1.19.2017

useful and beautiful





Since the first of the year I've been decluttering and organizing the house which is a real joy for me.  It makes me feel so calm.  The only obstacle that gets in the way of this task is the idea that I may need this item someday, and it's often true.  Case in point, last summer I tried several times to sell that Dash and Albert rug on eBay and it never sold.  And here it is 6 months later and I'm using it.



Here's a photo of it back in May of 2012 when I first purchased it. I got a lot of use out of it then and sure enough I put it away in the basement and now it's back in the house.  I do that a lot.  What's your biggest obstacle to getting rid of things?  Is it memories, don't know where to start, or fear that you'll need it one day?

So far so good on the no spending for the month.  I really think this will be an easy month or 2 for me because my birthday, Christmas and anniversary are all within a few weeks of each other.  Summer will be another story. How's it going for you?  x


59 comments:

  1. Hi Janet, your home looks lovely! I am a champion declutterer but I have to be in the zone. I think emotional connections can hold you back. I always put off going through my son's out grown clothes and shoes and toys but of course once I start I feel better. I have been focussed on my home too because I saw a moth and we flew into a panic so went through every cupboard and drawer and cleaned everything out and donated a lot. It felt so good!! xxx

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    1. hi k. i think kids stuff is the hardest. when mine were little i kept almost everything but over the years kept paring it down. i just gave my grandaughter her daddys levi jacket that i kept for 25 years and that was awesome seeing her slip it on! so

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  2. All 3 of those issues is what holds me back. Im the worst with furniture. I'm a flea market/antiquer and i'll look at a piece and think "i cant get rid of that. I found that at the blah blah market when i was with so and so" or its something i had in my first apartment or i inherited it. Kitchen stuff, clothes, shoes no problem. Im just too sentimental with certain pieces of furniture.

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    1. yes heidi! i too have a hard time with furniture or anything that was bought with a friend bc it is a reminder of that great day. like you, clothes etc are much easier. x

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  3. I have the most trouble with books. I'll declutter almost everything else more easily. It's illogical because with some, I know I'll never read them again! But I like them being there to see and to remember my pleasure in reading them.
    Your home is beautiful as usual and NEVER looks cluttered! I dislike clutter but can't seem to keep a clutter free home-office where I work my "day job" for my husband's home -based business. My resolution this year is to have a neat organized office.
    Love your blog, Janet

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    1. thanks janice. books are hard to get rid of too. but i must say i re-read mine again and again. curling up with a stack of design books has to be one of my greatest pleasures in life! and the good ones never get old. x

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  4. Happy New Year, Janet! Your house looks lovely as usual - including that rug!

    All three of these for me too. Heard so many of my mother's stories about the Depression era when she was a child. She was always so careful with her possessions because of that heritage and tended to keep things, bringing me up to dispose only very carefully after serious thought. Obviously not rubbish - but paintings, nice china and glass, silverware. She also kept many things for sentimental reasons. So I still have two of her dinner sets even though I never use them. Even have a few items of my grandmother's.

    Have only recently been giving away some of these (including fine china cups and saucers) because I know my DIL (and thus son) won't want them. Also decluttering lots of our books - over 100 in the last couple of weeks - old CDs, DVDs, even records. Good shoes I no longer wear etc.
    I once saw what looked like a man's whole life out on the footpath after his death. Boxes of books, clothes, linen, china, his professional shingle (he was a doctor), his childhood toys, etc. It was so sad how his life had come to this - so much there for anyone to fossick through and take away. Obviously his family if he had any left, didn't want these things. You could trace his life and travels. He was the next door neighbour of friends who lived in Monte Carlo - we were their house guests. Since it was Monaco none of the other neighbours were interested - but as Aussies we were curious. Our friend found and kept an Arctic fox full length man's fur coat, satin lined (lining slightly worn), bearing a label suggesting it had come from a furrier in Denmark under royal patronage. We also found and kept between us some books, a great red and white tablecloth, a hand carved wooden child's pull along toy. After we'd finished looking the builders at a construction along the road straggled along and fairly soon most of the stuff had disappeared to other lives.
    Would rather not do this. So slow decluttering continues. Best wishes, Pammie

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    1. oh that would be so hard pammie. i don't have a lot of inherited things. the ones i do have i would prob never get rid of tho. some old silver, photos and a portrait. we have estate sales here which is even kinda worse than putting ones things out on the sidewalk. here we walk thru their actual home and see where the items are placed. it's fascinating and sad at the same time. i doubt my sons will want any of my stuff either so i keep at the declutter too. x

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  5. I go through spells where it's easy to sort through things and decide what to part with, then other times I'm more sentimental or practical (that feeling you mention of "One day I might be able to use that"). With clothing, I tend to know when to let go. With things that belonged to my parents, it's nearly impossible to get rid of them.
    Claudia

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    1. i'm like you too claudia. whenever i'm in the mood i strike bc i know it won't last.:) x

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  6. Yes, yes and yes - all three can be obstacles for me. I'm much better than I used to be. I have another obstacle - my husband. He's less inclined than into get rid of things, so I have to declutter when he's not looking. Of course, I don't get rid of his person things. As to the no spend month - I'm not doing as well as I'd like. We are on our way to visit out of state family and will be taking my parents out to dinner - so there's a spend :-)

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    1. oh i hadn't considered a husband jeannine. mine barely has anything! he's a minimalist except with ski and camping equipment and even that is carefully collected and just what he needs. i could learn from him:) x

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  7. Good grief that autocorrect! My husband is less inclined than I to get rid of things and I do not get rid of his personal things.

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  8. I have trouble going through drawers and getting rid of or finding appropriate placement for little things; screws, buttons, pens, kitchen utensils. Under my kitchen sink and bathroom sinks are disastrous. I need to pare down everything in there, but can't seem to choose what to get rid of. Anytime that I try to declutter an area that needs some things relocated, I freeze. I, too, have a tiny bungalow and storage space is at a premium.

    The no spending experiment is better than I anticipated, but not perfect. A trip to the drugstore on a dreary, cold day resulted in a $40 unanticipated makeup splurge. (And makeup is another thing I find impossible to ditch.)But I have stopped trolling for unnecessary clothing purchases which is huge. And we are eating out much, much less. Also a big accomplishment. 2017 is the year that I hope to rid myself of credit card debt. Wish me luck.

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    1. kristien we will be here 10 years this fall and i just now feel like everything has its place here. it's hard when you have v little storage! good luck on the cc debt. i know from personal experience it's like an anchor. xo

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  9. Hi Janet, your home looks beautiful as usual. My obstacle to decluttering is always Tim. He has a hard time letting go of things. I'm always nudging him to let go. As for the no spending we've both done really well. It hasn't been difficult and we've even saved $300 on groceries this month. I think I'll keep it up, it feels good to save.

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    1. it does feel good tina! that is hard having a partner that is the opposite. L and i are opposites on lots of issues! but he really is a minimalist compared to me. x

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  10. I think this desire to declutter has become a group consciousness thing. Every one I talk to, every blog I follow, and everyone I hear about is feeling a huge urge to pare down. I myself, have been paring down since last summer. I have a hard time letting go of some things, and then on the other hand I easily let go of others. It is an ongoing process.

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    1. i know, i think it is the time of year and people are just really getting sick of having too much. you are right, it is a process and so very personal. x

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  11. In just helping my 93 year old mother-in-law move into less independent living facilities, and wading through bills for caterers from parties in the 1960s, newspaper clippings, 25 recently purchased bras, napkins from her wedding, etc., I am even more "slash and burn " than I was before. I sometimes regret getting rid of things, but never seem to have a problem de-cluttering. I never get rid of the few things I have inherited.

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    1. omgosh what a job you have. all those items sound so wonderful and full of history, well maybe not the 25 bras but you know what i mean. i'd be tempted to sit down and read all those newspapers and bills. how fascinating. recently alex came across some 1920's newspaper articles from the los angeles area and i was fascinated for days reading them. the classifieds were the best. did you know they rented rooms out just for children during those times? i'm guess parents that had to go to work and couldn't care for them? wow. x

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  12. Hi Janet. I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who finds such joy in decluttering and organizing! And I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who gets rid of things, then regrets it, and (luckily!) sometimes hangs on to things and am glad that I did. :) Love the rug! I've been thinking of buying a similar rug for my kitchen, but was worried about how it would hold up in such a high traffic area. Is it difficult to keep clean? As far as spending, I made the mistake of going into Pottery Barn and found a $250 floor lamp on sale for $75. Then bought a couple (small) things at Home Goods. So putting a "no shop zone" on myself for those stores. As far as my biggest obstacle to getting rid of things, I have a few Knick-knacks (some country roosters and platters that hung in my grandmother's kitchen) and although they aren't really my style, I still put them out once in a while and am unable to get rid of them. Other than that and a few sentimental things from my kids, I have no problem getting rid of something. When I get into a decluttering mood ... ya better watch out. :)

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    1. haha, you better watch out for me too! i get on a roll and won't stop! the rug is one of their indoor/outdoor and can really take a beating. you just hose it off outside. i scrub it with a brush if there are any stains and just rinse it with the hose and line dry it. so yeah i think it'd work in heavy traffic. x

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  13. So far I've done great with no spend January. The only things I've bought is a toy fire truck (made of recycled material) for .99 at Salvation Army ( I couldn't say no to my grandson!😊) and a rod thing that closes my blinds because the other one broke. That was 2.39. I thought it would be harder to do than it's turned out to be. Maybe I'll go for no spend February?

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    1. i don't think either of those purchases count! both are so useful and how sweet to find a fun toy for your grandson. x

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  14. You are a guiding light Janet.

    Living with less gets easier as I age...
    but I have just bought some new Nuxe skincare products from Paris which I am excited to try.
    They are consumables so perhaps I can get away with the expenditure?
    Your call!

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    1. so true leslie. i actually dream of living with less in a smaller place! x

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  15. I have a hard time letting go of kitchen items and furniture I think my kids might use, my older daughter is moving out this year to go to graduate school so we'll see what she will take with her. Anything she doesn't want I'll donate. I don't really attach myself to objects though I do have a memory of every single thing in our house. Books I have no problem donating but we still have loads. I tend to buy books, read them, then pass them on to friends these days, that seems to be the best way to deal with the groaning bookcases.
    As for a no-spend, well I've decided not to do any clothes shopping this year, which I'm actually finding very easy. I have so many things to wear it's just a matter of turning off the switch of looking at things. It's the only area I really spend money and I have some serious financial goals to accomplish in the next two years, I'm working harder to earn more money and then applying every extra dollar to my goals, it feels good. It feels great! None of the women in my family ever had any financial wits about them and it affected them in their old age, I'm turning that around, for myself and as an example to my daughters.
    I also feel that in uncertain times we should save money. Here in Canada our economy isn't doing very well, our government is in major debt and the climate is changing. Where is it all going.
    Love these posts Janet and thank you for the inspiration! xx

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    1. dani did you get my comment about that white linen dress you gifted me?

      i love your goals dani. i have a friend who is 72 and going thru really hard financial times and my heart breaks for her. basically it boils down to poor planning/decisions and it scares me to death. whether she knows it or not she's an inspiration of sorts for me as i age. this whole aging thing is a real turning point in so many ways. staring down 20 really good years left is rather startling and is making me rethink everything! x

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    2. Oh gosh I did and I've been thinking about it but forgot to reply! I'll email you. xx
      Getting older is a real turning point and being in a bad situation like your friend scares me to death too. I hope she will be okay. As women we have to take control of these things and not leave it up to anybody else. xx

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    3. Hi Dani, I'm decluttering my kitchen in January and today's attack is on my cupboards with all the kitchen's paraphernaliaia (I'm excited!). As I filter through I will try to remember when we cleared my mum's house. 5 potato mashers, countless cruet sets, think you get the picture. With reference to Janet and the 20 year countdown, I don't want my mop-up team to find the same squirrel's nest here!

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  16. Hi Janet. Nice to see you posting! Last year I went through my whole house (including crawl space) and decluttered. I even kept a list on my phone of the date I decluttered certain rooms. So far this year I have only gone through our clothes closet.

    The biggest challenge this year will be to continue to go through all of my photo albums and some boxes of photos. Getting rid of duplicates. I always scratch my head when I come across photos of people I no longer see and think "do I need these?" Nope, guess not.��

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    1. haha yes. and i see some that i don't even remember who the people are! xo

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  17. Hi Janet - re. exercise, do you still walk around the neighbourhood every day?

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    1. hi anna, yes i do. usually early morning. x

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    2. Oh, that is my big goal this year - a daily walk for an hour and NO EXCUSES. I'm pathetic! Also, I agree with Dani - I need to save my own money. My mother always impressed upon me the need for my own money but I've drifted into dependency... No issues there but I'd like a savings account. I really need a small income stream. Are you a part-time aesthetician? I always see you as a role model.

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    3. yes, i agree. i think having your own money is so important! i do work part time as an esthetician and make a v small amount from this blog. :)

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  18. When you say no spending, what does that include? Food, gas, or where do you draw the line? Would love some guidance or if you've already posted about it a reference to that post. Thanks!

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    1. i'm not spending on anything but essentials. x

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  19. DOES THE VET COUNT for spending!!!!!!
    COSTING A SMALL FORTUNE but HE IS WORTH IT!
    I tend to GIVE things OLD things a NEW HOME so seldom does one thing go out.......................
    THE ESTATE PERSON will be in HEAVEN when they my BOYS clean out HERE!!!!!!!!!!XX

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    1. no the vet doesn't count. that is an essential!
      same here if an estate company comes in! x

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  20. Hi Janet,

    Your living room is looking lovely as usual...funny about the rug. I've done that with a couple things I was trying to sell on ebay and in the end decided to keep them. I seriously need to declutter and organize. (especially the garage) My daughter wants me to help her organize their new place but I'm not sure I'm the one she should be asking! :o/

    Yeah not doing so good with not spending much this month...just picked up 3 dozen vegan cupcakes for Amanda's shower tomorrow totaling $117.00 and ordered a glider/rocker for my granddaughter's nursery. Hopefully I can buckle down in Feb. and start saving again.

    Have a good weekend!

    Linda
    xoxo

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    1. linda i think buying for grandchildren doesn't count! lol

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    2. Ha I thought you might say that! :)

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  21. Hi Janet, I'm a hoarder but it's time to let go a bit. Think my hoarding is from money I've spent on the item and maybe I'll need it after its gone, so the declutter is difficult. But as,per ny comment on Danish;s above, I think of my mum's house and those who'll clear up after me!
    Love your lounge, so fresh with the green.

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    1. Lots of spellchecker changes,sorry. S/b Dani, of course!

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    2. that is the hardest, when we bought something that cost a lot and we don't feel like we've gotten our money's worth! they say we should let those things go b/c it's a constant reminder of failure. lol. idk i'v had some articles of clothing for 30-40 years now and am glad i've kept them. x

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  22. I've been on a cleaning tear since the beginning of the year. Got started on photos in albums, & my mother's genealogy papers thinned out and sorted. I sent my grandmother's bone china to the Hospice thrift store. I couldn't find a buyer locally, and it had been sitting in my house for about 8 years unused. Pretty but too delicate for my crew. I have actual silver sandwich plates sitting in a closet...what on earth to do with those, but I can't let them go. Heirlooms are definitely harder to deal with. And legos. My only grand child is in high school, so the legos have been loved by two generations now & used in my classrooms, but I am required to hang on to them to keep peace in the family! I will not be taking them when we downsize though.

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    1. sounds like you are making good progress stacey. i have a huge bin of legos too, i'm hoping someone will take them off my hands soon! i've heard that people are just bagging up odd pieces of legos and are able to sell them on ebay. i've not looking into that. we have literally thousands of them! x

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  23. I've actually been really good about shopping lately! I'm in a mood where I don't like anything so that helps. Happy belated birthday! I am a big believer in keeping things for a mood change because I like to have options. The rug looks fab!

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    1. i've not liked much either lately. i'm in the getting rid of mood and past history tells me to be careful so i am. i'm drawn to very spare interiors at the moment so shopping isn't on the radar. x ps thank you for the birthday wish! x

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  24. I am also drawn to spare interiors and constantly find myself assessing my small living space to see what else I can eliminate. I love shopping thrift stores and finding "treasures" but lately I have had no inclination to actually purchase anything and bring it home. My space is now spare but relaxing and still comfy, and I am feeling good about not spending any money, even if it is just a few dollars. It seems every one I talk to is in the same mindset these days of paring down, and simplifying their lives.

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    1. your place sounds so lovely. i've been going back in my archives when i had less stuff and i'm missing that look. i would have to part with a lot of great things to get back to that and so that's what i'm pondering these days. that sweet spot of just enough...x

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  25. I'm often finding new uses for items and for clothing. I've been on a no buy in January and doing well apart from spending on going out but I call that me time so doesn't count. I have decluttered at least 125 items. Feeling satisfied.

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  26. I do make a concerted effort to declutter and have thrown out in excess of 125 items in January. I'm also not buying anything other than grocery and that's been cheaper than normal too. I'm feeling satisfied.

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  27. Ha! The struggle is real for me. I do worry I may need it and never ever ever find another "whatever" again. I am working really hard to let go. Great post!

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  28. Hi Janet, Since I have had the pleasure of a visit in your beautiful home I can truly say that you are an inspiration. You have created a relaxing, peaceful, warm environment. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by what is in our house that I fantasize about starting over with just a trunk of pictures and keepsakes. With a blank slate.
    I keep decluttering just my clothes and the kitchen and then tell myself what a good job I've done. I really need to tackle all the rooms to achieve that sweet spot that you talk about.
    Love you and this post. Melanie C.

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  29. Gosh! Missing your blog posts! Hope you are not closing up shop.....so many people seem to be doing just that. I thought your blog was one of the better ones!

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  30. If I could only find the right people who would use & appreciate my things (many of which were inherited from my mother or gifts from relatives who are gone), it would be simple to pass them on. What I hate is the idea of a thrift store throwing them away because they don't recognize the value of antiques, or also, I don't like the idea of people getting my things just to sell on ebay.

    I like that you have a family services place, Janet, for people who need things. Here it's really CL, Freecycle, or thrift stores.

    When someone comes into my home & admires something, I'm thrilled when it's something I'd like to give away & can present them with it then & there, knowing it will be appreciated.

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