Barbara, holy cow was it ever a tremendous effort. One afternoon/evening we were all working so diligently my dd finally reminded us at 9:30 that we never ate supper.
My kids helped so so much. DS is old enough to responsibly run the shredder; he only jammed it once which is better than I usually do! My dd loves to sort things and dust and organize and did 2 rooms almost all by herself. By some miracle, there wasn't one argument or fit about any of the things we said good-bye to.
I let go of stacks and stacks of Cooking Light from when I had subscription....hard to let go as I felt it was always such a well-done magazine.
I went through every page where I had a sticky note and if I still wanted that recipe or article, I took out the page and put it in my binder. (My most-used recipes are in a 3-ring binder in plastic sleeves). I couldn't bring myself to give up the hardcover books of CL recipes compiled by year, though....so many good recipes.
Hosta - closets and cupboards were absolutely killing me. I mean, stuffing those full of junk and items I never used meant that I had nowhere to put anything else either, after a time.
Re: kids' stuff. It's really weird how I can not care about some of the stuff I've kept over the years as long as I know I still have it. But then when I have to make a choice to keep it or donate it, some of it I just couldn't part with. My kids' newborn/infant/toddler clothes for example. Cognitively, I realize there are others who could use them and clearly WE don't need them and that I haven't even laid eyes on that stuff for years. I also have all DS' baby bottles, and all DD's pacifiers. It's just some strange emotional thing...I think I'm afraid of forgetting all of my cherished memories of their earlier days if I get rid of some of these things. Anyone else ever feel that way? I can't quite put my finger on it.
Lori - yep, we gave away hundreds of children's books too. My DH went through and took out all the ones that could be used in the elementary classrooms at his school. Favorites were kept for now, and may be passed on to cousins. The rest were donated.
For a couple of school years now, I've given each of my kids an accordion file at the start of the year and if there is a school paper we'd like to keep, they put it in their respective file. I keep things that are very special to them, and a few now and then that are just representative of their age/grade/current work. Files are kept in their rooms. That's working well. I just need to be diligent about all the notices and calendars and updates and whatever else the school always sends my way.
Sending cyber-energies to everyone working on this type of thing!!