26 Apr 2013

Keep It or Throw It

I didn’t intend to write today… but I feel inspired to ask you a few questions…

You know that I am packing up a flat in London and moving… I should be sorting out the cupboards… deciding what stays in London and what goes to France… Yes… I should be… and I am… sort of…

I keep stopping and starting because I can’t decide what to keep and what to throw… It begs the question… How did I end up with so much stuff?

Stuff is the right word here because I am not talking priceless antiques… I mean the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life… I seem to have kept every magazine, every brochure… every play ticket.. restaurant card.. old tee shirt, worn out gym shoes and miss matched china that I have ever had in my possession…

Actually it isn’t just me… it’s the husband and the children too…

I thought we weren’t hoarders… I have had a rude shock… we are the very definition of hoarders… and what is really ridiculous is that I am struggling to part with it… Although I must say I am far more prolific at the throwout than the others…

Sharon made a very good observation on my last post… if you don’t use it don’t store it… it either stays or it goes… This is wisdom… but can I abide by it?

I want to I really, really do.. but there is a little part of me that says, ‘box it up.. label it, France… and send it down to the shed’… I do realise that all I will be doing is stalling a decision… it is clear that if I don’t know now… I won’t know in a few weeks… But… What it does mean is that I can leave it in the shed for as long as I like and pretend it isn’t there… at least until Gérard, the farm manager, needs the space for equipment…

For someone who thought they were Miss Streamlined… For a women who knows what she wants and keeps only that… I am letting the side down…

Tell me… am I alone in not letting go?… Has the ruthless ever deserted you? Can you toss away with gay abandon? I am excited for a new London project… I am ready… more renovation, a new look… all of that… but yet…

Let’s chat… xv

 Maybe I need to buy myself some very smart storage boxes… At least my leftovers would look fabulous…

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113 Comments

Karen

I have been taking things to auction over the last three years. When I was talking to my dearest friend who is definitely a hoarder, she and I were amazed that I couldn’t remember what I had sold. I have probably sold some things that I wish I still had, but that is life. Just like shopping, I have walked by a few things that I wish I had bought and I have left a lot of things that I do not need. If you don’t love it than leave it. It somehow makes way for better quality in your life. Good luck, it really is a hard job.
Karen

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Vicki

Yes.. I am finding things I had forgotten… and the truth is I didn’t miss them!

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pve

I keep telling my dear darling husband he would be very wise to start a company with his keen eye for space and storage. He is able to reign clutter and live minimally. I think objects tell a story, they are history and weigh us down from moving forward. We have been reducing and it feels so fresh.
I say let it go and follow your intuition. Think of the future.
pve

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Shelley

Vicky..I have been thinking the same thing…I am going through the exact situation. Am in France often and bought fabulous things I keep storing..how do you let them go

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Barbara Lilian

Oh Vicki this takes me way back to when we moved to France from England, you have my sympathy. I must admit I was ruthless even with clothing, shoes etc. But if you have the space in your shed, then I’d store things in labelled boxes and take them with you, ‘Gerard’ can always find somewhere else to store the equipment ha! ha! Good Luck.

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Victoria

I feel your pain! I had a friend help me purge once when I was spring cleaning. Every time I was in doubt over an item he would hold it up and ask “Would you pay a mover to move this?”. It was a very relative question as my parents had just paid $30,000 to move! It really helped put the item in perspective for me. Good luck!

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Vicki

Yes.. that question is at the back of my mind… as it is costly… and sometimes in the past when I have opened boxes… I have really wondered what on earth I was thinking!

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katie

Keep only the items that make up who you are, not that fill up who you are.

Behold and purchase only what is love. Toss anything else that is not refined in a nostalgique, precious way to you. If you look at an item and your soul immediately says “Yes!”, Keep. If you look at an item and hesitate for more than 2 seconds, it’s time to hand it down, donate it, and give it someone else’s Yes.

It’s not easy, but it could be a defining moment as well.
One year ago I did a major move and had to do the same thing.
Everything I kept, is strongly, Yes.

Good luck, Vicki!
Katie

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Vicki

I love your step logic Katie… Thank you… from now on I am all about the , ‘yes’… xv

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Karen in CT

.. I am with you 100% .. being able to give our hearts to those things that hold “special charm” has consequences. I am sorting for a big move myself and doing the same thing.

Luckily, I have done this once before so I’m not starting from scratch. I have a storage unit and over 10 years have slowly parted with so many things. For me, only time will tell what goes and what stays. We continue to work it down, slowly.

I wonder at people who can just “toss” .. to me they are like people who have no attachments to pets. I just can’t understand.

Good luck … you have emotional company here.

Karen in CT

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Shari

this is hard because my thought process is ‘i don’t want to have to buy it twice’. I also save tons of memorabilia, that i like to THINK i have a plan for. If it helps, i ran across a quote today attributed to Buddha “The trouble is, you think you have time”.

Maybe that will bring back the Ruthless!!!!

good luck, love your blog/pics French Essence :-)

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Vicki

I do think I have time! Gosh I hope so… but I do know there is never enough… :) xv

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Emily

Hello,
We were looking at our family budget and realized we were throwing away money $2,000.00 a month on storage fees that could be used for travel or daily expenses by storing things we could not make a decision on. We had three large storage areas, it was ridiculous. So I had all the contents brought to my house and put in my garage. It was daunting. There were things I had not seen for 10 years. I realized I had replaced some of the things because I did not realize I owned the same thing because it was in storage. I am a sentimentalist, but that boarders on being a hoarder. SO I bought 8 large plastic bins and decided each person in our family would get 2 bins, everything else from storage goes. Goes where? Well I feel if we give from our hearts we receive. I searched out homes for abused women and children to give/ donate my things to. I feel good about it because I know they need basic household necessities and what they don’t need they sell and use the monies for thier cause. Everyone has a cause they are partial to, it could be a society for animal preservation,d or a kidney foundation, or a breat cancer foundation, that could use your donations. Last but not least there is ebay. If you do not have time to list an item, at least in the US there are centers that you can drop off your items and they do all the listing and selling and they send you a check when they are done. I had a real hard time parting with some things, I took lots of pictures of things, but I felt lots better, lighter and spiritually more free, the more things is let go of. Do not try to do it yourself, get the family to help because it is impossible to make a decision on your husbands or children’s things, it is their memories let them release them on their own. I hope this helps. I am still going through the process. Good luck.
Emily
Dallas,Texas

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Vicki

Thank you… this is wonderful logic… nd such a brilliant way of dealing with the question… You have inspired me…
Once I have chatted here I am off to re-sort and re-think… xv

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Michele Gavaletz

Vicki, I am going through that exact dilemma right now. I have 45 years of “saving”. I was all geared up to toss as much as possible until I read an article by a famous woman in a magazine who said she downsized and tossed a lifetime of things. It was only a year later she realized those “things” were their lifetime of living and loving – memories of a life well lived and she mourns their loss. I will toss but I will definitely think about each object and its meaning in my life before I toss. Thanks for the timely post – love all of your posts!

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Vicki

Thank you Michele… It is a hard one… but I am feeling as if it’s good to de-clutter… save the best and remove the less memorable…
It is always such a good idea to talk it out ‘loud’…

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Paul

I bought storage boxes and took rooms at Shurgard at £100 a month to house some of my ‘collections’, three years later I couldn’t even remember what was in them. I emptied them and dumped most of the contents.

C’mon start by ditching those mags Vicki, you can do it. Of course you can then start a brand new collection:)

Happy sorting!

Paul

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Vicki

The magazines!! What is with those… I hardly get the time to read them and often when I do… i flick through anyway…
Ok… You are on… they are going!!
Thank you…
What do you think about my old London souvenirs… I did enjoy my visit to Tower Bridge… ;) ;)

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Suzanne de Cornelia

When I worked in design people would ask what’s the #1 thing to do that improves spaces. After being in hundreds of them around the US my answer (that I usually kept to myself) was “Trash bags.”

Things around us are artifacts of the soul. So that’s one question….am I this, or do I want to be that.

The other is each individual is here by the odds of 1 in 400 trillion of their birth. Is the time spent with this worth that rarest of gifts, and the shortness of time.

For me, I refuse to be a caretaker of anything unnecessary. I became particularly ruthless after my brother died. That took up a LOT of space in my life, didn’t really need anything extra.

Anyway, that’s just me. Everyone is different, but am definitely a minimalist. To me it feels fresh and freeing.

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Vicki

I will never be a minimalist… my life is too complicated for that I fear… but I do admire your philosophy Suzanne and appreciate that ‘things’ are unnecessary and unimportant… especially after loss, when what really does matter is painfully reinforced.

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Katherine

I agree that if you don’t use it – get rid of it. If the item was so important I would be using it at least occasionally. Think of it as having produce in a basket – it is only fresh for so long.

My Sister is moving to a new house – starting fresh. She’s excited about the new home and I’m working hard to convince her to let some of the old life go with the move. If you move over and put the same old – same old in place, what makes the ne place NEW?

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Bo Tamaki

Going through my articles will be very difficult for me. I am the type that gets excited when I find a 1938 penny. I stopped going to rummage sales a while ago but I go to thrift shops for glass. I figure, glass breaks so one always needs an extra pretty one. Water goblets and thin rimmed anything. I always need a pretty wine glass. Everything tastes better…I have so many miniature things. At least they won’t be hard to pack and store (somewhere)..At least I’ll have a studio for all my art stuff.

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Vicki

I am always on the look out for those old fashioned ‘coupes’ for champagne… I use the same excuse… that one might break… I do love female logic… :)

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Camille

I am asking myself these very questions. The magazines especially I can relate to….let me know the answer when you figure it out!

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Jillayne

I go through spells of saving and purging, always have. When I am in the right mood I can let go of things and never have regretted anything parted with when in that frame of mind – I think that’s the key.
I like the idea of a pretty storage box… many, many years ago I bought a beautiful hat box. I grew up on an overdose of English literature and the notion of attics and trunks and hatboxes filled with treasures of lives lived was thrilling to me. We had no attic, but I bought that hatbox and in it I place the things that I want to be the definition of me, of my life. Letters, a champagne cork, my childhood’s pet’s collar, my grade school autograph book, drawings from my children, their letters to Santa (no – they weren’t all mailed!)… play tickets, my Grandmother’s hat pin… wonderful bits and pieces. But only in that hat box – an item has to be exceptionally special to me to get a spot.
As for the rest of the house, Spring and Fall purging is a constant – I have devoted one shelf in the linen closet to the things I am not sure of, some of sat for a few years, others only a month or two before the decision is made.
Good luck Vicki – however you manage it.

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Vicki

What a wonderful thought… a beautiful box full of mementos that define who we are… I would love to write about that. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to know what we would all include?

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Jo Breen

I also have gone thought the purge of possessions. I moved to Bali for a year, then to Seattle for two years, Mexico for 6 months and I now reside—until November, in South Carolina. (I have discovered I am ONLY a Nor-Cali-West-Coast person for my base of living life = San Francisco Bay Area.) Before our move to Asia, we placed everything into storage after I mercilessly weeded the paraphernalia of the mundane and questionable giving it away to various organizations. This is the important part: What I discovered after accumulating over three years of time living without personal possessions was the longing for paintings, books, china/silver/glassware, linen and collected treasures from family and traveling.
If you can use this as a touchstone to separate yourself from what is important and what is accumulated I think it could help the sorting process. Think of yourself as a refugee with a good grace period of a head’s up before your imminent departure. Luckily you are not fleeing but embracing a new shift!

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Vicki

I do want to embrace a new look in London… so I shall think of your words and remember them Jo… Thank you…

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mary

Hi Vicki, I am in the process of similar sorting and tossing……tomorrow will be the heavy-duty decision making: all of the children’s (now adults with children’s) school papers and projects and all of those reminders of a different life. But I think I’m ready–I want to tread lighter. Besides, those adult children can now hoard their own stuff without my help.
Good luck on the new London adventure. I know that we will have some amazing posts coming our way.
xoxoxo
Mary

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Vicki

Yes… maybe I should just deliver all my ‘stuff’ to the girls… Can you imagine?? I would love to see their faces!

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Linda Hanselman

I made an observation. We spend the first half of our lives collecting things and the second half getting rid of things. Yes I can throw out with reckless abandon. I hate having to keep track of stuff. What am I saving the “good” stuff for so I can pass it down to my children and so they don’t use it either?? The more you do it the easier it is. I had on a sweater yesterday and decided I didn’t like it, the color the fit etc. Took it right off and in the bag to the Goodwill it went AND it was a J. Crew. Tant Pit–it’s gone out of my life! YAY me! Just do it. You will feel better.

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Vicki

I find it easier with clothes somehow… It doesn’t work… it’s gone, over… given away… I find the home possessions a little more difficult to part with…

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juliet

Hi Vicki, Does it help to say I am ruthless? we have moved 4 times in 7 years and I really get rid of it, so at this stage! However I have a new rule for the home and fashion: I buy less, but I better. I don’t know if that helps – I think it’s in the genes, your a hoarder or a keeper. xx J

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Vicki

I guess so… in the genes… although I am a daughter of a hoarder… so I think that is why I want to be a thrower out!

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La Contessa

DEAR VICKI,
YOU ARE ASKING THE WRONG PERSON HERE AS I TOO HAVE A VERY HARD TIME TOSSING, MIND YOU I HAVE A SHOP I CAN EVEN TOSS IT TOO!HOWEVER, IF SOMETHING COMES HOME THAT MEANS I ADORE IT AND I NEVER CHANGE.MEANING I DONOT TIRE OF SOMETHING OR CHANGE UP MY STYLE………I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND YOUR PROBLEM AND YES MOST LIKELY YOU WILL BOX IT UP SPEND GOOD MONEY TO SHIP TO FRANCE AND NEVER LOOK AT IT AGAIN!BUT WHO KNOWS IT WILL BE BETTER THEN CHRISTMAS WHEN YOU DO OPEN AND THEN IT WILL BE MUCH LESS PAINFUL TO TOSS!HOPE THAT HELPS YOU.XXX
PS.SKIP OVER TO MY SITE AND SEE WHAT I FOUND!!!!

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24/7 in France

My husband is more of a hoarder than I, so we have been discussing how to get rid of our (monthly charge) storage cost – the truth is we don’t even remember what’s in the unit and so, why store something you don’t need or even remember needing. Take it slowly, one toss at a time, and keep what speaks only to your soul. Voila!

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Vicki

I am so amazed ( and relieved) at how many of us have extra storage units! I didn’t admit earlier that I also have a little storage unit in London… The truth is out now… but… I am going to get rid of that too!

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Maria Costa

I too am facing the same challenge. I did not realize how many things I have accumulated. My husband is ruthless when it comes to letting go and I thought I was as well. I find myself in the midst of changes in my life and these things are taking up too much of my energy. I have decided that they should be shared, recycled if you will. I am keeping only what evokes the memories I want to accompany me on my journey. Bonne chance!
Have a beautiful day!

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Vicki

My husband wants to keep everything… I just cannot let him pack!! We will have no room anywhere…;)
But sharing and recycling is the best way to win/wn…

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Dana

My heart goes out to you. These are exciting times, but I think a move brings out all the sentimentality we have and can be very emotional. I am in the midst of a major change and move in my life too. I don’t like clutter but very sentimental. The most precious things of my children and those we enjoyed as a family, those I am keeping.

Two things I have done that has helped me a great deal. Engaging my children about what they would like, now and maybe in the future. (One child is extremely sentimental so it is a little harder with him :) I don’t want what I have to be a burden to my children one day. I have seen this with friends with elderly parents or parents that have passed away. There is so much ‘stuff’ to deal with it is a burden. The 2nd thing I do is take lots of pictures. I have a digital file of all the things I have tossed, sold or donated. I can look at these anytime and enjoy the memory but not be burdened with storing it. It is also very helpful for tax documentation for items donated.

Whatever the reason for the change in our lives, it is all about moving forward, and bringing the good in our past with us, whether it be special things, or memories.

Best of luck to you. I hope you enjoy the process too, as much as possible. I have found it to be sometimes hard but often quite exhilarating.

Dana

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Vicki

Dana, the idea of taking snaps is a great one… I shall do that… I am already offering my children bits and pieces for their flats… which is quite fun… I am loving watching them become homemakers… :)

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Whatisinmyworld

If it pulls at a heart string or brings back a fond memory keep it. If you did not remember you owned it and have not missed it then give it to someone or a charity that will put it to good use. The items you are being troubled over send to France. Take one box at a time and do the best you can. It is amazing what we collect. In a year, I would go through the items you shipped and see if you want them or have a place for them. You will have more clarity then. Good Luck.

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Vicki

I Like … ‘one box at a time’… Each day… i seem to change my mind about things… so that’s good… by the time the movers are here next week… i should have more clarity… :)

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lisa thomson

There’s nothing like a move to point to the stuff we’ve been hoarding. We all do it! I feel for you Vicki. I’ve moved 3x in the last 8 years and each time I have purged. I miss and regret some of the things I let go of but mostly it felt great to lighten my load. It’s interesting how we become attached to ‘things’ and shows us just how much of our identity is tied up in our stuff. Keep the sentimental but if everything is sentimental then there might be a problem, LOL. Interesting post and now I must read all the comments. Good luck Vicki :)

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Vicki

I think that sentimental and romantic might go hand in hand Lisa… problem is I am the ultimate romantic… :)

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Marilyn

Hi Vicki,
I definitely have ahard time pitching things. I am pretty good a t pitching magazines, but old photograph, a program from a concert; those things are difficult to throw away. I am motivated by the pleasure of having a clean room and being able to throw a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

Hope it all goes well for you.

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Vicki

There is nothing like a coat of paint to freshen a room… I think I need a ‘coat of paint’ to freshen my mind… to embrace the new…
Reading all your thoughts has really been a tonic… :)

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Peggy Braswell

Hoarding a terrible label! If you haven’t used or worn it for (3) three years out it goes.That is the rule I “try” to live by,sometimes it works sometimes not! The most expensive thing you have in your closet is the thing you don’t wear, because you keep buying things that can make it look better. I am sure it works for the home too. Magazines be gone! That is my motto! good luck xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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Tracey Kelly

Hi Vicki, I say “if in doubt, DON’T throw it out”. I can’t believe what I got rid of when we last moved house – a beautiful violin that went to the Op shop, little cane chairs belonging to my kid’s, a whole cutlery set that I now need in another house etc. Moving house is stressful! Poor decisions are made when stressed so don’t throw anything out if you are unsure, you’ll know when it’s time to do so. Good luck, Tracey. PS. (I’m going to St Remy next week, can’t wait to see visit there)

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Vicki

Stress does impact, I agree… and sometimes a decision isn’t made for the right reasons… time pressures intervene… easier just to give up rather than think it through…
Have a wonderful time in St Remy, Tracey….

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Hallie

Oh Dear Tracey is a bad influence (but in a good way). Both situations have happened to me. I’ve been stalled trying to throw things out, I’ve hoarded and I’ve been buried in stuff. Finally finally I began to break the feeling of drowning in stuff (especially because I want to move back to NYC) and also don’t want to spend $40,000 for a year or more of storage as my friend has only to end up feeling like one is wasting money storing things for eternity. Valuables and nostalgic items should get chosen carefully – and the rest I am giving away to a youth organization that sells items they can’t use and pays for anything a child in need may require, from books to supplies to clothes to camp or even food.

So I can feel good two ways. i’m not choking on “stuff” and I’m helping a child somewhere who really needs my things that I haven’t noticed or have stored for years. Good luck Vicki I know it isn’t easy, it has taken me years to weed it out. I still have boxes and boxes!!

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Vicki

You do sound together about this Hallie… and it’s comforting to know that you are helping others as well as moving forwards…
I don’t want to choke and nor do I want to drown… but I need to stop treading water!

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La Comtesse Lola

Vicki~Why not store your undecided items in your shed in France? Then you can, at your leisure, go through the boxes. That is what I am in the process of doing. I aim for about a box or two a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less. So much easier to process mentally and emotionally. There is the element of time, which seems to allow me to really think about the items, the satisfaction of the empty boxes, and the contentment of knowing I had truly searched my heart and was at peace with my decision.

I don’t know why or when we became such a “right now or never!” society, wanting to have a pat answer and/or conclusion to everything…

So for me who loves my engraved stationery and the joy of a well penned hand written note, me who still reads hard back books, and loves a good chat on the phone-I do things the way I described above…and for the rest of them? Well…mais bien sur, let them eat cake, n’est-ce pas?!

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Vicki

We are all about the immediate… that is such a good observation… time seems to be a luxury that we never get around to enjoying…
Note to self… deliberate and take more time…

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Sharon

Out of lurkdom to say I throw away easily, infact I don’t really acquire stuff anymore. There are a few blogs I follow that helped me put it all into perspective. Zero waste home, miss minimalist, move to Portugal, and 365 less things. (Sorry cant do links) . Whenever a friend or family member are struggling with purging they get me round :) perhaps you could enlist a minimalist friend? Love your blog btw. ( sneaks back off to lurkdom……). Sharron

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Vicki

Sharron.. I love that you have come out to play… and I shall do just that… I have one friend in mind… who has already sent me a reminder that I must ‘jeter’ …
Come back often, it is lovely to hear from you…

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Leslie in Portland, Oregon

My two children are minimalists (probably because they grew up with a mother who kept everything), and purging with them (if I can force myself to start) is very successful.

I do agree, though, with the commenters who encourage you not to try to do this winnowing when the move is upon you. You will not have the time or serenity to make considered decisions. The risk, of course, is that you will not do the winnowing unless you are up against a deadline, so set one for yourself that does not coincide with the other pressures of a move. Speaking of which: it sounds like you are moving to another home in London. Is it smaller than your current home there? Does it have an attic (the place so many of our grandparents stored “stuff” for decades)?

And last, I second what Sharon wrote above. The twin to purging our lives of unnecessary “stuff” is to then begin to acquire less. This has become a most valuable habit in my life.

Best wishes!!

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Garden, Home and Party

Vicki,
I confess, I consider myself ruthless where paring down is concerned. BUT, and it’s a big but, I find as I’ve gotten “more mature” it’s the bits and bobs that give me a glimpse of the history. I try to keep only one or two memory items, but it can be a challenge. I don’t envy you this task. I guess if you have room to store at least some of it, I would. I draw the line at renting storage, which is huge business in Southern California!
Karen

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Vicki

Yes… No more storage rental.. that is definitely going… :) Thankfully… Finally…

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Marsha @ Splenderosa

I know exactly what you mean. Each time I move I say the same thing. I can’t keep mementos from everywhere, so I never think of them anymore, they just immediately go away, I have the memories. And, as styles change (our own styles) we don’t like what we used to like, you know. Pack it up for awhile. If you don’t remember it, eventually have an estate sale or donate all of it. Everyone has this problem, I think. I wanted to hold on to all my children’s things from kindergarten but eventually……

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Vicki

I have all of my children’s letters, artwork… every card they ever sent me… all in boxes in France… I am embarrassed to tell you I even have many of their toys and their clothes… Yes, I am hopeless!! If I had to move out of the farmhouse there… I would be in serious trouble… At least the London move is small and I am not attacking the ‘memories’ from long, long ago…

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Angela Muller

I dream of being a minimalist, but I know that is impossible. My books and artwork are too precious to let go. But the fact that I will never be able to travel lightly really bothers me! Even after I manage to sell all things I feel I can let go, I still have too much. The only thing I can really do at the moment is stop acquiring more stuff. Look, enjoy, walk away; that’s my new motto.
Good luck. Angela Muller

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Vicki

Yes… No more buying… but sometimes I can’t resist… and when I see all these amazing new designs on Pinterest.. I want to change everything!

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BIndy

Here in Christchurch, New Zealand an interesting consequence of everyone having to rebuild , or repair, after the quakes is that most people are having I move out, even if to move back in. Even those who don’t have to are watching, and helping friends, wrangle vast amounts of ‘stuff’. . In the early days we watched people who lost their homes empty broken houses and relocate to temporary accommodation. Some have had to move three times before getting back to base. All this gives those of us who know we have it ahead of us a different view of the things we have.

I’m not saying live as if disaster is around the corner. But imagining what the stress of confronting memorabilia galore while dealing with bigger realities might spur you to hone it down.

The energy to manage the stuff of the past , holds you back from living now!

I think we are afraid we will forget if we don’t keep the artefact … Would it matter? Sometimes the reverse happens, we only remember what be keep a piece of…..

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Susie

Hi vicki,

This is really apt for me – we have literally two weeks ago moved house and had to address this very issue – also yesterday’s post about the furniture but that is another story……..I admit- I am a hoarder….we moved from a house with a large workshop (perfect hoarding space) to a cottage with no extra storage…..the test I always apply is the one I was confronted with when we moved from Sydney – if you only could afford to air freight a few boxes, what would you put in those boxes??!! That’s the definition of what to keep and what to throw…..what could you really not be without?? Try it…,it really works!!! If you could only air freight three boxes,what would be in those boxes and what would go to the op shop?? Good luck……am looking forward to our trip to your area – much needed after the stress of those decisions! I feel for you…it’s tough!! Xx

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D. A. Wolf

I’m so glad Marsha at Splenderosa said to pop by here today. (It was all about this topic chez moi as well.) You are not alone!

Our objets mean so much more than just “stuff.” They hold memories, they invoke earlier generations, they’re talismans at times. It’s very very very hard to let go, yes…

And don’t even get me started on the shoes…

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Vicki

The shoes… they are an entirely different story… I am saving all mine for… I am not sure what… but they are definitely not on the scrap pile… yet… :)

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Kim

Love your blog & look forward to your posts everday!
Have read,worn so many of your faves.
As a long time Antique dealer…I have a idea…just pack it up put in a box give me a price & I will buy it all!!!!!!!!!
I too am of the age trying to pare down to a sleek modern look but it is SLOW coming.
Is your new Bioux going to be for rent?
Thanks for all your tips,etc.
I have Tom Ford Neroli on my wish list.
Best regards,Kim

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Vicki

Somehow the wanting to pare down and the getting there are a distance apart…:)
Yes, Le petit Bijou will be for rent as soon as it’s finished… hopefully in the next couple of months…

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sharon - my french country home

Well Vicki, I was rather surprised to see my off the cuff advice quoted back! I must be more careful about what I write ;)
I know a French lady who has two containers full of beautiful antique furniture, that she doesn’t want any more, but she was convinced her children/grandchildren would love to have – guess what? they are not in the slightest bit interested; that was a lesson to me!
What I definitely keep and store is the letters and notes from my children. Messages to the tooth fairy, notes left for me on my pillow – way too precious to throw. And the other thing that I seem to be storing for my future grandchildren, are story books and any ‘special’ clothes for their dressing up box.

good luck with your sorting

xx

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Cassandra

so, LOVE this subject. About two years ago I downsized by about 40%. From a 4 story townhouse in Georgetown to an apartment in the West End of DC. It’s difficult, no question. I gave away 27 boxes of books (very few used bookstores even take books because of e-readers!)

Two recommendations that helped me –
1) easier to be affirmative. To say I can’t live without this and put that in a box. Put aside. Then look at what’s left. By pulling and storing into the moving boxes what you what to keep, it’s a less “I can’t pry this out of my hands” process.
2) loved Julie Morgenstern’s book SHED.

Good luck this weekend! Love your blog! And interest boards! Thank you for doing them both.
Cassandra

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Vicki

Great advice Cassandra… The can’t live withouts are always easier… but my list is long…;)

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Esther George

Hi Vicki my husband is the one that keeps things just incase we need them but I like to throw things out. If you see our garage I call it the Twilight Zone. So now I have been watching an American show called Hoarders and he tends to get glimpses of it I tell you what it’s having a great effect. It’s too much responsibility holding on to things. Have a wonderful weekend. Regards Esther from Sydney. PS I know non of us are as bad as the people on this show (thank goodness).

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Vicki

I haven’t seen ‘Hoarders’… It could be useful if it were screened here… and a certain person in my life could watch it… ;)

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Leslie in Portland, Oregon

Vicki, I doubt that you would like this show. I watched it once, and it was very difficult to see people in such pain. Hoarding as a pathology is a horrendous affliction that can literally kill a person. It is quite different from what we seem to be talking about here.

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Rosalie Carmichael

Vicki, years ago when we moved from the big family home on 5 acres to this 1920’s Aussi cottage by the sea, I was thankfull that the girls had left home and taken a lot of stuff, furniture and kitchen, to start their new flats. Our paintings and precious furniture came with us to this cottage and about ten removalist boxes sat on the back veranda for 12 months. About a year later we were resettling refugees in Bunbury and calls went out for goods. We had not even opened those boxes so we delivered them all except for the two with the girls names on them. What a relief it was to let them go. I have replaced a couple of things as I needed them which was fun. As we visited the girls during the next year we took things from their boxes with us and left them behind until those boxes too were also empty. Good luck with the move and be brave. Rosalie

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Vicki

I can imagine many of my boxes remaining ‘unopened’…
Brave I am becoming… :)

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E;aine

Don’t we all have a little bit of hoarder in us? I know I do.

My basement storage space is still full from my move 4 years ago. I guess it’s my version of your shed. If it’s downstairs and the door is closed it doesn’t exist and therefore can be ignored.

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Vicki

What we don’t see we don’t know… My shed is a bit like that…
I recently sorted out the shed… 13 years after our move from Australia!! Now I am going to fill it up again… :)

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Kathy

Hi Vicki
Fifteen years ago we packed up house and labelled box after box with our entire house contents. The ‘excess’ boxes, that is the boxes that didn’t get unpacked, ended up in the back shed! Fast forward fifteen years and my husband asked ‘what are you going to do with those boxes’? So I approached that shed with deep trepidation. What I realised as I was sorting through the contents of the boxes, was that I had been holding on to life as it was fifteen years ago. I have kept some things that put a smile on my face, and asked my boys to do the same. They too kept several items that put a smile on their faces. But the rest was either given away to charity or tossed.
I understand your need to pack it all away, but down the track we do need to let go. xx

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Vicki

It’s the letting go… Isn’t it?
Your back shed sounded like mine… until recently when I did let go there… I too realised that there were things there that I hadn’t thought about for thirteen years… They have gone now!

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Rosalie Carmichael

Vicki, and I forgot to add the joy I experienced when I visited one of the Vietnamese girls at her flat and she showed me a musical trinket box which had been given to her and it was the box from my girlhood. She constantly opened it to play the music. I discovered she was a pianist which set us on the path of friendship as she came to our home to play the piano and I arranged performances to raise funds for her own piano so that she could start to teach to earn an income. She moved to Sydney as there was a larger Vietnamese polulation there which would give her a business. I haven’t thought of her for a number of years. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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Lisa | Renovating Italy

one thing i can give you Vicki is that these treasures will turn up often in the most unexpected places. I made sure to give my friends and family something special, something i really didn’t want to part with. The rest i gave to the school, to the op shop and boxes and boxes of toys to my daughters best friend.

I know they will be used and loved in a totally new way. New memories created and somehow these loved items of mine will find me again. i look forward to seeing how they reappear in my life. We already get images of the friend wearing Carina’s clothes and holding up her ‘Diva’ a much loved toy cat.

It has also been wonderful for our children to learn this gifting of love from an early age, rather than holding on they are able to let go.

I await the arrival of our 10 boxes which are on the way from Australia to Italy. The contents of my entire life …I have no regrets and I know you’ll make a decision that works for you xxx

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Vicki

Gifting somehow makes it all so much better… I am loving following your adventure Lisa… xv

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Rose

I am guilty of keeping things for a long time. I have a pile of magazines in my den that I still browse through when TV is boring. Then I get a trash bag and throw a stack away.

I try to clean out my closet once a year and give away clothes that no longer fit or I never wear. Now, that I have a hard time parting with because dollar signs run thru my head……….but my closet would look a lot neater for sure.

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Jill

I thought of you this morning when I pulled out yards of creamy white linen I’ve been dragging around for the last 15 years. I try to keep my fabric stash down to three plastic bins. Every so often the piles overflow and I have to cull.

I knew someday I’d have the perfect project for the linen so it always made the cut (a summer dress, breezy curtains, maybe pyjamas).

This morning 3 yards found their way into a shower curtain for our newly renovated master bath. It’s simple, but feels luxurious in such a tiny space.

So…I limit my hoarding, but somethings are just biding time.

Enjoy all the memories as you sort and sift.

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Kaaren Eastwood

Just read an article in the Sunday Mail about a Ex hoarder Meng Koach from New Zealand who says he never owned more than 100 items. Can you. Imagine that? He challenged himself to shed his possessions down to 100. He did say though he digitalised semtimental items. After just losing a special family member it makes you realise in the end it is the memories and not the stuff that is important. Be brave and lighten your life.

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Esther-D. Abad

Cuando cada primavera pedía ayuda a mi querida madre en la ardua tarea de organizar y liberar la casa pensando en el verano, ella resolvía todas mis dudas sobre esto si, esto no con una máxima: Lo que no has utilizado durante el último año denota que no es necesario, deshazte de ello, serás más feliz cuando veas el espacio liberado en tus armarios.
Todavía guardo y espero que durante mucho tiempo, sus maravillosos bolsos, zapatos y algún Balenciaga irrepetible.

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Carol Anne

the comments above are all so amazing… I liked Katie’s comment of “if your soul says “Yes!”, Keep.>>> hesitate! then give to someone else’s Yes.”

Funny how when doing out a clear out how we can talk outselves into keeping things really well, I have a storage across town full of yes’s and just got a bigger one in the building to move it all into, I will keep Katie’s yes and hesitate in my head and heart in the next few weeks as I move things and perge…

That said I started the storage for family antique artwork and beds that no one has room for, this is the stuff that must be kept until you die, right? lol

Good Luck Vicki, keep strong x

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Millie

The big Declutter is happening here too Vicki, I’m just so over being surrounded by stuff that has gone far beyond its use-by-date. I might only be 57, but the rule I’m using as I go through everything is ‘Will it fit into my small room at the Nursing Home?’ Mostly the answer is No, so out it goes.

Give your treasures the gift of a second life with someone who will get great pleasure out of them too, just as you have. Good luck, you can do this.
Millie xx

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Jeanne...Collage of Life

Vicki…I am all for building a second shed. The proverbial hoarder will not be helpful to you! I loved unpacking my kids dollhouse, castle, toddler size wooden rocking chairs this week and am thankful I held on. I have four very large steamer trunks in my garage, I bought them in England before we left and had each of my children fill them with their favourite memories. I think I created future hoarders.
It did not take long for them to fill them up. The trunks now sit in our horse stall in New Hampshire, next to two large shipping crates of artifacts from Papua New Guinea belonging to my husband. Who knows when they will see the light of day..but I know they will..one day. Our horse stall is about the size of a shed.. :) Happy packing…
xx

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Irina

I am so behind, dear Vicki, I did not know you were moving…exciting yes…but I understand you all too well.
It’s so difficult!! Everything seems to have some sort of sentimental value…when I start going through things piece by piece, I recall the emotion associated along with it….yikes. I wish I had some good advice for you…
I wish you much luck, chere Vicki!
xoxo

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