Archive for the ‘How is it I have a category about clutter and cleaning??’ Category

Last night I watched The Queen of Versailles and was reminded once again of the idea of “enough.”

It’s very simple: stop when you have enough.

This goes for all kinds of consumption: eating (especially large meals at restaurants where you don’t usually get to pick your portion), drinking (coffee, alcohol, milkshakes or any “vice” drinks), shopping (for clothes, shoes, and even more “educational” items like books, CDs or toys for the twins).  You get to decide for yourself what “enough” is.  But stopping when you’ve had enough allows you to enjoy what you have and avoid all kinds of bloat and clutter — such as the piles of clothes and toys and papers I saw in The Queen of Versailles.

Now, the Queen and her family were very, very rich.  And then the market crashed and they (more…)


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Late this summer I wrote a post about autumn plans.  Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell made what they called “autumn plans” and I was smitten by the idea.  Woolf writes:

I always think of those curious long autumn walks with which we ended a summer holiday, talking of what we were going to do – ‘autumn plans’ we called them.  They always had reference to painting and writing and how to arrange social life and domestic life better … They were always connected with autumn, leaves falling, the country getting pale and wintry, our minds excited at the prospect of lights and streets and a new season of activity beginning – October the dawn of the year.

Virginia and Vanessa, when they were still the Stephen sisters.

I always felt like fall was the real start of the new year and for many years it was — the start of the school year — first as a student and then as a teacher.  But now I am neither (neither was Woolf) and autumn plans seem even more important.

I never made a formal list of my autumn plans, but I have done some things that fit the category — things that have been amazingly helpful.

The main thing was (more…)

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I titled this post “On packing for a trip” (instead of just “Packing for a trip”) because the “on” makes it sounds like a Montaigne essay.  (He wrote essays with alluringly short titles like “On Cannibals,” “On Thumbs,” “On Drunkenness.”)


Montaigne is known in literary circles as “the father of the essay” because, in 16th century France, he began a meandering style of writing that he called “essais” (which translates as “attempts”).  He used this loose style — full of tangents and personal anecdotes — to try to figure things out.  Modern literati have claimed that if Montaigne had lived in our century he would have been a blogger.  I wonder if he would find that funny or apt …

I digress.  But no matter.  Montaigne would dig it.

So packing for a trip. (more…)

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Recently I’ve been doing a major clutter-clearing (see Spring Cleaning and Housecleaning with E.B. White for the full scoop).

We’re moving, and I don’t want to waste time, energy, money or back-muscles by transporting things I don’t really want or need.  Clearing all this clutter has been incredibly liberating, and I’ve been thinking about ways to keep it up — to maintain a streamlined house that’s full of things I love and use (and not junk that accumulates dust, neglect and general bad feelings).

Then I discovered this via Pinterest: a decluttering calendar!

You can find it — and download it — by clicking here.

The calendar breaks down cleaning and decluttering tasks into tiny increments — (more…)

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So much for drawing room evenings — at least for a little while.  Right now it’s all about stuff — getting rid of unwanted stuff, packing the stuff we want to keep, and trying to figure out where the kept stuff is going to go in our new place.  (See Housecleaning with E.B. White for more about our upcoming move, and how I’m trying to prepare for it.)

Years ago a friend loaned me this book, which I just rediscovered while purging my library:

  Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui

It’s a little hokey in spots, but (more…)

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I’m undertaking a major housecleaning — so major that house clearing is more like it.

We’re moving.  That’s the occasion for this purge.

Ever since I left home for college I’ve been fairly nomadic.  When I lived in New York I moved five times in six years.  I got used to living light and I liked the idea of having to pick up and evaluate everything I owned about once a year.  That was then.

Now I have a husband, a queen-sized bed, a couch (instead of a futon), a dining room table with six chairs, twins, cribs, toys, a musical table, an accordion tunnel, a small circus tent …

The idea of (more…)

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