Fourth Thursdays with Deb J ~ Does Your Home Match Your Lifestyle

Deb J

Deb J

How do you live your life? Are you a person like me who used to have an active, busy life with work and other outside interests but now you spend the majority of your time at home? Do you have children at home or did you recently become an “empty nester”? What is your life like today?

It took my mother and me awhile to realize that our home no longer matched our lifestyle. I think it took longer for Mom than it did me but it was true. We had changed. Our lives had changed. Mom was always a very active person who entertained people in her home, was very involved in activities at our church, had numerous social activities and loved to cook and bake to give away. I was also involved in my church, had a very stressful job, and was also socially active. The first major change was when I was diagnosed with three incurable but not life threatening diseases, chronic illnesses. My active lifestyle and stressful job had exacerbated my conditions and I eventually had to go on disability. It took a couple of years for me to realize that not only had my health changed but so had my lifestyle and my finances. Then Mom started to have some new health issues and started to slow down. When you are very active people and you have always been socially inclined toward entertaining and doing, the need to change to a more at home lifestyle not only means having to accept this emotionally and mentally but learning to let go of things related to that old life.

To put this in perspective means taking a new and unbiased look at your life and how you live it. I found that everything from what we had in our kitchen to the furniture we had to the crafts we did were affected. I have always been one who was very organized and kept little above what I needed so for me this change only meant taking the time to declutter what I no longer needed. For my mother this was a major issue. Not only has she struggled with the changes in her energy and abilities but she has struggled with the decluttering of no longer needed items. Coming from a generation that learned to store things “they might need” and have more than one of an item, Mom really did struggle and is still struggling.

Here are some things that I have come to realize during this time.

  1. If your lifestyle changes your need for “stuff” changes. My mother no longer does any craft making. She had drawers and boxes of craft supplies to declutter. She also has been decluttering many kitchen items as we no longer entertain much and when we do it is very casual.
  2. Your lifestyle changes affect more than stuff they also affect how you use rooms and even how big a home you may need. As Mom has gotten older we have moved more things up to counter level or above so she doesn’t have to bend over as much.
  3. Each person will struggle with these changes and for different lengths of time. Like my mother is doing.
  4. If more than one person is affected by the changes then the person who first instigates any decluttering needs to express why and how they have come to their decisions with any others affected. Mom was very agitated by my decluttering until I realized that talking about why I was doing something took that problem away. It also helped her to make similar decisions.
  5. Don’t push anyone else involved but keep communicating about the changes YOU are making. This is what I did with Mom.
  6. It doesn’t have to be done today or even tomorrow. One item a day or less is fine.
  7. Don’t declutter something on a whim or because you haven’t done any decluttering lately. Think things through. We have an immersion blender and a regular blender. We kept both because of how we use them for different things.
  8. Don’t get depressed if it takes a while to get others on board. Do what you can with what you can.
  9. Remember that when organizing what is left to fit the storage placement to how it is used by the one who uses it most.
  10. Remember to take a Strangers View every once in a while.

Today’s Mini Mission

In the inimitable words from Peter Walsh ~ “If you bought it over the phone after 8:00pm , chances are you don’t need it.” Declutter it.

Eco Tip For The Day

Got flies ~ Break out the old fashioned fly swatter rather than the spray. Propellent, insecticide, the can, manufacturing… ~  none good for the environment.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Deb J and her Mom, Leona ~ An amazing transformation My mother, Leona, is the oldest of three girls. She was 84 her last birthday. Growing up, I thought nothing of all the stuff we had because it was put away neatly, displayed neatly and […]
  • The Social Networking/Surfing Dilemma by Deb J The Social Networking/Surfing Dilemma A Guest Post by Deb J Even though I only check my email and Facebook 3 times a day, I am finding I spend more time than I would like on both.  I […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Great post. Another thing with changing with different seasons of our lives is to pass the baton on to the next generation and let them be responsible for their own things. We can let go of easy things like not being responsible for making meals as they get older, but even when they visit, we don’t have to do all their laundry, etc. It isn’t just letting go of stuff, but also of letting go of commitments and responsibilities that are no longer relevant. Sometimes that is a challenge since you are used to doing so much for so long. But, it is important to enjoy each stage of life. In church, one girl got up and said she was angry that her parents were selling their home that she grew up in. Kids also need to let go and let their parents move on and do what is best for them also.

    • Spendwisemom, you are so right. Holiday dinners don’t always have to be at grandma’s. She’s done it for years. Give her a break. Just because mom & dad have a laundry room doesn’t mean you should bring everything home each weekend from college and expect mom to do it. Don’t have that latte every day. Dropping off one will give you the money to do your laundry at school. Or if you have to take it home, do it yourself. Mom & Dad may be free babysitters but get real and don’t overdo the “privilege” of babysitting. It goes on and on. Same way with passing along “family heirlooms.” Your kids may not see them that way. Everyone has their own taste & style. Don’t force things on your kids and make them feel guilty about having to keep them. I could go on and on. Everyone should be allowed to make their choices.

    • Wise words, Spendwisemom. Ones I needed to hear today. My son has just moved out which means he now needs to be responsible for his own health insurance among other things. It is hard to see them struggling to begin with but it is all part of growing up. I feel like jumping in a rescuing them but that would not help them in the long run. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Health insurance, auto insurance, rental insurance–it all makes for a whole new experience when kids move out. This is when they start realizing just how much Mom & Dad did for them.

  2. Hi Deb J!
    The journey of you and your mother has certainly been one of the most inspiring in this blog’s community. I think it’s great how both of you do and how you do it together.
    It’s also so true that what is necessary changes so much over time. There doesn’t even have to be those major life changes, sometimes it’s just a slow shift of interests or habits that goes almost unnoticed.

    I got to know some new aquaintances lately, and somehow the topic of “stuff” came up with all of them. It seems they’re all either eager book/movie collectors or crafters who stack both craft supplies and finished crafts. I couldn’t really get across the idea of giving anything of the stuff away though. It seems to be quite common to hoard/collect among book-lovers and crafters, so I felt a little strange, as I consider me being both, but am constantly decluttering books and craft supplies. However, a little stack of papers that doesn’t take up much space can keep you occupied for days, same goes for an e-reader, a library or just 5 books on the shelf.

    • Sanna,
      I hear what you are saying about talking to other people re: stuff. I’ve mentioned to Colleen that I have a friend who seemed to side-step this particular topic, but I am happy to report the other day she said decluttering leads to such things like rearranging and painting! Woooooo Hoooooo – got her on board! 🙂

      This may be more appropriately placed in the Kitchen Clutter post, but this a.m. I pulled out three serving dishes, four cooking utensils, and two spare sets of measuring cups! I’m not sure how I ended up with four sets of measuring cups. Hmmmmm.

      • Michelle, I’m with you on the WooHoo! It’s so exciting when you see someone “get it.” Congrats on ridding yourself of all of the Kitchen Clutter. Happy Dance!!!!

        • Deb J – It is just so thrilling (and calming) to open a cupboard door and see 1) the item I’m seeking and 2) space! 😉

          • Yes it is. I love not having to go on the hunt. I know exactly what I have and where it is. happy Dance!!

      • Good for you Michelle. I had tow set of measuring cups for a while but am now coping very well with just one.

        • LOL Colleen! What I could not figure out once I had the 4 sets laid out on the counter and then I laid out all my measuring spoons (3 sets), where did one of the 1/2 teaspoons go??? I’m guessing accidently thrown out. I did consider just going to one set of cups, but if I have a measurement in a liquid and also measurements in dry, a set of two is nice. 🙂

    • Sanna, I do understand what you are saying. Even my mother will sometimes ask what the big deal it. But I think she is finally understanding my reasons behind the decluttering. As she watches the furniture and storage containers go out the door she has come to realize just how much stuff we had hidden away. She stated the other day that if we do have to move it will be so much easier because we have so much less stuff to pack & move. Gradually I have had several friends who are beginning to “see the light.” One told me the other day that she was going to have a garage sale and put ALL of her scrapbook stuff in it. She has decided that she will make the online books if she wants to record anything. She has 3 times the amount of stuff I had.

  3. I need to print this out and tape it up somewhere in my house! I used to do a lot of counted cross-stitch. I realized that I was changing when I could not tolerate looking at the instructions or the fabric. A trip to the eye doctor and now bifocals. I looked at all my cross-stitch supplies and decided that was not for me any longer, that someone else should do this, and out the door they all went. And, it’s ok that this has changed. I’m doing new and different crafts now and enjoying them.

    Spendwisemom, when my folks moved to a different state, Mom said I needed to get my stuff or in the trash it was going! LOL I was distressed for about five minutes and then realized their house is not my home any longer and they should not have to store my junk! 🙂 You’ll think this is funny – – the first time I went to their new home, I asked Mom where the two pretty flower coffee mugs were. She was astonished and said that they had donated them when they left the other house! She had not thought that I would want them. Darn!

    • Michelle, I used to cross stitch too. I gave it up for two reasons. 1. I was beginning to have a hard time holding it to work on. 2. I realized there is only so much you can display or give and then you are making things no one wants. It’s that way with many crafts. So like you I sold off all my supplies.

      Your story about the move of your parents is a good one. So many times this is the way it goes. For me, I like the moving process because it means maybe something will be decluttered. That was not the case with my parents but when Mom came to start living with me she began to come up against the declutter in me. Grin.

      • Deb J – I sometimes play a game when I declutter. I pretend I’m moving and what am I willing to take to a new home. Especially if the item is in a drawer or a box. If it is not important enough to have on display in my own home, perhaps it needs to go to someone else’s home. This is not to say that I don’t have boxes o’ clutter because I sure do, but as we all say, one day-one item at a time.

        • Michelle, I like your game. I do that too with Mom. “Mom, do you want to have to move this again?” She’s saying no more and more.

          • Deb J – exactly right. A minor hitch with us is that “someday” we hope to have a home where we can have a den/library/man-cave/whathaveyou and have accumulated some decor items for such a space. You know what I mean, we’ll be at a store and think how great something would look in such a room. That’s all well and good except we are in a 2 bed/1 bath, living room, kitchen, attic. No den space available. 🙂 So I have a pile of items and nowhere to put them yet (and with no plans to move). Argh. I am working with hubby to not buy something for which we don’t have the appropriate space, but every now and then, something will sneak in the house.

            You know what this mean, right? More stuff to move!! This defeats my point!!

        • Michelle, I hope you are able to convince your hubby to stop buying until your have that place you want someday. In the meantime, looks like you need to make a decision about those items you already have. At least you have an attic so maybe you can store them there if you choose to.

          • To be honest, some of the items walking through the door are gifts. I am willing to shove unwanted things right back out the door. When I actually like the item but don’t currently have the appropriate space, what do I do then?

        • Michelle – that is a great game!

        • I like that game, too!

          I had that game of packing “treasure boxes”, that is, empty a drawer or correl a specific sort of things (all dishes, all craft supplies, etc.) and ask myself “what would I move to the other end of the world?” assuming the transport of one box/suitcase would be rather costly. Those were “treasures”, while all the other stuff (the bigger part) obviously wasn’t really worthy enough, so I figured I wasn’t that sentimental about it and therefore should keep it for practical reasons. All the things that didn’t really serve a practical reason either or were just too much (like: 2 plates were “treasures”, but another 20 plates were in the cupboard, which are likely too many, if you have only seats for 10 persons) had to go or should at least be considered to go sooner or later (not be replaced if they break, decluttered with the next move etc., decluttered as soon as my boyfriend decides he doesn’t want them any more). Though I didn’t really declutter everything right away (also because I don’t own a car and rather transport things in small amounts for that reason), it did a great deal for detaching myself from these things and quite a few already went since then.

          • Sanna, I completely understand. 😉 My mom used to say way back when she was single, “If it’s more than a truck load, it’s too much.) You should see her house now. It must be a whole 18-wheeler and I have a feeling that was not what she had been referring to!

          • Just asking that question, “Do I want to have to move this some day?” was enough to help with a number of things in my mind. I think that is one reason I hang on to things a lot less than Mom does. Until Dad died and she started following me around the country I was pretty well a “tumble weed.” I didn’t let things hold me down. I wanted to be able to move at the drop of a hat if my job changed or whatever. I’ve lived in 10 states here in the US and most of that is because I followed the jobs. A friend of mine calls it being “low maintenance.”

  4. Deb J, I have really been telling myself that I don’t need all those recipes I have been collecting for years. That I can find anything I want on the internet and the new recipe might even be easier and better than the one I cut out years ago. Every morning this week, I have been looking at some papers in a box and feel good if I declutter even 5 – 10 pieces. Again, slow and steady will empty the box. Deciding not to do a project is really hard for me but I’m realizing that I only have so many days and need to focus on the ones that mean the most to me. Looks like some of my latchhook projects will have to be donated. Some were quite expensive but perhaps there is someone who needs a project and cannot afford one. If there is any one who reads this blog and LOVES latchhook and/or crossstitch and wants one or two, please let me know. I’ll be glad to send them along.

    • Maggie, recipes are such a draw to most of us. I wonder why that is? Do we really think we have the time to try all of them? We have a recipe box that is stuffed. It is one thing I have not been able to make much headway with. My mom LOVES to cook and it is killing her to not be able to do what she used to do. But we shouldn’t eat most of what is in there and we can’t afford for her to cook/bake everyday for others. I know that it will take her some time to get to where she can let go.

      I love the slow and steady way of doing things. It doesn’t seem a burden when you are doing something slowly, when you don’t have to get it done NOW. Whether it is paper, crafts supplies, tools, seeds, whatever, going slow means you can do it in those little bits of time that come along during the day. I tend to get ready faster than Mom and was sitting with a little time on my hands so went through a section of books to see what was there. Took all of 10 minutes but I got rid of 5 books. Hope you find someone to take on the latchhook and cross stitch projects.

      • I had a huge amount of unsorted paper clutter when I started decluttering. I took a box (shoebox size) full of it in front of the TV with me in the evenings. Then I just sorted through it several times, (first time: take out all recipes, second time, take out all *fill in blank*, etc.) I just did the same with my recipe stack – take out all untried recipes that require expensive ingredients (I don’t cook that fancy, at least not more often than twice a year and you can tell that it would take 25 years to just try 50 recipes that way), take out all untried recipes for desserts (we don’t eat dessert often, we rather have cake and coffee seperately and I have a few tried and approved recipes for the few times I make dessert), and so on. Also I have often made myself try new recipes and decluttered those that didn’t taste that special after all.

        • Sanna, I need to convince Mom to do this. I know there are recipes in our box we have had since I was a teen and have never used or haven’t used in the 20 years since my father died. So why do we have them. I think you had a great idea of a way to go through those papers. Maybe I will suggest that with my Mom.

  5. Great post Deb J! I did lots of decluttering when I was about to have my first and second child. My house was a mess and I really needed to realize that my life was changing. I have been in a constant changing now and it is hard sometimes, as I have related here. But we got keep moving. 😉

    • Andreia, constant change can be stressful. That’s why Colleen’s idea of slow and steady wins the race is good. No stress. No have to. Just do it when and if you can. It’s amazing what you can get done this way. Hang in there. You are doing good.

  6. Hi everyone, I’ve been following 365 Less Things for a while now but have never posted before. Usually, I read blogs on my small netbook while in bed at night, it’s hard to type on the small keyboard. Today, I had a little extra time so decided to post using my laptop.

    Deb J, thanks for an interesting post, it’s always helpful for me to learn how someone is able to get another family member onboard with decluttering. I’ve been decluttering off and on for over a year now, my husband is decidedly not on the same page as me.

    I have experienced lifestyle changes too (retired about a year ago) and know how they affect the amount of stuff you keep. I did a major purge of all my work clothes, even I was somewhat shocked at how much I got rid of – and, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I love opening my closet and seeing only things that fit, that I like, and are ready to wear.

    I hope to join in the conversations more in the future.

    Barbara in Northern California

    • Barbara, welcome to 365 Less Things. I think most of the women who comment here will tell you that their husbands/partners start out with not being on board. But many can also tell you that those guys are gradually getting it and starting to participate. Don’t give up on yours. I know what you mean about being able to open your closet door and seeing only what you like and can wear. It’s wonderful.

    • Barbara – when I first started decluttering, my hubby thought this would be just another temporary phase (a bit like the zhumba classes) and then as he watched the inroads, he got a little bit panicky but now he supports it. He’s not keen to actually take part – apart from needing something heavy shifted – but he really enjoys the improvements to our house and home and quite often asks me “what does Colleen have to say today?”.

      I did a major purge on my wardrobe last year – and I love it. A few months later without any prompting, Adrian did the same – of course, I had to help (translatation: I had to hold them up for him one by one and I had to eliminate the ones he didn’t want but he initiated the process).

      Getting rid of clothes is quite a big step as it seems so final, but there are always pretty clothes out there, there are always sales but it is always surprising how few we actually need. Good for you!

      • Barbara & Moni, you will probably think I am nutty but I get such a kick out of having so little in my closet. With losing weight has been even more fun. S was here today and told me I really did need to get some new shorts. I laughed. The ones I have literally hang half way down my stomach they are so loose. I do need them but I want the ones I want and I won’t get them until I find them. Grin. I just love being able to get rid of something. Not as happy with having to replace it.

    • Hi Barbara, I started out much the same way, with a husband who was definitely not on board. Communicating what you are doing and why, as Deb mentioned, is crucial. Even with my stuff, asking his opinion about clothes and such, gave him a way to participate without having to lose anything. Eventually he started to give up things I asked about and now he comes up with suggestions on his own (sometimes things I’m not ready to relinquish!)
      Retirement also stemmed the flow of a lot of stuff coming in – uniforms, gifts, giveaways, computer software, millions of pens….. The most recent coup was his almost-willing send-off of two boxes of reference texts. It’s hard for a long-time career person to make the separation from their work self but over time, as they develop into a new retired person, the stuff that tied them to their work can fall away. All that other junk they’ve accumulated over their lifetime is another matter….

    • Hi Barbara!

      I made the same experience as many here: communication and patience is the key.
      Also, if you just ask about things “do you still use that?” / “do you want to keep this?”, this initiates a thought process. Often he answered “yes, of course”, but then, some months later he stumbled upon the thing again himself and realized “hey, I didn’t use this after all since you asked me” and decluttered it himself. (that is: put it in the donation box by the front door, which I bring to the thrift store when it’s full).

  7. My life circumstances changed as well recently. I have a disability which has gotten much worse. Where I loved interior decorating, I can no longer do all the jobs that entails, I found myself getting depressed, then I turned it around and decided I could still do something. I created a new outlet for myself by collecting trashed furniture, everything from tiny jewelry boxes to large entertainment centers that I can work on from a wheelchair and restore them. it brings in some money, but it has also saved family and friends money by adopting pieces as I finish them that they would have bought new. I am no longer depressed as I feel I still have a usefulness in life. So yes, get rid of the things you no longer will use, but also find new ways of enjoying life.

    • Lois, I love to hear stories about people who turn around a problem and make good out of it. I think it is great that you are doing your trash to treasure work. I too am disabled and have been looking for something I can do since I have gotten somewhat worse. I can’t do the furniture thing but I’ve been thinking about maybe learning to repair small items like jewelry or such. We will see.

  8. Now that we have curbside recycling, our trash volume has dropped by half, which is good, but it means that the trash containers inside the house take a while to fill. I’d like to reduce how many we have so trash won’t linger in the house as long, but I’m worried that I’d miss the convenience of always having a close bin. Maybe I should try a new setup for a week and see how it goes.

    Oh, one happy thing I discovered yesterday was that some of the spices I’ve been trying to figure out how to use up make a tea flavor that I really like: a mixture of fennel, anise, and dill. I drink lots of tea, so it will be easy to use them up now!

    • Hi Rebecca J, my bin fills up much slower these days also. What I do is put all the vegetable scraps on the garden and put the meat scraps in the freezer until bin night. This way the kitchen bin only fills with things that don’t smell. That way I only have to empty it once a week. Saves on plastic bags as well as trips to the big bin.

    • Rebecca J, we have a lot of bins even though we recycle. I don’t think we need as many as we have but I need to try it out like you said. We are like Colleen as far as the food scraps. We have a food disposal in the sink but have found that it doesn’t work that well because of the sewer system here in our community. So we put the food scraps in containers in the freezer and they go out with the trash. Since we recycle paper, metals, plastics, glass and cardboard there isn’t much left to put in the regular trash. It takes a while to collect enough to fill a bag.

      • Deb J I do the same but because my garabage bin is half at least if not more empty on bin night a couple of larger families use the rest of my bin to get rid of the things that they don’t have room for. The same goes for my recycling bin as a lot of paper products can go in my compost bin which the worms love.

        • Denise, we don’t have bins here in our community. The HOA has someone come through twice a week and pick up the trash bags. We have to put out at least a kitchen size bag and we never get it full. We only put out once a week because we don’t want to waste bags and they won’t let us use the grocery bags. I have to take the recyclables to the dumpsters because there is no pickup at curbside in our community. We are also not allowed to have compost piles.

    • What a great idea to freeze scraps! I like the idea too of fewer and smaller trash cans. Try it, and give it a week or two, and you just might like it! It has worked out here. We have a new baby. It would be nice to have a trash can right where we change diapers, but instead we just made a habit to carry the diaper to the kitchen trash can if that is nearest or to the bathroom trash can if that is nearest. It doesn’t really seem odd anymore.

      • The funny thing is that we have wastebaskets in each bathroom and in Mom’s bedroom but we never put anything in them. We carry it out and put it in the kitchen bin. So why do we have them in these rooms? To quote my mom, “For visitors.” I think that is nuts but I haven’t taken on that fight yet. We will see how it goes. I’m thinking of getting rid of mine first. I will just cart it out to the shed and leave it for a while. See how she reacts to that then move forward.

  9. As an aside you mention that you needed to put things where your mother can access them now that she is older. This is a important issue that I have not seem much written about. As we age the places where we store less frequently used items, places that require reaching, climbing and bending, become more and more difficult and sometimes dangerous to access. I have also needed to consider this for my Mum, and to a lesser extension for myself. It can get to point when one year you can’t have Christmas decorations because its just too hard to get them up, out, down.

    • Linda May, yes this has become an issue for Mom and more and more I’m noticing it too. We have worked to be able to move all we have to where we can reach it without a ladder. There are a few places where we have to use a one step stool but even those are fewer than they were. Keeping our feet planted on the ground is more and more important.

  10. This article spoke to me because I too have health problems and cannot work and my 90 year old mother has come to live with my family. When I first became ill I was unable to go out and needed occupation at home, so I built up a huge hoard of jigsaw puzzles and books and now want to keep them as occupation for the future. It creates a lot of organised clutter but I don’t want to get rid of it. I am busy decluttering other aspects of my life and home to make life easier for myself though.

    • Susie, I wish I had a hoard of puzzles because I like to work them but can’t afford to go get them now. I keep an eye out for them at the Dollar Tree and other places that sell them cheap. You are right to hang onto them because they can be worked over and over.

      • Thank you, Deb J, I feel better about keeping them now despite the room they take up.

        • Sue you should never feel bad about keeping something that you are finding useful. Decluttering isn’t about getting rid of things that other people might think as clutter. It is about getting rid of things that you aren’t finding useful while you keep the things you do. And even then each persons idea of decluttered in general is different. For me I want to be able to fit in a small home in the not too distant future while other will be happy just to fit easier into the home they already live in. Those puzzles are part of what you are willing to fit into your home and that is just fine for you.

  11. Wonderful “lifestyle change clutter” post Deb J and a great follow-up to Cindy’s “aspirational lifestyle clutter” post yesterday. Your story is inspirational and it’s great that you have been successful in helping your Mum see and feel the benefits of decluttering also.

  12. Good post. And Cindy certainly hit the nail on the head, too. The slow & steady does work, and when I want to do more when time is available, I think about it while waiting for a good time slot, and feel I get more done by letting it stew in my brain awhile. We have gone through several stages, probably most stages in fact, and are now in the grandchildren growing up stage. I once hoped to quilt, but lack of time and now having some arthritis in my hands, can see that is not going to happen, so need to do more weeding of fabrics. Most sewing I do now is altering ready made clothes or making dish towels, pillow cases, napkins, etc., so I do have more fabrics than I need. I don’t think I have the energy for a garage sale any more, so mainly donate to a good thrift shop or to Goodwill if the shop isn’t open and we have a car load. My husband isn’t quite on board, but I keep trying to plant the idea in his head , and I think the wheels are beginning to go around some. He certainly knows he spends time looking for things. Of course he doesn’t mind how much of my stuff I get rid of. We did do a mini sort out of his closet not long ago and donated some items. So that was a little progress on his stuff. Anyway keep challenging us–the daily reminder keeps us going, and gives us food for thought.

  13. Deb J – great post. Yes it is so true that people don’t change their possession habits as their lives evolve. That was one of the problems that caused our clutter situation, the kids change quite a bit over the years and although I didn’t have any pre-school stuff floating around, I hadn’t transitioned the young kid stuff out as they grew into big kids and then into teens. Of course, I’m still clearing the backlog in a few areas ie DVD’s but in general, as soon as things have outlived their useful life they leave our house. There are a few exceptions of course, a few items which can’t quite leave quite yet BUT I have put expiry dates on them so that they do eventually leave.

    • Moni, from all I have been reading from you lately I would say you have done a great job getting things decluttered. We never get done but you are down to where it is much easier.

      • Deb J – the day I am done, you will hear it over where you live! I think I am preparing for the next stage: kids leaving home. Not that I’m decluttering the children (though sometimes the idea has merit) but making sure we don’t end up with “era” clutter.

        • Too funny. I have a friend who would like to declutter her adult daughter who moved back in with a 5 year old. Now they are trying to get her to grow up and become a mom to the 5 yr old and get out on their own. Looks like the mom night leave but not take the 5 yr old with her. Kids!!

          • Deb J – I know someone in that situation and he’s had the grandchild for 13 years now. Reckons he gets funny looks down at social welfare claiming the old age pension and child support.

            Back when the recession went into its 2nd year and we started to clue in that it wasn’t going to be a short term thing afterall, we sat the kids down and explained that we needed to economise in a few areas and they were initially a bit reluctant, so Adrian told the kids that we would have to downsize and were going to have to let one of them go. The kids weren’t too sure about that idea so quickly agreed to cutting back in a few areas.

          • Moni, in this case I think they will have the child until she becomes an adult. The mother doesn’t seem to know how to be a mother and the father walked out one day, called a few days later from 1000’s of miles away and told them he was sending the paperwork to give her up. So very sad.

            Adrian is a hoot. Bet the kids got with the program real quick.

  14. Deb J – this kind of ties in with Colleen’s kitchen week. I’ve been feeling a bit embarressed to admit that I have two crock pots (also known as slow cookers). I have the large oval one (4.5 litres) and the round, tallish one (2.25 litres). I use the large one for roasts, corned silversides, puddings and single layer cooking ie chicken drumsticks, beef olives etc. I use the smaller circumfrance one (its about the same height as the big one) for casseroles, stroganoffs, soups etc where its better to have all the food contained in a smaller area. They both get used at least once a week and the large one gets borrowed out regularly too to a friend who has extras for six months only so her smaller crock pot just doesn’t keep up.

    Now if the house burnt down and I had to replace everything, and I could only get one, it would be a real Sophie’s Choice to pick. In a few more years when the kids have all flown the nest, I’d probably happily make do with the smaller one. Yes most of these things can be cooked in pots or casserole dishes or roasting dishes……but I’m a working mum and the crock pot is my secret weapon to food on the table on time. This post has made me feel ok about it.

    • We also have 2 crock-pots. A big one and a small one. The big one is used for soups and all sorts of things. The little one is used for things like one time trials of recipes (we cut the recipe in half), oats, and other things that we don’t make in big amounts. There are just 2 of us and yet we make big things and then break them down into meal servings and freeze them. So I think we can justify having two just like you can.

  15. It’s a really great exercise to remove from your stuff and look down on your life as objectively as possible. Every time I am able to do that I see the picture so clearly. Thanks for this wonderful post!

    • Tony, being objective isn’t as hard as we sometimes think. And the clarity it gives us it very helpful. It’s just taking the time and clearing our head that seems to slow us down.

  16. Great post, Deb J! Life is ever changing and it is important that we change with it. When stages of life come along, it certainly does change all aspects of our entire life. It is hard to let things go that were once so enjoyable. However, it is important that even if we can not do some of the things that we used to do, that we find other things to do that are just as fulfilling. Embrace change, you never know what opportunities lie ahead.

    • Jen, your “Embrace change, you never know what opportunities lie ahead.” says it really well.

  17. Deb J,
    I have some jigsaw puzzles I would love to send you. We never know what to do with them after we finish them. If Colleen is okay with giving you my email address, please send me a mailing address and I will be happy to forward them along. I’ve been sending fabric squares and books to two other people I met through another website and it has been a joy to do it.

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  1. […] This comment from Wendy B has some great advice about getting a reluctant partner into the decluttering frame of mind. […]