Too Hard Basket

Today’s mini mission is to declutter something because it requires dusting and you don’t like it all that much anyway. Have you ever considered how much time you spend cleaning things in your home that aren’t even necessary to your happiness or survival. Or perhaps you avoid this task until the dust is causing hay-fever, someone is coming to visit and it looks embarrassing or the humidity is turning that seemingly innocent dust into a breeding ground for mould or mildew. Or perhaps you don’t even realise that this dust could be causing health problems.

My son’s bedroom used to be a huge dust collector. Needless to say I often made a lackadaisical effort of cleaning this space. I didn’t want to deal with the difficulty factor of cleaning it properly. There were various reasons why this job kept getting relegated to the too hard basket.

Firstly he had a large desk in his room which caused bad placement of his other furniture. His bed was placed in a corner and over a window. Making it difficult to change the sheets and flip the mattress. And also the window sill was half covered by the bed head making it difficult to dust. Also only about two metres of his skirting boards were exposed for dusting and only about one third of his carpet was accessible to vacuum.

IMG_6552-002

My Son’s Room

This large desk, intended for him to execute his university art assignments, was mostly covered with numerous dust collecting sentimental items making it an enormous task to keep it dust free and tidy.

Then there were the two guitars resting on their stands in the corner and a small ottoman he had a habit of “hanging’ his half soiled clothing on.

All and all this was an uninspiring room to entice me to keep clean. As a result quite often I would  wipe down the skirting boards I could see, change the sheets, run the vacuum over the carpet I could get at, and walk away. I would perhaps once a month make a bigger effort but only out of sufferance. Less often I would insist the desk be cleared off so I could give everything a good dusting. Usually at the end of a school term.

My difficulties with this room were somewhat unavoidable simply because he needed the furniture that was in it. Also it is his room, his domain, and I felt that he was entitled to adorn it with what ever personal items he liked. A mother often doesn’t get much say in how tidy a 21 year old keeps his room either. One can merely guide not force. Well my son has moved out now and you should see his room. In fact you can in the photo below. It is vacant except for a bed.

My Son's Room Now

My Son’s Room Now

Do you have a room in your home that is too hard to keep clean because of the clutter collecting dust, resting on dust collecting furniture that isn’t necessary, which covers walls, floor and skirting boards that rarely see the light of day that could do with a good clean. Do you really need or want all this stuff getting in the way of a clean and tidy home or is it just there out of habit. Give it some serious thought because as I mentioned above it may be less harmless than it appears.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something because it requires dusting and you don’t like it all that much anyway

Eco Tip for the Day

Embrace your real hair colour, even if it’s grey. The environment could do without all those nasty chemicals and wasted water going down the drain in an attempt for you to be something other than the beautiful creature nature made you.

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


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  • Fewer things = Less Rummaging As you can imagine this blog post title ~ You don't have to declutter to own fewer things ~ caught my eye in my inbox last week. It is a recent post by Mohamed Tohami @ Midway […]
About Colleen Madsen

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

Comments

  1. Well I’m stunned. Liem moved out? When did this occur?

  2. Hello Colleen,

    This is a particularly important post. I don’t recall exactly how long I’ve been posting here, but I had not told my mother because she’s a big shopper and usually the things she buys are super neat. I hesitated to tell her about this site feeling she may think I was going to toss everything she had ever given me. So not true!! I finally told her last night and whooooo, all kinds of resistence about this! Surprising since she has been selling a bunch of her things. “But what if you need it someday? You’ll have to buy something you already spent good money for. What if you get rid of something valuable?” I explained that I am not becoming a minimalist, that yes, I still have collectibles and clutter. I am just getting rid of things that don’t make me happy, are no longer useful, clothes that are not flattering, things that I didn’t really like in the first place or that are not suitable for our decor. Oh, my friends – brick wall right there.

    It is unfortunate she has decided she won’t travel to visit me anymore (dog to take care of, husband not in super good health, etc., etc., etc.) because if she saw the house, she would realize that I have kept a bunch. I’ve really been delving into that “hidden clutter” in the attic, a craft storage container with 60+ nasty paints in it, used paint brushes, old fabric I will never use – all that stuff. I seemed to be unable to convey the sense of peace that comes when there is open space in the house.

    I will not be disuaded however and I will continue to declutter. This is important to me. I’m working toward a decluttered, comfortable life and I find everyone’s comments so helpful and it is really nice to know that there are others out there who are struggling with some of these issues too.

    Thank you.

    • Michelle, over time your mother will be able to understand. Have you been taking pictures of before and after? Maybe a picture or two would help her to understand better. I’ve heard Mom tell my aunt that “She won’t be happy until there’s nothing left in the house.” Now that she is finally getting it, she talks much differently about it.

      • Well, Deb J., that may be a good idea. A picture speaks a thousand words? 😉 I guess if she is never going to come visit again, I could update her that way and she would know that I’m not getting rid of any treasures. hee hee

        Oh, an update on the moldings to bookends project as yesterday was the end of my self-imposed, two-week deadline. I ran into a problem with the poly and it is still a bit tacky for an unknown reason. All I have left is to attach the molding blocks to the metal bookends and cover with black felt. I will send Colleen a picture when done. All in all, I am pleased with the look.

        And Colleen, I finally went through my duffelbag of snowboarding equipment. I hooted when I held up my snowboarding pants! I don’t recall ever being that slim. Anyway, most everything went into the pile o’ stuff for yard sale! 🙂 I’m thinking either mid- or late-April for a sale, weather permitting, of course.

        • I will look forward to seeing the picture of your bookends.

          I think it is a hoot that you found the pants that were so slim and all that other stuff you no longer want. You know, I am finding that we have a tendency to shove things out of sight because we don’t want to deal with them at the time and then when we finally get around to looking them over we are surprised at what we find and wonder why we didn’t just ditch them right away. I think Mom and I have to admit that we are too good at doing that and put a stop to it.

        • That is funny about the snowboard pants. When we came back from living in America and my old motorcycle leathers emerged from the stuff that had been in storage I was keen to see if they still fitted. I only weigh about three kilos heavier than I did back int he days when I wore these leathers all the time (1987 – 1991). I still insist to this day that the leather must have shrunk because I couldn’t even get those things over my thighs. I guess the whole three kilos ended up on my ass. 😆

          • Colleen! LOL Last weekend I put on a pair of jeans and I turned to check myself out in the mirror and I had ripped my pants open right down the pocket! I asked a friend if my ass was getting wider and she said, of course not! It’s a manufacturing defect in the jeans!! That is a good friend!

          • Colleen, there is A Simple Scientific explantion of this phenomenon, known as Antipodean Seat Slump, and it is caused by flying over the Equator and the International Date Line simultaneously. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

        • I’ll go with that Wendy B. Personally I thought it is age but your’s sounds so much more artistically scientific.

    • Oh, Michelle, what a shame your mother reacted this way. Maybe as time goes by she will have a chance to think about these ideas. I think most of us got here because we were ready for a change. If that is not her mind set yet, some ideas here could appear radical.

      Do you ever send her pictures of any kind? If so, maybe she’ll be able to see that you still have things you’ve kept, that you aren’t in a totally sterile environment, just a pleasant and neat home. No matter what, you still have to do what YOU want to do with your own home.

      • Aha – I see Deb J has already said this, and said it well 🙂

        • Jo H., you and Deb J – sharp minds! One thing that I did want her to think on, is when families have to take care of a relative’s home once they are gone and no one knows what is a true family treasure and what is not. I know Mom has things that came from her folks, but only she knows what those are. I don’t know. I’ve said that it would be great if she could either do a little journal or put tags on some things that might be hidden in closets. Mom has a good eye when she shops. It would be nice to know the history of some of the neater pieces.

          Did any of you see that Antiques Roadshow (I think the British one?) where the lady put a numbered sticker on everything she collected and kept a corresponding journal? That’s what I call serious dedication! She would list when and where an item was bought, how much she paid, any history she knew about it. Wow. My mother has many, many different collections and I sure wish the “Memory Keeping Faries” would visit her house and do this to her collections. I’m talking something like 85 tea tiles and this is only one collection!

          • Michelle, this journal idea is great. I wish people would also label pictures. We “inherited” a big box of pictures some years ago and when we finally looked through them had no idea who half of them were. We ended up picking out the pictures of people we knew and keeping those we wanted then sending them on through the family. It turned out that almost half of them no one knew because the box came from the last person of that generation. There was no one still living who knew who they were. I hate losing all of that history. I also wish that one generation would write as much of a history of the family as they can so that the next generations have it and can build on it. We know that my mother’s grandmother was have native American but that’s all we know. We don’t even know the names of any of her parents generation. And back then the Native American’s weren’t recorded in census data or things like that as individuals. There would just be an entry stating there were ___ number of Injun’s. It’s very hard to trace them back.

          • That’s a great idea for keeping track of the history of the items, and even the items themselves. That lady was very organized! It would be so helpful if your mother could do something similar.

          • Hi Michelle, I love that numbered sticker with corresponding journal idea. I am going to suggest to my mother-in-law that she does this with her doll and bear collection. Some of them are quite valuable and it would save a lot of bother when she is gone to work out which ones.

    • Good for you Michelle. You stick to what you believe in. Conveying the wonders of living with less can certainly be a challenge. I don’t concern myself when people are reluctant to be open minded about it, that is their problem. It doesn’t stop me from bestowing my “wisdom” on them nevertheless. Sometimes, over time, it starts to sinks in and people venture into giving it a try.

    • Michelle, you just keep on keeping on! Stay positive and know that your efforts are making your life fuller even if, unfortunately, your mom is not on board right now. It is too bad that other people can not see the benefits of living with less. It would be different if you were getting rid of items that are necessary for survival. Getting rid of things that are not useful or are not beautiful to you, will only make your home more of a calm and peaceful sanctuary. You have to make it the home that you want and will be happy with. Ultimately, you have to do what is right for you.

      • Colleen and Jen, thank you very much. As I said, this is important to me. I’ve known for several months that when I look around and see “chaos”, oh my head aches. I’d get so annoyed when I couldn’t find something that I knew I had somewhere. It’s so silly to waste time and energy on that behavior. Frankly, I am enjoying decluttering. I like to think that whoever ends up with something is going to have it because they really want it. At least I’ll be grateful it isn’t in my home anymore. ha!

      • Good advice Jen.

    • Michelle – I was going to say, if Deb J’s mum can be brought over to the dark side, anyone can.
      Heck, the majority of 365’s readers were all clutterholics at one stage. People do change, just not always in sync with their loved ones.

    • Hi Michelle,
      I’m sorry your mum is giving you a hard time. I know how that feels. Mine recently stated my kitchen was “sterile” because one of two window sills had nothing on it and the workbench was clear except for the bread bin and a bowl of fruits. It’s an eat-in kitchen with an antique wooden table and some more mismatched wood pieces tied in with white as a base color, pictures on the wall, even an armchair to sit by the window, with open storage (more than I’d like actually) … if anything people have found that the place has too much going on but never too little (most just think it is a cosy, lived-in space).
      I think one point in being so critical is that some mothers (unconsciously) feel they’ve failed if their kids aren’t modeling their life after them. They feel as if with choosing a different path we are criticizing THEIR choices.
      But I think you already know that your own choices are right for you. It’s okay to be sad that your mother doesn’t appreciate your lifestyle and that you can’t share certain thoughts with such an important person like your mum – but maybe just cut out the subject in the future and don’t try to convince her. I’m sure she loves you non the less but you’ll safe yourself the sorrow. And she is not even nearby so she won’t notice what you don’t tell her.

      • Ideealistin – I think you have hit the nail on the head about some mothers feeling failed if their daughters don’t model themselves on her. Good thought!

        • You may have a valid point here. She has occasionally said, “You are so hard to buy for because you are getting rid of everything” or “- no longer collecting anything”, which is not true. I guess I have to be specific when I tell her I’m looking for something. We just recently redid our front mudroom, new windows, flooring, a nice yellow paint on the walls and it hit me that a bluebird theme would be really pretty. Next thing I know, three Goebel bluebird figurines and a picture of a bluebird showed up. LOL What can I say? I liked them and they are on display!

          I do think this is a subject that I should probably only infrequently bring into discussion with her.

  3. Colleen, I like your title, “Too Hard Basket” and the post. This is what I have been trying to explain to people about what I am doing. A good example is my friend, S. Her house is such a mess that she hasn’t even tried to do much cleaning of it for a long time. Fortunately, she has finally reached the point where she is tired of it and with me and another friend helping her she is well on her way of cleaning it up. How can you get the energy to clean when every surface is covered, you can’t find the floor in some rooms, and the entire house looks like a disaster area? I know that I ignore it as long as I can. When you hate housework like I do, you put things off as long as you can when they are difficult to do. That was always my first reason for my motto of “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

    • Deb J – can’t reply to your comment re: pictures, but YES, YES, YES! Mom had a big box of photos, most of which are not labeled. Years ago, an ex-girlfriend of my brother’s ran off with any photos he had, so I made color copies from Mom’s box. He and Dad used to race motorcycles and I copied a bunch of pictures that I thought were my brother and labeled them like so. He laughed, “those are Dad, not me!” Glad he at least knew! It is sad that we don’t have any idea who most of the pictures are of, how they were friends or relatives of my folks’, etc.

      A couple of years ago, we invested in a really good camera and then we went hog wild taking pictures of the garden and the cat and places we had traveled. How many pictures can a person take of a cat?? Yes, I label them, but the real question is why? We have no children, no one will come after us, no one is going to give a hoot about cat/flower/travel pictures. When I had completed about the 15th photo album, I considered that this is ridiculous behavior. I am now more circumspect in actually printing photos.

      • that made me laugh…”how many pictures can you take of a cat?!” been there, until I had kids, and then the photos really got out of hand! That’s something I still need to declutter… keep the good photos and not all the so-so ones. I will get there some day. First I’ve got more work to do on my craft room…

        • Deanna, I have a friend who has 5 kids. She takes lots of pictures then once a week goes through them and cuts out the duplicates, so-so, blurred, etc. Those she really likes she puts in a file with the date as part of the picture’s name. She also keeps a short journal entry about the pictures she keeps. Once a month she goes through again and cuts more. At the end of the year she creates a book online with pictures and some journaling. She prints it out and that is their book for that year. It’s quick, easy and they have something to hold onto about the family as it changes over the years. They are really nice and much better than the think albums I have scrapbooked. I’m going to do that from now on.

          • thanks for the idea of editing and making a book at the end of the year! Digital photography is great, you know right away if your photo came out well, but it also makes it so easy to take way too many photos…

      • I know what you mean about albums. I scrapbook but realized this past year that since there are no children coming after me and my brother has none then who will want them? So I decided to make albums of things that will mean a lot to me and forget getting to into documenting my daily life. Once a year I may keep a bit of diary about a week in my life to show the changes from year to year (If there are any). I do have a couple of family albums that I will pass on to cousins if they want them because they have things to say about our family and I doubt anyone else has that info.

        • if you really enjoy the process of scrapbooking maybe you can make albums for friends or family…lots of people don’t have time or patience to get their own photos into albums

      • Michelle – we used to take photos of our cat. Then we had children and lost interest in photographing the cat.

    • Hi Deb J, ease of cleaning has always very much bean on my mind throughout my declutter journey. Although much of my clutter was well hidden in closets I did focus a fair bit on the clutter that was collecting dust, right from the start. I would be happy to be rid of some more of that sort of clutter but unfortunately all those decisions aren’t mine.

      • One of the reasons I like living in a condo or apartment is because I don’t have to take care of anything on the outside. I can have a few flowers and plants if I want to on my patio but other than that it all is dealt with by someone else. I am definitely know the homemaker type. I just have so many other things I would rather do that clean or do yard work. I think you will find that once you downsize you will be happy if you can do something like an apartment or condo too. I wish I could downsize and then travel. I would be able to do as much as you do but I could see buying an RV of some type and meandering around the country. I think that would be a blast. I’d love to see Australia and Europe too.

        • Hi Deb J, we are really happy with the place we are in now. It is a townhouse and we rent so most of the outside is taken care of by someone else. I have a small garden which I like but the rest of the back garden is taken care of my the guy that does the common areas. It costs me a carton of beer at Christmas.

  4. Colleen, this is a breathtaking change. The room looks so serene.

    And here I thought the post was going to be about putting in a basket (temporarily) the things we find it too hard to make an immediate decision on 🙂

  5. Colleen, seeing your home pictures, one really realizes that you are about to downsize soon. 🙂

    We do have some hard-to-clean spots around the apartment, not all of which are like that due to clutter issues, but of course, clutter only makes it worse.

    • Exactly Sanna. The silly thing is that sometimes the solution to these difficulties is often so simple. I still constantly amaze myself when I come up with a random and wonderful solution for a niggling problem and wonder why I didn’t think of that before. Just when I think I am so clever at this stuff I realise I can be so blind. I suppose at lease I am open to new ideas. Being stubbornly resistant to change is for crazy people.

  6. Michelle, I can relate to what you are saying about your mother’s reaction to your decluttering. My mother-in-law gets upset with us if she finds out we have given anything away. even if she didn’t give the item to us. When our record player broke, we decided to not replace it, and therefore we didn’t need our record albums, which I gave away. My husband got shouted at by his mother for not telling her we were giving the albums away, in case anyone else in the family wanted to listen to them! Needless to say, events like this don’t improve our relationship with her, which is a shame. I don’t know what her attitude stems from, she didn’t come from a financially disadvantaged background. I don’t visit her home very often, but the last time I was there, I noticed the clutter had increased significantly since my previous visit, and she has a large house. I shudder to think of the job awaiting my husband and his siblings clearing that place out someday.

    • Oh Megan {sigh}, I feel for you. That mother-in-law business seems to be occuring quite a bit. I like my MIL, but you know. I mentioned on here a while back that I have something she gave me that I don’t want and it takes up an entire drawer in a chest-of-drawers. Hubby says he is going to try to give it to one of his brothers. But, that was along the lines of maybe two months ago and it is still sitting in my drawer. My MIL is addicted to dishes, all manner of dishes, all patterns of dishes. I know that the attic and the crawlspace in their home is packed with dishes. Who on earth is going to want any of that? Reading the different posts on this site has really narrowed my vision (in a good way!!) about what is important and what is not. It hurts my brain to think what we’ll have to do to clean their house when they are gone.

      I thought just maybe Mom might be more receptive to this declutting movement. I wish she could visit to see that not a whole bunch has changed, except that things are cleaner and more tidy and I can find things easily. But I’m going to do as suggested and take pictures – that will help. 🙂

      • Michelle – it is YOUR home. Yes you need to stay on good terms with your MIL but at the end of the day, its your household and she really doesn’t get to put parameters on that. Just like you wouldn’t walk into her home and start sort out stuff to give away without her permission, she shouldn’t get to pressure you into keeping something you don’t want.
        Yes I know what you mean about one day having to clear out their house, I too will be facing that (mine are entry level hoarders) and it worries my husband too – but I just tell him that we’ll focus on us for now, and we’re developing the skills and the contacts so that when the time comes we’ll be able to do it really effeciently. Hopefully it is far off in the future and at least we won’t be trying to do our house and theirs at the same time.

        • Thanks for that, Moni. 🙂

        • Moni, I’m so glad you said this because it’s what I wanted to say but it wouldn’t have been nearly so polite. Decluttering carries its own baggage without having someone else sitting on your shoulder, second-guessing your decisions and dumping guilt on your head. It’s your life, your home, your stuff. You don’t have to apologize or ask for approval to live your best life. Go for it!

        • I got over feeling guilty about giving away things my mother gave to me…now she’s starting to understand I don’t want a bunch of stuff, and not buying things for me. However, my parents have so much stuff in their house that I really hope I don’t get stuck dealing with when they are gone! Sounds like a lot of us are in this position. They are starting to understand that none of their kids are going to want it all when they are gone, so I hope they will start to declutter before they get too old to deal with it, sigh.

    • Hi Megan. I’m sure Colleen will have something very wise to say about the situation with your mother-in-law but in the meantime I had a thought. Did she object to the fact you were getting rid of the albums or just that she felt you should have offered them to family first? If she doesn’t object to your de-cluttering itself then perhaps you could ask her to be the distributor of your stuff to family or friends. She might be able to help some who may need the things – but she may also find that there are some things that nobody in the family wants and she will have to deal with getting rid of it. Hopefully she won’t want to add it to her own cluttered house 🙂

    • Hi Megan S, perhaps your mother-in-law’s abrasive manner has left her a little alienated from more people than you so she has turned to stuff for comfort. Such a shame for her if that is the case. Us humans are a strange breed at times. I am glad you don’t let her attitude deter you from letting go of stuff. That would be a real shame.

  7. Colleen – first of all – I love the improvement to the room. Sigh. My son is 18 and although he talks about leaving home, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. Hate to sound too eager to boot the baby birdie from the nest but nature invented teenagers to make it real easy to let go of our children. LOL. so yes I know what you mean about respecting the adult child’s space and tolerating their untidiness. Interesting fact: as my brother and I left home, mum had the locks changed. We were allowed to visit, just not return on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. Now I understand why.

    Now onto the positives. I love the transformation. I love the light coloured duvet cover too – I have found myself recently admiring white or light covers, alas the black cat thinks my bed is his bed. I also like it without any bedside tables. I never thought I would as I’ve always been a bedside table kind of girl (is there such an afiliation?) but I like it. Hmmmm. Something to consider for the future.

    • Moni & Colleen, I like the light duvet cover too and not having bedside tables. Moni, I resolved that issue by putting a small shelf on the wall where I can reach it from the bed. I’ve had a number of people comment on it. I have a box of tissues and my clock on it. That’s the only thing on any of the walls. It’s a very bare room and drives Mom nuts. I love it. It is airy, calm, uncluttered. The walls are a baby blue and the trim white. I open the blinds during the day and just looking at it calms me. Colleen, Liam’s old room does the same.

      • Deb J – I like that idea too.

      • I have always had a nightstand by my bed but I like the idea of a shelf. Very streamlined. Great idea!

      • Actually Deb J there is no duvet cover. Liam took that with him so the duvet is on the bed with no cover.

        I think I have looked in the room a least six times a day just to enjoy the bareness of it.

        • Okay. Well I like the duvet then. I can imagine how you would go look at it often. I can see my room from the craft/office area and I too like to just look and enjoy the bareness of it.

    • Oh Moni, I am with you sister. It is our job to raise our children to be independent enough to want to leave home and pursue a life of their own. I feel a sense of achievement that he has done that.

      I am a bedside table kinda gal myself moni, and a lounge side table (not coffee table) kinda girl too. He did have a little media cabinet beside his bed when he was here but he took it with him. He wishes his bed was a queen size one too as it has the best mattress in the house. But a queen bed was never going to fit in that room with all his other stuff. I will not be putting bedside tables in that room because I don’t know if they will fit in whatever the next place is that we will live in. If visitors want one I could move one down from my bedroom or from out of the lounge room. The bed might eventually have to go too depending on the same reason.

  8. WOW! That is a super improvement. It looks fantastic!

    At our house we have to be very mindful because my fiance is allergic to dust, so I agree that de-cluttering furniture and dust collectors is supper important for people’s respiratory health.

    • Having moved around a bit, which means for me, moving into homes that have had a good deep clean and always having been a bit of a neat/clean freak I have not suffered much from dust allergies in my own home over 26 years of marriage. However I never visit other homes without taking sinus medication with me. I can understand what your fiance has to deal with. I don’t do curtains or frilly decor, I wash last season’s clothes before wearing them and I vacuum mattresses and wash linen regularly. This all helps.

      • Dust is an asthma trigger for me. That means we keep the dust to a minimum. One of the things that the doctors told us when I was growing up was to get rid of carpet and Have curtains that can be easily washed. We have sheers that look really good and they can be vacuumed as well as washed. Love that. During the summer I have nothing on my bed but the sheets. In the winter I have to use a thin quilt. It’s one of the reasons I like my room to be so bare. No dust to worry about so much. I also have wood laminate floors.

      • Colleen – I too have an aversion to frills – I blame the scratchy pink ruffle dress that my mother made me wear when I was five, I’ve never gotten over it.

  9. I can totally relate to this post Colleen! Do I really need timber look Venetian blinds on my windows? Does the possibility of over 500 long thin pieces of plastic that individually needing cleaning make me happy? Would I prefer to replace them with a maintenance free alternative? Yes!
    I wish skirting boards did not exist! They need constant cleaning!
    Once the clutter is removed and the energy levels are increased, cleaning and dusting are not such hard tasks. I would like to declutter the blinds at some stage…
    Your Eco tip on hair coloring – no way! I would shave my head and wear a wig ( coloured of course) before I let my hair go grey!

    • Wendy – and Colleen – gasp shock horror. Not colour my hair? Nope, not gonna happen. BUT at the health shop there are organic hair dye colours if you’re looking for a compromise. Unfortunately I am banned from dye-ing my hair at home since a drop of brunette landed on the carpet in our entrance way carpet – unfortunately not brunette coloured carpet, but a beige so yeah its noticeable. It would have happened as I went to wash it out and even though it was tied up in a towell. And no one noticed it until it developed 30 mins later.

      • When I was about 11, a friend of the family quit coloring her hair and aged 20 years overnight. That was shock enough to keep me from EVER coloring my hair (OK, I sprayed it blue once but it was for a good cause). I went silver (forget this ‘gray’ stuff) quite young and don’t regret it. My hair complements my face and I complement my also-silver husband. Complete strangers have come up to me and gushed, “I just LOVE your hair color!!!!” The only concessions I have made to silver hair are keeping it short because I have neither the desire nor the talent to do it up, and toning down the colors in my wardrobe from the brights of my youth. I might dye it again when I’m old — so long as I can find the right shade of electric blue again. Meanwhile, hair clutter is clutter I don’t have.

        • Wendy B – you lucky girl. Alas I suspect I would be salt n pepper by now, my grandmother was salt n pepper into her 80’s, so I’ll probably go that way. Silver would be cool. I dragged out an extra couple of months before I went back to the hairdresser late last year, and you know its bad when even your teenage son takes you aside to tell you to please “do” something with your hair. LOL. I’m not entirely sure how exactly I am going to transition from brunette to being part of the Blue Rinse Brigade in my 80’s but maybe I’ll go the silver look.

        • Hi Wendy B, it occurred to me reading your comment that I have never seen a photo of you. I just googled you and your name appears all over the place, mostly due to your volunteer work but no photos. You will have to send me one some day. I seen your husband and your porcupine, some bird and other creatures in your back yard but no you.

          • Hi Colleen. I just Googled my name and found about a gazillion very accomplished women, none of whom is me! So, I can’t let you go thinking that I’m some sort of Wonder Woman who’s doing all those marvelous things. There was one teeny reference to us about a decade ago in relation to an obscure academic publication. The rest of my ‘good works’ are local and go largely unremarked in the wide world — which is just fine by me.

          • Hi Wendy did you include your town in the google search. I figured anything that had your name and your town would probably be you. Check it out and let me know what you come up with.

    • I could happily live without the venetian blinds on our front windows as well. Rotten things to dust. I would much prefer plantation shutters that can be left open to allow the breeze in while still affording privacy without rattling. Maybe one day if we actually live in the third home we buy.

      • I’m with you on the blinds too. I would prefer plantation shutters too. We have so many windows though that it would cost a fortune right now. We have 6 double size windows plus two regular windows.

        • We had three windows replaced on the front mudroom of our home in 2008 and other than tacking a piece of fabric over one (which looks straight into the living room) I have done nothing. Why? I am flip-flopping like than a fish on a riverbank about do we want wood blinds, shutters, or curtains?? Oy! I like the idea of curtains for ease of washing. Shutters would be pretty and classic. Wood blinds – I keeping thinking about how dirty they get. Ugh.

          • Michelle – what is a mud room?

          • Hi Moni,

            Our house is a small 1904 bungalow (cottage-ish) house. Originally it had an open-air front porch that went across most of the front of the house. Somewhere along the years, someone enclosed it so that it was actually then part of the living space of the home. You walk in the front door and it is only about 6 feet by 13 feet. I put a bench in there with lift-top storage so hubby can put his work boots in there, a coat rack (as we have pretty much no closets except one in the main bedroom and one in the attic), a vintage metal cabinet to serve as our pantry (again, no closet/pantry space for food), and our upright freezer. As there are windows on the three exterior sides, it is also where I set up our small four-shelf greenhouse once my seedlings get big enough to move into peat pots. (then after they are planted outside, I take down the greenhouse for the year). I suppose in a nicer home, a mudroom would be known as the foyer. 😉

          • Michelle, we have a lot of what is called miners cottages around Newcastle (Aus) where I live. Tiny little places like yours. Many of them also used to have front porches that have been closed in. I love it when people buy them, extend onto the back and reopen the front porch. In our hot climate it is nice to have a porch to sit on and watch the world go by. These cute little cottages look so much nicer with the front porches are as they ought to be.

          • Colleen, I agree that the original front porches are nice. Our neighbor has retained his and has a lovely swing on it. Funny thing, the original back porch on our house had also been enclosed and divided into two sections. One side is the laundry room and the other side is our closet in the master bedroom. We are having the contractor (same one who did our front room) come next Friday to bid a remodel on the laundry room. It needs two new windows, some wall repair, and new flooring. Unfortunately, when you are dealing with a house this old, there are always issues. With the back is that the floor slopes down from the house and so he will have to a lot of what I think is called “blocking” to get a level surface.

            We’ve discussed completely removing the back porch and building a proper addition, but truthfully, the home is not worth it and we do not plan to retire here, so we’ll just make it work for now. If it can simply be more functional, I will be so happy.

            Oh, but here’s a question that you all may have some good advice on. The room is only as wide as a washer and dryer side by side. The cat likes to sleep on the dryer because the sun shines in there. I was thinking about getting a stackable washer/dryer and then having a base cabinet installed that could serve as storage for the vacuum, which currently resides in the guest room. If there was a top on it, Annie could still sleep on it. My hesitation is that I don’t want to bash my head into the upper appliance while reaching into a washer to remove clothing. Also and this is my big thing, a stackable would partially block the other window, which I’m not all that keen on. Our current W/D work just fine, too. Thoughts?

          • Since I want as much light as I can get I would probably not get the stacking w/d. Is there room to store the vacuum in that room only when you have company and need the guest room? Do you keep it in the closet in the guest room or out in the room itself?

          • Hi Michelle, I have a front loading washer dryer all in one which saves a whole lot of space. If time is not an issue when you are doing your laundry this is a great option. I don’t use the dryer much because I live in a climate where it isn’t really all that necessary. Your situation might be whole other thing.

  10. Love the after photo, so peaceful. Looks like a good place to take a power nap. I don’t have any rooms like that yet, as they are all occupied and everyone wants more than the one and only thing that needs to be in there, just the bed. Hopefully one day. Very inspirational.

  11. Kitchen clean-up has become much easier and more pleasant since we (mostly) cleared off the counters. Now the appliances can hide on the shelves rather than hiding / collecting food bits!

  12. My son didn’t clean his room thoroughly when he left for college. Since it wasn’t my stuff, I didn’t feel like I had the right to declutter. But, I put all his things in his closet and left the room easy to clean with surfaces cleared off. It is the best I can do for now, but is easier when we have company and easier to clean.

    • They aren’t really moved out properly when the go to college anyway so I wouldn’t expect he would take everything. My daughter still has stuff here from when she left for college. One day soon I hope it will all be gone. I’ll have to move into a smaller house then because this place will start echoing.

  13. Hi Colleen! I loved what happened in that room. It looks airy and has a lot of space. As for leaving things behind when one moves I don’t agree with it. I think when someone moves out he/she should take his stuff with them. Your children are young and they are still moving out, because they come to stay once in a while and have not settled outside yet.
    However, I have known full grown men who leave their objects at their parents home, because they move “too much”. I told the person that, if it was not important enough to take along, maybe he should not keep it. He was offended and I just answered that no one’s house was his storage place. And the person had the nerve to ask if I could keep some things for him. I am nice and said: “Sure. In the trash. In a donation pile soon to leave my house.” 😀
    I am striving to make our rooms more open, with less stuff, because my husband has a kind of asthma and dust makes difficult for him to breathe. I really liked Deb J’s idea of having a single shelf, with the essentials, no clutter and no dust collector. The mattress and the trunk bed would have that utility also. Our bed is just like the former one showed in the picture and they are dust collectors on the head side under the mattress. And we also have blinds that collect dust. I have cloth curtains in my living room and I am very happy with them. Take them of, pop into the washing machine, wash and hang again. If it is hot you don’t even have to hang them to dry. Leave your window open and it dries right on spot. Clean and easy. No wasted time. I had to live with blinds for a while and they are ugly dust collectors. 😀

    • Andréia, I highly agree on the “take your things as you leave” part. I seem to be from a family where this isn’t really the case (all my grandparents store stuff for their children to some extent), so when I moved out to college, it was natural for me to leave stuff behind. Even later on I have been encouraged to do so (Like that china set my granny set aside for me and for which she thinks I don’t have room even now, because I’m still not living in a house but an apartment – I’m almost 28 and I don’t know if I’ll ever upgrade to a house). Also, my childhood room (and those of my siblings) haven’t really been used after we moved out, so they stayed “our” rooms more or less. I can confirm that I could have taken everything significant with me even when I started out at college (after all, I only had one room at home, so it should fit in one room at college as well) and what got left behind for such a lengthy time just isn’t really important to me. I’m decluttering each time I visit home now and take stuff with me to go through here. It’s easier for me to donate here, as I know where to go with those things and I don’t face resistance of parents/relatives who remind me that this was a present once or dear to me at some point.
      Worst is one relative who although nearly 60 and quite well off (owning two houses at the moment that he can furnish) still has things (including furniture) in storage in his mother’s attic and with other relatives. I’d go nuts.
      Somehow they completely miss the fact that a third sofa isn’t going to come handy EVER, especially when all kids and grandkids already moved out and took their fair share of cast-offs with them (or announced they don’t need it).
      Though I’m happy that I have keys to my relatives’ homes (hello Moni! 🙂 ), as it makes visits easier sometimes or housesitting or what else, I’d encourage everyone to reconquer your home soon after children moved out. Make them take their stuff with them or force them to declutter the left-behinds, send it to them in parcels or bring a box full each time you visit them, whatever it takes. 😉 It’s far too easy to leave and forget stuff forever when it’s out of sight (and it is out of sight at your house).

    • I agree Andréia, once moved out as a fully grown independent adult you take your stuff or its going to charity. My daughter is still young and moving out has been somewhat sporadic but she hopes to get there soon. She will be only too happy to take her stuff and probably some of mine if I allowed her. Liam has taken most of his stuff but there are some repairs to be done to the house he has moved into before he will have room for the rest of his stuff. Mind you I didn’t expect him to leave so soon but good for him.

      • I guess I was really lucky – my mom rented a uhaul and drove my stuff down to me when I first got a place. I thought we had all of our stuff moved out from parents’ homes, but then my in laws showed up at Christmas with 2 boxes of legos. Turns out that my husband still has some stuff living with them – oops! We always fly to visit them, so we never managed to grab that sort of thing, but I’ll make sure we pick those things up this summer when we visit. Both sets of parents are holding onto some stuff for future grandkids.

        • Then there are the overly sentimental parents who keep stuff for you even though you didn’t ask them to and in some cases didn’t even know they had.

      • What you said is what I meant, Colleen. Your kids are still “moving out”. They are settling down outside and may not have evaluated all they need and want in their new homes. As for the person I was talking about, he is a full grown man who has lived on his own for a while now. I don’t think it is bad to hold on to some toys for grandkids. If the house is uncluttered and nice, a box of well kept toys properly stored will not ruin it.

        • Hi Andréia, I knew that is what you meant. I was just elaborating for those who may not know my situation so well.
          I agree about the toys, so long as the there is no hard feelings if the grown child doesn’t want them and passes them on.

    • I agree with all of you. When you go take it all. That’s part of being a responsible adult. The more parents let you store things the longer it will take to really understand the full scope of being out.

  14. Great post; thanks for this. Way to take control!

  15. I am extremely allergic to dust. A couple of years ago I got rid of all my baskets, which were my worst dust catchers. My wicker headboard just may be next. Thank goodness my new roommate was agreeable and got rid of all her baskets too before our recent move. I was once a total basket case. Every few months I had to gather them up, I had dozens, and actually spray wash them to actually rid them of all the dust. I finally just got tired of it and donated all of them. I haven’t missed any of them whatsoever, and I can breathe a lot better!

    I like the redo of your son’s room. It looks peaceful. All I would need in there is my laptop or iPad and I would be happy as a lark.

    • I know where you’re coming from Betty Jo. I used to have a basket with the toilet tissue in in the bathroom. It always looked dusty so one day I decided it had to go.