The Simplification Continues

One year ago I was working on the following simplification list.

I’d like to make the laundry room a priority that is completed by the end of 2019.

I gave myself 10 challenges to decrease my stress level. The ones in green are complete.

  1.  Charlie and I resigned from a bi-weekly leadership position.  Our final responsibility was Easter Sunday on April 1. Since then Charlie has been substituting for other musicians at Sunday morning services at various churches in our area.
  2. I started to clear unnecessary documents and clutter from my office. I use the empty credenza space for Dash’s belongings while he is at work with me.  
  3.   I have shredded at least 10  bags of paper.  It’s a process.  
  4.   Get rid of more books.  Sharing or donating 100 books will only be a drop in the bucket. Fifty children’s books are on their way to the pediatric unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  5.   Buy healthier food and prepare food in advance so good choices are available after work.  The summer garden has made this much more effective, especially my favorite haricots verts.
  6. Sell at least 5 large items of clutter that we no longer use. I have a chandelier, a saddle, and tons of oak logs listed on Craigslist.  I’m thinking of going through some more precious things and opening my Etsy store.

    Someone might just need this chandelier more than we do.
  7. I have unsubscribed from dozens of e-mail subscriptions that I inadvertently signed up for when ordering over the internet.
  8.  Pack light when traveling.

    I usually limit myself to one carry-on size suitcase when traveling.

    I’m limiting myself to one suitcase.

  9.  Clean out my handbag.  I’ve taken everything out of my overly large but useful handbag and only replace the most necessary. Since we’ve been traveling often this year I have reassessed my need to carry everything all the time.  I’m minimizing.
  10.  The laundry is still out-of-control but I have recently washed our bulky down comforter in a friend’s extra-large washer and dryer.  It took 3 hour-long dryer cycles to dry completely.

    The closet on the right needs doors.

    Truth is I have no system so there are clothes in “waiting” or “holding” situations that appear to be clutter. And clutter is bad.  I cleaned out all the hangers and clothes that have been stored there for many years.  Charlie vacuumed the room including all the recently cleared out corners.

It’s time to make a new ten-item list. Spring always gives me a fresh outlook.

Does clutter burden you?

Useful But Messy

The title describes my pantry. The word pantry comes from the French word pain which means bread. Modern pantries are seldom used to store bread instead it is a small room or closet in which food, dishes, and utensils are kept.

The upper shelves in the pantry hold large serving dishes and useful labeled boxes of hardware and glue.

Ever since the renovation of The Glade we have had a dedicated pantry for such items as oversized bowls and roasting pans, canned goods, dog food, seldom used appliances (waffle iron, extra espresso machine, mixer), cook books, etc.

Charlie loves junk food which he was storing on the floor in the pantry.

Charlie also keeps his myriad snacks in the pantry in old dog treat jars.

The floor was so cluttered I could hardly reach the shelves.

The whole place is a shambles.

There is improvement in this space — although minor.

Today I took a stab at straightening it up just a bit.  Don’t tell Charlie but any outdated food has been trashed.  I’ll never eat it; he’ll never eat it; and it can’t be donated.  Cans have been lined up according to type.

I threw away about 50% of the mismatched plastic in the pantry.

Plastic containers have been matched up with their corresponding lids.  Anything with advertising or missing its mate is history.

The floor of the pantry is much more accessible.

The result is a  more useable and tidy pantry.

Do you have a tip for pantry organization?

Down Ten More

I have been trying to be ruthless about getting rid of odd things we have or items we never use but could be useful to someone.

Not every item in my closet is wearable in the 21st century.

It’s the logic of frugality that keeps the clutter going.

Number 15 of my 101 tasks in 1001 days is “Get rid of 101 items.”  I have successfully expunged 72+ things.  The most recent 10 are:

  1. Game Cube – returned to son

    No one has played this toy for at least a decade.
  2. Pantsuit – trashed
  3. Safari onesie – donated

    I’m biting the bullet and giving away clothes I’ll never wear again.
  4. Viewmaster and discs – gifted

    Do you remember this simple toy?
  5. Dinosaur puppet mask – gifted

    I don’t actually remember making this dinosaur mask but I’m sure I did.
  6. Desk lamp – donated

    Headed for a rummage sale.
  7. Side lamp – donated

    I remember transforming this lamp from pink to blue-green.
  8. Red and white afghan – torn

    We still have plenty of handmade afghans.
  9. Peach and white afghan – donated
  10. Vintage side table – passed to Sug

    This compact cabinet will fit better in the Cottage.

    I still have a ton of stuff. Grrrrr.

    What one thing has got to go?

Putting Clutter in Its Place

With overnight guests in mind we have been endeavoring to get our back bedroom, The Treetops Room, cleaned up and ready.

The tops of dressers are clutter collectors.

The trouble is that after Charlie and I used it as our bedroom during the renovation (finished 5 years ago) we have been filling it with papers and furniture and CLUTTER.

Dispersed to another place.

Sug has helped a lot by cleaning everything in there more than once.  This week, while she’s away, I am determined to diminish the volume of things in there. A small piece of furniture is headed to a new home.

A convenient and narrow side table.

I started by clearing the bookshelves and moving them across the room as a night table.

The contents of the bookshelves cover a double bed.

Then I refilled them with items I have projects planned for.

Space relieves the oppression of the room.

Taking advice in this post I am shredding my old calendars which I had been saving for reference.  I have never consulted them so out they go.



Charlie returned some bins to the attic.  Other items are still in the room but will be donated in the next week to a local rummage sale  —  two lamps, a lacrosse stick, baby toys.

Getting there.

It’s not easy.

Whom do you enjoy hosting in your home?

Seriously Clearing Up

I found of list of 116 things to throw away.

  1. Snacks your pets don’t eat
  2. Wedding invites
  3. Save-the-dates
  4. Broken or old iPhone cases
  5. Address labels for your old house
  6. Delete unwanted music from your iTunes
  7. Cell phone covers you’re over

Naturally I started crossing of items that don’t apply to me (above).  Ah, success.

This week I’m going to get busy on:

  1.  CDs
  2. Shoes that don’t fit or that you don’t wear

    My shoes are stacked in my closet — maybe I don’t need all these.
  3. Extra photo prints
  4. Tired bras
  5. Clothes that don’t fit
  6. Expired sauces
  7. Dried-up nail polish
  8. Damaged clothing you can’t mend
  9. Stained clothing you can’t clean
  10. Old underwear or swimwear that’s losing its stretch
  11. Pens that don’t work
  12. Clothing you’ve outgrown
  13. Worn-out shoes
  14. Expired food

Two of a set of three are swimming off to another home.

Then I pulled out my inherited fish collection and located a threesome of glass dolphins.  I decided my niece would probably enjoy this little school of fish which had belonged to her grandmother.

I’m biting the bullet and giving away clothes I’ll never wear again.

And I have a large box half full of clothing to give away to a church rummage sale.  I plan to fill it by the end of the week.

What are you ready to pitch?

Travel and Trip File

We’ve been places and we want to go places. Along with all of those trips and future trips are loads of paper with information and memorabilia and advice and photos and . . .

Airports are part of the travel story.
Airports are part of the travel story.

I just want to get it in a usable but not scattered, in my face, move it every time I want something place. And I have a great spot – file cabinet in the small pink bedroom.

The bird file.

I’m making separate envelopes according to the country or area of the country when it comes to the US. We’ve been to Europe a few times and we’ve learned a some things.  All those tips and suggestions need to be in the file and easily accessible.

The NYC envelope gets used over and over — there are always new things to see in the Big Apple.

So today’s the day it goes from here .  .  .

I want the bedroom bookshelves to be styled not just piled with papers.

to here.

I love planning for trips.

Whew. Love it.


What’s next for you?

A New Quilt in the Treetops

We call the back bedroom the “Treetops Room” because it has 3 windows through which the treetops can be seen while lying in bed.

This is was the goal.

We have been storing lots of clutter in there ever since the renovation 5 years ago.

This surface has been cleared off.

Sug has helped me get the room under control by doing a major cleaning.  I still have to get rid of the clutter which I have made a dent in by giving away children’s books and filing bank statements.

I don’t know yet which side will be better on top — blue or green.

To change the room from its traditional flowered comforter to something light and brighter I purchased a quilt from Hayneedle. Hope it arrives soon.

Give me one tip on what you’re getting rid of this year.

Getting Started on the January Task

The January task in terms of cleaning and straightening the house starts in the kitchen.  The kitchen is used to some extent everyday and from time we put a heavy load on its resources.

My side of the kitchen.

Kitchen Drawers 
We don’t have many drawers in the kitchen but the ones we have are packed to the gills with table linens and utensils.

The drawer next to the stove holds a number of unlikely items.

Some of the utensils are seldom used but when I need a cherry pitter I happy to have one. I’m going to try to be ruthless with useless items. Then I’ll organize so the most used items are easily accessible.

Even cluttered cabinets look neat with the doors closed.

Kitchen Cabinets
It can be easy to carelessly throw pots and pans and bowls into cabinets, so I plan to remove all the cookware and wipe off the revolving shelves. This year I did get rid of a bundt cake pan that horribly ruined a cake.

Pots and pans are kept in the corner cabinet near the stove.

There is lots of space in the cupboard but frequently used pieces should be near the front.

The pantry

Our pantry holds everything that needs to be easily accessed or, conversely, is seldom used. It needs an organizational once-over. I can organize canned goods by type, check expiration dates and get rid of foods you’ll never eat. Unexpired and shelf stable foods can be donated to your local food pantry.

We can never find an appropriate container and lid when we need one.

One of the worst areas are storage containers without lids and lids without matching containers. We organize this a lot but it is difficult to maintain.

Spices do get old.

Spice Rack
While I don’t actually have a spice rack I keep a number of spices and herbs in a narrow cabinet near the stove. I’m almost afraid to look at the expirations dates.

Spice cabinet of the far right.

Refrigerator and Freezer 
During the holidays the refrigerator and freezer were used and abused more than usual.  We must eat or store the large volume of food that we prepared.  Everything will come out and we’ll wipe down the insides and clean all the shelves and bins.

We have used up all of this year’s frozen peaches.

Under-Sink Storage
We have 2 sinks in the kitchen under which we store all manner of cleaning products.  Some products like Goof-Off we seldom use but are absolutely necessary when a sticky situation arises.

Under the prep sink

Perhaps I can whittle down the products and reorganize the spaces.

Where do you start in January?

Getting Rid of 101 Things

Number 15 of my 101 tasks in 1001 days is to get rid  of 101 items.  I’m not quite there yet but I have 13 more months to finish.

Here is my progress so far.

  1. Old leg brace
  2. Screen door
  3. Old can of tile adhesive
  4. Wire hangers

  5. Suitcase
  6. Suitcase
  7. Vitamins
  8. Vitamins
  9. Vitamins
  10. Fax machine

  11. Boom box
  12. Old computer printer
  13. Shoe holders
  14. Purple suitcase
  15. T-squares

  16. Wire baskets
  17. Grill
  18. Dishes
  19. Documents
  20. Old packaging

  21. Ride-on lawn mower
  22. Push mower
  23. Screen Door
  24. Windows
  25. Shelves

  26. Old wood door
  27. Pile of old lumber
  28. Brass chandelier
  29. Frosted hanging lamp
  30.   Rain barrel

  31. Mutant Ninja Turtle storage cube
  32. Old tires x 2
  33. Old roll of tarpaper
  34. High chair
  35. Expandable hat rack

  36. Old black plastic sheets
  37. Nesting tables
  38. Yard cart
  39. Christmas ornaments
  40. Sheet set

  41. Piano lamp
  42. 2 old raincoats
  43. Pink rose balloon shades
  44. Pink purse
  45. Old broken hoses and milk crates

  46. Foreman grill
  47. Boom box
  48. Lawn chair
  49. Old rug
  50. Ceramic towel holder

  51. 3 blazers
  52. Bag of clothes
  53. 2 bags of clothes and purses
  54. 2 bags of bubble wrap and trash from attic
  55. Mid-century highboy

  56. 6 hoodies (4 baby)
  57. 2 blazers
  58. 5 toys – car carrier, skates, puzzle
  59. Box of Christmas ornaments
  60. Artificial Christmas tree

  61. 4 sets of twin sheets

Forty items to go.  What else should I get rid of?  Hmmmm.

What item should you get rid of?

A Useful Gift

My sister always comes up with unique and useful gifts year after year.

The embroidery with the name of our home creates a special gift.

This year she sent me 2 underbed storage containers which she had personalized with the name of our house — The Glade — in a subtle shade of beige. They are not only useful but also elegant.

Each storage box is 18 inches wide by 28 inches long.

These storage containers will be perfect to store bulky items like comforters and other out-of-season bedding.

The storage cases fit well it the top of the master closet.

However instead of storing these items under the bed I have discovered they fit perfectly in the top section of the master closet.

The pile of bedding on the left will now have a place to live.

This gift will really help with the organization in the Treetops bedroom where I’ve been storing extra blankets and bedding.

Did you receive a useful gift?