Minimalism – Day 20

My decluttering efforts have slowed way, way down. I’m still moving stuff out of the house but at a much slower rate.

Instead, this week I’ve been focused on finishing preparations for Christmas. I waited until the very last minute to find Chinese books for my eldest and they may not arrive in time for Christmas. I misunderstood a quality rating on Amazon and the two that already arrived are not good enough quality to give as a Christmas gift. So I ordered two more new books from a Chinese website, only to find that one of them is out of stock and they needed me to choose another. As that replacement order was finalized yesterday, the books may or may not arrive on time.

My closet, the main focus of this month’s challenge, has been the storage unit for all things Christmas. Our Christmas tree, all of the presents, the wrapping paper… all was stored in my closet. When we take down the Christmas tree, I’ll be putting it outside in the storage closet rather than in my personal closet. And the Christmas presents are almost wrapped so I’m starting to see my closet floor again!

I did give away one item on my BuyNothing group this week and have tentative pick ups for two more items tomorrow. My clothes are almost narrowed down to those that I actually wear plus a couple of pieces that I love and want to wear once I can get back to my goal weight. It’s been enlightening to let go of some of the items that I never wore, realizing that I actually felt guilt for them sitting in my closet unworn. Now that they are gone, I feel freer.

And it’s now quite obvious what clothing color scheme I prefer! What’s left in my closet is all dark greens, purples, and pinks. I love dark red and think it’s a great color for me but it’s a color I’ve never been brave enough to buy. Hopefully that will change as I find some money in our budget to buy a couple of new clothing pieces.

Going forward, my goal is to think twice before buying anything. On the Facebook minimalism group, someone suggested adding an item to your Amazon cart and then waiting 30 days. After the 30 days, go back and evaluate. Do I actually love this item? Will I actually use it? If so, and if I can afford the purchase, say yes. If I’m just caught up in the emotions of shopping, resist temptation. My closet and my wallet will thank me.

Items decluttered (to-date) – 42


I seem to be going through an organizing and decluttering frenzy. I’m not exactly certain why, though I suspect it has something to do with seeking to control one of the only areas in my life where I feel I have control. In much of our house, I cannot control things being thrown, banged, or just generally being treated poorly. My kids, probably due to their environment during their formative years, have little respect for belongings, both mine and theirs.

In an attempt to establish some boundaries, we have mostly made the master bedroom off limits. The girls cannot play their music on speaker phone in my room. They are not allowed to rummage through my belongings. They are not allowed to destroy anything. These things have been issues in the past.

Now, my room is a safe and quiet place. In an attempt to make it an emotional retreat, I have been decluttering like crazy. In some ways, I am drawn to a minimalist lifestyle. I know that I will never be considered a true minimalist as I love books. We have two bookshelves full of books in our bedroom and more books piled in the closet. However, I have slowly been culling our collection, eliminating books that I will never read or that I do not truly enjoy. I am leaving books that I hope to read someday and books that bring me joy (Marie Kondo style!).

I’m also spending a lot of time cleaning out my closet. Even though I’ve gone through my clothes several times, I still have clothes that don’t fit or that I’ve never worn. I’ll be working on clothes after I conquer the massive pile of paper clutter that piled up in our closet. Don’t have time to sort through the mail? Toss it in the closet! Need to scan and save that document on the computer? Toss it in the closet! Working on the FlyLady system has been enlightening in several ways. I no longer have multiple paper hotspots around my house. Just my closet!

It’s slow going, but hopefully each step toward organization will be a permanent improvement. I really want to move next summer. We’re renting a two bedroom condo and I would love to move into a three bedroom house (probably also a rental). But I don’t want to move a ton of stuff we don’t need. I can’t believe I shipped 15 boxes to Washington and packed my car to move up here. I own an entire condo full of stuff now. However did that happen? The least I can do is weed out a bunch of stuff we no longer need. Our local BuyNothing Facebook group has been amazing for taking tons of my stuff, proving that one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure.

Six days!!

Today was a very productive day and I’m pleased with how much we were able to accomplish. This evening we ran errands, visiting Wal-Mart, Best Buy, the toy store, and Serial Knitters.

When you ask adoptive parents for suggestions of activities to do at the hotel in country, one of the most often recommended suggestions is Uno. Today I went through all of our games and discovered we don’t own it! My husband and I prefer Eurostyle board games over card games. But Uno is supposed to be a fantastic game to play with a child who does not yet speak much English. While at the mall, we discovered that the toy store opened today. Look what we found!


I have never seen Cinderella Uno before but I think it looks like a lot of fun. I hope our daughter likes Cinderella!

I want to take a knitting project with me to Taiwan. I can knit while waiting at the airport, while on the flight, at the hotel, waiting for our AIT appointment… it’s such a portable form of pleasure and doesn’t require that I stay glued to my phone. This is the scarf pattern I picked out.


And the yarn to complete it.


I have several projects in progress already but don’t want to take those to Taiwan with me. For one, I don’t want to lose a knitting project that is supposed to be a gift. For another, I wanted to work on something that I can give my daughter if she is intrigued by what I am doing. As all of my mid-process projects are gifts for others, I needed something new to work on. And honestly, I’m happy for an excuse to go yarn shopping!

My other big project today was several more areas of cleaning. I’m going to give full disclosure here – my pantry was a MESS.


Yeah. A mess.


For the past three years, we’ve had a trash bag hanging on the back of the pantry door. About a week ago, we finally bought a full sized trash can but obviously had no where to put it. This mess was ridiculous and embarrassing and I was determined to finally fix it.

much better!!

And this was my other big mess…


Under this sink has been a catch-all for ages. I pulled everything out, got rid of a few things, organized what was left, and stacked it all back inside. It’s still a catch-all, but at least it’s an organized catch-all.


Bruno has to help any time I open drawers or cabinets!


I’m not sure this looks much better at a glance, but I can now find things in there. Woohoo!!

Tomorrow I have to follow up about my prescription sunglasses. They were supposed to be available last Friday but still aren’t in yet. I also have to buy groceries and might visit the bank to talk about travel and debit cards. I’m not sure what else is on my agenda but my to-do list is still pretty long.

Six days and counting!!

Cooking adventures

I finally finished deep cleaning my kitchen. It took way too long because I kept getting distracted by plane tickets, hotel reservations, shopping for our trip, and Candy Crush. Whoops! But I’m thrilled with the results.


The entire kitchen has now been KonMarie’d, scrubbed, and organized.


My husband was hankering after baked macaroni and cheese so I found a new recipe online and baked up a pan.


It was so good!! I used panko instead of bread crumbs and it baked perfectly.


We’ll definitely make the recipe again.