Decluttering and Happy

by Katy on July 17, 2012 · 18 comments

I have a wide range of friends. From my suburban coworkers to my city-loving neighbors. And there there are my blogging buddies, specifically Rowdy Kitten’s Tammy Strobel. She, of the tiny house fame.

How tiny? This tiny:

And even though I only had my very first tiny house tour the other day, I’d been to her previous small apartment a number of times in the past. And whenever I would spend time with her, I would come home and inexplicably have the urge to declutter. Not because I was trying to get my own family ready for tiny house living, but because I would love for my own house to only hold the things that we love and the things that we need. Which are actually pretty accommodating parameters if you think about it.

So yesterday my son and I spent the afternoon doing nothing but getting rid of stuff.

Here’s what we decluttered:

  • Did a sweep of the house for anything that could go to Goodwill. We filled a laundry basket with unworn clothes, plus a couple of grocery bags of miscellaneous items.
  • Pulled together a surprisingly large number of beat-to-hell sneakers to take to the Nike Outlet to be shredded for artificial turf.
  • Returned library books.
  • Returned a Redbox DVD. (Hey, I count it as decluttering!)
  • Collected all the returnable bottles and cans to be taken back to the store.

It may not sound like much, but it’s these small declutter sessions that keep me on top of the house.

And happy, like this:

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn July 18, 2012 at 2:59 am

Frequent small step


Carolyn July 18, 2012 at 8:12 am

…..Frequent small steps are what keep this professional organizer, organized. Great post, Katy!


Mary July 18, 2012 at 3:21 am

It’s funny that you featured Tammy of Rowdy Kitten fame this morning…just last night I went to her blog for the first time, since she is linked to your home page. I am also inspired by her story and have been purging my home of clutter (again) over the last few days. I designated a staging area in my rec room for items to be sold at a garage sale/donated to Goodwill. This way, I have a place to put the items as I “sweep” the house, room by room. I have also discovered the “becomingminimalist” blog, and I really like that one, too. Are you familiar with Joshua? Happy decluttering and thanks again for all your inspiration, Katy!


Katy July 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I did that with a room in our basement a couple years back. Instead of donating to Goodwill, I put all garage sale worthy items in that room. We made a lot of money and had fun in the process.



Linda in Indiana July 18, 2012 at 4:46 am

I am trying to keep a bag ready in the closet and box in the garage. Everytime I see something that we aren’t using or need, it goes in one of these. When one gets full, it goes with me to either Goodwill or our church’s resale shop, depending on quality. I also keep a list of how many items of clothing I have decluttered….but when I buy one new piece of clothing , I have to subtract. That keeps me aware of where I am in the process.
I have been to the Rowdy Kitten site and she is Amazing! and quite motivating. I will Never be that disciplined but I can keep striving for “better:)”….may I add, I have a Long Way To Go!!


Jackie s July 18, 2012 at 5:31 am

Im so jealous of those with “tiny houses”. Maybe one day….


Dogs or Dollars July 18, 2012 at 5:36 am

Love the picture of you and Tami. Cracks me up.

Her tiny house is an inspiration, even if I dont want to live in one. I try very hard to subscribe to ‘the one in one out’ rule.


EcoCatLady July 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

I try to subscribe to that rule too… but unfortunately the cats keep accumulating… I just can’t say no to them! 🙂


Lili@creativesavv July 18, 2012 at 6:22 am

That would surely motivate me to keep clutter-free!

Once a summer, I declutter the non-food section of the pantry. I hang on to all kinds of stuff that I don’t need, and either someone else could use, or I could repurpose elsewhere in the house. I wind up clearing about 1/3 of the pantry for autumn and winter storage of food.


Tammy Strobel July 18, 2012 at 6:24 am

Yay for decluttering! It was so good to see you last week. I’m glad that you finally saw the tiny house. 🙂



Katy July 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

And hugs right back to you!



Paula in the UP July 18, 2012 at 8:09 am

I’m ready for a big un-cluttering in my house, whether hubby likes it or not!! Haha, just kidding , but it is a struggle to get the hubs to part with some things!

The little house while adorable is just not for me!


Bauunny July 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I can’t believe you actually got to see Tammy’s little house! I am so jealous. I keep thinking it would be a great house for a college student to stay in…an investment rather than paying dorm fees or living in the student ghetto. I read Tammy’s blog and enjoy it…..very motivational. My new “hobby” is decluttering and I find great pleasure in it. I would love yo have a retirement house that is small and functional and could accommodate guests. Can anyone recommend architects who are doing cool, practical, stylish small houses for the retirement age or empty nester population?


EcoCatLady July 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I waver on these tiny house things. Part of me thinks it’s really cool, but another part thinks I’d totally go stir crazy. Maybe it would work if you lived somewhere with nice weather year-round so you could be outside all the time. But as a complete homebody, I just can’t imagine being cooped up in such a tiny space 24/7 for months at a time during the winter. Plus, I could NEVER give up my bathtub, and what about yoga, or tornadoes?

Hats off to those who can do it, but I don’t think I could!


D. Savage July 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm

We moved to a 624 sq. ft. house from one of about 1400. It does take some getting used to. You’re always moving aside for the other people/pets in your life. It helps if you both work outside the home, or have a few outside interests. Here in the U.P. we don’t have perfect weather year long. But, we LOVE it, so we adapt.
Love the post!


Robin July 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Going to empty the loft above the garage this summer and only put back what is absolutely necessary!! The house is under control but the loft is insane. 🙁


Lori July 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I’ve been going through the kids’ school papers/projects. Next up – stuffed animals (stuffies, as we call them). How do I/we draw the line? Keep a top ten only? I’d love some input on how to handle. The kids are past the age of actually playing with them.


Monica August 15, 2012 at 5:58 am

Hi Katy,

I read your blog religiously because I’m subscribed to your RSS feed. I just want to say that after I read this post about Tammy’s tiny house, I have become OBSESSED with the idea of building my own tiny house. What a way to avoid cluttering in the first place! I, myself, am a fairly recent convert to minimalism, and tiny houses are like a minimalists dream come true. Thanks for sharing!


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