General Question

marinelife's avatar

How easy is it for you to throw stuff away?

Asked by marinelife (62430points) July 18th, 2008

Are you a packrat? If you are super organized and toss stuff easily, how do you do it? What is your system?

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29 Answers

delirium's avatar

Very very hard. I am filed with guilt every time I pitch anything. I know that I should be doing something different with it, and make an effort almost all the time to do that different thing.

I do my best to reuse and recycle and never mindlessly pitch something, but its not possible to be perfect.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

I’m a semi-packrat. I hold on to something if there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m not one to hold on to a broken cup or stacks of newspapers but if something is in a good condition I have a hard time just throwing it out. This is a habit I am working on tossing out with my clutter. As I’ve mention in other questions, I’m moving in two weeks so this is the perfect time to declutter my life. So this weekend my husband and I have vowed to fill all the trash bags we own. I’m crossing my fingers that I can just close my eyes and start pitching stuff!

As far as system goes, we set some rules:

1. Does the item have an actual use and will we use it?
2. If we were to lose that item or if it broke would we have to replace it?
3. Does the item have a place or will it end up in a junk drawer?
4. Do we have a strong emotional attachment to the item?

If it doesn’t fit these requirements it needs to go into the trash or be donated.

robmandu's avatar

Me: easy. I’ll throw anything out.

Significant other: will keep the box that the corn dogs come in.

- The – Box – That – The – Corn – Dogs – Come – In -.

I assumed “throw stuff away” == recycle == donate == trash. That is, reducing clutter.

robhaya's avatar

I have a new approach for anything I buy, 1 new item, 1 old item out (give away or sell).
I do have a hard time throwing away boxes major electronics come in, for fear that I may have to return them. But after one year I pitch the box.


dragonflyfaith's avatar

@robhaya I have a different problem with boxes for electronics…it comes on once and I pitch it.

dragonflyfaith = dumb bunny (dumb bunny was my grandmother’s idea of a curse word, that’s as nasty as she got)

Randy's avatar

Super easy! I just flick the wrist.

whattodo2's avatar

When I’m under pressure (work deadlines, family stuff, whatever) I throw things out. We’ve lived in this house a long time and things really accumulate in closets, attic, basement, garage. I always feel lighter in spirit after getting rid of things. Some stuff goes to the local resale shop, others to the Good Will box, and plenty goes out by the curb with the trash. I have never, ever regretted getting rid of anything. I agree with robhaya and use the “one in, one out” philosophy when it comes to clothing. If I get a new shirt, I get rid of at least one old one I never wear. I actually have empty closet space in my house! So liberating…

tinyfaery's avatar

My wife see how I did that there? thinks I throw things away too easily. Fact is, I don’t have emotional attachment to many things; I think that has a lot to do with the “pack rat syndrome” (unless of course someone has severe OCD). But, I’ve had to learn to curb my instinct to get rid of the clutter, because my other half likes to hold onto stuff. We’ve come to a compromise:
1. Heirlooms, and other items with a great deal of emotion tied to them, we keep.
This is a fixed amount of stuff, and it only expands for very important stuff.
2. If its something that you hang on to because you might need it some day, toss
it. If you haven’t used it in six months, you probably never will.
3. If you bring something new in the house, you really should take something out.
Otherwise, you’ll end up needing a bigger house.

I’m very organized; really, people laugh at me. An easy way is to give everything a home. Everything in your house should have a place where it belongs: a drawer for pens, a place where you always put your keys, a table for your remote controls, etc. If you can’t find a place for it, ask yourself if you really need it. This will not only keep your living space tidy, but you’ll never have problem finding things.

And when I say toss it, of course I mean donate it, relocate it, etc.

PupnTaco's avatar

Very very easy actually. There are only a few things I’d have a hard time parting with but I could convince myself if I had to.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@tinyfaery People like you should be paid to oversee people like me pack and move. I could be paying you to stand there and yell at me. We’d both be happier in the end, I’d be decluttered and you’d be richer.

SuperMouse's avatar

I was a pack-rat for a very long time, then something happened. Last summer my sister and I were given the job of clearing out our grandparents’ storage unit. They had so much stuff it took us hours and hours to wade through it all. You name it they had it, books of WWII ration stamps, every get well card they ever received – from anyone, old newspapers with no apparent significance, enough silverware to outfit an entire hotel, sheets, tablecloths, old scraps of cardboard, you get the picture. From that day forward I have had no trouble throwing anything away, or selling it on ebay. I keep photographs, my journals and some of my boy’s school work, everything else goes in the circular file or the shredder.

Knotmyday's avatar

I keep the boxes my guitar effects stompboxes came in, and little else. If they break, the manufacturers want them returned in the packaging. Some of them are too pricey not to repair, and some are junk, but I still save-em all.
I do keep all my pay statements, in the firesafe with all my insurance, mortgage, and investment documents.
All else goes bye-bye.

tinyfaery's avatar

@dff I’ve always said I could organize people’s homes and offices for a living. Next time you need a good housecleaning let me know. I’ll give you a good deal! :)

crunchaweezy's avatar

I always throw stuff away, then I regret it. ;(

marinelife's avatar

@crunchaweezy Why do you regret it? Do you find you needed it or do you just wish you had not thrown it away. BTW, nice new avatar.

urugeht's avatar

Things that have no value to me anymore go out the window pretty fast.

crunchaweezy's avatar


Yeah, I later find out I need it for something and have to either go buy it again or ask friends.

And thanks ;)

wildflower's avatar

Most of the time I fall for the silly notion that “you never know, might need it….”, but every so often I’ll go on a de-cluttering rampage and when I do I’m pretty good at adhering to the “will I really use this anytime soon? If not, it goes!” rule. In fact I’m overdue for another de-cluttering session. Perhaps this weekend.

marinelife's avatar

@wf and df As I am tossing into the keep, toss, maybe, charity boxes this weekend, I will think of you doing it too.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@tiny You could teach a self help course and charge more! Especially since self help courses never work and they’d have to schedule more appoinments with you.

@Marina, Good let’s report back on Monday and make sure everyone did as they said they would. Accountablity is a good, good thing!

jlm11f's avatar

Wow. After reading the other answers i feel really guilty! I am a definite pack rat. I fall under the “well…I might need it someday!” philosophy. The fear that I might throw away something, that might prove to be useful years later is really quite illogical, but yet, it consumes me every time. When I was younger and my mom always wanted to throw out the older games, I would plead with her not to and tell her that they would be “vintage” someday and so I would be able to sell them for good money. Luckily for our house, she rarely paid any attention to me. In my family, me and my dad are the packrats while my mother and brother are the organized people. My mother hates cluttered houses and gives us an ultimatum that if we don’t clean up/organize in a given span of time, she will just throw everything out. And she holds true to her bargain to, believe me.

Of course, everything should be in moderation and my mother’s extreme “let’s throw everything!” has often gotten us into trouble since she has the tendency to throw all papers without actually looking at them. This has resulted in losing homework (when younger) and my dad has lost some important letters/papers. So now whenever anyone loses something in the house, we automatically blame her. Poor lady, she can’t win either way!

arnbev959's avatar

Just an hour ago I found a monitor in the garbage and I took it home. I’m a packrat.

@supernutjob: cleaning out your grandparents storage unit sounds like heaven to me.

@PnL: I have the same problem of my mom wanting to throw everything away, and my dad being a packrat like me. (I know my mom throws my stuff away when I’m not around, one or two things at a time).

PupnTaco's avatar

I have a huge throw-away regret. I was a big Star Wars nerd in high school (‘70s and ‘80s). I collected everything. Newspaper clippings, Burget King glasses, obscure Japanese magazines, trading cards, you name it. I had photo albums filled with the daily syndicated comic strips. Personal autographs of my drawings from Harrison Ford and the guy who played Boba Fett.

When I went away to college, I lived in a small studio apartment. My parents were moving and said they couldn’t store my stuff anymore. I took a good long look at my collection, thought, “when I was a child etc.” and tossed everything in the trash.

I regretted that within days.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

I tend to keep a lot of junk, and everytime I don’t have enough room anymore, it’s really quite hard to pick what to throw away. :\

suzyq2463's avatar

We’ve been trying to clean out the children’s playroom forever, it seems. I would go in and pick up, but I couldn’t throw much away. “Well, they might still play with that,” I’d think. This past week my husband went in, spent half a day, and cleared the entire room out (we’re making it into a guest room). I become attached to things and can’t throw them away. He just chunks everything. I think every packrat needs a person they trust who can throw things away. Did he throw anything important away? Well, maybe, but I’ll probably never know. Besides, if it was that important, why was it junked in the playroom?

acuares's avatar

Decluttering and cleaning out your home doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw ‘old and useless’ things away. If you are emotionally-attached to something, like most people are, you can try storing them at self storage unit such as Self Storage London if you are in the UK. Old stuff can also be given away to people who need them the most.

rocketsurgeon's avatar

Very easy. I have no trouble throwing things away. If we don’t love it/use it frequently/need it if it’s not used all the time, it should leave my home.

It’s my family that makes things harder, really; they have sentimental attachment to most of their things, and most of the time it feels like I’ll have to pry the crap they haven’t used in years out of their cold, dead hands. It’s quite frustrating. I don’t mind sentimental attachment to the things we use, it’s just horrifically annoying when I know they don’t use it, THEY know they don’t use it – but they insist they really, really need it. And for me to stop touching their stuff. Aaagh.

marinelife's avatar

@rocketsurgeon Do you think that one is either innately a tosser or a hoarder? If not, how do I get to be a tosser like you? BTW, welcome to the collective.

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