lazy gal’s survival guide : motivated

Once upon a time, there was this chick who thought she wanted to organize her home. She had good intentions. She even started a series on her blizawgh. Lalala, life is fun. But after a confrontation with the monstrosity of a near avalanche in her son’s closet and a pre-christmas purge, she decided it was much more than that. It was time to make a real lifestyle change. She was fed up with excess. She purged minivans full and donated them to a local shelter. No one understood her family or how much they’d gotten rid of, because they were tired of it dominating their lives. There was no stopping her. She was a champion.

Then as the story of most sophomore records go (See: No Doubt, Seal, Macy Gray) (Read: no, I’m not comparing myself to megastars, just a metaphor) the second phase arrived after her first victory and she happened upon these:


Paralyzed with doubt and indecision she promptly helped herself to another heaping spoonful of self pity, eating her feelings in the form of chocolate cream pie and the best ever palmetto cheese on crackers whilst watching Goonies. This was more to her than just a magazine. Anyone who once loved these understands. So she spontaneously imploded from the stress of indecision as she was sucked into a black hole of über consumerism never to return again.

The end.

Alternate title to this post: What to do when you get discouraged because you found something you don’t want to deal with and you’re tired and want to quit and the world is ending because life is hard. Things that fall in this category : Old Magazines. Old photo albums. Old VHS tapes that are unmarked and you have no idea how to figure out what’s on them and you want to chunk them all and decide to do so, only to discover one of them was your wedding video. (Nice last minute save, Jamin.)

Alternate alternate title : First world problems are idiotic.

Can you guys tell that I’ve reached the last straw? I’ve been a little mad. I did this to myself. I guess this is part of dealing with it all.

Mindy nailed it with her comment in the last post on The Lazy Gal’s Great Purge :

It is emotionally exhausting to make 7,000 little tiny decisions! 

And Tammy asked as it pertains to the great purge :

How do you motivate yourself? How much time do you give yourself? 

So today, I thought we’d discuss this little jewel of a topic.

Here are a few thoughts I have on the topic of motivation: 

• Don’t let the overwhelming process in front of you, hold you back. Someone wrote recently that they never know quite what to do with all the stuff. Donation centers are great for the needy and blessing others with your things. We get it. We know. But then it comes down to the nitty gritty. The tough stuff. The literal 7,000 decisions that can be so overwhelming. Recycle? Trash?

Don’t let the guilt hold you back. Are you listening? This is what has impaired me for so long. Let your initial goal be to cleanse your home. Sometimes, trash is just trash, sometimes donate is just donate, regardless of the memories they hold. If you think hard enough, everything will have a memory. Your ultimate goal should be to a healthier life. You can only do better from here in the world of mindless consumerism. I consider it a lesson learned, and a chance to do better.

do better

You can only learn from your past mistakes. (image via)

• Fake it ’til you feel it. I’ve often disagreed with this phrase, but in some instances it’s true. Particularly with purging. Sometimes if you’re not motivated, you just have to get started anyway. And before you know it (see this past Saturday) you can’t stop because you’ve made so much progress. Did you guys know that we now have multiple empty cabinets in our home? A hall closet that is completely empty? And a year ago, I was complaining over not having any space. I claimed we were outgrowing our home.


Wowsa. Reality check. Just like with any problem area in your life, you have to make the conscious decision that you want to change. But in the meantime, as it pertains to the excess in your life, it’s a lot like working out. You hate yourself while it’s going on, and afterwards, you feel accomplished and fantastic. So give it a whirl. Motivation may happen naturally.

• You will fail. Accept it. I’m a lists kinda gal. I like to write things down just to cross them off. I’m a hardcore planner. When I wake up in the mornings, I have major ideals as to what needs to happen that day. And sometimes, those huge expectations just don’t happen. I’m a mother first. The cliche is true : Rome wasn’t built in a day. And it didn’t take a day to get ourselves into this mess.

But as Jamin says: Some days accomplishment days, and some days are rabbit chasing days. This is a process. I woke up on Friday, ready to tackle the world. But Emerson fell and bit her tongue (it was bad) and wanted me to hold her. All day. Things happen and that’s life. Accept the rabbit chasing days for what they are, and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Don’t focus on how much further you have to go.

Basic RGB

• Divide your home into sections. I touched a little on this last week, but divide it up to work consistently in your home. It’s like little goals within the big one. Pace yourself. You can’t knock all this out in a day… or even a month. It will be a process. Take breaks in between, or you will be weary and miserable. It helps you stay fresh when you take breaks.



I kind of feel like this right now. Did you see what’s left? The attic. And garage. And storage. Blech. The last great epic battle. The place where all the hoarded items go and are ultimately forgotten. Spiders and scary things and dark places + VHS tapes and yearbooks and college memories that overwhelm me. Stupid but true. I feel a little like this guy. See what I did there? A little 80’s nerd humor for you. Oh and some boobies. Lovely.

• Have an ultimate goal in mind. What is your vision for your home? Have some phrases in mind that you want to use as a guide to reach that goal. Hold yourself accountable by having a garage sale. Write about it. Find ways that inspire you to keep going and express that. This is the process of discovery. You do things for a reason, and this will only help. When in doubt, use this flow chart, or one that you personally design with the ultimate goal in mind… but keep a few basic guidelines for yourself when in doubt on a certain item.



• This is free. This is the one project I can think of for your home, that even though we try to do things affordably, is absolutely free. Free of cost, and freeing. We cleaned out our kitchen this weekend and found literal cash, y’all. Plus a birthday check for 50 dollars. And don’t even get me started on the excess of previously misplaced gift cards. You’ll make money doing this. What do you have to lose other than time? Which brings me to…

• It’s a time saver. It takes time and dedication to clean up, but living your life in the other alternative, searching for things is a time waster. How many times have I been late because I couldn’t find something? It’s like not doing your homework in school when the teacher looks at you with a giant condescending tisk tisk… It’s true what they say: You really are only hurting yourself. It’s like the scales have fallen from my eyes, people. I’m looking back at stressful moments in my life and a lot of it comes back to this.


• Reward yourself with something that helps you achieve your goal. It’s really made me think twice … probably even three times about what we bring into our home. A reality check for me was blindly purchasing a pair of shoes because I couldn’t find my other pair. Seriously?? Who am I?? So obviously there were areas I need to work on. But I decided to reward myself this past week for all our hard purging work by purchasing the practical. Something that will last for a very long time (and came with a BOGO deal at Michaels) : Baskets! A place for everything and everything in it’s place is true. And I’m so excited. So reward yourself for all your hard work, not by bringing more THINGS into your home (and probably not with palmetto cheese jalepeño dip) but with some items to help you achieve your goal. Organization. I’ve truly earned these baskets.

• Keep yourself in check. It’s super easy to get overwhelmed and send yourself on a spiraling guilt trip. Everyone has their weaknesses. We actually have some areas in our home that are working, that we didn’t even have to touch with the purging wand. Take our open shelved areas for instance, or our living room. Something’s working for us to have gotten this far. We just need to apply those principles to other areas of our life. Repeat after me: I’m not a total hoarding failure.

• Join a community where others are doing the same. Our site will be available next week to upload photos for others to see… and be inspired by what you’ve accomplished. So we really hope you’re getting those photos ready. We want to see your accomplishments… and even your failures. There is strength in numbers! HUZZAH!

As far as time and how much we give ourselves : 

Answer: as much as you need. I believe this answer is different for everyone.

Just like the laundry, I’m afraid purging is never done. The first great purge we’re doing now will officially last longer than the month we initially planned. We have to take breaks in between. It’s exhausting. We’ve seriously cut out at least 50% of our excessive stuff at this point, and we’ve donated all of it. We haven’t even sorted through the garage sale stuff yet. (Furniture and decor only) I want to cut out more. We’ve decided to move our garage sale back a little further by at least a month to give ourselves plenty of time.

We have a birthday party to plan {read: life doesn’t stop so you can purge} and Jamin fell from the attic last week while putting up our Christmas decor {not our first stuff inflicted injury} and hurt his heel. {Not broken per the doc just a deep bruise} Honestly, we’re just glad he didn’t impale himself on the junk below. Seriously people, it was that close. We are that ridiculous. So we’re moving the sale back a bit so we can breathe a little.

All that being said, don’t exhaust yourself. Take breaks in between. Let this be a slowly fueled process, and then make multiple sweeps afterwards. We still have to do second and third phases after this one. And while that’s frustrating to have our time sucked into a warp zone of stuff management, it’s so our lives will ultimately be simpler. 

Because this isn’t happening again. It feels so good!

Oh. What ever happened to those Domino magazines? And the girl who was sucked into a black hole of misery? She’s literally purged everything else, so she saved the ones that were inspiring. (Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful) and she found a place for them. (A place for everything and everything in its place.) A real place. Not a shove-them-in-the-closest-cabinet-forget-where-they-are-later place. ;}

What are some little gems of advice you can give us for motivation? What have you found works for you?

Have an inspired day, everyone!

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Responses to lazy gal’s survival guide : motivated

  1. lynsey braggs says:

    You have no idea how you have motivated me!!!! Thank you thank you thank you! Ive got lots of pictures coming!

  2. Denise says:

    Working on some de-cluttering of my own. I did a lot last year, but seemed to miss the kitchen. Everytime I though about it I was completely overwhelmed. Decided last night that I needed to take baby steps – this way I get to see some results. Keep up the hard work – you won’t regret it one minute!! Hope to be posting some progress on my kitchen soon :)

  3. Bekki says:

    When I would get discouraged I would watch Hoarders. The show was very modivating and fascinating also. There is something to knowing what could happen with ignoring the problems. I know its not for everyone but it worked for me.

    • SO true! That show gives me HIVES! It makes me sad, and THEN it gives me hives. it IS fascinating. Kind of makes you wonder about their bounce back rate… how long they stay fresh and wonderful and clutter free.

    • Toni says:

      It makes me physically uncomfortable. Not just the junk, but the emotional attachment that the hoarders have to the junk. My dad was a hoarder, and I don’t think unless you have lived with that shame of having to live in that environment you can fully understand it. in the first month after he was gone I had 20 (!!) junk cars removed from our property. We have had tons ( about 12 I think) of metal items hauled away and sold as scrap. We gave away a collector car that was tucked in the back of my dads shop, the guy just had to clean his way to it. : ) you get the picture.

      • Nathalia says:

        My grandma also became a hoarder towards the end of her life, and I still remember stacks of newspapers and empty Yogurt jars for “to-go-drinking-cups” everywhere. She wanted to write a chronology, so she had kept the newspaper from 1975 onwards. Not that she ever did read them again. Or stacks of torn out recipe pages and animal pictures. She thought she needed all this things.
        What I learned was: Yes, we keep some stuff because we think we might need them someday. Keep it only if you have a concrete plan, and if you have not done anything with it within a year, throw them out at the yearly purge.

    • Gabreial W. says:

      I have a friend who has her child watch hoarders when he wants to hold onto everything including tags off clothing and the like. Oi!

  4. Amanda says:

    I’ve been going through our house for the last couple of months (finally hit my limit on the clutter), but I’ve totally been avoiding our study. It’s pretty much our upstairs drop zone and there is SO MUCH STUFF in there. We’re planning to update the room, which means it needs to be completely cleared out – and it’s been on my list for a while, but it’s become an overwhelming item in my mind. The plan’s to actually paint over MLK weekend, so I really need to get my butt in gear for the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the motivating post!!

  5. Jamin fell out of the attic?! For goodness sake, that’s scary! Good grief, glad he’s ok.

    Also, I did a sorta purge of our kids’ toys last week and it was AWESOME. The thing I’d like to deal with most is all the infant stuff, but I’m not sure we’re done having babies, so it’ll have to stay for a while. Bummer of a space sucker, all that baby stuff!

    • Yes, Anna! We were talking about how we’re almost out of the clear with ALL of the baby stuff. It’s so freeing to be out of that phase. {Our three year old refuses to potty train so we’re trying to ease him in but it is what it is.} ;} Jamin is doing better. Just sore. Once I made sure he was okay, I did my best not to laugh. I failed. Not funny but funny. Sorry not sorry. You know how that is. ;}

  6. Erin says:

    This is just what I need right now! We are getting ready to downsize our house in a matter of weeks. We are ready to feel free and live more simply. But I am a little overwhelmed with what to keep, what to purge and what will fit into our new space. I worry most about the kitchen…it is small and I have so many large couter top appliances. I cook often and use them often but I know they will kill what little cabinet space we will have. And there is no garage for added storage. Time to purge!!!!

  7. Jessica says:

    When I saw the Domino Mags I wanted to cry! Alas, they have been purged from my house, but not without many pages being scanned into my computer first.

  8. Kathy Cruz says:

    I have a stack of DOMINO MAGS I can’t part with either!! I bought a home a year ago and I have been de-cluttering, purging and organizing since then. Just this past weekend I found the stack of awesomeness and I am just at the point in my life that I will be able to sit down and enjoy them once again. How can we bring this magazine back? …electronically so we don’t have to worry about clutter ; )

    Thank you for always inspring and motivating me.

  9. Heidi says:

    I also have been working slowly on my house for the last few years. I take it slow. We did a massive purge when we moved 3 1/2 years ago. Then we moved again 1 year ago and I did some purging again. But it really does sneak back in. But I also think my level of tolerance has changed as well. I take it in baby steps. I don’t take out more than I can clean up in 1 hour. Or I only tackle 1 drawer. That way I don’t get burned out. I also do the kids clothes when I put them away. This year I’m challenging myself to get rid of 2013 items for the year 2013. I’m not counting garbage and some sets will be counted as 1 (ex puzzles).

    Way to go on staying motivated!! My area that I have the hardest with is craft supplies. I have avoided it for years, but I tackled it a bit yesterday and in a month I’ll do it again.

    Thanks for the motivation

  10. KC says:

    I purged all of my Domino magazines years ago, now I wish I had them back. Anyone else planning to get rid of their Domino magazines, would you consider mailing them to me?;)

  11. Toni says:

    One decision that I made a few years ago was to assign a certain amount of space to my fabric collection. If it is no longer fitting in it’s space, it is time to donate my least favorite, or least useful pieces of excess fabric. I give myself what I have determined is an adequate amount of space for whatever, and when we go beyond those bounds, then the least favored items must go.
    On another note, if it is REALLY bad, take before and after pictures. It really helps you to realize just how far you have come and what’s been accomplished. Trust me on this,my dad was a hoarder. He has been gone for 8 years, and we are still not done. This article did make me think back to what the inside of my parents house was like right after he died. It makes me want to run up to my moms and help her finish her sewing room that formerly was so stuffed with hoard you couldn’t walk through it. Wish we had a before picture of that! By the way, if you have enough to donate some organizations will send a truck. I feel like something of an expert on this…..

  12. Carla says:

    Such great motivation, thanks!! This can be so much harder with little kids, who seem to accumulate more on a minute-by-minute basis. I imagine them as a tornado, collecting more debris as they move throughout parties, grandparents, daycare, etc.
    I purged my kitchen last fall when I had to do a total cleanout of my cabinets. The extra space is great, but fighting the urge to buy “just one more red Paula Deen cookware piece although I have a perfectly good pan it just doesn’t match” is an ongoing battle. But you are right, the feeling is good enough to motivate me to stand firm!

  13. Shelly says:

    I have loved your blog for some time now…your ideas are wonderful but what really makes it worth the read is your honesty! Thanks for showing women everywhere that real life happens and it’s how we respond that defines us!!!
    3 cheers for you! Hip Hip Hooray for real women :)

  14. Julie says:

    Thanks for this post! It came at a time when I am feeling completely discouraged and overwhelmed as I continue to purge our house on my own. This article does a perfect job of explaining the exhaustion of the process. I know the end will be worth it, but the middle of the process is rough. At least I know that I am not alone!

    • Julie-you are NOT alone! I am with you on this. stay with it and take some pretty pictures for me so we can laugh at our junk together! ;} stay with it, girl!!!

      • Julie says:

        Aw, thanks! I’m not sure I can bring myself to take pictures of the before … you are braver than I am in that regard! I feel your pain on the magazines too. I packed up a bunch of mine and took them to the school art room. I had someone else toss the rest in the trash, because I just couldn’t bear to look. 😉 I figure I’ll just get my inspiration online from blogs like yours! Now it’s on to the art supplies …

  15. Chaney says:

    Thank you for this! What a well-written post. I’m beginning this kind of process in our apartment and dubbed it “Operation {Re}Organization” – ha! It’s so helpful to have encouragement around you, so thanks for being so honest and making the rest of us feel like we’re not the only ones with crazy junk in our homes!

  16. Sarah says:

    Well done! We went through this when we moved cross-country this last summer, and we were extremely overwhelmed. My husband was job-hunting, I was in my third trimester, and we had a 3-year-old running around like the crazy cuteness that she is. People bought us baby stuff, stuff for our kids’ birthday, etc., etc. It was awful to go through it. But, since we did, when we moved, we kept most everything. Almost everything had a place to go to, and in the end, we only threw away a bag or two of unneeded items. With two li’l ones by that point, it was nice that on top of our huge move, we had so little to sort through. It is helpful that neither of us are pack-rats, but it almost happens before you realize it. Good luck in your adventure! As you already noted, you’ll feel amazing for it!

  17. Heather Krcha says:

    I’m going through the same exact process to, and I’m about half-way finished myself! This weekend my husband and I cleaned/purged the garage. We delivered over 40 30-gallon big-size trash bags full of excess to the local thrift store. I felt like the Grinch…in a good way.

    We are committing to certain kids toys (we have a 4yo, 2 yo, and 6 mo) – dress up, kitchen & dolls, blocks, craft supplies and Duplos…everything else is gone. No more Strawberry Shortcake, Littlest Petshop, random naked Barbie dolls…they’re all gone. The amazing thing is the void is filled by children’s laughter. They don’t need a pink princess pop up tent to have fun…it’s so much better when Mom plays too and custom builds the tent from a striped sheet! The kids have had so much fun playing in clean, organized, NOT overflowing rooms- and I’ve even so much happier because its that much easier to clean!

    Onward and upward in this journey- together across the miles :)

  18. Brittany says:

    Thank you so much for being strong enough to start out on this journey and brave enough to share it with us! I’ve been so inspired by your resolve that I’ve started out with a purge in my home too. I’ve already ordered the book and can’t wait for it to get here : ) I am actually hoping to start a ‘series’ on my little blog about trying to get things in order!
    Thanks again!!!

  19. Heather Krcha says:

    I was shocked, too! I can’t believe how wasteful we have become- as individuals and as a society! It felt amazing…and kinda scary too…weird, isn’t it?!

  20. Stacy says:

    I give myself 15 min to clean out /purge an area. I do as much as I can in 15 min. If I want to stop after 15 min, I do. Most of the time I get in a groove and just keep going. Plus, you’d be surprised how much you can get done in 15 min!

  21. Susan says:

    I am frozen. To a closet full of pretty clothes that all fit, I wear everything but I have so much of everything, each season, I don’t get to everything. I feel
    Selfish but I just freeze up when it comes to donating things that I wear or
    Might wear any day out of 365 days. I did finally realize how much I had &
    Have quit adding….I am an end of the season shopper, I don’t spend more
    Than I can afford, don’t have clothes charged on credit cards.

    Everything is put away, it doesn’t look like an episode of hoarders, the closets are tidy, I just feel ridiculous, I have taken out what I felt was a duplicate sorta, but
    There is a lot left that I consider part of my wardrobe.

    However, I do have a closet & drawers pretty full. What do you do?

  22. This is so motivating. I had started this year with a great home purge and my best friend & I have become email accountability partners in this effort in each of our homes. How wonderful to stumble across your blog as I work on our clutter! Our theme as far as KEEPING organization is “Don’t put it down, put it away” . Thanks for all your encouragement!!!

  23. You are so adorable. :) It’s a sincere delight to follow you on this journey. Through this struggle you are most definitely inspiring and empowering many toward embracing a simpler life full of only what really matters. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    If you’d ever like some ‘expert’ feedback on how to deal with a few road-blocks (like the magazines, perhaps??) I’d be more than happy to consult with you (*for free*), because I’m inspired by your willingness to share your journey so honestly – this is a genuine offer. :)

    Let me know!
    Cheers and best wishes on meeting all your organizing goals – you’re doing FABULOUS!!
    [email protected]

  24. Sheri says:

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The day after Christmas I decided to give up my disaster of a craft room so my girls could each have their own rooms. I emptied the craft room into our dining room and have been trying to purge and organize my things into a very, very small closet. I’ve even tried to talk my daughters out of their own rooms because pushing everything back into the disaster area would be so much easier. Then I could close the door and not have to do this. This is hard, I have felt like a failure because I didn’t have it cleaned up in two days…thank you for your words of encouragement today.

    • Girl not at all. Failure shmailure. Hang in there. This takes time! It’s not a magical wand waving process. {Though I think maybe we’re taught to think that way… and I think maybe I really wish it was…}

  25. OH my word this post must have taken you four hundred years to right. What a pain in the butt purging is. I hear ya. When we owned our house (prior to moving in with all four generations 4 years ago) we had so much space and room and oh that crap I use to collect. It was crazy. Now though, I throw everything away and donate probably to quickly because we have NO closets or storage space. One extreme to the other. Good luck with your purge !

  26. Mary says:

    Thank you, thank you for your posts! Your honesty is so refreshing, and so motivating!
    I have found myself in a rut lately in the organization/purging of our house. We have lived in our new house for a year, and I am amazed at how much stuff we have filled it with! Where does it come from??!??!
    I think I am starting by putting “like things together”. You know, gathering things like all my vases and putting them in one spot. That way I can see what I have, and know how many I really need to keep. Same with photos, shoes, purses, etc., etc., etc…. Not exactly my most brilliant idea, but it is a starting place for me.
    Now if I can find the time to do it with 3 kids and a sick husband at home…… :)

  27. Gabreial W. says:

    So what did you end up doing with the Domino magazines? Maybe I missed it, but I’m holding on to 4 boxes of magazines like your coveted Domino (also in my collection). I just can’t get past tossing them out. One day I’ll have that grand bookshelf or library where I can display them all pretty-like with color coordinated labels or something. My husband is a loving and patient man :)

  28. Judy H. says:

    For 3 years I have been in the purging process. I did some in the basement, my closet, my husband did his OWN closet (yay!), the front coat closet, the built-ins in both den and living room, okay ENOUGH! I even had the much hated garage sale! (I love garage sales, I just hate having them) The problem is now, when I go back to earlier purged areas, they need purging again. Did I not purge enough last time or have I really collected this much new stuff? Then my motivation takes a nose dive and I think, “I’ll pitch it all!” But, there are those 9 (count ’em) shoe boxes FULL of various family and some not family photos and I couldn’t just get RID of them in one fell swoop, what if there is something so very important in those? I have all of these photos in addition to 8 organized photo albums. I’ve come to believe that purging is a never ending painful pursuit, it forces immediate decisions and makes one exhausted before it’s even begun. So, I’ve decided to just purge with the urge; when I get the urge, I purge a little. When the urge isn’t there (which is most of the time), I know it will ALWAYS be there, waiting for me. Now, I think I’ll go look in my 30 year old son’s closet. He hasn’t live at home full time since freshman year of college, how much stuff could he have acquired? ? ?

  29. Emily says:

    I have the final 12 issues of Domino, too. As well as the two special issues they printed recently. As for my goals – I find that giving myself twice the amount of time I think I need helps greatly, as well as only working on one thing at a time. It’s so much less chaotic for me that way.

  30. Ahh I just love these posts. They are so real, so true life, so honest, so humbling and inspiring. Keep on! We are behind you. You are doing this right!

  31. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for this series. I have been following along and trying to do my own purge of my home, too. I love your posts as well as all the comments. It is inspiring and helping to keep me motivated. I am very sentimental and tend to hang on to things for all kinds of reasons. I remember who gave me things, for what occasion and it brings back memories – then I feel guilty giving it away. I realized that I have things in my home that I don’t even like but I keep them for fear of offending the person that gave it to me 10 years ago! I also have held on to all my college books (graduated about 15 years ago!), all my daughter’s baby clothes (she is now 8) and all my suits (haven”t worked in an office since my daughter was born)! Oh I have lots of work left to do! It is emotionally exhausting. I dropped off several bags at goodwill today and it felt good. Thank you again for the excellent series.

  32. Karen says:

    Watch the t.v. show Hoarders. This show will motivate anyone to purge things from their homes. I watch it and the next day I’m cleaning something out. It might be as simple as a drawer or as hard as the garage.

  33. Gracie B says:

    I am so glad that you posted this. I am literally {and secretly} hoarding Domino and Blueprint magazines in various hidden places in my home. Unbeknownst to my husband who made me promise I would get rid of all magazines older than a year when we moved 13 months ago. I couldn’t even process that. I love my Domino mags! I got rid of all others… ok thats not even true I have a box of Martha and Rachael Ray too. It so hard!! Of all the things I have to purge magazines and fabric will be the hardest since I have a very passionate and special addiction to both of these things.

  34. Kristen says:

    Yep. Haorders does it for me too. Watch and episode and PURGE. My mother is not a true hoarder I suppose, but a collector of EVERYTHING. We moved into their house 6 years ago and they moved to a smaller house next door. I’m STILL purging from the move. It’s hard to “get rid of” her things without her being upset but it’s OUR house now and I’ve decided I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do for MY family. I’m starting with 40 bags in 40 days and hoping to keep the trend going from there. Will be following along here for more motivation!

  35. melissa gray says:

    So I found out this morning why I’ve been so tired and lacked the motivation to ACTUALLY start doing this – I have an autoimmune disease that has made me hypothyroid (read – extremely exhausted). So I’m at least feeling a little bit better about myself and feeling less lazy and more “I’ve actually got a pretty vital hormone deficiency here.” Now that I can get that addressed (hooray for crossing things off lists) I can get myself in check and get me in to a good place where I actually feel like I am being productive and a good mom, not just a lazy human who literally cannot drag herself out of bed in the morning. Hooray for blood tests:)

    • Melissa-I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be! Last winter, I was so exhausted I would fall asleep on the sofa when I sat down to work in the middle of the day. I was miserable all the time. I had a blood test as well, and it was something {as simple!} as a vitamin D deficiency. {?!?!?!?!} My levels were in the danger zone for low. How obnoxious! I was also sick all the time, and this was why. So I can’t imagine how frustrating what you’re going through must be. Put your feet up and rest for a bit until you feel better! Good for you for going to the doctor. I have a few of those dreaded routine appointments to cross of my list in the new year ;}

    • Colleen says:

      Melissa, I too am hypothyroid…you’ll feel like a new person once you get your levels back to normal and your metabolism is in check. Good Luck!

    • Christina says:

      Just happened to see your comment. The hubs suffers from the same thing, and we’ve been managing it for about a year now. It’s night and day from how he used to be. It took about 4-6 months to get a med that would work for him and his dosage correct but things are finally leveling out. Enjoy enjoying life again and best of luck!!

  36. Kimm at REINVENTED says:

    What seriously great insight and advice. Make sure you give yourselves credit for your OTHER great accomplishment; the motivation you are providing for so many others! It’s crazy to think of the excess so many of us have.

  37. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Starting now….been looming for months now but I am jumping today! :)

  38. Katie fortenberry says:

    You are my new favorite person !!!!everything you wrote and THE WAY YOU PUT IT ……. Spoke to me !!!!!! I am adding your website to my home screen on my iPad and I am GOING TO START PURGING !!!! Thank you !!!!!!!!

  39. Colleen says:

    First of all, congratulations on your progress! And, staying alive and relatively in one piece while doing it! I find that if I try to tackle an entire room, I get overwhelmed. I break the room up into sections and start at one corner and work my way around it until it’s done. No sense in zigzagging all over the room or the house, keep a trash bin or bag nearby, a keep/toss basket for either items to donate or just stuff that doesn’t belong in that room (use a laundry basket if it’s handy). That way, you can stay focused on the area you’re working on and won’t get distracted. For motivation, nothing does that like knowing that company is coming over. But, we don’t really entertain a lot so I like to get on Houzz and surf for inspiration. It usually motivates me to get up and get something done. Can’t wait to post my pictures of the office I just organized. It was bad, but now it’s great and I enjoy being in there!

  40. Amanda H. says:

    We went through an experience similar to yours. I thought we needed a bigger house when in fact I just had too much “stuff” (junk). We are purging right now and your blog has been such a beautiful inspiration.

    On a non organizational note: I’ve shown my husband your backyard update and have urged him to start thinking about how to incorporate most aspects to our yard. We have to wait until the Spring. Here in Michigan we have to wait for the ground to thaw.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and ideas.

  41. Christina says:

    I did a mini purge right before I got married and my stack of Domino magazines almost put me at a complete stand still. (LOVE that magazine) So I took the stack, put in the first season of Lost (the next to last season was airing at the time and my husband to be was a huge fan, I was behind the times), and went through each magazine, slicing out pages with an xacto knife, three hole punching them and adding them to a binder. I even cut out the “domino” title and pasted it to the side of the binder so it would look like a giant domino magazine-book-thing on the shelf. I’ve flipped through that thing 100’s of times for quick inspiration, and honestly, I don’t think I ever would have taken the time to flip through the individual magazines. Thanks for sharing your process, we’re in a similar state as we are expecting our first child in a few weeks. The “throw all the crap in there” room had to become the nursery and much purging and sorting and throwing away has transpired. Keep going, fight the good fight!

  42. Pam says:

    Congratulation, this is a big deal, pleased to hear that you are honoring the process and your feelings.
    I happen to be an over-purger (is that a word?) that lives with a horder. Understand that he is religated only a desk area, closet and some storage space in the laundry room, but still a hoader. I will be sharing your posts under the guise of humor. I think it will help us both!

  43. Jennysue says:

    I’ve been on the decluttering journey for a while now and it is amazing how much easier it gets- some things that you think you would never part with during the first go through, you see later and think “why did I keep that?”

    A great thing that works for those sentimental items that you know you should part with but it is still hard- is to take a photo of the item to keep instead!

  44. When I saw the pile of Domino magazines, I had to laugh. Some people consider them “collectors items” and others keep them to refer to. You made a choice to keep only the ones that had some meaning to you (bonus for finding a home for them). Good job!

    This is what I tell clients when they can’t make a decision about something: If you can’t decide, it goes in the KEEP pile. Eventually, the object may make its way to DISCARD, but not today.

    As you noted, it’s exhausting to make the 7000 decisions that face you when you’re decluttering. The beauty is that you can step away and come back to it with renewed energy and clear eyes.

    I look forward to reading about your continued journey to living more simply.

  45. Megan B says:

    My husband and I did a HUGE cleaning out of our basement 2 years ago, and the minute we were finished, we took our donations to Goodwill. Otherwise, that pile of junk would have sat around for awhile. We assembled a basket of items we wanted to take upstairs to actually use…..and it’s still sitting in our basement. So, when we clean it again this winter, that basket of items is the first thing to go. And when we’re finished, we’re going to Goodwill and then out to dinner to reward ourselves.
    It was hard work, but it was so rewarding to go down to the basement and be able to walk through an organized room! And when my MIL tried to give me some holiday dishes, I was able to politely say, “Sorry, but after cleaning out our basement, we don’t want to add anything to it for awhile.” It was hard for her to argue with that logic.

    On a side note, the minute I see something now that needs to be donated, I put it in a box in our closet. Once the box is full, out it goes. It feels so good!

  46. Thanks for this post, Ashley! It can be hard to read other blogs and look at all the beautiful, Pinterest-worthy photos and wonder if there is anyone else out there who maybe has a “few” too many magazines, or let the toy clutter get out of control. I’ve tackled a few areas in our home, but the upstairs is a major problem. Thanks for the timely reminders about taking things one step at a time, and working with goals in mind.

    I want to LIVE in our home…not just exist. :)

  47. Jen says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! I am so inspired by YOU! Way to go my friend, way to go!


  48. Megan Coffman says:

    Love this! Thank you…I may have a move in my future, so this is inspiring!

    “De-acumulate! Masses of things that are not needed complicate life. They must be sorted and stored and dusted and re-sorted and re-stored ad nauseam. Most of us could get rid of half our possessions without any serious sacrifice.” ~Richard Foster on Simplicity

    Twice a year, my girlfriends and I clean out our clothes, bring a bag of those things we never wear or never fit as well as we hoped. We purge. And bring the unwanted to a party for a Clothing Swap! Rock, paper, scissors or a number 1-100 if more than one person wants an item. Everyone gets new FREE treasures! And all the leftovers get taken to Goodwill. :) I just dropped off 4 big bags of clothes this week! And everyone went home from the party with a sack of goodies!

  49. Kara says:

    Just work for 15 minutes when your feeling unmotivated. Set the timer and go. Also take a picture of the item for the memory of it and then donate or toss the item. Lastly, if the memory isn’t accessible ( ie old yearbook) make it accessible or let it go. We don’t have the time to sit and look at too much stuff from our past, it takes away from our present. The present is for making memories. Also give yourself the grace to do more than one sweep. The big one, one in 3months, one in 6 and then you will only have to do it once a year after you get some great habits established.

  50. Kim says:

    I think I first stumbled across your blog searching for a way to paint my kitchen cupboards white (and your kitchen is so similar to my true style), and I’m so thankful I did. This series is da bomb (do people still say that?!). I am also fed up and my heart has been changing over the last few years. I let go of a toxic friend relationship, and chose not to spend my time with a small group of keeping-up-with-the-Jones’s girlfriends, on the grounds of my changed heart and not having enough in common with them. Still friendly & polite to them, but from afar, and although the “getting to here” included some rough times and soul searching, it has been worth the pain.

    And now, for the next pain:)- I have been longing for less stuff and more life, like many of you, and am excited to make it happen. THIS is the year. Not the past 5 years I’ve had simplifying as my New Year’s resolution. My heart finally caught up with my brain & to-do list.

    My husband, 3 kids & I live in a house we built in 2000, on a golf course outside of our small town. It has never been “me”, the golf course or the house. With 3500 sq ft, it has plenty of space, but I would love to find a home in town, not a house, but a home. A little smaller, something to work on a bit at a time to make it more “us”. Your home is an inspiration to me to use my instincts. The perfect home may not come up for sale but I can turn a “good enough” house into a “perfectly us” house.

    For that goal to happen, 10 years worth of clutter and “I don’t have time to deal with this right now” stuffing must be dealt with. And it will. THIS year.

    • Kim, first of all, BRAVO. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that have had to do the same as it pertains to distancing themselves from the Jonses. It’s exhausting, so good for you. Secondly, you are in good company with the decluttering. I had big visions of this being finito within a month. It will take MONTHS to get all of this under control and on track. So I am with you. It’s really quite freeing, isn’t it??? ;}

  51. Charis says:

    Wow, this series is amazing! Also, you are so hilarious! Thanks for motivating me and giving me a much-needed laugh. I love your blog…keep up the good work!