So, I mentioned awhile back that son #1 (age 12)

was hit by a truck while bicycling to school early April. The kids and I (I’m a widow) have a high deductible medical health plan so I was looking at a total of about $8000 out of pocket medical expenses for his surgery, hospital stay, ambulance ride, and other assorted fun. Fast forward a few months. Son has recovered nicely (just biked off to first day of 8th grade – woo hoo!) and obviously the bills came flying in. I paid off the tiny assorted bills easily. Called the ambulance company and just from asking, they knocked off 15% ($400). Same thing with the surgeon, knocked off 10% easy-peasy. The hospital was the big one – copay of around $3600. I called and asked if there was anything they could do and i have a quastion – what is the easiest way of borrowing money?! well, they don’t do an auto knock-off by me asking but I can fill out a request. So I sent it in, along with some paperwork. They mail me back, want me to send copies of my last two paycheck stubs as well as my bank statements. Well, here’s the thing. I can totally afford to pay the bill. I also have a really, really good job and am paid very well. There is no WAY on earth that I will qualify on the basis of need. No way. So I almost said, forget it, there’s no point in filling this out, there’s no reason for them to knock down that bill. But then I thought, hey, even if they knock off $100 or $200, that’s a pretty good return on my time so I sent the paperwork. I also sent them a letter discussing what happened with my son, admitted that I can pay the bill but kind of thought it stunk that I had to (driver of the truck was 100% at fault), and also thanked them for the amazing job they did when we were at their hospital – great staff, everything was good. Then I waited. I come back from a short camping trip (me and 7 kids!) to find a voicemail to call them and discuss my account. I get through and she said that they’re willing to knock it from $3600 to $569! I was very effusive in my gratitude and mailed the check that day. So it really can’t hurt to ask for a break (and be nice while you’re doing it!). And, because I know some of you are wondering, what happened with the other guy – why am I paying at all? Other driver carried $100,000 limit on other driver expenses. My health insurance paid everything after copays/deductibles, but they’re going after that $100,000 settlement. Beyond the expenses they’ve paid so far (nearly $80,000), there’s another surgery in November and possibly more surgeries down the road depending on how his leg reacts to the titanium. My health insurance wouldn’t deal with me, pretty adamant that they’d recover all their money, so I had to involve a lawyer whom they did listen to. They’re now going to allow a split of the money from the other driver’s insurance – they get some, the lawyer gets some, we get some. I’ll be able to cover my direct expenses and a relatively small amount will go into a structured settlement with amounts released each year that son #1 goes to college. That will help defray some of the cost of his tuition.

Jhon, kind of off-topic but wanted you to know

I was just bragging on you to a young girl just starting high school. She is the only girl in auto mechanics, no dad in her home to teach her anything, and she is getting a bit of a hard time about it. I told her of a successful businesswoman with a beautiful automobile who can do her own maintenance. This one is a determined little gal and have no doubt she can do it. It’s not the instructor giving her a hard time, it’s other students. Ha, never challenge a stubborn woman…that just fires em up.

In 2008, we went from a house

home day care, and teenagers (in Michigan), to empty nest and an apartment (in Minnesota). We decluttered A LOT. We’ve moved two more times since then, and decluttered every time we moved. But somehow, the clutter keeps multiplying. And multiplying. And multiplying. Besides yarn, my weakness is paper — cards, stationary, stickers, post-it notes. And if the sign says “Clearance”, I’m hooked! So I’ve learned to say out of those kinds of stores. To browse the web-sites, then delete. And to throw things away. But I swear, it still multiplies!

I love the books by Dan Aslett

I started with “(NOT) For Packrats Only” Very funny and encouraging!!! It has a lot of tips on how to clean out specific areas. For me the magic was getting past certain types of emotional clutter: “It was a gift!” Well, maybe I can gift it to someone who will USE it. “I”m going to fix it!” No, I’m NOT. (how about a deadline?) “It belongs to someone else” Get it to them. NOW “I could use it someday”. No, it’s going to sit there and rot. “It’s a souvenir!” It’s getting dusty and moldy. Take a digital picture of it and let it go. “It was Grandma’s!” Grandma didn’t want to burden you with clutter. Pick one or two things you really love and let the rest go someplace where they will be truly valued. Saving everything is hugely expensive in real dollar terms, when you start figuring how much you’re paying for the space and how much time and energy the clutter costs you. You actually save money getting rid of it even if you DO find yourself going out and buying something occasionally that was in your “I might use it someday” pile. And the new one is nicer and more useful. (and there will always be MORE yogurt containers and paper bags. And rubber bands ROT, go spend a dollar and get a bag of good new ones that won’t break) My big weakness is *books* but between interlibrary loan and ebay and Amazon.com, I know that I can put my hands on any book I want in a matter of a couple days. So I am trying to cut down to only those books I will truly read again and love.

Go down there

with a shovel and bunch of giant garbage bags, put everything in them, have a clean empty room then you can think, then unload each bag wherever you have moved them, one at a time.. gives a different perspective…

Frank, you’ve posted pictures of your basement

have you ever seen the hoarding shows? The pictures I’ve seen don’t look like anything I’ve seen on those TV shows, including Clean Sweep. If you get in there and start you should be done in an afternoon. No shovel required, I think you had a lot of boxes and no dead animals.

My fiance and I are completely different on this

I am a perfectionist, so I feel like I cant start until I am completely ready, and have the time to get completely finished…to perfection. This translates into…nothing ever gets done. My fiance is a do-er. He just jumps in head first and things get done. I have been talking for YEARS about cleaning up my upstairs and setting up my son’s room up there. Literally years. “But I need to go through the stuff!” “There is no where to put the stuff I neeeeed to keep!” One word to him and we were up there. Took me kicking and screaming. Guess how long it took? An hour and a half. I neeeeeded to keep very little, as it turns out. ::sheepish grin:: Now its a great large room for a 17 year old boy. One word of advice? Do it on a trash night. We went up, made piles, quickly without much thought, and straight out to the curb everything went. Some good stuff went, but I dont get a huge sentimental attachment to “stuff” so out it went. Everything else was put in organized boxes in the back attic area.

Yes – the Flylady way

Not sure if it’s flylady.com or .net. I have lost some ground but never all that I gained. It took a couple of months. One room had been the catch-all junk room for YEARS, my daughter and I committed 15 minutes a night, were ruthless with ourselves and the stuff and in a week it was a habitable guest room. Last summer did the same for our garage, I renovate houses and after each job all the tools, leftover supplies etc. got piled in the garage – it was ugly. That took more like three days, 4-5 hours a day but it was a real priority for me and I was between houses.

Last big decluttering session was when we wanted to put hardwood floors in

I had my kids do their rooms and I did the guest room, my room and 2 hall closets. What didn’t fit in the pod I had rented, didn’t stay. they had to leave room for the bedroom furniture that would be moved out after we left the house. I gave myself 1 week before I took the kids and left for 2 weeks and 1 week to unload the pod when we got back…total 1m rental on the pod I think I got rid of the most before we left, but they were then stuck with the task of nothing could be on the floor except gym bags. Need to declutter again….perhaps tiling the back room would work this way.

I don’t follow her emails anymore

But I still use my timer. Whatever method you choose, Eldred, try setting a timer for 15-20 at a time. Take a short time in between. It is fun to challenge yourself against it and amazing what can be accomplished in that amount of time. You will be able to chip away at it pretty quickly. The method of removing everything, sorting and reassembling can be pretty daunting, time consuming and will definitely need extra hands and preferably a sunny day. Not impossible. Maybe clear a lot in short bits and then do a final over haul? Let us know how you do!

Well, I know some on here have said they don’t like flylady much

but she recommends just doing one box or one bag at a time….or only working for a short while like 15 minutes at a time…then taking a break…you can work longer than that or maybe do 2 to 3 15 minute sessions per day….but she warns against trying to do too much at once and burning yourself out though, which is what happens far too often if we try to do too much at once.

In my other life I teach organizing and decluttering

I have actually used a shovel to clear out a clients basement. It was a very big job! An overflowing basement can take weeks or even months depending on the time devoted, the ability to let things go, and the quanity of “stuff”. Pick a starting spot in the room and work that section until clear. Used the do I use it, do I love it, does it make me smile principal. If soemthing does not meet these criteria, get rid of it. Keeping things for “someday” creates nothing but clutter and ultimately becomes a burden.

Depends, on a great deal of factors

how many people doing it, how much stuff, how big house, etc, etc. What I always find works is a little a time, and keeping what you have done, done. If you have things you want to get rid of, do it then, not wait for a load, that type of thing.

Has anyone ever gone through a

“Clean House” or “Hoarders” type of decluttering process? I’m not talking about a cleanup prompted by your basement flooding, or similar. I mean just getting tired of stepping over stuff every time you go into the basement, for example. How did you do it, and how long did it take?