Three “R”s to Decluttering…..

For me it is very difficult to get rid of things. It is virtually impossible to throw things out, but I have found that those “Three ‘R’s of Recycling” to be very helpful!

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle

I have applied these to my problem of “compulsive hoarding”… or is that “obsessive hoarding”? I always forget… anyhow, I apply them to my hoarding problem.

First, I “REDUCE”:

I am very careful not to take in anything that is not necessary. One of the early steps I took was not to take any physical Newspaper. That means I won’t subscribe to either of our daily papers no matter how much I love to read them. I simply found that I had problems getting rid of the papers. There were many reasons including being worried that I might have missed an article or coupon. Even with the option to recycle newspapers it was nearly impossible to keep up. I will admit that it is far far easier for me to “recycle” than “throw out”, but I’ll get back to that. I found that I can not even take in the weekly, biweekly, or tri-weekly papers – even just the fliers or catalogues. I just can not bear to get rid of the ads… So I do not take them in and instead I take advantage of services like Google’s News search service which will scan the net for local news of interest to me and to be able to scan fliers online. …I just have to make sure not to download, print or otherwise save the electronic fliers.

That is one area of reducing. I also make sure I don’t start buying any collectible items. I know I will want the whole set and will be unable to part with a single, even broken or duplicated item. That includes the wee toys you might get free in cereal boxes.

Second I “REUSE”:

If I do find I simply must buy something neat or keep something that might not seem of value. I realize now that I simply must find a use for it. For instance. I was keeping those very large spaghetti sauce jars. They are the large ones — the 4 litre/4 quart glass ones that you really can’t find now — that have been replaced by plastic. I find they are so very… hard for me to part with especially now that I can’t find sauce or other products sold in them. For a long time I used them for “bug proof” rice storage. I bought the large sacks of rice as a way to economize for a while, but with living in older basement suites… well bug proof was important. Anyway the rice storage was a way to “reuse” the bottles. I also used them for iced tea and for juice in the fridge. Their biggest flaw was the metal lids with the very thin plastic lining. They really weren’t intended for long time reuse. I’d love to find a source for more reusable lids for them.

I have found that since that time I can not use so much white rice. My blood sugar can not handle the refined starch in the white processed rice. This summer, I shall figure out something for iced tea and Koolaid. I make it myself and add my own diabetic friendly sweetener — sometimes very little sweetener at that. However, I have taken to reusing the jars now for things like…

  • My marble collection
  • My dice collection
  • My plastic toy collection — like the little things you get in Kinder Eggs and cereal boxes

Third I “RECYCLE”:

This might seem a “no brainer”. Perhaps it is, but before easy recycling I had very difficult problems getting rid of things that “should” be reusable or recyclable. I mean metal, plastic, glass, and that sort of thing were very hard for me to just throw out — unless of course they were soiled so that they were difficult to clean. I guess some of my favourite toys were the broken ones. I also used metal, wood, and plastic bits as accessories to my toys and to help build and fix my toys. It wasn’t that we were really poor, but we didn’t go buying toys all the time and I tended to be happy making do. I guess it led to where I am in other areas too…

I have belonged to, and in my spirit, though I am not currently active, still a member of a medieval recreation society and the keyword to that group is “participation”. Being that medieval gear and equipment just could not easily be purchased, we ended up making and creating our own. Of course with my typical “Church Mouse” budget I would have to often improvise and would use old clothing, blankets, discarded furniture, and drapes for resources to make clothing and items for medieval implements and garb. That is cool… but you end up keeping nearly everything on the hope that you can make use of it and not toss something that would be of value and use to you in your hobby — especially when you have seen others using such things in their own equipment. Part of what I am going to be getting rid of now are things I have saved to use for that hobby. I know I will be able to purchase or otherwise find for nearly nothing the equivalent or better.

It would have been difficult to get rid of that stuff other than now knowing I can recycle the materials.

Recycling and reducing are probably the more important to me as I have too much stuff at the moment. I imagine selling and donating are as important or more important than the recycling bin to me. Or for that matter finding friends and family who could actually use the things I do not have a need for and do not have room for.

I guess “3 R’s” sound better than “3 R’s, S, D, & G”  (Sell, Donate, & Gift)

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse.

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