Declutter your home and your life

All the time I spent drunk, I could have been more productive with my time around the house. Now that I’ve sobered up, I realize I am up to my neck in junk. Over the past 4 months, I’ve made at least 10 dump runs, countless trips to goodwill and I feel I’ve barely made a dent. It’s overwhelming most times, but I still plug away.

I need help! When I get this place under control, I need to maintain it. I visit other peoples places and they are neat and tidy, mine is rarely like that. I cringe when even Family drops by. This needs to end.

My ask…

How do you manage your stuff? How much time do you spend per week, month, year etc. Decluttering? How do you know what’s worth hanging on to and what can be donated/sold?

Sounds like a stupid question but I need tips from real people.



Those are some good questions. I’ve always been a bit of a neat freak and a minimalist. I don’t like clutter so I’m always picking up and organizing things. It’s a bit harder with kids as I’m sure you’re well aware of. I go through clothes every 4-6 months. I don’t buy much so mainly if something isn’t getting worn I’ll donate it after a year. Small items all have a storage space if they don’t get used reguarly.
My issue is bicycle stuff. I have a few bikes, and go through different parts on them, so I sell what I can. If it doesn’t sell quickly on FB/eBay or one of the let go apps I’ll donate it. Obviously cost and condition dictates what I’ll donate. This goes with all stuff around the house too. If it gets used at least once a year I’ll hang on to it, if not it can probably go. I know that wasn’t much of an answer.
What specific things do you find you have accumulated or clutter problems with?


One area is the kitchen. For example, I have a lot of kitchen gadgets and odds and ends. The drawers were just crammed, so I went through everything and put the “extra” stuff in a bin, so incase I needed it, I could easily get it. Slowly, more and more things got pulled from the bin and kind of back to where I started. I know I don’t need all this stuff; I have 2 knife blocks for crying out loud!

Clothes are the other big one. I seem to just hold on to clothes a lot. I’ve already donates probably 10 garbage bags of clothes, and still have a lot of clothes…


As someone decluttering in preparation to move (goal is to fit my life in a minivan if not better), I’ve been having bits and pieces come to mind over the past little bit.

Tips for getting rid of stuff when it begs you to keep it:

  1. Don’t ask yourself “Will I use this?” If you’re like me, your brain will always say yes, so it’s a useless question. I ask “If and when I eventually use this, will it have been worth the space it’s been taking up this whole time? Or am I better off buying on demand?”
  2. You pay or have paid for the space that your stuff is using, and your stuff gets to use it instead of you. It doesn’t pay rent, and it doesn’t pay you a surcharge when it inconveniences you by falling over or getting bumped into or blocking an object you want. Factor this in.
  3. Unless it’s safety related, you do not need nearly as many extras as you think you do.
  4. When I decide I’m not going to keep something, I decide, and I don’t figure out how to get rid of it until I’m done sorting. It often feels easier to keep something than to decide how to get rid of it, so I do that after the sorting has been decided, and don’t let myself undermine my clutter purging.

As far as maintaining the tidy state, I think it has a lot to do with cutting things off right at the system intake. Almost all the stuff I’m tossing right now is stuff I didn’t much want from the get go. Stuff I acquired opportunistically, not considering it also as a high return investment.

With a family though it’s really tricky. Because kids want to keep everything all the time, my parents hide things the kids have stopped using. If they don’t ask for them after a certain time frame, the items disappear for real. :wink:

However, take this with a truckload of salt. I’m a minimalist at heart but clutterbug by trade.

Have you read the thread going on right now about Marie Kondo’s show about tidying up?


Hey pal, these are good questions. Some years ago I shifted to a minimalist style at the encouragement of someone in my life. It was very anxiety provoking at the time, but brought me a lot of emotional freedom and relief.

When I moved from the UK back to the USA, I moved with two suitcases and I shipped one large box. Now, that is a little extreme, but it vastly simplified my life. I now have a house and have resisted filling it with random stuff because it feels good to have the physical space and airiness and also to not feel a great deal of emotional attachment to things.

For me, it requires a number of large purges of things over time - there is only so much you can do at once. Maybe pick one room at a time and work on it. Get a friend who has a clutter free mentality to come help you - I do this for my friends and in my office and get somewhat ruthless (when asked to be that way!) in helping to question the need to have particular things. Get some trash bags and boxes. Go through everything in that room and one by one, work your way through the objects in the room. Sometimes it helps to start with the easy stuff first. With each thing, I like to think about 1) is this useful? when did i last use it? 2) does this object bring me joy? 3) is this something I genuinely want to carry forward with me in my life?

I try to only keep things that really give me real joy. I don’t keep things because they remind me of something or someone, or because it is something I used to like, or because I have it, or because “I might use it someday”.

So I o through everything one by one (with the help of an objective and disinterested friend who does not keep clutter themselves) and separate them into 1) what you can throw away (trash bag) 2) what to donate (another bag/box) 3) what you feel is too hard or unsure to get rid of (yet another bag/box) and 4) what things really bring you joy or you use on a daily basis (keep). With the (3)s, I box those things up and stick them in a basement or under a bed or whatever and just leave them. Some things are too hard to just get rid of. So I let things sit there for 6 months or a year and then go through those boxes. I usually think “huh, this thing I thought I needed, I didn’t go looking for in that time and didn’t really notice it was done, maybe I don’t need it after all” - then it is gotten rid of, put on the shelf or put back in the box.

A hard thing for me was getting rid of lots of books. I used to be the person who felt an attachment to a lot of books. Then I was moving a lot it was a pain in the ass to be moving boxes of books, so this person in my life really challenged me about whether I needed them or not. Libraries have books, I switched to kindle for a while, etc etc. Now, I own probably less than 15 books. I only have that many because it’s been a part of my recovery to read reference books about alcoholism and trauma etc (before this, I had probably 4 books). I only keep the ones I know I will go back and reference from time to time. Everything else I donate or lend out after I’ve read it.

Hope this all makes sense and feel free to message me if you want more advice or to bounce ideas.



It sounds like you’re on the right track. Meant to say that in the first post.
Kitchen stuff can be a pain, because it can be big items. I have a big issue with doubles of anything. My dad turned into a hoarder so he had multiples of everything. I don’t even really like having doubles of tools even though they’re in 2 locations in toolboxes. But that’s kind of a necessity.
Anyway, here we keep the big kitchen stuff that isn’t used often in a storage closet we have. The wife just went though and got rid of some misclaneous stuff. Containers are the same brand so they stack nice and easy. That helps maximize cabinet space. The kitchen is probably the most used room in the house so it needs constant attention. We usually pick up there all the time.
Clothes are easy for me since I don’t have many. But I still go though all of it a few times a year and donate. For the kids stuff that can be taken to those resale shops or whatever. We have some of those clothes container type things that fit under the bed. Well, put seasonal stuff in those so the closet isnt overloaded. Our house is older so the closets aren’t very big compared to newer construction.

Personally it’s not worth all the effort for me to try and sell clothes for pennies on the dollar, for adult stuff.


I’ve always liked clean spaces but in the past 5 years or so I’ve lived even more “minimalist” life. It came after having to move a couple of times etc, but also reading about the subject and realizing how many benefits there are. Now living in a 30m2 apartment and I have SO much space here. Clothing - wise if I dont use something within a year or so it’s not important enough to keep around. Also whatever is relatively cheap to purchase on demand instead of keeping “what if’s” in cabinets has helped tremendously.

This of course depends a lot on the person, but I also genuinely feel good when I give something away and know that as there are a lot of people out there who can certainly use my excess things and can’t afford them from the store.

I also really liked what I read above: think about apartment catching fire and think what you would Really replace after such an event


So with the kitchen stuff, I think it’s ignorance on my part, my wife bought everything and I rarely cooked. Now I’ve been doing all the cooking so I’m learning what I need versus don’t need versus what’s fun or handy to have around. As far as doubles, I can’t stand having 2 or more of one thing, like measuring cups. My wife insists on 3 sets of measuring cups.

I think a lot of this junk issue stems from my wife. She is a mild hoarder. She moved a lot as a kid and so I think that had something to do with it, and over the years I was a passive participant in her hoarding behavior, I drank and didn’t care.

Her father recently passed away and she (we) inherited all of his stuff, even meaningless junk. That has introduced new issues. She wants to pit it in storage, but I am not gonna pay $250 a month to just store it where I cant see it. If she is willing to spend 2 hours a week to filter it down, than I’ll agree.

I am completely fine with purging anything except pictures, videos and some of the kids school art. She on the otherhand wants to keep everything, even talking about purging sends her in to panic attacks. Needless to say, I do it when she’s gone. I think if I can filter it down to where it’s manageable, we can start using some of the suggestions you guys gave.


Watch the Minimalism documentary on Netflix and check out for inspiration on purging, especially after a death in the family, as Josh experienced.

Marie Kondo is also helpful when decluttering. It’s hard to declutter, but the change in energy once your done is worth it! I was Marie Kondo-ing my books this past weekend and it was exhausting.

Good luck!


My mother in law bought a set of measuring cups for us. We have a nice set of stainless cuos already. And another set of teaspoons. I was like wtf? Thanks, but now we have more shit it a drawer that was already crowded.

I couldn’t agree more on the storage unit and inhereting a bunch of stuff (shit). Same with my dad.i tossed so much crap out.

I’m fortunate that my wife is similar as far as not wanting a ton of stuff around. You are not so lucky.

You sound like you’ve got it under control though.


get rid of duplicates, keep the better one. Get a count of your towels, dish cloths etc, get rid of the worst ones. Pots and pans, same thing.
Duplicates first friend, that will keep you busy.


If you took one look at my house you would see that I spend very LITTLE time decluttering. I barely put things away. My housekeeping philosophy is to keep it clean, tidy be damned. I tidy up when people are coming over. So dishes must be cleaned, bathrooms must be cleaned, floors must be vacuumed etc etc etc…but blankets clutter the couches, clean and folded clothes are in the hampers on my bedroom floor, slippers are everywhere…LOL

BUT…once in a while (a few times a year) I lose my shit and that is it. Out come the garbage bags. I fill them with old clothes that are never worn anymore, old books, toys the kids don’t use anymore etc etc etc. And off to the Sally Anne I go. One year I did this for Lent (40 bags in 40 days). It was great. I should probably do that again.


So this is my second go at just one closet. My first attempt left me so overwhelmed I couldn’t deal with it. Keep in mind, this does not include the donate items, which is another car load…

I feel I finally made a dent with this closet, I still have about half of it to go through…


Well done!!! :star_struck:

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I’ve watched both and I recommend them both too. Marie is fun to watch but she isn’t my motivator. I am a bit of a minimalist already but I am about to move and I’m planning to use her “When you pick this up, does it give you joy?” plan. I don’t know if I can do the extreme minimalist lifestyle but hey weirder things have happened. (Like I quit drinking!)


I find that if I break things down into small goals I am not so overwhelmed. Kinda like “One Day at a Time”!
May I suggest donating clothing, toiletries and/or any children’s items to a battered womens’ shelter or a homeless shelter. I find it gives me more satisfaction to know things are being given away to people who might not otherwise be able to afford them.


Is that a focus st?

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It is! Ha!


Nice. My co-worker has one.

I’m thinking of trading it in for an RS next year, gotta convince the wife that AWD is safer for the baby!