De-stuffing for the stuff-intensive lifestyle?
February 19, 2014 12:04 PM Subscribe
I have a lot of stuff and desperately need to declutter. But I'm also a crafter, a DIY-type and a mom to small kids, which means I have lots of quasi-legitimate reasons to hold onto Stuff. Given that all
these objects are potentially useful, what algorithms can I use to distinguish between "useful, but toss" and "useful, so keep"?
posted by Bardolph to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I've read, for instance, that you should put things in a box for six months, then toss the box, or throw out anything in your closet that hasn't been worn for at least a year... on the principle, I guess, that if you haven't used it by then, you never will. It's hard to get cognitively on board with that kind of slash-and-burn-style destashing, though, because I regularly do find myself using random things I squirreled away a few years ago. I go to throw out a pile of old clothes/craft supplies/whatever, and remember how last month I made my daughter a beloved twirly skirt out of an old high-school dress of mine. Or how we did a random, fun knitting afternoon using a bunch of old knitting supplies I had lying around from college. Or how I saw a cool tomato-watering trick using half-buried soup cans, then realized that I'd just tossed a bunch of perfectly good empty cans the day before.
I follow blogs with posts like "Ten fun toddler math activities using things you find around the house" (hello, old macaroni from five years ago before we started eating low-carb!). I have small children who constantly cycle through toys, who enjoy creative play with odd objects, who need homemade Halloween costumes and class craft projects and birthday presents for relatives. In my daily life, I have ten thousand maddening pieces of Stuff, but also thousands of unexpected and emotionally compelling needs for that Stuff.
Thus, the question: given that I cannot go cold turkey on Stuff, but instead need to maintain a fairly robust ongoing relationship with material things, what hard-and-fast rules can I use to nonetheless rein in the rising tide of someday-making supplies? I'm pretty indecisive and probably have mild hoarder tendencies, so I need a robust sorting algorithm that will prune away the unlikely-to-be-ever-used stuff from the items with genuine potential, ideally without the need for a lot of deliberation and willpower-intensive decisionmaking on my part. Organization-minded upcyclers of MeFi, what has worked for you?