De-cluttering towards a simple life

We have lived in our current house for over 20 years and we have managed to fill up all the storage spaces! Now with the children having moved out, even if only temporarily to Uni, I have more time to start to empty those storage spaces, de-clutter and live a more simple life. I want to spend less time maintaining and looking after things and free up time to do more enjoyable things and appreciate the things around me like the wonders of nature.

Over the years I have read many books and watched TV programmes about de-cluttering and have had   clear outs, but it was only about a year and a half ago that I first read about the idea of  throwing out one item a day. I have now been doing this for about 15 months and for me it has had the greatest impact. Rather than do it once a day, I will do it once a week (removing 7 items).

Do we really ever think about how many items we have? I have removed at least 420 items and the cupboards still have lots in them! Some things are easier to get rid of than others. My difficulties include books, magazines, vases and sentimental items. My OH is less of a hoarder than me and has embraced my new enthusiasm. During the winter he has been scanning into the computer all our old photographs. I have to say initially I was not very keen on this idea, but we all look at them more now they are more accessible. Since we have had a digital camera the majority of the photographs are only on the computer in any case.

I now have a rule that I can only bring something into the house if I remove something else. I have always enjoyed shopping and love visiting charity shops and car boot sales hunting for bargains. I still do this, but not quite so often, and things are now bought on less of a whim and weighed up against what I already have. As William Morris once said :-

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

A less known quote of his was " Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery but the very foundation of refinement: a sanded floor and whitewashed walls, and the green trees, and flowery meads, and living waters outside:"

That sounds like perfection to me!


  1. Hello Sarah:
    You would probably hate us when it comes to the subject of hoarding things for we neither of us can bear to be surrounded with what, very loosely, may be termed clutter. That said, we are not at all minimalist and enjoy having beautiful things, not necessarily to be confused with expensive, around us but there must, at least for us, be a sense of overall harmony.

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Such a good initiative. I should follow your example! My problem is with my books too. I find it difficult to depart of them.

    Beautiful quotes!

    Madelief x

  3. What are you writing about, Sarah? It makes me feel really bad... I have had the same feelings towards my old magazines. It was yesterday only when I thought I should throw some out as they got too many! But then... Luckily (or unluckily) we do not live in a house and from time to time (usually spring time) I must declutter. I have things which I really have difficulties in giving away although I know I should! I hope when my boys go to university I can get rid of some things and then... get some new ones! We are thinking of spending our holidays in France this year and visit fleamarkets and brocantes... I know that you know what this means... MORE THINGS! Well, we will see! I find your advice very helpful: Get rid of one item a day! I once read that a bed, a bottle wine and some cheese and bread every day is enough to live on! Reduce to the max! Thanks for your post! Christa

  4. I should show you a photo of our garage the space to get in and through to things is getting narrower and narrower....Oh's fault! I know this is an obvious thing to say but do make sure you have other copies of your photos (external hard drive or something) unless of course you are storing them online somehow in which case you can always have access to them. Suzy x

    1. Our garage is a bit like that too we used to fit the car in but haven't for many years, I will have to remedy that! Thanks for pointing out about for others about having a back up of the photos I should have mentioned that.
      Sarah x

  5. Hello Sarah,
    I feel the same way and I was thinking of taking one storage container at least once a week and try to get rid of what we really do not need. More then liking what is in the container could go. It is amazing how thing accumulate.

    The photos are beautiful of the blooms and your Easter photo are gorgeous. Have a wonderful day.

  6. Hi Sarah, I am having the same urge to de-clutter at the moment.... Although all my rubbish (essential items) are hidden in cupboards and drawers and cannot be seen, but I know that it's all there. My brain feels clogged with it all, and until it's all gone and tidy I cannot rest LOL It's not making me deal with it any quicker though, perhaps I should follow your philosphy of 7 items a week, I'm more likely to clear through it all...

  7. That's a really good idea, Sarah - my problem is that my husband is a hoarder, maybe I throw out 1 item of his every day!! Have a good weekend x

  8. Decluttering seems, no IS, neverending, so I think the seven items a week or similar is the best approach - it then becomes a habit.

    Where is the lovely village green photograph of?

    (Lovely to be able to comment, Sarah!)

  9. Welcome,it's lovely to see a comment from you on here. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to sort out the problem of some of you not being able to leave comments. The picture above is a converted Devon long house. It is a holiday cottage on the edge of Dartmoor that we have been visiting for many years.
    Sarah x

  10. Oh Sarah this is a genius plan! We have filled our barns and worryingly so have our family and we have the space it seems we are a natural storage centre!!! I love the simplicity of one item per day, so achievable...I shall get on it!

    Thank you so much for commenting, I am really glad you liked Beautifully, Suddenly,

    Sarah -x-


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