Category Archives: Living Simply

Living Simply Edition #13


It is a slow process to reduce the stuff in my life.  For me, I have to take one hour, one box, or one little corner of my house and really go through it.  I may do this once a day, or once a week.  I can’t do it at once because there are too many things I need to do in my life.  Whether it’s something for the kids, for the hubby or for myself.  I have to work the declutter in a bit at a time.  I’m sure it is more rewarding to just do it all at once.  But I can only declutter so much and after a bit of time, all of a sudden it becomes harder for me to get rid of stuff.  I can tell when I start to put things aside and think, I can use that.  Or, remember when we…?  Or, I could still… Once those thoughts start getting into my head, I need to stop and do something else.  But even that little bit I’ve done feels good.  My closet is still nice and clear of stuff.

It’s especially true as I go through the garage.  I find stuff in the garage and while I throw a lot of it away (my goal is one bag a week) some stuff goes into the house.  The point is that they should be going with like stuff.  Usually I find craft stuff and I put it in my office.  Or I find more extension cords and put them with the other electronic stuff.  I’m putting things in their spaces but those spaces will get full and then I’ll have to go clear them out again.  I feel like I’m rambling and things are never ending but here’s my process and hopefully it makes sense.

At this moment, things inside the house pretty much have a home.  It’s not clear of everything because I haven’t gone through everything (like the restrooms or the kitchen).  But things aren’t going crazy.  It’s not where I want to be but they’re manageable.

Then I go through the garage because it’s the garage that drives me crazy.  I grab a box and I go through it, most of the items are trash.  So I throw them away.  I’ll see a screwdriver and I’ll put them with the tools.  Then I’ll see a gardening tool, and I’ll put it with the gardening stuff.  Then I have an empty plastic bin.  I’ll take it into the house, wash it, and then bring it into my office with all my other plastic bins.  And suddenly, I have way too many plastic bins.  What am I going to do with all these plastic bins?  For now, they are in my office closet because I can’t bear to throw away a good plastic bin.  At some point, I will need to organize my office closet.  I’m not there yet but I will need to tackle that space at some point too.



Living Simply Edition #12: The Garage






I try to avoid the garage as much as possible.  It’s a lot smaller than our old garage and is stuffed with all the things we haven’t yet gone through since the last 2-3 moves.  In addition, our SUV is stored there as well.  I walked in there last Friday to retrieve my mid arm and quilt frame and there is still a ton of stuff in the garage.  I’m going to clear it up a little bit at a time.

I think it’s time for me to hit the garage and pick a box or section to go through bit by bit.



Living Simply Edition #11



I tried to go through the bookshelves.  I have a ton of books and some of it is from college days, some of it is from work stuff, some of it is great fictions that I felt I had to have (even though I have the e-version) and some of it is the kids’ books.

I had a hard time getting rid of anything.  It was much harder than my clothes and my shoes.  I was only able to get rid of any duplicates we happen to have.

First – I removed all the kids’ baby and youth books.  I kept their hard cover fiction books because I love how they look.  These are the Riordan series, Twilight series, Harry Potter, Divergent series, Ever series… etc.  These are the books that I’ve read while they read and enjoyed discussing with them.

Second – I removed all the paperbacks of books that I wasn’t in love with. I know that there are quite a few I removed that I love but didn’t have space for so I have to go through those again.

That’s all I’ve done so far.

Even though I said “removed” – I just took it off the bookshelf  and put it somewhere else.  So, it’s not really gone.  I physically get sick when I think of getting rid of any of those books. 😦 Not sure what that’s about but I’ll have to work through it somehow.

So, the bottom two shelves on the left are looking good.  I should have taken a before picture but I forgot.  Here’s a pic of how it looks now.


I’m hiding the rest of the books in the bottom cabinet


and in another room



I think there are more in the garage… but I’ll deal with that when we unearth them.



Living Simply Edition #10


The hubby brought a few more boxes in from the garage.  I was able to cut through one box filled with purses, grocery bags, old laptop bags, etc.  A second box didn’t belong to me and had to be put back.  A third box contained my old journals, old pictures and negatives from high school, and a couple of porcelain dolls.  Well, I took out the dolls and displayed them, much to the horror of my kids.  I even found a shoebox of the hi8’s containing footage of the summer I spent in the Philippines when I was in college.  It would be interesting to see what’s on those tapes.

I was able to dispose of half of the box.  The items no longer inspired the memories and joy that they once had.  I couldn’t get rid of the journals, though, so I left the box half filled.  I have three other boxes waiting for me to sift through.

The problem is that these are really bad boxes to go through.  One of the boxes consist of my youngest’s baby clothes.  That will probably be easily cut in half.  Now that the kids are 14 and 10, we do not have much left from when they were babies.  But it took some time giving things away and I still find stuff that I can’t get rid of because they just look too dang cute.  But everytime I go through that old baby stuff, I get rid of more and more.  The other two boxes are much harder.  They are the photos and memorabilias and kids’ school projects from 2008-2010.

I used to scrapbook but in 2006 I was caught up.  That meant that I had scrapbooked all the pictures that I wanted to scrapbook and documented all the moments of my kids’ lives through that point that I wanted to.  So I took up a new hobby: quilting.  Well, since then, I don’t remember the last time I scrapbooked.  But I’ve been keeping all the stuff (report cards, cards, random pictures that happened to be printed, brochures, etc.) chronologically in boxes for the time I decide to start scrapbooking again.  I was tempted to tell the hubby to put these last 2 boxes back but I persevered.  I’m sure I can cull down those boxes.  I know I kept everything because I was afraid to throw something away that I might want for the scrapbook.  Maybe, I might find the time to scrapbook a page here and there?



Living Simply Edition #9


I realize that while I’ve gone through my clothes and donated a lot of them away, I have trouble finding things to wear every day.  It seems that a lot of them do not bring me joy.  I can’t donate them all away as I don’t have the resources to go buy a bunch of new stuff.  But I will be on the lookout for things I love and try to slowly bring those into my drawers and my closet.  As I find these things I would, of course, donate the older items away.

I’ve asked the hubby to bring in more boxes from the garage.  I would like to go through everything in the garage and really only keep the things I want.  There are things I can go through inside my house – like the books and bar area and the restroom, etc.  And I’m sure I’ll get to those places too.  But the stuff there are already in a place.  The stuff in the garage is tucked away and I do not really know what’s there.  Most of the stuff can probably be thrown out.

Now that I’ve started donating and throwing things away, friends are giving me helpful suggestions on what I can do with the stuff rather than donate and throw things away.  They’ve suggested that I do a garage sale.  Or in today’s modern world, open an instagram account called #melaniescloset and sell online.  Or give them to a friend who will send them to the Philippines for their loved ones to use, barter or sell.  I love my friends.  But these are things I’ve told myself to do and never got around to doing any of them.  It’s one of the reasons why I’ve dragged this stuff from house to house to house.  And I’ve finally decided to stop telling myself that I will do these things and just get rid of the stuff.

Happy Thursday friends!  The weekend is almost here!



Living Simply Edition #8

I always believed that buying in bulk saved me money.  I am learning in this process of simplifying my life that in reality, when I think about it, I’m spending more to store them.  But I can’t throw them away cold turkey.  I already have the house to store them so I might as well keep them now I have them and not buy anymore until I need it.  I mean how many contact solution does a girl need?  I currently have 6 big bottles and 8 of the clear care type!  I think it takes me 3 months to use up 1.

On another note, the hubby is recognizing that I’m really trying to get rid of stuff.  He mistakenly thought this applied to my quilty and craft stuff as well.  Specifically he referenced my fabric.  I quickly corrected him.  Right now I’m focused on getting rid of the things I don’t use and do not bring me joy.  And fabric, friends, brings me joy.  So I will continue to have room for fabric.  That may change and evolve as I go through this process but for right now, it is what it is.




Living Simply Edition #7


My closet simplified 10/7/15

My closet simplified

My closet floor is clear again and the bag of clothes in my room is gone.  I went through all the clothes I kept and in the end I only kept 2 items of sentimental value.  Everything else is ready to be donated.

In addition, I bought a shirt from the Lobster Fest and decided to get rid of a shirt before it could be added to my drawer.  I ended up donating 2 more shirts from my drawer.  They didn’t add inspiration and I didn’t enjoy them anymore.

To my astonishment my office is clean as well.  The book I’ve been listening to is “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.  There are so many tips I’ve gleaned from it.  I think this is one of those books that I’ll be listening too periodically when I get stuck in a rut and I’m not sure what next to work on.  I started cleaning out my purse after work every day.  My purse is usually filled with receipts and bits of things and just a lot of junk.  So for the last few days after work, I’ve been following a routine – put away whatever I’ve brought in from the car, empty my purse, put everything back in its place (inside the purse) and usually I’ll have little bits – receipts to file, trash, stuff to add to my calendar, mail, etc.  It takes about 15 minutes to take care of.  Then I put my purse in its place for the night.  I clear off my desk.  I spend 15-30 minutes clearing it off and eventually I’d like to work on that drawer of stuff that I have (as mentioned in this previous post).  I really should just go through the items at one time and get it over with but I haven’t found the time to do that.  Maybe I’ll be able to get to it this weekend.



Living Simply Edition #6

I was listening to a book about tidying and de-cluterring earlier today.  And I got to thinking about a time in my life when my space was completely clean.  I remember when I was a kid I used to get into these frenzies where I would go through my entire room and clear out everything I didn’t want any more.  Things would go in the trash or in a box I titled “memories” and stored in the family storage.  My room would be so clean and everything would be in its place.  I would lie down and just relish the feeling that came at that point.  I’ve been calling it “freeing” but that really doesn’t describe it.  It’s freeing only because I wouldn’t have to do it anymore.  The physical clutter wasn’t cluttering my mental energy and I could devote time, energy, and space to things I loved and enjoyed and wanted.  I heard the word GRACE mentioned and that is the word I’m loving right now.  I’m not sure if I mean living in grace or living with grace or having the feeling of grace.  I’ll ponder that some more.  But GRACE is definitely the word of the moment. I want GRACE.

Anyway, those thoughts got me thinking about my current life and when in the more recent past have I felt this grace.  I thought about a few weeks ago when my drawers and closets were half full.  My floorspace clear.  It was wonderful.  But then we brought in a few boxes that were in the garage and I went through those boxes.  While I got rid of a lot of things from those boxes and that cleared my life and was very freeing (don’t get me wrong), the clothes I didn’t get rid of are now in a big bag next to my drawers and in a pile of clothes on the closet floor.  I realized today that I’ve been avoiding those parts of my room.  It’s been on a to do list to go through them but I haven’t done it.  Partly because of time and partly (probably more so) because I am feeling anxiety about it.  I really just need to go through them all once and for all.




Living Simply Edition #5

Not a whole lot of getting rid of stuff on my part this week.  But the hubby was able to drop off the bags and boxes that I’ve been filling to wherever it is he drops them off at.  So all those things I’ve been decluttering are officially out of the house!

The good news is – he also started going through his stuff and getting rid of obsolete items too.

I’m not sure why we kept all this stuff for so long but it is freeing to finally get rid of it.




Living Simply Edition #4

So last edition, I still needed to go through the box on the left marked Hawaiian Clothes and the shoes.  I also needed to try on the clothes I kept from the right side.

More boxes!

More boxes!

Since then I went through the boxes but didn’t have a chance to try on the clothes. I was able to donate most of the clothes in the box on the left and a few of the shoes.  I kept a few things that I was a little sentimental about.  Right now I’ve got a huge trash bag of clothes and my closet floor is covered with clothes that I need to go through.  I am irritated with it.  The clothes lay everywhere.  This may be a good thing since I’ll be inclined to donate more.

Another thing I’m trying to do is work through my boxes of files and papers.  When we moved from up north to LA I put everything in my desk into a few boxes.  I didn’t unpack everything.  any papers that were lying around waiting for me to deal with also went into boxes.  I know I went through some of it but I still have 2-3 boxes of files that I’m sure could be gone through and gotten rid of.  I did the same when we moved over the summer.  I still have 1 more pending box.  It’s not a big box.  It’s the size of a box containing 100 manila file folders.  My right bottom drawer contains the pending stuff that I accumulate during the week that I need to review or take care of on the weekend. Usually it’s personal stuff.  So, over the last few Saturdays I’ve been spending an hour or so emptying (or trying to) the drawer.  I’ve had to create files or add appointments on the family calendar.  Whatever I need to do to get it out of that drawer.  It’s like my inbox.  Anyway, last Saturday I finally emptied it enough to fit the file folder size box into it.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to get to it this weekend but I feel like I’m making slow progress.  After that manila file folder I know I’ve got 4 bankers boxes worth of papers in my quilty closet to go through.

I haven’t forgotten about going through the books.  They’re still on my list of things to go through.  I haven’t forgotten and I’m not procrastinating.  I just have other stuff on my plate. ;0

~here’s to a week of decluttering, living simply and planning for a better tomorrow.

It may be slow progress but any progress is better than none.. or worse, buying something else.