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After living with a basement for the last two years, it seems that we have really accumulated way too much stuff. Deuce Bigalow on DVD, REM on CD, Christmas decorations, three different rakes, two different types of fluorescent light bulbs, two right ski boots (the left ones were stolen)… packing is going to be painful.

Since we’re going to be wandering nomads for a few weeks, we are stripping ourselves down to:

– safe shelter with bed and hot shower
– a laptop with a wireless network card
– a week’s worth of clothes
– critical documents like passports
– wallet with credit cards and ID

It feels nice to celebrate our independence from clutter. You know, before I give in and buy the 2nd generation iPhone 😉 Happy 4th of July!

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  1. A great place for your used DVD and music CD’s is to donate them and get a tax deduction by sending them to OperationDVD. They then distribute them to soldiers serving our country overseas who otherwise have very little in terms of safe entertainment due to sniper fire, land mines, etc.

    AMVETS, Operation DVD
    1395 E Dublin-Granville #222
    Columbus, OH 43229

    Also, any items you cannot donate, but things that might be of use to others, you can list at Freecycle.org

  2. time for ebay, haha

  3. That is precisely what happened to us when we lived in a house with a basement. It was an amazing phenomenon.

    My most recent house has no basement, but is very handicap accessible (something that became important in the last few years despite our young age). Some of that clutter has been relegated to the garage, but some is just gone now.

    Some is here, but if we moved again would be gone before we move. In the garage it is a bit more visible, so getting rid of it is a bit easier.

  4. C’mon, I love REM on CD. 🙂

    But, I know what you mean. I have a basement and there is all kinds of stuff in there I know we can do without. My wife and I need to do a major cleaning session and simplify our lives.

  5. Who the heck steals only left footed ski boots? That is classic. I bet if you went to the ski resort you could find him pretty easily. Just look for the idiot who keeps on crashing in to crap on the left side of the run 🙂

  6. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaha!!!
    Just had to laugh about the right ski boots! I don’t know why, but that made me giggle, thanks!
    Let’s talk about kitchen stuff. I’m sick of rooting around in too-full drawers and cupboards for the few things I use on a consistent basis. My in-laws are having a garage sale soon, and I’m gonna be ruthless about getting rid of kitchen gear we haven’t used in, say, the last year. The stuff we don’t use every day, but that we use every so often, will get moved to some out-of-the way place.

  7. It is all about craigslist. I just sold my boogie board for $35. I also don’t own any CDs because I just rip them and keep the digital files (and I back everything up also). Come to think of it, I usually just borrow CDs from people and rip the songs off. I am too cheap to buy new CDs.

    I have also invented the “zero day”. Its when you go all day without spending money on anything. They work wonders for the bottom line.

  8. Michelle says

    PLEASE do NOT use fluorescent bulbs or find a safe way to recycle them! They have very toxic mercury in them. As an environmental engineer, I assure you that once in landfills, it is next to impossible to keep mercury from entering water supplies and eventually, through the food chain, ending up in people. Maybe your children won’t be poisoned, but your grandchildren may be.

    Please, if you insist on using CFL bulbs, get educated and find a safe way to dispose of them. If you read the CLF bulb packaging, you will see the warning right there in black & white. Of course, the manufacturers don’t tell you HOW to safely dispose of them, they just tell you not to dispose of them via the garbage truck.

    Remember, mercury is incredibly toxic – to both people and animals. Please consider other ways of saving money and energy. Don’t use these highly toxic bulbs!

  9. Just moved about two months ago, from what felt like a packed one-bedroom into a two-bedroom with my fiance. Of course, I knew that it was mostly packed with excess stuff.

    During the cleanout phase of the old apartment, emptied out 5 garbage bags of, well, garbage. That’s 5 green bags of stuff I just didn’t need. I also donated 5 bags of “stuff” extra clothes, etc. (no wonder the place felt packed) and then I threw everything up in storage for two months and squatted in my father’s spare bedroom while I found a place and waited for the fiance to finish school and catch up.

    Squatting in such a fashion was really quite a lesson in “stuff management”. After moving in to the new place I started boxing up more stuff “to go”. The closet in the second bedroom is now stacked with stuff that needs to be shipped out or sold.

    It’s funny how living without stuff for a while makes you realize how much extra stuff you have. Little things I missed most on my two months: shoe shine gear, extra workout gear, pair of office shoes, office headphones, water bottle for workout gear. Only “extra” thing that I wished I had with me? My “collection” DVDs, CDs, Books and magazines.

    Even now as I work back through my stuff I realize how many unimportant or over-encumbered things I carried along. I must have 5 Blueline notebooks that are half-full, a quarter scribbled and all wrecked. Their disposal is on my “to-do” list, but I never even thought of it until I unpacked in my new place 🙂

    Of course, all of the “light” & “mobile” changes have lifted emotional weights too. It’s funny (but never surprising) how tightly this stuff is tied.

  10. Heheh..it was funny reading this cause I went through the exact same thing a few months back! There is should be a LAW or something in the 10 commandments “thou shalt clean thy clutter EVERYMONTH” 🙂 Maybe I will get around to my clutter this weekend!!

  11. This was quite timely for me. As we are getting prepared for the arrival of our baby in our 2 bedroom condo, I have been going through trying to get rid of extra stuff so that we have room for the baby gear. I spent last weekend filling up 4 bags/boxes of Goodwill items in addition to plenty of trash. Some of the things were a little difficult to get rid of, but once gone, it felt great. Some of the things I wonder, why did I ever waste my money on this? As I get older, I think I get wiser about only buying things that I really will use. Although, who knows about the baby gear. Maybe I will look back on it in a few years and wonder why I thought some of it was necessary.

  12. You KNEW someone was going to quote Carlin:

    That’s the whole meaning of life isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff. That’s all your house is, your house is just a place for your stuff. If you didn’t have so much God damn stuff, you wouldn’t need a house…. That’s all your house is, it’s just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. Your house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…? More stuff!

  13. Heck, I’ve got a whole blog devoted to this subject! Come on over to Confessions of a Hoarder for tips on how to get rid of stuff.

    If you don’t yet own a home but will within the tax year, save the receipts and value lists of the stuff you donate. Our donations are always a nice little surprise at the end of the year.

  14. It’s been 2 years since I moved to my current apartment and I’m still throwing away stuff, I’ve become quite good at it. I tend to put small or old stuff on the street and not bother with selling, everything is gone quickly and I’m free to concentrate on more important things.

    My view is that any item that I keep in my apartment taxes my rent in a sense. The less I keep, the more space I have for myself for the rent I pay.

  15. Craig, sorry to burst your bubble but there’s no such thing as zero day. You spend money every day whether it’s your house car utilities gas food…

  16. Michelle,
    If you are an environmental engineer, then you should be acutely aware of how much mercury discharged into the environment IS AVOIDED by using fluorescent lighting over incandescent. Sure, at this point all fluorescent bulbs contain mercury. How much? Depending on the size of your computer monitor, it’s most likely the size of the period at the end of this sentence. How much mercury is released into the environment to power a CFL bulb? Approximately 2.4 mg from the power plant. How many to power an equivalent incandescent bulb? 10mg. Oh, and if you hadn’t remembered, mercury (Hg) is a naturally occurring element. To the best of my knowledge, no one is actively synthesizing Hg in the lab. We take it from the environment and put it into a product to make the Hg more useful than if it were just left alone in the ground.

    Now, those old mercury thermometers (500mg) and thermostats (2,000-5,000mg) DO contain quite a bit of mercury and need to be handled with care & disposed of properly.

    Rob: I don’t quite think a true “zero” day is 100% impossible, but unlikely. More importantly, I question the value of it. Okay, so maybe I didn’t leave the house today. Did I have lights on? Yep. Air conditioning? Yes. Food? Yes. Am I going to head to the store tomorrow to replenish what I used today? If the answer is yes, then I’ve just negated the zero consumption day.

    From a financial aspect, looking for ways to cut back without impacting quality of life should be a daily routine. Are you really going to notice a difference between the meat package which costs $6.13 and the one next to it for $5.85 (assuming it’s the same meat, only difference is weight)? Probably not. But that’s almost $0.30 saved right there. Just do that once a day and you’re looking at an extra $102 in your pocket each year.

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