then she needs to defend her decision.

It’s amazing how well it seems to work. In most cases very little is taken out of the give or toss piles and many times more is taken from the keep pile and put in the other two. I think it sometimes helps to have someone who is unattached to the things help with the sorting.

Each example has a different approach and if you combined all the useful strategies from each  I am sure you will have a fun and very effective time decluttering with your friends. On Behalf of everyone reading today’s blog I would like to thank the wonderful ladies who contributed their stories with the selfless intention of helping others.

ITEM 210 OF 365 LESS THINGS

This sleeping bag probably hasn’t been used in 15 years so it is time to pass it on to someone who might have a use for it.

Cindy

I have quite a bit of experience with this. My friend Holly and I have done it 5 times, in segments of about 3 hours each. The first time, the kids were playing together and I did not want to just sit around, so I asked if there was anything she needed help doing, and we went through her whole wardrobe. She tried on, and I “yeahed” and “nayed”, hung the clothes back up, and folded the items for the thrift store.

When we work together, the person who’s house it is usually does the sorting while the other person tidies the area, gets everything out, puts like things together, puts it away (with instruction), and offers encouragement.

I’ve also worked with professional organizers. It’s a similar, but faster, process.

It’s a lot more fun and more productive then going it on your own, and often I feel so excited afterwards that I get another couple hours done by myself.

Valentina

At my place we regular make declutter parties. That means that everybody still declutters on their own, but we bring everything to my place to make a fashion show out of it (for clothing) and an antique market for all other stuff. Everything that does not find a new owner then goes to local charity. And usually that’s more than half of the stuff.

As we do this around every 4-5 month and it has become some kind of tradition, people are keen to bring stuff along, so they declutter to be able to participate 😉

Willow 
I have 1 (ONE!) friend with whom I dejunk on a regular basis. We have similar attitudes although she has ALOT more stuff than I do. In her defense, she still has three sons living at home. We schedule days and the 'hostess' has her plan in place for where and what we'll declutter.
 
One other little tip I have for you is when my friend is at my house, she will load up anything I'm not keeping and take it directly to the goodwill on her way home.  And I do the same thing for her.  That way there is no way we can rummage in the bags and pull an item back out again 🙂
 
I've helped other people in their homes and I have only one rule. "You may not get mad at me." If I overstep my place, just tell me that item is off limits. Setting parameters ahead of time keeps people from getting upset. 
 
 
Meg
 
I've been doing my kitchen uncluttering pretty much all on my own, but I get "help" by having my daughter-in-law choose what she likes from everything before I move it on out. She and my son have recently bought their first house and they can now use a few things. My mom has taken a couple things to replace her more worn items, and I'm giving away many things to friends who own food-based businesses. Nobody can really afford to buy anything in this stupid economy.
 
 
Deb J
 
I have helped friends with decluttering several times. As an organizer I have a way that I set this up when there is more than one person there. I have home owner(s)decide ahead what things need to be gone through so there is some order to the process. When everyone is there I have them divide into teams and assign them a particular room. They are to go through everything that has been designated to be sorted in that one room. They are to make 3 piles--keep, give, toss. Once that is done the home owner goes in and looks through the piles and decided if she agrees with the piles or not. If there is something in the give or toss pile she wants to keep then she needs to defend her decision.
It's amazing how well it seems to work. In most cases very little is taken out of the give or toss piles and many times more is taken from the keep pile and put in the other two. I think it sometimes helps to have someone who is unattached to the things help with the sorting.

Sleeping Bag


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About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. Wow! Who knew there would be so many approaches to one problem? Good job Colleen.

  2. It’s great to see how people turn uncluttering into parties! I’ve never done that before.

    BTW, Colleen, there’s “A Thing A Day” Challenge at Unclutterer.com http://unclutterer.com/2010/07/20/a-thing-a-day-challenge/comment-page-1/#comment-59213 and I’ve posted a link back to your blog.

    Cheers!

    • Hi Meg,
      I like the declutter party idea myself.
      As for the “A Thing A Day” challenge at Unclutterer.com I used to participate in that and with comment streams over there but I have gotten so busy with my own blog I don’t have time for that any more. I have a look every now and again and sometimes make a comment but that is about all I have time for. I have a link to unclutterer on my front page. Thanks for the info though.

  3. The way I figure it, link love nevah goes to waste 😀

    • Hi Meg,
      you are so right about that. I wouldn’t have any readers if it wasn’t for Unclutterer.com. When I first started out I would post comments over there with links to my own site and that is how the word started to spread about my blog. So I am forever greatful for that.