24 April 2012

Decluttering and moving forward

I've was busy all day yesterday and will be again today so instead of carrying on from the food challenge, today I'm writing about decluttering. I still have some thinking and reorganising to do with the food so I'll carry on with that tomorrow.

I suggest in my book that it's a worthwhile exercise to declutter at the end of every decade. If you do that, you'll open up yourself for new life to float in and you'll not be tied down with excessive possessions that you have to look after. Hanno and I are not at the end of decades but we decided to reorganise and declutter our bedroom and our guest bedroom. We have an expanding family and changes need to be made so everyone feels comfortable here.

The room is now light and airy with only what is necessary left in the room. There is a little portable cot for the babies tucked away in the cupboard.

Our guest room was originally our bedroom and 15 years ago, when we came to live here, we added a bedroom and an extra bathroom. Hanno and I use that bedroom and bathroom now and over the years our old bedroom has turned into a guest room and a collection point for old furniture and junk the kids left behind when they left home.  We decided to spruce everything up about three weeks ago. I told Hanno my plan - to paint and reorganise, he added his ideas, and before I knew it, we'd selected paint and the job was started. We also replaced the 15 year old previously recycled curtains and while we didn't add any furniture to our bedroom we bought a little dressing table for the guest room. Everything else was recycled and moved around to better suit the style of each room.

The walls were painted a very pale grey-blue, we took out everything that wasn't necessary and either gave it away or have it stored in the shed in case the kids want extra furniture when they move from flats into houses. I haven't quite finished working on our bedroom yet. We have French doors in there and I'm still trying to find time to make new curtains for the doors. When it's finished, I might take a photo to show you what we've done in there to. I'm very happy with both rooms - they both feel lighter, bigger and liberated from the weight of junk and stuff.

That little green rabbit was made for me by my sister, Tricia, using a recycled woollen blanket.

We both still have some decluttering of our wardrobes to carry out, but I hope mine will be done this weekend. Decluttering your own wardrobe can be quite confronting. I have resisted doing it for too long, but I'm in the right frame of mind now and on the weekend, there will be a couple of bags full of clothes and shoes going to the local St Vincent de Paul shop. Hanno will do his too, but I'm not sure when. (He might even start his when he reads this post so he can beat me to it.) ; - ) I have three questions I ask myself when I declutter:
  1. Would I be sad if I didn't have this?
  2. Is this important to me and my family?
  3. Have I used this in the past year?
Usually the answer is no, and out it goes to be given away or recycled in some way. It feels good.

No one wants to spend their life being a curator of accumulated goods. It is liberating and symbolic when you start divesting yourself of all the unwanted goods you've carried with you for years. It is silently saying: I don't need these things now and I don't need to hang on to them. My life is simpler now, I am moving on. 

I keep going into our guest room so I can smile at it. I'm pretty sure it's smiling back at me because we've removed the burden of those 15 years. All those reminders of wasted hours shopping and wasted dollars, I wonder now why I waited so long to do it. 

I'd love to hear your decluttering story, or your reasons why you haven't decluttered even when you wanted to.



  1. Thanks for the inspiration, Rhonda! Your decluttered room looks so clean and orderly. Simply lovely.

    I am currently working on my kitchen cupboards; specifically the dishes and eating utensils. Just today, I boxed up a set of stoneware that I have never liked, for donating. The dishes were a gift and I suppose that is why I kept them.

    We have a small home, so I am always going through "stuff" to winnow out the excess.... That is my goal, anyway.

  2. My question as I declutter is"would I take it if I moved?" Usually the hassle of packing and hauling is (well, we are not moving but just the THOUGHT) enough to put in a donate box or the trash! Your room is lovely!!

  3. We have been working on decluttering too. When I think of all the stuff I have that later the children may have to clear out later it spurs me on to clear out even more! We have begun asking them if they do now or in the future want any of our treasures. If they do we have given them to them now. They all have wee homes and will only be able to use so much. We do not want to burden them with having to dispose of things and such later. Somethings we have I have given them written instructions on what group will later take them...such as home schoolers or church groups that have said they would take such things. If they know of anyone later that they know of could use them they are free to change those plans. But many things they would not know who to say give books to that they do not want themselves. It is a process and what we feel we cannot part with this week...next month we feel we can. It is like peeling an onion..one layer at a time. We do know the feeling though too of letting go and then on with a new life!! Sarah

  4. We declutter about once or twice a year. I do a little bit here and there (a drawer, a cupboard) as it needs it or I feel in the mood. Last time we decluttered, we had a garage sale, which was quite successful. This time I've gone into nesting mode for our second baby due in a few weeks. We use decluttering as a chance to either sell or donate stuff. We don't really buy stuff, but it's amazing how quickly things accumulate. I found a huge stash of bubble wrap from postage that I couldn't bear to throw out :).

  5. Ah Rhonda, your guest room looks so peaceful!

    I've always struggled with decluttering. I've never managed to do it properly, not even when I just had a room of my own. Now I share a house with my partner, who keeps many, many things 'just in case'.

    I am feeling a very strong urge at the minute to clear the decks. I get frustrated at my partner's stuff, and yet I still have plenty of my own! I start, and then get disheartened in the middle, and things pile up...

    Crikey this is turning into a negative comment - I'm so sorry! I shall set my timer and embrace one room at a time I think - my attic to start with, since that's where I work, and also where my sewing stuff is. Plenty to keep me occupied for now!

    Thanks for the reminder...

    Jenni x

  6. Decluttering is a favourite topic of mine. I wrote a series about my own evolving relationship with stuff on my blog and in the process realized so much about myself: how much more awake and aware I feel as I get older, and how I placed so many of my hopes and fears in having stuff. Letting go is freedom indeed.

    As always, I enjoy your philosophy of life. :-)

  7. Your spare room looks lovely Rhonda.
    My favourite decluttering lately was the walk in pantry. It is the size of a bathroom and hubbie had made shelves for it using wood from recycled pallets, years ago when we had very little money. It has always worked very well.
    I decided it needed some freshening up. So walls etc were painted but then we came to a problem. The bigger shelves had been covered with contact which is no longer made in big amounts.
    The answer was a trip back in time. I remembered my Grandma using left over floor vinyl in cupboards when I was little. So a trip to the hardware store and a few meters of "lino" and I had my old shelves covered with a fresh and very durable surface for a few dollars. This suited our older style house and I am very happy with it.

  8. I too have been asking myself questions about things I am organizing. My questions are:

    Do I love it? Not just like it.

    Do I need it?

    If I find I need it after I get rid of it, can I get another one?

    Do I REALLY love it?

    I'm really getting things pared down with these questions.


  9. Well, I am in great need of decluttering, but feel like I am overwhelmed. My parents and my parent in laws were both hoarders, and my husband and I have to struggle to not allow that into our life. I have had to deal with (and am still dealing with) each of our parents things after they pass away - only one left and she lives with us. I so dream of a room (just one) that looks like the one you have organized for your guest room. It looks so restful and lovely. Thanks for being such an encouragement in so many ways over the past few years. Carmen from Manitoulin Island, Canada

  10. As usual, a very inspiring post! How lovely to have a room ready for guests. As to why I haven't decluttered although I want to? TIME! But soon....... I can feel it coming........

  11. Great job! I think that starting a collection is the death-trap of clutter! That's the hard part, for me. Augh!


  12. Hi Rhonda,

    I really love how your guest bedroom turned out. It's beautiful, light and spacious ;) :) Oh, I noticed the lovely lace curtains. I'd love to find a beautiful lace fabric like that for my windows, too :) :)

    When I declutter, I ask myself if this is something I'd want to keep in 10 years or is this something I'd want to pass on to my kids. If not, then I put it in a box and donate it to a thrift store. Now a friend of mine is hosting a yardsale at the end of this month sometime. She's raising money to go to Samoa. So I may help her with the yardsale, sell some of my things and give her a portion of the proceeds to help her out.

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :) :)

  13. I recently decluttered the 3 children's bedrooms. I threw out 6 big garbage bags full of rubbish, and donated around 4 big bag fulls to charity! It was a little overdue I think! But it felt good.

  14. I've tried decluttering our wardrobe several times and it never seems to improve. I must be doing something wrong I think.

  15. Hi Rhonda, I'm a BIG fan of decluttering. My journey started with clothes. Whatever wasn't worn for the last 12 months was passed on. Then as each one of our four children left home, with them went a big 'starter box' filled with dishes, pots & pans, tea & bath towels and so on, it is amazing how much stuff one accumulates and never uses, something's were wedding presents (almost makes them antiques). As I went along you realize that the less you have, the less cleaning, dusting and general tidying you have to do. This gives you a kind of freedom to persue the things you really enjoy in life.
    Over the years I started to also apply permaculture principles to my decluttering and simplifying, that is things or furniture ideally had to justify being kept by more than one purpose. So my dressmakers dummy was amended to also become the hall stand, an antique traveling box, we we use as a pantry when camping, became the coffee table and the long hallway in our 1bedroom, Victorian Terrace doubles as the guest room, when needed.
    My one item of 'must have' is my big table and chairs. When we, as 'empty-nesters, were looking for a smaller place, I used to take the measurement tape to make sure it will fit. I need to have space to have our family dinners.
    Now, in our simpler, smaller and decluttered house, we are amazed how much easier and cheaper life has become. It takes much less of everything to keep a smaller house, our energy bills are halved and life is, for want of a better word, lighter.
    Maybe this is what 'enlightenment' is all about?

  16. We decluttered in a very big way when we moved overseas 3 years ago so I'm collecting now not decuttering but I have just created a spare room like you and I'm working on a craft/office as well.

  17. I'm pretty good at decluttering generally but it is the stuff I don't need but was given to me, or inherited (even if it is butt ugly and entirely useless) that I have trouble letting go. Every now and again (when I'm feeling particularly strong!) I'll attack the cupboards and now I take a photo of the thing (if I'm sentimentally attached to it or it brings back memories) and then I despatch it to the op-shop, garage sale or pass it on to friends, telling it "It's time for someone else to love you now." This phrase works very well with children and their toys!

  18. De-cluttering seems to be a world wide misson at the moment all my favourite bloggers seem to be de-cluttering.
    Love your spare bedroom, I am thinking it might be time to freshen mine up.....

  19. continuing this journey of life & eliminated the unnecessary. love adventure. couldn't happen with lots of stuff. reduced items to suit 2 people comfortably. a core wardrobe with changes made from summer to winter. reduced the kitchen to just what is needed on a regular basis. cook healthy foods, make cleaners, soap, knit, & grow some veggies. furnishings are minimal as well. one thing comes in one goes out. no visual clutter. saved money along the way. when opportunity arises for adventure nothing stops us. work 24/7 every other week. we are lacking nothing. couldn't be here without knowledge gained from this blog & others thank you for simplifying and enriching these 2 lives.

  20. Hello Rhonda,
    Yes room does indeed look very inviting and calming.As i sit and type this I look around my sewing room here and I really must start to declutter. My sewing room has actually spilled over into the next room (not good) I'm at a stage when I just have to let go of some things, but I do find it sooo hard. You have inspired me and I do hope this subject continues for awhile so we can encourage one another. I think that some of us find security in our things, a bit like and obsession. I want to let go and not feel guilty about being wasteful and I appreciate any advise and encouragement I can get.
    Thanks again Rhonda, you're a gem.
    Blessings Gail

  21. p.s.
    Loved what "suddenly simple" said in her comment. It all makes so much sense.
    Blessings Gail

  22. Good Morning Rhonda....great post! We are both hoarders here....I especially find it hard to part with sentimental things...on the other hand I'm trying hard to not hoard...so now I just have to deal with the years of hoarding!

  23. What a great result Rhonda. I'm at the end of a decade - with my 40th birthday fast approaching, and have been decluttering since the beginning of the year. I wasn't really aware of why I felt this need at first, but I think you are right about it being a new start at the beginning of a new phase in our lives. I've always had a problem with holding on to things in case 'they come in handy'. Now I'm asking myself do I have an actual need in mind for this object. If not - then out it goes. Sentimental things are a little different though. And I simply can't throw away a book (though I am using my local library more now).

  24. Your guest bedroom looks lovely, Rhonda. I wish I could declutter but unfortunately I am married to a chronic hoarder. At least I can declutter my wardrobe. Thanks for the challenge.

  25. Your guest room is beautiful. I have thoughts along that line myself. You've inspired me !

  26. It's hard to declutter when your partner is a sentimental thing - the answer is always "yes" to the question of would he be sad if he didn't have it. But that's one of the reasons I love him!

    Having said that, decluttering certainly seems to be popular at the moment. When I mention my current attempts to simplify by decluttering, many people are doing the same thing.

    I think it is a big part of how people are trying find what REALLY makes us happy, getting rid of "things" and looking at ourselves, friends and family.

  27. I love the feeling of letting go of things that no longer give me joy. And finding a way to give unwanted items in a way that will be of benefit to others.
    I have started choosing a word at the beginning of a new year and my word for 2012 is 'Declutter'.
    I have recently retired from full-time employment and am relearning the joy of creating a home.
    Each month I make a short list (3-4 items) of areas that need decluttering.
    By the end of the year I envisage a home like your guest room.

  28. I truly find decluttering a difficult task. I love getting rid of things and love to live in a streamlined way with only favorite, beautiful or practical things around me but trying to live more sustainably, recycle and reuse makes me feel like I need to repurpose everything. Some days I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place?

  29. Hi Rhonda,
    your declutterred room looks beautiful! Since having children I declutter roughly every 3 months. They grow out of clothes/toys/books so fast and if too much accumulates they can't keep their things tidy.
    The house is an ongoing process and I particularly struggle with paper clutter, and a general lack of storage space.
    I really believe that clutter affects our physical and mental health - I notice that when I've been ill the house is always in a bit of a state! So I'm trying to make it an ongoing process to tackle a pile, a drawer, a shelf.
    As for mental health, a good declutter and clean always helps get rid of the blahs!
    Have a beautiful day everyone, Madeleine

  30. It's a lovely calm restful space, and I'm sure your guests will be so comfortable and happy to stay there. Blue was always my favourite for the bedroom. I've always dreamed about a guest bedroom, but I don't think it will be a reality for us until our kid's are grown and out of the nest.

  31. I went through my bathroom yesterday and threw away or donated about 90% of what was in the drawers and cupboards. Did the garage last Sunday same thing.
    I am a bit tired of rearranging the same stuff so got rid of it.
    Great idea about every decade - my basement is the root of all evil around here; I have been trying to tackle it for at least a year. Now I have to get my closets sorted.
    So liberating !

  32. We are systematically going through our entire home and garage. We very recently decided we will be staying put in our home. No more moving! The change in how we see our home and things is amazing. The "great purge of 2012" has begun and tubs are filling fast. We may have a garage sale or we may just donate it all.
    What I find most interesting is that things I'd acquired from others once seemed so much more important, but now I see the sadness of keeping an object (unseen in a cupboard) for ages simply because someone owned it once. The kids are in on the project and I'm so proud of the way they have met the challenge head on! I'm looking forward to new space, more efficiently organized spaces, a veranda we will build this summer and fully settling into this property as our forever home.
    "Modify to suit your needs" you said in your book, we took that to heart and are doing just that - it feels SO good! :)

    Thank you!

  33. I also recently de-cluttered our guest room, just in time for overseas guests to visit. That dressing table is beautiful! the room looks very restful and inviting - good job.

  34. Decluttering is an ongoing thing for me. I find the most difficult though is children's toys. As much as we say they don't need it, they have so many - there's the gifts and birthdays and Christmas, etc. It's a real challenge for me but I find I'm getting better at letting go. We've also changed tastes over time and so it's easier to let go of stuff that we don't need or use anymore and be more conscious of this stuff coming into the house.

  35. I am married to a hoarder and it is impossible to declutter. For me it is a slow and gradual process so a war does not erupt however newer stuff appears almost as fast as the old disappears. Slow and steady does it – like the story of the doormats. It takes 6 strides to walk along the back veranda from the sunroom to “his” office at the other end and at each point there was a carpet rectangle, one at the beginning and end and six along the length of the veranda. They grew mouldy, stained and frayed and I was not allowed to move them. Firstly I bought new weatherproof mats for the beginning and end and tossed those two out then gradually, over several months, when he was away I would tidy the veranda and toss one mat out and space the others a bit further apart. Now they are all gone and he did not notice but did notice when I removed a stained and torn rug from under the sunroom table which he insisted go back – the compromise was I rolled it up so the canvas backing was showing, tied it up with string and “hid” it behind a big plant in the corner.
    It is a really depressing situation; I don’t invite friends over to my home as I am embarrassed about what my life has become and have little space of my own for what I consider the essentials of my life – craft materials, books etc. I cannot see the surface of the coffee table, dining room table, sunroom table – all covered with “important” piles of his work documents. I have reclaimed four areas, bathroom / toilet, kitchen, bedroom and back veranda that I attempt to keep clutter free, tidy, dusted and polished but some days I grow despondent and give up. It’s been years since I have regularly watched TV as I cannot stand being in the living room for too long and have not eaten at the dining room table for longer than I can remember. I long to live in a clutter free environment.

  36. Yet another incredibly timely post Rhonda. I spent yesterday decluttering my kitchen cupboards. How liberating it was plus there is the plan to install a small wood fired oven so room had to be made as some cupboards will have to be removed to fit it in. It's all part of our plan to be less dependant on the power and gas companies and more self sufficient (we can get loads of wood from friends - the only cost is a day out and the exercise to cut it). Today I shopped - only buying just what we needed and second daughter and I are starting to work our way through the very old cook books my grandmother had to made simple and nutritious meals that don't have a heap of expensive or one off ingredients in them. I have also renovated my vegie patch - and dug over another bed today. Fresh veg here I come...vbg. Thank you for the motivation and inspiration to clean and sort my home. It was a much needed reminded that hubby and I live in this house - not our "stuff".

  37. Thankyou for your lovely post and I agree with everyone that your spare room looks lovely. I grew up with parents who kept things and I could see the burden they place themselves under. Quite early in life I decided not to endlessly keep stuff, but decluttering did not come up on my list of stuff to do as a priority for many years: as recent as the last 5 years.

    I found it hard at first due to two things: fear I might need the item in the future, and guilt: guilt about giving away gifts as if that diminished or was disrespectful to the giver or guilt that giving away old stuff linked to memories meant I did not value the memory anymore.

    The more I do it the more I love it! Items I can't bear to part with on one round, often become easier to part with the next time round.

    I feel lighter, relieved, I can find things more easily, I don't forget I've got something and buy it again, my house looks better and is easier to clean and maintain. Often stored items deteriorate with age/lack of use, so keeping them can be a waste of time.

    Not finished yet but definitely converted


  38. Hi Rhonda
    Great post! My house is too cluttered. With 6 kids we do have too much stuff for sure. I have been in a constant state of decluttering for a number of years now and the amount of stuff we have given away is mindblowing. The last year or so though I have turned my decluttering into a way of making a little extra money. I am now listing things on Ebay etc and am contributing little bits to our income, no its not huge amounts but every little bit helps. I get sad when I see things that were just a waste of our money.
    My plan now is to tackle one wall of each room at a time and as the house needs repainting etc I will declutter each shelf/drawer etc and once the wall space is decluttered we will paint that wall. This may take a while but gradually our house will hopefully become more homely. I am calling it our redecorate/declutter mission. First room is the toilet lol and work our way up to the larger rooms.

  39. Hello Rhonda,
    I think we may be psychotically connected? I only found your blog last week & the posts you have written are like my own thoughts if that's possible? even though at the age of 50 I/we are just starting out on the road to doing things for ourselves eg: growing veggies. My husband has ordered me your book for my birthday in a couple of weeks & as I will be off work after shoulder surgery I will have plenty of time to devour/savoir it. My daughter & I have already gone through two bedrooms in our home & decluttered, we are now working on our craft room where we make cards & gifts, any scraps that we no longer need go to the day care centre just around the corner. I think decluttering is good for the soul.

    Thank you. Debbie

  40. I just looked in my TV cabinet and found 4 little photo frames that I've carried around with me since high school. I could put them away for my daughter as I am sure if she is anything like me she would put them on a shelf even without a photo in them. I realise now she will accumulate her own stuff over her lifetime and doesn't need mine. I also think that if I donate them to charity someone will snap them up and love them, take them home and store a treasured photo in them.

    I plan on starting decluttering in June when I can get baby no. 2's room ready. As this will be our last bub I plan on spending the year decluttering and only keeping a few sentimental things in a box at the top of each child's wardrobe. Then hopefully the rooms might look a little like your guest room.


  41. Painting is a great excuse to declutter. Every time we start renovating/restoring/painting a new room in our house we clear out all the junk and only put back what is needed. I'm a minimalist decorator. I get stressed by loads of stuff!
    I also really like the grey-blue paint you've chosen for the bedroom walls. Looks fantastic!

  42. Wonderful discussion as always and I congratulate you on the simple serenity of your guest room. I think eclair addressed a very important issue relateds to 'stuff' we've been given or inherited from precious people. Things that have sentimental value but no other good reason for being retained need to be dealt with in a different way. It can sometimes feel disloyal to give up those items and you really need to challege that. Keeping a good photo of the item in a "treasures album" can assuage the discomfort and help you move on.

  43. I am sure your family will appreciate the guest room and your thoughtfulness for the baby. We have visited my parents in law for one weekend a month for many years starting with when we had one child and carrying on now that we have four. It's a tight squeeze these days but we always feel welcome in their home. I am also decluttering at the moment as we are a large family in a small home with busy lives and clutter tends to make your life feel like an unmade bed!

  44. We are also in the middle of a major de-clutter. We thought we had de-cluttered lots last year but then we moved to a much smaller place and during the move realised that we were filling it up way too much.

    With my lovely Mum in Law and then my Dad both dying during the last 6 months we also have lots of their things to find new homes for, so this Summer will be the year of the Car Boot Sale. To turn un-wanted and no longer needed items into cash to enable us to move forward with our simple lifestyle. Whatever is over at the end of the Summer is being donated to charity where hopefully someone who really needs them will benefit.

    The act of making space in your home is very cathartic I find. With each bit of space you make comes more room to breathe, and like you say it's lovely to open a room door and look in at what you have created and the space you have made.

    Good luck with doing your wardrobes, I've yet to do that one!

    Sue xx

  45. It looks nice. Very clean, airy and fresh.

    I am resisting decluttering because I hate to be told by my sister that I should. She is doing it, telling me I should and then giving me things! Terrible reason to resist, but I will do things in my own time. I am just finishing converting my garage into my sewing/art studio. This is not a large room and will be crowded, but it will clear my creative mess out our family room. To get the complete result, I will be asking your three questions (plus "will my son need it later?") of what was in the garage and is in the family room and a lot will end up at Goodwill. This will also give my mom a much nicer sitting room and eating area since her bedroom is right off the family room.

  46. We moved from NZ to Aus 3 years ago and it was a great opportunity to 'purge' and its such a great feeling! I think a clean out every decade is a great idea. Your guest bedroom looks so light and airy and any guest would love to stay there I'm sure :)

  47. This winter my guest room has looked like a cluttered mess!!! I have 3 large totes in the room that has all my yarn stored in them that I brought down for the winter so I could crochet. When we moved 1500 miles away we bought a much smaller house than what we had had. The bedrooms are very small and I've had to do some creative decorating. Unfortunately, our guest room still has the queen size bed that was in our other house and it takes up a LOT of that small space. I've tried several times to try to talk my DH into letting me get rid of this huge bed but he doesn't want me to, so it just takes up valuable rel-estate. I also have to use this room for our computer room.

    I've been seriously thinking of having a garage sale this summer and sticking this large bed up for sale. Our grown kids live 3000 miles away so they aren't visiting too often.

  48. Rhonda, I enjoy so much and look forward each time to read your blog, that on my first blog anniversary I'm passing a little sunshine your way. I'm nominating you for the Versatile Blogger Award!

  49. Must be something in the air. I got up this morning and, out of the blue, decided to go through my kitchen drawers. (You know all that stuff that you just throw in there because someday you might. . . . and you never do).

    Half sack on its way to Goodwill. I'll put my dishtowels back in one of those drawers -- after a sift through those as well.

  50. Greetings from New England. I just wanted to giggle -- we have three baby chicks in our living room. My motherinlaw lets our 5yo bring some home from her flock while they're still too small to get them out of the box. Then they'll go back with her other chicks to get settled in before it's time for them all to move to the coop.

    For Teaching of Thom -- we have the same desire to re-use. My big Aha! moment was realizing that I could find SOMEONE ELSE to do the re-using. Our daughter's daycare and school have received donations ranging from extra office supplies to old magazines & toiletpaper tubes to use for kid crafts.
    Goodwill & freecycle & St.V-de-P have all helped me start to separate.

    Be well all.

  51. Your kids' families will really appreciate this. It is difficult visiting family when their homes and especially the guest room is full of knick knacks and breakables for our little ones to easily get at. It makes it feel very stressful. Looks great!

  52. I used to be a sentimental hoarder when I was single and lived at home. Getting married and having to share hubby's small flat gave me a new perspective on just how much I had accumulated. His philosophy...if you haven't used it in a year out with it.
    My favorite hoard was photos, his take: what does looking at that photo do for you, in years to come will it mean anything?
    Having 2 kids and moving once again (to the downstairs of his folks house, which we renovated, so that we could save to build our own house) and having to share a space with 3 people now also refocused me.
    Then once again moving into our finished home put the final pruning to our worldly possessions.
    Now for the last 9 years I have found my pattern to be to declutter before birthdays, Christmas and in august before a new school year begins. Really helps to focus on what you actually use and need.

    Trinidad & Tobago

    p.s. I have however fallen victim to a new site for hoarding: the computer!!! Oh the many photos, oh the many bookmarks for sites and blogs, oh the many recipes to attempt ;)

  53. Loved this post and all the comments. Have been working on the declutter for awhile but lost momentum. We are accumulators and sentimental so we have a lot of stuff. Nice to know we are not alone.
    Note to Dragonfly-my Mom had to put up with a lot of what you are going through and it is not easy. If you can, find a therapist who deals with hoarding to help you find ways to work with this problem. Not being able to sit at your own table is not good for you. Your feelings are important too-it sounds like you could use some support. Sending you good wishes to get some of that support. Good luck to all of us! Karen from CT

  54. My de-cluttering tip: put things you're not sure about in a box, label this box with the DATE ONLY. Then put it in the shed, or somewhere else out of the way. Then after a year, if you haven't opened the box to look for something, take it to an op shop WITHOUT opening it. If you open it, you will take stuff out you want to keep, but you haven't used of thought about it in a whole year, so you really don't need to hang on to it. I've taken many boxes away like this, and don't even know what was in them, and don't miss whatever it was.

  55. Although I love the idea of decluttering it is very difficult for me. There have been times when I have decluttered and have given away family heirlooms about which I have deep regret. I went overboard so to speak. It overwhelms me. I do not like the clutter. It plagues me, but clearing it out seems like it is too time consuming in the face of so many other things I have to do (single mom/full time job/part time student/urban homesteader).

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  57. I took up decluttering in earnest about five years ago when I counted up how many pairs of pants, shorts, trackies etc I had and they totalled 39. Nobody needs 39 pairs of pants. I stopped shopping for clothes and as garments wore out I threw them away. I'm now down to a more sensible dozen or so pants and the number of tops, dresses, skirts,shoes etc has also decreased. Less is more. More space in my wardrobe too.

    I've applied the same strategy all over our home as well. There is less cleaning and less stuff to maintain.

    This week my grand-daughter's school asked for donations of bedding for the homeless and I have emptied cupboards of stuff that has been sitting there unused for years. It's good to know it will help to keep someone warm in this cold weather and reminds me to appreciate out warm cosy bed more.

    Was surprised to read that decluttering can be done every decade. I do it almost daily now. It has become an entrenched habit and I love it.


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