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How often do you prune your belongings?

The thread about closet size got me thinking about how often I box up excess belongings and take them to my local Junior League resale shop (so no guilt :-)

I go through all my closets about every two to three months.

Dropping off those boxes is almost as good as losing weight for me.



Comments (39)

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    With a family and kids that are still growing, it is constant. We have a Goodwill Box on the go and when it is full we take it in.

    LOL, I like the analogy. I've lost some weight recently and as soon as I come across something too big, I put it in the box. So yes it is cathartic.

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  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Those must be indestructible dishes, bpathome.

    Mtn, I forgot about the box I keep in my car for my children's things. I thought there would be less "stuff" to sort and dispose of as the boys got older, but it doesn't seem to slow down much.

  • bpath
    4 years ago

    well, Rita, I imagine the set gets smaller every go-round lol.

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  • jakabedy
    4 years ago

    A big prune occurs with every move. And we have moved three times in four years! But it seems there is still so much stuff.

    Clothing gets a good hard look twice a year when seasons change and things have to be moved around. But we have really minimized in that area to where we each have about 8’ of hanging space and a small dresser, plus the coat closet.

    The kitchen actually has empty cabinets. There’s not much more we can do there.

    We’ll hit the garage and the shed over the summer. We will have been here a year in August, so we’ll have a good idea if we really need to hold on to many of those things we stored “just in case.” And there is a big neighborhood yard sale day in mid-September, so we can do a big dump at that time, with the remainder going to charity.

    We hope to build a very simple, modern, modestly sized retirement home in about eight years. I want to be ready. If you all knew how much joy it gives me to remove tangible items from my life, you might recommend medication of some kind.

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  • jn3344
    4 years ago

    Its just two of us now. But I ask that anything purchased means something should go. Clothing especially. I have been culling for years. My spouse resists a bit.

    I like having half empty closets and drawers.

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  • Lars
    4 years ago

    I tend to put a lot of things in the attic, and we have two of them - one is accessible only from my closet, and so I box up things that do not fit but that I think are collectable and put them there. I need to get rid of a lot more stuff, as I have boxes in my bedroom that need to be sorted through. I used to have friends to help me with this, but they are not around any more, and it is difficult for me to do this by myself. I get distracted very easily when I am going through things. I have a lot of things that I want to donate to certain charities, but I haven't taken the time to get them together.

    If my sister were to help me, half of what I have would be gone, as she has no sentiments at all that I can discern.

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  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    jakabedy, I have a fantasy of all my clothes for one season fitting into an old fashioned wardrobe- having only seven outfits though is too ambitious, even in my fantasy world!

    jn3344, those empty spaces, margins I call them, it's like you are living below your means- there is a richness to that kind of extra space.

    Lars, when I have to prune back things that are hard for me to let go of, I set a timer and crank up some music and throw things out without allowing myself to think too much.

  • OutsidePlaying
    4 years ago

    Generally twice a year when seasons change. But since I have been purging and donating a lot, I take random shots at going through stuff and out it goes. It goes directly into a box in the attic until our next run. Now and then I run across a few items I’m not sure about so I hang them separately in the spare closet. Usually they go too in another couple of months when I realize I am not wearing it.

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  • diane_nj 6b/7a
    4 years ago

    hardly ever, but I'm getting better at putting out more than one bag for the LFA pickup. Also, I just took a big bag of stuff I no longer wear back to Eileen Fisher, they recycle their clothing and give you $5/piece to use on a future purchase. I can't seem to get to use eBay or consignment shops, but I have some nice shoes and purses, and I can't see just stuffing those into a charity bin.

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  • schoolhouse_gw
    4 years ago

    Usually with every season change or every other, as I don't buy expensive clothes. They eventually shrink or fade after many washings, because I work outside in the garden all Summer long and into Fall. No use buying pricey clothes to just get them stained or torn. I do buy and set aside a "good" pair of jeans and slacks and a couple "good" tops for when I go out and need to dress it up a bit.

    I'm used to dressing comfortable. I would be a hit on that show "What Not To Wear". : )

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  • msmeow
    4 years ago

    I love reading all your comments about doing stuff when the seasons change! I've lived in FL all my life and never, ever have changed out anything due to seasons. LOL

    We are currently laying bamboo flooring in our whole house. After the second session of moving furniture out of the way I told DH we should have rented a POD and put all the furniture in it till we were done. So, all that moving stuff around is prompting us to get rid of some things. We especially need to cull/reorganize our coat closet and linen closet. And the sewing room is going to be reorganized (but, realistically, not much will come out).

    Donna

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  • gsciencechick
    4 years ago

    We hosted family last fall and did a much-needed purge! So, I am pretty much up to date.

    MIL has bought some clothing for DH that he will not wear such as sweater vests. So, of course, he kept getting more of them. We donated a lot of items to campus where we have clothes closets for students going on interviews or doing internships. Most of the items were NWT.

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  • Lars
    4 years ago

    I don't have much of what I would call winter clothes, except for long sleeved shirts, but I can wear those in the summer as well. I tend not to wear black in the summer as it feels too hot in the sun, and so I do have some different color choices seasonally. During May Gray and June Gloom I can wear dark colors and long sleeved shirts. I wear shorts and sandals all year, however.

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  • 3katz4me
    4 years ago

    When I move which was a couple years ago. Last move prior to that was 23 years earlier. I purge clothing now and then when my closet or drawers are too full.

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  • yeonassky
    4 years ago

    Every 16 years ;-). Just kidding we tend to go through all of our things at least once a year. We got rid of everything just about for the most recent move.

    I culled a lot of clothes when we moved in October. Of course I'll have to do it again soon as I bought clothes and haven't gotten rid of clothes that I am not wearing any more yet.

    Don't ask me about the extra bedding! Just when I have it all ready to donate guests arrive and every single piece of that bedding is used. I've been trying to get rid of that extra bedding for the last 5 years. DH says I should just replace it with something I really like instead and accept my fate. I think I'm going to listen to him about it.

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  • Kathy Yata
    4 years ago

    I go through the house constantly and keep a donation box ready for action at all times. The purging took a couple years and am now at the stage of organizing things so they are easier to use. The lower half of my closet is half empty which is a waste of prime real estate for instance. Plan is to put shelves in and have the upper closet shelf empty.

    No problems getting rid of clothes, I destroy them and it is obvious they have to go. I keep the most recent victims as a painting/gardening outfit and the rest are gone.

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  • jill302
    4 years ago

    We do not have a lot of extra space so I generally adhere to the rule that something goes when I buy something new. Some items are donated, some go to the trash bin as they are too worn out. I also do a more complete review of my clothing a couple of times a year figuring out what still works for me, what does not work and things that need alteration. I am horrible about buying a dress that needs to be shortened and then it sits in my closet for a couple months before I get it to the tailor. Clean-out time I catch-up with any tailoring not done.

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  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX
    4 years ago

    I used to, but now I am visiting those stores looking to replace some of the stuff lost in the flood.

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  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Raven, I don't want to 'like' your comment as a means of acknowledgement. I am so sorry about all the loss you had to endure.

  • blfenton
    4 years ago

    I do it spring and fall when I'm switching out my summer clothes/jackets/shoes/handbags for my winter wardrobe and vice versa.

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  • aok27502
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Has anyone taken old worn stuff for recycling? I've been told that H&M stores, and some others, will take old textiles to be recycled into fibers and reused. It's apparently a movement in the industry to keep textiles out of landfills.

    We tend to keep clothing until it wears out. DH wears heavy work pants that take up a lot of room. I hate to throw them in the trash. I've been intending to take them to H&M but haven't yet.

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  • DYH
    4 years ago

    My closet --

    I keep a three-bag laundry sorter unit in my walk-in closet. When I put on something and don't like it, I force myself to put it in one of those bags. If I put something on and think, "I still like it, but I haven't worn it in a year," then it goes in a different bag. My dirty clothes go in the third bag.

    When bag #1 is full, I go through #2 and if I still haven't worn those items, then I donate all the clothes.

    I'm very good about not letting paper stack up. I have three baskets in my back hallway -- gift certificates as well as receipts to keep until I'm sure I don't them them; coupons; and one with a flashlight, charger cables, scissors and a pocket knife to open packages. When the coupon basket is full, I know I can recycle everything in it because they've probably all expired.

    In my secretary/desk, I store my "working on it" important paperwork until complete; then, I either file what is needed or shred it.

    I still have stuff from my downsized move, but it's now in one room -- and, I can now walk into the room and pull out a box and go through it more easily. My son's DVD player recently died, and I told him I had one. Off it went. Gone from my house. I decided I want to wear a watch on my trip, so I went through my very old jewelry box in that room and pulled out a Fendi watch that I purchased in Italy over 20 years ago. I took it in for a new battery and now I'm wearing, and enjoying it, again.


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  • bpath
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Aok, in my area there are drop-off bins for clothing. Not the donation bins, but for recycling. There's one at our compost center, one at a township office, and one at a school. It's a great place to drop off the things that are so ragged, stained, torn, that they are unwearable. Check in your area, and if there isn't one, ask for one. One of ours was a Girl Scout project. And I don't have to wait for the mall to be open (and I can drop off in my gardening clothes, no need to gussy up!)

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  • aok27502
    4 years ago

    bp, do you know if there is a name on the bins? We have some sort of yellow bin at our trash centers, but they seem to be for re-use. They specifically say they are not for charity, and I think they take shoes and books and stuff.

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  • jill302
    4 years ago

    At our last house, the trash company collected worn clothes, towels and such for recycle. You just put them in a white plastic bag in the recycle bin. Unfortunately the trash company at our current home doesn’t offer this option. However certain charities collect the worn out clothing, they resell for rags so we donate there.

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  • LynnNM
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    With my clothes, I prune every Spring and every Fall when I switch out our cool weather and then warm weather clothes. Throwing out clothes and donating them. I tend to prune out holiday decorations at the start of each holiday season. Pushing myself to get rid of some, to pare down even more. As for regular household items, I do it here in there. And, when our daughter comes home for a visit (from first college and now grad school), I am always trying to send her back with things from around here. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (LOL)! I would do the same with our son and daughter-in-law, but they live in Georgia. Sadly, too far for road trips home. They fly when they visit here.

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  • tackykat
    4 years ago

    I think Goodwill stores also accept fabric/textiles for recycling. Sometimes I take two bags there - one "good enough to sell" and one of things that are stained, have holes - can be recycled as fabric. I try to tell the person taking it.

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  • just_terrilynn
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    On my last closet sweep I gathered several little worn designer tops and gave them to my son for his Cuba trip. He and his friend from Japan went last week and stayed in Casa's. My sons plan was to (depending on the situation) either on purpose or inadvertently leave some of these items behind.

    Normally when I restock for summer/vacation I try to get rid of the same amount of old that I bought new. Actually, I try to do that year round. Honestly though there are always a few higher quality items that I have a hard time parting with even if they no longer fit. This year Cuba gifts came in handy with letting go.

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  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
    4 years ago

    I used to clean out every closet every six months. That stopped when I had a few years of depression due to my mom's death (had no idea it would effect me that way). I am trying to get back into the habit, but it is hard. That is the thing about good habits, once stopped they are so darned hard to get back into.

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  • yeonassky
    4 years ago

    Sorry Walnut Creek to hear of your struggles. It's very hard sometimes when you lose someone who connects you to your past and plus you love them. Not sure if it's helpful when you're feeling down but the technique I've been using lately is connecting it to something I already do regularly when I want to add back a habit. So in other words you brush your teeth you connect flossing to that. I did that recently with the time 8 p.m. which is when I shut off the tv even if I'm in the middle of a movie, for our dogs last walks of the day. We were walking too late and it was becoming too short of a walk. So far so good. :-)

    (I also found with my deepest losses that it really helped me to remember happy little stories about them. Not to ignore the sad memories but to shift the focus somewhat on the good ones.)

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  • artemis_ma
    4 years ago

    I prune when I move.

    The last time I moved was 25 years ago. I'm in the process of moving now, and the pruning is lengthy, but it feels good with each load to the trash or to the donation center.

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  • runninginplace
    4 years ago

    Artemis, same here! I must start sorting and discarding--we have the great luxury of over a year's lead time till we retire and transition to living in what is now our vacation house. I must begin working on the mammoth project of clearing out our home of 30 years. We're not hoarders but we have a full house of stuff, as everyone does and it cannot all go down there!

    I know the hardest things to part with will be the furniture and decor items that just don't belong in the new place; I've lightened up my 'tropical traditional' style considerably in our new house and I love the fresh look I have going down there. But oh it will be wrenching to give up things I've used and loved so long.

    I"m planning to start with the easy stuff-things that are not sentimental or in use. Friday is commencement day at my university which for those who work in higher ed is the official start of summer :).

    I'm going to try to discipline myself to either set a timer or make some job slips (clear a shelf/empty a drawer/sort a closet bar) and draw the winning task each evening since I won't be coming home exhausted and fit only to eat dinner and gaze vacantly at HGTV for an hour or so before heading off to bed.

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  • bossyvossy
    4 years ago

    I have a large trash bag in my closet which goes to women’s shelter resale shop whenever full. Sometimes it’s filled in 3 months, sometimes it takes longer.

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  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
    4 years ago

    yeonassky, thank you for that excellent advice. It is very kind of you to take the time and I appreciate it very much.

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  • User
    4 years ago

    About once a quarter. My closet space is small -- probably 8' of rod space and that's it! DH has the rest of the closets in the house -- he has way more clothes than I have. So whenever things start getting tight, I go through things. Oh and if something gets stained or torn I get rid of that immediately.

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  • pamghatten
    4 years ago

    I downsized 2 years ago, so did a major prune then ... and vowed to never collect too many new items. I am currently gathering items I haven't looked at since I moved, to sell at a garage sale with my sisters. Since I live in a 4 season place, I also prune clothes every season.

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  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Reading all the impassioned threads about cleaning out a parental home and the Swedish death cleaning book's popularity prompted me to wonder how others cope with the easy and endless accumulation of things.

    For me, having lived in a house that was much too small for my family for a long time, keeping all the extraneous things out was a matter of huge importance. But my beloved is a pack rat (and he is quite proud of that,) so there was always a bit of a struggle in areas where he and I shared dominion- like paperwork.

    WalnutCreek, I understand all too well about being thrown for a loop by the loss of one's mother. You have all my sympathy. My only advice for helping to get back to sorting through things is to use the timer method- decide on a number of items to get through or a time limit- and sort your belongings for only that period of time. That way you don't get overwhelmed by the backlog. You might go past the time or item limit you set- but you need not. Bit by bit you'll get through everything. Be gentle with yourself.

  • runninginplace
    4 years ago

    I've done 2 whole house clearings in the past 5 years; one belonged to a deceased friend who was definitely a borderline hoarder and the other is my MIL who was a neat tidy hoarder ;).

    In both cases a piece of advice from my dad was very useful. He suggested going one room at a time and getting EVERYTHING done in there, then moving to the next room that needed clearing.

    He was right, it was incredibly rewarding to finish and see a bare clean space. It also gave me a sense of setting boundaries and goals for what often felt like a truly overwhelming and impossible job. Those who haven't done this just don't realize what it takes to clear literally THOUSANDS of physical objects which is what a household is made up of. And of course aside from the physical effort, the true work is that you have to make those thousands of decisions about every.single.thing you touch. Some is easy and takes a split second. But some things are tough and take more mental effort.....and it all is incremental so by the time I finished each house I was utterly drained. Gads I never want to go through that and I never want my kids to have to do it for or after me!

    I better go clear a shelf. Stat :)


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