Simplicity Success.


Well good morning to you! On Friday I told you there was purging and de-cluttering in store for my weekend. And oh, was there. I'm excited to share the transformation with you. Let's start with photos, shall we?

The before shots below are truly horrifying, but necessary to appreciate the beauty in the afters. (The afters are horrifying because it's been rainy and the lighting deep within my cabinets ain't the best. Bear with me and see the simplicity rather than the bad lighting.)

Here are a few transformations from my kitchen.


The baking pan cabinet. Before…


…and after.


Jars and mixing bowls. Before…


… and after. (The top shelf just holds a small collection of jars, thew rest of the bottom is our glass milk bottles.)


And my personal triumph, the tea cabinet. (This one I keep opening just to smile at the order hidden behind the doors.) Before…


…and after.

Nice? I think so. There is actual open space in there! Amazing what that does for my chi.

Truth be told, I barely got outside this weekend. The stomach flu made a surprise appearance for half of my family, so we punted and stayed home, with the exception of a neighborhood campfire on Friday and a dog walk on Sunday.

But for my epic fail on getting outside, I rocked the house de-cluttering like nobody's business. Yes indeed. We purged in oh so many ways this weekend. (But that's probably more information than you need.)

As I mentioned on Friday, I broke down the house and yard into "zones" last week and assigned a group of zones per week (starting today) for the next five weeks. My theory was five weeks, five sets of "zones" and the house would be done. Simplification round 1, complete.

By Saturday morning I had rocked out have of this week's list a few days early, and by Sunday night this week was done (my part anyway as Pete was in bed feeling like death) plus a decent chunk of what I thought I'd get to in two weeks. 

Unstoppable I tell you.

Granted it was easy since most of my family wasn't eating (no need to cook or wash dishes!) and they were asleep for vast portion of the weekend, but regardless of the circumstances it was crazy satisfying to crank it out.

The kitchen. The pantry. Both bathrooms. Two hall closets. A substantial bit of the basement. (my most dreaded purge of all.) The kids' books. All done. The basement is filling with boxes this time around as we're breaking our habit of giving it all away and are planning a rockin' tag sale.

There is still a lot to be done, but I feel like we can actually pull it off this time. Things are in motion. There's no stopping the momentum.

"Do I love it? Do I need it? Does it belong in my dream home?" These questions are ringing in my ears. I'm letting stuff go that I've moved with more than once. Like a dusty bottle of tequila. My rock climbing gear. Some lovely wooden toys. And yes, my yoga mat.

A friend and I had a conversation about letting go of things in the context of my weekend agenda and she made the inspired comment that we define ourselves with our things. We paint a picture of who we want to be rather than who we truly are by what we cling to. And while I don't want to be a tequila drinker (not at all) I do like the idea of yoga and wanted to keep my mat. It's a picture of me that I've clung to for five years, as I have clung to that mat.

But I don't do yoga. I haven't done yoga. I am letting go of the idea of Rachel as yogi.

I'm over that vison of myself.

I'm moving on.

I'm keeping my cross country skis and letting go of my snowboard. I'm ready to embrace who I really am. And that means purging the idea of who I-think-I-could-become in exchange for the real me.

There's a life lesson if I've ever had one.


21 thoughts on “Simplicity Success.

  1. Cassandra says:

    Wow! What a great way to think about purging. I’m going to have to stew on that one for a while.

    In a recent purge, my guidelines were: 1. Is it beautiful? or 2. Is it useful to our family today?

    I think I now have to add: 3. Is this who I really am?


  2. Kim says:

    Oh how I love to purge. My hubby not so much though. As I purge he is often going through the boxes and adding to his ever growing collection in his garage…at least it is out of our home, I guess.

    I love the questions you asked, especially in regards to is this who I am – such a great one to ponder.

  3. Denise says:

    Love that, Mousy Brown. I SO fall in to this… over and over and over. Between you & Rachel today, I have something to sit with and ponder as I begin to simplify. Thank you both.

  4. Jess says:

    You slay me with this: “I’m keeping my cross country skis and letting go of my snowboard. I’m ready to embrace who I really am. And that means purging the idea of who I-think-I-could-become in exchange for the real me.”

    It’s like how I keep buying a pair of running shoes and then using them just to mow the lawn. This post is going to stick in my brain this week.

  5. KC says:

    Oh this is so true for me! In our house I own most of the things. many of them from my college days that I can’t seem to part with because I think they will come in handy later. But since graduating I haven’t used them once. Things like my very expensive medium format printer. Art books and some clothing. I think I’ll that last sentence on a nice big piece of paper and read it over and over until I get it that I can let go of this stuff.

  6. Lisa says:

    Do you have any tips for the balance between frugal repurposing/upcycling and decluttering? And organizing these things? I am pretty good about purging things except things I classify as “potential ingrediants” so right now I have a shelf full of fabric but haven’t sewn in a year, and a bed pillow I plan to recycle the stuffing from, and some really cool funky cedar shutters UNDER MY BED (yikes), etc.

  7. winterwood says:

    I love the idea of letting go of things because of whom you are . . . and found that applies to me also. I was inspired by the idea of you doing this decluttering this weekend, and did some major areas of my own too. Long overdue! still tons to go, but hey ive started and now will work with your concept in mind as I launch into declutter part 2!

  8. nannergirl says:

    I love this post. I am doing some cleaning out this week and I’ll be keeping the ” Is this who I really am?” in mind. Thanks Rachel – as always, I’m inspired!

  9. Debbie says:

    I have been reading your posts for a few weeks now, but this is my first time commenting. I really enjoy your posts. This post really spoke to me. This is the part that grabbed me:

    “But I don’t do yoga. I haven’t done yoga. I am letting go of the idea of Rachel as yogi.

    I’m over that vison of myself.

    I’m moving on.”

    Thanks for helping to liberate ME, too! 😉 I feel the need to go home & do some moving on of my own…Thanks, Rachel 😉

  10. Rachel Wolf says:

    EEEK! This one is tough. I ultimately decided to stop holding so much and instead trust in the abundance of the universe and know that when I’m ready for those shutters they will come to me. And it’s worked. Find a new home from them and let go…

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