Tag Archives: decluttering

Living Simply Edition #17 – Living Room #1




Just a quick update on the status of living room #1.  I spent some time over the weekend going through the room and figuring out what can go and what can stay.  I know it doesn’t look like much because this is the living room that I spend my quilty time in.  But I wanted to go through all those books and get rid of the little stuff that I could get rid of.


The left bookshelf is mine and the kids.  I already pulled out the business books and took those over to the office to share with the staff.  The right bookshelf houses the books I retrieved from my parent’s library and the hubby’s stuff.  I spent my time on the left bookshelf since I’m not ready to get rid of those books on the right and what isn’t mine is the hubby’s.  Anyway, inside the cabinet at the bottom of the shelf was filled with a bunch of books too.  The bottom of the middle curio is also filled with books.  I got rid of the books on the top shelf and went through the remaining books.  I divided them into 4 categories:

  1. books I loved and will not/could not get rid of
  2. books my kids loved and I could not get rid of
  3. books I read and I’m not sure I loved so want to reread them to see if I could get rid of them
  4. books I haven’t yet read (usually the kids books that they recommended I read) and need to read.

I removed the books that I decided should go to a different home.  So now, the shelves you see are still full of books but the bottom cabinet on the left bookshelf is only half filled and the cabinet at the bottom of the curio is completely empty.  You can’t tell yet but we’ll be able to tell by the significant decrease of boxes of books. 🙂

I also went through the sewing box that is at the top of the curio.  I got it on sale somewhere and I liked how it looked so I bought it.  It’s been mostly empty but I opened it because I had the uneasy feeling that the hubby was hiding stuff in there.  I was right.  I threw away everything inside.  Nothing important, just an old tea set that the girl played with when she was 6 or 7.  I was keeping it because it reminded me of her at that age and the tea set was porcelain and so cute.  I will always have those memories.



I went through the basket, moved the two irons back to my crafty room.  I can’t decide which iron I like best and the hubby just pulls whichever one he finds when he wants to iron.  I threw stuff in the basket that needed to be thrown away and moved other things into the boy’s room that should not have been in the basket in the first place.  I stuck the remaining Christmas gifts that have not yet been delivered (the recipients are hard to pin down to give these to them) in the basket.


The boy’s backpack went to his room and then I went through this curio.  I got rid of the lion stuffed animal peeking at the top of the curio.  I found it in one of the boxes I was unpacking and I’m not sure how it ended up there.  I believe, at that time, I couldn’t get rid of it.  Now I could.  There wan’t much left inside the curio to get rid of.  It contains my grandma’s old china set that my mom gifted to me.  Below at the bottom is all our old piano books and music sheets.  I kept them all for now but maybe next week I’ll go through them.  I believe there are a lot that are incomplete as the pages have gone missing.


The water bottles got moved into a cooler outside.  The piano was cleared of all that stuff lying on top of it.  I went through the bowl that the hubby empties his pockets into and threw away all the receipts I found there.  I don’t know why he keeps the receipts.  I also went through our mug shelves.  I got rid of some stuff but not much.  This is one of our collections and I’m not ready to start downsizing these.  I am not going to be buying mugs anymore.  I used to buy a mug or two every place we visited but we’re traveling more than we used to and our friends are so generous they have started to get us mugs too.  So, I have no place to put them anymore.


I forgot to go through the coat rack.  I must do that this coming weekend!

While it doesn’t seem like I did much, I’m feeling better about getting rid of stuff.  There are some things I was able to put in the get rid of bin that was harder for me to get rid of before.  I’m glad that I’m allowing myself not to get rid of everything but to go through each section multiple times.  This way, it’s okay to save the question of keeping or getting rid of for a later time.  By the way, I say get rid of but if the item can still be used again, the hubby donates it somewhere.

I’ve read and listened to people suggestions of getting rid of as much as possible fast.  That helps you see progress right away and motivates you to keep getting rid of stuff.  I like this idea but I also get stressed about getting rid of something that I may potentially want later.  For example, I found a little elephant miniature piece whose trunk broke off.  I was sad.  I remembered buying the piece and it looks cute.  I don’t want to get rid of it.  But it’s broken.  But a little bit of superglue and it looks brand new.  But we don’t have super glue right now so we’ll need to get some.  Well, I told the hubby that he has a week to do it.  If it isn’t fixed in a week, I’m throwing it away!  It feels nice to be able to let go of feeling like I have to make a decision now.  So, I just got rid of the things that I felt was easy to get rid of.  And like I said, something that seemed hard to get rid of a few months ago was very easy to get rid of now (the lion stuffed animal).

Have a great day everyone!


Living Simply Edition #16



I haven’t done one of these in a long time.  Life was busy and it seemed any time I was able to come up and breathe, I spent it playing with fabric and other things.  I want to get this on the schedule again but I’m not sure where to start.  So, as with everything I do when I’m stuck, I figure out a project plan.

  • Living Room #1 (where my quilt frame is)
  • Living Room #2
  • Dining Room
  • Spare Closet (in front of the hubby’s lair) and has become the home of things that I don’t know what to do with
  • Laundry Room
  • Bathroom #2
  • Bar area
  • Kitchen
  • Pantry
  • Linen Closet
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom #1
  • Garage

So my goal is to focus on 1 area each month.  That will mean we’ll get through each area in 13 months.  It’s a constant thing.  I specifically didn’t include the hubby’s lair (because that’s his and he would not appreciate me going in there to declutter).  I also didn’t include the girl’s room or the boy’s room.  They are old enough to go through their stuff.  Of course, if they want my help I’m sure they will ask me for it.

For March, I’ll be working on Living Room #1.

Here is what it looks like before I start working on it:

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Have a great day everyone!


Living Simply Edition #15



I haven’t done a living simply edition for awhile.  The Thanksgiving holiday crept in and now the Christmas holidays are creeping in and we’re just busy.  I am continuing to clear out my purse each evening and about once a week I go through the bottom right desk drawer that tends to accumulate bills, paper that need to be gone through and probably filed. By going through my purse and cleaning up the top of my desk each evening I get rid of a lot of paper right off the bat.  But usually there are a handful of items that I have to do something with and simply don’t have the time to do at that moment or maybe I just don’t know what to do with it.  They are either a bill that will need to get paid, or something that I need to enter into my accounting system, or something that I need to file away.  So, it’s these regular habits that I’m developing that help clear out the mess that usually bothers my daily life and my mind.  Over the last few weeks, even though I haven posted anything, I’ve slowly gone through all the boxes in my closet that I considered my “paper” boxes.  And they’re no longer in the closet.  They were either put in a file or shredded.  The only boxes that are left in the closet (other than my fabric bins) are the stuff I’ve been keeping to put in my scrapbooks.  They’re memorable stuff and I’m not ready to go through those yet.  I have 2 boxes that encompass parts of 2012 – 2015.  I need to sort through them into a system where I can put things away and when I start scrapbooking again, I can easily have everything somewhat organized.  They are all mixed up.  The worse thing is that I’ve got more boxes in the garage and I don’t know how to organize it yet.  I’m kind of at a standstill.  I’ve been trying to work around it.

The next thing I’m going to tackle is my linen closet.  Can you believe I probably have 50 towels stuffed there?  I also have a bunch of pillowcases with no matching beddings and my beddings are all mixed up.  I’d love to have all the coordinated beddings and pillowcases together and somehow tell which ones are queens, fulls, and twins.  Although, it’s pretty easy to tell which ones are twins.  I have a second linen closet in the laundry room so I need to combine the two sets of stuff and get rid of the things that I haven’t used in a long time.  That’s next on my list of things to declutter.  🙂

btw, I haven’t forgotten that I still need to declutter my books.  Right now, the bookshelf is blocked by my quilt frame so I do not have easy access to clear through those shelves.  I’ll do those at some point one day.  I’m just not ready to do it now. 🙂

Have a great day everyone!







Living Simply Edition #14





I’ve missed two gratitude posts and my WIP Wednesday post.  This week is one hectic week.  Every night there has been and will be a scheduled thing and it’s throwing me off.  Tuesday evening, we went to a Meg Myers’ concert.  I didn’t know of Meg Myers until our friends asked if we would like to go with them.  While I didn’t enjoy standing around all night, or the group that came on before Meg Myers, I enjoyed the night completely.  The first band had great energy and I enjoyed it.  Meg Myers rocked it and I went on youtube so the girl could know how she sounds.  I don’t know what her kind of music is called.  We topped off the night with dinner at Roscoes Chicken and Waffles.  I hadn’t been to Roscoes in 15+ years and suddenly, this year, I’ve been there 3 times!  But it hit the spot.  By the time we got home, I didn’t have energy to do a gratitude post.  And since I haven’t done anything towards my quilty project this week, I didn’t have much to say on a WIP Wednesday post.  It didn’t help that I woke up late.

Yesterday, we attended Parent’s mass at the girls school in the morning and she had a short day.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well at all.  I was fighting the cold but it caught up to me and by Wednesday afternoon I laid in bed until dinner time, then dragged warm clothes on myself and took the girl to the premiere showing of Hunger Games 2.  It was exciting.  We loved it.  It was not a disappointment at all!  The whole Hunger Games series did not disappoint in terms of it getting the essence of the books.  I’m often (mostly) disappointed with any movie that is based on a book.  But the movie Hunger Games was on point.

Tonight, we’ve got the Clipper vs. Warrior game at Staples Center.  The hubby sold our tickets so we’ll be watching in the comfort of our own home.  Tomorrow, the girl got us tickets to watch the play at her school.  Then on Saturday I’ve got a sew in with the SFV Modern Quild Guild.  And on Sunday I’ve got another Clipper game that I’ll be taking a client to.  It’s just one busy week.

This post is supposed to be about Living Simply yet we’re so busy this week that it is really hard to live simply.  However, I’m reaping the benefits of all the decluttering and habits that I worked on prior to this week.  My office is clean.  My bedroom is clean.  It’s really nice to come home from whatever thing we’ve been at and go through the motions of putting stuff away.  In the mornings, I make sure the countertops in the bathroom are clear, I fix the bed and I make sure all my stuff is put away before heading to work (whether that is work at home or actually go to my office).  All of that doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.  When I’m done with work, I clear my desk and if I’m at the office – head home, clear my desk at home, empty my purse, and go through any outstanding items that need to be gone through.  All of that doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.  Every couple of days or so, I spend more time as I pay bills or take care of some things.  What I’m most impressed with is that even though I’m busy, I’m still doing all of that, and it has kept me sane.  It’s wonderful.  I am also not being too hard on myself.  As with anything, we try hard to do so many things and when life gets busy like this, sometimes its too hard.  So the stuff I can’t do – like getting to my gratitude posts or WIP Wednesday – I cut myself some slack and I move on.  There are a bit more stuff – like not eating right (hello waffles at midnight!) and not going to yoga, etc.  We will be heading into December and into the holidays so life is going to get even crazier as holiday events and to do items start piling up.  How can I incorporate living simply into the holidays?  I always have so much to do during the holidays that it is often difficult to enjoy them.  What can I do differently this year so that I can enjoy them?  I don’t know the answer to this now but I will ponder this question and maybe have some thoughts on this soon. 🙂

Have a great day everyone!







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.