Posts filed under ‘Decluttering’

Did I Reach My Goal of Reading 59 Books?

Book cases are valuable pieces of furniture in my home. You? They contain treasured books that I’ll reread and books I’ll read for the first time. I like setting reading goals so that I make sure to regularly indulge in this favourite hobby.

My goal last year was to consume 59 books. I finished 63. I read from a wide variety of genres. My newest one is decluttering. I have made great decluttering progress and such books keep me motivated.


  1. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  2. A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  3. How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter by Matt Kepnes
  4. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
  5. Lila: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson
  6. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
  7. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington


  1. War and Peaceby Leo Tolstoy
  2. What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey


  1. Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller 
  2. The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life by Robin Zasio
  3. Housebroken: admissions of an untidy life by Laurie Notaro
  4. Unf*ck your habitat: you’re better than your mess by Rachel Hoffman
  5. Year of No Clutter: a memoir by Eve O. Schaub


  1. Architectural Photography: Composition, Capture, and Digital Image Processing by Adrian Schulz
  2. Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most by Timothy Shriver (audio book from Library
  3. Getting To Know The World’s Greatest Artists: Picasso by Mike Venezia
  4. Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott
  5. Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain & Do Everything Better by Wendy Suzuki, PhD
  6. How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson
  7. Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes by Dana Cowin
  8. Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren F. Winner
  9. TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks by Akash Karia

JANE AUSTEN (her books and adaptations)

  1. Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale
  2. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  3. The Jane Austin Book Club: A Novel by Karen Joy Fowler


  1. Glitter and Glue: A Memoir by Kelly Corrigan


  1. The Dinner: A Novel by Herman Koch
  2. The Eden Prophecy: A Thriller by Graham Brown
  3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  4. Hearts And Bones by Margaret Lawrence
  5. The Sleepwalker: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
  6. The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson
  7. Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Joanna Fluke
  8. The Young Messiah by Anne Rice
  9. False Impression by Jeffrey Archer


  1. small great things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult


The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (1/3)

Blackwell Cold Case

  1. Traces of Guilt (#1/2) by Dee Henderson
  2. Threads of suspicion (#2/2) by Dee Henderson

Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny

  1. Glass Houses: A Novel (13/14)

A Hannah Swensen Mystery

  1. Banana Cream Pie Murder (Book 21/21) by Joanne Fluke

In the Land of the Long White Cloud saga Book

  1. In the Land of the Long White Cloud (Book 1/3) By Sarah Lark

Mitford Series

  1. To Be Where You Are (Book #11) by Jan Karon

Ruth Galloway Mysteries by Elly Griffiths

  1. The Crossing Places (#1) by Elly Griffiths
  2. The Janus Stone (#2) by Elly Griffiths
  3. The House at Sea’s End (#3) by Elly Griffiths
  4. A Room Full of Bones (#4) by Elly Griffiths
  5. Ruth’s First Christmas Tree (#4.5) by Elly Griffiths
  6. A Dying Fall (#5) by Elly Griffiths
  7. The Outcast Dead (#6) by Elly Griffiths
  8. The Ghost Fields (#7) by Elly Griffiths
  9. The Woman in Blue (#8) by Elly Griffiths
  10. The Chalk Pit (#9) by Elly Griffiths

Women’s Murder Club Series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  1. 10th Anniversary  by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  2. 11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  3. 12th of Never  by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  4. Unlucky 13  by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  5. 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson and  Maxine Paetro
  6. 15th Affair  by James Patterson and  Maxine Paetro
  7. 16th Seduction by James Patterson and  Maxine Paetro


  1. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson
  2. The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Your Turn  . . . Did you meet your reading goal for last year? What one book do you think everyone should read? I think everyone would benefit from reading small great things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult.

Related Resources . . .

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Friday’s Fave Five – December 1, 2017

It has been several weeks since I have participated in Friday’s Fave Five. I’ve been on a vacation and then settled back in. Now I am settling back into the routine of writing my Fave List. To join us go to Susanne’s blog, Living to Tell the Story.

One example of something beautiful. I hope to do a post soon of fave sights.

ONE. Vacation. I don’t normally take an extended vacation in November. But I had the pleasurable opportunity to spend time in Madrid, Barcelona, and on a cruise in the Mediterranean.                         Highlights of the trip included Scotti’s skill in finding us unbelievable deals for airfare and the cruise … architectural and historical delights in each place we visited … making friends on the cruise … eating delicious food withOUT gaining any weight … spending time with Scotti and Cheryl (a new friend) … and time away to grieve the loss of a long time friend. I am grateful for these new experiences, time with friends (old and new) and time alone.

Mary and I were thrilled to be a part of this ministry and opportunity to strut our stuff.

TWO. Thanksgiving. In the morning, my walking buddy and I walked a 10K in Run to Feed the Hungry with 29, 117 others. Then we went home to our families.                                                                  Like many others, we had delicious food (some old time faves and a new recipe: Apple Pumpkin Dump Cake (gluten free) and time with loving family. Everyone was able to be at my sister’s home this year and that is always meaningful. I am grateful when we all visit to play, catch up with life and get to know each other better.









THREE. Grandma time. I was able to spend a full day at my son’s home. We did an art project, visited a nearby carousel that was decorated for the holidays, and then decorated their home for Christmas. I am grateful when I get to participate in their life.

We had this treat at San Gines. It is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

FOUR. Auntie time. While in Spain we had hot chocolate and churros (twice). I brought back chocolate for my sister’s three girls. On Sunday we made up a batch of the hot chocolate. My daughter and I brought over Taco Bell churros and french fries for their family and us to try with the hot drink.   The taste experience was a fail: the chocolate was not THICK like we had in Spain and the churros were not great. This was the 1st time I’d had an American churro. In Spain they are salty and doughy.             But the time together was FUN. And I am grateful when I get to try new things with them.

FIVE. Decluttering. I am continuing on that goal. When we put out the Christmas decorations, my daughter helped me to rearrange my priorities (declutter) regarding the boxes and boxes of decorations. I am mostly done with that task. I read that more decluttering happens at the Holidays than any other time. I am grateful my daughter is able to help with the decluttering process and that she likes to decorate for Christmas as much as I do.

BONUS: Instead of shopping on Black Friday, my daughter, a friend (Rachel) and I went for a hike. We celebrated #OptOutside and #GreenFriday. I am grateful that I tried something new and that it was an active something new.

Your Turn … Please share what made your list this week.

What I Wrote Last Week … Apple Pumpkin Dump Cake (gluten free) … 40 Days Until 2018 – What Will You Do?

What I Finished Reading …  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and Year of No Clutter: a memoir by Eve O. Schaub

Related Post … Decorations Can be Emotional Bombs

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MORE vs. less: 4 Things I’ve Learned in My Decluttering Journey

Day 31 – This spot no longer exists! Hurray for me.

I am done with this series, MORE vs  less: 31 days Devoted to Decluttering. My home, garage, car, and office contain a lot less stuff. But I need to declutter more. More importantly, I need to treat this project as an ongoing journey.

Let me share four things I learned during this process.

  1. Declutter before I organize. The fastest way to clean up a messy space is to toss everything into labeled containers. However, this is only a short-term, quick fix, because when stuff is put in a box, I rarely look at it again. In the long-term, it does not meet my goal of having a decluttered home. I need to declutter as I go and keep only what is necessary and loved.
  2. Make a plan for things coming into my space. Items still come into my home from my purchases or from others. If I don’t make disciplined, ongoing decisions about what goes, what stays, and where it will “live,” my spaces will fill up again, and I will once again have a cluttered life. I need to ask the following: “Do I need it?” “Do I love it?”
  3. Reinforce the why of my decluttering goal. When I feel overwhelmed or lack the desire to declutter, I think back to WHY I want a decluttered space. When I ruminate on the inspiration for my goal, my motivation stays stable.

Here are some of my reasons why.

  • A decluttered home is peaceful.
  • Company is welcome as there is no need for a lengthy house cleaning.
  • I save money and time by knowing precisely where everything is.
  • My kiddos will inherit thoughtful treasures, not containers of junk.
  1. Accountability is essential to my success. I started a private Facebook group that interacts on this topic. We share questions, challenges, wins, information, quotes, frustrations, and encouragement. And I recently started a regular Skype session with a friend on the same journey. Michelle’s positivity and steadfast pursuit of her own decluttering goals prod me on in my efforts. Both of these accountability avenues help call to mind my why and how, which keep me progressing on the decluttering journey.

Your Turn . . . How is your decluttering journey going? Share what you’ve learned.

Related resource – . How to Kick Your Clutter Habit and Live in a Clean House Once and for All by Alan Henry

Day 31 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = Several hours in the garage. This is a big project, but step-by-step it is doable.

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less. If you’d like, you can join our private Facebook group that is encouraging one another in this task.

Updated on August 17. 2018. Our Facebook group is still operational, in case you’d like to join us.

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MORE vs less: God’s Point-of-View on Clutter

Day 29 – Ouch! His viewpoint is different than mine.

Clutter is a crowded or confused mass or collection. Americans love to hoard their clutter. In 2012, the average American [was] hoarding 23 items in their home that they [had] absolutely no use for, according to results.” ~ (Sam Paul).

Decluttering is an ongoing pursuit and many of us have it on our to-do lists and New Year’s resolutions. However, like many lists and resolutions, these items are abandoned before we see real change.

That described me, too. But this past year I have been purposeful and mindful of my actions, possessions, and thoughts. Lately, I’ve been contemplating what God has to say about decluttering.

A well-known maxim about treasures is that they are to be in Heaven, not earth. And the fact that I’ve had a hard time parting with a lot of my things shows that I have considered my things treasures. I used my money to maintain, store, and buy more of them.

God says to keep my treasures in Heaven. These treasures will not be susceptible to rust, breakage, or thievery. Heavenly treasures bring freedom and blessing.

I clutched at my treasures due to fear and worry that I might need them later today or at most very soon.

I stockpiled extra frivolities like glue guns, teapots, art supplies, blankets, etc.

God says to not worry about what I’ll need tomorrow. Concentrate on my today. Many times I can borrow what is needed. Or I can go to the thrift store and buy the item (most likely a frivolity) inexpensively. And God says He will provide for my NEEDS for today.

Sometimes I feel bound to my things. It is almost like I am in love with my possessions. So I cannot get rid of them. That would be the height of unfaithfulness.

Isn’t that silly and wrong-spirited? God says I am to love people. Another like minded maxim says we are to love people and use things; not use people and love things.

A noble way for me to love people is to use more of my income on things people need: clean water, clothing, food, shelter, etc.

I don’t believe God is asking me to live a bare bones lifestyle. I do believe He wants me to be more mindful of HOW I spend my money and to share more of it. And so do I.

Day 29 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = Finished my closet.

Your Turn . . . What would you add to this post?

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less. If you’d like, you can join our private Facebook group that is encouraging one another in this task.

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MORE vs less: How Two Experiences Impacted My Decluttering Journey

Day 28 – Wise words or experiences, how do you best learn?

I asked a group of friends if decluttering is on their to-do list. Without exception, it is. I then asked, is it also on your ongoing to-do list? Most admitted that it wasn’t.

It has been on mine for decades. This year some things happened that made me serious about achieving weekly decluttering goals.

In fact, two experiences reshaped my worldview regarding possessions. The first experience was a trip to Mexicali with 18 people from my church. We fed and prayed for the homeless. We bought groceries for two orphanages. We held VBS and a women’s conference. Lastly, we upgraded the base camp (painting, staining, building a cabin, etc.).

I am sure we made a difference in many lives. I am positive they made a big difference in mine. The foster parents of each orphanage sacrificed to care for the children. In the smaller home, the “parents” foster five children in addition to their two biological children. Twice a week the father sells his plasma for $25 (each time) to ensure a steady income. Ten people live in a one bath, two bedroom home with a kitchen the size you’d find on a small yacht. There is no excess in their home. There is no room for it, or money to buy it.

When I returned and really looked at my home, I was troubled by my surplus. I didn’t have just a little; I had a LOT. I felt embarrassed enough to declutter within a week of returning. Five hours and three trips to Goodwill eliminated my catchall area. It was not wrong to have more than I need. But did I really NEED that many books, craft supplies, clothes, and dishes? It felt criminal to have this surplus, especially since I’ve hardly used these items in the past years.

The second experience is secondhand. While we were in Mexicali, a friend’s home back in Sacramento burned down. Within an hour, most of her belongings were incinerated. All the people made it out alive, but their pets perished. My friend has a new outlook. Things are not essential in life. Living beings are.

I want to have a comfy, streamlined home that is not overstuffed with things. I want to use the money I would use on stuff to help the lives of those around me. I want to use the time I would spend to maintain my things in the lives of others.

I am grateful for these two experiences. They have spurred me on in my decluttering work. I want to use my time and money wisely. And the experiences reinforced the idea that people not things occupy a primary place in my affections.

The following verse is one I’ve been thinking about.Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15  NIV

Your Turn . . . Do you learn mostly from your own experience or from other’s experiences? . . . Has your view of your possessions changed at all because of this post? Why or why not?

Day 28 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = I streamlined the items in half of my closet. Now I just need to figure out what to do with all the tee shirts I get from my monthly 5K Fun Walks. (I don’t run.)

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less. If you’d like, you can join our private Facebook group that is encouraging one another in this task.

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MORE vs less: Would You be Okay With Living in a Storage Unit?

Day 27 – Living in a storage unit is awkward and not very homey.

For too many of us, that is exactly where we live, a storage unit.

Granted most of us are not hoarders that have to navigate floor-to-ceiling stacks of boxes and piles.

But many of us do have too much stuff in our garages, cars/trunks, closets, drawers, and storage units off site.

So much so, that we don’t like it when folks come over unannounced. We think, “Don’t you dare open any cupboard, doors, or drawers.” We don’t want anyone to see our stuffed, haphazard, messy collection of items.

If this describes you, you might be living in a storage space. How does that make you feel?

I know that describes some, many, okay ALL of my drawers, shelves, and closets (before I started this 31 day cleanse). And add the fact that I hardly used my piled possessions. I don’t like how I feel: ashamed, wasteful, lazy, and a bad steward.

But isn’t it great that I have today to declutter. I have today to start making different choices. And so do you. Then we can claim that our homes are spaces to live and not mountains of guilt, fear and STUFF.

“Your home is living space not storage space,” Francine Jay.

Your Turn . . . Look through this series of posts (here), to determine which idea you’ll first implement. . . .  These posts will help you learn How to Think Clutter-Free. . . .  Decluttering is not a linear journey. . . .Nor is there a perfect moment to begin. . . . Just get started and you’ll see your motivation rise and carry you through to completion. 

Day 27 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = I spent 31 minutes in my pantry and refrigerator. I am already to go shopping because there is plenty of space.

I know that I zigzag in my decluttering. Some people might go crazy with such a schedule. But I like the flexibility and it works for me. I hope you find a schedule that works for you.

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less.

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MORE vs less: Using Clutter Goggles to See What’s Really There

Day 26 – I would use my clutter goggles, if I knew WHERE they were,

Colorblindness and clutter-blindness have a similar characteristic. In colorblindness. a person cannot clearly distinguish different colors of the spectrum.

In clutter-blindness. a person cannot clearly distinguish clutter from non-clutter. A clutter-blind person does not notice the piles of stuff mixed in with the useful stuff. While folks around them are disturbed by this mess, the clutter-blind person is not. And in many cases is comforted by having their stuff out and available.

Colorblindness has no cure. However, clutter-blindness does. It is a simple trick. Wear Clutter Goggles.

This is a habit you cultivate that helps you see what is out-of-place. Each time you leave a room, put on your (imaginary) clutter goggles. Purposefully look at the space and observe the piles on all the surfaces. Notice what’s out of place. Now take a few minutes (set the timer) to tackle at least one thing.

  • Collect all the pens/pencils and put them into one container.
  • Hang up your clothes or put them in the hamper.
  • Move the thrift store box out to your car.
  • Re shelve books.
  • Stack dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Throw away trash.

I learned the idea of clutter goggles from Lorie Marrero. She suggests putting them on so we can see the cluttered area for what it really is – a disorganized, overflowing shelf, drawer, table, closet, trunk, etc.

The clutter goggles I spoke about are imaginary. But there are “goggles” that you can put on in order to see what’s really there.  Denise Drake, a friend and fellow declutterer, has an idea that she uses. She uses a camera as if they were goggles.

Denise takes a photo of the area to be decluttered. By doing this, she can have an objective look. The disorganization and excess really stand out. She also takes a photo when done. These before and after pictures not only bring great satisfaction at a job well done, it shows the difference in a way that cannot be missed.

Wear them  in only one room. You could even decide to wear clutter goggles (or take a photo) all day in only one room. By the end of the day, you’ll have sorted out many of the out-of-place items.

As we make this an ongoing habit, our spaces will be freed from clutter. Won’t that feel good?

Day 26 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = Storage closet is done!

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever used a camera as clutter glasses? . . . Do you think this tip would work for you? . . . What else could we use to replace imaginary clutter googles?

Related Resources . . . 

  • 3 Tips on Clutter Blindness [A Messy Minimalist Video] 1. Purposefully look and stare at every item in a room. Assess the problem areas.  Accept how bad your clutter is. … 2. Invite a detail-oriented, clean-freak friend over to assess the same room. Accept her findings. …. 3. Frequently check out your known problem areas in all parts of your home. I.e. Surfaces, corner of the room, floor.
  • How to Think Clutter-Free by FruitfulWords

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less. If you’d like, you can join our private Facebook group that is encouraging one another in this task.

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Older Posts

60 Acts of Kindness, Intentional & Random to do my 60th year

The Finish DateMarch 1st, 2019

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