I’ve been giving more furniture and lamps and paintings to Bo the maintenance man to give to people at his church who might need these items.

I get to the point where my two closets have way too much stuff in them, and I have to clear them out so I can move around in there.

So yesterday I gave him my coffee bar. Surprised?

Well, with this heat I need to be able to get to the patio door curtains and blinds to open and close them. That wasn’t easy with a piece of furniture in front of the door.

I didn’t want to get rid of my blue cupboard where I keep my dishes. So I gave him the kitchen cart I was using for a coffee bar, and moved the blue cupboard to its place to get it away from the patio door.

When I lived in Texas, I paid for the cupboard. But I got the coffee bar/rolling cart free because it was left behind in the garage at the little blue house when I moved in there back in 2011.

Blue cupboard

It’s very hard to get a photo of this area due to the narrowness of the dining room. But I did my best to show you what I did in here.

Somehow this narrow space suits the blue cupboard. At least it is no longer covering up much of my patio door.

Blue cupboard with white dishes

I put my coffee maker on the kitchen cabinet (I didn’t get photos of that today) and the coffee mugs are on my big kitchen cart next to the Breville Smart Oven.

I haven’t even used the coffee maker for about three months. I’ll get back to hot coffee when it’s cold outside. It is now next to the little blender I use for iced coffee and smoothies on the left side of the sink next to the washing machine.

I don’t have a hard time parting with things. I usually just give a sigh of relief.

In this heat, I want as few things to dust and clean around as possible. As I get older, I find that I don’t want as many thing cluttering up my home. I want less things to deal with.

Last week I gave Bo the red ottoman because Charlie got it in his head to hike his leg on it. I couldn’t get him to stop, so I gave it away. I hadn’t been using the ottoman as a coffee table for very long.

But there’s no point in ruining a piece of furniture that someone else could use. And I didn’t have the heart to keep chastising him about it.

Sewing machine table with vignette

After a few days of cleaning up around the ottoman, I had moved it into my closet, where it was really in my way.

When you live in a small home, you have to be able to part with things or you’re not going to be able to move around. You have to winnow out what you can so that your space has room to breathe.

I got tired of scooting my chair back from the table when I’m finished with my meal and hitting a piece of furniture behind it. I don’t have that problem now.

I think you just come to the point in your life where less is more. Unless you’re a hoarder anyway.

White pitchers

I’ll be putting a window air conditioner in my bedroom window next week, so what I have in front of the window, like house plants, will have to go some place else.

With a window air conditioner I’ll have a room to go to when it’s 80 degrees in here.

I keep the thermostat on around 70-72 and the central air conditioner goes all day long, because the unit isn’t adequate for this size apartment. The temperature in here hovers around 80 degrees by late afternoon.

Do you have a hard time parting with things?

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  1. I want to add that I love the combination of the blue glass and the white dishes in the blue hutch. It looks cool and calm. The second time I looked at the photos I noticed the framed print on the wall of flowers in a blue glass jar. It continues that theme of blue glass, and it’s such a pretty print. Very nice!

  2. You did ,Brenda. Its hard but you seem confident that you simplified and made your home work for you.

    Milo has been having accidents in the house now thats he’s really old, and maybe his meds make him drink more water. I think I really nipped it in the bud by letting him outside about every two hours. I give him all the water he wants after he goes out and then I put the bowl up on the counter. I take the bowl away at the end of the day about 9:00 pm. He will not get dehydrated! Its working!

  3. I love to read about decluttering and how people do it so this column hit home for me. I have trouble getting rid of stuff but don’t consider myself a hoarder. For those of us who need extra support, I read a column by Courtney called “be more with less “. She has some good tips for ppl like me who just can’t seem to do it on their own (unlike our own Brenda)! Wish I could be more like you in that area, you make it sound so easy! I’m a work in progress and enjoy your blog.

    1. I find it very hard to get rid of some things I have now. We down sized 6 years ago, to our small home now, and before that from our home on the lake of 30 years, back to the city. I sold so much at a garage sale, gave away to friends, donated to Good Will and St. Vinnies, more than I can list here. They knew my husband by name, by all the times he dropped goods off. Now, among other things I have left, 4 book shelves are filled with several hundred books, that I feel I can “never” part with. For whatever reason, I just can’t do it. I have a few I haven’t read, but even those that I have read, I love. Then, I have my own room “which was to be the master bedroom, filled with arts and crafts, paper, several thousand rubber stamps, and everything that goes with all of that, my altered journals and art journals, and items to make creeting cards, which I have been making for over 20 years. I do use everything, but still, I must say..I cannot part with a book. Maybe because I didn’t have any of my own growing up, until I turned 13, my favorite Aunt started to gift me with Nancy Drew, books, for birthdays, Christmas, or just because. “I still have a couple of them on my book shelves, but gave all the rest to one of my grand daughters, when she turned 13. Anyway, that’s my love of books..They are like friends I can always turn to, on a rainy or a cold snowy day, with my cup of coffee. Much better than watching TV.

  4. I love change, so cleaning out and discarding is like redecorating to me. Dishes are my downfall, and I have entirely too many, but the colors are so appealing that I have trouble not collecting them.
    I love the idea of only having four plates, mugs, etc. I might do that because I have a dozen or so of everything and I use the dishwasher. I like washing dishes by hand, so this sounds like a good idea! This is the kind of post I love to read, along with all the comments.

  5. Cleaning out items I don’t use is an ongoing project for me. I’m a fan of “less is more”. What timing with this article as I’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies in July and was thinking earlier about downsizing all my Christmas stuff this year. I don’t mind having less, it makes my home seem a little more open to me. I’m so glad you are getting that AC unit next week. Have a lovely evening Brenda and Charlie.
    Carol and Molly

  6. My children are gone now and it is just us. Even our grandchildren are growing up. I feel crowded in my house and need to declutter. So hard to get rid of things with sentimental value. I was an antique dealer for years and collected so many things. I always hoped daughter in laws would like them but alas, they don’t. You have given me motivation to get to purging once again. So love your blog!

    1. Your neutral home looks so cozy and warm. You did a great job, Kris! You have adjusted quite well to small space living.

  7. Boy is this a hot topic. I redid my kitchen last yr and two bathrms. Having lived here 33 yrs they were in need. I got rid of so much stuff and it felt wonderful. Now I’m ready to do it again. My problem with parting with arts and crafts is thinking I will use it again. And I’ve recently begun painting in oils, on top of my water colors and acrylics, so there’s more. But it makes me happy and I’m fine with that. I love the softness of your place now. It’s just so calming.

  8. Sometimes you don’t realize something is too much until one day it just drives you crazy. It’s just been the two of us for quite some time, and one day my husband said, why don’t we just have four plates, four coffee cups, and so on, in the cabinets, and wash them by hand, rather than using a pile of plates, cups etc and not washing them until the dishwasher is full? I had to agree, it did make more sense. We are always having to open the dishwasher to look for a favorite cup or serving bowl. So, we have taken some dishes away from the kitchen (haven’t gotten rid of them yet) and haven’t used the dishwasher in three weeks. The kitchen does seem less disorganized and cluttered.

  9. Erica Layne wrote,”Clutter is keeping too many of us from living well.” I can vouch for that. After being diagnosed with lupus, mobility for me can sometimes be very challenging. On my good days and weeks, I have been giving away everything that is in my way or I haven’t used in a year. I am now on a journey to “living well.”

    1. My sister in Texas, who has MS, is getting rid of a lot as well. Getting too hard for her to deal with.

  10. When my two male dogs got older and – I think – somewhat senile – they started lifting their legs in the house, too. I was still working and I couldn’t have that happening when I wasn’t at home during the day, so I had a large kennel area framed in in my basement and although I hated to do it, I kept the dogs in the basement while I was at work or out of the house, even to run 40 minutes to the supermarket. They had water, an area to pee and doo-doo and a large area covered with soft blankets and padding for them to sleep on. Since you are home with Charlie, you don’t have to do that, thank goodness. Still, it’s a constant hassle and fight. I honestly don’t know what can be done to combat such a thing. Maybe the vet would have some ideas? I never discussed it with my vet, come to think of it, doh. I find as I’ve gotten older I’m de-cluttering more and more, too. Some things it kind of hurts to give them to charity but in most cases none of my family members want them. It seems I’m the only reader born in a large clan. That just doesn’t make sense to me – maybe I’m a changeling. So, books have been clearing out for years, and more to clear out. I moved into this smaller retirement home in July 2014 and I still have unpacked boxes of books in storage area in the basement. Tells me I don’t need those books, just bring up the boxes, go through for a few favorites that I may read again and give the rest away. I also have unopened boxes of kitchenware that I packed up in 2014 and moved. Those boxes are sitting in the storage room underneath the basement stairs, too. Geez Louise. When I moved in 2014 I donated tons of stuff, box loads of stuff, and I’m still donating box loads of stuff years later, LOL! I never thought of myself as a hoarder, but I did have a 1600 square foot house to myself and I guess it’s really true that people expand their stuff to fill their space. Then I downsized to around 1000 square feet and it was like – OMG, what am I going to do with all of this STUFF? My furniture was too large for the space. Fortunately I had a nephew who was getting married who took a queen size sleeper sofa and two chairs that used to be in my family room (no family room here, a rec room in the basement which is used primarily for storage of books, lamps, and extra furniture that has nowhere to go but I don’t want to give away yet — or I’ve tried to give it away to family members and nobody wants it). The sofa and loveseat in my former living room were included in the sale of that home to a soon to be wed couple, the daughter of one of a close high school friend of mine. They inherited a credenza in the dining space, bookcases in the upstairs den and a computer desk, and a modern style entertainment center and hall table in the family room. I didn’t have room for any of that in this new place. Now, 4 years later, I look around and it still seems like I have too much stuff! I have 3 sets of dishes. What single woman needs 3 sets of dishes, I ask you??? But I just can’t bear the thought of parting with one. But I want to do it, so by September one of them is going to be gone. I’ll probably keep the fanciest one of all with 14k gold trim on it, Mikasa china in a classic marble and cream colored pattern, just gorgeous. I don’t entertain like I used to but I’d rather get rid of an old set first purchased when I was in high school, a stoneware set. That was purchased in like 1967. Yikes! Well, I can say I take good care of my stuff. I still have a “grown up” jewelry box my dad bought for his 4 daughters one year at Christmas; I was probably 8 years old, LOL. Poor dad – absolutely clueless. But I still have that jewelry box, in pristine condition, too. That will survive me. I hope one of my nieces or great-nieces keeps it!

  11. Like you, I now think less is more. Surprisingly, the hard part is finding someone who will use it. I just can’t put good things in the garbage and I don’t do Goodwill. There is a thrift shop for our animal shelter that I donate lots of things to. I like your new arrangement and look forward to more pictures.

  12. Like you said, “The older you get, the more you don’t need”. My children don’t want any of my things, so I just keep them for me. Now my grandson asked the other day if he could have some of my stuff. ( he is 12). I told him he can have whatever I have. It’s only things and we don’t need things to be happy.

  13. I am definitely in a purging and getting rid of things mood. Seems like I just sit and stare at all kinds of things that we really don’t need or use. Time to go. You are always so good at this.

  14. Sorry Brenda I went back and read my post it sounded like I was trying to tell you what to do. I worded my post wrong. I meant to say I hope you always keep that blue cabinet.

  15. Brenda please don’t ever get rid of your blue cabinet. I love that piece of furniture and how pretty and homey it looks with your dishes displayed on the shelves. I remember when it was also painted red. I like the blue color a lot. xoxo

    1. I doubt I ever will. I had to do some work on it. The back is just pegboard type material and it was bowed out on both sides at the bottom where things are stored. There was really no place to nail into, so I just put nails where I could and hammered them to bend over the wood to keep things inside. Then I did a thorough decluttering of what was inside.

      1. Plus it’s where I keep all my dishes I eat from! I won’t put them in the kitchen cabinets for fear of mice.

  16. I, too, am in a decluttering and downsizing phase of my life. I have a long way to go as in my previous life I was with someone who had the “bigger is better and go big or go home” mentality. If one car was good three were better. A big house is way better than a small one….that sort of attitude. I never agreed with it — it was a source of contention, but that life is over, thank God. However, I have a home that I love that is far too big for me. A smaller home that fits my needs has not presented itself, so I just keep decluttering and downsizing things and trust that the new house, wherever it is, will show itself when the time is right. I do my best to get and be ready for what life will bring in the future.

  17. Brenda, as you already know, i am trying to pare down my stuff as well. I have a storage locker in the main hallway that is stuffed with decor left over from when I was doing a vintage look. I am going to get in there one of these days and get rid of it all. A while back I visited a woman from our card playing group who lives directly below me in the same floor plan as mine. I was impressed with the spacious feeling she had achieved in her tiny place and I studied what she had done carefully. I came home and purged, changed out the curtains, took out the excess nick knacks and simplified my color scheme. I find is restful. But I must admit when you post pictures of your place and I see the splashes of red and green, I am tempted to emulate it in my place. At the present time I am doing a very neutral look with only accents of teal, which is my most favorite color of all time. I also went to all white dishes some time ago, and I find it easy on the eye, and food looks good on white.

    1. That’s a great idea. See what someone else has done and emulate it. I’m using less color all the time. I too find it restful.

  18. I too have been on a quest to downsize and simplify my life and my home. I’m doing OK, but have so much to get rid of. Some of my collections need to sold (or at least attempt to sell them). I need the $$ and so I’ve been doing that on and off. I recently sold my secretary desk that I was so in love with, but…it didn’t go in my home and was taking up too much space. Now that it and a chair are gone the living room feels more open and airy. So on to other rooms. I love to hear about your downsizing!! Good job!

  19. ” I don’t have a hard time parting with things. I usually just give a sigh of relief. ”
    people can’t imagine what I have to get rid of! I have been living with only and simply what I need for so long. but just living one can accumulate more than they realize. I call it “clearing the decks” when I need to let things go. I just simply can’t breathe properly when things aren’t clear and clean! it’s so serene if it weren’t for the constant swaying and rocking I could easily live on a boat!
    when it’s simple and clear (but still beautiful) it makes my 520 square feet or whatever it is seem spacious! I can breath easily. and cleaning is a breeze.
    I’m a happy land locked sailor!
    sweet little Charlie. bless him! and bless you for helping out Bo with your donations. xoxo

  20. I love decluttering. I hope to have time to do some in the next few weeks. I got the book ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’ yesterday – have read such good things about it.

    1. I know there are quite a few books out there right now on decluttering. But when it boils down to it, I know what I have to do.

  21. Cleaning out is eye opener. Why did I keep getting stuff when I already have plenty? Will take a year to go through it all.

  22. I have the worst time parting with things! I am probably going to sell my house in a year or two but it is hard to get rid of things when you are not sure where you will end up and what you will need. I do find that as I get older, the less I want to dust and clean decorative items, so I have done rather well at getting rid of some of that. Advice from anyone is welcome!!!!

    1. Maybe go through your things and pick your favorites. Tell yourself for everything you keep, one thing has to go.

    2. I downsized a year ago from three rooms, three bathrooms to studio Apt. My regret is why have I not done this earlier. My adivise to all who wants to depart with things- do it NOW! Don’t wait. If you don’t use it now you won’t need them where ever you go. Let it go. Feel free!

  23. Please tell me the name of your small blender! I rea your articles every day. They lift me up and kep me grounded. Thank you

  24. I love reading about your day. I’m slowly going through things and giving them to my friend for her church giveaway. Everything that goes out makes me sigh with relief! Here in Ohio we’ve been having hot weather but nothing like you. Stay cool!

    1. Just yesterday I was thinking how I enjoy your decorating. It was a thrill to see your pictures this morning. For too many years to count I have been decluttering after downsizing. My fast solution was to use plastic bins to store things in the closets and garage. Finally, the project is sorting and giving away the duplicates. Most of what is left is those colorful, happy dishes first made years ago and became popular again . When I realized that the different colors and variety of pieces where too much for my smaller kitchen, I bought white ones. That makes it orderly. I had white dishes years ago. They had too many memories so I donated them. When it is cooler here in Texas I plan to finish clearing the garage. The trunk of my car is packed with things to take to a sale downtown called Junk in the Trunk. Keep cool!

      1. I gave away my dishes after a divorce. I loved them but the memories were too painful so I just gave them away. Every now and then I see this old blue Phaltzgraff pattern sigh and say ok that is behind you. Let it go Funny how we associate memories with things. Love white dishes now.

        1. I also have the blue Pflaltgraff ones too and the whole set with extras are in the garage. and I’m also just wanting my white dishes from Pottery Barn! Think it’s time for the blue to go to Salvation Army.

    2. I always feel positive when I’m going through a big decluttering. It’s not hard to let things go when you know you don’t need it.

  25. Not at all.If it isn’t being used,it goes,I have zero tolerance for clutter and dust which isnt easy in a really old house!
    Stay cool!!

    1. It felt so good going through everything in that coffee bar cart and winnowing it down. It had become so messy inside. Threw out a lot too. And what I didn’t toss, I organized in another space.

  26. Ha! I’ve been getting rid of things for several years and it’s incredibly freeing. Yesterday, I took an entire car load to Goodwill as I’m coming to an end of my homeschool era. My office closet is disasterous! While I have a lot of space, none of it is the right space, but duplicates are going! I can’t express how good it feels to be rid of so much stuff! I live in the boonies, so I’d buy duplicates of things! Plus, I don’t craft much anymore, so a lot of that is gone! I want to be able to clean and not move so much stuff to do it. I want to remember what I have and know where it is (even though I’m organized). Woohoo!

    1. I’ve slowly been getting rid of craft stuff. I still have a good stock of scrapbook paper in the green cabinet the TV is on. Occasionally I get in there and really throw stuff out. But you always wonder: Will I ever need this stuff? If I haven’t used it in the past 6 months to a year, probably not is the answer.

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