Post by dtesposito on Oct 14, 2011 12:50:40 GMT -5
I think would-Goodwill-sell-this is an excellent test.
This IS a good test, and this is coming from someone who spent the morning at her volunteer job at a resale shop, going through several boxes of moldy, water damaged books that someone left at the door. No one wants to buy a "pages-stuck-together with mold" paperback copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull from the 70s! It's not a valuable antique--really....
I'm also fortunate that I have a couple of good donation sources here, I think it's helped me tremendously to let items go when I know they're going somewhere else. But if I didn't have the donation sources I'd have to throw them in the garbage, and I think it's fine to do that too. If the stuff is hurting you by being in your home you have to get it out no matter how you do it!
It's not a piece I love or even use. Half of it has fallen apart. But, because it's still 'useful' to a degree, I've felt guilty and kept it all this time.
This means the hippo is not part of that elite category "Perfectly Good Things."
Yay! Thanks for pointing that out. I don't have to feel guilty now about throwing it out. It is sad to think I've been thinking something half broken & semi-usable is good. I have thought that if I wanted to keep this piece that I could screw in angle irons to re-attach the section that has broken off. Other people would just throw the thing out. Especially as it is so ugly, too.
Post by ClutterBlind on Oct 14, 2011 15:06:41 GMT -5
Maybe it's just me, but on this of all threads, giving people permission to throw out perfectly good stuff, people posting how fortunate they are to NOT have to throw out stuff but have good donation sources nearby and use them just smacks of a bit of moral/environmental superiority and what was NOT said.
"I'm fortunate not having to ruin the environment and waste things. . .but YOU. . . well, of course, yes, you go throw out things if you have to. . . instead of making the effort to drive 30 miles away, hiring a van, service, make a phone call, whatever, to make sure you are living according to certain personal standards of behavior that reflects a respect for both other people and the environment. . . yes, you throw out things, it's okay for YOU. . . if you really need to.
Really, why DID you need to point out YOU don't need to throw out good stuff on a thread giving permission to others that it's okay and not to feel guilty?
Post by dtesposito on Oct 14, 2011 15:33:05 GMT -5
I always want to tell people that being able to donate may let people get rid of stuff when they otherwise wouldn't.
Yes, I believe in amnesty and throwing things away if that's what lets you get the stuff out. But I've been here long enough and have talked to people in real life who will not ever accept the idea of throwing away, and that is crippling them. For those folks, finding a way to donate is the ONLY way they can get rid of anything.
I know that some people reading this thread will not be able to throw things away no matter how many people tell them it's okay. For those folks, seeking out the donation options is better than doing nothing--which keeps the stuff in their homes.
I'm a big believer in finding what works for you, even if you have to try out many different options until you find it. So yes, throwing stuff out is perfectly fine if it will help you move forward. But for those who CAN'T under any circumstances, starting with the donation option is better than giving up.
I would NEVER tell someone not to throw stuff away--in fact, I would cheer them on to do so.
Sometimes when we are drowning in squalor, we have to take drastic measures we'd rather NOT take if the circumstances were better. For many people, if they don't toss, they NEVER will get out of squalor.
One example of that is Pigpen of Squalor Survivors, who got a tip/dumpster to clear out her home in the "bad old days". She had a huge clear out and worked out effective maintenance. These days, Pigpen is on a zero waste campaign, buying things in bulk with reusable packaging. She recycles/composts everything she can, but her goal is nothing in the trash at all because she has nothing to toss out. At last report, she was fairly successful.
Living in squalor means our domestic waste management system has broken down completely and drastic measures MUST be taken. If that includes amnesty in pitching out good/recyclable items, so be it.
We've essentially turned our homes into the garbage dump, as Messymimi points out all the time. It isn't that I don't think the Earth deserves recycling and rescuing. It is that I don't think we deserve living in a garbage heap.
You can resurrect recycling, etc, once your personal waste management is back under control.
I have a car, that has been sitting on the property for 6 or 7 years without being driven. (I guess it doesn't go with this thread really though because it is extremely FAR from perfectly good.) I had told DH I wanted to get rid of it. He said, no, he wanted to fix it up and get it running again and use it for plowing snow. (It's a 19 year old Subaru.)
A couple of years ago I gave him an ultimatum: 6 months, get if fixed or else!... I was going to have it towed away. It's still out there. I called someone to have it towed the beginning of the summer, but never called back to arrange it's removal. DH said he was embarrassed to have anyone on the property, and I caved.
Well today I did it. I had a talk with DH, discussed amnesty, told him I was proud of him for wanting to fix it, but it was just adding to the squalor of the place. I had him call... The guy is coming over now to take it away.
We have another dead vehicle on the property too, but that one will take a liitle more coaxing.
You can't save the world from more stuff going in the landfill by turning your own home into and extension of the dump.
When you are so depressed that picking up one item and putting it in a bag makes you weep; when your OCD is so bad you can hardly bring yourself to get rid of it anyway; when you are in pain from fibromyalgia or Lupus or whatever you have so bad that you can hardly carry small bags out to the trash, much less big ones anywhere else; when you are so overwhelmed and beaten down by this squalor monster that every decision is excruciating mentally; then please, just get it all gone by whatever means you can.
Once you are better, and your home is more under control, set up a recycling station, a compost bin, a donation box that you regularly run to the charity shop, whatever else you want.
You have to have that control first, or it will often just sit in the house waiting for the someday when you will have time to do it "right," the someday that just never comes.
NOTE: Before you ask me, know that my answer is "No!" and my reason is, "It's for your own good!" Printed on mommy's coffee cup.
Post by betsymarie on Oct 16, 2011 16:21:09 GMT -5
Do what works for you!
This is the key. And 'what works' does not refer to only getting rid of the hoard, it's 'what works' in our own individual hearts.
I was raised by a mom whose operative phrase was 'don't throw that away!' Just about everything was 'good' to her. She would go through the trash can to make sure dad had not tossed something 'good'. She would sort through the thick dust from the vaccuum bag to make sure nothing 'good' had been sucked up by the machine.
That is how I was raised, and how I myself have lived for decades. Not getting rid of something that is 'good' is as basic to me as the tenent of someone else's religion. And like a religion, some beliefs just cannot be put aside for expediency.
But there are work-arounds so progress can be made. 'Good' is just a word, and what is 'good' can be redefined. If it's filling up your home and making life miserable, it's not 'good'.
My own definition of what is 'good' has changed over the past few years. When I was first starting even such dusty minutia in the bottom of a junk box such as a single stray nail, straight pin, paper clip or rubber band were 'good' and I would sort them out and save them. Obviously that wasnt working, so subconciously I seem to have changed my idea of what is 'good'. Now I can just toss many such items, and so much more, because they are now trash to me.
But I still cannot just toss something that is truly 'good'. I'm not going to try - it's just too unsettling ...and I don't have to.
But I now can justify getting rid of 'good' things in manners that are acceptable to me. Both donating and recycling are excellent justifications and to be honest, it's just not that difficult to sort out. This keeps me in greater harmony and that is also important. For example, a perfectly 'good' clean plastic yogurt cup I cannot just toss in the trash, but I can very easily toss it into the adjacent recycling container - and it makes me feel good. I'm getting rid of something in the past I would have kept, but it's not going into the landfill.
I do not expect anyone else's mind to work as mine does, or do what I do. I have been able to find satisfactory work-arounds for disposing of great masses of stuff. I'm not 'trying to save the world' , just decluttering in a way that is both easier, more efficient, and non-dissonent to me.
There is also practicality - there is more room in our recycling bins than in the trash cans. 95 gallons vs 32 gallons. Isn't it better with just a bit of sorting to be able to get rid of all 127 gallons/week in curbside collection than only 32?
This is what works for me. I do not expect anyone else to believe or act as I do, but I am sure I am not alone in decluttering in what I consider a more responsible manner. I do not apologize for feeling this way.
There are almost always two sides to every issue. There will never be agreement on abortion, evolution, religion, capital punishment, gun control - and in this thread - 'environmental issues'.
Well, back to work. I've got green cans to fill.
"I want to be an outrageous old woman who never gets called an Old Lady. I want to get sharp-edged and earth-colored, till I fade away from pure joy." ~ unknown
137 garbage cans of 'stuff' gone - recycled, donated, trashed.
BetsyMarie, I can relate. My mom didn't go through the vacuum cleaner bags, but she saw most things as being useful. Junk mail that had papers inside with printing on only one side were saved for scrap paper, she had a shelf in the closet to store it.
I have been using a shop-vac as a desqualoring tool, mostly for picking up dust mixed with smaller bits of squalor. After I'm done, I take it outside and dump it to scavenge and coins, etc, from the debris. I doubt that once my desqualoring is complete I will continue with this practice.
Goal: Create a serene, peaceful environment, free of clutter.
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. ~Dale Carnegie
Post by 60isolderthanithot on Oct 17, 2011 12:05:56 GMT -5
Hi, Lion! Long time no see!
I liked your link to the material on sunk costs. That made a LOT of sense to me, the sort of sense that moves me toward changing behaviors and attitudes. I hung onto a lot of things for so long, they blocked my advances toward a better life.
A related sort of calculation that helped me was to do a quick cost analysis considering time as a frame of reference. I wanted to feel what something REALLY cost.
If I invested $30 a month with just about any general index stock portfolio, and that stock pile performed at just 7% per year (stocks have typically done better than 7% for over a hundred years), at the end of 20 years, I'd have nearly $16,000. If I'd spent that money at Starbucks, what would I have? If I made no changes, taxes and other costs of living would still go up, leaving me deeper and deeper in the hole at the end of 20 years.
Somehow, this way of looking at spending helped me see more clearly that the stuff which I was so reluctantly giving away or selling "dirt cheap" was in FACT costing me whatever dollars I saved when I got rid of the expense (storage fees or rental cost per square foot) or when it generated a few dollars. Whatever tiny amount it brought in, it was better than sitting there costing me money. Every bit of excess has a carrying charge. Putting actual dollar amounts on it helped me feel motivated to see change as less risky than stagnation.
Post by 60isolderthanithot on Oct 17, 2011 12:09:58 GMT -5
By the way, another related issue that made a difference was reminding myself what a good BUYER I was. Whatever that Precious Object was, and especially if that category of item had declined in value (remember Beanie Babies?), if I feel utter remorse six months later, chances are super high I can replace it more cheaply than what I paid to acquire it X-many years ago.
if I feel utter remorse six months later, chances are super high I can replace it more cheaply than what I paid to acquire it X-many years ago.
Ain't it the truth! Seems like every time I go to a thrift store, I see something exactly like one of the (many) treasures I have stored somewhere...and, worse, I am tempted to buy it because 1.) it is soooo cheap and 2.) I would have a replacement in case mine ever broke.
If you can find one just like it in a thrift store for almost nothing, can it really be a treasure???
Post by 60isolderthanithot on Oct 17, 2011 13:30:41 GMT -5
This is especially true of fad items and small junky things we use and rebuy over a lifetime. I've seen sewing machines for $7, with accessories. New Mr. Coffees for $2 at yard sales, with the tags still on them - duplicate wedding gifts. There are even lots of free things if you just wait for the end of semester.
Going completely broke had an up side: I'm not that tempted by very many things I KNOW I can practically get for free if I'm just a bit patient. The USA is especially afflicted with Affluenza. People throw away a LOT. So don't worry that tossing something today means you will never find it again. You WILL find it again if you really need to.
I saw something the other day that made me think of this thread/concept. This may sound like making fun, but it's not.
I was waiting in a drive-thru lane that is separated from an alley by a tall board fence, against which are the dumpsters for a small apartment house. A man and a woman were looking through the dumpsters. They were obviously a couple, it was a beautiful day, and they were having a nice time together. They also looked pretty hard-up.
So -- if someone finds something they can use or enjoy in my trash, then it costs them less than at the 2nd-hand store. Once we release something to the universe, we really can't predict where it's going to end up.
"if we don't need it today - we won't it need tomorrow" ~Meme
"We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.” ~Virginia Satir
~ There's no such thing as a little step ~ Never go to the kitchen empty-handed ~ Trash is trash ~ Amnesty rules ~ Defend your territory! ~ Time flies ~ Do it now
Post by creativechaos on Oct 30, 2011 3:35:19 GMT -5
great and thought-provoking thread! thanks for starting it, lioness, and providing so many good links. i now have this bookmarked so as not to "lose" it.
amnesty; geez, it's still hard for me to throw away a perfectly good thumb tack, nail, or screw! i have a looooooong way to go. today i tossed a favorite ripped turtleneck in a color i loved. it was physically painful, but i did it.
and now i am going to read the thread on 'sunk costs' to cure myself of THAT delusional thinking. thanks, people!
In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same. Albert Einstein