Overcoming Roadblocks to Your Declutter Challenge

I’m still two days behind on the Ultimate Blog Challenge, so, today I will publish two posts. This one, short and using  Paul B .  Taubman’s suggestion of sharing a video about my subject.

Because I’ve chosen to blog about decluttering this month. I’m not sure being a widow has created all the clutter. After all, there was plenty of clutter before he died. I even posted, here,  at the beginning of this challenge that our plan of moving including decluttering as we packed. That didn’t happen. So now, I am on a declutter mission, starting with this challenge.

I found this video with four decluttering roadblocks helpful, and thought you might also:

Hope you enjoy the video.

Which of her tips did you find most useful?

What is your biggest roadblock when trying to declutter?

Are you joining me on either, or both, the Ultimate Blog Challenge, or my decluttering challenge?





Declutter Day 7, Tossing Clothes That No Longer Work

Today’s declutter item is a grocery bag with clothing inside.

No, I didn’t take the day cleaning out my closet. I opened up the chest holding my summer clothes.

It’s July, I think summer is here, it’s time to let the dark, heavy clothes rest and pull out the light, bright, fun clothes. However, in the process I found several items I can’t wear. Some of them pieces  I’ve never worn.

Like this dress. Which isn’t summer dress, but it was in the chest. No reason to keep it. Another season won’t improve it.

I bought it several years ago thinking it would be a good Christmas dress. It has a couple of problems.

                   1. It’s ugly. Okay, maybe not ugly, but it doesn’t appeal to me. Why did I buy it? I don’t know. Maybe because I thought something was needed for the Christmas holiday and, since waiting until the last minute is a habit, there was nothing else available. It looks like something my grandma would’ve worn, and looked fabulous.
2. It doesn’t fit. It never fit. It didn’t even get worn for the event for which it was purchased. Why keep it? Because I’d spent money on it and I was going to be able to wear it. Except I won’t. Even when I get down to the size appropriate for the dress, I won’t be wearing it.

Goodbye dress and other clothes that don’t, or have never, fit.

Some of the clothing came as part of another outfit but didn’t work for me. Like this cute spaghetti (do they still call them spaghetti?) strap blouse.

It came with a jacket. The idea was to pair the top and jacket with a skirt or slacks. The problem? Again there are two problems:

                             1. See those skinny straps? No way they can hide bra straps. I’m of the age that bra straps are to be of service behind the scenes, they are not to be visible. There is no way I can wear a bra with tiny enough straps for this top. I know, the jacket would hide the straps. Except, when I get hot the jacket comes off. Then what?
2. It’s too short. I don’t show my belly in public. Ever.

No, this blouse will never be worn, at least not by me, time to find a younger person who will love it.

Other clothes in the bag I might wear when I reach the appropriate size, but I’d rather celebrate my success of dropping weight with new more current fashions rather than something from years past.

Out the door, and to the thrift store goes this bag of ill-fitting clothing.

Do you have clothing you’ve hung on to, waiting to reach the appropriate size?

Do you have a favorite clothing item that you hope will come back in fashion?

How often do you sort through and purge your clothes?

Check out the Ultimate Blog Challenge for more blogs about a variety of subjects.


Dance/Exercise Video adding to Clutter

I’ve been on the go these last few days which left little time for decluttering. Still, a deal is a deal and one thing a day must leave this house.

Today’s item is small, with a big impact. Okay, maybe not, the possibility for a big payoff existed. IF the product had actually been used. It was opened. That’s it, opened. I bought a dance video last year (or earlier) thinking, “this could work.” After all, it was a dance video, dancing is fun, dancing is exercise, I like dancing, dancing would help move pounds off my body.


There were several problems with this dance video, never mind the fact it featured Dancing with the Stars champion, Julianne Hough. No, the problem wasn’t the instructor.

I take that back, it was a little about the instructor, but not her skills, or ability to dance or teach dance. No, my issue is the same for her as most other exercise teachers.

• They are lean machines. There is not an ounce of fat on these people. How in the world can they relate to me, who has many, many ounces of fat?
• Their bodies are sculpted. Mine is plush.
• Their muscles are ripped and ready to roar. Mine are sitting on a lounger watching others move.
• They easily bend, stretch, and reach for the sky. I creak, crackle and groan when exerting.
• They do moves I’ve never seen, much less done.
• There is almost always someone doing the “modified” version. Noooooo, the modified is maybe 10 seconds slower and two inches easier than the featured move.

Exercise videos are designed, in addition to making money for the star of the video, to help a person drop pounds and get healthier. That only works if the video is put in the player, and the actions followed.

Since I’ve never managed to put my body in motion, even a little like Julianne, or any other exercise instructor, I might (might, I say) have watched it, but never actually did the moves there is no reason to keep it. I will keep walking outside. That seems to be the one exercise I do on a regular basis.

Have you ever kept something you bought for a specific purpose, only to find you didn’t like it?

Do you have an exercise video you like?

What is your favorite exercise?

Joining Ultimate Blog Challenge. Check them out for some interesting bloggers posting on a variety of subjects.


Day 3 Decluttering, Removing Unused Glassware

Coke® glasses, you’ve probably seen them, in stores or advertisements. Those glasses with small bases and larger rounded tops with the words “Coke” or “Coca-Cola” emblazoned on them.
I have several.

I don’t use them.

In fact, most of them are still packed from a previous move. Not even the move to this house, before that. They may have been packed in a cleaning spree (I have those sometimes.)

One reason they hadn’t been unpacked is that I didn’t want to use them and break them, they held memories.

My husband and I got the glasses many years ago when some place did one of those promotions where, to attract customers, they gave away things. That year it was Coke® glasses. Neither of us drink that soda, but the glasses were “cool” and they reminded us of our college days when, on the rare occasion, we could afford to go out and eat those were the glasses the eating place used.

Now the glasses are for memories of college days, and our making a special effort to buy enough for a set in later, but still scrimping by on little money, years. If one of those glasses broke, I just knew it would shatter my heart.

“Excuse me,” I said to myself, “how can they evoke any memories packed away in a box and not seen?”

Oh darn. My inner self had a good point. What good were the glasses packed away? How could they remind me of anything if I didn’t see them? Good-bye Coke® glasses. I still have the memories.

To be fair, I did keep one glass. It’s on my kitchen window sill. Right now it has a sweet potato growing in it. I plan to use it as a flower vase.

Do you have anything packed away that could be discarded?

Have you ever tried packing something up to see if you’ll miss it before discarding the item?

Do you remember the Coke® glasses from real use?

Once again, sharing this post on Ultimate Blog Challenge. Check them out, a wide variety of bloggers are playing.

When the Toaster Oven Doesn’t Toast

What do you do when your toaster oven stops working?

Most people would discard it and buy a new one.

Most people.

Not me. No sirree bob, I left that sucker sitting on my counter for over a year.

Maybe I hoped it would suddenly start working. I have no idea why it sat for so long. I love using a toaster oven. It’s great for summer-time baking without heating up the whole house. It cooks meals for one without having to use the big oven. I used it almost daily.

Maybe because I’d had it for so long. That appliance had been with me since before the move. My husband and I bought it when the oven in our old house went out. Since the stove-top still worked and we knew we’d be moving at some point (we hadn’t even started house hunting though) it didn’t make sense to buy a range that might not fit in the new house. The toaster oven became our oven.

It worked well.

Until it didn’t.

Even after I received a replacement, the old one stayed.

The new one found a new place to live and the old one non-working one remained.

This week that changed. The old, non-working toaster oven left the building. It served me well, now it was time to let it go. Plus, there’s more space on my counter. Most important though, I don’t keep thinking, “I really need to get rid of that.”

It’s gone. Bye-bye.

Do you have any non-working items that you hang onto instead of letting go?

Is it easier for you to get rid of big things or smaller ones?

What is the largest item you’ve held on to for an extended period of time? Don’t forget to check out other bloggers posting daily at Ultimate Blog Challenge. 



I know today’s date is the fourth, which means this should be post four and not post two. Except, I had technical difficulties.

First, we had one of our Oklahoma thunderstorms which knocked my internet out. I’m not tech savy enough to post from my phone. Next, two family members ended up in the hospital. I went to check on them, that took another day. So here we are, on day four, posting for day two. I’ll get caught up here in a couple of days


It was suggested that part of today’s post include  why we  are doing what we do. Why am I decluttering in public?

To give a little backstory: 


For 26 years my husband and I lived in the same house, located about 30 miles from where I now live. We raised our children in that house. We accumulated a lot of “stuff” in that time. When we bought this house it seemed like the perfect opportunity to sort through our various collections. We began packing for the move, sorting as we packed. At least that was the plan. We were only going to bring what we needed or truly wanted. 


Yeah, my guess is we probably would have still brought some clutter. However, my husband went and died before we moved, or even got close to finishing packing.


At first I tried to sort as I packed. But, I just didn’t care. Sometimes too, the tears made it hard to see if what I held was valuable, sentimental, or could be left behind.


Now, ten and a half years later, it’s time to sort and remove that which I don’t need, want, or enjoy.


Which brings us to today’s item, a handy Pyrex® mixing bowl with a pouring spout and handle.


Not only do I not use it. Ever. I have no idea where it came from, or how long I’ve had it.

Did it make the move with me?

Did I acquire it after moving?

Who knows?


It could have come from my mother, doubtful, she cooked less than I do. My mother-in-law? Maybe, but still doubtful, it’s not her style. Another possibility, it’s from my aunt, she was a wonderful cook and liked all sorts of cooking equipment. However, even if it came from her, it has no sentimental value. Last, it could’ve been in a box of mixed up items we picked up at an auction. 

I have no clue where I got it.


I think I used it once and didn’t like it. It’s great for mixing, but I have other bowls that work just as well. It would be great for pouring pancake batter onto a griddle, if I liked and made pancakes.

I don’t.


I’m sure it will find a nice home somewhere. Some wonderful person who loves to cook will snatch it up at the thrift store and be ecstatic with their find.

Everyone wins. Tomorrow, another item from the kitchen.


Where would you start your decluttering?

If you don’t remember where you got something does it make it easier or harder to get rid of it?

Do you declutter when you’re emotional? 


This post is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, where bloggers are posting daily on their blogs. Don’t forget to check out some of them on the Ultimate Blog Challenge Facebook page.






New Challenge

I am a challenge challenged, chained to challenges, challenge crazy. Okay, that’s enough. The thing is I do like challenges and am often joining or signing up for them. Sometimes I see them through to the finish, and sometimes not.

According to me, completing the challenge isn’t the most important aspect, learning from it and improving in some way is the reason for the challenge. Which is why I keep signing up for challenges. For the month of August I’m joining Heidi Russon Hicks 30 Days to Declutter and Lose Weight Challenge.

I met Heidi last year at a gathering after a video challenge sponsored by Marisa Murgatroyd. Since I am on a quest to drop weight (I have a thing about saying “lose weight”) and get a usable sewing room set up this challenge seemed perfect. Also, since Jen has changed direction and is no longer doing the Fitness Friday Link up, this is a perfect way for me to stay accountable for fitness.

Not to mention, when I moved into this house (uh-huh, that long ago) I moved from a large seven room house with two baths into a small (as in the rooms themselves are smaller) three room house with two baths.  Okay, one of the three rooms could be divided into two medium-sized rooms.

The thing is I went from way big to way small, it’s like shoving a size 20 body into a size 2 outfit. It doesn’t work, and there’s a lot of overflow. For the most part I make it work, but the result is my “sewing” room is a “junk” room. Hope springs eternal that this will be the challenge that gets me my sewing room back and usable. And, if a few pounds fall off my body along the way, great.

Challenge participants will be posting on the Challenge Facebook page. Since the Fitness Friday is gone, either Thursday or Friday will be a round-up of the previous week’s progress and a list of the goals for the following week.

Here are this week’s goals:

Day #1
Friday, 8/1: There are actually 2 challenges today. 

1. Post a selfie of yourself as your “before” picture on the 30 Day Challenge Facebook Page (or your own page)

2. Write down all of the things you love about your body.

Day #2
Saturday, 8/2: Purge your closet

Day #3
Sunday, 8/3: Get out your nicest jewelry and wear it. Even if it’s with jeans.

Day #4
Monday, 8/4: Spruce up your favorite space in your home.

Day #5
Tuesday, 8/5: Buy yourself flowers.
Day #6
Wednesday, 8/6: Reorganize a drawer in your house.

Day #7
Thursday, 8/7: Take a bubble bath

Day #8
Friday, 8/8: Plan a girls night out and set a date.

There you have it, the goals for decluttering my life and my body this week. We’ll see how it goes. A couple of these “suggestions” will be a real challenge, however there’s bound to be a way to work around them.

If you want to join in the challenge you can sign up here. It’s never too late to start. If you want to play along, but not join, you can follow the suggestions and leave a comment here. Really, join though, Heidi has some great tips and suggestions for completing each task, I’m simply listing them.

Do you feel better when your space is organized, or decluttered?

Have you gained weight that you want to get off your body?

Do you enjoy taking challenges?

For ideas on first surviving, then living (and enjoying life) as a widow, check out my book, Beyond the Grief; A Widow’s Guide to Survival.