Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mission declutter

I've always been a clutterer. But as years go on and our house is cluttered with five people's clutter (not to mention, five people), I'm less fond of it.
The clutter fills our house and it also clutters my mind.
I don't kid myself that I'll ever live in an all-white house where nothing ever accumulates on the kitchen bench. But I ordered two books about decluttering and simplifying, and before they'd even arrived via Bob-the-Australia-Post-delivery-man, I had given our bedroom a pretty good cleanout. It felt great.
These actions tend to spark chain reactions and thus I was able to free up some cupboard space in our study and give my fabric stash a proper home.
all happy behind glass; below that the cupboard is crammed with Andy's paperwork stuff... who knows what
knit fabrics up top, interfacing & other fusibles plus small linen-ish pieces below
top left, quilting cottons. top right, flannel & miscellaneous warm stuff. bottom, voiles, lawn and double gauzes.
top: barkcloth and other vintage lovelies. bottom: chenille, and silks and similar lovely fabrics that I am afraid to use.
I probably shouldn't buy any more fabric for a while. But it's not too frighteningly hoarder-like, is it?

My two decluttering books arrived yesterday. (Am I cluttered now with decluttering information?)

In case you're interested, one is Organised Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider (that's a real name). I was reasonably sure I read about it at Flossie Teacakes but in searching to link there, I couldn't find mention of it. (It's a lovely blog anyway so if you've never been, take a look.) What I've read of this book so far seems pretty good. It talks about an interesting concept called 'opportunity cost' which is another way of looking at the value of decisions and purchases. Of course I can't find that bit in the book now to clarify it but it's kind of about weighing up the benefits of having 'stuff' versus the benefits - really - of not having it. There's also a step-by-step plan to declutter, one room at a time. Perhaps best of all, the book is spiral-bound, so it stays open and flat. Someone thought that through!
hello, simple jonquil. thank you for breaking up my large block of text.
The second book is Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, which I know for sure I read about at Small Things, another lovely blog with stunning photography. This book is a paperback with terribly small type and no pictures. I'm not sure how many people looking to simplify their parenting are going to find the time and patience to read it through. However, its principles seem sound and I know my kids could use some simplicity: fewer toys, less screen time, less clutter, to allow them to focus on a greater enjoyment of what's left. I'm going to dip into the book and possibly wade through start to finish. We'll see.
Aiming for less stuff.
And more of this.

Jane x


  1. Jane, I feel your pain. I am constantly surrounded by clutter - often of my own making - and it drives me absolutely nuts. Every couple of weeks I say "enough!!" but somehow it always finds its way back. Ughh!

  2. It's a great idea to simplify with kid's. Since living in our new place I've really limited what the kids have. But difficulties arise with well meaning relatives! I have the first book you mentioned and love it. By the way, I just adore your kitchen dresser!

  3. I need to declutter so bad but I find it difficult to prioritize. It's like exercising, I have 20 minutes free, do I want to spend them squatting and crunching, or sorting through junk, or flipping through a nice magazine??? Most days, the magazine wins!

  4. hmm, I was going to look for that book Ginny recommended too - the simplicity parenting one - I'd love to hear what you think of it if you read through.

  5. missyq, the book is awesome, I have read a few chapters and ended up getting a highlighter pen to pick out the parts I really wanted to go back to and share with my husband. I wish I'd had this book when my older kids were younger, but it's never too late to make changes. I think I need to do a post just on this book soon.

  6. You sound like me. I've always been a bit of a clutterer, but I felt that it was always under control. Fast forward to three children later and it no longer feels controlable.

    The other day I was searching the web for some 'green' cleaning ideas (essentially the answer is to use vinegar and bi-carb, according to nearly every website I found), anyway, one lady mentioned that she followed FlyLady - - which really has nothing to do with green cleaning, but everything to do with getting and keeping your house clean and in order. I'm yet to follow it to the letter and don't know if I ever will, but it has provided me with the motivation to get started on the mess that is my house.

    I would love to know what you think of these books now that you have had time to read them more thoroughly. Were they very helpful? Would you recommend them?

  7. Crinkled, haha, well I really should get back to that decluttering book! A friend of mine recommended that Flylady site as well. I have decluttered to a certain extent but need to get back to it. I have definitely not done the whole house methodical system the book prescribes, but I think I do really think a lot more carefully about what I bring into the house now. And I look at certain parts of the house and know they badly need attention, ha!
    As for the Simplicity Parenting book, I loved it very very much and feel like I have absorbed quite a bit of useful information. Again, I haven't followed it to the letter but the book is quite good about not being really prescriptive about what you HAVE to do. I'd recommend it to any parent and I think I will re-read it. Still need to get my husband to read it too though, so we're on the same page about things... he keeps promising but hasn't got very far yet!

    1. Hi Jane, I thought you might be interested to know that I bought the Simplicity Parenting book on your recommendation. I haven't had time to read very much of it yet, but I feel like I am nodding every time I do pick it up to read (not out of tiredness and boredom, but in agreement).

      I have come across the blog of the author of Organised Simplicity, Tsh Oxenreider at She seems to know how to keep things under control. She is organising a decluttering month in March called "Project: Simplicity 2012". I plan on joining in on my blog at . I thought you might be interested in doing it too.

      When I was young I always cleaned and tidied with my sister and my mum. Now that I'm all grown up it feels really lonely cleaning by myself. I find having a cleaning partner gives me motivation and makes the experience more fun (well, bearable at least), so if you're up to doing it, I would love to have you as my cleaning buddy.


Hey, I would really love to know what you think. Go on!

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