THE IMPORTANCE OF DE-CLUTTERING IN MIDLIFE

De-cluttering your life now makes things easier for everyone in the years to come

PARENTS

When you reach a certain point in Midlife, you realize that you have become more sensible than your parents (at least that's what it feels like to me). You look at the decisions they're making in their old age and you shake your head wryly and look at your partner with raised eyebrows. You wonder to yourself - "What makes previously sensible people start making poor choices?"

A CASE IN POINT

For us this question has arisen in the last few years as my in-laws (in their late 80's) became less able to live on their acre block of land and needed to move somewhere smaller. It should have been a simple decision and a simple down-sizing move into a home that better catered to their needs as their mobility decreased.

The problems started to manifest when they looked at all the "clutter" (my word)/ "treasured possessions" (their words) that they've accumulated over the years. All those things that should have been discarded along the way, but were kept "just in case" they were needed later - or in case someone else in the family might need them.

ACCUMULATION

It's easy to accumulate possessions, to tuck things away in cupboards, to add another ornament to the display cabinet, to keep the old towels when you buy new ones, to push the old toaster to the back of the cupboard when it starts to burn the toast. Rather than making intentional choices about what's worth keeping and what should be discarded, everything is kept "just in case".

It's not hoarding - that's taking things to a whole new level (a very scary level!) but it still impinges on other choices you make. For my in-laws it meant that by not throwing anything out, they still needed a big house to store the extra lounge chairs, the old cupboards, the clutter of sixty years of married life. They packed every single item up and moved it to their new home and then had to unpack it and find somewhere to put it all.

Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor—it's anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.

THE END RESULT

My father-in-law passed away this year, 12 months after they finally moved house. My mother-in-law is left with a large house, an enormous amount of unwanted furniture and bric-a-brac and no desire to deal with the fall-out (understandably). Her reluctance to release all that "stuff" throughout life has resulted in a burden that is being passed on to her children to deal with. Not only do they have a bereft mother who cannot stay alone in a big house, they also have a houseful of unwanted possessions to dispose of.

I can see that we will have to have a "Make An Offer" garage sale at some stage in the near future - before we can begin to think about selling the house for her. She is going to have to decide on what tiny portion of all that detritus she wants to take with her to a much smaller home. So many things that will need to be thrown out and so much heartache for her as she realizes that nobody in the family wants any of it.

WHAT ABOUT US?

My husband and I are both minimalists by nature, we have more than we need, but we don't accumulate possessions. When we moved house we discarded the surplus and we keep de-cluttering as we go along. We know that our kids don't want any of our possessions. They have homes of their own; full of furniture and decor they've chosen themselves that suits their tastes. Very little of our stuff would interest them - other than a few keepsakes to remember us by.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful

We continue to de-clutter our lives - because we honestly believe that less stuff means less drama, less mess, less frivolous rubbish - just LESS. As the old saying goes, "less is more" - you make use of all that you have and enjoy it - our possessions don't own us - they are there to facilitate our lives and to add quality - not quantity. We aren't owned by our possessions - we can donate them or sell them without it being a wrench when the time comes to downsize. It gives us a sense of freedom and peace to know that our kids won't be facing the challenges we're going to have with sorting out my in-laws!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you a hoarder? Are you surrounded by more than you need and don't want to deal with deciding what to keep and what to throw away? Or are you realists like us - only keeping what you can use or what you love and sticking with the mantra that Less is More?


De-cluttering your life now makes things easier for everyone in the years to come

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66 comments

  1. This is so funny - yesterday I was reading about Dostadning or Swedish Death Cleaning. It's about gradually getting rid of your stuff - from midlife onwards. I addressed it with my parents when I was staying with them in Sydney the other week. OMG do they have some stuff!

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    1. My mum is gradually decreasing the stuff my dad left behind when he died - and she is well aware that she'll need to get rid of a pile of stuff when she downsizes in the future. The in-laws are a whole different story - sooooo much old junk that they should have turfed decades ago - and now it's dumped on us - grrrr!

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  2. Gosh...this is exactly what I'm going to have to deal with when my mom passes. I've tried to guilt her into getting rid of stuff but she'll have none of it. She puts so much importance into having "things" and I just don't get it.....ugh!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. My MIL is the same Jodie - it's not in my strata of understanding why you need to keep broken things or bits of stuff or keep adding lounge chairs to fill a room etc. It all has no value or ongoing use and becomes a headache when the time comes to downsize - why not accumulate it in the first place??!!

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  3. I wholeheartedly agree on the concept of de-cluttering, and I must say that being married to your son has probably contributed a lot to my views on the subject! I grew up in a family of sentimentalists, where everything was kept not so much "just in case" but because it meant something. I think this rubbed off on me so that when I met Jared, I was much more of a "keeper" than a "chucker". I have come to realise though that very often, the things I keep because of sentimentality I never look at or use anyway, so they may as well be thrown away! I have become much better at clearing the clutter now (with less of a "pang" in my heart as I do so) and I do appreciate the sense of cleansing it often gives me and the room/space it creates. That saying "less is more" really does apply in this case! xox

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    1. It's funny that both our kids mocked us for living without clutter, and yet both like having a clean and tidy house without lots of "stuff" everywhere. I think it has quite a soothing effect when you're not swamped with possessions - and it makes cleaning a lot easier too - less to dust and less to clean around! At least you'll only have one lot of parents to clean up after when we get old and have to move to the retirement home :)

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  4. I think this particular generation were hoarders, which came as a consequence of the Great Depression and two World Wars. My octogenarian parents are exactly the same. Recently my friends had to move their mother out of the family home and they bought in a huge skip to get rid of the clutter. It sounds ruthless but seriously no-one wants all the clutter. We have have to declutter our home to get it ready for sale and it's a very good feeling getting rid of the accumulated excess! #TeamLovinLife

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    1. They all use the war and the Depression as their underlying reason for keeping stuff - but at the same time, that was from their very young days and I don't think you need to hold onto habits for 70 years - we're all capable of change and they've had plenty of time to see that you don't need 3 toasters (2 of which burn the toast!) I think there will be skip bin involved in my MIL's move and that's a pretty sad end for all those years of hoarding clutter (junk!)

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  5. I have hoarder potential. I used to collect things as my parents had. Every holiday I brought back a mythological god ornament and a cat. Have swapped that for something consumable over the last few years. My mother collects teapots, bells, ornamental boots, toby jugs...my father was worse. If he found a toilet on a building site he would bring it home in case we ever needed one. When he passed away we were so shocked. He had kept TWENTY YEARS worth of newspapers. They were in bundles all over the house in cupboards and spare rooms. Anyway, this is a very useful reminder.

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    1. Good grief! 20 years of newspapers makes my eye twitch AJ! My parents are collectors and my mum has had to dispose of all my father's collections in the last couple of years since he died - soooo much pressure trying to find people who want to pay what he paid (or more) and sending things off to be auctioned or attending collectors fairs to sell it all. I will never do that to my husband or to my children - stuff is stuff - even when you call it something else - and a small, well curated collection can bring joy - but an accumulation of stuff just brings headaches in old age!

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  6. I'm definitely not a hoarder Leanne, although I do have a tendency to hold onto some things for sentimental reasons, and also because I'm not yet a grandma, and I wonder if perhaps my boys might like them for their own kids one day. I think having moved house several times in my adult life, not to mention moving across the country twice, and then moving two houses into one a few years ago, has been a great reason to let go and keep "stuff" to a minimum. I think if Richard had moved into my place, rather than me move into his, it would have been a whole different kettle of fish!! Having said that though, a couple of years ago he read The LifeChanging Method of Tidying Up and embraced the KonMari method of decluttering in his wardrobe. Unfortunately just not in the shed. Yet!! If we ever have to move house, that will be where we come unstuck!!

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    1. I kept one or two things from my kids childhoods Sue but neither of them wanted all the school memories that my husband kept for them - and they threw out their carefully collected school reports. That just reiniforced to me that the next generation is even less sentimental than ours and they will just toss it all in the skip bin when it's time. I would like to think that we can choose intentionally what to keep and let the rest go - to not fill our houses with so much stuff that we struggle to find cupboard and floor space - not healthy at all!

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  7. My parents recently moved in with my brother's family and had to clear a whole lot of their belongings. My recent trip to Ohio included making room in the car in order to bring my share of the loot home. I was anticipating much more than what Mom had set aside for me but it wasn't as much as I thought. It all fit in the car perfectly. The most treasured item is my grandmother's rocking chair. There's nothing spectacular about it except that it was hers, and now it's mine. The color of the cushions matches the decor of the room I put it in so I guess it was meant to be mine now!

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    1. I think it's lovely that you have a chair that brings memories and is useful (and co-ordinated!) It's not about throwing out every memory or every ornament or every collectible. I think it's about choosing what to keep and discarding surplus regularly - donate it or sell it or bin it - just don't keep stashing it away!

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  8. Purge. Purge. Purge. It's my mantra. And I hate shopping, which doesn't add. Now Husby, on the other hand . . .

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    1. I love it when the store catalogues come in the mail Diane - the pleasure of browsing through them and then deciding that I don't need any of it because I have enough brings me a lot of joy. The idea of buying for the sake of buying really turns me off.

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  9. So true and we just have to find the time and energy to do it, as we just downsized my mother in law for the second time. No one wanted her stuff not even the stuff she saved for others. It was beyond sad and now part of her stuff resides in our house. A lot went to charity or was just disposed of. I don’t want our son to go through that.

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    1. I look at all that my in-laws have stashed away in every available space and I shudder at any of it coming into our home Alana. Everything we own has a memory or a purpose to it and I don't need other people's stuff to fill up the space. I like the idea of a special reminder or a keepsake, but a houseful to the ceiling of old stuff just makes me shudder.

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  10. I agree with you, Leanne, that less stuff, less to clean or to maintain. I do regular checks to toss out what no longer works.

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    1. Dusting it all and re-arranging it to fit in even more stuff just puzzles me Natalie. Why create work for yourself? We toss out a lot and donate stuff or pass it on - nobody needs 18 sets of towels or three lounge suites or two broken kettles or....

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  11. We move every couple of years due to hubby in the military. We try to keep things to a minimum because of this. Each move is purge time.

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    1. As much as moving house is a chore and quite stressful it does give you the chance to purge all the build up. I sometimes think we should move more often - it would be an excuse to throw out the coffee cups that seem to breed in my cupboard (that my husband thinks are important to keep!)

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  12. Hi Leanne, we are minimalists although I do admit to keeping a few (very few) sentimental items from my Mum and grandparents. We have the job of clearing all of my in-laws house and I think my MIL has kept every piece of wrapping paper and gift she received. There is SO MUCH STUFF even appliances etc that have never been used. It can be very overwhelming but it is certainly a constant reminder to me not to have more than I really need. We are working through room by room. As an aside, I also don't want my children in the future to have to do this when I'm gone.

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    1. I feel your pain Sue - the wrapping paper thing was something that generation always did - even when paper became so cheap. My MIL is busy offering her breadmaker and her juicer (both 20+ years old) and wondering why nobody in the family is joyfully accepting them. A lovely keepsake or two is great - something special to remind us of loved ones, but decades of old junk that they refused to throw out (and in my in-laws' case, actually packed into boxes and moved to their next house!) is just rubbish that is then left for the children to deal with - it makes me very grateful that I'm a minimalist too x

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  13. I want to declutter. Husband, not so much. It's a battle. Hard becoming a minimalist when the rest of the clan don't want to part ways with their stuff. I'll keep chipping away ...
    #teamlovinlife

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    1. I think we all need to move house every 10 years Leanne - it almost forces you to toss stuff out or donate it (rather than wrap it and pack it and then have to unpack it at the other end). I've never understood people who move boxes of stuff and then never get around to unpacking it for years - if you don't need it then get rid of it!

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  14. Hi Leanne,
    If it's not nailed down, I'll happily dispose of it. There's no clutter in my home, never has been. Even my junk drawer is organized. I can't say the same about relatives of mine and, since I'm executor for several of them, I know I have more decluttering in my future. I wrote a post about Swedish death cleaning several months ago and a few of those relatives read it, but I fear that's as far as it went.
    Good for you, Leanne, for keeping a clutter-free home. As one lawyer said when I researched for the death cleaning post - I don't know if a single elderly person whose death wasn't accompanied by at least one Dumpster full of stuff that nobody wanted. May we be two of the people who will prove the lawyer wrong!

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    1. It horrifies me to think of the waste and the landfill from people who piled up stuff they didn't need and then left it for others to deal with. If you intentionally don't accumulate stuff you don't need, and pass your surplus on to others who do need it, then it's an environmental benefit too. I wonder how many thousands of Skip bins are filled every year by the children of older parents who refused to let anything go "in case it comes in handy"?

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  15. My girl friends and I talk about this all the time. One friend says she knows her boys will tip the house and dump everything into a dumpster! I read your first paragraph and laughed to myself because I realize my son is feeling the same about his father and I. Not that we have too much junk but that his parents are getting old and not necessarily make wise decision, similar to the way we feel about our parents!

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    1. It's a Catch 22 isn't it Robin - you want to have nice things, but you know that the next generation doesn't want your stuff because their taste is different, they have good incomes and aren't waiting for the family estate to furnish their homes (they'd be waiting a long time if they were!) I know my kids don't want a single thing of ours and we feel the same way about both sets of parents. It's about taking responsibility and not dumping it on your children when it all gets too hard later in life.

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  16. Leanne,
    I'm more of a minimalist and my husband is more of a collector and keeper. This creates a good balance for us. I've kept memories boxes for each of my children for things that may interest their significant others or children at a future date. They are well contained and I know exactly where they are - for when they are ready to move out and get settled.

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    1. I found it really interesting that my husband kept a box each for our children of all their special school projects and artwork and I kept all their report cards. A couple of years ago when they were down for Christmas with their spouses, we gave it to them - neither wanted it and they were happy to go through their boxes and have a laugh but then just tossed the lot in the bin (report cards included). It really opened my eyes to the fact that the next generation is even less sentimental than we are - so keeping stuff for the sake of it and thinking you'll pass the "heirlooms" down into caring hands is almost delusional these days.

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  17. We are in the process of moving to a bigger home, which seems crazy because we are empty nesters. We already downsized a LOT and got rid of 2/3 of our stuff. We realized though that we downsized too much. We have no room when our family comes to visit or room for holidays or rooms for friends to join us for a basketball game. I want the same stuff I have now in a bigger house. I don't want to get a bunch more stuff! My exception is my books. I just can't get rid of them. My husband has an addiction to his National Geographic magazines. Our value of reading comes through in our stuff!

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    1. I know what you mean about visitors and adult kids staying Michele. We moved to a bigger house and it is perfect when we have visitors. Several rooms are repurposed for other things when there's only us home. But! I make sure that I don't use them as a holding depot for all the stuff we don't have a use for. If we don't need it then it gets donated. I'm thinking it's time to sort through stuff again and do another purge - and I have no intention of adding the in-laws junk into the mix!

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  18. been there done that - my parents were verging on hoarders - two storey house getting frail - get sandra in there , she doesnt do anything so sandra and her daughter go over to NZ and I kid you not - it took us 2 months working every day to declutter so I could move them to a smaller house and then when Mum died and dad had to move into a home I did it again taking only a month this time. and I have to say it was confronting to be the person making the decisions about what went and where and what stayed , because there were many times when I did the wrong thing and sensibilites were offended but what to do - it all has to go.the sad thing is as you have found there is not a lot of interest for their things. I am always working on the decluttering process and have begun moving my books on - we are not collectors but still it comes and it comes ...

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    1. Wow Sandra! You deserve a medal! The travel and the task and then repeating it all again makes my stomach churn just thinking about it! Good on you for stepping up - but I know it would have been an ordeal and a half - especially when something gets thrown out that shouldn't have been etc. Why people don't take responsibility for their decisions and deal with consequences themselves (rather than dropping it onto their children) is beyond me. And good on you for not continuing the trend - but you're right, stuff still tends to accumulate - vigilance is the key :)

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  19. As a Realtor we see this kind of thing all the time and shake our heads. Yet, we are guilty of it ourselves. I think it's because we get sentimental about stuff. We also get blind to it. It helps to have someone else deal with it. The tricky thing is sorting the truly worthy from the semi worthless. There is often a very fine line.

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    1. I think we all want to offload the tough jobs to others Heather, but it's so unfair on the family when someone has refused to make decisions and do the hard work through life and then expects others to step in and deal with it. The house my MIL is in atm would be a realtor's nightmare - it screams "old lady decor" and is dark and cluttered - hopefully a buyer will be able to look beyond the clutter but the price she'll get for the house sale is definitely going to be reduced because of it.

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  20. I have had a good chuckle reading this one. Leanne has been on my back to declutter for years. My husband had been an addicted collector for most of our married life. The whole top floor of our home was a virtual museum. War memorabilia, old cameras, whiskey water jugs, helmets, army uniforms, bayonets, cigarette lighters, pictures on every wall (two deep) requiring special metal runners around the cornices to hang them from. He also had hundreds of books in every room upstairs, including the bathroom! With Leanne’s words echoing in my head, I would head up stairs with good intentions to start the process of disposing of this overwhelming collection, only to shake my head and return downstairs not knowing where to start.
    Finally I bit the bullet and had a couple of his fellow collectors send most of it off to auctions in the eastern states. Meanwhile I have been attending militaria collector fairs four times a year to sell the books and other bits and bobs still cluttering the garage.
    A bit of his collecting has rubbed off on me, so Leanne is still on my case to declutter. In my case, it is finding the energy and inclination to get to and just do it. I am a work in progress. I am trying. Leanne would say I am very trying!

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    1. Actually I'd say you've done an amazing job at getting rid of it all in a way that respected the value of what was collectable and not just tossing it all out. It has been a huge undertaking for you (with the benefit of knowledge and experienced fellow collectors to help) imagine what it would be like if it fell to the kids to try to sort out!
      Also you know that you will need to downsize eventually and that will be the time to take the next step in reducing the amount of possessions (and clearing the bedroom closet!) The problem with the in-laws is they packed it all and moved it with them, rather than biting the bullet and culling the majority of it. The HUGE amount that was packed, moved and unpacked - that will now need to be sorted, binned or donated makes my head spin. Handing off the responsibility to your adult children who already have enough on their plates is really irresponsible.
      So, you've done well and you can enjoy the fruit of your labour as you go upstairs and see the fresh paint and don't have to look at all the stuff you need to deal with any more. Well done! xx

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  21. I'm not a hoarder although I may live with someone who has those tendencies. We got rid of so much in our recent move but we still have too much stuff so it is an ongoing process. I hate the idea of leaving stuff behind for others to deal with :-(

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    1. I think moving house is the best excuse for a good cull of all the unwanted stuff Jan. We haven't moved very often, but each time we got rid of a lot of stuff out of cupboards etc. I think I might pretend to move soon and start doing a bit of a Spring clean and some donating.

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  22. My late husband was a hoarder and it took me a full year and 7 dumpsters, untold numbers of trash bags and bins full of recycling, donations and give aways to clean up his hoard after he died. Trash and treasure was mixed together indiscriminately, so everything had to be sorted meticulously.
    I've gone through various phases of minimalism (although not always by choice, exactly) and build-ups of stuff in my life so far. Since having some relatives pass (and inheriting their stuff), my place is getting cluttered up again. One of my first post-retirement projects will be to do a room-by-room savage decluttering/reorganizing, to get back to where I want things to be. I definitely don't want to leave my kids a mess to sort through...

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    1. My mum would relate to what you had to deal with Deb - but SEVEN dumpsters is beyond belief! I think most of us could fill one if we set our minds to it but seven is unreal! I'm hoping not to inherit anything but money from my relatives - it takes up less room than furniture :)

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  23. This is very relevant Leanne, and I wish it was dealt with sooner rather than later. We too have more than we need and I am trying to declutter s we go. Great advice and written with empathy.

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    1. I find it hard to understand that you would deliberately avoid doing something and then expect other people to fix the problem - the whole point of being an adult is that you deal with the consequences of your decisions - I'm not sure when getting older became an excuse to abdicate that responsibility?

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  24. Loved this post! I am with you 100%. Sometimes I do get rid of something we need, but it's worth it not to have clutter! I can breathe and feel peace when I am not surrounded by clutter. Less is more!

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    1. I've thrown out a few things that I could have re-used down the track - but I've never missed them enough to have wanted to store them indefinitely "just in case" - I'd rather beg or borrow something to use rather than hold onto it long term.

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  25. My husband and I always have a "Good Will" box in the garage and put things in it constantly. I agree less is more. We don't want to leave our children with a mess to go through some day. This is very sound advice for everyone! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. I like the idea of a goodwill box tucked away waiting to be filled - I think I'll steal his idea and start one of my own. There's a few cupboards I'm itching to clean out and having a box ready and waiting will make it even easier!

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  26. I've never liked clutter, but my mother's the opposite. Her larder and freezer could last her entire street for months.

    She had termites at her place a year or two ago and had to clear out the spare room that held all of her photos and our childhood memorabilia. She gave us some photos but I think it was confronting for her to realise we might not want / need stuff. My SIL would scan it into the computer and ditch it anyway. And I have no offspring so no one is gonna want my stuff anyway. It reminded me that I too should just ditch photos, report cards and things I have / had that I don't use / look at and just keep for the sake of it.

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    1. I wonder the same thing Deb - if my kids don't want their own keepsakes, then why would they want mine? I have report cards and other little bits and pieces from my younger days - not much, but a few things and it makes me sad that nobody besides me is interested in them. Mind you, they'll be easier to throw out than a houseful of stuff will be - and when I think about the in-laws stuff I start to have palpitations!

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  27. Upon my grandma's death (2008) I was there when my mom and her siblings were going through things, and she had put little labels on most items, usually with the name of the person who gave it to her. It taught me that physical gifts are often useless in the end.

    When I think of things my parents have collected, I truly believe most of it is useful, with the exception of mementos from their time overseas - a couple large pieces of carved wood furniture, some Chinese art. Of course, they've been gradually trying to get each of us kids to take our childhood mementos back, so it's at our discretion whether to keep the memories.

    Personally, I have found that moving to a new country every couple years is a great way to ensure I only keep what I truly need or treasure!

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    1. I think moving makes culling a lot easier Red - you don't want to pack it and transport it and then unpack it if it's completely useless and gives you no pleasure. I'm amazed at the stuff my MIL packed and moved to their new house - and now it's all going to have to be re-sorted and then tossed out - what a hassle!
      There'll be no name tags on any of my stuff - it will be getting substantially reduced by the time I'm really "old" and then it will be a simple task for the family to dispose of when my time comes!

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  28. Oh my gosh, Leanne, judging by the amount of comments, this really strikes a nerve! I married a wonderful man 5 years ago who saves everything. He is getting better, but he does come from a family of hoarders. Hubby was a master carpenter by trade and always brings home wood for "future" projects. He spends all summer windsurfing, when will he find the time?? He has collected a few surfboards and sails, too and I just give him the stink-eye about it! Myself, I can throw away or give things to charity in a heartbeat. 30 years of living in a small house helps that ideal. As a child we did not have a lot of stuff (although the Barbie collection my mom threw away when I moved out for college would have been worth a lot of $$ now). I am sorry to read about your situation that seems to be all too common, my father included. Not him, but his wife who saves EVERYTHING! And he or anyone else can't talk to her about it, she refuses to listen. My dad is 15 years older than she and will likely pass first leaving her with all of that. A very timely post for all of us to read and probably prepare for, Leanne!

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    1. I think a lot of us who aren't collectors or keepers look at those who hoard so much stuff and just shake our heads. I always believe in live and let live - if you want to stuff your house full of stuff then all praise to you. The problems arise when those who choose to do that then have old age or ill health descend on them and they throw their hands in the air and dump the responsibility of dealing with it all on their family (usually the non-hoarders!) Having to decide what's worth keeping and what's rubbish is really hard - knowing you're tossing out someone's life of accumulation is quite confronting. My opinion is to deal with your own stuff and don't leave it to your poor children!

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  29. I'm definitely not a hoarder and all I have to do is visit a home full of clutter and I'm driven to unload even more of my stuff. It seems like every other month I do a sweep of my home and cart off more stuff to the thrift shops. As I've gotten older, I no longer feel the need to buy every cute thing I see. I'm actually thinking seriously of moving into a smaller home and so I will be doing a fair amount of purging as the months go on. My own mom, who's 93 is a collector only because she has severe short-term memory problems and can never remember what she just bought. So, my sister and I go over to her house regularly to de-clutter. It's not a big deal, cuz, frankly, my mom can't remember what she has tucked away in her house. I'm luckier than most people that I live alone and don't have to contend with a partner's collecting habit!

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    1. I chuckled when I thought of your mum buying and you tossing and her buying and you tossing and so on and on.... At least her feelings aren't hurt when you get rid of it. I dread the look on my MIL's face when she sees a lifetime of gathering "stuff" get thrown away because nobody wants any of it. She keeps trying to give it to the family because she can't accept that it's of no value - really sad for everyone and a lot of pressure to take stuff you don't want.
      I am proud of our minimalism and I don't want to have to deal with the overflow of other people's need to accumulate "stuff" - just throw it out for pity's sake!

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  30. This is such a hard topic for me because hubby is a borderline hoarder. Even having to deal with his parents completely full 6 bedroom house after they passed away, which took us (me, mostly) 4 months to sort through. That experience doesn't sway him. Even downsizing houses hasn't helped that much....things are now just piled higher. I have decluttered a lot and still could do more, but it feels like a drop in the bucket with his stuff filling the basement, attic, and garage completely. I've talked with him about it and made no head-way. It's an attitude/belief that cannot be changed.

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    1. Oh Pat I feel your pain all the way to Australia! What a dilemma and I totally get the fact that you can't just chuck out his stuff because it's important to him to have it all. You might be like the Widow Badass and have seven dumpster loads to throw away if he dies before you - a scary thought indeed! Hopefully he'll decide to dispose of some of it when it starts to overflow the basement and attic!

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  31. Great post, Leanne! We are starting to de-clutter ourselves as the following generation to the "keepers". We moved hubby's mom to an assisted living a couple of years ago, she was very neat and organized, but had tons of stuff! We had an estate sale with a company that came in and tagged and supervised everything, which was worth the fee; sure there were lovely antiques, but we have no room or love for them. We took just one or two things that were special, like handmade quilts and a couple of useful kitchen cookware items--her assisted living unit still has too much stuff though. My mom left nothing, her mental illness made her bored easily so she was always throwing things out because even the basics "got on her nerves", which ended up being a good thing. My older daughter is 27 and a minimalist, just the basics and clean design for her and her husband, which is good. She doesn't even want old family pictures when we are gone, too much to store away, she will just look at whatever digital exists online. I do like old family photographs since I did not know many of my relatives, it's all that I have. We only have a few boxes in the attic, but even that could be cut in half, we do park two cars in the garage, so good there. Closets are always waiting to be purged. I would not want to dump our junk or ourselves onto our daughters, thanks again for a great post!
    Lori Jo - 50 With Flair
    www.50withflair.com

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    1. We seem to be the generation caught somewhere between the keepers and the chuckers Lori Jo. I think we still appreciate keepsakes and special items but our kids don't want any of it - they are like your daughter with the idea that it should be online and not in boxes. The other end of the spectrum seems to be our parents who thought that everything should be kept for a rainy day - and that is just ridiculous after 50+ years!
      It gets to the point where you almost wish for a natural disaster to take it all away and save the pain of having to deal with it! I am really tired of the idea that you can get old and throw your hands in the air and expect your children to fix the problem you created - your junk so you deal with it is my motto (shame it doesn't work that way with the parents' generation!) I will now be doing that to our children - and I hope they're extremely thankful :)

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  32. Leanne I so wish husband and I were like you and your husband. We are both pack rats and I work diligently on getting rid of my things, though I keep buying more so it is a wasted effort. Husband parts with nothing. lol

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    1. My husband and I are definitely at the other end of the spectrum Victoria - I used to worry that we wouldn't have much to pass on to the kids - now that I've seen them throw their childhood keepsakes in the bin, I'm not worried about there not being much for them to deal with when it's our turn to go into care or whatever. Good luck with all your stuff - there's still time to sort it in the years ahead I'm sure xx

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  33. I would rather dispose of my things where I want them to go, than for my family to discard them just anywhere. I receive the joy of knowing they will be put to good use elsewhere, or if not useful, make my life easier without them. Thanks for sharing at Over the Moon.

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    1. That's exactly how I feel Aletha - and I don't understand how my MIL cannot see that all her stuff will be binned - rather than having been given away throughout her life to people who might have appreciated it or found a use for it - very sad!

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If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com