4 Obstacles to Decluttering & How to Beat Them

Newark, DE

I am not a hoarder and I am not a minimalist. I am somewhere in between. I would guess if you are on this forum, you are too. I have realized I have waaaayyyy too much "stuff" and am going through and getting rid of as much as I can. I have also found that after I go through a room, if I go back to it a few weeks later, I get rid of more on the next round.

Anyway, I came across this article today and it struck a chord with me on a couple points. Maybe it will do the same for you, so I thought I would share. I have a small part of #1 problem. I over came #2 completely but am still working on the #3 & #4 ones. I think that comes from being on the poorer side of life for as far back as I can remember. That's a long time to retrain the brain, but I am working on it. I think the article makes some good points about these things.

One point is simialr to what I said in another post here. I realized the same thing, and that's the importance of "taking control of your home instead of being subordinate to your possessions". That was my "ah-ha!" moment a few years ago and has made it easier to let go of many things I was holding on to. Oh I don't have the war won, it's one battle at a time.

Enough about me - here's the article - enjoy


Crozet, VA

Dear Debbie - Thank you so much for providing this link. I just read the article and see myself being guilty of all of the above too. It is very appropriate that I found and read this article today as in a bit I plan to start working on packing up my china cabinets in order to begin a whole house paint project before too very long. I come from a family who spent many of my growing up years collecting old glassware. When my parents died there was so much glassware to be distributed between seven people and still enough left to send to auction with some of their other things that none of the family wanted. Gosh, haven't really given it any thought before but I would guess that the majority of the pieces in my cabinets came from my parents rather than being something that I loved and purchased.

I know there are some pieces that I enjoy displaying, some of the larger pieces. I am sure that I am going to find things that I can easily live without though. This being the second time in less than a year that I have packed and unpacked all these items, due to having updates done to the house.....carpeting installed and the paint job to come leaves me feeling that these items are now fitting in to a category of almost being more trouble than they are worth.

I have had some major mind set changes due to the reading I have been doing about clutter for some months now. I have to take what the professionals are saying and begin acting on it in order for my surroundings to come to a point where I am much more satisfied than I am currently. I want new paint, plus I want less things on my wall. I have jokingly called all the many things I have hanging on walls and other spaces as wall jewelry. That was okay for a while, but what catches my eye mainly these days are minimally decorated homes.

I know that two year ago when doing a major de-clutter that almost each day as more and more things were gone from here, the lighter the house seemed to feel. I cannot explain it, but that is the feeling I want from my environment for now. I will admit to having a cleaning lady who comes, used to be weekly and now is bi-weekly and she is the one who mainly deals with the dust catchers, of which there are many. I have often thought that if it were left to me to do the dusting, I wouldn't have half as many dust catchers sitting around. I am finally going to give her a break by getting rid of a lot of things that are currently serving as decor. It will make her job a lot easier, and heck, maybe she can begin only coming once a month or so. There will be many advantages to lessening my load.

Again, thanks for the link to this article Debbie. I see at the bottom of the page there is another article I plan to read about making a home vision. I need to get on paper in order to see it, what I want my house to become very soon. Happy decluttering.


Newark, DE


Once again you hit the nail on the head. Yes I do understand the lighter feeling. As I get rid of things around here it can literally be exciting. If you haven't been there you wouldn't understand. Just like the Harley Davidson saying "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand" - which is also true. LOL

I use to collect a lot of things, but in truth what I found I collected most was dust. Like you I'm not able to always do that stuff anymore. It gets it when I can and that's the best it gets.

Anyway, the link I sent to Houzz has a place where you can sign up for weekly emails. They don't share your email with others, you get an email each week with several articles from de-cluttering, to design ideas, to trash to treasure to archtectural designs. It often has some interesting articles you can read and then just delete. You might want to condsider signing up for the emails. I did and have enjoyed them.


Crozet, VA

Hi again Debbie - How funny......when I saw the origination of the article...Houzz....I remembered that I already receive an email from them but haven't really taken the time to read any that have come. In the past month or so I have been looking at a lot of decorating sites. Always good to have some vision of what we want to accomplish.

We awoke to about fifteen inches of snow this morning and it is still coming down. When I awoke and while sitting smoking a cigarette I looked around and in the much brighter light than usual, was quite fond of the way the blue walls look. Since having a light brown carpeting installed last summer the tone of the walls seems much darker usually and I am planning to have some painting done soon with a lighter color. Gosh, if we had the bright lighting from over a foot of snow each day I could stay with the current color.

I plan to read the article mentioned at the bottom of the one you linked to and see what they have to say about writing down a home vision. I believe that will be a way for me to hone in on some of the areas I need to concentrate on once the work of painting and semi-remodeling starts. I can see in my mind already, but need to have it in black and white to refer to and possible add to as ideas come.

Anyway.....I am having fun and really appreciate that you are on the same wave length currently that I am. It is more fun to have someone to compare notes with. I hope this winter storm passes you by. Right at the moment the wind is howling something fierce. The newly fallen snow is pretty but what an inconvenience in so many things..

Take care and please stay in touch. I want to hear about any of your accomplishments. If things work out later today I hope to start packing up contents of china cabinets in order for the furnishings to be moved easier when the actual painting project begins......some time down the road.


Newark, DE


Yes lighting will make or break a room. I have heard designers say (and I agree) that the lighting of a room is the most important and first consideration to make.

I figure I will be in a dark hole soon enough so let me have light! I have all my walls painted white. Some people laugh or are disgusted at that thought and say they'd never have white because it's like an apartment. Whatever...to each his own. That's why there is chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. LOL I like it for the light aspect, but another reason I did this is to be able to change decor very easily....and cheap.

When I bought this house (by myself) on my list of must haves, was hardwood floors. That was in 1989 when I was recuperating from being hit with a tractor-trailer that nearly killed me. At that time I had already had surgery on both knees so priority #1 was it had to be a ranch - no steps. I already had spinal problems as well as hip and shoulders, so hardwood floors was also a priority. I didn't want carpet to vacuum and shampoo that would only collect more dirt and dust when I was unable to do that work. Running a dust mop is so much easier. (Oh I still have pain because the herniated discs in my lumbar make that motion painful - but can you imagine a vacuum and carpet with that? Not me.

Anyway - decor was the topic...so I have white walls and hardwood floors. I can change a bedroom's decor in no time by changing the bedspread or comforter set and drapes. Sure some key pieces on the dresser or night stands of color work too. Quick, fairly cheap to do because I buy new bedding sets when they are discontinued, or marked way down. So I re-do a complete bedroom for less than $100.

If I stay with a neutral color for the sofa I can do the same in the living room and den - drapes, throw pillows, (a rug if I wanted but I don't because it would need vaccumed and I don't want the dust collector it is) and a few key accent pieces of color to pop the room - ta-da done - and a whole new look - cheap because I bought it on clearance sale. (I never pay full price for anything, not even groceries.)

After my two major car accidents (neither my fault!) and all the family health issues that fell to me starting about the same time, I fell into a depression and dark rooms would make it worse. (I have one room that has dark paneling and to this day I seldom go in there unless I have lots of lights on - just too depressing) I have also found that as I grow older I want more light than ever. I still have 20/20 vision, drive and see well at night, but I just get depressed in a darker room. Been down that hole before and I am not going back. So I keep things light.

The clutter became an issue when my problems along with the family's started. I went into that well of depression and have clawed my way back out. So along with the light colors I need airy too. Clutter is not airy!! As I de-clutter rooms I do FEEL lighter as well as the room BEING lighter and I see the difference in both ways. I will be at it for a long time. There is much to go through and get rid of. But I do what I can, when I am able and I can see some differences. Each time I do de-clutter something, I want more gone and it is encouraging in itself.

So I would suggest to you that you consider your lighting carefully but whatever you do about painting, if you don't want white then pick a light color. If you want to be able to transform a room easy and cheap, stay neutral. Your light brown carpet is neutral, so perhaps an off white to a very light beige? Then you too can change the appearance of you room very easily - so many colors look great with the brown/beige neutrality, too. You can change drapes. toss pillows accent pieces and have a new look. Orange goes great. I personally like turquiose with browns. I have even seen a lime green with browns.....or maybe a sunshine yellow. Oh and I know this means buying junk - but, if you need a pop of color in a corner of that room and it's a color you don't have a treasured "keeper" in - then pick up a clear vase of whatever size you need at Goodwill or similar. Also pick up a cheap bottle of craft paint in the color you want. You've spent $2-3 so far, big deal. Wash the glass and make sure the sticky is gone from the price tag - use Goo Gone or alcohol. Now when you are ready to paint, wash the glass with rubbing alcohol inside. (you paint the inside so the outside gives a shiney finish and it looks like it was made that way) Drain well and allow to throroughly dry. Take the craft paint and paint the inside of the vase with the color or you can squirt one shade and roll it around and then another shade and roll it around to get a marbled effect. If you do that, don't roll it too much or you'll loose the marbling and mix the paint shades. (let dry between shades if you want harder lines between them, just let it run down the side, dry a little and move to the next shade). It's fun and you can really get creative for cheap! The other great thing is - there's not much cost involved so when you're tired of it - donate it and you don't feel bad giving away something you paid a lot for. See - I know that guilt trip well too ;-)

Wow, you're snow sounds pretty to look at, but it is also painful. We lucked out because although we were supposed to get snow, there was another storm blowing in off the ocean and it hit the cold air front just NW of us warming it and changing it all to rain here. That's painful too but I had to be out driving DH to a doctor and then prescriptions to fill, plus grab a couple things at the store. So I'm glad it was not snow. It was cold, very windy and we had gusts over 50 mph that made the rain go sideways. But hey, it's sunny today and this weekend we are supposed to have temperatures in the high 50's maybe it 60. ^_^

Good to hear from you and know we are encouraging each other!


Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Great article, Don't think that #4 is an issue for me. Don't have a lot of things that I spent a lot of $$ on that I want to get rid of. I really don't have a lot of expensive stuff in the house. What I do have is several things from when we decorated the living room in a southwest style that I just don't know what to do with. I liked them then and still like them now I just don't see where or when I would use them again, but I can't seem to get rid of them. I am sure that as soon as they are gone I will think of someplace or way to use them. LOL

Crozet, VA

Welcome Holly....always great to see you. See, if I were you, I would feel as though the house decor was done.....Debbie, I have visited Holly's home twice in the past at Plant Swaps she has hosted. I love her place and she and her hubby Ric have made it in to such a welcoming place. They seem to have ideas and then do the blood, sweat and tears necessary for their idea to come to fruition, so their place has all sorts of neat and completed projects.

Completed projects being the name of the game.....there are so many undone things at our home. We have a stone walkway that hubby was all gung ho about getting done and then life interfered, and it has now sat for about two years incomplete....dang it.... he has promised to address its completion this summer. We will see.

I am at a point with my decluttering project currently in that when I was sending my "keep" bins out to the shed, John packed them in front of bins that I still need to go through in order to see what can leave the premises. Until I can get out there on a fairly warm and dry day, I am pretty much finished with the house and wanted to work on storage shed items and am unable to do that currently. A girl friend has told me she would come some weekend and help me go through the bins in order to see which ones I still need to do something with.

I do want to pat myself on the shoulder and announce that in the past two months I have sent a lot of stuff away for donation to an organization who will come here and pick up the items. They were here yesterday in fact. i find it rather interesting to go through the packed up bins and see and remember what I must have been thinking when packing up the items originally. I am finding a lot of things that I don't recall ever owning....how does that happen? Anyway.....lots is going away.

Holly, I feel for you about the southwest items. I too am guilty of holding on to certain things. Heck, pack it away and try to remember where you packed it....if you loved it once, you will love it again and may want in the future to display the things again. i know that I have recently found some things that I am using again after them being stored for a while.

Debbie, you sound like a lost lost twin of mine. You seem to have taken the injustices that life has thrown your way and done the soul searching required in order to deal with them and come out a victor versus a victim. You have definitely had more than your fair share of ills come your way, but I detect no sense of self pity or oh woe is me....you are like me and take it as being a part of life to be dealt with, the best we can. I know that lesser willed folks would have been done in by some of the issues I have faced and survived during my life time.

To have Dave's Garden to come to and be surrounded by like minded people has certainly been one of my greatest joys of the past ten or so years. I can come here and forget the issues I am dealing with and read and write about gardening which I love and home decorating or house keeping, which I like to hear about too. I have developed some very great friendships here and feel very blessed to have found this web site when I did.

You two ladies have a good weekend. I have a long list of to do's but nothing really pushing, so am going to take it easier a bit longer before getting in to any thing too brain or body taxing. Heck, may spend the afternoon sitting right here with good coffee being served whenever needed. Happy Day to all.


Newark, DE

Thanks Ruby,

I must admit when all the things that happened in my life, my car accidents, my entire family's health issues, and so on was going on, there was a period of "woe is me" . I think this was the biggest contributor to my depression. That, and the fact that the load is non-stop, even to this day. But when I hit the bottom of that well and could see no daylight I had no choice but to do something. I don't mean to preach here, but Jesus said;

Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I had forgotten I had help, if I but asked. I did and it was not a thunder crack miracle, but I had help climbing out of the hole. I worked at it every day, every hour, sometimes every minute to keep from slipping back down into the well. At the same time I had Jesus to talk to and ask for help and guidance. Sometimes at our darkest hours we find the faith within us. As you know, I still deal with much of my own problems and every member of my family has needs I have to deal with or take care of, but my faith keeps me going. Sure, I break down and cry about it now and then, but I get back up and say - nope not going down that hole again because I know I don't have to. Yesterday I had a couple crying spells, but not over a "woe is me" mindframe, it was due to pain and no pain killer was touching it. Today is sunny, 63 degrees and DH and I spent about 45 minutes walking up and down our driveway talking, enjoying the day and listening to birdsong. He hasn't been able to do that in almost 4 years. (It'll be 4 years on 3/12). Today was a gift. I haven't had to take one pain killer today and it was a blessing. So I try to keep things like this in mind. No matter what today is, tomorrow is a new day. I once read -

Don't worry about yesterday - it's gone.
Don't worry about tomorrow - it's not here yet
Live TODAY - it's a gift, that's why it's called "the present"

I think that is a good way to deal with a lot of things.

Hugs long lost twin!


Crozet, VA

Once again, you and I chose the same path of recovery. I often think what I would be today if I didn't have faith and believe in a Lord who loved me personally and was concerned about, even the hair upon my head. I was big in to scriptures during my worst of times too and found much comfort in them....still do today but don't study as I once did. I am often confounded by folks who claim to not believe in a higher power. I wonder how they face trials all alone. I know that I am too weak upon my own to do much of anything, but knowing I have backing makes any struggle bearable.

Great for hubby being able to stroll yesterday. That is great news. Let's hope it keeps up and that the future is brighter for both he and thee. hahaha

I finally got to bed earlier last evening and slept not as late this morning and feel almost human. For about a week I was awakening really late morning and feeling as if most of my day was gone. This is much more to my preference. I need to finish taxes this afternoon and some other paper work and then can focus on more fun stuff. I had a great time on Pinterest last evening and found some great decor ideas. Can't wait till finally having the time to try some of the things that I am saving for later. I have tried some new recipes from there and some handy dandy household tips, but nothing in the decorating or crafts area which will be fun for me. I need to make more time for fun......

You folks all take good care.


Newark, DE

More of that long lost twin likeness I guess. ^_^

Thank you for the wishes. They changed his pain medication and in the process although they started a new one, they are decreasing the others so it is weaning him off the heavy stuff. It has been 6 months since his surgery, but he has at least another 6 -9 months before the fusion has grown new bone completely. It is filling in well, but it takes time.

I haven't had time to even go to Pinterest yet. I get on the computer a few minutes at a time when my back is screaming and I have to sit down. LOL I would like to spend time there and so it's not today. I have another full week of running; this time for my brother. He has several appointments to go to involving getting a new wheelchair. We're supposed to get hard rain on Tuesday so I am sure I will be miserable the day before when the air changes, and Tuesday too. I have to take him to an appointment on Monday but thankfully nothing is scheduled for rain day.

I might get a chance to go there then - it depends on what my back will allow. Anyway, just wanted you to know when I do I will figure it out and "follow you" there so you get your rating. I'll let you know when that happens. Til then....


Crozet, VA

Dear Debbie - I can truly identify with having lots to do and trying to fit in "me" time. I could spend all day on the computer but have other things that I need to do, so take breaks, same as yourself in between jobs and then enjoy looking around pinterest......Please don't feel obligated to go there.....just a suggestion for times when you don't have much going on and want to see some pretty pictures or find some great tips for saving money or new crafty types of things. I know that I will never use or do all the tips and tricks I have saved, but at least have a place to go looking for ideas for things as they enter my itsy bitsy mind and what is left of it. hahaha

I am a proud monkey to say that I finally finished preparing our taxes yesterday and got them e-filed. That is a weight off my shoulders for sure. My house is currently a wreck....so bad that I called cleaning lady last evening and told her not to come today because I had too much going on. I have so many things out of order that need to be put away or put somewhere else, that I didn't want her here having to try and work around things. Hopefully I can catch up on that now and she can come and help clean later on.

I hope that you find some time to regroup or recover from all that you are involved in doing this week. You know that we are the best for others, if we are at our best and it is up to us to take care of ourselves first and foremost. A story on that and then I will close.....I was hospitalized some years ago when my two boys were much youngers....ages about three and probably age twelve for the older one. The hospital stay was going by day by day and after several days I began complaining that I needed to be at home caring for my boys.......a very wise nurse called in a female Chaplain to speak with me. What the Chaplain told me and has stuck with me to this day is that I didn't do what was necessary to take care of myself first and foremost, I was of no good for my loved ones. What I took that to mean was that it was up to me to some times maybe look very selfish with my actions such as not doing something or the other in order to have more energy later. If I am worn out and ill, I am of no use to anyone. If I do the things necessary to keep myself at my best, everyone gains.....So, you please remember to take the time to recharge after all your efforts extended for everyone else. It is often hard for us women to do that and need to be reminded....Find some ways to renew and refresh your mind body and soul today.....it will go a long way.....take good care.


Newark, DE

Hey Ruby,

Great job on the taxes. You go girl!!! I haven't done ours yet, but I have the paperwork together. Does that count for something? LOL

You are so right that you have to take care of yourself. I try and I am getting better, but still, it seems too much for too many falls on me. My SIL is allowed to drive again and is returning to work. That should lighten the load a little. She still has to work and some appointments for my brother and niece I may still have to do, but at least her's; she can drive to. As for DH, they added another pain killer but it is actually helping him to decrease the ones he has been on since he was injured 3/12/09. As his latest double spinal fusion heals, he hopes to continue with the step downs in those meds and be allowed to drive again. That will again ease my load and he can drive himself to places - or even run errands for me. So time should help me regain myself eventually.

No I don't feel obligated but I would like to. I wrote on another post you may not have seen yet, but I did go to Pinterest and wow - you're right some awesome stuff there. I tried to follow you as you asked. I put in Ruby Seale Watts but it had no matches. I then put in Ruby Watts and it found 5-6 but I don't know which one is you. Please let me know and I will follow you for sure.

Have a great day!


(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

wow. i just wrote FOUR paragraphs, pouring my heart out, giving my history, sharing my inspiration, and committing to decluttering, and poof. my computer had a problem with a picture i was going to share and all that dispeared. i'm so bummed.

nutshell version:
thanks for sharing. i can definitely identify with 1 thru 3, my hubby is guilty mostly of 4
i've done this before, and loved it. was so liberating.
history: ugly divorce, mom died. she was a hoarder. in 30 days i had to go thru her house, and ended up with a U-Haul full of stuff that has been in storage since Aug. 1 2005--and yes, i've been paying for that storage. i don't even remember where the key is now. ugh. a lot of my stuff is in that storage building too.
my now husband already had a houseful, or house & a half. his ex-wife didn't want any reminders of his deceased wife, so a lot of that stuff was in the big storage building on our property here* ~ along with one son's belongings (which are now gone, thankfully). his mom moved in Jul 2005, so ALL her crap from a house she had in Metairie came with her. we STILL have some of her crap here, although i was the bad guy for insisting when his sister moved her to FW, she take it all with her. his mom tortured me emotionally, until she had a stroke in 2008, two days before our marriage (yes... that's right. two days).

hubby: borderline hoarder, but see #4. he spends good money on the things he buys, but fails to take proper care of them. this drives me insane. boats, motorcycles, tractors, you name it. he has a huge movie collection (which i never understood, but no matter), now only DVDs. bless his heart, he still thinks he has a collection of movies on VHS "somewhere around here" ~ he hasn't even missed them since i took FIVE HUGE BOXES to be donated TWO YEARS ago.

* our storage shed. ugh. my stuff, his stuff, his mom's stuff, his dead wife's stuff. FOUR motorcycles (and all the stuff that goes with them), two bicycles, washer, dryer, bed, weight bench, fishing tackle, Christmas decorations. i swear i walk in the front door to get something.... about faint, and walk out again. it's WAY too overwhelming.

inspiration: my BFF is having to get her house ready to go on the market because they are relocating in TWO MONTHS. no, less than 2 months. she and i were on a decluttering mission for 2013 anyway, so she's got a huge headstart. plus she has two girls who help her clean house who are going to help her with this project too. she lives in AL, so 3 states away. i have to work too, so i can't go help her. wish i could.

what she & i had been doing is taking pictures of our "areas of concern" just before we tackled them, then sent a "ta da!" picture after. that was cool and fun, and definitely inspiring!!

ok, having said that.... i'm working on hubby to realize how ridiculous this all is. a LOT of the inside crap is mine. period. i have a problem with paper. i don't know what to keep and what to throw away ("might be important. i better keep it.") ~ what i plan to do is SCAN what i think i might need, and that project will grow old and i'll be able to toss it. my office is the worst place right now.

hubby has just informed me that he wants to turn Dee's armoir (that, by the way, does not fit in with our SW decor at all) into a gun safe. sigh. that means i have to find a home for all this crap inside it (half his clothes, half my crap) ~ see pic #1

i am not a hoarder like my mother.... my base philosophy is "less is more" and i truly love the feeling of less crap. but here is another project (notice it's a closet. with a door. in a room that no one sees. with a door). most of it is leftover stuff of his mom's; some is mine, but i have no problem disposing of it ~ pic #2

and then my liberated linen closet - whoohoo!! ~ pic #3

done for now... bbl
(i've been unable to sleep since 3am and have to leave for work at 7am... i'm going to be exhausted. i could lay down now, but the alarm goes off at 6am)
thanks for listening ;-)

Thumbnail by Cajun2 Thumbnail by Cajun2 Thumbnail by Cajun2
Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Cajun2, LOL just loved your post and I feel your frustration. It is sure hard to get rid of things you keep thinking maybe you will use it (even if you haven't in the last 5 years). Great start with the Linen Closet.

Newark, DE

Cajun2 - I can sympathize dear girl. I could literally feel the weight of your problems as I read along. And yes, it was becoming suffocating just thinking about it. If I were nearby, I would help you when I could.

I have some very similar things going on in my life too. The answers are different for each person, but I have found a few things that have helped me to at least get started. Don't get me wrong. By no means do I have a "neat as a pin" house at all. Once upon a time I used to be the "a place for everything, and everything in it's place" type, until major family health issues started, one family member after another, including myself. Then it just didn't get done beyond the absolute necessary things. Years later I found myself like you... too much crap, in every corner, of every room, in my house. It was overwhelming and although I wanted/needed to get it done, my depression from so many things, plus physical limitations kept me from starting, causing more depression, keeping me from starting... and so on.....

What I did was try to break things down into little achievable bites. Trying to NOT look at the whole picture is not easy, but it is a necessity. We all have big goals but you need some smaller goals that you achieve to keep you motivated. The house is waaaaayyyyy too much, rooms can be too much, so start with just one small thing. Look at how great you linen closet turned out!!! Yahoo!!

You can pick a table top. Clean it off completely and then move on to the next spot when you can. I have also found working myself to death on it only defeated the purpose because I didn't want to start again. So I keep it in small bites. For me, I wanted to clear and clean what could be seen. I did go through the closets and dresser drawers when I cleaned the bedroom but that was to find unused items to donate and make room to put away the clean clothes. My kitchen cabinets and drawers all need to be gone through and I will do so eventually, but for now the kitchen is clean and all work surfaces are clear. This is my plan to work my way through the entire house, a corner at a time, then a room, then the next one. I am about 3/4 through the house in this manner. Once done, I will go back and clean out the drawers/cabinets etc and likely cull more unwanted things I thought I wanted to keep too. I am finding the more I clean the more I want gone, so yeah some of what I have already cleared/cleaned out will be decluttered even more.

Oh and that is something else I found too. When I first started, I would clean here and then find something that needed to be put elsewhere. That's fine because it needs to be put where it belongs, but I'd find myself in another room doing something then another... That didn't work for me because I saw no progress with a little here, a little there. But when I started to concentrate in one room only, it didn't take long to start to show and then I wanted more done. If I were able and didn't have as many responsibilities with taking care of so many family memebers I would have it done. But I continue to clear and clean as time and my physical ability allows me to do so. You just have to juggle your obligations and time and try to do something everyday. Each day might not be lots done but if you keep chipping away at the mountain, it will be a mole hill and then gone. Just remember to keep what you have cleared/cleaned done as you proceed, or it'll be piled up again.

Anytime you need to talk - we're all here to help each other. I haven't been on DG long (8 months) but I have read a lot of inspiring words from many and feel as though we're all friends here. So, if you want to "pour your heart out" or just have a rant - we're here. Keep your chin up and keep chipping away!


(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

Debbie, I really needed that pep talk. so I feel better knowing what I've been doing (now) is a good plan. I can't even set a goal of "once a week" let alone "a room a week" or "a closet a week" ~ it stresses me out b/c If I don't do it, I feel like I've failed. and like you, I get so depressed. I will just have to be content to do what I do when I do it. I've about finished my bathroom and my closet. and this, not being my first attempt at decluttering, I know I will be doing everything again and again until i'm satisfied. wow, like you, I also need to do my kitchen. but I will be content to do "a cabinet" or "a drawer" or a countertop.... etc.

ohhh I so clean that way "take ___ to the bathroom. take ____ from the bathroom to the kitchen. take ____ from the kitchen to the laundry room. oh that needs to be clean. wait I was doing laundry. look at that crap on the floor. MAN my back door is dirty.... where's my broom? I should sweep the deck while i'm here. oh my! when did I mow last? where's my weed killer?" yep. that's me hahahahaha

but I DID practice the 15 minute timer method before. it works for me. I can't leave a room until the timer goes off. that helps a lot. I also like the 21 thing fling method (my adapted FlyLady.net method... I think hers is a 7 thing fling--I just do it 3x lol). I could easily fill a trash bag three or FOUR times, but I switch from trash to donations to keep. we gotta do what works, right?

thanks again for the helpful encouraging words. glad I can vent when I need to. it really helps.
this weekend I hope to go to the RU in Hempstead, or I would stay home and work on SOME thing here ;-)

cheers all!!

Newark, DE

I'm so glad it helped! We're all here for that purpose, to help and encourage one another.

Yup - that was me too in your description of the cleaning here and there thing. LOL At first I thought maybe I was getting "old-timer's" disease, then I said nope it's me wanting it perfect (Capricorn showing through I guess, because I am certainly not OCD). I then realized that no, it was neither. The problem was, it took years in the making and I can't wish it away overnight. It's going to need me, my time, my effort, my work or it'll never get done. That which took years to build will take time to undo (hopefully not as many years) ^_^

I agree with you. I found the Fly Lady website too. It all makes sense and is a plan. That is what most people need .... a plan. The trouble was it did not work for me. I may have a few days where I can get a LOT done, then I might have weeks where nothing beyond meals, dishes and laundry get done because I am tied to caring for so many. (or I am just not physically able myself, at that time). I have written down her weekly and monthly chores lists, so when I get de-cluttered and clean I will try to implement it, or one tailored for me to keep things clean and clear. But that "room a day", "closet a day" (or week) crap won't flush with me either as it is. Like I said after I get it clear and clean, then maybe.

Lately I am using her idea about doing something every day though. I do not use a timer. I could, but I think I would be shooting myself in the foot if I did. Why? Well, she's right, 15 minutes is something you can do. But, for me, if it is a day in which I feel pretty good and I'm not dealing with other family member's needs, I might stay with it for an hour or more depending on the work. I feel that makes up for days I am unable to do anything. But - here lately I have been trying a new tactic that also works. On days I am really achy or get home after many hours elsewhere I at least do one thing extra. This is a promise I made to myself recently and it is working. It might be a very small easy job that is less than 15 minutes, but it is something. It might even be longer than 15 minutes but easy to do on bad days. So limiting myself to a 15 minute rule stinks. Besides, I have never been one to conform to rules and I doubt a timer would survive long before it would be in a donate pile!!!

I'd say the two key things for me were -

1. Stay in one room de-cluttering and then cleaning. Sure I'll find things that go elsewhere but I get my butt back to the room I am working on. That's when you start to see progress that encourages you to do more.

2. Always keep the de-cluttered rooms de-cluttered and clean, once done. Even if I have drawers, cabinets, shelves that need going through on round two through the house, what you see is clear and clean. That makes the whole air lighter and eases both depression and the weight of the stuff that has taken over our lives. I have said before my "ah-ha" moment was realizing that I served the stuff, rather then it serving me. That's just wrong. So look out crap - I am taking my house and my life back!! LOL

I mentioned in another thread that I found a place to trade in books and then use the credit to get others. Well, I read a lot (waiting in doctor's offices, hospitals etc and also the couple hours at night when I watch TV). I took a lot over there a few months back, but yesterday I gathered 3 more boxes of books to take over and trade in. I put them in the back of my truck (it has a cover) so they are out of the house and ready to drop off when I am in that direction. For now, I am not bringing more home, just trading them in and getting credit. I have a LOT of books here. I'll use the credit eventually for books that I might want to keep, or ones I am missing from a series. But not now. I am busy getting rid of stuff, not bringing more home.

Like you said "we gotta do what works". This de-cluttering mission is not a one size fits all kind of thing. It sounds like you are honing in on what works for you and I think that is wonderful. It's the first step. If you just take a few minutes, stop everything, walk inside a room and visualize what is wrong, what needs to be done, what needs to be donated, trashed, put elsewhere, etc., then the actual work to achieve it, is easier because you are focused.

Enjoy this weekend and get back to work on your "stuff" when you get back. Think of this weekend as your reward for that spiffy linen closet! LOL Hey maybe make a goal achieved = reward of something. It's surprising what that does too. tee-hee.

Have a good one,


Crozet, VA

Hi gals - Boy can I identify with all being said. Me, me, me too for most comments. One thing I was think Cajun that you may want to try when you get "side tracked," that being an inside joke between my husband and myself because neither of us find it easy to stay on task, but often find ourselves going in ten directions at once. I am a big list maker too and I found at times that nothing on my lists were getting done. That leads to depression. I turned that around and began making "done" lists for the days when I didn't get to the to do lists. Just knowing that I have done something productive keep s me motivated to do more.

I really hate to admit that after some of the really great progress I have made from time to time over the years, I have now found myself amassing and gathering versus getting rid of. This all started a month or so ago when a girl friend called and said there was an opportunity for the two of us to rent a space in an antiques mall near by. I know myself these many years later and knew that while researching some of the pieces I wanted to sell that I would be tempted by all the pretties that showed up on research sites such as ebay and Etsy. Yep, for several weeks now I have kept the mail delivery person busy climbing our steep drive to deliver some of the things I am ordering to put in our store space. So far the things I have ordered I have already put in the shop.

Well, gonna scoot along for now. Will try to return later and chat a bit more. I have lots to say about the subject. You ladies have a good day.


Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Ruby, the "done" list is a great idea. But I hope that this shop "opportunity" does not end up weighing you down.

Victoria Harbour, ON

Dropping in with a " best of luck with your new adventure Ruby!!"

(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

I at least do one thing extra. This is a promise I made to myself recently and it is working. It might be a very small easy job that is less than 15 minutes, but it is something. It might even be longer than 15 minutes but easy to do on bad days.

excellent!! I've started doing this too. some days I FEEL like just sitting on my butt, watching TV until it's time for bed. but I don't. if I just do a load of laundry, clean off my kitchen counters, clean my toilet, sink & vanity.... SOMETHING... I can sleep at night (lol)

If you just take a few minutes, stop everything, walk inside a room and visualize what is wrong, what needs to be done, what needs to be donated, trashed, put elsewhere, etc., then the actual work to achieve it, is easier because you are focused.

LOVE this!!

This message was edited May 2, 2013 8:42 PM

Newark, DE

Thanks Cajun,

Yeah that doing something extra besides household chores works for me and I'm glad it's working for you. I think you will find the second point helpful too. Before I started doing that I would be in a room too long trying to figure out WHAT to do. Now I take a cup of coffee, tea or whatever and walk into whatever room I am working on, and just look around while I'm drinking my coffee. I touch nothing, but I visually see what needs to be done. Later when I actually go to work in that room things move so much quicker because I have already seen what needs to be done. So yeah it helps my focus. Maybe it will help you and others....or I'm just nutso and it only helps me. LOL That's also possible.

Have a great day!


Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I find that lists help me the most when I have a lot of different things to do in different areas.

Newark, DE

I love lists too!

Sometimes I make lists of things needed to be done in different areas, or even topics, but also things that need to be done in each room. It too keeps me focused. Oh and isn't crossing those things off wonderful??? Love it!!!

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Yes, It is fun. Some times I sing a little bit you know the song "And another one bites the dust". LOL
I try to put them in order of what needs to be done first and quite often list small jobs before big jobs if I can. I remember when the kids were little and we would say clean up your room they would just stand there not sure where to start. So we broke it down for them by telling them pick up all your cars, then pick up all the books, ect. It worked really good then and it works well for me too.

(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

Maybe it will help you and others...or I'm just nutso and it only helps me. LOL That's also possible.
hahahahaha love it!

♫ "And another one bites the dust". ♫ LOL
lmao! whatever works!!

my BFF told me the other day she's tackling her office this weekend. mine is MY bugaboo too. i told her i'd work on mine some too. i'm going to get a cup of tea in the morning and just stare at it.... hahahaa almost stopped there. ok, no, i promise i will get ON it. i am in the frame of mind to look at stuff this weekend and going "really, Carole?! really?! throw that out!! if you haven't needed it in ten years, you don't need it now!"

Newark, DE

LOL Holly - so often I hear lines of songs that fit whatever I am doing at the time. Glad to hear I am not alone there. And yes, Queen's song does come to mind on lists....."and another one's gone, and another one's gone..." LOL

I meant to say earlier too that lists are good because they will have both big jobs and little jobs on them. We all need to reach goals and so completing a small job (goal) encourages you to tackle a big job (goal). When you start crossing off the jobs, you are encouraged to go after more because you see your accomplishments on your list even if the job is something not seen by your eyes.

I hope your cup of tea and staring helped you laser sight your work in the office so you can fly in and get it done Cajun. You go girl!

(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

Hey guys.... just wanted to pop in and say that i'm finally tackling my pantry today!! whoohoo!!
(and you ask "how can you manage to NOT keep the place where you store the most FOOD?!" good question!)

i'm about 2/3 through, but i got really tired, my trash can is FULL, and i needed to find the rubberized shelf paper.
came back in the house and i'm gonna SIT for a few, and watch Yard Crashers.

Can't wait to share my before & afters with you though!
My kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it.... yikes!

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Way to go, It will look great when you are done.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

We have a couple of days of rain on the forecast which means that there is a good chance that we will be able to work inside for a few days.

(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

Ta Da!!

Thumbnail by Cajun2
Newark, DE

Awesome job girl!!

I'm jealous. ^_^

I'm working on my breezeway. I did take a before picture and will get an after when I am done. It had become a catch all for everything, even stuff that belonged in the garage. My time and ability limit how fast I can get it done, but it is coming along.

(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

Thank you! it honestly doesn't LOOK a lot different, but i did take out quite a few things.
I took EVERYthing out and cleaned the entire pantry, and then organized everything when it went back in.

Yes, do post your before pic of your breezeway. I swear, I think it helps.... it seems to "task" me until I get it done.
I get anxious to post the after!

Have a great day, guys!

Crozet, VA

Hello folks.....waving hello to Betty.....you show up all over the place Betty and I always get a kick out of seeing you. Maybe you can pass along some hints on how you have been successful in having the many things you are involved in stay straight and get done. I know that years ago you worked full time plus had a side business of teaching painting...plus a load of other interests....gardening and serving as a overnight lodge for travelers....making me tired thinking of it. You must have been born with organizational skills that so many of us are lacking. Anyway, all hints and tips appreciated.

Good going Cajun. Thanks for picture of your efforts. I know that I always feel better after completing a project such as this pantry job.

Boy, I cannot believe what all has occurred in my life this past month or so.....I am super duper busy with my brain running one hundred miles an hour. For the past week my friend and I have been in negotiations with a gentleman who ran a Craigs List ad for someone to help with his odds and ends store and on line selling business. We met on Sunday at the store location he owns and have proposed our idea for making it in to a consignment shop for antiques and vintage items. We are supposed to hear something from him tomorrow.

Sorry summerkid, I have never been one to go at things in a small way.....have to go all the way it seems. hahaha Anyway, my friend and I both have enough items in storage currently to stock a store. The store building is at an entrance to two very heavily traveled tourist sites and could be a gold mine if run correctly. Not sure what may occur but we laid out our business plan to him and are waiting to hear back after he consults with his family members who want to meet us. Will keep you all updated.

What I am envisioning with the possibility of moving some of my wares to his space is my living space having a lot of unused and open space. It will be great to have another place to display the things I own and love so much, but don't love enough to keep and don't want to just end up donating because many of them have cost me more than I am willing to lose at this point. If the shop comes through I will also be able to move a lot of my house plants there with the same idea in mind....they will pretty up the store image and are for sale also...a win, win situation.

Needless to say, I haven't been doing much de-cluttering wise for a while now. Waiting to see what I will have to work with. If this particular venture doesn't work out, my friend and both of our husbands are excited about doing a business somewhere at some point....the perfect opportunity needs to present itself. If all this falls through right now, I might bite the bullet and send things to auction at some point in the future. I am getting really tired of the present décor and want a change. The idea of painting the indoors is put on hold now at least until fall.

Holly, really hope the rainy last few days has enabled you to tackle some of your inside jobs. I know that I got involved in separating and beginning to re-pot a large pot of Aloe I had. I need to leave my seat at this desk and get to work on that. I spent several hours yesterday potting some of it up but still have at least double what I accomplished yesterday. It will be offered at the upcoming Mid Atlantic Plant Swap that takes place next weekend....Both Debbie and Holly will be attending and my husband and I plan to attend also. We will be meeting Debbie for the first time, but Holly and I have known each other for some years since we both attended the first of these swaps about seven or eight years ago. Holly has hosted two of the swaps at her home, and you guys believe me that the efforts she speaks of here, really show in the homestead that she and her hubby Ric have......a paradise with everything a gardener could ever want. The indoors work on their homes makes if enviable too. They are two real go getters.....can't wait to see you girls.

Everyone have a decent week coming up.


Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

That looks really good. It can be surprising how much time those "little" jobs can take.
Hey Ruby, Can't wait to see you next week. How much fun we will have.

Victoria Harbour, ON

Ruby, I always keep tabs on my favorite people..
Don't lurk long, just always make sure you are healthy and doing ok..

yep still doing all you listed and taking on more lol
Have DG friends coming to visit next week..so much planned, guess I'd better check the closets and drawers, make sure they are in order...

I think it's absolutely marvellous what you are undertaking..bet hubby is proud of your adventure..

waving to you as well Holly!!!

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Hey Betty, Nice to see you, too.

Newark, DE

Hey Ruby!!

You go girl! Still waiting to hear what happens with the "new" store proposition. It sounds like a wonderful adventure and opportunity. With your friend, you and both your husbands all on board it could really take off for you!! Keeping you in my prayers for the best outcome possible.

I am looking forward to the plant swap too. I want to meet and put faces on all these names. I already feel like I have made friends here, so it will be very nice to actually meet y'all.

It's been a tough last few days with some unexpected stuff and so I am really looking forward to a fun one!


(Carole) Cleveland, TX(Zone 9a)

Ruby, i couldn't agree more with Debbie, sounds like you have a great opportunity for you, especially with your friend and your husbands supporting you.
i know you'll be glad to get some of the things out of your house too.

anyone doing a decluttering project this weekend?
i'm going to attempt to work on my office a little (see before pictures). i've already removed all my jewelry making stuff and it's better. i'll be simply rearranging my closet to put the jewelry stuff on the shelf. i mean, i have a LOT, but... also had already done Round2 on my closet, so there's room.

i've started decluttering the armoir hubby wanted to turn into a "gun safe" and bought him a gun rack to hang on the wall instead. i'll still put a few things in the armoir for him, but not going to retrofit it for shotgun storage.

i'm also shipping off some bubble mailers to a DGer i traded for some seeds on my want list. i've found homes for some other items in my office, so that's clearing out some space too. have some magazines ready to donate.

making some progress ;-)

Thumbnail by Cajun2 Thumbnail by Cajun2
Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Been too busy working outside to do much inside but I did start hanging the drop cloth in the bedroom in preparation of painting the ceiling. Just a small step but it puts me a little closer to getting all this stuff out of the living room and back where it belongs.

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