neatness






With the whole holiday frenzy over, it's time for me to embrace the ordinary.  The color has been removed from the house and it's back to blah.  Good thing I like blah. I also like things neat around here and one of the ways I achieve this is to have only a few knickknacks around.  I'm super picky about what I let in and I prefer an emptier look.  Also, with such limited storage I don't have much choice.  I no longer have the luxury of unlimited closets, drawers and a garage. Oh sometimes I miss those days...but not so much that I wish them back.

Someone in the comments was asking me about my housework schedule.  I'm one of those people who neatens as I go.  At night when we are done reading or watching tv, I fold up the blankets and fluff the pillows just like the old lady I'm turning into would do.  I like coming out in the morning to a tidy room. Same with the kitchen.  After years of cleaning a big house, this one is a dream to clean.  I dust, clean the bathrooms and wash the floors happily once a week.  I do a quick sweep about every other day.  I do the chandeliers and open shelving once a month. Everything else just gets cleaned as I go.  For instance the pantry gets cleaned weekly because when I'm making my grocery list I always give it a once over and wipe it down.  I love coming home from the market and putting things away into a clean pantry that is not overstuffed.  Same with the refrigerator. The stove gets wiped down each evening after each days use.  This may seem like a lot of work but for me it's a small price to pay because all these monotonous actions bring me peace.  And a sense of calm.  Just like Prozac only cheaper and with better side effects.


102 comments

  1. Thanking you for this post. This is very interesting to me because I live in a small cottage also.

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  2. Dear Janet, I'm loving the direction you are going with your posts. They are motivating me and it feels great! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home and life with us, your blog is my favorite!!!

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    1. Double ditto!

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    2. I am enjoying all your posts and especially the ones this year! Your minimalism, neatness, sense of neutrality is making me think OMG ( in a wonderful way!), I'm you! It's all GOOD! Thank you so much!

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  3. What do you use to clean the bathroom and wood floors??

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    1. just hot water on a terrycloth cleaning towel. i never use any soap. which sounds awful but it works well.

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    2. Well it looks like it is working just fine Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. What to use is always a problem for me and I had a hunch you would be cleaning "green".

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  4. Your house gives me a sense of calm too:).

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  5. That room is lovely but do you entertain in there? With all that beautiful white upholstery and elegant furnishings, that could look like a war zone if my crowd was allowed in with cocktails & nibbles but I'm sure your guests are well behaved.

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    1. i do! did you see the surprise party i posted on in december? we squeezed 15 people in there.
      you are right though they are well behaved...well at least the guys are.

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    2. I did go take a look and while it did look like a wonderful party; I only saw 5 guests in the room above with the others elsewhere in your very tastefully appointed digs. Had I been there you likely would have been rubbing my nose in a mess I'd made.

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    3. we're having somewhere between 20 - 30 people in our house this weekend, and honestly, I'm a bit worried about how much our house is going to get trashed... especially with lots of tots and kids. Glad to hear your guests are well behaved. I'm thinking no red wine, no shoes in the house (it's a BYOS party - bring your own slipper party - we live in a snowy country). Hope this goes well... wish me luck.

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    4. Only one time have I had a really BIG amount of people in another house which we'd bought and when we announced our engagement/housewarming. It was SRO in a 4-bedroom house, and the party seemed to get even more swollen with people as the night wore on (we even ran out of food at one point). The last person left at 3am and I swear we cleaned for 3 weeks afterward. I said, "never again." We were younger, maybe it was too much drinking and celebrating, but the booze spills all over tables and carpet, muddy feet tracking in...oh, I could go on and on about it...was discouraging. (I was thinking, "and we KNOW these people?")

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  6. Your house is beautiful and I too enjoy an emptier look. Thanks for sharing your cleaning routine. My cleaning routine is a bit wackier due to the tots in the house and obviously, due to the bigger house. I was just telling my hubs this morning it's my dream to move to Hawaii when the kids are older, live in a smaller house, and walk on a beach every day. Have a great day ox

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  7. Janet, limited nick nacks here too, I can't be doing with clutter and I too plump the cushions every night. I'm like you, cleaning and having everything perfect makes me calm, I hoover/brush up every day, clean the kitchen as I go along, clean bathrooms/dust etc every two days, I love having everything, just so.

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  8. All my Christmas decorations were put away 12-26 and I'm so glad to get back to normal.

    My cleaning is much like yours and I prefer to keep up than catch up. Tidying up for 10 minutes before I go to bed and I get up to order and calm. So worth it!

    Your blog is delightful and I'm enjoying the more frequent posts.

    Betty



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  9. Hi Janet!
    please forgive me for being nosy. Your description of YOUR household chores makes me wonder: does your "I" really mean "I" or is it more likely a "we"?

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    1. paula mostly it is "i" although larry does pitch in on the floors now and again. i will say he is very neat and clean himself. he does all the heavy duty things outside that i cannot manage so it's a good trade off. we work well together. :)

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  10. We all here admire your simple yet exquisite home and lifestyle and wish we were your neighbor or friend to be lucky enough to get invited into your oasis. So what kind of feedback do you hear from guests when they leave or enter your home? I mean do they comment on how they too aspire to live your simple lifestyle? Do you and Larry hang out mostly with like minded folks (vegan, living simple and frugal etc.)? Maybe you can write a post about that subject - wishing you the best always!

    Erika

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    1. no and no. honestly most people that come over never say a word about the house. i think its just not their thing to notice interiors? and we really don't hang out with other vegans. most of our friends think our diet is crazy.

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  11. I plump in the morning as I am last to bed. I consider myself about 60% neat - the kitchens and bathrooms are always clean, beds made, etc, but there are knickknacks and the odd book lying around and with 4 people and a dog, it can easily get out of hand, but I am also mindful that 3 of them won't be here forever, so I don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy the mess!

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  12. Thank you for answering my question on how you keep your house clean, Janet. It was very helpful. My problem is too much STUFF and we all know what to do about that. I am seriously decluttering. One thing you did not address is washing windows. Do you use a special cleaner and how often? Do you calendar these cleaning projects? This sounds very picky, but that's how I function. Your blog has helped me tremendously. Your tiny food budget almost caused me to faint. My husband and I shop TJ's and buy organic whenever possible and spend a fortune. You have inspired me to cut way back and to be a lot smarter about meal planning. Cheers to you! - Jan

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    1. i wipe the windows down about every season with vinegar and water. and no i guess i don't calendar the chores, just do them when they need done.:)

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  13. I plump in the morning after my tea...I have a routine too and going about these simple tasks is so soothing.
    Your cottage is filled with light and energy and I never tire of seeing it. Our bungalow is so dark with all the wood walls and beams that it does require a lot of lights at this time of year to be able to see to read. I suppose it might be a mixed blessing as I am not up to date on the dusting!

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  14. Well, I agree! Some see housework as drudgery, but for me it's a zen exercise and when I'm done we have a clean, tidier house to show for it. Must be my middle class upbringing come out.......Allegra

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    1. I agree with you about cleanliness = zen. But middle class (does that status even exist in today's recession times?) doesnt automatically mean you were raised to live clutter-free. If anything it created much hoarding and excess in some. I think you reach a point of simplicity in life out of trial and error like Janet did.

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  15. Janet...I am loving your current posts. Thank you for inspriring me! I'd love to hear more about your "work" life as an esthetician too!

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  16. Hi Janet - Did you ever have a cleaning service when you had small children? How many hours a week do you work? I find that because I work 30 hours a week that having a cleaning service makes everything nicer or as I say it is my Prozac haha BUT I feel guilty for having one!!

    I have one teen about to graduate from HS and then we will be empty nesters. If I quit the cleaning service it would save our family $2250.00. (two kids in college - yikes!) Our house is 2500 square feet and not paid off. I love my location - Its in a PRIME spot so I don't want to move. We don't owe anything else but the mortgage. Only other dilemma? Our retirement nest egg is not where it should be. I know you know nothing about our finances but what would you advise? Thanks Janet. LOVE YOUR HOUSE LOVE YOUR BLOG LOVE YOUR WAY OF THINKING. And oh, yes you make me laugh with your honesty! Jennifer

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    1. One time in my married life, I had a serious hand injury and couldn't clean or do much of anything for a few months although I still kept my job. My husband did not like having a cleaner because he said it felt like moving every time we'd get ready for her to come (putting dust-gatherers away and picking up so that she could clean more easily). However, I'd never known such luxury (although I'd grown up with a weekly housekeeper, as my mom worked 12-14 hours a day with my dad in their home-based business). To walk in the clean-smelling, totally neat and freshened home after a long day of work, was bliss.

      I'm trying to change how I feel about cleaning but, hmmm, if I won The Lottery, I might hire a cleaner. Might. I think I'm largely lazy. Just have to change the attitude.

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    2. no i've never had a cleaning service. i only work 2 days a week and it's just the 2 of us so really super easy.
      i really could not advise you re your finances b/c if i were smart my house would have been paid off already. :)

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  17. Such a a lovely room; it does speak calm.

    My husband craves calm. I'm at least trying to put knickknacks behind glass, even books (in an old china hutch). I had to ask myself one day, am I living in a home or a warehouse; is this a home, or is it a store? You know, how an overload of antiques can make some people's houses look like a museum. I loved the 2-bed bungalow I just sold when it was empty; so did my husband. I'm not really a neutrals person, yet the vanilla/browns/beige/black of my bare living space, with gleaming wood floors, wrought-iron accoutrements, the 14-ft living room (open-beam) ceiling, 41 glass windows and doors, creamy plaster walls...just did something good for the soul, like healing balm. My husband was camping out there, doing end-stage remodeling before sale, and he had a bed, a nightstand, a fold-up table, his computer, a radio and a desk chair. He said it made him happy to walk thru rooms with a wide swath and not every space filled. Ouch. Of course, he IS a minimalist, but I got the hint; however, it was restful to me also, and cleaning was obviously a speed job with not so much clutter to have to dust/sweep/move. Neat equals clean, for sure.

    The kitchen is my big thing. I can't count the number of times I have done dishes after midnight just so that I don't have to face them in the morning. Nothing makes me crazier than dirty dishes left overnight. I also can't deal with a cluttered refrigerator. I cull thru it often. Sometimes I just take it all out and reposition it. Which is what you have to do with a bad room or a bad house...not easy to do when, in the meantime, there's nowhere to put anything while you're working on it. Thankfully, we now have choices like offsite storage or these helpful PODS, which can sit on your driveway temporarily; not cheap, but one of the solutions..

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  18. Greetings:
    Your living room looks so peaceful and inviting!!
    Question: I see you have white tile in the shower.....how do you keep it clean and free of stains? Thanks

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    1. the tile is easy to keep clean. i just wipe it down after showers with a dry towel but the bottom piece of grout is a real pain to keep the mildew off. i replaced it last year and its about ready to be replaced again.

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    2. Duh??? Old fashion way, of course. We've used Tilex after each shower use but I haven't been happy with it. Do you seal your tile every year? Thanks for the information.

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  19. I recently found your blog and read it top to bottom over the course of two days. Love it!!! I so want to downsize, well more declutter and just enjoy the things that I love rather than just to have stuff. That is my plan for this year.........

    Was it hard for both of you to go vegan? Was Larry on board with it from the beginning? I am assuming that your transition to vegan happened after you kids were grown and out of the house. I'm not certain if I could go completely vegan right away but I think I will start with 2-3 days of vegetarian a week. I'm not certain if my husband will go for it and I know my son, a high school senior, will not. Any other tips with getting your family to change (I know that I can switch over to some meatless pasta nights but they would soon catch on to that tactic!!!)

    My problem is I like dairy-based foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. I am allergic to the arginine in nuts (I'm not deathly allegric but get cold sores from the arginine/oil in nuts) so I'm not certain how I would do with the nut based cheeses and milks. Also, as I am turning 50 this year, how does the soy based products affect your body? Peri-menopause/menopause...... oh, how I hate that thought. I don't mind getting older but I can't completely give up getting rid of my white (not even a pretty gray) roots yet in my blond hair!!!!!

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    1. it was very easy for me to go vegan. i watched the film earthlings and that was that. google it and watch the trailer. its nickname is the vegan maker so be warned!

      i was vegetarian for years prior to becoming vegan. my kids were raised most of their lives as vegetarians. 1 is now a vegan, 1 is vegetarian and one is a meat eater. larry is vegan when at home but when we go out to eat he almost always orders a burger. i honestly don't eat think i eat that much soy. i have not seen any effects at all.
      be easy on yourself and do what you can and what feels good for you and your family.

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    2. Thanks! Looking forward to a healthier and clutter free/less stressful 2014.

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    3. On Youtube Dr. Weil explains that eating soy is ok as long as it is natural soy, such as soynuts, tofu, etc. It's the soy with the isolated compounds that is not good for you, like tablets, and all those fake meat products.

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  20. I'm the same way- and it's one of the many reasons I enjoy living in a smaller cottage :)

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  21. Janet your posts are on fire at the moment. Keep them coming! Thanks for responding to the cleaning question.
    Your home is always a vision of loveliness.
    Here's a question that I don't think you've been asked (I searched your archives first): is the portrait an estate sale find or an heirloom?

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  22. My way is very like your way.
    I cleared away my few Christmas things except the tree - it's traditional to leave it up till the 6th Jan and amazingly, my husband thought it was so pretty hewanted to leave it another few days!!
    Now I have that nice clear new year look like you do, just a few winter things that I love and my husband's orchid (always whichever one is in bloom!).
    Cleaning is easy in my small house and my husband loves it - it helps him to be tidier than he would be otherwise ;).

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  23. I love the photo of your living room. It is such a warm, happy space. I do not think it looks empty at all. Peaceful and well edited. While I will one day miss having my sons home, I will enjoy an abbreviated cleaning routine. It is all a trade off. For now, most days the chaos is worth it!

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  24. Your house pics always inspire me to get up and start cleaning:) You have also inspired me in many ways Thank you so very much for sharing your lifestyle and ideas.
    Rita

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  25. The photo of Janet's living room looks like it's from Elle Decor or Architectural Digest. Comfortable but luxe. Layered, textured. Adding interior design to Janet's growing resume.

    So, Janet, what do you have? Is it living room, kitchen with dining seating, home office, two bath, one bedroom? Where do you squeeze in laundry? Maybe I missed the machines when looking at previous photos. My husband and I are missing the formal dining room; a lot of people don't use them nowadays, but we did. It felt like a perk and was light-filled. If you have an overnight guest, where do you put them (sofa bed, day bed?).. Always looking for the downsizing tips. Especially storage. (Of course, if you have less stuff, storage is also less of a problem. Note to self.) When my mom got older, she was really just needing kitchen/living room/bedroom/bath. (Sounds like my first apartment, which was just fine.) I know of more than one older folk who don't even go upstairs anymore as life condenses and knees get creakier, when all they need is on the ground floor.

    Another thing on my mind...Janet, since you've wound up with a unique and special place which you and Larry obviously spent a lot of time on to make it so nice, and also with its history and character, do you feel you love it differently than other places you've lived and where you've made a nest? I'm having a hard time trying to describe that. I am lucky to have a house, first of all; I know that. And it's early in my transition between last house, this house. But where I am is not speaking to me in the same way. This could all be fleeting; we're a work in progress. But there's something about renovating a place, especially an old place...making her stand tall; healthy and whole again, and where you picked out every single thing, from screws and bolts to towel racks, light fixtures and the gamut...that roots you differently. I felt like we sheltered our old house as much as it sheltered us, although it was a money pit. I guess when you put a lot of yourself into anything, making that intense financial or emotional investment, it's harder to let go.

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    1. thanks vicki but whoa, AD and Elle Decor? i think not. but thanks!

      the house is 970 sq ft. 1 bdrm, 1 office, 1 full bath, 1 1/2 bath/laundry room, living/dining combo room and a kitchen.

      i can only speak for myself but i've never lived anywhere that i love more than here. it's not just the house and location (which is awesome) but the city of redlands that i love so much.

      :))

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    2. You realize how many people can't say that...

      Gratitude is a good attitude!

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  26. Your living room looks lovely. I am always fascinated by someone's cleaning schedule and daily routines, in general. I would love to read more of this from you! I really do enjoy cleaning--the process and the end result. I know it is a little nutty, but it is my Prozac too.

    Isabella

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  27. I love your comment on your company being well-behaved ... 'well at least the guys are.' Had a party at my house with 11 girlfriends and my husband reading upstairs. There was so much hooting, hollering, laughing, cackling, foot-stomping - my husband said he thought the house was full of pirates!\

    I love seeing how neat your house is, but I still like my Christmas decorations to be up in January; with the shorter days and dark, cold evenings, I like the coziness and warmth the lights, greenery, and other decor adds to my New England home.

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    1. i was being serious too! the girls get wild!

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  28. Janet,
    I noticed you changed the curtains. It looks lovely! I can't decide which ones I like better!

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    1. i did about a year ago and i can't decide either. :)

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    2. You could always use the white for Spring/Summer and the Nob Hill for Fall/Winter ;)

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  29. Me too - love housework, the cleaning and tidying, with non-chemicals, just pure soap, water, essential oils - it's so calming, so meditative! And it's a really worthwhile endeavour I think to keep one's environment clean, comfortable and harmonious - a treat for the senses: sight, smell, touch etc. (I'm really not nuts!)

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  30. I never comment- I guess that make me a lurker :). Just a quick word to say I am happy you are posting more. Although, at times you may feel that you don't have anything to post... I just like your perspective and enjoy all of your posts.
    Stay encouraged in 2014!

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  31. Hi Janet - it's me again. I know you have a list of blogs up there that are your favorite. Are there any of the blogs that are similar to you as far as simplicity goes that YOU get inspiration from? I can't get enough of you and so I'd like a few more to go too since you can't post 24/7. LOL. Or maybe you want to quit your job so you can focus on this all the time??? I'm kidding.. kind of... :) Thanks! Jennifer

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    1. well one of the readers here recently told me about mr money mustache and i really like him. i added him to my blog list. he's eons ahead of me in this arena though. but it's never too late!

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    2. MMM is a great blog! He has inspired me to retire in 3 years....my husband's response was "you can't stop working, how will we pay the bills?" Well, I figured it out and he's gone from a nay-sayer to a convert, so he's decided to retire too. I'll be 55, he'll be 58. YES!! - Fiona.

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  32. Love that last line about Prozac!! Ha, ha! I must say, you've really been on a roll lately with the posts! Keep 'em coming. Good topics for the new year.
    Claudia

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  33. I love having a neat home, I always have even when my children were young. We limited how many toys we had in the house. When little girls became teenage girls that became a challenge! I love your home, I also LOVE your friend's home that you featured. I think I fall in between your decor and your friend's. I've REALLY slimmed back decorating for the holidays. I hated taking it down this year. Also I don't decorate as early as many people do. I'm the same as you, I clean and straighten as I go along all the time. I can't go to sleep if I know there's something a I need to straighten, which can be annoying when you run a business out of a small home.

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  34. Janet, might we be twins?

    The chaos of a messy house makes my life/mind crazy. So, I keep it neat. Easy as that. **shrugs**

    Loving the posts. :D

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  35. My house is a disaster until approximately 30 seconds before company arrives. It's all for show and I throw stuff in drawers or in my car or out the window. Lol that's so terrible but it really is true .BUT I have been keeping your 100 things challenge in my mind. I can't count so I don't know how many things I've gotten rid of but I'm doing well. I really do need to attend a Janet boot camp where you make me wear SPF and burn my credit cards over a pile of house beautifuls and Laura Ashley from 1996. I'm loving how often you are posting!

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    1. stephen andrew you are cracking me up.
      i'm sure i will burn out shortly. :)

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  36. I'm curious if you consider working full time in order to pay off the house faster/save up for retirement. I love the Mr Money Mustache blog.

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    1. wellllllll.....yes i have considered it but really my back and hands are just about shot. i do have a small side business and ebay so that somewhat offsets less hours at the spa.

      side note...i think we make plenty of money its just that we haven't been serious about paying off the mortgage until now. we were wasting a lot of money with laziness and bad decisions. so i think with this new resolve we will get it done. that's our hope anyway. :)

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    2. Well please keep the posts coming on how you're doing and how you're doing it. They're very inspirational! And I'm not just talking about money; love the cleaning, simple living, decorating and food info too. I mentioned I love the MMM blog, but didn't say - I love your blog too!

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  37. I don't have OCD? It's okay to straighten up before I go to bed? I don't have to feel kooky if not one fork remains in the sink when i go to work?

    Halleluiah! 2014 is already looking up. I am not alone.
    xo j

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  38. J, having moved from a much bigger place to the one we are in now has been awesome. NOTHING fits in my tiny kicthen LOL and I love to cook/bake so I have to get creative now. It's a great chance to really cull through our stuff and make our place work for us.
    Like you, I clean as I go, and I have organizers/ etc in every drawer and closet-when everything has a defined place, I find it's so much easier to keep up with things. The unpacking here continues, and I'll have a HUGE pike of donations by the end of the month-win-win for all involved. We're also trying to stay with being a one car family, and we've dumped cable. I may just be my Mom in a few years time, LOL.

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    1. It's sort of a relief to find out that other people are going through the same thing, trying to squeeze into the smaller place, realizing it's just not going to work/fit, letting a bunch of stuff go (albeit reluctantly) so that it CAN work because it HAS to; funniest comment, "I may just be my mom in a few years time."

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  39. I agree with Leslie--I NEVER tire of seeing your beautiful home!! Every single room looks like a team from Ralph Lauren has been in (and YES you should be featured in all the stylish mags!). I would be so pleased if my house and wardrobe looked like yours; in fact I can easily say that my goal is to simplify towards your standards. My main NY resolution (or recalibrations I like to say) is stay simple and beautiful and follow the Simple/Beautiful gals (you, Dani BP, Leslie, Project 333).

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    1. Hi Dannie - You mention other people like Janet. I know project 333 but who is Dani BP and Leslie? Do they have blogs?

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  40. Love this post! I also love to keep a neat home although I wouldn't suggest eating off my floors anytime soon! Like you, I do a little every day & having a smaller home helps. I have a few non toxic cleaners plus my microfiber cloths & I'm good to go. What's up w/ the 35 products under people's sinks?!-it would keep me up at night! So enjoy your writing.....
    Kristi

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  41. I am really enjoying these daily posts. Your home is lovely. And it made me think of a book I read years ago, "Care of the Soul" by Thomas Moore. I'm not even a 'self help book' type of gal. But this authors thoughts on giving housework a place of dignity in your life - left me with a new perspective and appreciation for the little things like a clean bathroom and tidy cabinets. I normally am not a fan of leaving a link in a comment section, but here is an excerpt from this book. It's one of the few books that I have been able to re-read at different stages in life, and get something new and interesting out of it each time. Thanks again, Janet.


    http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/books/excerpts.php?id=13300

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  42. I live in a small cottage as well, and I love how it forces me to edit and only collect and showcase thing I truly love. It also makes cleaning a ton easier as I don't get overwhelmed due to the small square footage.

    As a girl I used to hate when my mother would say "clean as you go". Now I realize no wiser words have been spoken.

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  43. Love this post, it gives so much pleasure to have space and order, thanks for reminding me of that feeling. A clean pantry or wardrobe, it is pure satisfaction. For Priscilla, linseed soap is great for all sorts of cleaning, nice to hands and the environment. Cold water and soap on the plank floors smell of holiday to me.

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  44. Hi Janet! I know this a random question... do you have any thoughts on Neroli oil? I am looking for something to soften the neck area. Thank you, Donna

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    1. Neroli oil has been recommended to me as well...I would love to know your recommendations, Janet, on using facial oils.
      Diane

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  45. Hi Janet! I say "ditto" to your housecleaning habits including the stove wipe down and pantry habit. I cannot stand getting up to a messy kitchen...sets a bad tone for the day!lol An organized fridge and pantry just saves money in the long run AND I would never call your house "blah". Lets call it "serene" instead. I continue to envy your cottage and its décor.

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  46. Hi Janet,

    Your home always looks so pretty and peaceful. I wish I could keep up with mine, it never looks exactly the way I would like...between exercising, yard work, running errands, cooking (and doing dishes that result from the cooking) it seems like I'm always behind. Having a dog doesn't help, the house needs to be swept more often and when I dust it seems like it's back in a day or two! I try and make lists which do help and when I can cross something off the list I always feel like I've accomplished something.

    I have never been a big knickknack person. My mom was a perfectionist and did not have a lot of clutter so I guess I inherited that gene from her. Not to say that I don't have a lot of stuff that I need to get rid of. That is why I am serious about selling on Ebay...I signed up for a 3 hr. class that I will be attending in a couple weeks. I really need to do this!

    Linda
    xo

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  47. Janet,
    You gardener's cottage is a picture of calm and manageability.
    It's got everything you need and want. That is refreshing in today's "gotta have it all" attitude.
    It's natural and comfortable, like you.
    pve

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  48. Janet,
    You have inspired me to declutter and simplify, particularly with the last few posts. The pictures of your beautiful and serene space have really resonated with me. My goal in 2014 has been to work towards the same sense of calm and order in my home. I have been decluttering 27 items per day for the past 8 days (1 more day to go) as was suggested by one of your readers, and I feel so much better.
    Thank you for continuing to inspire your readers!
    Diane

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  49. I adore your home and your wonderful sense of calm ... I read every one of your postings -- and always hope for more photos of your home and garden! Best wishes for a Bright, Calm, Happy and Healthy 2014! Cheers! Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  50. I too read all your posts. I began looking for simplicity inspiration last year in January after foot surgery made me a temporary couch potato. I was very lucky that my wonderful husband gave me a laptop for Christmas, as it provided the opportunity to link up with a few blogs that have helped me greatly since. Yours is at the top of the list, and I look forward to new posts all the time. I have been inspired to de-clutter my home, my clothes, my life in general. We live in a large home which we built 10 years ago. Shortly after 9/11 (I work for a fire dept. and was involved in the Pentagon incident), I was examining my own life as many people did at that time, I said to my Contractor husband "we have wanted to build our dream home, the time is now, we should just do it!". So we did, and it was truly a labor of love, emphasis on the labor. We have greatly enjoyed our home, but along with a larger home comes larger bills and much more maintenance. We raised 4 daughters in a much smaller house, and built this one after they were grown. How nuts is that?? But, like everyone else, when we were raising our family we couldn't have afforded the bigger home. So now we have lived that dream it is time to move on. I have been clearing out slowly over the last year and I feel so much lighter! I have pared my clothes down to about 70 items, still working on it. I have donated Christmas ornaments, books, ornaments, cd's, dvd's, electronics, furniture, drapes, pictures, lamps. We plan on selling up and building a much smaller house (1200 sf max) so there will be a lot of furniture donated too. The smaller home along with being debt free will allow us to retire from our current jobs (40+ mile commute for both of us) and pursue other work close to home on a part-time basis :-). Thanks for your inspiration to live simply, graciously, fully. Please keep up the posts. Fiona.

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    1. You're not nuts to build your dream home after the kids are grown. My sister-in-law did just that; it's massive with every thing she ever saw in houses she wanted. It's a real mish-mash of not-matching windows and the like, but it is definitely an impressive McMansion. I think she had a dream that there'd be enough space for their large family to gather at holidays and otherwise but grown kids get involved in their own families and, for instance, don't want to have to travel a long way at Christmas in the snow when their kids could be in their home with jammies on in front of the fireplace. So, two people in their 60s in a gigantic house; voices echoing; not so cozy, in my opinion, but people are allowed their dreams and I am totally envious of their storage and space right now ("cause I am lacking that in my own place!).

      It strikes me that this is just one blog, Janet, but there's more than a few of us re-examining how we're living; it seems like a movement (your blog at the forefront!)...

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    2. thank you vicki but i really don't feel as if i'm in the forefront. if i were my house would be paid off by now. but i feel like it's never too late and we are super motivated.:)

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    3. fiona are you the fiona that follows mmm? if you are it sounds like you are on the perfect track.

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    4. one in the same ;-) - Fiona

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    6. Fiona, do you resell anything or have you found it easier to just donate to a variety of organizations and not lament the money spent in the past (trying to recoup part of it, say, with a yard sale, etc.)? In terms of donations, for instance, where did you find a good home for holiday ornaments? A school? I have a neighbor who donated her big, artificial tree to a senior center and they do put it up every year in their rec room at Christmas. If I'm gonna "give it all away" I'd like to at least find the right "homes" for the stuff. Thanks.

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    7. I have done many yard sales in the past, and the money made was insignificant compared to the amount of time and effort spent. I can work overtime and make more money than I would make with a yard sale. Many don't have that option, but it is what works in my situation. I first offer things to my grown children who have their own homes. Books go to the library. I offer some items to friends, this summer gave a patio table and chairs to a co-worker. The rest...clothes, miscellaneous little stuff goes to the thrift shop. Don't get me wrong, I would love to make a little cash but just haven't gotten around to the internet selling yet, maybe one day.. I am determined to keep as much stuff out of the landfill as I can. Even with broken items, I will see if parts are recyclable. I just upgraded from the standard recycling bin to the extra large one. I am glad to say our trash output is about 1/3 of the recycling output. My goal is to reduce both trash and recyclables, but it is difficult to buy foods and the basics of everyday living that don't have some sort of packaging. The recycling process isn't exactly green, so I'm looking for alternatives. It's a process, and I'm getting a little better at it all the time. ;-) Thanks for asking. Fiona.

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    8. I have a little selling experience on e-bay, and by the time they charge their fees for selling price 20%, shipping fee 20% plus paypal fees of nearly the same percentage, plus driving it to the post office, even a fee to cut you a check, there isn't much profit left. Maybe it's different for others but I personally didn't profit as much as I thought I would. Which really makes me reconsider future purchases. Sounds like you have the perfect idea for distributing your donations. I will remove something from my home and put it in the trunk of my car for a few days just to see how it feels to get rid of it. It takes time and lots of consideration to decide what you love, what you use and what just needs to go.

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    9. I really, really appreciate your responses; helps me a lot! Thanks.

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  51. Obviously, your blog resonates with a lot of us "older" women. I love your humor, your style and your down to earth approach. It all makes sense to me.

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  52. Hi Janet-
    I love your blog and it truly inspires me. About a year ago, I googled "how to clean slipcovers" and that's how I found your blog. I've been hooked ever since. You really inspire me and get me thinking so THANKS! I love your house and I am obsessed with the ottoman that Santa brought for you. I clicked the link to try to get the information on it and it toll me to overstock.com but I could not find it. Any help is very much appreciated.....

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    1. well hi!

      the ottoman came from target. they don't have the exact one but they have this one

      http://www.target.com/p/threshold-end-of-bed-bench-with-casters-red-brown/-/A-14405944#prodSlot=medium_3_9

      that is on clearance and a couple of others similar. they also have a few tufted velvet ones that are gorgeous. hope this helps.:)

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  53. Your posts are so delightful. Really an uplifting treat to read. Such a beautiful, restful home you've created. I was lucky enough to have my home on a blog http://asilkenswoon.blogspot.com/2013/04/lisas-house.html though it's very different than yours! 'just wanted to let you know that it feels like a treat every time I see your posts in my emails! Lisa

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kindness is never out of style.

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