Saturday, August 1, 2015

Five Magical Mind/Home Decluttering Tricks

Came across this today and felt it was share-again-worthy!
Of course many of the collections have changed since the post
was first published in August of 2015, but you get the idea!

Click here to see motivation
(Opens in a new window)


Based on this book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, as featured on, the idea of decluttering your home is easy. First I would guess you have to want to, that makes it easy. The book then deals with those of you who ask, "Am I able?"

It lists the Magical Steps thusly and follows with step by step suggestions:

1. Don't blame yourself for not knowing how. Tidying is not a gift, it is a skill.

2. You can trust yourself and your emotions. They're actually very precise in their wisdom.

3. No comparing yourself to others.

4. Be prepared for completing, not for starting.

5. It's not actually about your stuff. It's about YOU.

Several of my friends are currently trying to declutter. Pat is moving. Jan and Jake are looking forward to Jan's retirement. Isaac just decluttered and left for Japan for two years to teach English and to have an adventure.

I began decluttering myself half a year or so ago when I donated all of Gregory's clothing that he no longer will wear and clothing of mine that no longer fits. In an effort to "claim" the condo as mine, now that I am living like a bachelor, I got rid of a lot of stuff that was not important to me, donated a lot of books that I am sure I'll never re-read, reorganized the kitchen, updated the pantry by expiration date, got rid of a lot of cleaning aids that I no longer use, and in general created a more spare environment for myself.

Many of my collections were put into plastic shoe boxes and piled up on a shelf in my closet with only the most important ones out and around available for viewing. I invented three shelves that were to be for "changing" collections.

I had the condo repainted (we moved in seven years ago,) this time experimenting with picking out architectural features of the condo in color: Dragon Blood Red, Gun Metal Gray, Colonial Deep Blue, and Celadon Green. 

That was then and this is now. I am beginning to want to declutter again but am running into a major problem. According to the book "When you're tidying, feel your ... things .... Then feel your feelings. If you feel a jolt of joy, you're keepin' it."

My joy is overflowing. Everywhere I look, I feel joy. Everything I touch (and/or play with) brings joy. I open some of the abandoned collections in the plastic boxes in the closet and joy is rekindled. The one thing that does not bring joy is the clutter! So now what am I to do.

I will start with my library as recycling books seems to be the easiest for me. Next will be clothes because even though I might LOVE a shirt, I HATE the fact that it no longer fits so I would rather be rid of it! This will be followed by the kitchen and pantry because you can always buy utensils and/or food if you really want them back.

But the collections. Oh the collections. At one point I was excited about using them in a newly created, second museum of small things. But that idea was so overwhelming that it is currently on the shelf (figuratively) in the closet with the other abandoned collections.

Of the three "Changing Collection Shelves" only one is still changing but it has been stagnant for quite a while. In the front hall, it currently displays West African, three hundred year old, stone carved beads (the second photo showing a recently added string of beads.) Previously it featured my Hands Collection. One shelf, in the living room, contains all my small Buddha's and I hate to think about breaking that one up, so it is now more or less PERMANENT. The other shelf, in the bathroom, has become part of my Asian Collection Wall which continues to grow even as I speak, so no use in pretending that the shelf is for a changing collection.

The credenza in the front hall holds an art piece by Joan Lowenberg (decorated with "home" artifacts and my "Leaving and Arriving Collection" of spiritual items and bells including a Buddha or two and a box in which to unload my pockets. It also contains an antique set of drawers with plastic green army men doing yoga (in a previous incarnation) and now a hand carved wooden Buddah from Thailand.

The guest bathroom holds an antique "Sanitizer Cabinet," a gift from Isaac, filled with art from his father Jake, candles, and a roughly made shallow pottery bowl filled with a collection of interesting rocks. There is a painting by friend Aydin Dincer, a Fairy Door and windows (which open and close,) an Encaustic painting by Nancy Rosen, and a Wooden People Model Collection. Reflected in the mirror is a series of 9 Rock Paintings by friend Jake, the front of each miniature canvas shows a painting of a rock and on the back of the canvas, Jake glued the rock which was painted. 

On the island counter in the kitchen a Succulent Garden is featured, consisting of over 25 plants (two versions shown,) on top of the cabinets is the Green Pottery Collection which consists of close to 100 pieces of Greenware from the 30's, 40's, and 50's; between the kitchen and the living room 7 more vintage green pots holding 7 leafy green plants to isolate the sink and faucet area; on the counter is an antique green Buddha, a Buddha Board on which to paint or write whatever in water which then disappears as it evaporates, three small colorful glass Buddhas, and a few more succulents for good measure; and finally my Grandma's spice cabinet over which is draped three collections of ceramic peppers from Mexico.

None of this is to say that there is any available space on the condo's walls for one more piece of art or  black and white photograph, several which are leaning against a wall in the closet waiting for a home. Below are just 4 photgraphs as well as 17 miniature art pieces gathered on our many trips to Europe and Mexico not to mention 90 other photographs and art hung in all rooms of the condo.

The Den/TV Room has its share of collections as well: Boxes on a Shelf (under the TV,) a painting by Gregory and many paintings by his teacher/mentor/friend Nancy Rosen, Ceramic Plates Collection by friends including Steven Skinner, North American Indian Arts & Crafts Collection and Lucite Leaves Collection (both on the shelf under the TV,) and finally Celluloid Barrel Musicians and Birds Collection as well as the Red & Green Collection (both on a sofa side tables,) 

 I failed to mention my "High Touch" desk in the living room (as opposed to my High Tech computer desk in the bedroom.) Here you can visit the Artificial Grass with One Artificial Rock Collection (pottery by Steven Skinner) (two versions,) the Typewriter Collection, and various and sundry art items on the desk. Over the sofa are two pieces by friend Aydin Dincer. Also shown is the African Protection Fetish Collection displayed in an antique child's shoe shine box.

In the bedroom, my Lego Mini-Figure collection has over 200 mini figures and each year Lego puts out two more, 16 item collections and my God Sons and their folks always send them to me for birthdays, Christmas, etc ... and I so look forward to receiving them. They are displayed on my computer console in 8 plastic display boxes from the Container Store and one Oak framed, glass shelves cabinet I bought from a jewelry store that was going out of business.

The area on my bedroom bookcases, on the shelf in front of the lined up books, contains my Frog (flower holder frog and amphibian frog) Collection, my Tile Collection, My Plastic Baby Collection, My Glow in the Dark Religious Figure Collection, my Small Glass and/or Wooden Box Collection, my Hand Collection (newly relocated from the front hall changing collection shelf,) and on top of the book cases Sebastian Bear and a number of gifts from my friend Patricia and a hand bound book from my friend Cheryl.

The master bathroom houses the Asian Collection, which continues to grow and grow. It also houses the Sexually Explicit Vintage Post Card Collection.

Recently added

Recently added

Only one or two sets of post cards pictured.

Then outside the bedroom in the front hall there are the Silicone Leaves with Magnetic Stems Collection on the HVAC duct, Plastic Train Model Houses Collection in front of a painting by Gregory, Magnetic Footed Spacemen Collection standing around and Bakelite Button Magnet Collection on the HVAC system, and various other items including a "Love You More" art piece which was a gift from our nephew and niece Mark and Colleen.

So as I said when I began this post, there are only so many areas of the condo that I can declutter. Many collections not pictured are in their plastic shoe boxes in the closet, perhaps never to be shown again? But I certainly cannot get rid of them because they still bring me joy. I am sure I will continue to add to and create new collections. One saving grace, many people who visit the condo for the first time, tell me that it does not seem cluttered (or at least as cluttered as they had imagined.)


  1. Forget about the traveling Museum. How about just hanging a sign "Museum" on your front door. Set convenient hours. Advertise in only the most exclusive publications. Give school tours (in shifts to keep groups small). You could use the lounge area downstairs for video introductions to the collections and the handing out of scavenger hunts (and other activities). No shlepping. No carrying. Already beautifully and meaningfully exhibited.

  2. Thanks Jan. Great ideas! When I started this post I didn't realize how many collections are out around the condo (with many more in the closet.) I surprised myself!

  3. Konmari. It changed all of us. I learned to fold garments so that twice as many fit neatly in a drawer. Knit shirts now line up like soldiers, easily located by color.


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