Living with what you love

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Family Room, My House104 Comments

The past few years have been a whirlwind for me.  Moving…two baby boys born 19 months apart and a new business right on the heels of that.  I’ve been so busy that cleaning out closets, cupboards, drawers, the basement, the attic spaces, etc. has been neglected.  Earlier this year, I looked in my kitchen cupboards and noticed there were still baby bottles on the shelves and my boys still had jammies in their dressers that were 2T (they are 5 and 7 now!)  It was time to make time to get things cleaned out and under control.  So, over the past few months, I’ve been cleaning, purging and organizing.  As I’ve shared, the more I get rid of, the more I want to get rid of more.  Getting rid of the obvious like the baby bottles and 2T jammies has turned into selling pieces of furniture I really love, but aren’t right for my space and clearing out my basement stash, many “what if” things that I’ve been holding onto out of obligation or some possible future need.  A couple of days ago one of my readers, Kristine Price, said this in her comment, “Your clean, simplified look tells me you’re ready for the next change, whatever it may be….”  
Something about her comment resonated with me.  I feel like 2014 holds a lot of exciting things and I feel like a part of this purging is making room for that.  Another part of it, though, is that now I can see a small taste of what it’s like to open a cabinet and see it filled only with what I love and/or need.  When I open cabinets that haven’t been cleaned out and I see cookbooks I haven’t opened in years and serving pieces I bought as a prop for a photo shoot years ago and scented candles I never light, I want to drop everything I’m doing and clean it out.  
Can you imagine a home filled with only what you love and/or need?  None of the clutter, junk, baggage, boxes stuffed with who-knows-what, things you don’t love or need, but you just have.  Because that’s what we do.  I’m realizing there’s so much stuff I have just because.  I don’t even know why.  
So, I’m viewing the stuff in my home in a new way – through this love it or need it filter.
And it’s making more room to display my favorite things…
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…room for practicality, relaxation, work and play…
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There’s still a lot to clean out, but I feel like I’m well on my way…
How do you feel about the stuff in your house?
Living with what you love

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104 Comments on “Living with what you love”

  1. I totally relate to what you’re feeling on both levels. Getting rid of things you don’t love/use is so liberating. It’s a fabulous feeling. And I do believe that “stuff” had energy and that moving out the old will make way for the new.

  2. I have been trying to organize my craft room so I can start new projects with gusto! I don’t get why it is so hard for me to keep it organized!! I’m determined to get it pretty and useable!:)

  3. We are definitely on the same page! For us it started when we moved from Alaska to Indiana. Our house here was roughly a 1/3 smaller which wouldn’t have been too bad but we also lost LOTS of outside storage as we no longer had a barn. I really started looking around my home and discovered that some things we owned, well it felt more like they owned us. Gifts given to us by family which really weren’t our style, old school papers/awards/certificates, books, and who knows what else. Four years later and I am still at it… yes its been a process of fits and starts but recently my husband has joined in as well. What does this mean? In all honesty I have no earthly idea!! I just know that the purging feels good, and right.

    Have a wonderful week!! and I look forward to seeing what plans the Lord has for you over the coming year!!

    1. Your comment made me think of when I threw away all of my high school yearbooks and ALL of my report cards… boy was I ever relieved!

  4. Miss Marian P,

    I just wanted to let you know that I am in the process of reading your book! I woke this morning at 5 am eager to read while my husband and puppy slept in…It was a beautiful snowy morning in the Ozarks and I am so blessed! I have to say that after reading for about an hour, I was motivated to tackle my craft room and regain a sense of organization…well, a start anyway! I am going to create a studio vs. craft room. I think in 2014 I will be purging the C word and embracing the S word. Oh, the P word is my favorite right now though…PURGE! It felt soooo good to get rid of all of the leftover Christmas balls, little sprigs of tree, and potential projects that never made it to a craft show. I too am enjoying seeing the things that I love and the colors that reason…white, cream, greens, and blues! Thank you for inspiring me and I really am enjoying your book, as well as the interview you did with Jeanne Oliver. Happy New Year and keep purging away!

  5. I have also been wanting change and decluttering so I have been “shopping ” in my own house, taking things from one room and putting in another and along the way straightening and purging. It is really keeping me active and glad to have it started.

  6. I feel the same way! It took me moving to Tulsa and having to clean out years and years worth of my in-laws antique collecting (hoarding) for me to realize we don’t “need” all of the stuff we collect. A huge storage building and things in my own home that I don’t love are going somewhere. The problem is that my husband has yet to embrace this idea. I agree with you…if you don’t love/need it, then why keep it? I also believe that unless it is super sentimental then it doesn’t need to live in a box. Thanks for reminding me to stay focused and to carry on with this task! 🙂

  7. Marian you inspire to new heights! And starting this week I also will be going through boxes, drawers, closets, cabinets, etc! Thank you so much for everything you do to inspire all of us!

  8. You have inspired me to do the same thing. Lately I have been going through something inside me that just desires a fresh start. I have been working on starting my own business refinishing furniture, repurposing “stuff” into unique finds.( By the way, just bought bunch of your line from local retailer) Anyway, I follow your blog and when you explained yourself to surround your home with only things that you Love, I had my aha moment.Many items are going on Craigslist tomorrow, I no longer NEED them out of obligation.they are not my style, why am I forcing it?? Thank you for sharing, I have decided to follow your lead & 2014 holds something special for me too!!! 🙂

    Angela

    1. Way to go Angela! It really helped me today too when I filled our dumpster full of old things that were just taking up great space! Do you have a website where you sell your repurposed stuff? I am a vendor for a local shop where I live and would love to see your stuff. My blog is pepperhilllane.blogspot.com/

  9. I feel this way every New Year. I like new beginnings. It all starts with taking down and putting away the Christmas decorations, and then I’m on a roll! This year January is my MONTH of purging. So far I’ve decluttered our dining room hutch (thanks for the reminder), sold a table on Craig’s List and filed a bag of papers that has been on my bedroom floor for a year! Next….I’m tackling decluttering and decorating by removing all of the framed pictures from the floor and actually hang them up!

  10. You inspire me to clean and purge as well, I have tons to do, but anything is a start. You’ve posted that you don’t have sentimental attachment to most pieces of furniture. I think I have attachment to too many things, that’s why I have boxes of stuff shoved in every closet. I have a two-story berm home, so I have no attic or basement for storage. I’ve purged before, thinking I won’t want some piece and 6 months later I’m looking for it to decorate an area. But I am getting better and I did accomplish a few things this frigid cold weekend.

  11. Marian,
    Your post speaks to me in a way not many blog posts have, it’s so completely crazy to me that a I can relate and feel a need to write to a complete stranger…but here goes…two years ago I was much like you are right now crazy busy, a business with my husband, a busy 6 year old, never saying no to any project, any opportunity to volunteer and basically running the rat race that has has become the norm for the woman of suburbia. But unlike you I didn’t stop to smell the roses, or clean out the cabinets I just kept going, many days with just a few hours of sleep and a vat of coffee to keep me going. Then God sent me a wake up call , I had a heart attack 5 days before my 39th birthday. Now don’t get me wrong my life wasn’t the only factor I am the winner of a lousy gene pool with 2 parents that didnt make it past 65 but if I had only taken time for myself and kept those checkup appts my blockage would have been found before I actually had a heart attack. No one could, including myself could believe this could happen to me , I was an active appealingly in shape person, who could juggle it all. The “incident ” reminded me if I didnt take care of myself I couldn’t be all these things to so many people who depended on me, that ultimately GOD was in control not me , and that I had to stop and clear out the clutter in my life so I had room to enjoy those things that made me really happy!

    Now I know this is a very heavy post, and I can’t even believe I am writing it myself, but I know so many woman who read your blog are in the “rat race” that we lose sight of what is really important. Your post reminded me once again it is time for me to stand back and assess again what in my life I really need, want, love . It is so easy to lose sight of that with all the things we clutter our lives with, so THANKS for the reminder!

  12. OMG…the stuff in my house is running and/or ruining my life! i’ve been sitting in my house since new years, wondering where to begin. maybe i will just pick a closet and start.
    thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Jen, do exactly what you said, “pick a closet” looking at the whole house will paralize you. It does that to my girlfriend all the time and she gets so overwhelmed. Pick a room, a closet or a drawer and just GO! Make piles, keep, garbage, donate and sell. It will feel amazing. I promise.

  13. I’ve been decluttering our household in the past few years and it’s been a process. I have become more conscious about my purchases too, and I make sure I will only purchase the items I absolutely love. I got rid of all the plates, platters and bowls except white ones that I loved, and we started using our fine china as our everyday dishes. It’s liberating to surround ourselves only with things that are absolutely practical and beautiful. Good luck with your purging project and looking forward to hearing more about it 🙂

  14. Wow! That is right where I am too! The need to purge after many years of boxes in the basement, and moving them from house to house. What has really inspired me is my daughter who occasionally helps out some friends with packing estate sales items. She told me it saddened her to see beloved personal items carted off to the auctions, or placed in a dumpster, because the surviving family members could only take so much from their parents home. She has encouraged me to do what you are doing now, purge, so she does not have to deal with a house full of items that will not be able to be saved in the future. A sobering thought. So it is my mission this year to go through all those boxes, and make some final decisions! I too have started to use my favorite china and linens! We deserve to enjoy them! Good luck with your continuing projects and success!

  15. I think it’s a New Year thing, also we have the long holiday so there is time to declutter, I get this urge every year at this time. The best thing is, that with all that space available, there is plenty room to buy more!

  16. Loved reading your post this morning. Everything always looks so gorgeous and organised. I used to be fairly organised. I’ve a little business selling at flea markets and I’m lucky enough to have a girl-shed to store them in. However, I’m overwhelmed by my house. I’ve applied to do flea market and my plan is to organised and sell bits (and donate). Your post was timely.
    Thank you.
    Sue

  17. I have been on an organizing kick for the last year, but your post has given me a new vision. How lovely to have a home furnished with only the items that we love! I think I will start with all those plastic cups that have accumulated in my cupboards. My boys are plenty old enough to use real glasses and these others are an eyesore and cabinet hogs. I was just introduced to your blog over the holidays and am loving it! I have gone back to your archived posts and am reading my way through as well as keeping up with your current posts. You have found a new regular follower in me!

  18. Dear MMS, You go girl! For me if I can organize something and make it prettier, more attractive, then it’s fun. So I do indulge in organizing baskets, trays, things that make it all prettier. Editing out the sentimental things to just a few can be difficult, but it’s worth it in the long run. I love all the changes and possibilities for the future at your house. Hugs, Anne Boykin

  19. My aunt who has a fabulous treasure shop…once said you can love your things and still let them go for someone else to enjoy. I have been purging things from my house since the day after Christmas with that thought in mind. I consider that I am preparing for new inspiration! I love your blog btw its lovely..great style! Kassie from New Hampshire 🙂

  20. I am constantly purging and organizing around here. To me, it is liberating to get rid of what we aren’t using and to find new ways to organize what we do use. I noticed that you have a Lego fan in your house too. Around here, the little Lego guys seem to multiply! My son had them in plastic tubs for a long time and would search through the tubs for a long time to find that one guy he wanted to play with. Now, we display the guys in an old letter drawer http://www.mycreativedays.com/lego-figure-storage/. My son loves to see his guys displayed and he can grab what he wants and put it back easily too. I need to find more drawers because like I said, the Lego guys are multiplying around here! 😉

  21. I am called the Pitcher by my daughters, because I am always getting rid of things. I recently got rid of the last pieces of furniture I inherited and didn’t Love a few weeks ago. It is such a freeing experience-a clean slate. To look around your home and see things you love feels so great after 35 years of marriage!
    I have a business selling antiques-Fern Hill Primitives, and, despite the advice of some others, I am just buying things for it that I love. Oh, how great it feels to look at my booth now! The bottom line-you have to be true to yourself. In your heart, you just know what you like-it makes you smile and warms your heart!
    Love Miss Mustard Seed. Have followed you for years, from the beginning. Your philosophy is wonderful. Keep up the good work. Bought each of my three daughter one of your books last year. Keep stepping out in confidence, Miss Mustard Seed, you are making the world a more beautiful place.

  22. A while back I read a book on Feng Shui, it was how to reduce the “clutter”. Since then I have always worked that way UNTIL I started with my re-purposing and it was getting cluttered again so I am starting to clean out once again. I find I am so much more relaxed and keep things cleaner when there is not a lot of clutter but I dont want it to look to cold either so I am learning as I am going. Thanks for sharing, have a great week. 🙂

  23. It’s the whole reason I started a blog! I’ve been wanting to purge and re-arrange for 6 months now. I thought the blog would help me stay on track. So far so good! 🙂 Keep up the good work, it’s great motivation for me too. It’s funny how it works, when you get your HOUSE in order, so many other aspects of your life fall in line.

  24. This is EXACTLY how I am feeling right now!! I started with a couple of drawers and now I can’t stop. So very “freeing” 🙂 I keep replaying that quote in my head that goes something like…”Have nothing in your house that you don’t find useful or lovely”

  25. Wow, a timely post. My sister told me once (we have the same attachment to ‘things”, that all the STUFF we collect (hoard) is the Love we are looking for. So, my attic, my dressers, my closets and every shelf, sure is over filled with Love…Yikes! Out of style clothes, vacuum bags that belong to one I no longer have, daily planners from the past 20 Years, WHY or WHY do I hang on to this stuff? It makes my soul feel messy now that I see there IS a way out! I vow here and now to tackle at least one drawer, shelf, closet or space and de-clutter of useless items each day. There, I said it!! Thanks as always for making me think!

  26. Oh I’m trying! I live with a hoarder! I came to the conclusion a few years ago to burn those candles, use those good towels and dishes. I started the new year with the garage. It had become a storage unit of sorts when I remodeled the kitchen, then just keep getting more out of control! I had purchased several pieces to remake/paint then ended up with a frozen shoulder, neck injury. Bummer. Hopefully it will get better and I can continue. In the mean time one whole load went to a thrift store, several furniture pieces will go on Craigslist as soon as I can photograph them. And I have several totes set back for hopefully a booth space if I can acquire one as part of my goal this year. I was lucky to inherent stuff too but decided it has weighed me down and must go. My adult children get first dibs, then it all goes. I want a stream lined life and home. It is such a joy to read everyone’s journey on here. Thanks for your openness and please help keep us, your followers motivated!

  27. I feel the same way about my closet! I don’t want anything in there that doesn’t fit me AND that I love. I’d rather have 4 things hanging in there that I can wear every day than 100. Thanks for the reminder to feel this way about our home, too!

  28. I have been doing the same exact thing. I love pretty things… if it doesn’t belong in one of my collections, I sell it. I want to open every cabinet door, drawer, closet, etc, and only see things that I love! Good luck with the “goals.” I have several I am working on!

  29. Sorry, I guess I feel differently. I love my “stuff”. I cherish the memories of my grandmother’s things I now have since she is gone. The tiny slip of paper which is a ornament my daughter made 37 years ago still goes on the tree. Whenever I need something it is always there, no need to buy more. My home is filled with the memories of loved ones and those things given to me by my friends – I would never think of getting rid of them.

    1. That’s exactly my point. Those are things you love and cherish and I don’t think there’s a set amount of stuff someone needs to have. You have to find the right balance for you and it sounds like you have. For me, I have a lot of stuff that I don’t love or cherish or need and by getting rid of those things, I can use and enjoy the things I do love. 🙂

  30. Oh, the stuff! It really is overwhelming once you notice it. It is funny how we can live with it and not see it until suddenly something happens to open our eyes to it all. I hadn’t realized until last night that we’ve been fighting the clutter monster for years. YEARS. I read through a couple of old journal entries and saw my resolve to get rid of it all so many times over the years, but here we are, still giving up valuable home space to things we don’t love or need. We have added three children to our home in the last five years, so that has something to do with it. With some potentially big changes coming in the next two years, my husband and I know we finally need to get everything in order and keep it that way. “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris was a smart man.

  31. Love your post…been trying to purge excess clutter for a long time but sometimes get distracted 🙁
    This month I’m following organization guru Perer Walsh who assigns one 10-minute chore a day in January; clean out a drawer etc. I have to do this in small incriminates lol!

  32. Only what you love or need??? Honestly what came to mind was my husband, and two daughters. About five years ago my husband had to find a new job. We joked that we may be “in a van down by the river.” (SNL) We are more than blessed today!! God is good. 🙂 I am actually working on “finishing” my home and filling it with what I find that I love. Our extra stuff comes in the form of our girls old clothes. I am pretty good about purging and donating. (Fill out those forms and make itemized lists people–it really gets you money back during taxes!) I even gave away an armoire and two TV’s, along with a couch. They are leaving our bedroom for families moving to their first homes from shelters. It leaves me room to create my vision for my bedroom. Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE my house and making it our home–always have. But honestly I have been there, when that is all we had– each other and our health, and it was enough.

  33. Doing the same exact things….keeping the things I love, and purging what I don’t or no longer need. And I love grain sacks and your pictures of them. I have had mine in a closet but now have them in an antique hutch on display all folded nice and neat. Anyway, I think it makes our lives feel so much better when we get rid of excess and just keep things we truly love or need. I am constantly reminded that God is a God of order and that’s exactly what I want my house to be. It’s a good feeling 🙂

  34. This has really hit me now as well. For years my life has been completely taken over with elder care, and I have sold two houses, emptied two houses of 60 years of accumulation twice, and still spend enormous amounts of time managing what’s left for family that can no longer do that themselves, but have very strong opinions of what they want. I’ve been so exhausted when I (we, because hubby does it too) that when I come home I collapse, and make a bigger mess at my house. Nothing here ever gets managed or cleared out. I’ve finally hit the wall so I’m cleaning out bits as I find them, or in tiny bits of time hoping that will add up. I’m seeing how many things I have that I’ve loved, but don’t any longer and realizing that it’s safe to get rid of them. Time passes, tastes change, and I’m going to work with that as best I can. The funny thing is, since I’ve started, I’ve found that the excitement is giving me more energy to keep going. As I become happier in my surroundings, I feel like I can and want to do more. I dream of that moment you describe of only having what I want and need, and everything having a place. Heaven!

    1. Alice, wow! That really hits home. I have seen so many older folks who are not grounded in reality of how they actually function, or imagine how it was thirty or forty years ago and it comforts them to still have all their ‘things’. It is a lesson in what kind of legacy do you want to leave. A thing? Or a memory?

  35. Are you sure your not at my house looking in the cabinets and closets?
    I am in the process of finding a new home (getting remarried). It is so amazing the items that you hold on to and that are stored in areas that you rarely look. I have an on going donatnation box during this process and hope that we will only move the “Things we Love” when we find our home and move.

  36. I totally agree! Thanks for reminder! Especially when I see items someone else may be able to use. I really like to do this with my kitchen cabinets and food.

  37. I constantly edit- always have. I follow the rule that for every one thing brought in the cottage, one thing must go. It really works. I also use the “do I love it/need it” question when out shopping. If it won’t work in my space, if I do not have a specific purpose/place for it, then I don’t buy it. I like being selective in my purchases and my bank account looks healthier too!

  38. Having recently downsized our mainland home from a 3,700 sf Georgian to a 1,700 sf saltbox I was forced to sell and/ or give away many cherished pieces of furniture, as well as lots of “stuff”. As difficult as some pieces were to part with, I felt empowered by my ability to objectively decide what to take and what to leave. However, one thing I will never do again is part with candles regardless of the size, color or scent. My family and I lived through Hurricane Sandy, and although we were fortunate to have a second home to relocate to, we spent many a night in the dark because I had purged most of my candles when I downsized. I never thought there might be a real need for candlelight one night. Both homes now have less furniture and clutter, but candles will never be purged again.

  39. I’ve chosen one major area each year for the past few years. Last year I spent over 3 weeks working on my sewing room. I shed an entire car load of fabric and household linens collected over many, many years along with a few boxes filled with commercial patterns I never used. Whew! This year it will be all my hidy-hole storage places…. my house has almost no closets… It is a wonderful process and I find this time of year ideal to tackle these tasks.

  40. Your purging, organizing and cleaning has given me the motivation I needed to start this same process in my home. I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile and now I am.

    I, too, want a simpler, more organized home and when I want or need something, it will in the cupboard, drawer or cupboard that it is supposed to be in and I won’t have to go on a mission to find it.

    Last week, I cleaned out the junk cupboard in the laundry room, the junk drawer in the kitchen, and the drawers in the master bathroom vanity. Now, they are organized and tidy.

    I corralled all of the pens in my home (I know it’s a little thing, but it has bugged me for a long time). There used to be pens in every room of the house – 100 of them! REALLY?!

    Now they’re in a box in the room we use as an office and believe me, at least half, probably more, are going away. I’ll donate them to a Head Start or after school program – that can use them. Message to husband – we don’t need 100 pens and you won’t miss them!

  41. Marian, I cannot tell you how inspiring it has been to read these posts. I have felt for quite some time that, instead of owning our stuff, our stuff was owning us. No more! My Sweet Husband and I talked extensively over this past weekend, of new goals and a time frame in which we need to accomplish them. That’s something we’ve never really done before. Thank you Marian and many thanks to the other readers for their words of encouragement to everyone!

  42. I have a quote posted in my office, it’s by William Morris. He was a leader in the Arts and Crafts movement, that was a reaction to the stuffiness of the Victorian era(but you probably knew that all ready:) ). “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful.” I live by this quote! It doesn’t mean is doesn’t need to be pretty, all of his fabrics and furniture designs were beautiful but they were also functional. I started purging and clearing out 5 years ago and I love it! I still have spaces that need work, especially with children as they grow and change, but if we had to move quickly I would know that almost everything I have in the house we use or serves a purpose. It’s so freeing! I love the photos with the Legos, reminds me of my house.

  43. This post has really struck a chord with us followers, Marian. I learn so much from all of them and the comments by readers. It seems to be a common thread that often our husbands don’t want to get on the purge bandwagon with us. They would rather get more storage. I consider the accumulation ‘life spoils’. You know, like the spoils of war. Maybe it comforts a man to see all he has been able to keep, like a woman takes pride in her home. I have learned for myself that things I don’t use weigh me down like an anchor. My house may not be as clean as I used to be able to keep it in my younger years! but I get anxious if I don’t have order in my space. And nothing frustrates me more than storing things Ina fashion where several things have to moved in order to get to the thing you need. I call it the Rubik’s Cube effect storage.

  44. Very inspirational! All those bits of memorabilia that I have but don’t really care about– I don’t need those. My boyfriend is constantly wanting to get rid of things and I find I clutch them even tighter; I think this post has made me ready for Spring Cleaning as it never has been before! So thank you 🙂

  45. Another lesson learned. When I ‘let something go’, I really let it go. I try not to invest emotional energy on wishing I hadn’t or being afraid I might need or want it in the future! I cannot tell you how many times we have needed something, knew we had it, but went and purchased another because we could not easily lay hands on the one we had saved.

  46. I am feeling inspired each time you post on this theme…and I need it. Too much stuff here!! Thanks. Blessings on your purging!

  47. For Christmas, I got several new small appliances, so I remembered what you had written earlier, about only keeping what you need and love. I purged a lot of unnecessary gadgets that I had never used, but kept because someone had lovingly gifted them to me. My island (cabinets) now have empty spaces!! I also rearranged some bookshelves and continually asked myself through the process, “Do I love this, or need it?” Thanks for your inspiration.

  48. Take it from an ‘old’ mom ( and now grandmother of 13!!) I believe in having only what you need and love ( My first mother-in-law is a living example of this) and it is an ongoing process that like working on a home is an ongoing never ending process.. embrace it but keep ur priorities straight and don’t lose valuable time w your loved ones for the perfect’ looking’ home..it’s not what they will ultimately remember.
    With that said it is true that the less ‘stuff’ papers, clothes etc. we have the less time we have to spend moving it all around and the more time w have for what’s important. ” a firm believer that ‘ Less is More!”

  49. Your words, ‘what I love or need’, have inspired me again. I have cleared out boxes
    and bags over the past three years but your message really reverbated with me today.
    The idea of opening a cupboard or closet and seeing only what I love or need is a
    beautiful vision.

  50. I just sat down to have a cup of coffee..taking a break and feeling overwhelmed from tackling a storage closet..I am moving again the second time in 3 years and need to purge as well as divide stuff due to divorce..I needed this article. Marian blessings to a fruitful year for you, your business and family!

  51. What a great post! I’m going to sign off now and clean out a closet! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  52. Great post! We’ve moved six times in the last 13 years – and our three kids left for college two moves ago. Purging leaves one feeling clutter-free inside and out – and makes it easier to move! But, be careful to hang on to things that keep your house feeling like a home. That’s hard to replicate over and over again without a few things that always stay the same – things that make you and your family feel like anywhere is home. Right now you’re young and accumulation isn’t a big problem but, when your boys outgrow those Legos, I suggest you find a good place to store them! You never know when they might want to pull them out again – or when seeing your grandkids playing with them will bring back precious memories!

  53. Somewhere I read a quote that said to only have things in your home that you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. That is something I am working on in 2014.

  54. I am too sentimental about things and over think it when trying to pare down. Two things worked for me before a move. My collectibles, dishes etc that I thought I MAYBE could get rid of I took pictures of, boxed up and put in the garage. After some time I would look at the pics and let the boxes go. Somehow just having the pictures was enough. I had a BIG problem with clothes and started turning my hangers around every January. When I wear and wash things they go back in the right way. At the end of the year anything still backwards goes. After 5 years of doing it this way my clothes are no longer a problem. I have moved now and am ore comfortable with the amount of stuff I have.

    1. What a great idea. i have dust on some of my hanging clothes. I’ll just use the dust as a clue to get rid of it. (: Thanks.

  55. This is great! I saw a post last week of a 52 week “De-clutter Challenge” where the lady will be blogging each week about a new area of the house to de-clutter throughout the year. I though that was a great idea. Their first week challenge was the “pin boards” and fridge magnet spaces in your house! Done!
    Your reader was right, having clean de-cluttered house makes way for the new in your life. Fresh start, here we come!

  56. The stuff in my house? Well, my mother in law, who adored Christmas, passed unexpectantly in Oct., our son returned home to live and commandeered 2 bedrooms, a bath and 3 big closets. I had foot surgery before Thanksgiving, in a cast and can’t walk or drive until the end of this month. We have our grandchildren’s crib up and assorted car seats, booster chairs & bed rails stuffed wherever even though they are in the Northeast and we in Florida. I just packed up over 200 ornaments, 2 big bins of a ceramic village and a bin filled with a porcelain nativity. The porch is full of boxes of lights and wreaths and several trunk loads of photo albums. We didn’t even get our decorations down this year! How I feel is overwhelmed, helpless and numb. But a friend is coming this week to help me with climbing into closets and under beds so the calvaery is on the way!

  57. I hate stuff! I try all the time to clean out stuff. And even with that outlook the other day I realized how much of our life we spend dealing with “stuff”. The more stuff you have, the more it eats your time to take care of it- clean it, organize it, sift through it, fix it, move it, dig through it…. It has motivated me even more to conquer stuff and make more time in my life! Best of luck with your simplifying!

  58. I found myself shouting, “AMEN!” as I ready your post today. As we move into a new (to us) home, I am on a mission to do that very thing. And keep it that way! Thanks for the inspiration to keep going!

  59. Believe me I know this isnt an easy task but its so very worthwhile. This life lesson of NO CLUTTER will save you years of searching for things and not being able to enjoy what you do have and enjoyl..
    sounds like a wonderful 2014 has already started at your home.

    Congratulations~! you wont be sorry:)

  60. I’ve always liked the thought from “The Fly Lady”–only keep in your home what blesses you or your family. If it isn’t a blessing to anyone, get rid of it.

  61. As part of a Happiness Project (book by Gretchen Rubin) I set myself the task of purging “things” that I had collected for years. I made the decision to purge because the things that used to buoy me up/make me happy had turned on me…and began to weigh me down. I started in September 2012. I’m still at it, but my home (and my psyche) is so much more peaceful now. The process, as I see it, is ongoing. All the best as you continue topare down.

  62. Marian, we went through a similar process last year, when we had to move from Kansas to South Dakota due to my husband’s job. I got rid of everything I wasn’t using and the furniture I didn’t love before we moved. True, I wish my husband would have done the same with his “computer museum” and collection of “geeky possessions,” but I think now that we are in a smaller house, he will finally realize some of those things need to go.
    Besides, we are not completely unpacked yet because I have been redoing our new house interior room by room (one more room to go). I am sure I will find more things I want to get rid of once I have unpacked all those boxes currently sitting stacked up in our living room.

  63. Marian,
    Two years ago my mother-in-law had to go into a nursing facility suddenly. My husband, his sister and myself spent days cleaning out her small one bedroom senior apartment. Although she had downsized to a small apt. she still had so much stuff and clutter. Many things she had packed up in closets and hadn’t used in years. It was quite a task to say the least. After going through a life event such as this, I decided I was getting rid of everything in my attic, closets and cabinets that I no longer used or needed and had no sentimental value. It been quite a liberating experience.

  64. A big AMEN!! from here. The truth is that I love my stuff, but I have moved twice in a year. leaving a lot behind as it is, but the closets are still FULL! So, many thanks for the inspiration to free my self even more!

  65. My mother has a saying – “If it is too good to use, you don’t need it.” She was right! A friend commment when she saw one of my young grandchildren using one of my “good” china plates for his pbj sandwich. He likes the pattern so why not.
    Linda

  66. Beautifully said Marian.
    Releasing those things… it’s comforting in a way we don’t expect – but come to appreciate. The space. The breath we take when we open a door and see space.

  67. You have just prompted me to start on my cupboards, the first being my huge Korean cabinet which is full of all sorts, there is no order, it is a jumble. I am also still surrounded by boxes in my study which is meant to be my future office. As I look around me this minute I realise I seriously have to have a garage sale and get some order in my house.

    I can imagine how good you feel, a sense of release and being able to move ahead. Sometimes I think when we hold onto so many things that we never intend to use again, it blocks us a little from moving forward, well thats how I see it.

    I need to move forward and I need to purge BIG time like your doing.

    When I read your posts I feel so inspired Marian, truly.

    Lee

  68. I find it interesting that I spent the first half of my life accumulating things and this later half getting rid of them! My advice to young women is buy or make what you love and learn to purge now and then. A lesson I’m still working on mind you, but it’s getting easier.

  69. For the last 20 years, we have lived in a tiny house with 4 kids and the constant chaos that brings. I have not been able to accumulate many things that I love–no space and pretty things had a way of getting broken. Now, most of our kids are grown and we live in a much bigger & prettier home. For the first time, I can now have pretty things AND display them. I’m still in the hold-on-to phase, but I’m sure that won’t last and, in the next couple years, I’ll soon want to pare down and weed out.

  70. I know exactly how you feel!!! I have said I only want things that have a purpose but even that is too much. In September we started a small booth at the Knitting Mill in Chattanooga, tn. This is by far the best antique and vintage mall in the area and even though our booth is small, 8×8, we have done very well. I love to either find treasures “for the booth” or go through my stuff and take it to sell. It is so much fun and both my hubby and I go “shopping” together each weekend. i am a teacher and he is retired so this gives him something to do while I’m at school. I am getting rid of those things that I do not use and it feels great!

  71. I would love to do this. I have gotten rid of a lot but my husband just won’t get on board. It is maddening. He loves books ( as I do) but, goodness, do we have to keep every paperback that comes in the house? If we want to read it again, there is probably a copy at the thrift store for a buck. Oh well, this is a new year and who knows what can happen?

  72. Although I am, by nature, an organized person, I happen to be married to the world’s messiest, least organized man. It is an ongoing battle for me to stay one step ahead of him in the cleaning department! Your posts have truly been an inspiration to me in that you consistently emphasize hanging on only to those things we truly love. To that I have also added, “Would I buy it again?” Currently Mr. Messy and I are building shelves for our basement to store the mountain of holiday decorations I have accumulated through the years. But before a container goes on a shelf, I go through it and remove anything I do not truly love or would not buy again. And the basement is just my starting point! I see lots of organizing and discarding in my future! It is going to be so liberating to rid myself of excess clutter, not to mention it will make my job of cleaning up after hubby much easier! Thanks for the encouragement and motivation!

  73. As an artist, the things I need are becoming too numerous. The things I love are still in boxes from our move 2 years ago. 2014 is the year I will have the energy and the will to deal with all the clutter, because it is keeping me from doing what I want to do.
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  74. This time last year a developer approached us AGAIN about purchasing our house. My husband and I decided it was time to talk with him and we sold our house to him. We finished building our new house, which by the way has the charm of an old house. 🙂 We just moved in the second week in November, and let me tell you after being in the same house for 26 years and raising our 2 children (also, 19 months apart) we had A LOT of stuff! I gave away and sold so much of it before the move! However, I am still going through boxes that were in the upstairs of our garage, and this is mostly stuff I saved from when my kids were little. However, last weekI have already made 3 trips to Goodwill weeding out the contents of the boxes. I have saved of course the Brio train sets, the Star Wars and Harry Potter Legos. If I am not sure if my son or daughter wants me save something for them I just snap a photo and send it via text. Each time I open another box it is a blast from the past, but it feels so great to let the items go knowing someone else will use them.
    I have been VERY selective about the items entering my new house. I have repainted several pieces of furniture with your milk paint. 🙂 Many more pieces are just waiting for their turn. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, but be assured you are not alone. Happy New Year!

  75. We are borrowing my Dad’s trailer this week and a big PURGE is coming! I know just what you mean. I love a good simplified look. I also love the idea of new things on the horizon for you. That will most certainly be exciting and inspiring.

    All the Best,
    Jamie

  76. WOW! The concept of opening a cupboard or drawer and only finding things I truly NEED and LOVE is just mind blowing to me. What’s even more amazing is that I live in a TINY little house with very limited storage space. Therefore, many things are crammed into almost every nook and cranny, especially the kitchen. I have recently noticed that I’ve become overwhelmed by “the stuff” in my house. I hired a woman to come in and help me clean so I could declutter a bit. I’m finding, as you shared, that the more I declutter, the more I WANT to get rid of. The visual chaos of my house has been stressing me out, without it, I’ve been feeling far more calm. My community has a huge yard sale day in late May or early June. I think I’m going to just start marking things as I remove them and stack them in the garage so we’re ready for this big opportunity to share our excess with others while making a little extra money. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Marion!

  77. Thank you for this post, Marian, and to all of you for your comments! I am a newly retired teacher with lots of stuff. Christmas dishes, Barn (Warren Kimble) dishes, Pfaltzgraff dishes, books, books and more books, a junk room- furniture, photos never organized, etc.., and 2 boys’ bedrooms. (18 & 21) w/ their stuff, and every time I think I want to clear out, or de-clutter, I get so overwhelmed and stop. How do I get started and where???
    I am so afraid of tossing/ donating Great Grandma’s dishes, glasses … that it just sits in my basement, boxed up. Can anyone recommend a web site, or give advice??

    1. If you have A LOT of stuff, you could consider getting it all together for a local auction house. They’ll sell off anything and everything. If you have a manageable amount, maybe have a tag sale/yard sale. I understand the fear of selling family pieces, but if you don’t love them and they are just sitting in a box, why keep them? Maybe someone else in your family wants them?

  78. This post is perfect timing for me :). We have just begun purging our home as we have decided to downsize and eventually move South. I don’t think you can truly purge until you are good and ready, and we are there. Today I brought a trunkful of things to Goodwill and it felt SOOO good that I can’t wait to do more. The hardest things for me to get rid of are my children’s (ages 19 & 23) school papers and memorabilia…..help!

  79. I try to look at my kid’s papers in terms of what I would want now of mine or my parents or grandparents. A report card, notes about them from teachers, one or two early handwriting samples, really special artwork? Keepers. Busy-time crafts that mostly the teachers worked on, coloring pages, tests, homework? Not worth holding onto unless there’s something really funny/sweet/memorable about it. I try to keep things that capture their personality.

    You can always keep the things you like and then go through them at the end of the year again to keep your favorites.

  80. I can so relate! I feel like I’m drowning in stuff! I am wanting to simplify – your love it, need it is something I can embrace. We will be downsizing in a few years so now’s the time to start the purge! Thanks for sharing!

  81. My name is Cathi and I have TOO MUCH STUFF!! I love the thought that getting rid of “stuff” will free my life up for new/other things!! Just the motivation I needed to really purge this year.

  82. I’m new to this blogging thing, and am a very busy single mom who works full-time with 2 teenagers. So I’m pretty slow at getting projects done, and have little time to write about them. That being said I wanted to tell you how inspirational your blog is to me, and I read it religiously. Thanks for your fresh ideas, great outlook on life, and amazing decorating style. Blessings to you and your precious family! Oh, working on a drop cloth slipcover for my sofa now with grain sack pillows, courtesy of your inspiration. So excited! Thank you

  83. i am reading a book right now called “the joy of less” which ties right in with the theme of this post! it sounds like you’re well on your way to a more minimalist lifestyle (what the book is about)…i’m so excited to continue cleaning out my closets and cabinets like you are doing! definitely a good feeling to get rid of stuff you no longer need or use.

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