Stewardship of Life


One Down…Seven to Go: The Clutter Cleanse Continues

Posted in Just Living by Sharron R. Lucas on January 12, 2010

I started small on my clutter cleanse; I started with the bathroom. One wouldn’t think that would be too difficult since we’re talking about a space measuring about six feet by nine feet, but it took a good two hours to go through the linen closet and cabinets. How can that much stuff be in one little room? Trust me…a lot!

The venture into the linen closet was a success. I was able to pare down to a set of sheets for each bed with two spare sets and an extra patchwork quilt. There’s a nice pair of Battenberg lace curtains that could be repurposed if tea-stained or dyed to offset the uneven yellowing.  I collected some miscellaneous pillow cases for our local school project, along with an extra hair dryer and a bag full of travel-size soaps and shampoos. Other items like a set of floral pillow shams are set aside to go to the Dakota Boys’ Ranch, a nearby non-profit resale store.

Probably the biggest success was repurposing an old duvet cover. The floral duvet cover I’d been using met an untimely demise over the Christmas holiday thanks to one very cute grand-puppy named Dexter. Today, amidst the clutter of the closet I found an old white IKEA cast off with several stains and need of a little mending along  one seam. I decided to try and dye it with some canned chokecherry juice that had been hanging out in the kitchen pantry for a couple of years. I probably wouldn’t have made jelly or syrup with it at this point, so into the bathtub with the duvet cover it went. Now I have a nicely repurposed earthy plum-toned cover that once mended will blend perfectly with the organic cotton sheets my mother gave me for Christmas. Plus, my comforter will again be a happy, protected camper. What a coup!

Everything else has been organized, recycled, or put in piles for FreeCycle and the Community Rummage sale—after all, how many cosmetic and toiletry bags do two people need? My daughter’s collection of almost empty shampoo and conditioner bottles scattered under the sink like casualties of some consumer hair-care skirmish are now lined up neatly for me to drain the last drops. At the rate she goes through product, I won’t have to buy shampoo all year!

There’s more space, things are organized; in fact, it’s almost like having a new room. The best part about it all is that clutter has been cleared, perfectly useful items have (or will soon have) new homes, and waste was minimal. O.K. I will admit to tossing a couple of plastic bags with holes in them, a partially used package of toe bandages that have lost their stickiness, and a dead ink pen. Want to know the strangest items I found? Believe it or not, my wedding veil was folded up among the old sheets, and I uncovered an unopened mini-knife sharpener and a lovely lace-up orthopedic ankle brace.

Ah stuff…how good it is to see it go far, far away. How wonderful it is to realize just how much one doesn’t need to live and thrive.

The next room will not be so easy. Tomorrow I begin by tackling my closet. Just how many clothes does one pastor need? I guess we’ll see.  Stay tuned for the next installment of The Just Living Clutter Cleanse (Apple Cider Vinegar optional—unless you’re setting dye in the bath tub).

So, what about you? Have any stories to share about cleansing your life of clutter? Do feel free to share. The more the merrier!

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8 Responses to 'One Down…Seven to Go: The Clutter Cleanse Continues'

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  1. Diane said,

    Just yesterday, my kids and I went on a binge upstairs and weeded out an immense load of detritus. Like you said.. how can rooms that appear to be so neat and tidy be hiding so. much. junk.?? I did a great deal of organizing of my sewing supplies. I am a maniac for vintage sewing things, and they are now tucked into well organized bins (which I happened to pick out of a neighbor’s garbage- can you believe it?) I am not planning on getting rid of any of that stuff, but am planning on using it up this year instead of kinda hoarding it as I have in the past. Here’s to a wonderful Compact-y year, eh?

    Diane (from the Yahoo Compact group☺)


  2. Glad your day was successful, too, Diane! How fortunate that you found bins in a neighbor’s garbage–proof yet again that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. I tihnk one of the most rewarding things to me is when an item finds a home where it will be used. I give a lot of credit to The Compact for helping me to shift my thinking about needs, wants, possessions, and stuff. Yes, here’s to a wonderful Compact-y year.

  3. Nancy said,

    Great blog, I am happy to have found this. I am one of your Compact friends and look forward to learning more from you. Thanks Sharron.


    • Thanks, Nancy! Glad you stopped by. Please drop in often and feel free to contribute to the conversation. Happy compacting!

  4. kristin said,

    Aaaah, you are an inspiration! Between your column and the show “Hoarders”, I am inspired to tackle my own clutter. Both at home and in the church office where I am the administrative assistant. And the youth room at the church where I am the adviisor.

    Oh, the task! Baby steps and prayer. Thanks for the motivation!


  5. Thanks, Kristin! Baby steps and prayer sounds like good advice for most challenges in life.

    Blessings to you as you tackle the clutter. One of my fellow Compactors has a rule to rid herself of 10 things each day. Those 10 items can range from magazines to dead ink pens to clothes, etc. Just doing the math proves how much clutter that strategy can help to tame!

    Keep us posted on your progress and drop in often!

  6. kristin said,

    Would it be okay to tweet a link to this blog? I’d love to share your Stewardship and clutter free thoughts.


    • Kristin:

      Yes! By all means do tweet a link to the SOLI blog (and website too, if you wish). We appreciate your help spreading the word so that resources may be shared. Thanks!


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