The magic of clearing clutter

When I said that my motto for this year was going to be #gettingshitdonein2016 I meant it.

And while (if you know me) it will be no surprise that I don't have a proper plan, I do have a lot of energy for clearing out the stagnant chi that is clogging up our home, our farm, and our life, and my head.

I started with my craft room.

Our – more accurately – my craft corner of our bedroom. Our bedroom isn't huge, considering that it's shared by two beds, three people, two sewing machines, and all of my craft supplies. (Having a small house with not enough bedrooms means we have to be creative.) And yes, it created a crazy messy jamming a craft room into an already crowded bedroom. So this space was first on my list for a ruthless purge and reorganization.

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

And in one short afternoon, the space was transformed.

There is still much work to be done, but gosh, I've made a solid start. Between my craft room and our linen closet we filled three contractor-sized trash bags with donations for the second hand store. Old bed sheets and blankets; fabric and yarn; sweaters and t-shirts; clutter.

And just like that our space is opening.

Space to breathe, space to create.

And it feels incredible.

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

As a result I am flooded with creative energy.

I didn't see that coming, but of course I am. There's room for it now. Energy to sew, to make, to write, to photograph, to create.

All because I moved out clutter and made space for my passions again.

Needless to say, it's a good feeling.

Do we still have a lot of stuff? Sure. Is space still tight in our little farmhouse? Of course. Do we still have a long way to go? Yes we do.

But it feels do-able now. Like this one corner was so rewarding I'm ready to tackle the rest.

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

And then, after spending all day creating a proper craft corner for myself, I pulled out my serger for the first time in five or six years. I bought it when Lupine was small, inspired to sew more of her clothes. (And for some reason I was on fire to sew underwear. I can't explain it.) But I struggled with this machine. Oh, how I struggled! To the point of once I shipping it off for repairs. They called after a couple of days and said, "We can't duplicate the problems you were having. Your machine is fine. You had just installed the needles backwards."


I tried again, but my thread was constantly breaking and I gave up and shoved it in a closet and went back to the trusty vintage machine I had inherited from my grandma.

And there my serger sat. For years.

After I cleaned out this corner I decided it was now-or-never for my serger and me. Because I was getting rid of everything that no longer served me, and this machine no longer served me, unless I needed an expensive boat anchor.

So I took a deep breath, set up my machine, and found a YouTube tutorial for my machine.

And guess what. It worked.

It worked!

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

the magic of clearing clutter : : : : Clean

They were right. There is nothing wrong with my machine at all, except that I had no idea how to use it.

And by clearing clutter and letting go I made space for that knowledge in my life, my craft room, and my head.

So at the end of the day, not only did I clear out 200 lbs of clutter from our life, I also gifted myself a brand new (to me) incredible sewing machine that makes me feel like a stitchery super hero. (Can you see my patchwork cape flapping in the wind?)

And that is what clearing space is all about, isn't it? When we're overwhelmed with the chaos and clutter we don't have the emotional space to focus on something (else) that might stress us out, so it sits in the corner collecting dust. Literally.

But when we open up just a little space, well, then there's room for magic to happen.

And, in this case, for napkin sewing to happen. (I started these last summer, found them when I cleaned, and discovered that they're the perfect excuse to play with my serger.) There's a real risk of having more napkins made that dinner made at the end of the day. Because – serger!

Win, win, win.

This getting stuff done business is pretty spectacular.


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If you're looking for more inspiration you might really enjoy this, this, and this.

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Edited to add: Don't you love serindipity? This popped up in my social media feed just after I posted this morning. Perfection.





11 thoughts on “The magic of clearing clutter

  1. Jacki May says:

    I am working on the last bit of our craft stuff today! I pulled everything from around the house (KonMari style) and started going through it. It is difficult because I kept saying “oh I could save it for this” (which would probably never happen).

    Looks beautiful!

  2. Marlo says:

    So inspiring! I’ve been working so hard to free my house of clutter. It’s slow going with 6 of us, but I will defeat the clutter. I’m also working on finishing all those half completed craft projects that are clogging up my closets. Puppet theaters from 6 years ago that I never finished. This is the year of finishing! I sewed 2 arms and a leg on an amugurumi doll that’s been sitting for 7 years and an international move and back. I’m using your blog as my support group! Thanks!

  3. Kirstin says:

    Love get shit done!!! This is becoming our household phrase for the year! In my mind,it defeats perfectionism and anxiety!!! 😊 I love you knitting needle holder, did you make it? Thanks for the inspiration to get shit done!

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    Happily, but it is specific to my machine. Basically I typed in my brand and model number and “instructional video” into google. And boom. There it was. They made reference several times to “pausing your vcr”, which I loved.

  5. Susie says:

    Great post, Rachel! My word for 2016 is ‘home’ and I’m going to work hard at making cozy and welcoming (on zero budget) and decluttering is the place to start! I find it so hard to let fabric go though – well done you.

  6. Jeanette Ford says:

    Simple is my word for the year. When I kept thinking about this next year it’s what I kept coming back to. I just want my life to be simple. There has been so much turmoil lately that I am feeling overwhelmed. So I too have been cleaning out clutter. The crazy part is I have been doing it for months and still feel no progress.

  7. Beth says:

    Have you heard about sleeping on the floor? We’re moving that direction. We went as low as sleeping on yoga mats and are looking for a little wool to add to that. Tons of health benefits AND I’m suddenly realizing all the new found space we have in this little house sans huge beds!

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