52 Weeks: #44 Shoving things behind your couch is not dealing with your clutter

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I’ve been watching a fairly new show in Canada on HGTV called Consumed, an organizing show that a lot more people can identify with than the extreme show Hoarders.  The premise of the show is this.  A crew comes in and packs up ALL your STUFF leaving you with only bare essentials for 30 days.  Your stuff is emptied into a large warehouse and at the end of 30 days you are brought to the warehouse to sort and purge through it all.  Of course there are mini challenges throughout the 30 days as well.

It really fascinates me because most people seem so instantly relieved when the stuff just “magically” disappears.  You can literally see the weight being lifted off their shoulders as it goes out the door.  However the month isn’t all skittles and roses…homeowners go through a bit of a rough ride when they no longer have their stuff to hide behind.  For many it is part of their identity and when it’s gone they don’t know who they are anymore.  They’ve been hanging onto their stuff for so long and there are many emotions tied to it.   What is most ultimately determined though through this 30 day experiment is that there is freedom in less stuff and chaos.  It’s not until these homeowners get a taste of this freedom that they realize how much all their stuff was holding them back from truly living life.  Health problems improved (in some cases drastically) and it’s amazing what putting people over stuff will do for a relationship.

The other thing that continually fascinates me is the “hide the clutter and hope no one notices” technique that most of these homeowners on the show used.  Almost always you’ll find piles of stuff stashed behind their couches for instance.  Not stuff being used regularly either, nope this is just stuff without any sort of purpose at all.  And here’s the kicker, when homeowners want to “hide” it further they put a sheet over it.  People if you are having to hide your clutter with a sheet you know there is a problem.  You may be fooling a few guests but you are not fooling yourself.  You still know its all there and you still carry the burden.  That’s a huge weight to be carrying around day after day.  It makes me sad it really does.

It comes down to this.  Decisions….making them.  Making the decision to put people over stuff, to put your health over stuff, to clear out the clutter and chaos so you can make living life priority #1.

Remember to ask yourself these questions when assessing what to keep and toss:

1.  Can I afford, in terms of space, to keep this item?
2.  Could the space that this item takes up be put to better use?
3.  What am I saying NO to in order to say YES to this item?
4.  What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen if I get rid of this item?

No we don’t live in TV land and a crew isn’t about to descend to take away all your stuff for you.  Only YOU can decide to make the changes needed.  You can either choose to make it hard on yourself by defending your stuff and why you want to keep it or you can stop being a stumbling block for yourself and start letting go.  What’s it going to be?

Questions:
1.  I’d love to hear about which space you’ll be tackling this week and how this journey is going for you?
2.  Have you had any Ah-ha moments lately?
3.  If you are consumed by stuff what changes can you put into place today to change that?

You guys are awesome, so glad you are hanging in there with me :)

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Please feel free to share your organizing journey and encourage one another in the comments. You are also invited to link up to the linky below with any posts related to your 52 weeks of organizing participation or to any post of an organizing nature that you feel will inspire and encourage others in their quest to get organized. Please remember to link back to here though so we can reach out to as many people as possible in need of some inspiration.

One other thing to consider: by including your link below you, you are giving me permission to use parts of your post including pictures as a spotlight in future 52 Weeks of Organizing posts. Proper credit and links will of course be provided. If you are not okay with this please do not link up. Thanks!

Images courtesy of Sean MacEntee

Filed under: 52 Weeks of Organizing, Motivation-Encouragement, Organizing Basics

Comments

62 Responses to 52 Weeks: #44 Shoving things behind your couch is not dealing with your clutter

  1. 1
    Shannon says

    I would love it if someone came and took all of our stuff away…last weekend we thought we lost everything in our storage unit, and you know what, we were okay with that. It turns out most of our things are fine, but I’m looking at things differently. I’ve gotten rid of tons of stuff this week because I realized that most of what was in our storage room was just taking up space. I’m reevaluating our stuff the same way…a lot of it can go away and won’t be missed! It’s like a breakthrough!

    • 1.1
      Laura says

      Woohoo, that’s what I like to hear!!!

    • 3.1
      Laura says

      Yes but unfortunately those in the US are unable to access videos on hgtv.ca.

  2. 4
    Martianne says

    I am guilty of piling clutter in parts of my home and then shutting the door, never getting through it to purge. I am trying to change this and it is soooo hard – both b/c of habits and b/c of small children. when I am in a big declutter mood, my children often need my attnetion. Then, when they don’t need my attention, I am worn or unmotivated. It’s a catch-22 I need to break out of. Why? B/c I do not like the “bed” I made of my home these past seven years and my entire family is tired of lying it. It’s got to be changed!

    • 4.1
      Janelle says

      I am in the exact same boat! You’re not alone! You are right when you say it is sooo hard- it’s not like I want to have clutter but at the same time I have a really HARD time getting myself to do something about it. I know WHAT I should do & even HOW I should do it but the actual DOING is where I have the problem. I need a really good kick in the pants or something! =) Any suggestions?

      • 4.1.1
        Laura says

        Hopefully my tough love post help :) Don’t be a stumbling block for yourself. Most people are overwhelmed with trying to “organize” it all when in most cases they are simply trying to figure out how to organize clutter so they don’t have to make the tough decisions about what to get rid of. Yet it’s the purge that will set you free and in my opinion it’s much easier to do the toss because it means it’s less you have to find a home for. You can do it!!

    • 4.2
      DivaM says

      I’m not bad enough to be on Hoarders, but I’m 44 years old, single, with a 3 year old. And my mother (!) complains, nags and criticizes me about my home. Usually, I deal with her, but the truth is: I need help. I don’t want my daughter to grow up this way. I don’t know if I can do it myself.

      • 4.2.1
        Laura says

        You can do this! Take it slow…one day at a time. Make a commitment to purge a certain number of things a day. Don’t give up!!!

    • 4.3
      Margaret says

      Can you trade work with a friend…company can help.

  3. 5
    Linda Stoll says

    I’ve found a wonderful consignment shop that takes household goods and collectibles – no appointment needed, no limit, 50% payment! As I make my way through the house, I’m finding all kinds of things that I don’t love, don’t collect any more, don’t use, don’t value, and am happy to haul them over there about every 6 weeks and make a bit of $.

    We also keep a running pile of things to donate to another shop – about every 2 months, my husband drops them off there. All proceeds go to local charities.

    My husband and I will probably be moving in about 3 years – my goal is to only have that moving van head off with the things I truly treasure!

    Slowly but surely we’re getting there!

    • 5.1
      Laura says

      Thanks for sharing your story, great encouragement to others!!

  4. 6
    Janelle says

    Is anyone else having problems getting the show to play on their computer? I’ve tried my 2 macs & a pc. If you have any advice to get it playing I’d appreciate it b/c I’d really like to see this show!

    Thanks!

    • 6.1
      Janelle says

      Now I understand why I can’t…is there any way to watch a Canadian show in the US? This one in particular?

      • 6.1.1
        Laura says

        No I don’t think you can however if you you tube consumed you can see some clips of the show.

  5. 7
    Space Matters says

    I love your story about the storage unit, Shannon! Situations like that force you to evaluate the true value of your possessions.

    The show sounds great…I hope it comes to the US. It’d be nice to have a show which demonstrates that clutter is normal. The hoarding shows often show having too much stuff as something “Other” and shameful which just makes it harder for people to speak out about their issues!

  6. 8
    raven says

    I’d love to live minimally, but kids and life seem to make that impossible. I can see going down to a minimum of dishes, pots, pans etc – we lived like that when we started out (DH and I) and it was fine, why wouldn’t it be fine now? Etc.

    But every time we purge down the kids’ toys (I’m reallly big on this…they have PLENTY but they are all contained and heavily controlled) I see how “weird” we are compared to all the other homes with kids I go into where the rooms are either overrun with toys or there are toys scattered everywhere. Even here stuff does get scattered, we just pick it up and put it away frequently. And we’re WEIRD for doing this because no one else around here does – friends, family, etc.

    I struggle with stuff like the pile of papers on my desk (replenished each day by incoming mail, catalogues – christmas shopping time – and school work) and that’s normal to me. Then I see other homes and there isn’t just one pile. There’s either piles everywhere, or there’s a room devoted to a huge pile of it (and it’s not usually the office…).

    I think this will be my challenge for next week when our kitchen gets ripped out for renovation – being able to see everything spread out and dealing with all the clutter, I’m going to keep as little as possible. There will be some seldom-used things kept (roasting pan, etc) but I can think of a LOT of things that can and should probably be let go of. It’d be much nicer to not dig through a drawer for something because the drawer isn’t stuffed so full etc.

  7. 9
    Liz @ Wonder Woman I'm Not says

    Most people would never know what I call our dirty secret because the house itself it pretty much always picked up and what I call semi-company ready. However, I tend to throw stuff in storage closets and hope some magic fairy will take care of it. Since she never seems to show up and I’m tired of looking at the mess I’ve been taking matters in my own hands this year.

    I’ve been taking a lean approach to my problem areas starting with asking myself what the fundamental problems are with the area and what I can do to fix those issues. After following the law of 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain) I’ve found that I’ve made remarkable progress and have been able to successfully sustain my changes.

    Organization isn’t about cleaning, it’s changing what you are doing and keeping the change sustainable.

    I’d love to see that TV show because while I haven’t ever thrown a sheet over a pile there is a story about a hamper I haven’t been able to live down……

    • 9.1
      Laura says

      Terrific encouragement, thanks for sharing! Keep up the great work!!

    • 9.2
      Chrissie says

      Identifying the fundamental problem is such a big part of it.

      Our under-sink cabinet in the kitchen had been a nightmare for a while – it was so hard to find what we needed. One day I looked at it, really looked for once, and realised the fundamental problem – we had short stuff like boxes of bin liners on the bottom shelf which is taller, while tall bottles and spray bottles of cleaners were trying to cram into the shorter top shelf!

      A little clean out and reorganise, and everything has stayed neat and organised for the past few weeks, and it is so easy to find what we need!

    • 9.3
      Maria says

      “Organization isn’t about cleaning, it’s changing what you are doing and keeping the change sustainable.”

      Awesome! My fiance and I will have to write this down as an affirmation everyday :)

  8. 10
    Candice says

    I’ve been trying to keep up with the 52 weeks of organizing, but it’s been tough. So instead, I’ve been tackling projects as I can. Turns out I had been hiding clutter all over the place! This weekend I’ll be working my way through the 5 closets in our home. Playroom, master bedroom, DS bedroom, hall closet & front hall closet. Each one has it’s own issues but I’m confident I can make each one work to it’s max potential =)
    Still loving all the inspiration – it keeps me going!! Thanks =)

    • 10.1
      Laura says

      Awesome Candice, let me know how you made out!!

  9. 11
    Nicole says

    I used to have a huge problem with clutter, living in a small apartment with kids and pets. I’d had storage units in the past filled with things I never used. When I finally moved to my first house, I didn’t want it turn into the same thing and purged A LOT.

    What am I saying NO to in order to say YES to this item?

    That really struck me! Do I want to hide this in my room because I have nowhere else to put it?

    Loved the post! I will definetly be coming back to visit!

    • 11.1
      Laura says

      Love to hear about all your purging Nicole, way to go!!

  10. 12
    Living the Balanced Life says

    A few years back, we were doing major remodeling. We rented a storage trailer to move most all of our belongings in since we were doing work in every room and all closets. Before we got entrenched in the mess of remodeling, it was actually nice to not have all that stuff in the house. We actually kept the trailer for months, only going out to get things as we had to have them. In the end, we got rid of a lot of things. It was a very interesting experience, although the remodeling was a nightmare!
    Bernice
    I’m imperfect and proud of it!

    • 12.1
      Laura says

      Oh I don’t think I would do well in a remodel, we’ve never done it. It must have been interesting to see that things you thought you couldn’t live without, you actually could. Thanks for sharing this!

  11. 13
    Leslie says

    My husband left yesterday for an out of town trip and I decided his absence was a great time to tackle my side of the closet. I had been keeping clothes for “someday when I lose weight”. I was feeling like my closet was oozing. I went through it ruthlessly. Took everything out and sorted it into two piles – the toss and the keep/maybe pile. The toss stuff was maternity clothes, stuff that I KNEW didn’t fit, stuff I KNEW I wasn’t wearing anymore, stuff that looked a lot like something else I had that I actually did wear. I immediately put the toss stuff into garbage bags for donation.

    I then went through the keep/maybe pile and purged again, asking myself if I was really going to wear that item. These items were more of an emotional attachment/issue. I might really like the style etc. BUT, I asked myself questions like did it actually fit? Do I actually like the fabric, and if it was something that stopped me from wearing it all the time? Did I love it? When was the last time I wore it? The end result was that from that pile I found some good tank tops (we live in the tropics) that I can use now which is great because I thought I needed to buy more, some good tops, and a lot more closet space. It’s so nice to walk in there and not feel like things are going to fall off my shelves every time I make a clothing selection.

    • 13.1
      Laura says

      Yes, yes, yes! Love to read these success stories, such great encouragement for others!!

  12. 14
    Rachel says

    So true! My husband, son, and I spent a year overseas. We went from a 1500 sq. foot townhouse to living out of four suit cases for a year. We also had to purge a lot of stuff to fit in the storage container we had during that year. All told, we have less than half the stuff now that we had before we moved.

    I’ve linked up a post about it, but here’s an article I wrote during out overseas stint about the cost of clutter:
    http://trialanderrorhomeec.blogspot.com/2010/02/cost-of-clutter.html

    • 14.1
      Laura says

      Such a great post, thanks for sharing the link with us here!!

  13. 15
    Sarah says

    It’s so interesting to realize that a bunch of you have rented storage space at some time or another! I’m still a little in disbelief that I’ve done it, but like on Consumed it has made us feel drastically different at home. My goal was to be able to focus more on living/relationships rather than stuff. While I’m not up for a 30 day challenge, I am definitely interested in setting some deadlines to sorting through some of the items we dumped. (Eg, we just dropped off a few broken things that we once used often and want to get fixed, but they’ve been sitting around for months broken.) Thanks again for hosting this Laura. I’m feeling a little sad that the end is coming soon. This has been a great motivation all year. I’m sure I could have easily ignored it all, using having a baby as an excuse!

    • 15.1
      Laura says

      You’ve made great progress and made a beautiful baby too! :)

  14. 16
    raven says

    I realized (late at night, of course!) something tonight. We don’t have one storage unit; we have two.

    The GARAGE. I fight a constant battle with the garage so that it is clean, well kept, and able to hold both vehicles. I am successful only a few times a year.

    The problem is that we use the garage as “just for now” storage. It’s not throwing a sheet over it – it’s closing a door on it! We’re not talking organized storage. It’s where everything I go through from the house and purge or “take a break from” or decide “doesn’t work” ends up. And then it sits there. And it maybe gets moved around a little. We can keep one car in there at all times, at least. But it’s not a good thing, no – not at all!

    What do you do with your stuff when it’s like this? I’ve had items to sell on Craigslist sit there for a month or two. I want my space back – but do I want it back bad enough immediately to pass up $300 or more for whatever it’s holding to be sold? (We don’t have enough deductions to itemize, so donation doesn’t help in the $ department). I will purge the seasonal kids clothes and due to daily life I won’t get around to sorting through what was purged for weeks; then it’s another couple weeks to list and sell them, or to just sort them and pass them down to neighbors/friends (that ask for them).

    The guinea pig cage. We lost three of the poor little things in a year and a half. The cage itself wasn’t much, maybe $20..but it’s stuffed with the food, supplements, toys, etc. and just sitting in the garage sad and forlorn. We aren’t getting any more guinea pigs (we got ferrets instead….oy! I’m insane. Yes.) Why don’t I just throw it out? Because we MIGHT need it? It doesn’t hold rats (have those), it doesn’t hold ferrets (as mentioned, have those), it doesn’t hold hamsters or fish or a lizard or anything else that might even get brought home one day. It’s too small for a rabbit. It is – quite distinctly – useless. WHY DO I STILL HAVE IT INSTEAD OF PARKING MY VAN IN THE GARAGE?!

    The dollhouse my daughter’s ex-Big Sister (BBBS) gave her for her birthday to assemble. It’s nice, it’s beautiful..it’s huge and messy and doesn’t fit in any storage area whatsoever. We never have time to work on it. The kicker? Daughter got an assembled, HUGE victorian dollhouse from my uncle.. for her birthday. That still needs fixed up.. but at least it’s in her bedroom where it’s supposed to go and has a space for working on it when we get around to it. If I toss this other dollhouse, my daughter will be absolutely crushed (she has autism, so it’s a bit more complicated). But again.. I can’t park in my own garage because this dollhouse has been sitting out there for over six months. In my garage. I hate to just shove it in her closet (I think that’s just avoiding the main issue, which is that she doesn’t need it, sentimental though it may be). Ugh!

    Where do you put your stuff when you move stuff around or purge? Under a sheet? In the garage? Shed? Rented storage (it’s a hassle for me to get to our unit, so we don’t go to our rented one very often, thus it’s an organized trip when we do). the garage on the other hand…save me, please!

    Can’t sleep. Garage will eat me.

    • 16.1
      Rachel says

      A little at a time? What if you brought into one box of stuff to put on Craigslist every week? I know that the scale of a project is often what gets me down.

      With the guinea pig cage, you could probably donate it and the accessories to your local shelter. They often have small pets in addition to cats and dogs.

      • 16.1.1
        raven says

        I think it’s more these are symptoms of the larger problem. Now that I can see the issue with the cage etc I can take care of it.. probably even tomorrow. But the main issue is that the garage is where I end up sticking everything that I don’t want in the house and is “on its way out”. Some people have a “get it out of here” place for books.. I seem to have one for furniture or unwieldly objects! Over the years we’ve been replacing pieces loaned to us with things we’ve bought ourselves.. but it’s a full day’s trip/drive to return a lot of it, plus renting a truck (expense) and such. And we’re not allowed to just sell or donate those pieces, o no! Sigh. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, because I’m not – those things were there when we needed them. Things have just changed in thirteen years of marriage.

        So if I take care of it this time.. how do I stop it from happening *again*? I think we’re finally almost to the point that there isn’t anything else big to get rid of, but off the top of my head I can think of at least 5 large pieces that we do plan to “do something about” within the next year. Are they going to take up my garage next year waiting on…whatever? I hate being wasteful; we rarely throw anything out, and make sure it goes directly to someone desiring it (preferably dibs to someone we know who might want it). And.. I think that’s so I can visit it later. *blush* Read a bit about that regarding “hoarding with relatives”.

        Right now I’m just floored. I take pride in being so organized in many ways, and I literally didn’t “see” this or connect to Laura’s post until I opened the garage to get something and went… omg. What have I done? This is my sheet! This is my storage problem! This is my CLUTTER!

        I broke my clothing addiction (ok, seriously maimed it. It’s barely on life support), I can break this..the question is “How”? I guess the first step is getting it cleared out.. yet again.

        • 16.1.1.1
          Sarah says

          I’ve heard a lot of people mention the “one in one out” rule…maybe you need to do a “one out, THEN one in” rule. (As in, once you’ve decided to replace a piece of furniture you can’t buy the new one until to sell/give away the old one.)

          My parents have the same problem with their garage. It gets cleaned out once every couple of years but always piles back up. I have to admit, my siblings and I have helped fill it in the past. I just remembered I have an elliptical machine in my parents’ garage. I thought my mom could use it until I had space for it again but now it’s collecting dust…

          • 16.1.1.1.1
            raven says

            That wouldn’t work for the types of things we are replacing. Such as I know the next thing going is a TV stand with storage that holds our DVDs and stuff – can’t just leave all that and the plasma tv sitting on the floor for an undetermined period of time. Also can’t list the one we have to sell until we have a replacement to avoid the floor scenario. KWIM?

            Still thinkin’! Thanks for the ideas.

    • 16.2
      Laura says

      Hi Raven, I think the garage has become a place to park decisions to be delayed for later. When I put things aside to sell on ebay for instance and then never get around to actually do it I know myself well enough now to know that if I haven’t done it in two months time it’s never going to happen. I cut my losses and send it off to the thrift store. Give yourself a timeline on these items and after that let them go. As for the dollhouse that’s in your garage, I think it’s totally acceptable to part with it. Your daughter doesn’t need two and she isn’t playing with the one in the garage anyway. It might help her to know that it’s going to go to a child that doesn’t have one and who will really appreciate it.
      It’s time to take back your garage, you can do it!!

      • 16.2.1
        raven says

        Major meltdown ensued when I tried to convince dd to let go of the dollhouse :( It’s kind of a symbol for her and the most “lasting” thing she has from her ex-Big (she knows she won’t keep the cheap little things they bought on outings forever because they won’t last). So.. I told her we have to find somewhere else to put it until it’s finished being assembled. The only reason she is not playing with it is because she’s 11, autistic, and cannot assemble it independently.

        At least it will be leaving the garage.

        I threw everything else up including the guinea supplies on CL for ubercheap – no bites yet. Next step will be (when it’s done raining – 2 days) setting everything at the curb and posting a “get it before its gone” on freecycle.

        What would you suggest for the big items like furniture that were loaned to us but we do not own and do not have the right to dispose of (or would cause serious harm to family relationships to do to them)? Many of the “lenders” are elderly and it’s not their fault transport/lifiting is required and can take us awhile to arrange. Just try to time it as best as we can and deal with those singular things getting the garage space when it happens? I’m afraid there may not be another solution for that one. At least we are, as I mentioned, down to very few of these items from the dozens we started out with! I love my MIL, but we really didn’t need that GIANT bar and hutch when we lived in a 400sf apartment.. lol! I have learned over the years to just say “NO thank you but it’s beautiful!”.

  15. 17
    Carla says

    I went through a divorce last year, and through the circumstances of it, I was forced to leave my home and almost all my material possessions behind. One bag for me and the kids is what we got to take (and I carried my KitchenAid mixer). A little over a year later, starting over and making it own my own, we now own a home, but just haven’t been able to afford to fill it with my “stuff”. Heck, I don’t even HAVE a couch yet, so there is nothing to hide behind. But, the truth of this post hit me. My children are what I’m able to focus on, not constantly shuffling stuff around to make room for more stuff. We don’t worry about people stopping by, because, well, the house is never a mess. The kids love having friends over, and their freinds love coming over. I’ve had so many 10-12 year olds comment to me that they wished their house was a neat as mine. (I do not keep an immaculate house, we LIVE in our house daily, but there’s just not STUFF everywhere.)

    My circumstances forced this on me, but, I won’t ever go back to the all the stuff I once thought I had to have. Sure, it’s inconvenient at times not to have some things, but creativity gets us through. Simplicity is a good life.

    Thank you for this post, and for emphasizing the importance of relationships over possessions.

    • 17.1
      Laura says

      I’m sorry to hear about your divorce Carla but I’m so happy you shared this story. It will be such a blessing to others. Thank you!!

    • 17.2
      DivaM says

      I love that you carried our Kitchen Aid Mixer! LOL

  16. 18
    Ellie says

    This post resonated with me. No sheets covering stuff but a spare bedroom that dh calls the ebay room and I refer to as delayed decisions. The room has many bookcases filled with no longer wanted items and a desk. It is really set up to function as an ebay room. Only difficulty is that dh never chooses to do that.

    Sometimes it bugs me but I’ve come to realize that at least it is contained in one room and should anything ever happen to us the adult kids know that stuff in the room can be completely donated or dumped. Maybe one day dh will wake up and say let’s get rid of all of this. I can dream.

    • 18.1
      Laura says

      Yes this is a sticky situation as I would never recommend you go against your husband’s wishes and get rid of it all. You do need to respect his decision but what I might recommend is perhaps you could help him with it. Listing on ebay is super easy and maybe he would be okay with the help. Also there are business’ that will ebay all your stuff for you for a percentage of profits. Just something to think about.

  17. 19
    Becky L. says

    oh the “covered by a sheet” to hide stuff kinda hit home to me a bit. We moved from NM to Ore and rented a 3 bedroom/1 bath apt for a year til we were able to get into a bigger place. We had some boxes in our living room for a year that weren’t able to fit into storage, that was being paid for by Phil’s work. We did go thru the boxes to see what we could use while there but it stayed there for a year since we knew we’d be moving. It eventually got to our new place, 22 years ago this Dec. It just struck a cord with me, cuz I’m sure there was alot of stuff in those boxes we really didn’t need but it was a fast, unexpected move. Now I look at all the stuff we have and do I really need it? Yesterday I was looking for a box to put some things in for Sunday school class we are teaching this month. There were boxes labeled of things I took out of the house from my impending completed paint job. Do I miss the decor plates and mugs? NO! They will be carted off to a thrift store soon. We were talking about a tire in the garage that’s good…hubby said he should sell it. Well, I think maybe it should go to tire store and see if they will give us anything for it. Use that money to pay off set of 4 tires for hubby’s car. Will see. Oh the things we keep. And I think it’s good to down size so the kids won’t have to go through what I did when I had to move my mom’s stuff from apt. over three years ago. Shredding helps alot for all the old bills and checks…oh my! And the only thing behind our couch is dust bunnies! HA!

    • 19.1
      Laura says

      Becky you are doing a great job on your organizational journey, proud of you!!

  18. 20
    Susanne says

    I love that show. I think she treats the people on it with respect and really feels for them. This last summer I really went through storage room and just got tough and real with myself about whether I was really going to use a lot of what I was hanging onto. I haven’t missed any of the stuff I got rid of.

    • 20.1
      Laura says

      I really like it too…I love seeing the light go off for the participants and how it all comes together after that.

  19. 21
    Lily says

    I never realized how little of my stuff I could live with until we staged our home before putting it up for sale. The funny thing is, I miss very little of what’s packed away. I’ve been musing that if I can live without my stuff now, what’s stopping me from living without it when we move? But I sure won’t miss the constant cleaning and faucet-polishing. Sell, house, sell! :)

  20. 22
    Tanya says

    I love organizing too. Love the website!

  21. 23
    Heather B says

    One year I cleared the never used dining table for Thanksgiving by putting all the paperwork etc into laundry basket…it was still there the next Thanksgiving. I realized how absurd that was and dealt with it. I love these kind of shows because they inspire to deal with my organizing failings to make sure I’m doing better than someone that qualifies to be on the show.

  22. 24
    Allison says

    I have a large family with 5 kids ranging from 16 months to 17 years and I find keeping up with the clutter/housecleaning to be a nightmare! It stresses me out so much that I find myself short tempered often. My problem on removing the clutter is what to do with it? I hate to take it to the landfill but selling it is proving difficult. Do people just take a couple boxes at a time to donation centers? or add a little extra in the trash each week? I would love to get extra money from selling it, but I find our economy so hard to sell anything in. What do you recommend to do with the stuff? (BTW nothing is large or worth much… it’s just a bunch of little things like small toys, or books, old games, etc.)

    • 24.1
      Laura says

      Yes I drop off at the thrift store once a week regardless of how much stuff I have. It’s definitely the easiest method of clearing out the clutter.

    • 24.2
      Margaret says

      Is there a homeless shelter where you could drop them off?

  23. 25
    Maria says

    It took a leak in the bathroom that flooded our bedroom to make me de-clutter my house. We had to rip up the carpet and put in floors, so we basically cleared out half of our house. OMG! I never realized I had so much stuff! There’s only two of us in a three-bedroom house, so it became very easy to hide things in plastic tubs and store them in the un-used closets – I guess I thought that was “organized.” My mom is an organizing wizard, so she came to my rescue and got down and dirty helping me go through things. After putting back the big pieces of furniture, we got down to the nitty gritty. Her motto is “one drawer at a time.” We dumped one drawer/tub at a time and sorted it out. On the spot I had to decide – keep, toss, donate, recycle. The next step was putting the contents I kept from that drawer/tub into their assigned place. I now have empty drawers and closet space! I’m so happy to walk into my house every day….and if anyone has use for about 8 big plastic bins, let me know ;)

  24. 26
    Marie says

    In business we calculate the cost of space for retail shelves, warehouse storage, real estate and so on I cost per square foot. Business decisions get made on this cost issue all the time. I Wonder how we’d all feel if we applied that calculation our personal storage space? What is the cost per square foot for a full garage? A full closet? Off site storage space? Every month, forever? And is the stuff we are keeping worth that cost?

  25. 27
    Christina Kennell says

    Thank you so much for the encouragement! I found your blog on New Year’s Eve and I read through almost all of your posts in one afternoon…I was so inspired, I went home and tackled my master bathroom…(I figured that was a great way to bring in the New Year)…I finally took a break to hang with my hubby and watch the ball drop on TV and as my hubby headed to bed, I headed back into the bathroom to finish my project…by 3 am, I had empty space in my medicine cabinet, under the sink, everything was in baskets and I felt exhausted but amazing! Things that have bothered me for 4 long years of living in this house were just solved in one night!

    Yesterday (New Years Day) I tackled my bedroom…Believe me, my husband looked at me as if I had lost my mind when he walked in to see all of the contents of our closet laying in the middle of our bed…but I just told him “I AM OVER ALL THIS STUFF!!!…If I don’t LOVE it, it’s out of here!” There are now 6 bags sitting in the back of my car ready to be dropped off at the Goodwill today.

    I am so excited to have a new direction for the New Year! I keep looking and thinking “How can I fix this? What system would work?” and then I am just tackling it!

    We have a huge issue with mail piling up, so I looked through your posts and created a “Command Center” and I think it will solve so many of our paperwork pile ups…

    THANK YOU for being such an encouragement and a resource!
    -Christina

    • 27.1
      Laura says

      Ah, that is AWESOME! So happy you shared with me, I love hearing success stories. Way to go girl and thanks for your kind words :)

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