75ers' Organizing/Decluttering Support Group

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

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75ers' Organizing/Decluttering Support Group

Jan 11, 5:25 pm

Several of us have discussed partnering through decluttering projects this year, and this thread is meant to facilitate discussion, highlight useful books and websites, and support each other in our goals in this area. Anyone may participate--you don't have to commit to partner or any other criteria. If this interests you, speak up. Also, if you have good resources to share, please do. I will be (soon) posting my favorite and most helpful resources in the second message, and will be glad to add yours. In the third message, I will list those who are participating by partnering on their projects--remember, that is not something you need to do to comment or even be a regular here, but it will help those of us who are doing so to stay in touch.

Feel free to post your own personal goals in this area as well as your progress!

Jan 11, 5:26 pm

Members who want to actively participate and want partners:

Editado: Jan 11, 8:48 pm

As many of you know, I moved a year and a half ago from a house with a large attic where I had lived for 40 years. I probably shed about 2/3 of my STUFF in preparation for the move. I spent a little over a year settling into my new house halfway across the country, and now that I have, I want to participate in a challenge I've been looking at over the last two years, of decluttering and organizing the entire house/property over 365 days in 15 minute segments. Taylor has put an enormous amount of work into organizing this and she does have products to sell, but you can access all her materials for free by signing up for her email newsletter, where she provides links to the resources and sends a daily email with the task of the day. Here is a good starting point:

Editado: Jan 11, 6:20 pm

four years after retirement I finally passed on the teacher stuff and books to colleages and now I look around I realized we had way too much stuff. Im eager to join in!

Jan 11, 6:08 pm

I’m going to keep an eye on this thread and see what peoples experiences and tips are. I wouldn’t say I really need to declutter (although to some extent I think almost all of us do), but it will probably be helpful for me when I move, which I hope to be able to do sometime this year. I do love organising tips so that will also be something I’ll keep an eye out for. It will also be be good for when I eventually help my mum (and dad if he’s still able to live at home by then) to to move to a smaller place.
Like many others, we had a big clearout during the pandemic heydays and went through three of four attic spaces and got rid of so much stuff that was just sitting there, including all the paperwork (all homework, all tests, everything) from my brother’s and my entire school years.

Editado: Fev 3, 5:35 pm

I have a whole shelf of books acquired over the last 50 years, but the one that has helped me the most is Dana K. White's How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. Two things stood out.

The first is the difference between projects and keeping your house clean and organized. I was the kind of kid who viewed cleaning as a project. I would let my room devolve into total chaos, and then spend a weekend cheerfully stripping it down to the baseboards and rebuilding it into a thing of beauty. Projects and maintenance are two totally separate things. I never really got that until this book.

The second is that your home is a container. You can keep whatever you can fit into the designated container but no more. She goes into this concept at length, but it's another concept that has stayed with me and stood me in good stead (and kept me from just adding more containers--been there, done that).

Dana also has a website with lots of good resources (especially on paper clutter-https://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2014/03/how-to-reduce-paper-clutter/?fbclid=IwAR12LJoogzXw2TXdvSeIgIle-IoNdi3JsFWfpgMh2rPWYcstUyGmaeg2c68)
titled A Slob Come Clean here: https://www.aslobcomesclean.com. She calls it "Reality-Based Cleaning, Decluttering, & Organizing".

Jan 11, 6:29 pm

>7 ronincats: The first is the difference between projects and keeping your house clean and organized

Oh yes; so hard to do both at the same time. We try to keep day to day clutter (esp mail) either in recycling or in files to deal with later. But we've been here 30 years and the idea of a real clean out is just massive. I agree maintenance is different from projects, is there a way to do both, or prioitize

I actually thought about it more after reading Anne Patchetts essays in these precious days. her first couple deal with death in her family, and realized how she doesnt want someone else to deal with the house and all its contents. And since its just the two of us, guess this would be a good time to start

One thing she talks about is having a staging area to do the decluttering and pack up where things go. Not sure that such a place is possible with many in small living quarters tho.

Jan 11, 6:32 pm

Thanks for starting this up Roni. I have a real problem with paper clutter. Thanks to never creating good habits. Some people are born organized, I’m not one of them!
I’ve already started decluttering, but I’m dreading the paper mountain! So maybe I can pick up some tips, and we can cheer each other on.

Jan 11, 6:54 pm

I'm looking forward to following this thread.

We did a big clean-out in late 2017 when we moved out of the house our children grew up in. We moved to our current home in early 2021 and brought pretty much everything without a second thought.

We have plenty of storage space in our current house so there hasn't been much incentive to declutter or de-accession items. But we also have a few areas where we put stuff that we didn't know what to do with. We've become far too accustomed to looking at that stuff as if it's part of the furniture. If we haven't touched it in two years do we really still need it?

We also have some areas where we've stored stuff that we do need and use, but it's cluttered or poorly organized.

Editado: Jan 11, 8:53 pm

>8 cindydavid4: I think her emphasis was to reach those of us (raises hand) who treated all maintenance as projects--waiting until it reaches critical density before doing what we should have been doing as maintenance all along. But both Dana and Taylor would, I think, say that if maintenance is moving smoothly, adding a project wouldn't overload--just don't treat stuff that should be maintenance as a project.

And when The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning came out in 2018, that spurred a lot of discussion about older folk like us clearing out so our family doesn't have to. The Spruce has a checklist for that: https://www.thespruce.com/swedish-death-cleaning-4801461

>9 EllaTim: Ella, half of April and all of May are spent on paperwork in the 52 week organized home challenge referenced above, but Taylor says you can also do it in tandem with the other challenge. This is her starting page for paperwork organization.

You can find the whole year calendar on my Pinterest board for cleaning here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/214132157274066208/

>10 lauralkeet: I also moved into a space with more storage and with fewer possessions, but I'm noticing that I need to start doing more to maintain my stuff. Especially in areas like the kitchen cabinets and pantry, where stuff tends to accumulate.

Jan 11, 8:08 pm

Just FYI, this thread’s now on the group wiki, and I dropped a note about it into the Group Announcements thread.

Jan 11, 8:31 pm

Thank you so much, Jim.

Jan 11, 9:30 pm

>11 ronincats: thanks for that clarification. For us the cleaning is daily the maintece is as needed.

One question I have (and it might be answered in home storage solutions: how long do you save paper documents? I know tax records for 7-10 years. But what about the yearly insurance (car and house and life)statements we get every year? Medical records, esp for Medicare, workman comp papers, buying/selling house forms and title/deed paperwork,
house and car repair receipts. Any help for this or should I just go to the website

I have heard of the Swedish Death Cleaning, I'll definitely check that out

Jan 12, 9:46 am

I just found this via Jim's links (Thanks, Jim!)
I don't think I'd be in for a partner project, but I FOR SURE have lots of decluttering and purging to do before we move this year. We have accumulated way too much stuff over the last eight years in this house, and I have boxes in the basement that we haven't opened since our last move!

Jan 12, 11:45 am

Your original posts on decluttering earlier this week inspired me to tackle two boxes that had been sitting unopened since our move two years ago. Thanks!

Jan 12, 11:50 am

>14 cindydavid4: Several of these sites have guidelines for that, Cindy. Here's one: https://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/how-long-should-you-keep.html

>15 ChelleBearss: Hi, Chelle. LONG time no see. Good to see you around and hope you'll drop in regularly and let us know if you get to those boxes.

>16 labfs39: Always glad to be of help, Lisa!

And now off to catch up on my tasks for this week. First, the kitchen junk drawer!

Jan 12, 11:59 am

Thank you Roni for setting this up!

>9 EllaTim: I also have a paper problem. I think my first few months will be a 15 minute declutter session 5 days a week. If I get really into it, I will do 7, but I'm going to start with some wiggle room. I will most likely work in whatever room Taylor's challenge is in and then when I can get a staging area set up will start with the daily missions.

I am within 5-6 years of retirement, so I am trying to get organized to downsize. I plan to head back to the midwestern US where my siblings and nieces and nephews are, but I have mixed feelings about leaving the community I've lived in for the last 35 years.

One of my rewards for doing this will be getting a dog. My dog Milo died last summer, and I need another furred friend to share my life, but want to have a cleaner home to bring one into.

Editado: Jan 12, 12:29 pm

I'd love to drop in here. I am the steward of a Little Free Library and would suggest those of you who are trying to move books along to use those. I am posting a map so you can find the locations of those closest to you. I would also happily answer any questions you have about those since I have had mine since 2013, and my husband has built others which are standing throughout our community.

I am in my mid seventies so I see a need to start downsizing all the clutter in my house. It's slow going. My first priority is to return things to my adult children who have stashed their old goodies here after they grew up and moved out. Fortunately, they live close enough so I can foist things that were theirs off on them every now and then.

Regarding my books:
I accumulate a lot of them because I constantly receive book donations for my Little Free Librar visitors, but what I am trying to downsize are the books in my personal To Read collection which now number over 400. In my lifetime, do I really have enough time to read all of them (as I still add books I like and library books to this collection)?

Stuffed drawers and closets are a whole other problem. *sigh*

Jan 12, 1:40 pm

Count me in, too, Roni, and thanks for setting this up. I have a ton of decluttering to do, and paper clutter is a big part of it.

I need to read through your links and get myself organized to decide where to begin. And isn't that one of the biggest obstacles: where to begin??!

Jan 12, 1:50 pm

>3 ronincats: Oh, count me in here. I'd love to have a buddy on this journey.

Jan 12, 4:43 pm

Now that I'm retired, I have several goals along these lines, and time to work on them.

1) Find, sort and catalogue all my books. De-acquisition some of them. (Probably no more than 1%.)
2) In the course of the next decade, transform the house so that nothing requires a step ladder to access. (I visualize myself climbing ladders at 80+, and cringe.)
3) File or discard all the loose papers in the house, including the contents of boxes with labels like "desk clutter, Oct 2019".
4) De-acquisition excess crockery and other kitchen clutter.
5) Clean everything our cleaning service consistently ignored - and while I'm cleaning it, consider whether we still need it. Devise a plan that will result in repeat cleanings at appropriate intervals.
6) Examine all the clothing I own. Get rid of any that are extremely unlikely to ever fit again, have accumulated damage I can't or won't repair, or simply never get worn. Buy replacements in the unlikely event that this leaves me seriously short of some category I actually use. Ideally reduce the total by 10-50%.

I'm progressing on these very slowly, and I'm pretty much OK with that, provided I'm moving in the right direction. I'm doing OK with most of these, or at least staying still, except for #3. Papers seem to breed whenever I turn my back, and it's currently not helping at all that I won't have access to my usual bookkeeping program for another couple of weeks.

Jan 12, 4:50 pm

>17 ronincats: wow! thats just the info I needed (which means I need to find more space for stuff I thought I could dump) buts its good to know!

Jan 12, 4:55 pm

>19 SqueakyChu: re books: We have an addedum to our wills that specify certain people to have first pick, then where the estater (cant remember the word) can take them to be sold . all my rare books go to a fav rare book seller in the area, recent books go to our local indi, our other books go to the used store. anything no one wants can be donated.

We have the same thing for Ds collect since I know thats gonna be a major project (I keep telling him I t=want to go first so I don't have to deal with it!)

Jan 12, 4:56 pm

>20 jessibud2: yes where to begin, and then what takes priority from there

Jan 12, 5:31 pm

>20 jessibud2:, >25 cindydavid4: That's why I like Taylor's program--she's got the schedule all worked out and I know I will get to everything over a year's time.

Editado: Jan 12, 7:24 pm

OK, I'll bite. I've been slowly decluttering for a while now, and some of it has gone very well, and some has not. I loved Dana K. White's book, and just signed up for Taylor's newsletter, even though my inbox is one of the touchy subjects as regards decluttering.

Today I actually got down to go through and reorganize the bottom two shelves in my utility closet. First I did the ground shelf/cubbyhole. That's where the tools, paint stuff, light bulbs, etc. hang out, and it was pretty scrambled. I pulled everything out, consolidated what I could, decided to toss some stuff, and basically IDENTIFIED what was down there. Then I did the shelf above, and found quite a lot of treasures among the cleaning supplies, and reminded myself of what I have there. Very satisfying, and somewhat enlightening. Not all of it was acquired by me - some was salvaged from my late friend Alan's apartment, and I was glad to be reminded of what I thought I would try out. Some is to be given away through Buy Nothing or the local thrift shop. Some is already down the trash chute. It was pretty satisfying.

A few weeks ago I tackled the kitchen, not the food in the cabinets but the containers, tools, stuff in the back of the shelf. I may not need aluminum foil for another year. Definitely made more room, but I have to admit I don't use everything I have, and sometimes forget I have it. And I have a thing about glassware. So, another iteration is bound to occur eventually.

I solved my paper problem a couple of years ago by buying a scanner. I probably save more than I need to on my computer, but at least it doesn't take any space. As soon as I scan a document or bill, I shred the original. I've pretty much cleared my desk, which is a great relief.

The books (well, you know) are another matter. I rarely buy any physical books anymore, and the Kindle ones don't take up space. In addition, I've begun using the library much more, especially as ebooks have become so convenient to borrow. But there are still many, many books in the apartment, and I have yet to devise a real plan to trim them down. When I joined LT in 2009, I scanned all the physical books using the Cuecat, and dumped the ones that were too brittle, or had tiny type, or (in a couple of cases) bugs. That was a long time ago. So ROOTS is another part of my plan.

I'll read the yearly plan from Taylor and see if I can get any rhythm going from her suggestions.

Editado: Jan 12, 8:39 pm

>24 cindydavid4: My plan for my books is very simple. Except for the very, very few family heirlooms I have, ALL of the rest of my books will go to fellow members of my Bookcrossing club. If that sounds impossible, it's not. A club member died several years ago, and her sister ended up giving us her entire book collection. It took us some time, but we rehomed every book of hers.

>2 ronincats: I like the link above that is a calendar with tasks for each day of the year. That is very doable even if I don't do all of the days. Since we have a business, it is tax season, and we are in the process of dissolving our business, those items will take higher priority for the time being, but I will follow along here and hope to succeed in decluttering as well when I finally can get to it. Thank you so much for setting this up, Roni. This was a fabulous idea!

Jan 12, 9:07 pm

I am already scratching my head. I signed up in order to get the calendar of tasks. Every time I click to print or download it, it takes me back to the info page, requiring me to sign up. I even got the email thanking me for signing up and asking me to click to confirm, which I did and still, I can't seem to find a way to print or download the calendar. Maybe I just need to copy and paste each page? Sheesh, can I be that technically challenged that I can't do even this?

Jan 12, 9:32 pm

>28 SqueakyChu: oh I have no doubt its possible in an early online book group we all got together and manage put together an album for his daugh ter most us never met

Jan 12, 9:38 pm

>20 jessibud2: Yes. What >25 cindydavid4: said.

>27 ffortsa: Congratulations! I did my 15 minutes tonight and am happy with that.

Editado: Jan 12, 9:55 pm

>29 jessibud2: Once you have verified you email, you should get a message with a link to the PDF calendar.

You can also print the calendar one page at a time from the website here. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the month you want to print.

Editado: Jan 12, 11:34 pm

>2 ronincats: From the daily 15-minute tasks link above, I got an idea. Suppose I set aside just fifteen minutes a day to sort just something small that I think would not take longer than fifteen minutes without going according to a preset schedule of specific things to do? That would always be helpful, even if it runs over fifteen minutes. I always put off what I don't like to do. So most things get put off indefinitely, and things I have to do (like taxes, grocery shopping, and bill paying) get done, but other things are never attended to.

I tried this as an experiment tonight. I took part of a desk supplies box to clean out for fifteen minutes. I found (1) things I didn't know I had (2) things that should be stored elsewhere (3) something my granddaughter would like (4) things to throw out. It took me 35 minutes to do this, but if I tried to do something every day and tried very hard to make the chore last no more than fifteen minutes, perhaps I'd get more done.

The food storage guidelines made me laugh. How am I to know exactly how many days my produce has been stored? It's not as if I can write a date on each piece of fruit as I do on my food containers! I know. It's just a guideline, but it did give me a chuckle. I think I can tell when each piece of fruit needs to get tossed. :D

P.S. Don't even ask how long I store things in my upright freezer! LOL!

Editado: Jan 13, 7:09 am

>27 ffortsa: like Judy, a lot of my documents are stored digitally. I have a printer/scanner, but more and more these days I just use my phone. The iPhone Notes app allows you to scan pages which become a PDF inside the Note and can then be moved to your primary online storage location. The scans are not always perfect but decent enough for this purpose.

>33 SqueakyChu: Madeline, you've given me an idea for tackling an area of our basement. When we bought our house, the previous owners asked if we wanted them to leave the basement shelves in place, and we said yes. We didn't realize that also meant all of the crap on those shelves (they were holding an auction so I think they just cordoned off that area and did nothing with it). We inherited a lot of hazardous chemicals that we disposed of through the county collection process, and loads of miscellaneous DIY materials from caulk to nuts and bolts. We disposed of and organized a lot of that, but never quite got around to organizing all of OUR stuff that actually belongs there. It doesn't help that this area is more my husband's milieu and he couldn't care less about organizing it. But perhaps if I can break it down into smaller 15-minute tasks we can make some headway.

Jan 13, 7:46 am

>32 markon: - I did click the button to verify my subscription. Around 3 separate times. All that did each time was take me back to the main page of info. No new email with any links arrived, as it said it should.

I send an email to her contact link and am still waiting. Clearly, they have my correct email addy if they were able to send the email asking me to verify my subscription.

Editado: Jan 13, 9:33 am

I had to verify my subscription twice, but I did get the download. No emails yet.

eta: Ah, an email has arrived.

Jan 13, 9:40 am

Well, I did get an email today but it was probably the same email everyone got. She thanked me for joining and said that yesterday she sent me the link (didn't happen). She then said that in case I didn't get it, here it is again. So, now I have it. But I have already printed out the January and Feb. calendars, thanks to markon in >32 markon:. :-)

Editado: Jan 13, 2:11 pm

>34 lauralkeet: I'm working on that 15-minute thing I suggested which seems to be working. Today I cleaned out a bag of stick-on address labels and other stickers which I can never seem to throw out because I do use them. There were simply too many of them. I guess my fifteen minutes went to about half an hour BUT I was able to (1) recycle with paper about a quarter of the pile which I did not like that much (2) find quite a few stickers which I put in my granddaughter's sticker box here at my house (3) combine stickers from many pages to fewer pages. FTW!

I like that I can pick odd spots to work on and don't have to stay on a strict schedule. I also like that I don't have to spend a lot of time each day doing this! :D

Let me know if my idea works for you. Feel free to post your success story! :)

>37 jessibud2: Let me know how that daily calendar works for you (and if you stick to what she says to do every day). I think that the schedule would make me crazy...like with books. Once I have a book on my "To Read" pile, I don't want to read it any more. I'd then rather pick a random read. Ha!

I consider too many emails clutter, and try to avoid subscriptions to anything on email.

Jan 13, 12:54 pm

>38 SqueakyChu: Feel free to post your success story! :)

LOL well, this morning I got sidetracked on my way to taking a shower and cleaned out a cabinet in the bathroom! I got rid of old stuff that we no longer use and it was quite satisfying. Small victories.

Jan 13, 1:03 pm

>39 lauralkeet: Lots of small successes make for larger successes. Hey...good job, Laura!

Jan 13, 3:20 pm

I'm working on de-cluttering this year too. I think having too much of a plan around it will drive me crazy, I'm trying to focus on one problem at a time (with no expected timeline) and not even thinking about what to tackle next until I get around to fixing the current problem.

Jan 13, 4:38 pm

I'm kinda on hold because I am staying with a friend right now and will head home in a week or so.

I am generally pretty good about keeping the kitchen area decluttered and functional. Most of my problems are with projects and papers and books and digital stuff (especially email). I tend to be an optimist and think I'll get that thing done! This year even! But with a major relocation looming, I need to get ruthless about finishing or giving up on projects--decision time! Hell, I brought 6 projects with me on this trip and have touched only 1 of them (besides the interminable clearing out of emails and identifying those that require a response).

I have Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which is one of the books I need to finish reading this year (didn't quite manage it in 2022). I did adopt her method of folding clothes (and whether to hang them), and it definitely opened up a lot of dresser space, which has now been filled in the intervening years...

I also have Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organized, and Happy Life, another paused book that I managed to finish in the last days of December. Both have useful strategies and ideas. I always get stuck on implementation, so let's hope that I can follow through this time after finishing the reading.

Another online resource:
Apparently she also has a book that came out in 2017 that I was unaware of. Rather than a cleaning/organizing/decluttering calendar, she offers challenges and cleaning checklists.

Jan 13, 7:18 pm

>38 SqueakyChu: I get so many charities sending me those address labels that I have enough to last a few years. Whats not helpful is some saying Cindy, the others saying David. now and again we get both names. I wish there was a way to stop these; isnt there something else to spend this money on? I can pay for my own if I wanted. some are from charities we support others are all over the place.tired of having so many

Jan 13, 7:29 pm

>43 cindydavid4: So, Cindy, tomorrow is the day you're going to do the 15-minute address label decluttering. I challenge others to do this as well. It would be fun if people posted their own 15-minute declutter challenges here as well. What do you think?

About those address labels. I don't care whether they have my name or my husband's or both names as the address is the same. I use them interchangeably.

Jan 13, 8:22 pm

At the moment this is a case of do as I say not as I do, BUT---what I used to find effective was writing my jobs down on slips of paper and drawing one out of a hat.

If I got a small job, good luck to me, I was allowed to take the rest of the day off; if not, so be it.

Of course I say this as someone who likes to choose their next read using a random number generator, so YMMV. :D

Editado: Jan 13, 8:39 pm

REsponding to everyone up above! The only thing I really got out of Marie Kondo, and I use it exclusively now, is folding my dresser clothes vertically. I can see and get to everything and I can squeeze more in--oops, that's not the goal, is it?

I'm in a different place from a lot of you. Remember, I've followed Taylor for two full years now, and never been in the place where I could follow her schedule. I've only been in this house for a year and a half, and I got rid of oodles and oodles prior to the move, so I don't have anything that desperately needs decluttering and organizing (except the boxes of family photos in the workroom in the basement) but I am getting to the point where some timely sprucing up/clearing out is called for so I don't devolve. That means I can let Taylor make sure I get to every area of the house over this year without me having to do the brain damage of organizing that as well. Also, now it is only me. What I say goes and where I put something, it stays.

So yesterday I was home all day and I caught up on the week's tasks, as I'd had a busy first half of the week with going over to Mom on Tuesday and putting away Christmas Wednesday. I got all the drawers gone through and straightened, went through the junk drawer and found a couple things I'd been wondering where they were, cleared out a bunch of food containers sent over with leftovers by my sister from family dinners that I will return to her so she can send some more, and straightened under the sink, getting rid of a few things that didn't belong there. Then I got sidetracked by something that actually is next Thursday's task--trying to find a better way of accessing my good Penzey's spices on two 5" high shelves. I ended up deciding some trays were the best idea, decided on 6" x 9", and then remembered I'd a box of plastic organizer trays upstairs that I ordered when I was organizing the craft room. I'd used up one box and ordered another, but hadn't ever used them. So there were two 6x9 trays and 2 6x6 trays and they worked perfectly. Now I can just pull out the whole tray to access all the spices behind the front ones. (I got so excited about this that I forgot to feed my sourdough starter!)

Jan 13, 8:47 pm

AND then, last week was counters and appliances, and I decided I needed a cart to handle a number of my small appliances, so I ordered one from Wayfair. It arrived today while I was over in Abilene with Mom, and after I took the last of the cats to the vet this afternoon for deworming, I put the cart together and moved my air fryer, coffee grinder, blender, toaster oven, and fruit bowl onto it. Here are before and after shots.

Editado: Jan 13, 8:53 pm

>46 ronincats: Pull-out spice trays are great, Roni, but your spices are not arranged alphabetically. Why not?! :D BTW, I love Penzey's spices!

>47 ronincats: Beautiful improvement with the cart. Sadly, my kitchen is too small to do something like that.

Jan 13, 9:25 pm

>48 SqueakyChu: But they are arranged by type! The baking spices in one tray. The peppers and salt substitutes in another. Much more sensible.

I delayed buying anything in the nature of an island or a cart because I wanted to establish my traffic pattern and didn't see a need. Now I did, it's against that north window wall where there's an outlet right behind and it's out of the way of my traffic patterns. I am fortunate to have that space.

Jan 13, 9:26 pm

>47 ronincats: - Wow, Roni, your kitchen looks beautiful and that cart sure fits in and made such a difference!

Jan 13, 11:46 pm

>46 ronincats: LOL Also, now it is only me. What I say goes and where I put something, it stays.

yes, that always helps

Jan 14, 12:43 am

Oh my goodness, Roni! All I can do is admire, but I do that wholeheartedly!!!!! What a difference the cart makes!!!!!

Jan 14, 7:01 am

Roni, your kitchen looks amazing! Great work.

Editado: Jan 14, 8:48 am

For a short but unspecified time, Simplify Days is offering 4 videos to download about their process for dealing with paper. They have a class they want to sell you, but these free videos seem of value simply for their overview of the process.

"In these videos you will:

🗂 Learn how to create a Simplify Station to capture and organize all incoming paperwork.
3️⃣ Learn about the 3 types of information so that you always know how to organize it.
💡 Understand the Information Workflow that will forever change how you look at any piece of information.
🔃 Gather, purge, and organize all of your paperwork that is currently on any horizontal surfaces in your home and/or office."


Editado: Jan 14, 8:59 am

>44 SqueakyChu: I think posting our 15 minute challenges is a great idea. I plan on doing that.

>47 ronincats: Thanks for posting those pictures Roni. It really does make a difference.

>54 ronincats: I'm going to check out the videos Roni. The paper is my biggest challenge right now.

Jan 14, 12:06 pm

Here's a fifteen minute challenge: Find a bag of "stuff" in your house. It can be anything. Go through it. Tell us what your "stuff" was, how long it took to sort through it, and what you did with all of it. Enjoy! :D

Jan 14, 12:14 pm

Thanks for posting links to useful sites, everyone! Very helpful.

>47 ronincats: Roni, I love your kitchen, and yes, big improvement.

I decluttered under the kitchen sink today. Threw away some stuff, and did some through cleaning as there had been mice in there. It’s the place for cleaning materials of course but unfortunately also the only place where I can put the larger bottles, olive oil, apple vinegar. The other kitchen cabinets are not high enough.

It took me more than fifteen minutes, but it was worth it.
Also put away some of the Christmas stuff. Certainly not all of the lights, this January is turning out to abysmally dark and gloomy. We need some lights to get us through.

>54 ronincats: I will be checking out those videos! Thanks for posting. I got started on decluttering because of paper. But first because I’ve been receiving warnings that my Google account space is nearly full. I don’t want the extra cost of paying for server space, so I need to clear emails out as well. Digital space can get even more cluttered than physical space!

Jan 14, 4:00 pm

>58 ronincats: That’s very interesting Roni! Just what I needed. It’s like they say in the article, it takes forever to sort mail, and delete unnecessary stuff. And deleting everything is not a good idea. I’ll be trying this, probably will take some time and patience as well, but I think I can manage it. So thanks!

Jan 14, 7:52 pm


Simplify Days is doing a free 1-hour training tomorrow, January 15th, at 4 pm ET all about my 5 secrets for eliminating years or decades’ worth of paper clutter. 👉🏻 Reserve your seat right here. 👈🏻


I have a full presentation prepared complete with slides, graphics, and everything that you’ll need to understand these essential simplifying secrets!

In this LIVE masterclass you will learn:

📝 How to take care of incoming paper and paper on your surfaces.

⛑ Where and how to store your most essential household information.

🤩 How to eliminate paper clutter PLUS the secrets for eliminating mental clutter and digital clutter as well!

👓 Where you should focus when you’re ready to simplify.

📈 How to make progress, even when you’re really busy.

What I teach in this LIVE training are the foundational principles that you MUST know in order to get rid of paper clutter once and for all. (And they’re probably NOT what you think they are). Plus, I’ll be answering your questions live!

I’d love to have you join me LIVE on:

➡️ Sunday, January 15th at 4 pm ET

🌟 Learn my secrets and see even MORE success with eliminating paper clutter by registering for this FREE LIVE TRAINING right here. 🌟 (Remember, you need to register in order to participate).

Plus, when you register for this free event, we’re going to give you a special gift! It’s a valuable One Box Cheat Sheet. This will help you get all of your important documents and legacy information in one secure location and will give you tremendous peace of mind!

Jan 14, 9:08 pm

>60 ronincats: - Ok, you got me. I just signed up for this. Maybe it will give me the kick in the pants I so desperately need! Thanks, Roni

Jan 14, 10:01 pm

>49 ronincats:
I previously had my spices arranged alphabetically but my husband could not stand it and he does a fair amount of cooking so it lasted about a week. But the bigger problem is that I am so short I need to incorporate them at a lower level so I don't have to get on a stool to see them!

Arranging your spices according to use makes sense, and your kitchen looks wonderful.

Jan 15, 7:20 am

>57 EllaTim:, >58 ronincats: re: Gmail decluttering

Like any decluttering task, it helps to break this one into smaller jobs. If you use labels to organize your mail, you can tackle one category at a time. Gmail also has some useful search operators that can help make the task more manageable. For example, you can search for all mail that has an attachment, save the attachments elsewhere if they are still needed, and delete the email. Even easier -- albeit more ruthless -- is to delete old messages. Decide what "old" means to you, search for all messages before that date, and delete them.

I do something like this once a year, usually in December. I leave the current year's email untouched. I search for messages more than 3 years old, 2-3 years old, and 1-2 years old and each time review the list, decide what to do with attached files, and delete messages I no longer need.

Here's a list of Gmail search operators, which might give you other ideas for how to work through your email.

Jan 15, 9:09 am

>63 lauralkeet: Hi Laura! I have saved your link, very useful. Searching through Gmail is something I do a lot, and this is helpful. There are more options than I knew of.

You are more ruthless than I am. But I need to be more decisive about what to leave and what to throw out. Decisions, that’s the problem.

Jan 15, 10:41 am

Who else here is a recipe hoarder? How do you deal with this? An untried recipe is one to save…Right?! 😂

Jan 15, 11:02 am

>65 SqueakyChu: I hoard recipes too. But I’m fairly good at deciding/realising that I’m not going to be cooking particular things and so clearing them out. If I’ve had a recipe for close to a year, never tried it and most likely forgot I had it, I’m never going to make it. Our it goes.

Jan 15, 11:52 am

>47 ronincats: What a gorgeous kitchen, Roni!

I confirm the value of the kitchen cart. I have one that I got when I was living in apartments with tiny kitchens with minimal counters and storage. It holds my food processor, toaster, less commonly used implements, and is the perfect height for kneading dough. It now lives in the gap between the end of my kitchen cabinets and the first of my bookcases in my main room that serves as kitchen/dining/living room.

>60 ronincats: Will definitely check that out!

>65 SqueakyChu: Me! A bunch of years ago, I sat down and organized them by category and stored them in an accordion folder with many pockets. Then I would go through at intervals and pick a bunch of likely ones to try out and put them in my staging folder. When I'm menu planning, I go to the staging folder and pull out some for this week's menu folder. When I'm done, I write my notes and file it back away in the accordion, or throw it away because I didn't like it enough. Lately, the collection has expanded so much that I broke out the baking recipes into their own smaller accordion folder. It's all due for a serious decluttering though.

Editado: Jan 15, 12:29 pm

>65 SqueakyChu: Actually, in addition to the recipes I found today (while doing a 15-minute desktop clearing!), I too actually have an accordian folder for most of my recipes. The recipes I use frequently, I put on 4x6 cards, then in a file box which I keep close at hand. One of my future projects will be to go through all of my recipes and discard those I haven't used, don't have the ingredients for on hand (or can easily get) or can't be adapted to the low sodium diet my husband has to adhere to now since his heart attack in 2021. This seems to me like a lot of fifteen-minute episodes! LOL!

>2 ronincats: Roni, thank you so much for that fifteen-minute idea. You have me on a roll! :D

Jan 15, 12:29 pm

I'm reading along, I've a mass of work that needs doing. I take small bites, but not often enough. I'm still working, but I plan to get some work done before I retire. Not requesting a partner right now, but picking up tips. I must track down the book I found useful a few years back.

The Kondo concept I like is for keeping things that spark joy. My problem is I don't have space to do the sorting, and not being a driver, exiting stuff I don't want to throw is slower. So I need to make some space. Kondo, of course, has NO understanding of books and their lovers.

Editado: Jan 15, 12:34 pm

>69 Caroline_McElwee: Reading Kondo Marie made me laugh! I enjoyed her book, though. Some of her ideas were good; some I didn't care for. For example, I went back to my old way of storing socks (one folded up into another). The only things that I still have reminiscent of her are my bath towels stacked sideways and my sweaters stacked sideways. That side stacking is sort of annoying though as, if the shelf is not full, the individual items fall down. I like her idea of being grateful for each item we own. That's a nice spiritual touch. The books...well, that's another matter! I take it that she doesn't do as much reading as we do. She's too busy stacking things sideways. LOL!

Jan 15, 1:39 pm

I have to say, Marie Kondo drove me nuts. From the get-go, I did not like or even understand her *style*. She would probably have a heart attack if she walked into my house but that's ok. I have no plans to invite her! ;-)

Editado: Jan 15, 6:41 pm

I achieved a tiny amount of decluttering this afternoon. While I was still working, I tended to take magazines from the incoming mail pile and stack them on the edge of bookshelves, meaning to get back to them later. Later rarely came; perhaps one issue of each periodical got read, per year. (Mostly, they were free periodicals that came with something I actually wanted...)

Some months ago, the inevitable finally happened - multiple stacks fell down all at once. They were, of course, piled above head height. Fortunately I jumped back quickly; nothing was damaged and I wasn't injured. I picked up the mess, sorted it by category, and put the stacks on the floor in my bedroom. Hopefully I also had the sense to immediately recycle any categories I knew I'd never read, but I'm not sure.

Today I had a free hour, and decided to attack the mass of superfluous clothes. Step 1 - gain complete access to my cupboard. There was a stack of magazines in front, too tall for me to move as a unit, and topped with a pile of random clothes hangers.

The next thing you know, I'd pitched one of the stacks in its entirety (the smallest, unfortunately), and was sitting on the floor sorting the one I'm most likely to want to read into piles by year of issue. I've been reading as many as 3 out of 4 issues of that magazine, since I retired, and am interested in the subject (contract bridge), so I figured there was hope. I then reassembled the stack somewhere slightly more out of the way, and added more recently received unread issues to the pile, with two I'd started but not finished at the top. I also read the one useful article in each of two of the shorter newsletters, and pitched them as well.

The hangers are now dusted, and in the overflow closet, to be followed by any others found on the floor of main closet.

I never did get to the clothes, but there will be a decent amount in our paper recycling cart when we put it out on Monday night. And now I can conveniently reach both the floor of the clothes closet, and the shelf at the top, not just the row of hanging clothes.

Jan 15, 7:34 pm

>60 ronincats: - So. I attended the webinar this afternoon, after printing out her worksheets yesterday. It was good, organized and clear, and I took notes as well. It could have been at least half an hour shorter, though, as the last half hour (it seemed) was one big infomercial, trying to get viewers to sign up/join her more extensive courses, which, from the sounds of it, just expand on what the webinar outlined. It also took her a very long time to respond to the barrage of questions in the chat box about how much this *course* costs and the final answer sounded rather pricey to me. Maybe belonging and having a *community* is something many people need and want in order to get things done but I am not one of those. Probably another reason I am not on any other social media, frankly. I am not on facebook, instagram, twitter or any of the others. By choice. Anyhow, I have her outline, the roadmap, as it were, and I think I can take it from here, on my own. The big factor for me, is just DOING it and sustaining the initial impetus. I will try.

I did clear a huge pile of paper on my desk this morning and that felt good. Sure, it's barely the tip of the iceberg but it's a start. Another pile awaits, tomorrow....

Editado: Jan 15, 8:11 pm

Shelley, I was planning on attending, registered and everything, but then my sister called and was having a family dinner, originally at 4:30 so I thought I could at least see the first 45 minutes, but then moved up half an hour because a great-niece had dance class later, so all I saw was the first 15 minutes which was all asking about us and telling us her story. I'd really appreciate it if you wouldn't mind summarizing the main points.

Jan 15, 8:18 pm

>73 jessibud2: I didn’t participate because of the time difference. You clearing a big pile does sound like you achieved something!

Jan 15, 8:50 pm

>74 ronincats: - Roni, I will do just that tomorrow. I am about to head into a shower since they are shutting off the water on my street for the entire day tomorrow to fix a watermain break. I usually prefer to shower in the morning but I am doing it now, just in case they decide to begin early.

>75 EllaTim: - It felt good, Ella. But there are many more piles to attack before I will feel I have truly accomplished something. But you are right, it's a start. One thing I did was to take a little notebook and devote some pages to lists. A few pages for Websites to check out, another few for authors to check out, podcasts, films, etc, as every time I hear or read or see something I want to check out, I tend to scribble it on random pieces of paper. You can see how the piles can get out of control. So today, I consolidated those pieces of paper by transferring the info into the notebook in the designated sections I made and then I could recycle the scraps of papers. That felt good. Now, instead of a pile of scraps, I have one little notebook. Already, the space on my desk looks cleaner! Though, now I can see all the dust so that is tomorrow's task as well! ;-)

Editado: Jan 15, 9:52 pm

>72 ArlieS: if you want to get rid of mags, some bookstores take them but if they are older, check with senior centers, schools or shelters to see if they are needed there (I was always looking for mags that had photos I could cut out for activities for my class)

Well what started as 'honey will you help me go through the counter under the kitchen counter ?' filled up a bag for goodwill, and a bag filled with stuff I know our used bookstore will take. Then we tackled the little cabinet under the microwave that held lots of different appliances, got rid of ones we never use and then found our old phones that i think charities will take. Also got rid of an old popcorn popper, the kind with the big bowl so the kids can watch it popping. Opened the top and the smell of old oil fills the house It was fun, but its trash now So now we are both tired but happy.

>73 jessibud2: I missed it too, would love a summary or some tips about sorting and trashing paper (and yeah those things are never really free, there is always a catch....)

>76 jessibud2: so the moral to the story is if you don't remove clutter you wont have to dust :) Hope you get your water back on soon!

I have a note book that I will use to keep track of what we are doing. I know we did a lot in our kitchen and bedroom during the summer. Ill write down what else we need to do and it will be fun to see how much we get done

the paper stuff is hard Im another who writes things down then doesnt put it where it belongs. I have to be honest with myself whether I really need this phone number or reminder, and find a place for it!

Jan 15, 10:30 pm

Just discovered this thread - thank you Roni. I like the idea of 15 minute declutter chunks, though during the school year it's hard to keep up with the weekly chores and I tend to declutter binge over summer break. It's not enough, though. I love seeing ideas posted here!

Jan 16, 10:14 am

Ok friends. Here goes. I intended this to be a synopsis but it's longer than I expected.

Barbara (Fuller? can't remember) was a very good presenter. She started out with a bit of her own background and how she came to devote her working life full-time to helping others declutter. She is, as you might expect, very enthusiastic, positive and encouraging. She did mention several times that while there is no one size fits all, each of us will find what works for us. Her plan is a road map of sorts and, from my own perspective - maybe it's the teacher in me and reflects what I have always done - you take from this what works for you, and reject or alter what doesn't.

So, she outlined her *5 Secrets For eliminating years or decades' worth of paper clutter.*


Get current first, then tackle the backlog
. The best way to take care of incoming paper is with a simplify station. Create such a station by a) have a physical inbox to receive incoming paper (you don't have to go buy anything. One woman used a paper plate and put all incoming paper in that until she could sort and deal with it. Anything will do as long as you determine that that is its function.
b) Paper Organizer. You can use an accordion folder, storage pockets, whatever. Have 3 separate sections: a) active, b) inactive, c) quick reference


One box will do the trick. No matter how much paper you have in your life, your most essential household information should all be stored together in your One Box
. She suggests investing in a waterproof and fireproof safety box. There is a separate worksheet that itemizes exactly what sorts of things should be in this box. Also, there are 2 points about this: a) tell loved ones where it is and how to access it (where key or combination is) and b) keep it out of sight, away from potential burglars. Someone asked about bank safety deposit boxes but she discouraged this as she said that most banks have strict and complicated protocols about someone other than you getting into your safety deposit box at the bank.


This is about more than just paper. It's essential to simplify and organize your information comprehensively, and this includes physical information, mental information and digital information
. To do this this, you need systems, physical systems such as files, notebooks, binders
digital systems - files, apps, photos, passwords, etc


There isn't a right system for everyone but there is for you. Focus on Principles first, and tools second. Knowledge is much more powerful than a specific tool
For example, your passwords. Update passwords, close out inactive accounts. Do you prefer a digital app for storing passwords or a physical book (personally, I use a little notebook just for passwords). Make sure you have everything in one place together: site, password, security questions. Also include legacy instructions (this is good and I never thought of it), ie, what the account is used for and what to do with it after your death.


You don't need more time - just the right habits
. You can make massive progress with just 20 minutes a day of Daily Focus Time. Designate a time each day to focus by shutting out all distractions (close all emails, turn off phone, set a timer. Consistency is greater than time. Simplifying equals more peace of mind and more time.

Editado: Jan 16, 10:17 am

Part 2

Here is the One Box cheat sheet:
Important documents: Personal documentation
such as social security cards, birth certificate, passport and ID cards, marriage license, adoption papers, certificate of citizenship, death certificate, divorce papers, military discharge, etc.

Finance & Ownership - tax returns and documents, deeds, bills of sale, current car titles and registrations, insurance policies for home, auto, property.

Medical, Aging and Death - health insurance policies, current wills and living wills, current powers of Attorney, medical and burial instructions, beneficiary directors

Legacy Information -
- info and directions for financial agent, medical agent, executor, guardians, beneficiaries
Summary Sheets - personal info, documents, passwords, passports, contacts, medical info, financial info, ownership info, additional info, media info, memories info, aging and death info

She suggests that if you do use a bank safety deposit box, to ask the bank what the procedures are in the event of your death and what the executor needs to do to gain access. Provide loved ones with the details of the box including the address of the bank and lease agreement for the box.

There was also a separate print out for Paper to Keep or Toss

(she gives time frames but best to check locally):
- tax returns (7 years but check locally for requirements)
- deeds, bills of sale
- investments, account certificates, bonds
- insurance policies (home, auto, property)
- health insurance policies
- retirement or pension plan records
- real estate documents

- recipes you've been saving but never tried ;-)
- take-out menus that can be found online
- expired coupons - bills that have been paid (only keep most recent)
- magazines over 3 months old
-newspapers over a day old
- catalogs
- junk mail
- old calendars
- physical cheques that have been deposited and cleared the bank
- sticky notes with info that is no longer relevant
-pharmacy info for medication no longer taken or keep most recent for current meds
- manuals you can find online or for products you no longer own or use.

Now, all we have to do is getting moving!! :-)

Jan 16, 11:31 am

Thank you, Shelley! That is very comprehensive.

Jan 16, 11:42 am

thanks for that!

- insurance policies (home, auto, property)
- health insurance policies

I have the the yearly statements they send us, dating back 30 years. How much of that should I be keeping?

Thinking about what I already have been doing for a while now I realize I already have some of this down. This might help others

-secret 1
I have paper files in our file cabinet, one drawer for basic bills, one for anything financial and medical, one for anything house and car related. i have two baskets near our kitchen counter, one for receipts to be shredded, one for anything that needs to be filed into the accordian file. Every month (or so) I take the stuff from the accordian file and transfer it to the file cabinet. At the end of the year (um, like now.....) I take everything out of the files that is used for taxes and keep them in an envelope, put with past taxes in a box, we keep for 7 years, shredding the last one about this time of the year. anything I don't need for taxes I checi to see if I should keep otherwise I shred (btw did you know that UPS has a shredding service. Cant remember how much now but it is relatively cheaP

Jan 16, 11:44 am

Those of you on medicare: how long do you keep all your EOBs?

Jan 16, 2:01 pm

>77 cindydavid4: "so the moral to the story is if you don't remove clutter you wont have to dust :)"

This! My mess was on the floor, so my housemate took one look at what I'd been doing, and brought in the vacuum cleaner.

Jan 16, 5:12 pm

>79 jessibud2: >80 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley! This looks very useful. I added your posts to my favorites for future reference.

Jan 16, 6:54 pm

There's no need to keep EOBs, bills, or insurance statements longer than a year at most. Almost all this info can be easily found in up-to-date detail on the web if you ever need it.

Jan 16, 8:00 pm

>86 reconditereader: I don't trust company web sites to remain accessible. I prefer to keep paper copies of just about everything financial, as long as the statute of limitations applies.

Jan 16, 8:01 pm

Have you ever needed an insurance document more than 2 years old? I haven't.

Jan 16, 8:44 pm

>87 ArlieS: I have the same concerned, but yeah, never needed one more than 2 years old, tho in a couple of cases I was really glad I did! Ill start going through them tomorrow

Editado: Jan 17, 10:21 am

Another website that I have used in the past is Flylady.net I like this because it changes your routines up and makes things more fun IMHO. And once you have things decluttered and some basic routines established, there are some control journals that are helpful: Home/Office Control Journal, FACE (finances), and Home Maintenance. You can create these with a three-ring binder and print out the guts/modify them to fit your needs.

Jan 18, 7:10 am

>79 jessibud2:, >80 jessibud2: These are great posts, Shelley, thanks for taking the time to write all of it down. I especially appreciate the "legacy" aspects. After dealing with my father's sudden incapacity (and trying to find all of his records) I organized my own stuff a bit better, but that was several years ago and my "system" could be improved.


Catalogs: mentioned in >80 jessibud2: as things that can be tossed, I thought I'd also mention a preventive measure for those in the US: Catalog Choice. This site is a (mostly) one-stop shop to cancel catalogs you no longer want. Before you recycle your pile of catalogs, take a few minutes to opt out of every one of them. And then do the same with every new unwanted catalog that arrives in your mailbox.

Editado: Jan 18, 9:29 am

>42 justchris: Do Less sounded good enough for me to track down a used copy - not that I need more books on the shelf, of course.

>47 ronincats: Amazing job on the counters

>63 lauralkeet: Thanks for that link. I"ve bookmarked it, even though most of my email is not on Google at the moment.

Some time ago I decided to buy a portable (hence small) scanner to assist in my decluttering. Mine is an Epson, but Brother makes some as well. I've conquered almost all my paper woes by scanning papers into folders on my computer. There, if I leave them for longer than I need, at least they don't contribute to clutter. It's allowed me to clear my files (just one drawer now for oversized stuff), and keep my physical mail in check.

I've also been pleased to employ Marie Kondo's folding system in my dresser drawers. Makes things so much more visible. Every once in a while I just stuff things in, and then take those 15 minutes to refold and reset. (Not the socks . though I do need to limit the stock of trouser socks since they were mostly for wear at work.)

I'm also pleased to say I've done most of the kitchen decluttering on the calendar, although plastic containers are still my nemesis. I'll check now for what is on the calendar for this week, just to be sure.

And oh, I recently bought a spice rack with three drawers that pull out and tilt down, for us shorties. Still have too many spices, especially as I don't cook that much, so that's another little hoarding tic I have to address.

Oh, almost forgot. I"ve scanned a lot of recipes, which is ironic, since I usually cook from HelloFresh boxes that come with recipes, but it got the recipe cards out of my kitchen, along with some others that look interesting if I ever bother again.

Jan 18, 12:52 pm

>27 ffortsa: I have a scanner and in theory could do something similar. But the time involved in the conversion process, plus I would need to establish reliable digital backup routines. Not so good with that.

>79 jessibud2: and >80 jessibud2: Thanks for sharing all of this. I had contemplated joining the master class and then got distracted. May still watch the available videos and will certainly download helpful handouts.

I have an appreciation for the value of longitudinal data, which means I tend to hold on to financial documents (at least those that summarize numbers) well past legal requirements. It's interesting to see how my income has evolved from teenager to approaching senior years. Or seeing how the costs of things like phone use have changed over time.

>90 markon: Thanks for sharing that! It was the second resource I was trying to think of but couldn't remember the name. Only ChumpLady was coming to mind, and that site is NOT about cleaning/organizing/decluttering.

>92 ffortsa: But spices are like books...can you really have too many? I have similar problems of picking something up bevause it looks interesting and spices exceeding their shelves. Hmmm.

Jan 18, 1:08 pm

>93 justchris: Yes to seeing longitudinal data. I have bookkeeping records back to 1992, all in a program called GnuCash, which can tabulate and graph all kinds of historical series.

This was invaluable for making predictions about my retirement expenses with some degree of confidence. I knew what I was actually spending, complete with broad categories. (So e.g. I knew that "meals at work" weren't going to be a thing, but groceries would increase by a roughly predictable % to compensate.)

Before that, any records I may still have are on paper, and not denominated in the same currency. If they exist at all they are in plastic box(es) in my basement. (Once rarely consulted records go down there, I tend to forget they exist.)

Jan 18, 1:16 pm

>93 justchris: I don't know about too many spices, but I sure know about spices that are too old. I have far too many little bottles of herbs and spices that no longer have much in the way of flavour, or have lost some but not all of their distinctive flavours.

My mother tended to have the same problem, and farthermore insisted on using them all up before buying more. I was an adult before I knew that tarragon normally has an anise-like flavour, because mom's tarragon was so old it no longer did.

I can sometimes bring myself to pitch 10 year old herbs and spices, so I'm doing better than mom. But I know I should be buying smaller quantities, and getting rid of anything that no longer tastes right.

Fortunately retirement has me cooking more than I had for the past decade or two, so spices are getting used a bit faster. There's hope that I will actually use up my common workhorse spices.

Editado: Jan 18, 2:05 pm

De-cluttering progress
We're continuing to make progress on de-cluttering. We cleaned out an overstuffed closet and in the process of consolidating all our linens, towels, etc. (currently stored in 3-4 different places) into it. We bought some fabric organizer bins (similar to these) to put each type of linen in.

The previous contents of the closet have been sorted into bins and taken to our upstairs apartment for storage. They were mainly spares (medicine, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.) so we don't need everyday access to them.

We also did a bunch of de-cluttering in our living room lately – here's a picture.

We keep a large number of containers on hand for tasks like this. Here's some pictures of our container storage - one, two, three.

Our paper workflow
For paper, we also have a document scanner. We scan incoming paper, receipts, etc. and then shred most things. We then OCR everything, and dump it into our document management software without any further organization. We rely on the document management feature's search feature to find things, since everything is OCR-ed. And we do regular backups of all the files to an external service.

I don't know how easy our paper workflow is to replicate, since we wrote custom software for it. I do think there's pre-built software that does similar stuff. Backups would probably need to be handled separately, though.

Jan 18, 10:33 pm

I'm definitely a recipe hoarder, along with other things. What I actually use is Zoho Notebook (previously I was on Evernote, and I'm looking for the next one - when they start pestering me to pay and limiting functions, I start heading out). Hundreds of recipes, from the web or scanned from cookbooks; many I have made, but it's a small fraction of the total. I have the ones I've made and want to make again tagged Tested. I need to tag the ones that didn't work (no, I can't just throw them out, I'm all too likely to pick them up again...) with something like Tested.Bad.

But also, I can't pass up a cookbook in a library sale or yard sale. I'll look through it and if there are a couple recipes that sound interesting, I'll take it. Which means I have a _lot_ of cookbooks. What I need to do - what I need to devote a few (many) 15-minute periods to - is read a cookbook, scan the (usually) two to five recipes I might actually make, put them into Zoho and get rid of the book. And some cookbooks will have essentially the same two to five recipes as others, so I won't even need to scan those...it would make a lot more room on shelves/in boxes/in my brain. I can stand having too many recipes in my digital notebook, because search works. But there are way too many cookbooks in my house and I have no idea what book has what recipe, even if I can remember that _a_ book has a particular recipe I want to try.

If I can get that process started, it would help a lot with my BOMB and discards goals, too. Books out of my life...

Jan 18, 11:27 pm

>97 jjmcgaffey: Oh, Jennifer. I am so with you on those cookbooks! I get them all for free because they are donated to my Little Free Library or I find more in other Little Free Libraries. I always keep the cookbooks, planning to make a recipe or two from each and then move them along. However, they never seem to move. I'll make my fifteen-minute decluttering tomorrow be with my cookbooks. I'll move some of them into my Little Free Library "OUT" box. Thanks for the suggestion! :D

Today I decluttered a shelf on my daughter's bed. My daughter is grown and long gone from this house, but my granddaughter plays in this room so the shelf has lots of her stuff. She just turned five so now it's time to remove the items which are too babyish for her. I found books and small toys to put into my Little Free Library (People will take *anything* from there!). I found coloring books, envelopes, cardboard, and sketching paper to add to my granddaughter's art table. I found playing cards to add to a bag of cards. When I finished decluttering that shelf, it looked too empty so I put a few stuffed animals on it! LOL!

Editado: Jan 19, 1:34 pm

So I decided to go through three bookshelves of cookbooks this morning. I found 18 of them to put in my Little Free Library. No, I didn't look through them to see if there are any recipes I want to save. I have enough other cookbooks and the whole internet to search for more recipes!

I also found other books. One was a book on using feng shui to declutter! Ha!! I wonder how long I've had that book?! It's going into my Little Free Library.

I also found three books by Israeli authors. I just loved those books by Savyon Liebrecht and Meir Shalev. I'm not going to reread them again. I saved them because I loved them. Wouldn't it be better for someone else actually read them? They are going to either a friend of mine or into my Little Free Library.

I also found a bookmarks to give away and paper to be recycled.


Jan 19, 11:48 am

>98 SqueakyChu:, >99 SqueakyChu: Way to go!

I spent my 15 minutes on paper last night. A few pieces to keep and file, most to recycle or shred.

And the sun is coming out! Hope it stays - I wanted to walk this morning before work, but it was a cloud of rain and I had good shoes on.

Jan 19, 11:51 am

>100 markon: *high five*

Editado: Jan 19, 12:50 pm

>96 kgodey: I approve of all the bookcases in that room, Kriti!

I got rid of the majority of my cookbooks when I moved. I still have one 26" shelf of them here in my office, which is still a luxury because for the most part I just run a search on the internet when I want a recipe. Which means I've a box of computer printouts in the pantry of recipes I want to keep. I threw away 3 big binders of those when I moved too. Cookbook declutter comes up on Feb. 1 on the program I'm following.

I have done my pantry and food challenges for this week, which went pretty well. I have a big cabinet back in the mud room that was the kitchen before they remodeled the house where I keep my excess pots and pans and appliances as well as most of my food storage. The cabinets in the kitchen have some canned and boxed mix goods, oils, baking supplies, and pasta, but the bulk goods are all out there.

Btw, Taylor encourages people to use her modules flexibly--no need to stick with her schedule.

And, I've been adding resources to >2 ronincats: as we go.

Jan 19, 3:12 pm

>95 ArlieS: Fair point. I switched to whole spices and herbs bought in bulk a while ago, with rare exception. The intact spices tend to last a very long time with limited loss of efficacy. Then I can dry roast or not, grind (mortar and pestle or electric grinder) or use whole in cooking based on my preferences or needs of the moment. But yes, I remember the many canisters of my childhood that all smelled some variation of dusty. If I do buy something powdered, then definitely in small quantities from the bulk section.

>97 jjmcgaffey: Heh. I have a separate bookcase for cookbooks and food writing. It's definitely full. I try to be fairly discriminating in new acquisitions--it's got to offer something substantially novel and/or useful from what I already have in my collection. Kinda like my fabric or button embargo. Not allowed to buy unless it's for a clearly identified project (with very occasional exceptions).

Definitely some overlap, but not as much as you might think, given that some are ingredient focused (garlic or mushrooms or coconut, say), others center on cooking technique (clay pot, slow cooker, InstantPot), another set are based on cuisine (most overlap there, I imagine, given the number of Spanish cooking books I have), and finally those based on specialty diets (FODMAP, hemochromatosis, cancer, elimination, gluten-free baking, for example). Very few are general purpose, maybe only my copies of Joy of Cooking and Encyclopedia of Cookery. I'm sure I could do with thinning these. They all have my handwritten notes in them to varying degrees because that's the kind of cookbook owner I am.

Jan 20, 12:17 pm

>102 ronincats: Those aren't bookcases, they house (part of) our DVD / blu-ray collection. There are plenty of bookcases elsewhere in the house, though – over 20, I think.

Jan 20, 12:24 pm

I have saved a lot of recipes. I had subscribed to a box of vegetables each week. Some were pretty unfamiliar, so they came with recipes. But I find myself mostly using the internet these days, as there are so many choices and you can pick the most appealing one. And I use my old, reliable familiar cookbook. I could do with some sorting as well!

Digitizing: I have found that apps I used became outdated, no longer maintained, or too expensive (like evernote). So annoying. My PC is as cluttered as the rest of my house. Somehow paper still feels more reliable.

I really enjoyed myself decluttering, am now drawn to the eat-from-your pantry challenge. But I did overdo it, and I’m still recovering from a bout with Covid. So keeping it to fifteen minutes is a wise idea.

Jan 20, 1:57 pm

Completed another 15 minutes at my desk last night. I think one more will get me through the pile on the desk. Then I'll have the hard decisions - like what do I do with the glass paperweight Moderna sent me as a thank you for participating in the vaccine trial? It's a heavy glass globe with the world etched on it, and a blue bandaid over the USA. I don't want to throw it away, but - do I just put it on top of my tax papers until I get them all together? Then what?

Editado: Jan 20, 3:39 pm

>103 justchris: If I were less lazy, I'd do the same. But it's still somewhat of a struggle to actually cook with real ingredients rather than nuking something frozen or heating something from a tin, and I fear grinding spices as needed might be too much for my fragile resolutions to improve my eating habits.

>105 EllaTim: I have had similar experiences with apps that stop being supported, or change so much that successive format conversions mangle my data.

Editado: Jan 20, 3:54 pm

>106 markon:. I try not to throw things away that are still usable that I like but don’t necessarily want to save. I put these kinds of things into my Little Free Library and they are taken by people who want them. Use the globe for your tax papers then see whom you can foist it off on! Let us know!! :D

Jan 20, 4:12 pm

>108 SqueakyChu: That's a great idea! And there is a LFL in my neighborhood too.

Editado: Jan 20, 5:08 pm

>109 markon: Perfect!! I use my own Little Free Library to give away toys and puzzles my grandkids have outgrown as well as books (of course!). The neighborhood kids love to find little treasures in there. :D

Jan 20, 9:46 pm

Sorry to hear about the menu app experiences. I looked at some recipe sites, but decided to just do jpegs or pdfs of my recipes instead, as I doubt these formats will fail me. Of course, I then have to make my own shopping lists. Maybe some time in the future I will create a custom database, if I ever get involved enough in cooking to make it worth my while.

Editado: Jan 22, 11:19 am

Recipes and articles

For a while now I have been photographing with phone or ipad interesting recipes from magazines, and articles I want to revisit, and keeping them in folders in photographs, hence no stacks of papers pulled out, and I can pass magazines on to friends in tact.

Doubly useful re recipes as I usually stay in apartments when I holiday, which means the recipe is in my pocket. I have lots of Kindle cookbooks which I access on ipad, I also photograph fave recipes from my hard copy cookbooks for the same reason.

That's not to say I don't have too many hard copy cookbooks. I often write notes in them about tweaks or variations, but I guess I could just rephotograph those pages. I'll always keep some though, they are so beautifully illustrated these days, and many are full of food history and personal stories.

Jan 22, 1:02 pm

This week the focus is on the refrigerator and freezer in my 365 day program. In my case, the freezer is part of the refrigerator, as I gave up the chest freezer (and had no need for it) when I moved. My refrigerator is definitely due for a good clean out, and I have a lazy Susan I was given for crafts that doesn't work for them that I think might do very well on that tall top shelf!

I am wanting to do a closet clean-out, but making myself wait right now.

What are everyone's plans for this week?

Jan 22, 3:21 pm

>113 ronincats: I am working on the pantry. Cleaning out the refrigerator is part of that. I have a freezer, and want to make a list of what’s in it. I need to eat some of what I put in there, the zucchini. And I need to go through all of what I have in stock, as I have a plague of some kind of small bug, that gets into nuts, and everything. Had to throw a packet of nuts out today. Nuts are expensive, I’m not happy. Taylor has a challenge going eating from what’s in the pantry, very useful for me at the moment!

Editado: Jan 22, 6:15 pm

>114 EllaTim: For nuts, just store them in the freezer (assuming you have room). They won't get bugs, and they won't get rancid. I do a lot of baking with nuts so I store all of my nuts in the freezer, but I am fortunate to have an upright freezer.

>113 ronincats: Today my 15-minute random task was to clean out a very tiny top drawer of a desk I don't use other than to hold the TV in our bedroom. It took me 51 minutes to do this task (including cleanup). I assorted papers. I recycled metal, batteries, and paper. I added a few trinkets to the pile to go out in my Little Free Library. Bonuses: (1) I found some family information to add to my family tree! (ETA: I found that this information was already on my tree. I guess I saved the note because it has a message to me on it from my aunt Emma who is no longer alive, and I loved her so much. (2) I found a poem I wrote in 1979 (of which, of course, I have no recollection of writing!). It's dated 1979, and it's in my handwriting, with words scratched out and corrected...so it must be mine! I am going to type it up and add it to a folder of poems I collect. :D

>113 ronincats: Wouldn't a closet cleanout work better (and be easier) if you just broke it down to a small part of the closet multiple times instead of the entire closet at once. That latter is what overwhelms me and keeps me from doing *anything*!

Jan 22, 4:12 pm

Im working on our roll top desk. Was gifted to us by a friend who was moving, its rather large with lots of llittle drawer to hide, I mean put things in. Having the roll come down on the subsequent mess is a rather nice feeling, if definitely creating more to the problem. So I really want to get into all the nooks and crannies and toss out what must be 25 years worth of crayons, erasers, paper clips and pennies. Hope to make some head way as I'd really like to use the large drawer as another draw for some files that we need frequently. Well see how this goes

Jan 22, 5:12 pm

>115 SqueakyChu: Good tip. I don’t really have the space, as I use the freezer for produce from our allotment, and for meat that we buy at a farm nearby. But maybe I can make some space, as this is really frustrating, and I like eating nuts!

Jan 22, 6:25 pm

Well, I got home yesterday, and I was gone for a month. So I had a lot to unpack. I now have piles and piles of things dumped out from bags in various stages of cleaning, sorting, stowing, etc. So that's my immediate goal--finish dealing with travel chaos.

Editado: Jan 23, 11:57 am

>114 EllaTim: Ella, I had a constant struggle with pantry moths the entire time I lived in San Diego with its warm climate and the house being open so much as a result. They will lay eggs in anything plastic and the resulting grubs are nasty. I was always investing in pantry moth traps and those work pretty well at trapping the adults and preventing the next round of eggs if used regularly. That's also why I got in the habit of taking everything out of plastic or paper bags and putting it in sealed containers in the pantry. And I do keep nuts either in the refrigerator or freezer.

>115 SqueakyChu: Good for you, Madeline! If my closets were overwhelming, breaking it down would make sense, but since I got rid of so much and organized things when I unpacked here in my new house, it is less a matter of actually organizing and more a matter of just going through what is there to pick out what I am not wearing or doesn't fit well and getting it out of there. And again, this is so much easier because it is only me.

>116 cindydavid4: Oh, roll-top desks. I used to always crave a roll-top; I mean, all those places to put things! And then when I got one, I found out that things put in those little spaces and drawers rarely came out again. I didn't bring it with me when I moved, even though it was a lovely little 48" oak antique. I knew I didn't have a space for it.

And through the Clutterbug website, I have determined that I am a Bee. While I like my stuff organized in detail, it has to be where I can see it. Crickets would love roll-tops because it fits their style.

>118 justchris: First things first, Chris. That's a lot to deal with and it has to be put away before you can start on the regular stuff.

So I was going to concentrate on the freezer today, and set up the shelves I bought in the basement storage room, but then I realized that the cleaning people were coming Wednesday morning, I spend all day Tuesday with my mother, so I had better declutter my bedroom and craft room so they can CLEAN. In the bedroom, that means put away in its place all the jewelry I've worn for the last week or two that I just take off and drop on top of the dresser, and clearing the tops of the nightstands, so they can dust efficiently. But the craft room has gotten a little messy and if I want them to do a thorough dusting, I need to put a bunch of stuff back where it belongs now. So that's my plan. Freezer will have to wait until Wednesday or Thursday.

Jan 23, 12:26 pm

Once again, thank you, Roni, for this thread. There are actually little spots in my house now that I love to look at because they have become clutter-free. I love thinking up 15-minute segments of my house to declutter each day. It has become fun instead of tedious. :D

Jan 24, 3:11 pm

I have a challenge for those of you who hoard recipes. Go through them TODAY and make the FIRST recipe for which you have all the ingredients. THEN...either permanently save or throw out the recipe...depending on the results. I'm doing that today with a recipe for Rosemary-Corn Muffins. I'd love to hear if you do this as well...and what results you got! :D

Jan 24, 3:46 pm

Chastened to realize that Roni's "before" pics would look like an "after" pic in Suzanne-land...

That said -- I did do a lot of this last year when I moved to a MUCH smaller apartment. In the end, I forced myself to be ruthless. I threw out (as in, it went in a junk removal truck) an astonishing amount of stuff WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT IT. So far, no remorse (unless some family Xmas tree ornaments ended up there...)

My current big problems are bed linens, clothes, and papers/work-related stuff. I know where the rest of the books (the ones that aren't in boxes in the basement) will go. But I have no linen cupboard, and no place to put anything that would double as one.

A few thoughts:

A number of years ago, I was at some kind of wealth management seminar (as a journalist, not a wealthy person, of course...) and they have each of us a "red file" -- literally a red box file. The idea is to put in it crucial and tough-to-replace documents, from birth certificates and house deeds to passports (or copies) and anything else that might be vital. In an emergency, you can grab the file and stuff it in your go bag (remembering that some emergencies knock out power and thus Internet/digital access). My current thinking is that if something doesn't have a home in my red file, and I'm not legally required to keep a physical copy, I will scan and shred. (Of course, I need a new scanner and shredder, but this is the policy!!)

For clothes: I've been de-accessioning stuff that is wearable via ThredUp. They sort and will resell. I pick up envelopes, etc. at Gap/Banana Republic. I get a small amount in credit for those stores, which I can keep for a year or more. Four bags of clothes I no longer need/wear/that don't fit translated into a single cashmere sweater. A good exchange, right?

For loose papers/recipes etc.: I love the Itoya Profolios. I've been using these for my "clippings" -- i.e. to keep copies of the articles I've written -- since, oh, about 40 years ago. You're not sticking them down, just sliding them behind a clear plastic (PVC free!) sheet that works like a window. It would work for documents, for letters you want to keep, for photos, etc. The original purpose, I think, was for artwork. I find this MUCH easier than binders, since I can insert or remove and don't have to punch holes in anything, or worry about something being torn out. When I tell you that I have copies of articles I wrote in 1984 in these, that should give you an idea...

Jan 25, 9:59 am

>122 Chatterbox: I use those clear plastic sheets as well, to hold my notes from my violin teacher. Easy to refer back to, and I can put two pages in each envelope. Just about everything else gets shredded after scanning. We have a flatbed scanner as part of our printer, but the Epson autofeed I have next to my desk is very good for anything up to standard letter width.

Editado: Jan 26, 4:26 pm

>42 justchris: I just got the Do Less book and skimmed it. Unfortunately, it's a little like a cross between Marie Kondo and Lear's older daughters. Why have an office? Can't you use your laptop on the dining room table? No bookshelves in the bedroom! Only three pots. One pair of jeans.

Some suggestions are what I would call 'classic', as in everyone says to do them. Turn your hangers around in your closet, and only turn them around after you've worn something; toss whatever you haven't worn at the end of the season. Only buy the food you will use in the next few days. Sure, anyone going to use an entire bunch of cilantro?

Some comments are reasonable. I have far too many plastic containers (yes, they all have covers), but no, I won't necessarily put the pot with the leftovers in the refrigerator to eat the next day for breakfast. I do have too many knives, because I inherited a set of Henkels from a friend of mine, thinking they would be better than the ones I had, but I didn't sharpen either of the sets, so now I have too many (dull) knives. Good catch. There are two of us, but does that mean we should only have two bowls? And how does keeping your cupboards and refrigerator bare, shopping for your meals each day, actually save time? and so forth.

In short, because I do need to get rid of stuff, the book is stimulating, but because it is a little draconian, or perhaps in the spirit of Thoreau in the cabin near Walden Pond, also a little too enthusiastic about minimalism, which raises my hackles.

All that said, the effort continues.

Jan 26, 9:48 pm

>122 Chatterbox: Suz, that's because I got rid of so much kitchen stuff before I moved because I knew I was moving to a kitchen with limited cabinet space. I took a whole Highlander SUV load just of kitchen stuff to the Salvation Army Food Program there in San Diego plus a bunch more in general. And I moved to a larger house (other than the kitchen) with much more general storage and room to spread out without looking cluttered! I even have a linen closet for the first time in my life. It does make a difference. Downsizing is hard. But the counters were starting to fill up and make it hard to use them for actual food preparation and cooking, so it was time for me. And I will check out the Profolios. I have a whole 6' table in the basement full of family photos and memorabilia that I will get to some day.

>123 ffortsa: Having have several hard drives go out on me, I am just nervous about going completely paperless. That said, I threw away many boxes of paper when I moved, including receipts and correspondence for the last 40 years (kept the last 7 years).

>124 ffortsa: The Do Less book does not sound like a good match for me. I much prefer Dana K. White's books. One pair of jeans? I LIVE in jeans. I probably have more than I need (okay, I definitely do) but you know what, my container (which is my closet) can handle what I have so it isn't clutter so long as it fits and I am wearing it.

And I did get to my closet today. I decided to get a pile of sleeveless tops off of the bed in the spare bedroom. I had tried to put one under a sweater a few weeks ago and it was way over-sized, so they've been waiting for me to take the time to try them all on and put the ones that don't fit well in the donation box. So I did and then I went to my main bedroom closet with my every day clothes and pulled out a number of tops I have not worn since I got here to also go in the box, and reorganized that row of jeans and tops as I'd been wanting to do for a while now. I have about 20 tops in the donation box--but not a single pair of jeans!!

Jan 27, 7:02 am

>125 ronincats: I like the Dana K. White books too. She definitely sounds like she is one of us!

Jan 27, 8:06 am

Well, January has kept me completely off-balance. I did not even look at the calendar I printed out. BUT...yesterday I did start sorting the tons of pieces of paper that comprise my *recipe* pile. I had the tv on at the same time so I didn't bother with a timer. In fact, the so-called 15 minutes turned into almost 3 hours but once I started, I was determined to continue till I got the task done. I did ditch a LOT of recipes that either no longer called to me or looked too labour intensive and that I knew I wasn't going to bother trying. I then sorted the *keep* piles into categories (fish recipes, pasta, veggies, baking, etc), labelled them and everything that remained fit neatly into one folder. At some point, I will return to that folder and actually try the recipes. Whatever I don't use (I know I should give myself a time frame here, say, if I haven't used the recipe by such and such a date, but right now, I am not doing that) will join the recycle bag eventually. Bonus: I found some scraps of paper with recipes I had written down from my mum and grandmother! I knew I had them *somewhere* but had no idea where. Now I do!

Jan 27, 8:36 am

I know someone (Roni?) upthread mentioned the specific title by Dana K. White that she felt was very good but I can't find it. Help?

Jan 27, 8:59 am

Almost all resources mentioned are gathered in Message 2 at the top of the thread, but Decluttering at the Speed of Life is my favorite.

Jan 27, 9:47 am

Thanks, Roni. I have now just ordered it from Thriftbooks!

Editado: Jan 28, 9:38 am

Jan 28, 10:12 am

>131 cindydavid4: - LOL! I admit, I am not and never have been a fan of Kondo. I read her first book and found her to be so very anal. I nearly threw the book across the room. I don't think she had kids then. I worried that if she ever did, she'd keep them in playpens till they were old enough to move out, so as not to put anything out of order in her house. It's good to hear she is open to *change*, ;-). Kids will do that to a person, won't they ;-)

Editado: Jan 28, 12:18 pm

>131 cindydavid4: That sounds more realistic. I'd love to read her new book. Thanks for sharing that article. I'm now #19 on the hold list for that book at my public library! :D

Jan 28, 6:25 pm

>79 jessibud2: One Box

My mother had this, and I am grateful. Rather, what she had was a box at home and a subset of the box at my home with in case of death or disability instructions. My brothers and I kind of rolled our eyes at her obsession with The Box and her frequent updates to documents and reports of changes, but when my father had a stroke and my mother clearly could not manage on her own, The Box was exactly what my brothers and I needed to take over the management of things.

I would also suggest: RECORD YOUR PASSWORDS! My mother had all of hers in a notebook, but my father had his in his head. Fortunately his mind was intact after his stroke, and he was able to tell us the password to his computer. Which contained his substantial updates and additions to a book he had written 50 years before. We were able to make a copy and pass it along to a colleague to prepare for publication. When we asked about his email, he said it didn't have a password, which was obviously not true, but his computer was set up so he didn't have to enter it. We somehow screwed it up in an effort to get at it, but Google was remarkably helpful.

Jan 28, 6:38 pm

>7 ronincats: The first is the difference between projects and keeping your house clean and organized. I was the kind of kid who viewed cleaning as a project. I would let my room devolve into total chaos, and then spend a weekend cheerfully stripping it down to the baseboards and rebuilding it into a thing of beauty.

Hah, that's my housecleaning method. It's not remotely interesting until it's a disaster. And then what I need is an imminent visitor for motivation.

>34 lauralkeet: We didn't realize that also meant all of the crap on those shelves

The same thing happened to me in my previous house. I thought I was saying OK to a can of paint that matched the trim. I finally took everything to the hazardous waste facility when I moved out of that house, but I inherited another stash of similar crap when I moved into this house and didn't feel like going through the same process so soon.

I've been lurking on this thread. What began as a book project has evolved...

I last seriously organized my books when I moved into this house 7 years ago. I roughly kept up with cataloguing and shelving for a few years, with intentions to refine later. Then I fell behind, and books piled up in haphazard stacks on the floor of my office, chronically annoying but too daunting to deal with. So I decided this would be my winter project. Over the 9-day holiday break from work, I reorganized 8 of 16 bookcases: removed every book, made sure it was in the LT catalogue, retagged with a simplified system, dusted and reshelved, catalogued and shelved related books from the floor stacks. I've continued with 1-2 bookcases each weekend since, and last weekend arrived at the dining room which has other issues. In the assessment stage, I realized that if I reoriented the craft bookcase, I could insert a small table behind it. It's actually a table top with three small cabinets of craft supplies as its base; there was exactly one in all the world with precisely the right dimensions.

Today, a major achievement: I have had my mother's finances sitting on my dining room table for over two years since she entered skilled care, and now the file boxes and accessories are on the side table, not immediately visible from the front door. Not that I've had many visitors these past two years, but still it's nice to appear civilized. And the dining room clutter has merged with the front closet clutter as I collect craft supplies that I haven't used in a decade or more, so I can donate them to a craft re-use operation.

Why are my craft supplies in the dining room? Because that's where the table is. I use the dining table for dining maybe twice per year. I'm in a two-bedroom house and one bedroom is the office with a desk that is occupied by two computers and five monitors, and a closet that is stuffed with obsolete equipment and office supplies and files. The closet needs serious attention which probably won't happen this year. I can fit a small table in the sunroom, but it's dedicated to grungy gardening.

Jan 28, 7:01 pm

>134 qebo: Very good suggestions! Both the box, or a file with important paper stuff. Good to consider what is important. And those passwords, banking stuff. A lot to consider, really.

>131 cindydavid4: Oh my. I have her first book, half read. Now that’s a prime candidate for ditching it, her next book doesn’t draw me at all, sorry.

I visited the clutterbug website and it seems I’m a butterfly. Everything has to be visible, or easily accessible or I will forget I had it. Yesterday I found a whole pile of cookbooks, etc. Stashed in a place where I couldn’t see them, and completely forgotten. I could do without some of them, but not all!

Jan 28, 7:28 pm

I actually went into Staples and looked at the fireproof boxes. Well over $200, which is not something I would spend. It's probably worth it but it's not in my budget. But the idea of all the important documents in one box is definitely something I will work on accomplishing. I do have a book of my passwords already so that, at least, is something. I should check it once in awhile, though, to make sure it is up to date.

Jan 30, 9:10 pm

All of my family use KeePass password keeper - and last year, after my dad died (fortunately he and Mom shared a database) we decided to share our database passwords. Now each of us has the password to the others' password database, in case of need.

It's a very helpful program - open source, so free, and no central server (to get hacked, like happened to LastPass). You have your own database file, which is constantly and automatically encrypted, and can use a cloud drive (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc) to share it between devices - I have mine on my computer, phone, and two tablets. It'll put the password in to a website or app if you give it the right information so it can recognize the place, but at a minimum you can open it and _look_ at the password. The only one you actually have to remember is the password to the database (OK, and to your cloud drive, for setting up a new device. If you can't reach any of your other devices to see the password). It'll make secure passwords for you (the kind that are hard to crack and impossible to memorize), or you can put in your own. Mom and I keep things like credit card info in there (not sure about my sisters), as well as passwords to bank accounts, email, and the seventeen million other accounts that accumulate... And because it's on every device you use, and syncs to all the others, it's relatively easy to keep up to date (as long as you remember to enter the new password as soon as you change/create it!). No more page(s) full of crossed-out passwords.

Also, if you have your passwords in a document on the computer, it can take it as an import (so much less typing). If you have them on paper (which is more secure), it's a lot of typing, and cross-checking, to get it set up - but it's _much_ easier to deal with thereafter.

Editado: Jan 31, 1:27 pm

>138 jjmcgaffey: Thank you for mentioning KeePass. I had lost track of what happened with this and am so glad I'll be able to switch from LastPass.

Editado: Jan 31, 7:20 pm

>138 jjmcgaffey: - I have to admit, most of what you are talking about here is over my head. I am in the group (probably a minority) of those who just don't really trust the cyber universe when it comes to things that important. I have passwords written down in a dedicated notebook, close at hand.

I guess it's whatever works best for each of us.

Jan 31, 7:19 pm

>140 jessibud2: I rely on the tech, but each time we change or add a new one, it is written down. Theres nothing wrong with what you are doing. in fact I have decided to go with a paper calendar, since the lightest touch on the phone somehow changes the month, the day, the time. missed too many things to contiue that way

Jan 31, 8:07 pm

>124 ffortsa: Yes, minimalism is a pretty extreme philosophy that doesn't work for many people. I admire it, but I am not someone who can achieve it thanks to far too many interests and hobbies and lots of books. So I figure to extract what I can use from such sources.

>136 EllaTim: I also tested as a butterfly.

>138 jjmcgaffey: Currently, I use none of the above. I tried one of the password keeper apps, and it just didn't work for me. I have various formulas I use depending on the password requirements of the sites.

I finally got all of my stuff from travel put away. Still working on laundry. And as per usual, before I can get to the serious decluttering, I have to get the mess of daily living under control. So that'll be my first goal--get the superficial mess out of the way so I can start deep diving.

Jan 31, 8:55 pm

>138 jjmcgaffey: KeePass
This is what I use.

Fev 3, 8:12 am

I've been out of town for the last 5 days, so have some catching up to do. I have a Rolodex of passwords, plus have my browser save some less consequential ones, but may need to check out KeePass.

Chris, Dana White's first book deals with exactly that, getting the mess of daily living under control, while her second book deals with the deep diving.

Fev 3, 5:34 pm

Here's another decluttering resource: https://tidylifehappywife.com/decluttering-rules/

Fev 3, 6:19 pm

Oh I really like this one! I can live with those "rules"

Editado: Fev 5, 6:01 pm

Since I was out of town for 5 days, I have some catching up to do but, luckily, this week is Recycling and Trash and I have that totally under control. I need to update my recipe organization, look through my cookbooks (although they fit in their "container" so nothing urgent), and water bottles aren't an issue for me--nothing that will take too much time. And yesterday I got out in my pottery studio and got my workbench cleared off and stuff organized so I could start cutting out my plant stakes. I need to get out there today and stamp them before letting them dry, and throw some mugs. Also clean and bring in my seed-starting gear from the garage--not quite time yet but it will be soon, and today will be in the mid 50s so a great day to be working out there.

ETA: Also realized I never did the freezer!

Fev 5, 6:00 pm

Fev 5, 6:14 pm

>148 ronincats: If your books are scattered around the home, try and gather them together before you start decluttering... How long will it take? ...suggests committing a whole day to the process.
I'm on weekend #7 and as of this afternoon have catalogued and shelved all of the physical books, and my collection is on the small side for LT. Though aside from the scale, the advice is not unreasonable.

Fev 5, 6:25 pm

>148 ronincats: It would work for someone with a collection in the early to mid 100s, but not for a horde that many of us have me thinks! Liked the photo at the top though.

Editado: Fev 5, 6:40 pm

>148 ronincats:

"...do new books enter your home at a faster pace than you can read?"

Yes, they do. I have a Little Free Library, and neighbors come knocking on my door to donate books to me. However...they spark joy! :D This is one of the few hobbies I have that I really enjoy. I do have a plan for how to get rid of all my books later so no one will ever get stuck with hundreds to thousands of my unwanted books.

Fev 6, 12:04 am

Its not hoarding if its books (my dh says the same about legos)

Fev 6, 9:25 am

Generally good advice, but the issue is doing it. My books are already arranged by category, but some have been around a long time without being read. I'm replacing what i can with e-books, and checking the library to see if they are available. Sometimes they are not. And of course, ROOT behavior can clear a lot.

Also of course, hanging out with all the folks here means it is impossible not to want books I don't already have!

Fev 6, 10:48 am

This weekend I managed to deal with the general mess. I still have to do the bedroom, but the rest of the space is clean and relatively organized. In the process, I reorganized the freezer. I keep a little dry erase board with the freezer inventory on it. But I have the bad habit of not updating as I go, so maybe twice a year I take everything out, clean it, and put stuff back in while updating the inventory. Now done and as always, the renewed commitment to tracking the inventory in real time...

Fev 6, 12:53 pm

>154 justchris: Well done!

I am not there by far. Just decluttering and cleaning small chunks at a time. I did the tea, well let’s just say I now know what I have. A drawer in the bathroom. More luck there. And the socks! How many pairs of socks does one person need?

I’m reading Decluttering at the Speed of Life and liking it.

Fev 6, 7:05 pm

>154 justchris: That's a project I really need to get to - freezer and fridge both. I've just discovered (possibly through here? Taylor? or something Google thought I'd be interested in) that standard, ordinary, cheap page protectors (I bought a package of 25 at Target for under $5) are dry-erasable. So I can print an inventory (after I get around to finishing it!), stick it in a page protector, stick that on the fridge, and update by marking off when I use something up, or scribble a new addition on, with my (also cheap) dry-erase pens. Then when it gets unreadable I can type up a new version, wipe off the page protector and start again.

I have real problems with the updating as I go; I'm hoping this will make it simpler than either scribbling on a piece of paper (which gets really messy really fast), or opening an app or note on my phone (let alone computer) and updating there.

Editado: Fev 8, 3:15 pm

I just got Marie Kondo's new book, Marie Kondo's Kurashi at Home, from our public library and started reading it today. I know that people made fun of her first book, but I found it fun to read although she did stretch things a bit. I'm curious to see how this book will affect me.

Fev 9, 4:45 pm

I picked up Decluttering at the Speed of Life from the library a couple of days ago, and hope to start it soon, after the ones I picked up at the same time which already had holds on them.

The more I pay attention, the more my house looks like a disaster zone. E.g. I recently noticed a bag of dog paraphernalia still packed from when the house was tented for termites, some time before covid. And my housemate, who usually wants to save everything, managed to stumble into things in the living room while watering plants, spilling the watering can on things that didn't need a bath. (Maybe there's an opening to more easily get rid of things she'd normally try to retain; she sounded very upset at the time.)

Editado: Fev 11, 5:54 pm

This thread has been fun/interesting to follow. At the library today and on the Express Reads shelf I found this. Marie Kondo's Kurashi At Home.

P. 87 I had a good laugh as it says "organize your closet to uplift your spirits". Hmmm. I can think of better ways to uplift my spirits. Anyway I will have a good look but the photographs are spectacular.

Editado: Fev 11, 7:40 pm

>159 mdoris: I'm enjoying the book. Some of the things she says are weird, but I think this is a fun read. I seriously doubt that I'll do what she suggests, but I like learning about the traditions she has taken from her Japanese culture even though she lives in the US now.

Fev 12, 5:40 am

>156 jjmcgaffey: I have been working on the fridge. Cleaned it out, threw away everything that was certainly spoiled. I have a problem with all that stuff that you don’t finish in one day, but that can be kept in the fridge for some time (how long?) after opening. Like pickles, herring in vinegar. Nice to eat when you’re craving it, but I usually don’t feel like eating it two days in a row. I think I’ll make a list of what is in the fridge that needs to be finished. Dry eraser like, on the door.

Fev 12, 9:39 am

I've not picked up my regular 15 minute routine since my trip out of town at the beginning of the month, so still have the freezer to do. Fortunately most of the stuff for this last week is stuff that is well under control, such as setting up a recycling center and decluttering plastic bags and utensils. However, today's task is to declutter old paint, and I have numerous cans of paint, some upstairs in the closet of the laundry room and some in the cabinet of the basement, left over from the people who remodeled my house before I bought it, and I need to go through it and see what is from the current status to keep for touchups and what is old and can be disposed of. May take more than 15 minutes, may not get done today, but I will prioritize it for this week, as I've been meaning to get to it for the last year.

New resource--haven't read it but looks interesting.

Home Therapy: Interior Design for Increasing Happiness, Boosting Confidence, and Creating Calm: An Interior Design Book by Anita Yokota

She talks about a ski-slope method of decluttering, where you start in one corner of a disaster room, get it under control, then on to the opposite corner--like a slalom instead of skiing straight downhill, not so overwhelming.

Fev 12, 10:39 am

Me, a hoarder? Don't be silly. But I am getting some ideas for the kitchen renovation that my husband finally green lighted over a year ago and may get done ... soon ...

I've skimmed through. Will have to come back and read it properly.

Fev 12, 11:34 am

And...the Kindle version of Marie Kondo's new Kurashi book is only $2.99 right now.

Editado: Fev 12, 7:10 pm

I finished this book...

It was fun to read, but I personally did not find it particularly helpful to me. My review is here.

Fev 12, 11:32 pm

>165 SqueakyChu: Good review, very helpful!

Fev 13, 7:38 pm

I finally did the freezer clean-out/inventory this morning, then spent the afternoon in the pottery studio trimming and putting handles on 7 mugs and stamping garden stakes. So a productive day. Not to mention it got up to 65 today. But tonight is rain, and Wednesday night is snow, so I should get around to garden planning during the cold days Wed. and Thurs.

Fev 14, 1:27 pm

>162 ronincats: That does look very interesting!

I'm trying to think if I have any decluttering updates of my own...last weekend's accomplishments were more about cleaning (bedroom, plus keeping bathroom tidy, plus cleaning main room kitchen/dining/entry areas again), which I guess entails some level of decluttering. But I still have to repot plants and get all those supplies back in the parking garage/storage area so I can vacuum the living room area of the main room and thus finish the official cleaning of the space.

My goal has been to keep only 2-3 active projects in the living space and keep everything else in the storage area. During the weekend, I wrote down all of the projects I could see, and it was more like 15-20, ranging from repotting plants to replacing a cabinet door hinge to sanding the meditation bench parts to dealing with different piles of paper to mending clothes. Hmmm.

Editado: Fev 14, 1:34 pm

One day I mean project at a time!:)

Fev 14, 3:08 pm

My only recent progress - if you can call it that - is reading the first 20 pages of Decluttering at the Speed of Life. I like the author's suggestion that one look at one's space as consisting of limited-size containers, into which one puts the things one most wants to keep, and (perhaps regretfully) discards the rest - rather than looking at one's stuff as "do I need/want *this* item".

Yes, I have lots of perfectly usable clothes. Two closets, 3 dressers, and at least two boxes of them. I might once again lose enough weight to fit in the smaller ones (mostly relegated to boxes), or spend enough time gardening/camping/etc. to wear out all the ratty ones. But I'd have to be seriously ill to lose that much weight, and I'd have to have a personality transplant - and perhaps a 20-year age reduction as well - to spend that much time on hard physical work. Better to decide how much space I really want to devote to clothes, fill it with the things I use/want most, and dump the rest - at Goodwill, if they'll take them, and into the trash if they turn up their nose at them. The second closet could serve lots of useful purposes, and so could the space currently occupied by dressers.

Editado: Fev 14, 4:06 pm

>170 ArlieS: The good thing about donating clothes is that the clothes can be actually used instead of being stored. I am not a big fan of donating clothes to thrift stores. I like to donate clothes and household articles to a non-profit agency near where I live. They distribute everything free of charge to county residents known to social services. Their warehouse is beautiful. As a matter of fact, I used to volunteer there in their book department many years ago. Perhaps your community or your house of worship runs such a donation site.

This is my donation site. I even used to crochet baby blankets with extra yarn and donate those to this organization. It's wonderful. Check out what your own community has.

Fev 14, 4:01 pm

>170 ArlieS: - I also just bought that book and just started it. I am in a *stuck* stage right now and can't get myself moving. Granted, there is a lot of stress in my life at the moment so I am trying to cut myself some slack. But slack seems to be my middle name so I have to push myself and I know it.

I also have boxes of *fat clothes*, *skinny clothes* with the same logic as you for still keeping them. Every once in awhile, I get into a real purge mood and make some progress but not enough....

Fev 14, 4:46 pm

>170 ArlieS: I am now trying to do this: one in means one out when it comes to books. But it’s hard! I feel I have to read a book before I let it go..

Fev 14, 5:59 pm

>170 ArlieS:, >172 jessibud2: I have to laugh because that is the mentality that led to me having 25 bins of clothes, perfectly good clothes, sizes 8 to 18, to move out of the attic and my closets in San Diego and donate to the battered women's shelter there. That still left me with enough to mostly fill (but not overload) my three closets and 4 dressers in my new house here. Of course, that occurred over 40 years there, and I'm not likely to have 40 years here to make the same mistake, but that concept of house and closets and dressers as containers is one of the big takeaways for me from Dana's books.

Fev 16, 8:53 am

I've mostly given up the skinny clothes I've been hoarding saving. I still have a few items I am close to fitting into (or at least I was until I noticed I was gaining back some of my weight loss!). But the storage bins for change of seasons are fewer than they used to be. Now I have to check out the stuff I've saved 'just in case', since the case, in most cases, will not arrive.

In the meantime, I'm concentrating on my rather large hall closet, where I'm keeping stuff I haven't been able to get rid of for various reasons. Some of it will go, and I will reorganize so that the things I use or want to use are near at hand and visible.

Fev 16, 9:43 am

I have failed utterly with following the calendar aspect of this all but that doesn't mean I've been doing nothing. I spent the last 2 days working on my bathroom. I emptied and cleaned out the medicine chest and only put back stuff I actually use. Ditto with the cabinet over the toilet.

Then I did the 2 drawers under the counter and the cabinet under the sink. I got rid of far more than I had imagined I had, that had long-since expired dates, and I won't need to replace them for awhile. For example, the Claritin I use in summer for allergies, I won't need till at least May or June as winter is far from over here. I found things - should come as no surprise, I guess - that I didn't even know I had. I also cleaned the tops of the light fixture, cleaned the mirrors, and counter top. All that really remains to be done in the bathroom is the toilet itself (which I do regularly) and the floor (which I don't, but should).

A good sense of accomplishment but I vowed not to let it get this awful again. (famous last words).

I leave on Monday for Montreal again and the day I return, I will be having an out of town overnight guest so much of the rest of this week as well as much of the past week, will be devoted to getting the guest room to once again look like a guest room. Since BC (before covid) it has pretty much deteriorated into a catch-all room. I am almost there now and it looks great but man, how do I get into these situations???

Fev 17, 3:29 pm

>176 jessibud2: sounds like you are ripping right along there. Good work!

I had a brainstorm the other day and spent some time up on a ladder taking things down from the top shelf of the foyer closet and discarding what made sense to discard. Then I moved things around enough to put my storage box of summer clothes ON THE SHELF IN THE CLOSET, instead of dragging it to the storage locker, only to drag it out again in a few months. (Besides, it's been in the 60s here in NYC, so who knows what I'll need when!) I took all my jigsaw puzzles down and will move them to the storage locker, as I haven't done any in quite a while but they are quality fine art puzzles and I'll get back to them one of these days. Next I need to get a box of photography-related stuff down and admit that I won't ever use most of it again - it was mostly from my father, and mainly of nostalgic value. There are some other things that need to go to storage, and then I might be able to consider bringing my mother's china into the apartment to use.

Fev 17, 4:50 pm

>177 ffortsa: Using your mother’s China sounds like a lovely idea.

I’ve discovered a YouTube channel that shows small apartments, and their interiors. Good for ideas. But why do none of them have books? I have an idea of what books I can let go of: the ones that I have read. And that I didn’t think very special. It’s a start.

Fev 17, 6:24 pm

>178 EllaTim: I don't think the type of people who are interested in interior design tend to also be interested in books. If they had included books, they might well turn out to be fakes, chosen for their aesthetic effect, or to give the right status impression.

Fev 17, 9:19 pm

>179 ArlieS: I had a real estate person tell me we had to take down our bookshelves and books before she could sell it. We got another agent,who managed just fine

Fev 17, 10:20 pm

>180 cindydavid4: *jawdrop*

I suppose none of us live like 'normal people' then. When my parents were selling their house a few years ago they had to do things like repaint their walls a neutral colour and then they paid someone to stage the house for them. And, true, when I see show homes or magazine articles on designer homes (this is in Sydney) they have neutral colour walls and so on. Maybe everyone is actually frantically repainting their walls and hiding their books so they can look like the people estate agents think are 'normal'.

My problem is that the first step to improving is to admit you have a problem. While I am aware that I have a (hoarding) problem, I don't think I'm ready to admit it yet - because that would mean a) putting effort into getting rid of stuff b) getting rid of stuff. Meanwhile, I'll look on in admiration and awe at everyone else here.

Fev 18, 6:55 am

>180 cindydavid4: >181 humouress: The Guardian paper has a weekly piece on themed houses for sale, this week's theme was 'houses for booklovers' but there wasn't a book to be seen in any of them. Though one house had been lived in by PB Shelley and Mary Shelley.


Fev 18, 11:15 am

Not surprised somehow (there used to be a hotel in NYC that was for booklovers, each room is a dif author. Always wanted to stay there,not sure if it still exists)

ETA The LIbrary Hotel is still there!


Fev 18, 12:22 pm

>176 jessibud2:, >177 ffortsa: Good going, Shelley and Judy!! I'm going to tackle my coat closet under the stairs, not for the coats, but for the shelves above where my games and puzzles are. I saw a post where games are shelved vertically rather than horizontally, and I want to see if this works as well here as the Marie Kondo vertical folding of clothes in drawers does for me.

Best article I've seen on organizing bookshelves here, best because it is actually realistic for those of us with books!!


Editado: Fev 18, 1:02 pm

>184 ronincats: Roni, what about swapping puzzles with other friends that are puzzlers? We started doing that with a couple of my friends, and it’s been great fun!

I actually started shelving my puzzles vertically this year because it’s easier to pull them out that way. Just a warning, though, that if you do this, you should rubber band the boxes so that the puzzle pieces don’t spill on the floor when you pull them out.

Another idea: puzzle renting. It’s pricey, but our daughter gave us a six-month subscription to completingthepuzzle.com for my husband’s birthday. Puzzles still do accumulate here, though, because I just discovered I can get fabulous 1,000 piece puzzles from my local Friends of the Library book store for only $4 each! :D

I have given away unwanted puzzles in my Little Free Library. Check for those near you that are large enough to handle this…only the puzzles that no longer spark joy, of course!

Fev 18, 10:40 pm

>185 SqueakyChu: Renting puzzles is an interesting idea.

Fev 18, 10:53 pm

>186 ffortsa: It's turning out to be fun. The way this company works is that the subscriber can choose the puzzles by making a wishlist. Then those puzzles are sent at random so we never know which puzzle we will get. My only complaint so far is the time it takes for each puzzle to travel in the mail since we can only get one at a time. The next puzzle is not mailed until the finished puzzle is received by the company. However, we do our own puzzles during that time so we are not just sitting at home simply waiting for the next puzzle. All puzzles are cleaned between customers and have no missing pieces. We might have to choose harder puzzles, since the first one we got was a 1,000 piece puzzle that we finished in two days! :D

Fev 19, 8:27 am

>182 Caroline_McElwee: A beautiful house! But no books anywhere. So not in the spirit of the Shelleys at all. And a garden like that is a pity and a disaster.

>183 cindydavid4: That’s more like it! Very nice.

Fev 19, 4:53 pm

>183 cindydavid4:
Sylvia Beach Hotel - Newport, Oregon Coast
21-room literary-themed bed and breakfast with a homey and eclectic charm that attracts readers, writers, and travelers from all over the world. It has been listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Each room includes details and books to reflect the life and writings of 21 different authors. Guests can enjoy a book with a view in the quiet and cozy haven of the third-floor oceanfront library.


Loved this when I stayed there once.

Fev 19, 5:05 pm

Oh! Would love to go to Oregon again (Powells! Rose Garden! The coast drive!) and stay there, thanks for that info!

Fev 19, 5:33 pm

>189 nrmay: Love it Nancy. Which room did you stay in?

Fev 20, 4:06 am

Having spent much time over the last couple of months clearing out my mother’s flat, I’ve become more anxious than ever to not let our house become cluttered. I’m not really a hoarder (apart from books of course) - if I own something then it gets used or got rid of, unless it’s decorative or has great sentimental value. But I’d hate to leave Jacob such a lot to sort through.

Fev 21, 3:54 pm

Does potting out plants count as decluttering? Since the number of pots proliferated from 2 to about 15, maybe not. But on the other hand, the aloes are much less crowded (cluttered!), and I will diligently start looking for homes for many of them. Not quite done with this yet as I need to bring up more pots from storage and then clean up the giant mess. I usually do this on my balcony where dirt and sand and plant bits everywhere isn't such a bother, but I didn't want to postpone this task several more months.

I had lined up a local declutter buddy, but she has since backed out. However, she really wants to do the Swedish death cleaning this year as part of her general push to get her affairs in order. She just doesn't want a concrete timeline and accountability quite yet.

Roni and others, thanks for sharing all the different resources. I'll be sending them to my friend and revisiting them myself so I can pick a direction and move.

Fev 22, 8:30 pm

I did tackle the game shelves in the coat closet, but it turns out they are not high enough to store the games and most of the puzzles vertically. However, they have been reorganized and properly stored, as opposed to simply shoved back in on top of wherever they came out, and so I count that as done. I also reorganized my cookbook shelves in the office and made room for my recipe box on them there instead of in the pantry where it kept getting in the way. And finally, this morning I tackled both the piles of new books sitting on the floor in front of the bedroom bookcase as well as all the books in my nightstand. I had bought these nightstands with two drawers and then a shelf right under the top of the nightstand for the express purpose of putting my in-progress books there instead of on top. Instead, they had become simply additional book shelves for books that were NOT in progress, just maybe future wanna-bes. I pulled all of those out and on the bed, then went through the bottom two shelves of the bookcase where my hardback and trade paper TBRs live, got rid of a whole two to discard without reading, moved a number of not-sff to the downstairs bookcase in the office where there is room, moved the empty journals to the shelves in the craft room, and that made enough room to put the TBRs that had been on the floor in the bookcase, and leave just a couple of poetry books in the one nightstand and room for my actual in-progress books and devices in the other.

I've also been working on planning my garden. I have a plan, but it would feed a small community, so now I have to work on getting more realistic--maybe not 14 different veggies, a dozen herbs, and 16 types of flowers. And 15 bales of straw. (I had 8 bales last year)

Mar 2, 7:17 pm

>194 ronincats: Well done! Puzzle and game boxes can be weird shapes, or too big for most shelves.

I have to plan my garden as well. Have too many seeds. Decluttering seeds is a whole new task. Some seeds only last a year, others much longer.

My neighbour turns out to be decluttering as well. Swedish death, Marie Kondo, we could talk. It’s nice to be able to share, and here it’s useful as well, as we can help each other in the real world as well.

Found a destination for some books, I hope. Second-hand bookstore in town, that gives out vouchers!
And I now have one bag full of old clothes for the recycling container.

Mar 2, 9:42 pm

Having decided that I want to use the space in my bedroom for stuff other than books, I've been tackling the books that are there. 26 non-fiction tomes were donated a couple of days ago. I'm confronted by far too many books of plays (not acting scripts - they went ages ago), and some of them will go to better homes than mine. It's a wrench to give them up, but they have been mostly undisturbed for years now. I'll try to keep one shelf worth at the most.

The impetus was interesting. As soon as I wanted to do something more active and creative with the space, the logjam broke. But I still have to make far too many decisions about the plays and non-fiction of various kinds. It will take a while.

Mar 4, 11:05 am

Good work, Ella and Judy! I'm sliding in March so far. It's laundry room week on the schedule, and mine is actually fairly organized, but I'm going to go through cabinets and shelves this weekend.

Saw this on Facebook and though it belonged here:

Mar 4, 9:15 pm

>197 ronincats: wow I really like that!

Mar 4, 9:26 pm

>198 cindydavid4: I'm glad.

Since I posted my accountability message, I spent most of the day doing the laundry room. Took everything out of the cabinets and the shelves in the closet (all shelves, 5 of them across the width of the closet). Since they weren't crammed full, it wasn't that difficult but they did need dusting and wiping. Weeded out a few cleaning items that were almost empty, finally got rid of the little lampshades left on the top closet shelf by previous owners, put cleaning supplies, exercise equipment, and swimming gear in bins on those shelves which gives the impression that they are organized, and that was pretty much it! So that's done for the year! Also folded and put away the laundry I did earlier in the week.

Editado: Mar 28, 7:18 pm

I had an attack of industry this afternoon, mostly because it was raining and I wanted exercise, but didn't want to walk outdoors. So I decided to attack my bedroom. No wait, that's too much - my clothes. No wait, that's still too much - my short sleeved shirts (T-shirts and polos).

I tried to apply Dana K. White's principles from Decluttering at the Speed of Life (see post 22 in this thread) by thinking in terms of limited storage space, and storing the most wanted items within that space, then discarding the rest - but modified by not really knowing what all I have, other than clothes in daily use.

After an hour's work, I have a large plastic bag (the kind people rake leaves into) perhaps half full of clothes worth donating. I have 2 approximately equal sized stacks: one of shirts to definitely keep, and one to keep only as many as will fit in a reasonable amount of space (not the amount I have been using for shirts!). To my surprise, nothing wound up in the trash; apparently I've been doing a decent job of discarding shirts with frayed collars, incipient holes, and similar, rather than putting them back in my closet.

I also have at least as many shirts to examine as I've already categorized, and probably more. Moreover, I cheated - I went through the cupboard, which was pretty well all "keep this" and much of a large plastic tub of clothes that had been tagged as being a poor fit, and exiled to a storage area. I only processed one of my dresser drawers, which are much more of a mixed bag.

I now have a sore back, and stacks on my bed which will have to be cleared by bedtime; after taking a rest (and maybe reading part of a book that is *not* about decluttering) I'll decide whether to do another hour of checking fit and appearance, or just restore my bed to usability.

Mar 28, 7:26 pm

>200 ArlieS: BRAVO! You inspire.

Mar 28, 8:30 pm

>200 ArlieS: - Well done, Arlie. I have been known to go on binges like that. I did so a few months ago and got rid of a lot of clothes, mostly tops, that didn't fit right any more. I need to get back to it but somehow, I haven't. Yet. Then I worked on books. Did well culling and brought 3 full bags to BMV, a store that sells new and used and buys books from customers. They don't pay much but I usually go on a Wed to Friday, so whatever they don't take, I can then drop off into the donation box at the Toronto Reference Library, not far from BMV, for their used bookshop. Then, I am not lugging home any books.

I do have that Dana White book though I haven't read it all the way through yet.

Mar 28, 9:13 pm

>200 ArlieS: You go, girl!!

I've been sliding on the de-cluttering for the last few weeks, as the goals have been in areas where I've been pretty well good as a result of the recent move. But starting this week, the areas are storage areas, starting with basement, and I have a room in my basement that is the junk room. I have a craft show on Saturday that I am spending all my time on this week, but this is a three-week module so as soon as the craft show is over, I will be digging in.

Mar 29, 2:21 pm

>201 mdoris: >202 jessibud2: >203 ronincats: Thank you all for the encouragement.

I hope to make farther progress today, but we'll see how much energy I really have, after oversleeping.

>202 jessibud2: I cleverly borrowed that book from the library, rather than buying it, so it wouldn't become part of my more-books-than-shelves problem. ;-)

Editado: Mar 29, 3:28 pm

Ummm. . . not decluttering news, but I am trying a straw bale garden this year, and have set that up for conditioning in the last two days. I'm starting small with only 3 bales: kale and swiss chard, a cherry tomato plant, and fresh herbs. May stick a few flowers in the sides for color.

Mar 29, 6:10 pm

>205 markon: Oooh, I'm on day 5 of conditioning myself.

8 bales in the garden area, same number as last year, and (not shown) 4 in the center of the back yard lawn for a mandala garden for herbs and flowers.

It worked well for me last year.

Abr 4, 4:34 pm

>206 ronincats: Thanks for those encouraging pictures! I will finish conditioning Friday, but our temps have been down this week - I hope I'll be able to do some planting on the weekend.

Abr 11, 2:47 pm

Well, no planting yet. I have bought a cherry tomato plant, and oregano & spearmint. Still looking for thyme and sweet & thai basil But I have my greens seeds in hand.

On the cleaning front, I have to tackle the linen closet tonight. I need a gel pack I used for an ankle several years ago, and I'm sure it's in a box with some wraps and stretch bands, but I sure couldn't find it last night. So it's all coming out so I can reorganize it. Also hopefully put a clean cover on my ironing board. I did find two towels I'd been missing.

Abr 12, 10:17 pm

Well, I've only been digging in in the garden, not the basement or garage, since the craft show. The weather has been warm, so garden related tasks have had priority. All my seeds are in the three flats under the lights, and my bales are supposedly conditioned. I won't plant in them till next week, though, since I will be gone over the weekend. Meanwhile, the basement and garage remain my big areas needing major decluttering/organizing. Soon...

Abr 13, 1:27 am

I've finally got all my starts out of the house (and into other houses/yards, with one sale this Saturday and one on May 6). So I have a _little_ more room. I'll try to use it to sort and clear out some stuff (after Saturday's sale - I'm helping with it as well).