Yet another reason to declutter

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Here’s a really good reason to start decluttering your house right now. Eventually, someday, you’re going to die. It’s unpleasant to think about, but it’s one of the only sure things about life- eventually, you’ll die. And when you do, someone you love is going to have to go through your stuff and decide what to keep and what to throw away.

why you should declutter

When they do, if you haven’t decluttered, they’re going to tee hee about the fact that you have 6 measuring tapes. They’re going to tee hee about your 50,000 peanut butter lids, and you won’t be around to defend it. Nobody will know why you have so many peanut butter lids, even if there was a really good reason.

You might say, “Well, I don’t care if they’re tee heeing about my peanut butter lids, Ivy, I’ll be dead.” And while that’s true, those 50,000 peanut butter lids will slow down the process of cleaning up, and your loved ones will have to be sunk down deep in cleaning all this stuff out for much longer than necessary. Truthfully, that makes your loved ones sad. They’re already going to be sad that you’re gone, don’t make the process of cleaning out any worse than it has to be.

home organizing tips

Click the picture for more tips!

Yes, Home-Eccers, I’ve been going through this for months now, cleaning out my late grandma’s stuff. Some ofย  it is absolute treasure. But a lot of it is 50,000 peanut butter lids and 6 measuring tapes. We’ve been cleaning out for months, now, and it is a hard thing to do. Harder than it has to be, because my grandma was a borderline hoarder. It makes me want to throw everything I own away, seriously. But it’s strengthening my resolve to not just declutter the main house, but my garage, attic, and all the hidden clutter I own. Because I not only don’t want my loved ones to have the burden of cleaning out my junk, but I also would prefer not to have them tee heeing about my 6 measuring tapes (I’m not even sure, honestly, that I owned even one before I inherited these from my granny).

Just another good reason to declutter your house.

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.



19 Comments

  1. Jersey on July 15, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Thanks for sharing Ivy. That is a very good point. My Great-Uncle passed away about 7 years ago, and me, my sister & BIL, and my Mom spent 14 months of weekends going back and forth to his very tiny row house in the suburbs of philly cleaning it out. Among the treasures, we ended up with 5,000 lbs of scrap metal, boxes my Aunt put up in the attic labeled, junk, just junk don't open, endless publisher clearing house sweepstakes, and checks dating back to 1960. We can look back at it now and laugh at the junk box and other things, but boy we weren't always laughing as the year went on.

    My Dad told my Uncle he would die before he would clean out his basement for him. Would you believe my father died one year exactly before my Uncle. Hmmm, I didn't think he was that serious about not cleaning out his junk.

  2. Morniel on March 9, 2010 at 8:17 am

    (well woops, I went over the letter count, sorry for posting two)

    With current economic conditions, I can certainly understand why people are once more "hoarding". It's the same thing, really. But you can avoid it. Keep what you know for a fact you need, and donate what you know for a fact you do not — because I guarantee you, if you can log onto the internet, you're a bit better off than someone else, who might be incredibly grateful to get your old clothes or children's toys or even your peanut butter lids.

  3. Morniel on March 9, 2010 at 8:16 am

    For the person who didn't understand why people hang on to stuff, particularly slightly older people — they grew up during the depression, or their parents did so, and you did not waste ANYTHING, at all, period. You couldn't, you didn't dare. Those peanutbutter lids? Yeah, pounded flat and nailed onto the roof of the chicken house because no one could afford shingles. Those jars and jars of buttons? Yeah, used to replace lost buttons, because you couldn't afford to run out and buy buttons. You didn't re-fit and re-furbish clothes for no reason, you did it because if you hadn't, you or your kids would have been naked. And when clothes were no longer capable of reuse, you cut them up and made quilts — did you really think patchwork quilts were something new? They're the ultimate in recycling.

    Later as things eased and people were able to purchase non necessities, they did tend to go overboard a bit, to compensate for the prior "absolutely nothing, and almost enough to eat" years.

  4. Bonnie on March 3, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    This decluttering is what has been on my mind for some time now. I keep too much stuff and am gradually emptying out, throwing away, giving away, etc. My dear husband, on the other hand, is the ultimate keeper-of-all-things. I finally pleaded with him and I think he’s beginning to see the light. Our double garage is a disgrace. His office space has a single-foot path into it, receipts from 1998 or older, the back basement is beyond description. These are his places of responsibility. I’m hoping this article will steer him to understand what I have been lovingly saying for quite some time. I think the thing that finally sunk in was when we went to an estate planner. That kind of made it “real” that we weren’t going to be around forever (smile).

    Love this site. So glad I found it.

  5. Jennifer K. on February 25, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Both of my grandparent’s recently passed away and let me tell you, I have nightmares thinking of the gigantic job it is going to be to clean out their house. As it is right now, my uncle inhereted the house and he’s as much, if not more, a packrat at they were, so for the time being the tradition continues.

  6. Angel on February 7, 2008 at 12:35 am

    I know this is a bit old but i thought i would comment anyway.
    Sharon has brought up a very important point. your junk OBSCURES your treasures. When my mom was cleaning out the attic of our childhood home. She basicly got fed up with all the junk she was finding, got tired of looking through box after box of just random junk i know alot of important or sentimental things got thrown out.

    My MIL said her mother is a hoarder, she said she thinks it has to do with the way they grew up.. people didn’t have as many things back then. You had to keep certain things and find a new use for them. Like people kept old clothes to make blankets out of, not because it was a thoughtful sentimental thing to do, but because it was cold in the winter.

  7. Super quickie! on January 21, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    […] Remember I wrote that my grandma had saved thousands of peanut butter lids? […]

  8. Printed Circuit Boards on January 14, 2008 at 2:54 am

    I am 36 years old and I can’t understand why old(er) people obsess with keeping everything. Do you think its a generation gap?

    If you look at the contemporary and minimalist styles of today. We like things clean and sleek. Compare them to the older styles where things are just so cumbersome.

    Maybe that’s how they grew up, with alot of stuff and alot knick-nacks. My dad tells me he’s uncomfortable when the room feels empty. He says it feels cold.

    While reading this post I can’t feel that its a generation thing. I don’t know many younger people who keep everything. In fact, they tend to throw almost everything away as quickly as possible.

  9. Princess Leia on January 11, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Even with months of decluttering and organizing at my parents house during some downtime between overseas and getting back to real life, I still practially have nightmares about trying to clean out and sell my parents’ house when they die…and they’re only 61 this year.

    We sent _truckloads_ to goodwill just of duplicate books, VHS tapes, and DVDs…not to mention a portion of their 5000 mugs (which they come by honestly as teachers – parents, give your kids’ teachers Starbucks (or other) giftcards, not mugs! They’ve got enough mugs already!!). We had an overflowing sleeping bag of all the clothes that we just threw out as we went through the piles of laundry – including baby socks from the un-matched sock collection (the youngest child was 18 years old at the time and none of us had kids yet).

    Ugh…cold shivers…their way of making more space in the house right now is to rent storage.

  10. Sharon on January 7, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Another thing to consider is that all your junk OBSCURES your treasures, and you run the risk of your survivors throwing out valuable or sentimental items along with the jar lids.
    Sorry for your loss.

  11. Carol on January 5, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Thanks for sharing Ivy. That is a very good point. My Great-Uncle passed away about 7 years ago, and me, my sister & BIL, and my Mom spent 14 months of weekends going back and forth to his very tiny row house in the suburbs of philly cleaning it out. Among the treasures, we ended up with 5,000 lbs of scrap metal, boxes my Aunt put up in the attic labeled, junk, just junk don’t open, endless publisher clearing house sweepstakes, and checks dating back to 1960. We can look back at it now and laugh at the junk box and other things, but boy we weren’t always laughing as the year went on.

    My Dad told my Uncle he would die before he would clean out his basement for him. Would you believe my father died one year exactly before my Uncle. Hmmm, I didn’t think he was that serious about not cleaning out his junk.

  12. Badbadivy on January 4, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Iโ€™ll toss anything but my peanut butter lids!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Alright, grandma, whatever you say. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Margo on January 4, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    I’ll toss anything but my peanut butter lids!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. rosie on January 4, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    So true! My husband and I took 7 months to clean out my Mom’s house when she died!

  15. Jasi on January 4, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Sorry Ivy.

    Our granny horded buttons. 3 dresser drawers, 2 kitchen drawers and a ton of jars in the linen closet. All buttons. Very sad.

    Hope your task is done soon.

  16. Kacie on January 3, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Sorry for your loss ๐Ÿ™

  17. Gayle on January 3, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Some people think that thinking of these things are morbid, but I think that thinking of these things (be it cleaning out your house, making a will, or doing a medical power of attorney) shows your loved ones how much you care about them. You care about them enough to thinkg of the “tough stuff” and make sure to make your passing (whether early or late) as easy as possible.

    Thank you for this post.

  18. The Chatty Housewife on January 3, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    My Grandmother also was a borderline hoarder. When we cleaned out her home, we found lots of little containers filled with lots of little things. It helps me to think of that when in my mind I think up uses for garbage and scraps and want to save them.

  19. Pam on January 3, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    OH BOY…can I relate….my step mom is 85 and still in pretty good health…we have been going thru her “stuff” for the last 6 months……I really have to bit my tongue when she wants to keep 6 red turtlenecks and 6 blue turtlenecks……and T-Shirts that she will NEVER wear again…..but then I say to myself……(I’m talking to myself alot lately) mind your own business and GO HOME and clean out your own closets…..drawers…..etc. I also have quit passing “stuff” on to my daughter without asking her first if it is something she really wants…..my dad has given me tons of stuff (crap)….recently and I just tell him thanks and take it to Salvation Army or Goodwill myself. I’ve made enough trips there that I could be considered and employee. God Bless, Pam, South Bend

Leave a Comment