Home Organization Project 40

Rita and Sara at garage sale
Rita, who writes the blog “This Sorta Old Life,” came to my garage sale. I was wearing a hat.

Now that we’re sliding into the last 12 weeks of this year’s New Year’s Resolution – which was clean out a different area of the house, get rid of stuff, and stop accumulating more stuff – or move from the home we’ve lived in for 19-years – it’s made think about the size of our home.

When we bought our house, a 1914-craftsman bungalow with a wonderful front porch and is located close enough for us to walk to everything, we knew we’d live in it for a long time. When we discussed the ease of adding a wheel chair ramp up the front steps for our later years, our real estate agent laughed. He thought we were joking.


At 17oo square feet, it’s not the biggest house and with two teenagers, it feels smaller than ever – especially when we’re all in our kitchen cooking together. Years ago, I tried to talk my husband into a larger home, located closer to his corporate job. A move like that would have meant more – of everything. More money for the larger, more expensive home, more spent on utilities, and more time spent driving our kids everywhere. And, don’t forget, you have to fill up the larger house with more stuff. Larger homes also come with larger yards and we could barely manage what we already had! Thankfully he said no – the job may change but our house was staying.

The time is short when the need for more space hits. Kids grow up and head off into the world much quicker than we think. Ours certainly have. If we had bought a bigger house, our bills would be bigger and we’d own more stuff. It seems that we fill the space we have.

My appreciation has grown for countries who have less space and are more productive, careful, and resourceful with what they have. Our home exchange trip to Gouda, the Netherlands was with a family of 5 and their house was similar to ours but smaller – and more efficient. Their kitchen, while smaller than ours, was well full of light and was super efficient. The Dutch are like that.

Home swap Gouda, Netherlands
My husband, cooking during our home swap trip to Gouda, Netherlands.

When we have the ability to spread out and take up more room, we do. We fill the spaces with stuff. Is filling up all that space with stuff good? I would argue no. It takes a toll on us financially and emotionally. It certainly has taken a toll on our environment.

Bigger isn’t always better. Less can be more. Shopping doesn’t have to be a sport. Keep what you really love around your house and let go of the rest. It’s freeing.

Now, down to the nitty-gritty – and what we cleaned out this week…

Home Organization Project 40

  1. This week’s project. Accessories: hats, gloves, scarves.
  2. Small. It’s one dresser in the living room and is close to the front door – right where you need that stuff!
  3. Clear and clean. Everything came out. We sorted through it all. Do you wear this? Does this fit? Do you want to keep this?
  4. Get set. Off to the donation center went all the items that got rejected. Since summer just ended and fall/winter is coming, everything that hadn’t been worn in a year or more went. OK, not everything. I kept all of my silk scarves. They take up so little space. My clothing allowance from my ol’ Ralph Lauren Corporate job gets credit for those beauties.
  5. Stop buying. I did poke around a hat shop recently and found one that I thought about buying. After I tried it on, I realized I had one almost exactly the same at home. No, I didn’t need another hat that was the same as the one at home. At least my taste is consistent!
  6. Less is more. While the dresser still takes up the same amount of space, we no longer have a satellite spot for hats called “off season.” Progress! They’re all in the same drawer and there’s a lot less.
  7. Repurpose. Our kids made several scarves when they were younger. With polar fleece fabric and a pair of scissors, you can make a scarf with fringe. Those scarves are becoming reusable dry mop covers and polar fleece can be used for dusting without using any furniture polish.

Wondering what’s next for us? Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations. Brad, my husband, keeps putting off doing his closet. Since my closet clean out happened (read all about that clean out here), he’s the one with more clothes.

I hope your decluttering and cleaning out is coming along nicely. If you haven’t started, join in! You’ll be so happy you did.

What’s your project this week? Have you cleaned out your closet recently? Got any tips?

52 weeks of home organization

As part of our New Year’s resolution, we’re cleaning out a different area of our house every week this year. Find all of the “weekly home organization projects” – or click the image below.
Home Organization in 52 weeks from Go Gingham

More related links:

Here’s Rita’s site: This Sorta Old Life – she’s really good about shopping at garage sales and making the most of what they have.

7 thoughts on “Home Organization Project 40

  1. I’m not so bad with the hats. Winter scarves and gloves, that’s another story. You’ve motivated me to look through the pile at least.


  2. Well, as you can see in the photo, scarves are my weakness! What I relate to most in this post is the discussion about house size. We have a nearly 2,000 sq. ft. split-entry, bought because we knew we’d be living with 3 teens. I know this size of house isn’t even considered that big any more, but it’s bigger than we need. We’ll likely be staying put until the kids are grown and gone, but we talk/fantasize often about a small house that has only what we need and love in it.


  3. First, has it really been 40 weeks already? Second, isn’t it incredible how many articles are written about clutter? What is it with all of us and our stuff? I just told my boyfriend yesterday that I wasn’t going to buy a single article of clothing for this fall/winter. And I actually don’t shop that often, but I have enough. Third, keep those silk scarves, Sara! Scarves are the best, most economical way to change the look of just about any of those tired, old clothes! (Not that I think you have tired, old clothes, dear.) Fourth, and I’ll stop after this one, a couple of years ago I stopped buying anything brown or navy because I felt as if I needed brown/navy accessories. Now, if I purchase any article of clothing, it has to be able to be worn with black shoes, etc. My closet looks so much better now!


  4. So happy to see two of my favorite gals together! Hi Sara and Rita – you look great! Wish I could have been there for the garage sale – I am sure you had fun!


  5. I know this will shock you … our theory on home-owning is eerily similar to yours. 🙂 We have 1400 square feet on our main level. Our basement isn’t finished but we have a large play area for our kids. I had tons of fun making it into a creative space that is “all about them” and it has been a huge blessing to have–and I don’t fret about having it look “just so”. As you noted, our time with them will be too short–I want them to have fun memories of growing up, not memories of mom’s fussiness.

    We re-did our kitchen a year ago to make it both prettier and more efficient. I love efficient spaces and I am right there with you–the more space you have, the more money it costs and the more junk you accumulate. Small-home owners who value time over money, unite! 🙂


  6. Being of Dutch descent I second the assessment of the Netherlanders’ efficient ways 🙂

    I have dreams of a small house. Right now we’re in a house that’s bigger than I would like (but not large by North American standards), although it does fit our family well. When we moved nearly four years ago (our third move in eighteen years for my husband’s work), our choices were very limited, as was our time-frame for looking (a long weekend). Right now I’m trying to decide on furniture (loveseat and chair) for our mainly empty living room/office (we have a desk and computer in here right now). Just as you said in your post, I really don’t like the thought of buying stuff to fill rooms, but since I don’t know how long we’ll be here, the thought that this room could still be 3/4ths empty in ten years’ time doesn’t sit well with me either.


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