3.03.2014

organizing the house. part 1 - the living room


As promised, lets start a little series this month and try and get our houses organized.  If they are already please chime in on the comments and let us all in on your secrets.  Again, I am not an expert on this subject but I am willing to share my own home and what has worked for me.  Downsizing of course forces organization so I had that on my side. I thought we'd start with the living room because that's probably the easiest room in the house to organize.  So if you are interested, let's go.

When you step in our house you step right into our living room and dining room.  There is no entry so I like walking in and seeing clear surfaces.  I like some breathing room.  This is where we relax and I don't find clutter relaxing.

Before moving to this small house my idea of organizing/decluttering meant moving my things around and around putting them in closets, drawers and pretty storage boxes.  Now with very little storage space every drawer/closet counts. All my available storage is used for what we use everyday, not for what if's or extra's or things I can't let go of. Those days are long gone.  Every single thing in every single drawer or cabinet is used on a regular basis or holds enough personal worth to us that it is not buried in storage. The value of these objects is in the using.  Since there is only one closet in the whole house you see where my philosophy comes from.




That large basket on top of the armoire is an antique laundry basket from England.  It holds an extra blanket or 2.






Inside the tv armoire is our small movie collection and small cd collection.  Also, the tv, Bose, ipod, DVD player and cable box. The drawer to the right of the cable box is where I keep my camera when I'm not using it.  To be honest, I'd love to get rid of this whole thing and put a fireplace in its place.  But that isn't happening anytime soon.





On the other side of the room is our dining area and it isn't very complicated either.  The china cabinet holds my buffaloware dishes. The 2 drawers contain cloth napkins and candles for dining. The garden cloches on top of it hold bird nests that I've collected over the years.  The record cabinet holds a few very select records.




My small but mighty record collection.






Remember last month when she was still all buds?






This situation really doesn't change because this is the only place that RL book fits and I look through it all the time.


I am not comfortable dictating how you should live or that the way I live is in any way better than the way you do.  I adore M's house even though our styles are different. But I suppose you are reading this because you are interested in living with a bit less.  So to you dear friends, your assignment, if you want, is to see what is laying around that is not useful to you in any way. What's cluttering your space and ultimately cluttering your mind?  What have you been moving and shoving around instead of donating?  What is stopping you from taking action? Is there someone who could be benefiting from stuff that is stagnating in your home? Remember it is just stuff.  Maybe you are a person who loves clutter and this kind of talk bothers you? So many questions!  In the end, we get to choose just how we want to live, it is what makes the world so interesting. And that's nice.

134 comments:

  1. Great advice and the proof is in your beautiful house! I bet that is a small but mighty record collection, I know your taste in music is as impeccable as your style! xxx

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  2. Your home is so airy and bright....lovely! I have been decluttering and Spring cleaning like crazy the past couple of months. It feel so good to get rid of the excess. :)

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  3. I so envy your minimalist lifestyle. I am trying to downsize. Many years of collecting antiques and collectables can create too much clutter ! So I am using your suggestion of looking at things as just things. If it doesn't give me joy out with it ! Less to dust around too.

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  4. Once I held on to every beloved item, both those passed from our families and those that were gifts, memories of travel, saved-for top quality necessities, such as cookware. Now, years later and two major downsizings removed, I have a lot less. But I still need to do more. Too many family things to be usable for us and for our offspring. I just consigned a vintage (1928) Ukrainian (!!) cross-stitched linen wedding dress. Feels good. Proceeds go toward a special fund we have in mind. Thanks for the series, Janet.

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  5. Your home is so peaceful and restful looking! Downsizing has been an ongoing process for me since we moved from 2800 sq. ft (with a 3-car garage and basement!) to 1000 sq. ft. and a small 2-car garage that parks our vehicles in our cold, Minneapolis climate. I have unloaded so much in the last four years, but I still have a ways to go. I got rid of almost all my milk glass, but still have a lot of my vintage toy collection. I have lovely quilts that I don't use, but still cannot seem to part with. In the meantime, I have found places to store these things, but it's still there, and I know it!

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  6. I have no sentimentality at all and regularly get rid of things...only to find that hubs has hauled them out of the bin or charity box and hidden them in the back of his car or the shed, it drives me nut, he would hoard everything if he had his way - which of course he doesn't!

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  7. You are living my goal! I continue to purge and simplify, even though I have room for what I have, I don't want all my closets stuffed. I still have a few collections, such as quilts and LuRay dinner wear that I never use, but just can't seem to let them go. There's more that needs to go first! Debby

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  8. Pea-green with envy over here .... our house is a clutter farm -- because out main source of income is our EBay store. After many years of downsizing in his business life -- my DH started this business -- and it has kept the proverbial "wolf from the door" BUT -- the entire garage is filled with items (big and small) from thrift stores and many boxes of all sizes (for shipping) So -- inside I try to keep some "clear" spaces -- and keep the clutter contained to certain areas -- like the home office. I would LOVE to clear it all out -- but that's not happening anytime soon. So reality is a hard taskmaster! Every once in awhile -- I achieve a small clean-out victory -- and that helps! DH just installed metal pull-out shelves into the kitchen cabinets -- from Rev-a-Shelf -- I do recommend those shelves highly!

    Looking forward (as always) to your postings! And many thanks for all of your hard work!
    Cheers!
    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  9. Love it. I began my purging when I started learning about Feng Shui in 1999.
    Its no clutter and highly organized approach spoke to me and validated how I have always been-I cannot work/think when there are piles all around. I find that having less of everything and really only what you love is key.

    There also has to be a system that works for everyone in the house. That can be hard but worth it to figure out.

    Real Simple once had an article that told in pictures what a working kitchen should have tool wise-and I redid all the drawers/crocks to hold only those things. ( I like to cook. I had a tad too many things to do that with)

    That was awesome-and I have never needed anything I purged from that makeover.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your uncluttered spaces!

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  10. Hello! I found your blog via Tara Dillard's blog whom I found via Cote De Texas whom I found through...well, I don't remember. I love the idea of living small and living stylish. I do not live the idea, however. I have 2 small children a large (in a tall way) loving husband and a downright fat cat. All of us combined creates a mess. Though, I can gain some small tips from blogs like yours. After perusing for a few minutes, I noticed the lovely food fotos. Looks yummy! And from the .99 cents store?!? Impressed!!

    I, too, am eager for more uncluttered spaces!
    Angela
    ~texassky

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  11. I wish my rooms looked as clutter free as yours. Beautiful!

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  12. Your approach feels so exhilarating and there is room to breathe in your rooms. No cobwebs or tacky knick knacks to get caught up in...I'd love to spend some time in your cottage. Our dark bungalow would probably drive you crazy as it has many bits and bobs that we are fond of...most have history, and many are family pieces. I have been successful at purging clutter from the basement and what little storage we have....would love more than two closets on our main floor though...one is for clothes and the other for linens. Oh the joys of a small historic home....you have the golden touch and I admire your style.

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  13. Hi Janet, I keep our home pretty clutter-free too but I do need to work on our family photos. There is a ton that is crammed into a plastic storage container in our den closet! I just don't want to have to go through them all, and then have to put the ones we want to keep in albums. It sounds too much like scrapbooking to me which I dislike (I am not inclined to be a "crafts" type of person AT ALL). And then we still have to do something with our digital photos (on the computer, in our cell phones, and in the camera) … I'm getting overwhelmed just thinking about it.

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  14. really like your living room!
    i could live like a nomad - all the things must fit on one camel. and in my single days it was like this. but now with a house and a collecting husband it´s a never ending work to keep things clear....... but he is a good one and learns to "declutter" :-)

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  15. Okay, Janet. Here I go, one room at a time. I don't know why I have so much trouble simplifying when an uncluttered room is Nirvana to me. Your rooms are inspiring. And, I can't make the excuse that I live in a small house because yours is small, too. Starting with my TV armoire and its cluttered drawers. Deep cleansing breaths--breathe in clutter, breathe out peace. My yoga teacher would be proud.

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  16. Oh are you talking about my strawberry china I bought when I was 20 in anticipation of my hypothetical daughter's hypothetical 5th birthday party? Hahaha yikes. Maybe I'll use it when my puppy turns 5 instead.
    Obviously I'm not a minimalist yet but I think eventually everyone has that urge. But I appreciate that you're never preachy. I'm happy to see the inside of your armoire is still lobster. Love that pop. And I also love the interior of the record cabinet. It has a nice relationship with the white console with the topiaries and the porcelain.

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    1. Any nieces, friends' daughters, little old ladies, ladies going grey you could throw a party for? I could just imagine how adorable it would be with the strawberry china!

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    2. Yes, actually! Pretty much all my china, silver, and crystal is available to friends and family to borrow. The strawberry china has only been used once though.

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  17. Janet,

    I love your T.V. armoire, I have one too, similar to yours only with a Asian flair. Mine sits where a fireplace would be too. Just curious, where would you put your armoire if you installed a fireplace?

    I'm getting some boxes together for Amvets. Have 5 total, it's amazing how you can donate stuff and you think that's it but then suddenly there is more to get rid of. Probably half of it is my in-laws. What isn't being donated is being listed on Ebay.

    Linda
    xo

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  18. Your place is just so beautiful...sigh.I'm in the middle of downsizing and look around and just can't believe I let all this clutter and junk accumulate.I've been purging bags and bags and still so much to go. Thank you for this very timely post- I may print out your house photos and put them up for inspiration to help me through those moments when I feel overwhelmed.

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  19. Hi Janet,

    I tried to post this the other day...never shows up? Could you please tell me what seasoning salt you use in your Buttermilk Dressing? Thx

    Suzanne

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    1. i switch between mrs. dash and just using sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

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    2. I made it yesterday using simply organic seasoning salt...it was so good & easy! thanks

      Suzanne

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  20. Your living room is gorgeous Janet. I seriously need to de-clutter my flat and my mind!

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  21. I'm at the same point and the one good thing about Chad being away is that I have gotten to get rid of the things I've wanted to for years. Trash day used to be so frustrating as he would scour the cans before leaving for work! No kidding. There's just a couple of things that I'm sentimentally attached to and the rest can go to someone else's home. I really do best with open bright spaces and no clutter. Your rooms are gorgeous Janet. You know I had a photo of your kitchen saved before I even knew you. :) xo

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  22. I have very little furniture (I think it is unhealthy), but as a result of being sentimental, have plenty of clutter stashed in our box room. Still, all our belongings could easily fit into a small one car garage. I have a rule, as a couple, we have to be able to move ourselves without the aid of any help. (we've moved a lot over the years)

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    1. The cost of moving and storage is unbelievably expensive. I've been surprised over time to find out how many of my friends/relatives actually pay for offsite storage, twelve months out of any year, in lieu of just getting rid of the overflow. Such a waste of money! In my last move, of which I'm currently now on the tail-end with finally everything collected at one house, we had a moving company move us but still wound up hiring somebody else with a truck/trailer for a few more loads at the very end. I'm one who's talked in other posts/comments about having most of the 'stuff' packed in compartmental onsite storage containers while we attempt to do some rehabbing/remodeling which we were unable to do beforehand in the 'new' house...and those units are costing 'way too much money as well. I've moved several times in adulthood and this has been by far the mostly costly move ever and I don't intend to ever suffer this again. My early years were sparse belongings which could fit into a one-bedroom apartment; my final years need to be pretty much the same. At least this is my goal. It did strike me, with my own aging parent, how...at the end of her life...she was only living in kitchen, living room, bedroom and bath. Her kitchen was huge and a galley kitchen would have been just fine. This is along the lines of most 'apartments' I've seen here in the U.S. for our seniors in assisted-living communities. It's having what you need but not more, which is sensible. The only reason my mom's other two bedrooms came in handy was because she decided to age in place and not give up her home, so it gave a bedroom each to her rotating nightside caregivers. But this was a luxury, frankly.

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    2. Hi Vicki! I have a saying for this "the tyranny of our belongings" . It is truly a first world issue many of us actually feel mentally burdened (maybe fiscally burdened too) by our belongings. My theory is that humans are not designed for excess (excess anything - food, time, money, belongings...) and there is a natural instinct to "stock up" and sort of hoard material things. My parents downsized from a very large home to a 2 bedroom apartment and it was really a physical chore as well as mentally tiring for them to make all those decisions (keep or go?). I have nomadic tendencies anyway, but I vow I will not subject my children to sorting out my possessions upon my death. I've already told them they are welcome to throw it all away.

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    3. Tyranny fits. I've also never seen this in print as a description: 'First world (issue)' - as opposed to third world (as in poverty). Interesting. Made me think.

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    4. Yes, our first world complaints are embarrassing to me. My immigrant mother kept everything - even what others would call trash because we were poor (but still not third world poor). Now at age 86, she is clearing out the house and her belongings. She does not want to burden us. This is one of my goals: not to be a burden to my only child later on. This involves, well, a lot: taking care of my health now, having documents in order (Wills, list of account passwords, etc…), keeping belongings decluttered, saving as much as I can for retirement and for an inheritance for her, and so on. It all sounds a bit daunting but really everything is easily done except for the saving money part!

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    5. Anon, my immigrant parents kept everything too; it was a challenge to downsize them. It's awfully hard to change your ways when you've seen war, loss and occupation in your homeland. This dealing with excess is a very modern issue. Depression aged Americans can't just toss things away so carelessly as the younger generations and I think we can really learn from the elderly.

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  23. absolutely love these beautiful, uncluttered rooms! I yearn to live as simply but am too sentimental to rid myself of years of possessions.
    Darby

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  24. Lovely, light and bright. So - freeing? Less chaotic, so less to clutter the mind?

    Like I said...NOT bringing anything into the house that I am not going to keep or that is not an heirloom or kids keepsakes (after the big downsize to the little fixer). Okay - My prob is that I have filled up half of the garage for a huge sale (I park in the other half and have to as its -15 degrees today) but still have a whole storage unit and nowhere to bring it for a sale. I think I am going to donate all the furniture to my church's large furniture store of donated furniture. They pick it up for free. It would cost me hundreds to move it AGAIN to consignment. Just a thought in case anyone else was stuck with furniture/large pieces.

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  25. Thank you, Janet for doing this series. I have gotten rid of ALOT, but I always seem to give out before I complete a room. I have to really focus myself and stick to one room at a time without getting distracted by something else. This series will definitely help :) Your new rug really completes the living room, are you happy with it so far, is it easy to clean?

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  26. I grew up in a very cluttered house, with a mother who refused to throw anything away so I ended up being her opposite! I have collections of beautiful things that I love and use almost everyday but for other 'stuff', I keep a wicker storage trunk tucked under the hall table. As I clean and tidy up, if I find something I don't think I need anymore in the way of clothing, small appliances, or household décor, I'll put it in the trunk where it stays for approximately a month. Either I end up digging it out to use again (rarely happens!) or it goes to Goodwill. Any books go to the public library for their annual book and bake sale.

    Wendy

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  27. I decluttered once for a group garage sale, but now I'm determined to do it again after this post!! I also like to donate to our local hospice thrift store.

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  29. Janet, are your couch and club chairs PB ? The slipcovers look like cotton/denim to me. It holds up so well to washing and gets softer over time. Did you make those covers? Thanks for the great tips. Did M ever finish her kitchen redo? Can we see it,too? Thank you

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    1. the sofa is pb but the chairs are old that i had slipcovered many many years ago. no her kitchen hasn't been started yet. :)

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  30. I can't stand clutter in my house, it drives me crazy, but strangely I like the look of other peoples' well designed clutter! I am currently going through every drawer and cupboard in my house as we have been here a year now, and anything that hasn't been used in that year is going to the charity shop. As I've already done this several times in the last year I am always surprised when I find unused items, but the latest (I must have missed the baking tin drawer on the last go round) were a Bundt tin, a pizza baking tray and a silicone cake dish. These are relics from when I had hungry teenagers in the house and made cakes and pizza! Paring down is refreshing, and I hope someone else will enjoy my donations.

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  31. Hi Janet! Ever since the first time I visited your blog I have been striving to have the feel of your home here! I think it epitomizes warm minimalism. You know, just the right amount of things to make it a home but a place you feel fresh air coming through! I have been making trips to Goodwill and the curb every Monday in hopes of clearing out only absolute necessities and a few favorite pictures or art. Not easy but I am determined; if I need encouragement I take another tour of your home! I ask myself when clearing...what's the purpose...no answer - out it goes! My other incentive is to think of my mother the "hoarder's" house!!! Sorry Mom - being an organized hoarder is still a hoarder!lol

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  32. We downsized from 3000 sq ft to 1700 sq ft. While we got rid of a lot, we have family heirlooms we inherited that I love and enjoy having. As long as everything is organized and put away, I'm fine.

    Your home is beautiful. The white walls and furniture is so peaceful. Can't wait to see more!

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  33. I live by the words, "Less is more." Clutter drives me crazy. I find a good way to get rid of it is through the free section on Craigslist or Freecycle.

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  34. My house is an odd mix of bare - where furniture that left with my ex-husband has not been replaced - and cluttered - on surfaces where I have objects and photographs, or desks with papers, or stuff that is waitout.ing to be blogged about, or in the rooms of my absent adult children, that I haven't yet cleared out.

    I keep clearing, where it needs it, and filling in. I bought a second sofa before Christmas. Finally everyone had a place to sit. On the other hand, I filed all kinds of papers that had been in piles. It's an equilibrium.

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  35. I so admire your simplification and minimal approach to your home and your grocery items. As much as I admire, it's just a fantasy for me. I love my "stuff" and although I donate lots every season, I just can't part with very much. More than once, I have repurchased the very books, clothing and trinkets that I've donated to our local thrift shop....and then there's my plant collection...over 60 beloved plants and I treasure each one. Can't part with any unless someone admires one. Then it's easy to give away....I'll keep reading your posts for inspiration though!!!

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  36. I don't like clutter so I don't have a lot of knick-knacks, but as far as furniture is concerned I could easily get rid of everything in my house. In fact, I'd like to start over. My style has changed over the years, but due to financial constraints I'm stuck with what I have. Most all of my furniture is inherited and rejects from family members. It's not my style, not what I would have chosen. It's frustrating...

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    1. Why not sell the furniture on Craigslist and start over, one piece at a time?

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    2. Since October, we sold a car and a refrigerator on craigslist. The one thing I didn't like was the people coming into my house to look at the frig. They brought a lot of people and my husband had some difficulty containing them to the kitchen; they somehow felt free to wander within the house, which was creepy and awkward. It might have been that they felt it was okay to do that because we had a For Sale sign on the house but, still, they could see we were living there, so it was unsettling. I said 'never again' to that; it would have been better to move the frig out to the front yard and have it run on an extension cord so they could see it was working. Learning our lesson, when we sold the car, we met potential buyers in a well-lit parking lot in a very large shopping complex rather than at our house.

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  37. It's very clean and simple. I love the white. My walls are a Navajo white. I am young to think about a brighter white next time I paint.

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  38. Our home is small and I'm at a stage in my life where I want to pare down. I have been working on it in baby steps. I read your blog and am always inspired to go home and see what few things I can donate or give away. As small as our house is I feel certain we may move to even a bit smaller home someday and I want to be ready, not overwhelmed with the amount of "stuff" I will need to get rid of.
    xo,
    Karen

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  39. I love living small and I keep cutting back :) Your home is lovely!

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  40. I love your home! I found your blog via Fifty not Frumpy, and fell in love with your beautiful little house - and that garden! Wonderful! My husband and I are hoarders, and also sell through eBay, but I love your uncluttered look so much I am trying to pare everything down. Thanks for the inspiration - with house and also food! Anne x

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  41. What impresses me most is your character and not your stuff. That said, you seem to have just the right amount of both.
    Have you ever heard the story of the :marbles: being kept in the medicine cabinet and a guest opened it up out of curiosity, well,I sort of feel like that - when you opened up your armoire. ha ha. I guess we as humans are like monkeys, fascinated, curious at how each other live.
    Again, thanks for sharing what works for you and embracing the idea of living with only what you need, use and or truly want.
    pve
    pve

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  42. I don't know how anyone could love clutter. It is suffocating. The eye can never rest.

    Your photographs always fill me with peace. Living in such a beautiful environment must make you feel so serene inside your soul.

    What I take away as I continue to tackle the disaster of my own living environment, having just moved and not even remotely decluttered enough beforehand, is how each thing in your home has a place and each place has a function. I probably didn't write that right. We don't need so MANY things whose only function is beauty. Which is another thing I'm trying to adhere to. Set out six things in front of me; I only get to keep one. Eventually, I may even get rid of the one.

    I have a neighbor who has had a hard but successful life; the details aren't important. I have understood her need to gather because I had similar needs. Her 3-bedroom home and large yard/garden is filled to the brim. Recently, her daughter-in-law, who has buried her ability to be thoughtful and kind because she is so overwhelmed with caregiving of an elderly and disabled parent of her own, announced that my neighbor better hurry up and declutter/downsize herself while she still can or else the son and daughter-in-law are going to do it for her, on their time, not hers, assuming she will move nearer to them. My neighbor is an intelligent and former businesswoman who stands on her own despite the fact that she is indeed aging and is now in her 80s; however, this 'threat' has about brought her to her knees. Not in retaliation or fear, but more out of what she needs for herself at this time (her clutter is 'neat' by the way, and she is clean; the house is nice), she has decided to leave her home and all of its contents to the church who she knows upon her death will be happy to sell/share her things among church members and the community. It's a case of her liking her lifelong accumulation of treasures which, in her case, bring her comfort and memories.

    As you say, everybody is different. But it does get difficult to go thru things as you get older and have less energy, which is why I'm trying so hard to get it right in these few years before retirement rather than after. I have a former neighbor who is at this time trying so hard to help her aging sister. The sister's husband has fallen prey to dementia, it's been too costly to keep him at home, so he's had to be placed in a 'facility,' and she is moving in with my neighbor; fortunately, the two retired sisters are very compatible. However, my neighbor has a tiny, tiny cottage, already full. Although the sister has already moved once in the retirement years and already significantly decluttered, now she basically has to sell most everything else she owns because there is simply no room for anything at my neighbor's. And the dear lady is having to do it in kind of a hurry. So, again, best to go thru your own things before somebody else does it for you, do it while you're younger and have more energy and do it while you have the time (your own timetable).

    I was in an 'emergency' situation at one time in my life - again, the details are unnecessary - when I had a motel room, a hairbrush, a tablet with pen, one change of clothes, a toothbrush. It's hard to explain but, at the time and of the circumstances, and as much for my burden, I had a certain freedom of 'traveling light.' That's to the extreme...but I did get a 'flavor' of what it's like to live without a lot of literal baggage for a few days, and it wasn't bad. My mind was quite clear. I've been remembering this quite a lot lately...every time I consider taking a match to the whole mess of my current surroundings and walking away from it without looking back.

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    1. Hi Vicki - oh That is sad-the story about the daughter in law who is telling her mother in law what to do...I admire your compassion to the d-I-l. As you say, she must be worn out from the caregiving.
      I think we should let people live as they wish. Hard as it is when they get older, they are entitled to do this, even if it makes us uncomfortable to watch. Unless they are genuinely in danger, why should we dictate what's best?
      One thing I wish was that I took more time to understand the significance of some of those sentimental possessions before it was too late with my own parents. Most of their things had special memories and meanings-many of which I always knew, but many more I could have taken the time to learn.
      It is such a joy to me to be able to hold a vase that was a wedding gift for my great grandparents, even though I also admire the minimalist approach.
      Renie

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    2. I have compassion for the daughter-in-law because I have been in her shoes. Her problem is that she is worn out from caregiving; it's called caregiver burnout.. She knows she can't go thru this a second time.

      My mom died a year ago and I'm still going thru her belongings. She did leave a lot of notes, like sticking one inside a vase she probably figured I wouldn't recognize, so I'd know what was what. But she didn't do it on everything so, yes, I'll stumble upon something and know it has meaning. I hear the clock ticking while I'm trying to figure it out/decide what to do (this is all very time-consuming!). I've had to settle on the fact that those were her memories (or that of our other friends and relatives), the facts of the piece go with her and now the item lives on with somebody else making their own (new) memories. Because I can't keep everything. My husband, the minimalist, continually says to me, in a bid to be helpful, "They are just things."

      I've had to get okay with the fact that not every thing and every story will perpetuate; something of history will be lost as every generation starts anew. It makes me feel bad to get rid of other people's stuff; I get stuck doing what they themselves felt they couldn't or shouldn't do. I have to be the bad guy who sells the family heirlooms. In my case, I don't have kids...but I know people WITH kids whose kids and grandkids don't want any of their stuff either, they don't seem to be sentimental. They have too many things of their own.

      I 've tried hard, for years...but I can no longer be the family historian and the caretaker of STUFF. I just want to get DONE, get things disseminated...and quit thinking about it. Once I'm decluttered, and now I seem to be losing the buying mentality (at last), I should stay decluttered and maybe can actually live my life. Because there's so much more to life than our cluttered houses.

      I don't do this often, but I threw something away this morning because I don't know the meaning and, well, it was ugly. In this case, I do know the worth in real dollars and it's not much. It would only be appropriate for a yard sale and not really worth my time to even clean it up for sale. Normally I would donate or freecycle but, this morning, it went into the city recycling barrel. It comes to that sometimes. I heard the city trucks coming...trash day...and I pitched it. It's still needling at me ...but I'll get over it.

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    3. vicki, when you are ready...call a local estate sale company. they will come in and buy everything and hold a sale. you will just leave for the day. but the company buys it all so they take what doesn't sale. your mom probably should have done this? anyway, it sound like this "stuff" is literally making you sick and as that show hoarders points out..it does make people sick. it's not worth it. you matter! you have a life to live free of these things...when you are ready.:)

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    4. Vicki,

      I agree with Janet...the estate people know what is valuable/sellable. My sister-in-law bought all of the siblings a very good book a couple years ago. It's called "The Boomer's Burden" by Julie Hall. It goes into great detail about dealing/getting rid of our parents "stuff", and when you should call in an estate sale co./appraiser. The author herself is an estate sale expert and appraiser.

      Although my in-laws are still alive, I already read the book and would highly recommend it. She breaks everything down to make the task of cleaning out their homes (which I know you have already done) less overwhelming. We are going to have our hands full at some point, since my in-laws are semi-hoarders. My husband has already brought home truckloads of stuff...some things were donated, some thrown out and I am listing a few things on Ebay. At least we are getting a head start!

      Good luck!

      Linda

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    5. Thanks, Janet. I had another whole long comment in response to your helpful tip but I decided to delete it because I'm repeating now, and also commenting too much. I just yesterday heard about how this can work with an estate sale company...the auction/estate people are actually going to put quite a few things up on eBay for a family I know of in addition to the estate sale at the house. There's a few creative ways in this day and age on how best to sell I guess! Keeping this all in mind and looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel of clutter.

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    6. Linda, that sounds like the book for me! Thanks.

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  43. Janet...what brand and shade of white do you have on your walls? I love this series. Thank you!

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    1. benjamin moore simply white is used thru the whole house. walls, trim and cabinets.

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  44. It has recently dawned on me that "simple" is what I've been looking for all my life - I always admired others where things were neat and "just-so" but it's only now that I have decluttered so much of that emotional stuff that I realise it's the simplicity that makes the difference, having enough and not way too much and so on. I also live in a small house and find it's a constant process with regular visits to a charity store to bring boxes and bags of items that no longer need to live with us and each time it feels so nice! There is still plenty in my house but very little clutter these days - I have even decluttered loads of books, which I never thought I would see myself doing, and recently piles and piles of magazines where I was left wondering what I had been thinking. All dust traps and an incredible amount of sneezing to throw them out ;o I originally found this blog because of Project 333 - now I'm going for 6 items capsules for 6 wks at a time...
    I love Janet's cosy and comfortable home that is not bare or cold-looking at all, and that's pretty much what I hope my home is getting like these days… in its own sweet way :) Comfortable minimalism!

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  45. I love this post. Over the last few years I have been holding an annual rummage sale to benefit the animal rescue I volunteer with. Prior to this I had a hard time letting go of "stuff" and my house was filled with stuff that we have packed up and moved so many times without every using it in the interim. Now that we have this annual "clean out" scheduled, with the money earned going towards something I am passionate about, it makes the letting to a lot easier. It also makes the GETTING harder; after you generate a HUGE pile of "give away" stuff its hard to want to go out and buy more stuff knowing it will likely land in that pile next year! The process has just made me more conscience about what I am bringing into my space. Honestly, I think that is the key- - just being AWARE of that is around you, in your space, filling your hours and days. I find having less means there is less to clean, which give me more time to focus on what I actually care about. You are a part of be bringing that awareness to my life. Thanks for that!
    FYI....re, your last series about using up in the kitchen. I find a great way to avoid waste is to make a big Frittata and I also make herb butter with left over herds- - just mix butter, a dash of lemon and then stock the freezer with a roll or too. Makes any dinner more special! Neither are vegan of course, but we do eat dairy over here. Small steps:)

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  46. I caught a "hoarders" show the other night and I watched it for a few minutes because longer than that makes me feel so sad for the individual who can't bear to part with his or her belongings. The next day, after viewing some of the show, I got the urge to de clutter and clean! Although I think the show is sad and so revealing, it certainly helps me to get going here and clear out stuff. This week, I now have a clutter free house. No more magazines, papers and paperwork hanging around. I always clean my house (without the aid of a show) but the magazines pile up for one reason or another. I usually say I'm saving them for some article in the magazine or something I've seen that I want to buy. I was ruthless and recycled all of them! Thanks for the beautiful photos of your home. I think it is lovely.

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    1. that show makes me declutter too

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    2. Going to my in-laws does it for me.

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  47. Hi Janet - Totally off subject ..,.but I thought i would let you know that I have been using Olive Oil since your blog post and the difference in my skin is amazing. I put on when I get out of the shower pat dry and with my body still warm it absorbs so quickly and feels so good. I did try Cocunut Oil but EVO is so much easier since I put in a pump bottle (like you did). Thank you SO much for sharing this great tip - Pam Atk

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    1. that makes me so happy! have you seen where lupita nyong'o who just won the oscar for 12 yrs a slave says she attributes her amazingly beautiful skin to natural oils? she says she's a low maintenance girl. love that!

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    2. No - I didn't - but she is gorgeous and that's funny because I kept thinking when watching her speak how her skin looked absolutely radiant and healthy! - ;-)

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  48. I am a hard core declutter and love it. My house is tiny and I have to always get rid of things. I have a lot of books, where do you store yours? xx

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    1. we have a bookcase in the office that holds them all.

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    2. I've wound up with two giant china hutches which are multi-shelved and nearly reach the ceiling. The one with,more glass than wood is getting the contained collections, i.e. knickknacks, mainly decorative glass items (will try to not have too many). The one with the most wood and only glass doors is where a lot of books are going...behind that glass where they can be seen but also collect less dust. My lawyer's building is vintage (a historical home) and she has an amazing decorating aesthetic; she's got law books in one old china cabinet. I'm stealing her idea..

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  49. I love your blog and your decorating ideas. I use a lot of white in my home and one thing I have come to treasure are some monogrammed pillows to add a personalized accent. I hope you will take a look at them.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/SouthernLinen

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  50. I visited a blog today called My French Country Home; blog owner is Sharon Santoni, a Brit married to an Italian, living in Normandy (norhwestern France); she's an antiques dealer. I've learned a lot from her; she is very down-to-earth but has impeccable style; her posts are educational and she features specialty French crafters and artisans in her region (or her interesting French women friends and their homes). She's had a very recent post where she poses the question, 'collecting...or hoarding' (where do you draw the line).

    Very interesting reading her reader comments; a LOT of people, men and women, are asking themselves the same question. If I can borrow a little from the feedback she got...I am hoping she won't mind: Although people might be going over to The Dark Side (hoarding), one woman said she is an "admirer of abundance" (direct opposite of minimalism). Seems a majority opinion is that if you've enjoyed collecting things which you actually use, fine. And it's not hoarding if you have a place to store everything (which does not mean jammed in cupboards and closets). Oh, and the diff? Collectors frequently 'edit;' hoarder's never do (and can't seem to or want to part with anything, although I'm thinking it might be because they're so inundated with stuff, they don't know how to start; mess has gotten too big...).

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    1. Hi Vicki, It still sounds like too much crap (excuse the language but I had to say it!) regardless of labeling oneself a "collector" or some such nonsense. I think some people have handy excuses, and labels, to explain away their acquiring of excessive stuff (because in the grand scheme of things isn't that what it is - just stuff?). Also, there is way too much constant shopping going on, and even if one doesn't buy anything the habit of continuous "browsing/hunting/brocante-ing" is such a waste of time. The activity/sport feeds the sort of mentality I am trying to stay away from. The idea that these "collectors" are frequently editing says it all doesn't it? It's an endless cycle of buy-edit-buy-edit… In my experience, home furnishings do not wear out that frequently! There is a lot of eye candy in those blogs but I've stopped reading them since I came to realize the effect they have on me. They made me feel I had to find the perfect thing (even if it was the "perfect" trench coat), which meant I had to keep looking for it, which means that perfect trench coat is always on a list I used to carried in my wallet = which means I will never be satisfied. I do not want to live like that. I want to be content with what I have and when I do need to replace something I will no longer waste too much time in finding it and keeping it until I've used it to death! End of rant :)

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    2. it has taken me some time to come around to this realization also. funny you should mention the perfect trench coat. i too was always in pursuit of it. why? because it was on every top ten item list that a woman should own. you know that list right? lol. i thought i had found it in the jcrew trench but in the end sold it b/c it was really too tight in the arms. drove me crazy. and then as fate would have it i did find the perfect trench coat (for me) at miss doris' estate sale. i will prob be buried in it. i'm rambling now too, but the whole idea of always searching does mean i'm not content and that really does go against the way i am striving to live. thanks for your input.

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    3. Oh Janet, I absolutely did not mean you in any of what I was saying (especially the trench coat!) I love this blog of yours and all that you've inspired me to do to make our lives better. Your blog has stood the test of time (and my chopping block!). This blog has only gotten better over the years, I don't know how that's possible, but it has! You do a perfect mix of living well -with all that that it encompasses- with timeless style while being frugal. Just perfect.

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    4. Wow. Insightful commentary. It's true; why should you have to keep editing your collections? Why get so much in the first place that they have to be edited? Precisely. It still means too much buying, and where does that ever end? And the part of being never satisfied...again, true. All that is, is stress you don't need. I'm so appreciative of all these thoughts on the subject which Sharon prompted me to think about but with the discussion continued here.

      An aside: There was some 'talk' on Sharon's blog that if you're in the business of antiques...I mean, you're actually a dealer...obviously you are, as a professional, always buying because you are also always selling. So that is a different ballgame than the rest of us who are just personal buyers/collectors. And if they have something in their personal collections they want to edit, they can just turn around and sell it in their stores.

      But, yes, like when I was growing up, my parents rarely bought anything new; they had the same furniture forever and we were raised to take care of and not abuse it. If Mom wanted variety and was tired of something being the same old way, she'd buy a remnant at the fabric store and sew a new pillow cover for the sofa pillows, or she'd shop the house and change the room layouts, working with what she already had. The sad thing was, for as smart and frugal as she was, I was bored by this; I wanted lavish overhaul. Always the champagne taste and the beer pocketbook; that was me.

      It's comforting to know you have enough of what you need and that you don't have to have it nagging at you that there's still something undone, unfinished, that you still have to find or buy. It creates so much restlessness. I wonder how I never saw that coming in my all-too-recent days of excess shopping/accumulating; why couldn't I recognize it? Was I really so stupid? I just fell right into the hands of the ad men, for years; I was their marketing dream. Really disappoints me, about myself...how I could be gullible and lead by the nose like that. It's actually a deep subject, to then delve into one's own personality and try to sort it out. The advertising people are just hoping for saps like me to fall into their hands. Well, no more; I am no longer a sap. In no small part to blog readers and blog owners who have helped me work thru it. I have needed your intelligence and experiences to open my eyes and change; long time coming. The blog world is awesome!

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  51. Janet I have loved your style. White is my go to color also. I have a different question though. I have been considering a Bose Wave for the last year with the optional cd changer. I spied one in your post. Can you give me your opinion? It is really worth the money. I just want something that takes up way less space when my 20 yr old Sony with 2 separate speakers, cd changer, tape deck-you get the idea. Thanks

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    1. i love the simplicity of the bose. it has great sound and takes up minimal space. ours is quite old so i suspect the newer ones are even better.

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    2. I have an old Bose, over twenty years, I think, that is still going strong. I had to get a new cord for it, because of a short. Probably because I move it all over the place. Last year, I got a new one with the CD changer. The only thing I don't like about it, is that the remote control has to be used for everything, which is frustrating to me. Other than that, I recommend them. I'm looking for one on craigslist, because I can never have too many radios. Gee, that's a horrid thing to say on this "get it simple" topic.

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    3. Thanks Janet & Jane all advice appreciated. New Bose has touch to shut off. I've been reading that the multiple changer is noisy though. Another side of me says keep what you have don't add to more garbage. I'm big at recycling. Guess that ties in more with this subject of keeping it simple.

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  52. Great post. Can you point me toward a similar bolster pillow like the one on your sofa? I want to do a long pillow but am stumped on what size would be best. The scale of that one looks great.

    Thanks for your blog - I absolutely love it!

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    Replies
    1. marianne from white and gold had the pillow made and i made that particular pillow cover out of old curtain valances.

      http://whiteandgolddesign.blogspot.com/

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  53. I'm constantly getting rid of things, but clutter keeps coming back (kids stuff are hardest to manage. my older son brings back his projects from school every day.) I personally don't watch TV, but my husband and kids do, so we decided to only use Netflix that's already built in our tv. We do have a small DVD player, but we tuck it in a drawer when we don't use it. Very inspiring post - thanks for sharing!

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    1. The whole TV thing. What a revelation for me. Long story, but no TV for the first time in my life...for nearly seven months. I missed it to relax with in the evenings; I call it veg-TV, no-brain TV where I can watch Home & Garden, food network or the like. So, we finally got TV set up in the 'new' (old) house in time to watch the Oscars and my husband and I are so struck with the anticlimax; how we scroll thru these hundreds of channels, back with our satellite dish again, but so disinterested and not inspired with what's offered. There's so little that seems interesting, even with the free premium channels they threw in for 90 days. It's odd also because both my husband and I, in our former lives, worked in the broadcast television industry. I find I'm only wanting to watch movies. And I can't stand commercial interruption. It sounds like your Netflix might be the better thing for us. I'm just so surprised. Maybe I need to get immersed in a series, like Downton Abbey or something...Homeland was pretty riveting when I saw some clips...but this is such a shift for us. It does get me to thinking how I could have at my hand all these channels and feel unsatisfied, but with it affecting my husband in the same way?? He actually said last night, "I think we should just take it out." Wow.

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    2. Hi Vicki - "No TV" a choice I made a while back, but I still watch movies with my husband once in a while :) I'm the only person who does this in my family. I used to spend my entire evening (after my boys go to sleep) watching TV, and one day I felt so consumed by it. Instead of consuming entertainment made by other people, I decided to "create" my own entertainment by working on my own creative projects or just talking and spending time with my husband. Netflix has been wonderful - we don't have to deal with annoying commercials and we get pretty much everything we want (including kids channels). I highly recommend it. But I do miss watching food network once in a blue moon :)

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  54. Your house does look nice but not like a real lived in home. It doesn't look homely or comfortable, not the place to kick off your shoes and relax. Did you stage it especially for the photos? It looks as if it was staged, those throws in the living area artfully placed or draped etc.

    If it wasn't staged and you do live like this then are you the sort of person who is anxious when she has guests, anxious they'll move the throws, mark something, or just generally clutter the place with being there? Do you sigh with relief when they're gone and you can put the house back to how you like it, perfectly staged?

    It will be interesting to see if the rest of your house is the same.

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    1. this is how we live. i straighten the room before i take photos but nothing is artfully arranged. i am not the sort of person who is anxious when i have friends over. i have friends over all the time. and i often have my grandaughter and her friends here too. they run in and out of the house and all over the furniture and we love it. we raised 3 sons with this exact furniture. i hate to ruin it for you but i can tell you right now that the rest of my house looks pretty much the same.

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    2. By the way, Anne's comment. To me your house does look lived in. I just adore your blog, and even though I do envy you, since I live in Italy, plus I am a carnivore--- I check your blog daily, and it is my number 1, even as I just got home from 7 weeks in New Zealand. Please continue. I love your blog.

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    3. I think your house looks extremely comfortable and relaxing. I like things clean and put away and I like my throws artfully arranged when they're not in use. I can't relax when there's a lot of stuff out of place. Too much visual stimulation. Can't wait to see the rest of it in this series. Of course I've read every one of your posts so I've already seen a lot of it but I keep coming back for more because it's so beautiful. Anyway, who wants to look at a messy house? I don't read blogs to get inspired about how to keep my house cluttered and messy. I read them to remind me how to create a beautiful home.

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    4. I've often wondered about the white/cream slipcovers...yours or any other furniture I've seen in other blogs or books or magazines featuring similar furnishings. How well does it hold up to kids? Are you frequently washing those slipcovers? (When you wash them, do you have to fit them back over the furniture while still damp?)

      I have dogs...big ones...who are up on the furniture and beds; it's just how we live although I know that may be unappealing to someone else who doesn't understand. (One bedroom with my best comforter, pillows, rugs and throws is protected by a baby gate; dogs are not allowed in that room!) I've always had to put blankets and towels over sofas, chairs and beds for protection because dogs are sloppy and get everything dirty.

      I love white rooms but it seems like 'white' is impractical for my lifestyle nowadays. When I was single and had my various apartments, I had beautiful white/gold striped (it was tasteful upholstery) occasional chairs and a tufted-cotton all-white sofa; I had white fabric-covered dining room chairs. I had no dogs or cats or little kids coming in to the apartment; thankfully none of my friends ever spilled wine on the furniture. But that was then and this is now.

      So, Janet, no shoe scuffs on the sofa from the kids? Cooky crumbs? Chocolate fingers? Mud marks on the lovely area rug? (By the way, those gleaming floors look like wide-plank hardwood, no? My last little bungalow had vintage white oak floors but less-attractive, narrow wood 'strips.')

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    5. they hold up pretty good b/c the 2 white slipcovers on the chairs in the living room are quite old. i've had them since my boy were small. they wash easily and have stood the test of time. the pb sofa slipcover washes easily too. my furniture gets just as dirty as anyone's furniture, the difference is when mine is dirty, it shows and i can wash it. i've never wanted furniture that can hide dirt. the wood floors are original to the house and are super easy to keep clean too. :)

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    6. I must agree about the White. I have a houseful of animals, (dogs and cats) and almost everything is white except for my mid-century Naugahyde sofa which is black. That sofa is perfect because I can run a damp cloth over it and it's like new. But I totally agree with Janet, I would never want something that "hides" the dirt. I want something that I can wipe down or wash often without the worry of it fading.
      The same thing goes for carpet. It just grosses me out to think what could be trapped in there. Nope, I'm rather see it so I can clean it!

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    8. We have hardwood floors, but a few area rugs. We do have one dog who sheds a lot. (what dog doesn't?) I have to get down on my hands and knees with damp paper towels before I vacuum them to get the excess hair off. At least I get some of the surface dirt off too. We let our prior dog on the bed, but our present one isn't allowed on any of the furniture, including the bed. I got tired of dealing w/ the fur.

      When I did have wall to wall carpet in my condo, we had the carpet replaced once and started taking our shoes off at the door. It really made a huge difference. I know if we did it in our current home it would help or if we wiped off our dogs paws every time we brought her inside but guess we have gotten a little lazy. :/

      Linda

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    9. Thanks for all the input, Janet and readers. I definitely am appalled when my husband can be persuaded to steam-clean the upholstery and carpets. I just look at him and say, "This is what we've been breathing? We're THIS dirty?" So, I get your point. It's so gross.

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    10. I think your home looks comfortable, simple, clean and very inviting. Can't imagine how it could be any better.
      Betty

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  55. Hi Janet,


    We downsized, to live in Italy.

    Yes, we have the darn stone house, with the pool and olive trees.

    I would trade it all for something carefree.

    Best, Robin in Umbria

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    1. What does "something carefree" mean to you? Most people would be so thankful for that "darn stone house with pool and olive trees."

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  56. I love how your house is so organized, simple but elegant.
    I do wonder though, since you don't have an entry way, what do you do about everyone's coats and shoes?
    (hats, gloves, boots and scarves?)
    and what about your mail and keys?
    Also, and I know I'm jumping ahead here but I think I remember that you don't have a garage (and neither do I) so where do you store all your gardening tools and supplies? Do you have a little shed or tote it all down to your basement?

    I'm working hard at getting rid of my excess "stuff" but since I have zero extra money, I'm always worried that I will need it later and then not have the funds to replace it. I am going to try to do the Craigslist thing this Spring and maybe even do a dreaded yard sale. I guess it's all about money with me, I just keep thinking about what everything costs. I know that the money has already been spent but something in my head fights me when I try to get rid of anything that could possible be useful.
    Yep, I have a lot of work to do around here, mentally and physically.

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    1. cynthia forgive me for answering so late. i think i must have answered this in my head and then forgot about it. :)

      ok...if it's just larry and i here then we take our shoes off once inside and take them to the bedroom. if we have company then we just take their coats and lay them on the sofa in the office. almost everyone keeps their shoes on. but if it were raining (as if!) they would remove them on the porch which is covered. our keys are hung on the little hook right next to the front door and mail is immediately read and either goes on the desk in the office or in the recycle bin. we don't have a garage, just a v small basement and that is where our garden tools are stored. :)

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  57. Vicki - I'm just going to say what I'm sure many others here are thinking...why do you feel the need to give your two cents on almost any comment posted here? It's kinda creepy to me to see your name all over the comments section over and over again with your long rants basically where you basically confirm you are a hoarder. Maybe if you used your time more wisely and instead of talking the talk and actually walking the walk (started actually decluttering your home!) you would have less time to comment all day long here.

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    1. I like Vicki's input. I come here to the comment section often because they are so interesting and I learn a lot from everyone. I feel we are all on different parts of the same path.

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    2. I Agree with Erikita: When I see Vicki's comments I ignore them.

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    3. i think there is plenty of room for everyone here. i agree with anon that we are all on different parts of the same path...well said! i say take what you want and leave the rest - and that goes for what i say too! :)))

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    4. Erikita, Conversely - I'm sure many others here are thinking... there is enough room for everyone here. I would MUCH rather read Vicki's comments than the one you have here. Retract the claws!

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    5. I wonder why commenters don't put their name - or anybody's name? After all who knows what a persons real identity is, so any name would do. It just seems rather odd that people comment as "anonymous" instead of having the manners to say who they are.

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    6. I comment using the option "Anonymous" because, well, why not? It doesn't matter either way, just as you say. If I used my name it is still anonymous since no one knows me. Also, there is already too much information out there that is too easily accessed by anyone. I value my privacy, especially since it is harder to come by in this day and age. It is as simple as that.

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    7. I'm so sorry to anyone who I've put off with my comments. I will read Janet's posts and stay silent from now on. It's not my blog. You win.

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    8. vicki you have every right to comment here. i want you to do what you feel comfortable with. lots of us like your comments. :)

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    9. Vicki, this is janets blog. Read her comment above and disregard everything else. Freedom of speech is a good thing. :)

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    10. Janet, I will reply just one final time only because it's you, and you've been so tolerant, gracious and kind; I really look up to you. I appreciate other readers' support as well. There is probably 101 Blogging etiquette printed somewhere which forewarns about over-commenting and over-sharing. I do have some obsessive elements to my nature and I have become obsessed with the topics here at The Gardener's Cottage where there is so much that's helpful; so much to learn. From everybody. I will admit that the pointed comment from the one reader sent me into a hot flash of momentary stress but I try to take in all opinions. The last thing I would ever wish on this blog is to have something happen to inject fleeting awkwardness or anger because The Gardener's Cottage blog is about happiness, fulfillment, simplicity, peace. We need to keep it that way! So, on that note, let's move forward and away from any hurtfulness or negativity. I don't feel bullied off or leaving with my tail between my legs. Everything's okay; it's definitely time for me personally to sit back and just listen. We're good! Remember the song from "Frozen" that Broadway star Idina Menzel just sang at the Academy Awards show on television? "Let it go." I love that song. Let it go! Love and good wishes to all; as just one of so many readers of this wonderful blog, I have benefitted from the time allowed me here; thanks to everyone from the bottom of my heart and fond farewell from reader Vicki (I'm a real person and that really is my name...).

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    11. vicki i will just say one more thing too.......i hope you mean a final reply to this post. it would make me sad to think you've left for good. like i keep saying there is room for us all. people have all kinds of opinions and we can't control them. that's why i always say i don't put a lot of weight into the praise i get here b/c then i'd have to put the same weight into the negatives. so lets all move on!

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    12. Vicki,

      Just because a couple individuals do not like your comments, it doesn't mean everyone feels that way. There is always going to be someone making snarky remarks. Janet has stated that she doesn't mind you commenting, it's her blog and if others do not like it they do not have to read them. No one is forcing them.

      I agree that there is a lot to learn here (as other readers have stated) but it's also a way of connecting with others. Last weekend I was probably commenting too much myself, sometimes you find a topic that hits home and then before you know it...yikes. I must have made at least half a dozen that one day.

      Hope that you won't leave, a lot of us would miss you. :)

      Linda

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    13. i agree linda. all this judging makes me so sad. :(

      on another note...i believe you asked a question on a post recently and i for the life of me cannot remember what it was or where it is. i apologize and if you can remember, i'll answer it here. :) thanks linda!

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    14. Janet,

      I know you said you want to pay off your mortgage in 5 years, but I was curious how many months/years you will shave off your loan based on your current payment plan.

      My other question was when you did the living room post the other day, you mentioned that someday you would like to replace the armoire with a fireplace. I asked where you would put the armoire but I read that part again and you already answered that question because you said you would love to get rid of it. :)

      BTW, I made my first Ebay sale and it's being shipped today! Thanks for the encouragement. Between your posts and my sister's input it helped a lot.

      Have a great weekend.

      Linda
      xo

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    15. congratulations on your first ebay sale!

      if all goes as planned (!) we would pay off the house in 5 years. a lot has to go smoothly for that to happen. we would be shaving approx 10 yrs off the loan.

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    16. Oh WOW, you are being really aggressive! We have 14 years left on ours...at 2.25%. I wish we could shave that much off of ours but I think I mentioned before, we are socking extra away for retirement right now. I could probably swing a couple hundred extra a month though.

      And thanks for the congrats, it feels good to get the first sale out of the way. I'm sure the next ones will be easier.

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    17. vicki by any chance if you are still reading just want to let you know that i miss you and wish you'd come back! :)

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    18. Vickie, I miss you, too. I felt like we were having a great conversation with you and then you stopped.
      Begin, again.

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    19. Anon at 8:46 and Janet, your kindness knows no bounds. Thank you. Love is so much more powerful than hate.

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  58. awwww....come on people -- Let Vicki be Vicki - why have we become such a judgemental mean people? And to those people who get aggravated with peeps like me who post Anon - it's because I don't know how to post another way. I'm not techy and I don't mind if you think that makes me rude. I know I'm not. :) You might try to remember "Kindness never goes out of style" - coined by the very person who started this great blog - Pam Atk

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  59. Vicki:

    Just ignore Erikita. If s doesn't want to read your posts, she can skip right over them. This is what makes Janet's blog great and interesting, comments and points of view from everyone. I always learn something new. We will just nickname you Chatty Cathy-you are the life of the party. Rmember one man's trash is another man's treasure - same goes with comments. And as this is Janet's blog, I'm sure as the owner and moderator, she could delete (your) comments if she wanted to but highly doubt it. Keep on posting!!!!

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  60. Why is everyone getting on Erikita?? She was just stating the facts, we all see the elephant in the room. Out of 117 comments over 12 were just Vicki's. Vicki has even stated she "post too many comments" and she "needs to stop." To me, it sounded like Erikita was trying to encourage Vicki to take action in her life and not just talk about it-----isn't that a good thing??? Remember, with email, post, etc, one can not tell the true tone that is being conveyed. And yes, kindness is never out of syle.....love that quote!! A.

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  61. Anon @ 5:34PM: People are getting on Erikita because she/he is being mean-spirited. The opposite of Janet's blog.

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  62. I'm afraid that I must agree with those who feel that Vicki's comments are too plentiful....and have become annoying. It is obvious that Vicki follows Janet's blog off and on all day and replies directly to other comments too often and at too great length. I have no idea why, but it has made me uncomfortable.
    Vicki........you don't have to stop commenting. Just remember to keep it a reasonable length and stay on topic as much as possible. Thanks.

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  63. I have read this blog for a long time and enjoyed it, although I have never commented before now. I would just like to say: please be charitable in your judgements; it's very easy to be unkind and graceless.

    Janet has been perfectly reasonable and gracious, let's show the same courtesy to all readers and commenters.

    Sue

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  64. Janet,

    If you feel like discussing it at some point, could you comment on your transition from having more or even too much to having just enough? It seems as though this is the hardest part for many of us. Some people have always been minimalists and while it is easy to admire their relationship to stuff, for those struggling with having-more-than-we-need and wishing for a more streamlined life, the difficulty is in changing our mindset and our habits. I am no hoarder and my house generally looks rather put together but I find myself hanging on to much more than I should (because my parents lived through the war, because I hate to be wasteful, because I sometimes ending up falling back in love with something I did not wear for 2 years, because because because....). But despite the excuses, I know that some of those possessions are possessing me and I would like a less committed relationship with possessions!

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    1. yes. I will try to write a post on this. thank you.

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  65. I am looking forward to getting rid of a lot of my "stuff" - things I have had for years. My house is bigger than yours so there are various places to put things if I am not using them. I think about all the people I know who have off-site storage units that they pay for every month - units that hold stuff they haven't touched in 10 years. I am the same way with my basement "stuff". It's time to get rid of it so maybe someone else can use it.

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kindness is never out of style.