Fourth Thursdays with Deb J ~ Puzzled

Deb J

Deb J

I’m puzzled. I have a bunch of puzzles as you can see. I don’t want to declutter them because I enjoy working them more than once. Along with reading, working puzzles is a way to relax for me. The harder they are the better but I also like them when they are pretty or show places I’d like to visit or have fond memories of.

They looked crowded and cluttered where they were. I have been trying to decide where to put them so they would be out of site yet easy to pull out. I found several places—my almost empty closet shelf, inside one of the cupboards, in the extra closet in Mom’s bathroom. I didn’t like any of those ideas. It just meant more stuffed into places that were decluttered and looking nice.

I had a great idea. Why do the puzzles have to be in those boxes that take up so much room? Maybe I should find some type of storage with a drawer for each puzzle. Nah, who wants to spend money on something like that? Not me! So what do I do? Ah, put them in Ziploc bags we already have too many of and then in a box. I like the way it turned out and it looks nice too.

Deb J Docs


Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something in the beauty, body pampering or toiletry range.

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

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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • Mini Mission ~ Thursday 21Dec2017 Declutter your fridge of out of date items or by using up as much as possible before adding more. With the holiday season here you will likely need every inch of spare space.
  • Mini Mission ~ Wednesday 20Dec2017 Declutter by recycling some items. That mound ofused takeout containers, old newspapers and magazines, paperwork that needs shredding, glass jars you set aside in case you have a use for […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Deb,

    That does look better. I did something similar with my kids’ puzzles when they were younger, mostly because the boxes would get crushed and the pieces would fall out.

    Now that your shelf is 1/3 empty, is your goal to leave the space empty, declutter the entire thing, or relocate something from somewhere else and declutter whatever that empty item is?

    • Donna B, you are right about the crushed boxes and missing pieces. I don’t want that either. For the moment the areas where the puzzles were I am leaving empty. I don’t want to totally declutter the bookcase but I want more empty spaces and places for pictures. So I am gradually redoing it.

  2. Hi Deb J, this is a good example of how decluttering doesn’t have to mean getting rid of something. Sometimes it can just mean compacting and item or items so it/they don’t take up so much room. Good job and good post. Thanks.

    • Colleen, so many times people think decluttering means disposing of something. NOT! There is a lot of disposing but many times it can also mean some organizing into a smaller footprint. I like that.

  3. Hi Deb J,
    My mom enjoys puzzles too. She has a ton that she doesn’t plan on reworking. She recently found out that the VA Hospital near her would love to take some off her hands. There is a permanent living area for some vets and they enjoy puzzles so that is where she is taking her puzzles.

    Great post!

    • Michelle, taking the ones you no longer want to the VA is a good idea. I have thought of that or assisted living homes.

  4. I did this for the kids too, and one more thing I did for the kids’ smaller puzzles: I marked all the pieces on the back with a symbol—to sort them out when the kids mixed them up having 2 puzzles out at a time. Worked very well.

    • Connie, what a great idea to mark them on the back.

      • Hi Deb and Connie, I did something similar for my children, and I should have marked all the backs! I did for smaller puzzles, but not the larger ones. They’ve gotten better about not mixing them up; now I need to teach the littlest one how to keep them from chaos once he gets to enjoy the tiny pieces! 😉

        • Angela, yes it is all about the teaching. Unfortunately, teaching seems to never end. There is always something new to be taught.

  5. I have done the same thing with some of my puzzles in the past also. Most things that I have chosen to keep, especially those things that fall under the hobby category, I always think of how it can be stored in a more efficient manner, like Colleen was mentioning. If I can’t part with it yet then I want it to take up the least amount of room/space possible. Another bag made it out the door to the donation center this week, and I gave away two random items to someone who was excited to receive them. I have already started another donation bag too. That makes me very happy :).

    • Yes, Jen, storing as compactly is good. It’s great that you were able to send another bag out the door and give away two items. Isn’t it great how happy it makes us to be rid for things like that?

  6. Deb J.,
    If you really like to work on puzzles, the next time you complete a favorite, why don’t you glue it on an artboard and frame it. Or, complete it on a table and cover the top with glass. I am a huge proponent of surrounding yourself with the things you love. Things that you love, use and bring positive energy or a smile, are never clutter. Doodle framed that beautiful needlepoint. I say go for it. Shake it up. Do something different with at least one of your puzzles. Even putting the pieces in a ball/mason jar and using as a paperweight.

  7. Oh wow, a great little idea 🙂

  8. Hi Deb,
    I do exactly the same with my puzzles, but I have 12 plastic boxes full. Like you I have health problems and doing puzzles is something I can do that is not strenuous. It always seems a shame to cut up the lively boxes, but needs must! I then put the front picture into a plastic file folder to protect it.

    • Sue J, I know what you mean aobut puzzles being one thing that isn’t strenuous. I’ve tried to keep mine to a reasonable amount but I have a hard time passing up a good puzzle.

  9. My mom put ours in a ziploc in the box when my brother and I were kids. That way no pieces could fall out of the box, but we’d still have the box to look at for reference when working the puzzle.

    • Shopaholicnomore, I like the way many of the puzzles now come in a bag inside the box. I cut the picture of the puzzle off the box and put it in with the pieces in the Ziploc. It’s nice they no longer take up so much room.

  10. That looks such a neat idea DebJ. And it is a practical way to avoid losing pieces.
    I recently decluttered a large folding puzzle board that I had for + years as I realised Iwe did one puzzle every few years and it was taking up far too much space.
    We have one puzzle that we haven’t done yet: it’s London’s Waterloo station: the top half is post war and the bottom prewar – it’s a great historical poster really of the subtle changes over that period.

    • Doodle, I can see getting rid of the folding puzzle board if you don’t use it much. Now your Waterloo Station one I think I would probably mount and hang. It sounds really nice.

  11. I get puzzles at the library for free and return them afterwards, no clutter! (Never had a missing piece.)

  12. I am just in awe that you all do puzzles 🙂 Some friends of ours are such serious puzzlers that they have a family rule that the picture on the box must be covered up the moment the puzzle is purchased and they are not allowed to start with any edges or corners ….. Sorry not a declutter post but an “I am so impressed by you all” post 🙂

    • I love to do puzzles too Gillie, but I don’t own any. When on my last vacation there was a puzzle at one of the accommodations we stayed at. I worked on it every opportunity I got. I guess I don’t do them at home because I don’t want the mess hanging around and I usually have plenty of other things to do. However I am impressed with that family you know who like to increase the difficulty factor.

    • Wow Gillie, that family is inpressive. I have never thought of doing puzzles that way. That really ups the difficulty factor a lot.