Possible to de-clutter and stockpile/ "recycle" items?
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    Registered User Ocean_Beach_Dweller's Avatar
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    Default Possible to de-clutter and stockpile/ "recycle" items?

    Not sure if this is the right place for this, because there is probably no right answer. I've been reading these boards for awhile and it's just something I noticed. I noticed many FVers talk about decluttering and there's all those tallies on people's signatures of items they've gotten rid of. But then i've also seen a lot of people who advocate saving things for later, such as stockpiling food or buying items at garage sales that may come in handy later or recycling old items such as turning old t-shirts into dish rags or saving grocery bags and old containers. Are these just two different FV philosophies or is it possible for somebody to do both? Just curious and am interested to see everyone's input.

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    Registered User mom2three's Avatar
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    For me, I have to say it's possible to do both. Many of us have stashes of stuff for hobbies or just plain paper clutter. With a decluttering mindset, I have tried not to bring anything else in the house except food during the last few months and have been slowly going through things. I have been able to donate things I no longer use and get rid of that broken stuff that really doesn't have a purpose as well as shred/file all kinds of paper clutter, read old magazines and books and donate them to the library. I have saved stained or special clothing to make either T-shirts or memory quilts as well as rag rugs and I have started to finish up unfinished projects. Slowly things are getting better. During that time we ate a lot out of our pantry or used up little used ingredients. However we did and do stockpile food during a good sale, I buy clothing ahead of when we need it, etc.

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    Registered User ms.mel.who's Avatar
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    Great idea for a post!!

    I gather and keep useful things, mostly "consumables." Like hand me downs, clothes, food, recycled gift bags, boxes for projects and shipping, plastic baggies for dog stuff, pasta jars for beans and rice storage, ect... If I start to get to many (more than I can keep neatly) I eliminate and keep the best.

    I try to eliminate things that seem to breed in my house. Like stuffed animals, that I do not buy and have no idea where they come from. Just went through a junk drawer and found a ziploc bag with "special" rocks my son collected, cute but clutter. The stuffities of it all is clutter.

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    Registered User Nada.Leona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ocean_Beach_Dweller View Post
    I noticed many FVers talk about decluttering and there's all those tallies on people's signatures of items they've gotten rid of. But then i've also seen a lot of people who advocate saving things for later, such as stockpiling food or buying items at garage sales that may come in handy later or recycling old items such as turning old t-shirts into dish rags or saving grocery bags and old containers.
    There's a couple veins here to discuss.

    1. Decluttering. The purpose for decluttering, at least for me, is two-part. For one thing, it's less crap I have to clean up and less crap I have to deal with in the run of the day. On the other hand, by decluttering the crap that you no longer need/want/use/like, you are ridding yourself for the things you do like. And it can be very different for everyone. For example, I have only two sets of bedsheets. Why? Because I see no reason for us to have more than that. We wash our sheets each week and put the fresh ones on. There only ever needs to be two sets per bed. On the other hand, I have copious amounts of yarn sitting in two old suitcases in my closet. Why? Because I am teaching myself to knit and I have many projects planned, so as I accumulate yarn, at yard sales mostly, I am able to just dive into my yarn and do my projects.

    You, on the other hand, may be the opposite -- you might have six sets of sheets because you like to change the decor of your bedroom every couple of weeks. And the only yarn you might own is a ball you use to tie up your cardboard on recycling days.

    Decluttering means different things to different people. I keep almost no knick-knacks, clothes that don't fit, items that are broken, etc. Other people might keep those things, for sentimental value, for upcycling, for repairs. It depends on the value of the item and what it's purpose is to you.

    2. Stockpiling. Here's where the grey area can get dark. There is a vast difference between stockpiling and hoarding. Stockpiling is when you save good items that have some value to you for use later. For most of us, this will include canned goods, perservatives, frozen items, etc. But it can also include paper products, cleaners, bathroom items, batteries, car or bike parts, etc. Pretty much anything that is saved to save you money later on is considered stockpiling. Hoarding, however, is saving EVERYTHING. Not just useful stuff, but junk, like piles of styrofoam trays, plastic bags, old toothbrushes, cardboard boxes, expired medications, empty packages, broken toys, etc. etc. etc. When you cannot turn around because you're afraid of knocking over a pile of junk, that is hoarding. It can readily consume someone's life and it's a very scary thing to see. I grew up with a friend whose parents were hoarders. Their house was always filthy and always full of garbage -- yellowing Archie comics, old magazines, clothes that didn't fit or look good. The mother slept on a couch in the diningroom, while the father slept on one in the livingroom. There was no door on the bathroom. There was no room to do anything, and it was just crammed solid full of STUFF. All the kids grew up in that world. My best friend would beg me to help her clean her room, because it was so overwhelming for her, and then she would cry as we did it because she didn't want to get rid of anything.

    The important thing, with regards to these two frugal philosophies, is to strike up a happy balance. You can go to one extreme or the other with both. You can stockpile til you have no room to breathe, or you can declutter til all you have is a mattress on the floor. It's all a matter of personal choice and comfort. In our home, this is how we do it.

    Stockpiling

    1. We only stockpile things that don't expire -- toothpaste, paper products, canned fruit, dry milk, batteries, cuts of meat. We don't stockpile fresh produce, dairy products, etc.

    2. We only stockpile things I can't make myself, or cannot make for cheaper -- we don't stockpile bread, breadcrumbs, cookies, pudding, sauces, granola, snack bars, etc.

    3. We only stockpile enough to get us through to the next sale -- cheese in our community goes down to $4.44/500g every couple of months. We don't eat a lot of cheese, so we buy two blocks of cheddar, and two blocks of mozzerella. I shred the mozzerella and freeze it, using it for cooking. The cheddar is eaten in sandwiches, as a snack, etc. And we buy that when it goes on sale. If it's not on sale, we normally don't buy it. Lean ground beef goes on sale here about once a month for $1.99/lb. We buy about $20 worth and section it off into consumable portions. If we run out before the month is over, we deal with it til then.

    4. We only stockpile certain items if we can get them for the right price -- I refuse to pay more than $0.25/roll for toilet paper. Why? Because I know I can get it for that price at the dollar store. Paper towels have to be under $0.50/roll. Chicken breasts, ground beef, pork chops, pork tenderloin and steak have to be under $1.99/lb. (unless it's organic).

    Decluttering

    1. I keep almost no doubles of anything -- we have one can opener, one ladle, one set of place mats, etc.

    2. I don't keep seasonal items -- we don't have special dish ware for the holidays, we don't keep party decorations, and we don't wrap presents in paper or bags (we give presents in reusable grocery bags instead). The only exception to this is Christmas tree decorations, and a nativity scene.

    3. I don't keep clothes that don't fit or I no longer like -- I constantly have a bag of "give away" going. Drives my DH crazy, but in the last 10 years, I can think of maybe 4 items I regret getting rid of.

    4. I don't keep books -- this is one most people would have trouble with. Most of us collect libraries that would take up a lot of room in our homes. I can see my bookshelf from here and I am currently in possession of... ...25 books (not including textbooks that I haven't decided on yet). For some folks, that's ridiculous. For others, they can't imagine having that few books. I don't buy books new -- I only buy books secondhand, at yard sales or thrift stores. And when I do, I read them and then decide if it's something I want to keep. Basically, if I write in it or highlight it, I am likely to keep it. On the other hand, if I don't, I donate it to the public library -- that way, if I do decide I want to read it again, I know where to find it -- for free!!

    5. I don't keep jewelry, makeup, shoes, or hair accessories I don't use -- I have my wedding rings, my watch, a few hair bandanas, and a pair of diamond stud earrings. Almost everything else has been donated to someone else. I keep a very minimal look and it makes it a lot easier (and my DH likes that I don't wear makeup).

    There's another vein that needs to be discussed in this topic, however, and that would be upcycling.

    3. Upcycling. Upcycling is when you take an item and use it to create an entirely new item. This can be seen in rag quilts, floor mats made of plastic bags, t-shirts made into diapers, etc. And here's where frugal folk get really creative. You wander through the blogworld and through the archieves at FV and you will come across some freaking brilliant upcycling. Using old pop cans to create heaters; cookie cutters made from tuna cans; shredded flyers become cat litter... the list goes on and on. And it's brilliant, inspiring, and amazing what some folks will come up with.

    The problem with upcycling is procrastination. You may say, "I'm going to make this bathmat out of wine corks". Great, good for you! You start stockpiling wine corks. But when you discover you only buy wine at Christmas and need about 75 bottles to make the bath mat, what happens then? You'd have to save wine corks for years, and never get around to making the bath mat. Then the wine corks are no longer being stockpiled -- they're being hoarded. And that's where the grey area gets mirky.

    So like I said, it's all about striking a balance and figuring out what it is you intend to do, and what your priorities are. And we're all guilty of not following our morals and rules to a tee -- I have two copies of "The Complete Tightwad Gazette". I have three different sets of pots and pans. I have the worst time giving away reusable plastic yogurt containers. DH is always after me for giving away something he didn't think we should give away. It's all about your own personal preference and attitude.

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    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~Wonderful reply Nada! Wish I could nominate it!
    I like to think of de-cluttering as a way to regularly evaluate how much we acquire, own and consume. I'm able to organize my home better by knowing what we have, how fast we go through things and what we're likely to acquire. And when it comes time to acquire something we've been wanting I know from my mental inventory what other stuff we should not buy while we're in the store. Going through your stuff at home often will totally kill your shopping urge! ~

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    Registered User mom2three's Avatar
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    I'd second that! Great thoughts Nada!

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    A lot of what Nada says applies to me too, by her definition, I'm a hoarder; but I'm not.

    I have the end of a business in my house: mostly boxes of books, but also boxes of papers, bookends, business equipment, etc. I am determined to get rid of this and not live with "goat trails" anymore, hence my large goal re flinging things.

    Yes, I have some emotional issues re getting rid of stuff, but mostly I just have a LOT of stuff to plow through and bad habits so the stuff doesn't get dealt with regularly.

    Re stockpiling: I stockpile shelf-stable food and nonperishables. I purge my pantry/stockpile about 2-3 times a year or more. For example, today I was looking for some vinegar I'd bought. In the process I found 4 bottles of salad dressing which I'd forgotten about as they were behind something else on the shelf. They got pulled down, two of them are in the new food pantry box (I donated one box last week) and the other two are in the pantry proper, so they'll get used. I stockpile: beans, peas, etc., pasta, dried onions and garlic, herbs, salad dressings, some canned foods we eat all the time (canned cream corn and chilis mostly), and some staples, but not regular flour. Because we lose power here about once a winter for up to two weeks, I try to have enough food that I can rehydrate or heat and eat without a lot of prep or cooking. But otherwise, I mostly cook from scratch and fresh ingredients. Aside from that, I'll have 3 tubes of toothpaste, 24 rolls of TP, an extra tube of neosporin, etc. in my backup HBA products. The HBA products have to fit either in the bathroom closet or in their designated bins, I have no room to store huge quantities.

    For me the stockpiling is for two things: 1) so that we have food to eat during a power outage and 2) to insure that we pay the least possible for the items we regularly buy that are shelf stable.

    Otherwise? I just have too much stuff!

    IHTH --

    Judi

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    I stockpile items that are on really good sales such as food, person hygiene items, computer paper, water filters, CFL's, etc.

    Decluttering for me involves getting rid of items that I have not used in years, no longer fits, items taking up much needed space and collecting dust.

    What is important for me is to be realistic on what should be stockpiled, decluttered, repurposed.

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    Registered User mombottoo's Avatar
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    I think it's possible to do both. You de-clutter by getting rid of things you no longer need...you stockpile or save items you will need.

    I re-use most plastic food containers to store food in or give to the grandkids to catch bugs. Once they have been reused enough I then recycle them. We use plastic store bags for trash can liners, which saves a small bundle.

    I throw out or pass on only stuff I know I won't need or use.
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    Registered User Thevail's Avatar
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    I think for me the line between de-clutter and stockpile is always balanced on being able to have a very clear idea of what I will actually use.

    I end up de-cluttering things that I once thought I'd use. Or that someone else thought I would.

    I end up stockpiling things that I know I will actually use.

    And that line wavers back and forth too. I thought I'd like quilting.. turns out.. not so much. Time to de-clutter all those little squares I once stockpiled.

    I try really hard to see de-cluttering something I once stockpiled as changing my mind (which is good and realistic) rather than having made a mistake (which is a negative idea).

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    For me it's a constant fluid process. I have a huge stockpile of food due to the instability of the economy. It is very convienent to have because I cook at home to save. It is frugal because it was purchased almost entirely w/ coupons and on sale. I watch exp. dates carefully and constantly give surplus to the food banks so I can be charitable.

    Personally I recycle plastic and glass containers and never keep them because I won't use them. So to me these are clutter. Better to put them in the bin. Also joined Costco and buy in larger quantity to save packaging in general.

    We also constantly give to Salvation A. because needs change as kids grow and interests shift. Because I am a constant G. Saler I have little personal attachment to specific things. Things come in,get used or get given away. If I buy something I thought someone would like and don't I simply redonate it.

    I say it's a fluid process because things are under constant evaluation. That how i keep as current as i can and avoid hoarding. that said i am overdue for another purge.

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    Registered User Paws's Avatar
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    Lately, I'm finding that I have to to ask myself if this is 'hoarding' or stockpiling' when I run across great buys, (loss leaders), that I keep in my pantry-(stockpile). I have quite a large stockpile/pantry for non-perishables, but not so large one for HBA's. So, I'm trying to slow down on the food pantry...
    I recycle regularly, and I also donate to charitable organizations every other week or month. I hate to admit it...but I REALLY need to de-clutter this house...and closets...

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    I do both, stockpile & get rid of stuff I no longer want. Man, I have to get back down to the basement. Now that it's clean(er) I'll be able to get to what I want to purge!

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    Registered User foxxyroxie's Avatar
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    As a 'recovered' hoarder... I know what the difference between stockpiling and hoarding is. I think the basis of hoarding is dealing with a loss or living without much earlier in life. Mine happened to be the loss of my parents... esp. my mom.

    My ex was a hoarder. And as a 'recovered' he and I went round-and-round on it. He'd have boxes and boxes of receipts and papers. He didn't know what they were, but he might need them someday. Well when the someday came, he had no clue what box to look for what he was looking for...UGH.

    Now as a single living alone, I can say that I am very much decluttered... 3/4 of the clutter in the apartment went to his apartment...LOL. I gave away what ex left behind, I give away what I no longer can wear or have use for. Broken but salvagable is evaluated as to if I can use it or it's freecycled if I cannot. I've been known to make purses and tote bags out of old jeans and tshirts so if they're cute or not stained, I decide whether I need 'em, otherwise they are off to some place else.

    Food products I don't really stockpile for hard times or emergency purposes. If it's a sale, I'll buy what I'll need till the next sale. That's it. I keep some canned goods, but I prefer frozen veggies, so I buy what I'll need when that goes on sale. Either way, I won't go hungry because either the other fresh, canned or frozen is on sale almost every week. If not, I go without.

    As far as HBA stuff, I keep about 8 rolls of TP, and usually an extra pkg/tube of everything else I use as I find it on sale. If I don't absolutely NEED it, it doesn't get bought till it's on sale. That includes HBA and food. It's just been my policy. I keep an eye on weekly sales at CVS and Walgreens... they have excellent deals on both food and HBA products.

    As I find something on an extaordinary clearance price, I'll buy and keep for future gift-giving or Christmas. As far as wrapping those gifts, I use newspapers, sales flyers from the newspaper or magazine pages. I try to pick something appropriate for the person and the comics pages are always appropriate. Christmas sales flyers get used for Christmas wrapping. I start right around Thanksgiving for those, and recycle what I don't use for gift wrapping.

    I live on a very strict budget and I still can stockpile... it's just a juggle of funds in an appropriate manner.

    I hope this helps someone.

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