Organising my home - it's been life changing!

25 August 2022

I've been organising my home over the past few weeks but this time it's not the same as what I've done in the past. I don't think of it as decluttering anymore because to me, clutter is a group of unwanted items making a room look untidy; most of what I let go of was hidden in drawers, cupboards and sheds and taking up space that I wanted to reclaim.



I gave away the foods Hanno liked but I didn't and when I go through this cupboard, there'll be fewer things. 


This was way overdue - my spices.  I only had one bottle that was passed its use-by date but that date was 2018!


I was much more mindful this time. Now it's only me who lives here, I didn't have to consider anyone else's ideas or choices - I was creating the spaces where I would live in the coming years. The thought of cupboards and drawers containing unwanted clothes and shoes, unneeded bed linens, tools, manuscripts, fabrics, timber, paper work, photos and who knows what else forced me to sort through it all.  It was a horrible job, it took a lot longer than I thought it would but it was liberating, satisfying and SO worthwhile. If you've been thinking of doing something like this, I urge you to go ahead with it. It's life changing.



It made me think of my parents and my grandmother's homes. Back then, houses generally didn't have spare rooms, garages or sheds packed full of "stuff".  Now, in a world where most families need storage space for all the things they buy, we also have the newish business of storage sheds where you can buy space to store things you own but never use. 🤔 My mother, like most parents back then, packed summer or winter clothes away in the top of the linen press and used the clothes appropriate for that season.  At the end of the season, they were washed, folded and put away again. That was the only kind of storage I can remember. 


Hanno's office. I spent a long time here working out how to pay things on time, what accounts could go and shredding papers.


Sadly, we've fallen into a trap of buying what we like because it's cheap. We've surrendered our dollars to China/India who make what we want while they become stronger and we are weakened. We need OUR OWN manufacturing industries so that our people have jobs and we stop giving money to other countries. When we pay our own populations to make the goods we need, they'll be paid a fair and decent wage and the products will be priced appropriately. It's a good way to cut rampant consumerism.


While I was at it, I made a new ironing board cover.


I started reorganising our home soon after Hanno died. Tricia organised Hanno's clothes so I didn't have to deal with them and I started on the kitchen cupboards, Hanno's office, laundry, bathrooms and garage.  I thought about doing this for about three weeks and I decided to keep what I love as well as what I absolutely need, and remove the rest.  And when I say remove, that doesn't mean it's now in the garage or in the car boot, it's ALL GONE from my life and my home.  For instance, I got rid of my old china, cutlery, glassware, pots, pans, bakeware and some furniture and small appliances.  But I kept the dinner set Hanno gave me for our 25th wedding anniversary - a Villeroy and Boch Petite Fleur set that I love and had on display in a cupboard. We only used it at Christmas and birthdays, now I use it every day and it makes me SO happy. I got rid of my bread maker and slow cooker. If I want bread I'll knead it by hand and I can easily use my old cast iron pot on the induction top for slow cooking.  I'm currently working on my wardrobe and the linen press. I'll be finished next week. 🙃


I use my Petite Fleur dinner set every day now and wish I'd done it years ago. I just kept a few extra dinner plates and bowls because when all my family are here, there are ten of us.


It took a long time because I wanted to be sure of my decisions and I was dealing with my stuff as well as Hanno's, but now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Most of my reorganisation is done, 90 percent of what I want gone is gone and I feel that the work I've done is an investment in my future. There were SO many things I could have been doing instead of sorting through rubbish, getting stuck with pins, sneezing because of the dust, and having to decide where to put what was in my hand (most of the time it went to recycle and sometimes the rubbish bin). 



I resolved that from now on I'll deal with excess by not buying it in the first place and if something I already have becomes superfluous, I'll get rid of it. No more putting things in a box or a cupboard to gather dust for years simply because I couldn't decide, or was too lazy to deal with it there and then.  This has been life changing for me and it makes me happy every day to get out of bed and look at what I've done. I'm not looking after junk I don't need now, I have extra space inside my home, it feels right and I'm SO glad I did it. If you've got a lot of stuff you're not using and have stored away, I hope my story will help you to do what I did. It's not easy but it will make your future life easier.


Grandma Donna always has good tips for cutting back and focusing on the home

Delicious basic recipes to help with your grocery bill

35 comments

  1. I'm doing the same, moving from a 3 bed house to one bedroom. I no longer have a designated sewing room, but bought a Horn sewing cabinet off Market place, that sits in the lounge room. I'm still deciding what to do with all my fabrics.....or rather, where to put them in the meantime, as this new house is temporary, a rental, and I'll buy again one day.
    But a lot of things I don't need to keep are not good enough for the op shop, and I hate throwing things into the bin for landfill. How did you deal with this Rhonda?
    And where do you sew, do you have a designated sewing room?
    And like you, I don't want to get to this place again, where I have excess.....I'm not sure if it let's me off the hook that most of my excess is op shop and 2nd hand buys.....it's still excess, right?
    It's been good to read about your journey of reorganising your life, so thankyou, your story has certainly helped me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My son helped me and took four trailer loads to the local dump. We ended up paying $11 to get rid of all of it. Most went straight to the recycle shop but we were charged for our old solar panels because they didn't have the expertise to recycle them. Solar panels are recyclable but the expertise is slow to come to areas outside the large cities. The things I sold were on Gumtree. We tried a garage sale and it was a complete waste of time. I gave my fabric to the people who make Boomerang bags. Yes, I have a work room - for sewing and writing. Good luck.

      Delete
  2. Im glad things are going well for you. I cannot imagine how you feel. I do know how good it feels to let go of things. I recently sold /gave away almost everything i owned to travel in a caravan. Some things made me cry when i let go but i realised I'll always have the memories, i never looked at all the stuff in cupboards etc anyway. I lived with my memories. All the best x

    ReplyDelete
  3. my dad died 3 years ago and along with my 2 siblings we cleaned out his house and shed. He certainly wasn't a hoarder and mum had dealt with a lot of her things while she was dying many years before him, and yet there was still so much stuff to make a decision about. I vowed that i won't leave that job for my children when i die. It's a slow process for me as I'm not alone I do need to consider my husband and he is much less inclined to letting go than I am. But little by little I chip away at the things in the back of the cupboard.
    I can imagine how lighter and freer you must feel Rhonda, because even when the stuff is out of sight it's never really out of mind.
    cheers Kate

    ReplyDelete
  4. I appreciate your post. My husband and moved to a much smaller place and have been having trouble downsizing to fit. I feel more encouraged to try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will make the world of difference. It's worth the time and effort you put in.

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful gift you've given your children and grandchildren! I've been thinking on this for quite a while and have been slowly going through out things. I have two children getting married and have decided that instead of waiting until I pass, I'm going to let them have some of our family heirlooms as they set up their own homes. That seems so much better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope they take them but I've been told that many sons and daughters don't want family heirlooms. It's a great idea to make a plan to sort through what you have and I hope they're eager to take what you offer them.

      Delete
  6. Thank you for sharing this post. We have just moved and our items had been in storage as we were living in a friend's place that was furnished with everything. I was in the process of going through every box! I lost my momentum, but you have encouraged me to get back to it. I want a cozy, curated house with only what is loved, used and necessary. Too much stuff is emotionally draining for me. I like everything to have a place and right now there is too much. I need to get those boxes out of the garage! Thank you for my marching orders;) sally

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's worth it, Sally. It will make a huge difference. xx

      Delete
  7. What a wonderful ideas using and enjoying your beautiful Petite Fleur china each day. How many people have china in cabinet that they never use. Your blog gives me an incentive to sort and clear out things I don't use. All the very best on your new life's journey.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Every January I get stuck into sorting out my linen cupboard and right now it feels as though it can be done earlier. Our houses are much bigger than than were when we were kids. We had a 3 bedroom house and 5 kids we all shared rooms. Most houses these days have two living rooms and studies, media rooms etc. and every child has their own bedroom. There is a lot to be said for smaller homes. Glad you are using your beautiful china for everyday use, after all that's what it's meant for to be used for enjoyment. Have a good weekend. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kimberly in CaliforniaAugust 26, 2022 4:27 am

      I hear you on this one! Growing up we had 2 parents and 4 children in a 92 square meter house that had a living room and dining area off the kitchen but no formal dining room, no eat in kitchen, no laundry room (it was in the kitchen) and no family room, and only one bathroom. Now we are 2 parents and 2 young adult children in 148 square meters and it feels more cramped than we did back then. Still 3 bedrooms and no family room (unless we repurpose a bedroom as a family room, which we do), but it does have formal dining in addition to a breakfast nook (but not an eat in kitchen), a small laundry room, and 2.5 bathrooms. I don't know if my perception of it is just different now that I'm the adult trying to escape the mess and noise of the young adults!

      Delete
  9. After living in a motorhome for the past 4 months while travelling I realised how little I need. Even here I have way too much stuff and have to get rid of the things I never or rarely use.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh yes. I can hear you. This is what I need to be doing. Thank you so very much for your gentle words. I hope you are enjoying these lovely sunny wintry days we've been having.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you so much for sharing your way of getting rid of all the unneccessary stuff in your home and life. I have to do the same, but it is so overwelming. Last week I finished (half) one room. And I was so happy about it. Today I would love to get futher with a new room but somehow was overwelmed. Your blog was just in time. I think I will read it some more times this week.

    Your dinner set is so lovely. What a sweet gift of Hanno. As if he knew you would enjoy it every day.

    Now I will read some more post over decluttering on your blog. And then I have to face the clutter I collected trough the years.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing this post just now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't let it beat you, Willeke. Let me know how you go and when you finish. I'll celebrate with you. xx

      Delete
  12. Yes, on SO many accounts here, Rhonda. I agree about creating our own products, putting our able-bodied folks to work at a decent paying job and creating quality products. It's the same way I feel about food provisions. Every community should support their local farmers, as much as possible. We're all in this together.

    Your home is looking buttoned up and I'm sure it gives you a lot of satisfaction knowing that you will spend less time looking for things because you are already using what you love. I have been tweaking things around here, and it is gratifying. It also comforts me to know that I will not be leaving any mess for my loved ones to go through when I am gone.
    Blessings...daisy

    ReplyDelete
  13. It makes me happy to think that you are in a good place Rhonda, and dealing with the practicalities in your life. I enjoy reading all of your posts. I've been downscaling and finally took over half of my china to an antique shop, and now I use what is left for everyday occasions as well. I really fight the desire to buy a new appliance now, such as an air fryer, and find it very rewarding making my sourdough bread by hand. I've never had a bread maker. Take care and look after your health Rhonda, that is the most important thing of all. Pauline xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just reading your words I can tell that this slow, steady sorting session has really lightened the way you feel. It's very satisfying to get down to just the things that your truly love or need isn't it.
    It's taken me a long time but I am just about there now. Even reaching into the cupboard to take out one of my four plates, or mugs makes me happy to see the space that I have gained since getting rid of the rest.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I’m working on the not bringing in things I don’t need or won’t use part. I often allow myself to take things others offer me but I know I won’t use just to be nice. I need to stop that.

    One thing that has taught me though is to always ask someone before giving them something you no longer need.

    ReplyDelete
  16. So sorry to hear about Hanno passing. Love your blog you have taught me a lot. I need to do that in my home. Keep happy with memories.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I too am in a period of major decluttering. We emptied my mom's house so that our daughter can come and live there, and now, we have to eliminate everything we took out... I am discouraged, and I sometimes feel like I won't have enough of the rest of my life to clear all that has been accumulated in my house, because I also have to take care of an old uncle who is hospitalized . I have no brother or sister . So, your advice is very valuable for me !

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well done! I'm amazed at how much you've been able to accomplish in a short time. It is truly amazing. I'm going through the process myself albeit for different reasons. I also agree with you on the manufacturing issues and dealing with clutter or excess by not buying it in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  19. So inspirational - thanks for sharing Rhonda! Also love the links to the articles you've enjoyed this week.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've been reading your blog for years. Back when I was still a working out at a job it helped me to not feel alone in my desires to do some housework and gardening while everyone around me thought it was strange. Now I'm retired and have enjoyed your posts about slowly adjusting what/how you do things. I'm very sorry for the loss of your husband. You have always seemed to work so well together. I appreciate all of your streamlining in your home. It makes all the difference. In the last few years have gone through my parent's home after 50+ years and had to do the same. Although they were organized and hardworking, it accumulated none the less and at the end they didn't have the energy and health to deal with it anymore. I now try to look at my own home/possessions with a clearer eye. Thank you for sharing your insights and view of life. Take care

    ReplyDelete
  21. We certainly do live in throw away world, where with a touch of a button you can have anything delivered to your front porch. I love that you are making the decision to only have thing in your home that make you happy. I was so sorry to hear of Hanno's passing, my heart goes out to you and your family. I'm so glad you are still blogging and teaching. Through the years, I have learned so much from you...your lemon curd is one of my favorite things in the world. Great job at organizing!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. After cleaning out my mom's house in early 2021 after she passed away, I have felt the need to do what you are doing. Thank you for sharing this because it was a good reminder to me to follow through on what I had planned which is to declutter and pare down!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well done you! This post is so encouraging. I am in the process of doing the same thing, but at a much slower pace ie about an hour or so a day. Slowly but surely getting there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should always work at your own pace. Keep going, you’ll get there. Xx

      Delete
  24. I'm sorry for your loss. I haven't read any blogs for ages and then I read your news. I hope that you are surrounded by lots of family and friends. Take care. Xo

    ReplyDelete
  25. I need a push to do the same lol. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  26. Just checking to see if this will publish.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Boy, I need to do the same! Like you, I use my favorite china every day. I found it at a local vintage shop. It was popular in the fifties. Less is more; thanks for the inspiration, Rhonda.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I’ve found you again. My condolences on the loss of your husband. I look forward to more posts on how you navigate this phase of life. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete

LINKS, EMAIL ADDRESSES OR BUSINESS INFORMATION WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED.

Thank you for your comment. They are an important part of my blog because they help build the community here. Please don't add links or email addresses to your comment. This is a family-friendly blog and I don't have the time to check all the links before I publish them.

These comments are moderated so yours won't appear until after I've read it.