Composted a couple of houseplants

I was just out picking up a few things around the yard and on the deck, and decided to get rid of a couple of houseplants that have seen better days. Tossed them on the compost pile.


Decluttering cookbooks and recipes

Now that my hubby has started to see the value of living with less, he's decluttering like a house afire out in his shop and the part of our property where he stores various things.

Meanwhile, while we're in the middle of switching some rooms around in the house, I'm taking advantage and going through all the stuff as we're going along to see how much more we can get rid of.

I went through each drawer of our filing cabinet and got rid of a ton of papers.

Right now I just threw an old church cookbook into the recycling bin, and am going to look through the rest of my cookbooks and recipes to see what I can thin out this time.

Thanks to Colleen at 365 Less Things for the inspiration to go through my cookbooks again. There's a great post there all about it this week called Why Keep Cookbooks?

Edited to add:

I had a Lions Club cookbook from the town where I grew up. I pulled out one recipe from it, for my mother's applesauce cake, then threw the rest of the cookbook into the recycling bin.

The next cookbook I'm letting go of is the second volume of a two-volume Doubleday Cookbook I bought from a book club when I was a new wife back in the late 70s. I used that cookbook a LOT through the years. It's split down the middle, held together now with several pieces of fading tape. The pages are yellowed and some of them--my favorite recipes--have splatters on the pages. It's served its purpose, but except for the two or three recipes I pulled out of it to save, the rest of the book can be recycled.

Also recycled a stack of loose recipes. If I haven't made them yet, and have no burning desire to try them, they don't need to take up space. 


It's hard to declutter books

From my reading, it seems that getting rid of books is a challenge for many people. It's medium-hard for me, not so much because I'm getting rid of a book per se, but because I can always see the possibilities in any book as an art or craft project.

  • Vintage books with yellowed pages are great for making those paper wreaths you see all over Pinterest. 

  • Hardcover books are fun to alter, and make great art journals. 

  • You can tear out pages and draw, paint, or print on them.

  • You can make paper flowers with book pages. I haven't mastered this one yet, even though I've been trying.

  • If you're trying to be "green", you can tear out the pages, roll them up, and use them for starting a fire in your woodstove.

  • You can tear up the pages, soak it in water, and make paper mash out of it. If you don't want to go through all that, you can tear the pages into strips and use it for paper mache projects.

You can see the problem, right?

My husband and I have been stepping up the pace a little recently when it comes to getting rid of books. I don't want to buy another bookcase just to store books we probably won't read again, so I'm trying to whittle down what we have so they'll fit on our two small bookcases, and the shelf on our headboard.

One round of book decluttering took care of the books that had print that still seemed tiny even when  reading glasses were worn.

Another round took care of books that were read once or twice, and that I had planned to sell, but changed my mind because of the hassle. I'd rather get the books OUT of the house than have them sit here taking up space, waiting for me to list them somewhere. I'm just not into that now, so I either take books over to the library for them to sell to support library projects, or we take them to our town's freebie building at the recycling center.

I was reading Undercover Minimalist last night, and she said that she doesn't read as many print books now because she tends to read more blogs than books. That's true for me too. I do most of my reading online these days.

Sometimes I pull out a stack of books I think I'd like to get rid of, but am not sure about. In that case, I have to ask myself...

  • Do I think I'll read this again? (Probably not.)
  • Is information online more current than what I'd find in this book? (Probably.)
  • Is it realistic to think that I'm going to bother listing this book for sale somewhere and wait for it to sell, only to get pennies on the dollar that I paid for it? (Nope. Too much hassle for too little return.)
  • Do I need to start any more art journals? (No.)
  • Am I REALLY going to take the time to do a paper mache project? (No, no, and no. I don't want the mess of making paper mache items, and I don't want them spread out all over the place to dry.)

 For some more tips on decluttering books...

How to declutter your bookshelves  I like how she says she and her husband leave their culled books in a box on the way out for a couple of days so that they have time to realize it's not so painful to let them go after all. I do this too sometimes.

Painfree ways to declutter your library I loved the photos of people's bookshelves and libraries that were posted with this article. The funny thing is, once you declutter and downsize your collection, you wouldn't need anywhere near the space that some of these homes have for books.

How about you? Do you find it hard to part with books?


Decluttering and organizing large kitchen cupboard

Even if you normally stay pretty decluttered and organized, which I usually do, there's always something that needs attention. It's a fact that things don't stay just the way you have them, especially if other people live in the house.

You get busy, and people just fling things here and there, or leave them in whatever spot's handy to drop them in, not necessarily where they're supposed to go.

Yesterday my long kitchen cupboard got straightened out. It wasn't really *bad*--it just wasn't as neat as I like it, and I really didn't need the onion growing in there, ha ha.

Here's a before:

I took everything out of the cupboard, wiped the shelves, got rid of several things, then replaced everything else neatly.

Some of the stuff from the cupboard, ready for sorting


Nice and neat again

And even some extra room


Shovels, rakes, and a puppet

We did a lot of raking, and some decluttering this weekend, even though the weather was a bit rainy and not the greatest.

As I was organizing our lawn and garden tools, I was able to thin out a shovel with a too-broken-to-use handle, two broken rakes (not sure why they were still around here anyway), a broken laundry basket--and a souvenir puppet that somebody had given to my husband years ago when they returned from a trip to Mexico, or somewhere near there.

That puppet has hung in a closet here for the last sixteen years, and this weekend my husband finally decided to let it go.
Souvenir puppet


Decluttering magazines and jeans

Family members often give me magazines to use in art journaling, for making paper beads or paper bowls, etc. I was starting to get overrun with magazines again, so this weekend I went through a huge stack of them, and am going to bring them to the recycling center this week for somebody else to read.

So far I have 46 home decorating and women's magazines going, along with 24 old issues of Prevention and Walking.

Bookcase declutter

I was painting and had to move a bookcase. While I was at it, I took a look through a couple of shelves to see what books we might be willing to let go this time.

I put twenty-one books into a bag to take to the recycling center with us this weekend.

Not bad for ten minutes' worth of decluttering.

Included in this group were a few books that were practically brand new, that had been read once, that I had planned to sell, but I doubt I'd get more than a couple of dollars for them anyway, so I'll just pass them along and enjoy the newly-free space that's in the bookcase now.


Decluttering gift wrap, ribbon, and bows

Here it is, April 1st, and Spring isn't here yet, but hopefully it's getting closer. We still have huge piles of snow in the yard, and ice everywhere, but at least temperatures are starting to climb into the 30s again, and might even hit 50 tomorrow.

I'm working on some of the projects on my to-do list, and doing some decluttering too.

Today I was vacuuming the floor of our coat closet, and the big bag where I keep all my gift wrap, cellophane, ribbons, and bows caught my eye.

For several years now, we've given cash or gift cards (instead of a present that needed to be wrapped) on special occasions. We've cut out a lot of the Christmas gift giving we used to do among our extended family too, so there's really no need to keep all the wrapping supplies that we have.

I kept a couple of partial rolls of wrapping paper, some ribbon, and a couple of bows on the off chance that I might need to wrap something.

If I don't use it within the next year, I'll probably get rid of the rest of it.

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