Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Free the Boxes


I loathe unpretty boxes - either empty cardboard boxes as shown above, or full of random stuff laying around the house.  I think the feeling stems from when we lived at our old house; we barely had any cupboard space, closet space and hardly any storage.  Most of our items, wedding gifts, etc sat dormant in boxes for three years (and Hubs' stuff for longer) as we simply didn't have room to unpack and set up everything in the house then.  When we moved to our now house, we went through a Peter Walsh Clean Sweep style purge and got rid of so much, it was actually quite amazing to think of all the things we had sitting in the basement for years. 

The purging has not ended there, it is still an ongoing process.  I think my box anxiety has passed over to Hubs, who went on a free-the-boxes purging frenzy before the in-laws came to visit after Christmas.   My parents, on the other hand, have a "box room" in their basement and shudder every time a box gets thrown out, as they usually send us home with a box of food and canning.....and you can always use a box!  I grew up with parents who saved (and continue to save) boxes, items, junk, etc......so I am used to living in manageable clutter........although I have to say they are getting better about purging items more often, and so am I. 

For those of you with walk-in closets, do you ever feel as though a walk-in closet is hard to keep tidy and clutter free?  Unfortunately, our walk-in closet always becomes a dumping ground while tidying up the house for company (Me to Hubs: "Just put that crap in there for now!!  We'll deal with it later!!")  This New Year I want to start my decluttering purge by cleaning out the walk-in closet and somehow combat the urge to treat it as a dumping ground.  There is no need for me to hold onto shoe boxes (those darn boxes again!), books I no longer read, accessories clothes and shoes I don't wear anymore, all those wire hangers, miscellaneous pads of paper, crap........) 

Do you have a place in your house where clutter accumulates?  What items do you hold onto with good intentions and then the stuff just sits?  (Mine are newspapers, magazines, unsorted photos and memorabilia, decorating stuff.........things I feel I HAVE to save or WANT to save.)   What's your plan of attack for combatting pesky clutter? 

Do spill! 


  1. I am a ruthless de-clutterer but do feel internal conflict sometimes when it comes to certain items. Those items are usually objects passed down from my parents and some I have kept because I cannot part with them.
    We moved twice in three years and this really was the catalyst for shedding a massive amount of unused/unwanted stuff. Now it's a way of life and I normally whip through the house several times a year.
    Excessive clutter makes me feel blah!

  2. I hate clutter - my husband cannot throw away - we have a huge garage, 2 stables, a boiler room all full of his rubbish and then a container from our move from Africa 12 years ago still full of stuff he wont throw away - we havent used any of it in 12 years i think the clue lies therein! I made him do the cupboard in London on New Years day after much bemoaning he admitted it felt good - i think this can be his NY resolution - clear out the clutter - and mine not to buy so bloody much! xxx


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  4. I hate clutter, but unfortunately, I have pack-rat tendencies and I tend to accumulate stuff. My husband is totally ruthless, and he doesn't hesitate to get rid of stuff. Everything is piled up in our basement. I think we would have made more progress with decluttering this year if it weren't for the fact that we weren't so frazzled from taking care of two little ones.

  5. I despise clutter and am always in the tidy up mode.
    Our Christmas ornaments have been sorted and are now stored in plastic rubbermaid stackable totes, the old boxes were too tatty looking to bear anymore.

    We have a great hospice thrift shop which recycles household and clothing items and the proceeds go to help support the hospice here in town...it's a no brainer!

    Happy de cluttering!

  6. I hate clutter. I grew up with a granma and mom who are hoarders. My sister picked up on the tendencies. I went the other way and am pretty ruthless about throwing stuff out that is not needed. That said, I do have a junk room. I had intended to make the 2nd bedroom into a home office when I moved in 3 years ago, which unfortunately is now where BF and I accumulate stuff. My project this spring is to buy wardrobes and containers and purge/organize the room.

    To reduce junk, my "rules" are:
    if I'm not using that thing within the year, it gets donated.
    If I haven't worn an item for 2 years, it's gone.
    If it's a gift that has doesn't add esthetic value to my home, it's gone.
    Papers and magazines are kept up to a year then recycled.

    Oh! And I dislike cardboard boxes. I prefer to buy rubbermaid totes so things stack properly.

    I have a walk in closet of sorts. I find investing in baskets, cubbies and other organizational tools are so worth it.

    For inspiration, I check out magazines and storage organizer stores. Ikea's online site has a ton of photos.

    Have fun organizing!

  7. I also loathe boxes. Growing up with my parents was a Box Nightmare, they had a basement full that just moved from house to house and were never unpacked, I'm feeling anxious just thinking about it.
    I throw away all boxes and I don't even use those plastic totes anymore. If I can't see things they don't exist so things we keep are displayed. It's a constant clutter battle, I have a bag on the go for charity at all times, I donate about once a month and of course a huge key is not to buy things!
    When my Rascals are back at school next week I'll go around with my charity bag and chuck chuck chuck, it will be excellent!

  8. The corner of our basement gets horribly cluttered all the time. We can't seem to stop it! Over break, we threw everything out. We'll see if that helps. At least for a while ...

    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  9. Red Roses & Crystal - I have a hard time getting rid of stuff a friend or family member has given me. If it's something I don't want to keep for the long run, I usually keep it for about 6 months or until they have seen the item in my house once or twice (whichever is sooner) and then I get rid of it. One time I got a gift that wasn't to my liking, got rid of it right away and a short time later I was asked where it was!! oops.

    F & F - oh how funny, Hubs cannot bear to part with a holey sweater he bought in Ireland 15 years ago while he went to university in York, I have told him several times he can buy a new one when we go to Ireland (whenever that is) or order one online...I'll even pay for the pricey shipping...but to no avail. The holey sweater still remains in the drawer.

    Dina & Bonnie - Thanks for stopping by! Will check out both of your blogs tonight.

    Louise - Good luck with decluttering this year! :)

    Hostess - Great idea about buying rubbermaids for Christmas decorations and donating to the hospice.

    Closet Crisis - Fab tips, thanks! My parents have a room in their house called "The Junk Room" (every room has a name). Crappola central, I tell you. I better be careful now that I'm going to Winners and Home Sense more often (upcoming blog post about that...)

    DaniBP - Hubs and I were like that too, moving boxes from place to place until one day we had enough. I like your idea of keeping one charity box/bag around for donations.

  10. The smallest bedroom (called the box room) is Bill's 'study' and my junk room. I'm a packrat and a tightwad by nature, with loads of ideas of what I 'could' do with things, but I don't think I'm going to live long enough to do all that 'creative' work. I'm usually pretty good about not cluttering up Bill's space, but when his son decided to stay with us a couple of nights over the holidays, I ran out of prep time and just 'shovelled' everything out of my sewing room/the guest room. This is how my Mom always 'kept house', ie once a year at Christmas. She grew up with a maid, so never learned proper housekeeping skills and in any case I think she thought life was too short to follow my Dad (a spoiled only child, like me) around picking up after him. Bill is much better at keeping things tidy and he's gradually rubbing off on me. However, one of his methods is to 'shovel' things up into the attic. It's pretty scary up there these days. I'm hoping to be done with my stacks of magazines this year, also to whittle my clothes down into what can fit into my closets. A walk-in would definitely be my downfall (not that I haven't plenty of those already).