My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

The first day of my journey

First of all!
Thank you!

Your encouraging words and honesty were just what I needed to keep me motivated!
One of the reasons I began my blogging journey was to discover the path to a more elegant life.
 An authentic life.

For me, that means being honest with myself and with you!
I guess you could say...My blog makes me accountable for the things I put out there.
The things I share are real life experiences. Not just words and pictures to fill the page.
This was important to me.
I want to share things and ideas to inspire.
Encourage you to make your home a sanctuary.

One of the things I truly believe is that:
Our homes are a reflection of who we really are.

Our homes tell everything there is to tell about us!
From the moment we enter the door until we leave again, our homes are speaking volumes about us,
How we live and what we value!
What is your home saying about you?
Is this what you want it to say?

I often tell clients that you need to walk outside...And come through your door with fresh eyes.
See things as if it were the first time.

Take a few pictures..look in a few cabinets...become a guest in your own home!
Okay be have done it too!
Are there rooms that are closed off? Off limits? Is this where you store your messes?
What about a place to hang your hat or store your coat?
Did you have to move a ton of things out of the way or did something slip on a shelf over you head?
I have taken a look in forbidden places and seen things that affected me.
Let's face it...
 Mess affects us and it's not a positive thing.
It zaps us of our motivation, creativity and oftentimes leaves us feeling depressed!
Not a good way to start a day!
Vern Yip is often quoted as saying:
Improve the quality of someones life by improving the quality of their space.
I could not agree more!
I have seen it happen for so many people!
This one thing is life changing!

Well, it all begins with a foundation.
Ask a builder and he will tell you that any home starts with a good foundation.
One that is solid and sound. Everything rests on this one key element.
The same can be said for the interior of our home.
It all begins with a clean and clutter-free foundation.

Personally, I don't want to  have a space in my house that is filled with things that I rarely , if ever use.

First of all, our home is very small.
It's about 1625 sq. feet. But it oftentimes feels even smaller because of the ceilings upstairs. We loose a lot of square footage without normal shaped rooms.

The cottage where this transformation is about to occur is 425sq. feet!
Tiny by most standards.
So making the most of what we have is going to be vital to our success.

Secondly, If I am not using the things I have stored...why do I have them?
If I do use them and have to dig each time just to get to's time to reconsider the rooms purpose.
And just think of those in need who will benefit from your de-cluttering!
I am gathering a list of places and charities for you to donate your goodies to and will get it ready for you next week.

Nate Berkus tells us in his book Home rules that"Getting organized allows us to live with what we love."
He goes on to say:

  • If you haven't used it, worn it, or even seen it in a year, give it away!
  • Create a space for everything. If it doesn't have a designated home, its sure to get lost or become clutter once again.

Have you been motivated properly to do something about the "off limit" spaces in your home?

Are you really ready to do something about it?

I am asking you this because it  is so often a very difficult process.
Especially if you have a lot to go through and there are tons of memories attached to your stuff.
It might even be a good idea to contact a pro if you don't think you can do it alone.
I just happen to know of a few right here in good ol' blogland!
There's the amazing Suzan of  Old GreyMarePrimitives
And Connie over at Studio Solutions to name a  just a couple.
There is a lot involved with this.
We've all seen the shows where people are making you choose and given a time limit in which to do it in.
For everyone!
No thank you!

I am praying for you! I know you can do it and just stick it out my friends! It is always worth it when you have this amazing new space, organized and clean!

Grab your goodies my friends!
You will need boxes, trash bags and maybe a box of tissues!

I aways like to put on some great music! Anything that gets you motivated and moving!

I  always start by "moving out" of the space I am working on.
It never feels as good if I don't put things back in a freshly cleaned environment.
This isn't always feasible, so I box as I go along creating the emptied space I am trying to achieve.
One of my boxes (more if required) is for things I wish to donate, sell or give-away. This is oftentimes the largest box or for me... largest number of boxes.
I then have a trash bag for things that are just not usable by others.
(Although at our house will go into recycling containers and only as a last resort, a trash can)

And then I have a box of things I want to go back into the room but just not sure where yet.
This is where a layout of sorts will come into play.
I know this room will be for sewing and only sewing related things are going into it.

My weekend is going to be spent sorting and then cleaning this one area.
I am not going to overload myself with a to-do list that I can No-way complete.
I am doing it in increments so that I do not loose my motivation.
I am also going to treat myself at the end of the day!
For's simple!
I am going to fix me a ice cold Dr. Pepper and start some heirloom tomatoes in Tinker!

I thought I would leave you with a tiny peak into my new utility/mud room in the house!
It's so...close to being done!

It just says "Hello" every time I come in the back door!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Don't over do it!
I will be back on Monday!


  1. Thank you for this wonderful post. Now you got me thinking, I will de-clutter my home today and will enjoy the day working in getting my garden ready for spring, we're going to be in the 50's. Again, beautiful post.
    XXXX Ido

  2. Thank you so much for being
    honest in your previous post ~
    You have truly inspired me to
    continue my decluttering process ~
    I have started but then I get
    "stuck" and over it but I LOVE
    being decluttered so I need to continue ~
    I will be following your journey ~


  3. What a great post! I told myself and hubby this past autumn that we (meaning me) were going to declutter and reorganize every room in the house this winter. I'm ashamed to say that we never even got started. I could blame it on a lot of things, like mom's illness, the business of the holidays etc., but the clutter has been there for years. I have no one to blame but myself.

    You've got me motivated to start somewhere, anywhere.

    As usual, I love seeing glimses of Tinker. Heirloom tomatoes--how yummy!

  4. Well, it seems you've picked up. You have a great way with words, too! Have a good weekend!

  5. Just wanted you to know I was inspired and cleaned on a corner last night (you noticed I said cleaned on and not out right?)....tee hee hee!!! It's a start!!!!

  6. You've inspired me! I did a quick assessment of some of my Spring clothes today. Anything that didn't make me happy is heading out the door! I want to feel hugged by my home...not smothered by it! Joining you on this journey,

  7. Is that your room in Pic #5? I LOVE the wallpaper!
    {ok I ADORE it :)}...
    & it really is true..organization & less clutter is inspiring!
    Good Luck my dear!I know you will have this space lovely in no time at all!

  8. Off to a great start on this wondrous journey. Blessings...

  9. Goodness girl your last post motivated me so that I got the front room completely moved out except for the furniture which my hubby will help me do.

    I had a rare day of nothing scheduled and so just got to work!! We have to texture and paint and the calendar is busy busy into the next month but am hoping another day will fall into place like today!

    I have a fellow AMF missionary who wants to have a women's retreat at our home in May so it is some mighty good motivation!

    bee blessed

  10. Well.... it's back up to my attic again today. I am in a massive de-cluttering project... of my entire house.

    What is helping me "let go"? Maybe this will be helpful to others going through the same process:

    1.) I now feel like I am not alone... you have inspired me to go do it! There are "others" like me!
    2.)I am working towards having an awesome sale... not a garage sale... but a really cool junk-tique sale.
    3.) Having a goal of what I am going to do with the money I will make, keeps me going. I am trying to buy a new, very fun bike. So, whenever I have trouble letting go of an object, I ask myself, "Would I rather have this thing that I MIGHT use or a new bike that I WILL use?"

    Thanks so much for the prompting to de-clutter!

  11. Thank you so much for your excellent advice!! I have been decluttering for the past year...and it feels Soooo good to be free of clutter and things you don't use. It really clears your mind as well. It's an amazing thing to do with benefits felt instantly. I'm looking forward to following you as you work on it in your home.

  12. Thank you Donna between you and Z I hope the decluttering bug rubs off. I think if I used the rule...get rid of it if you haven't used it in over a year....would have me getting rid or 99% of it. OUCH that would hurt but I think I need to. Meanwhile until I get sometime I will enjoy learning the lessons.
    You're the best and love that you are willing to share your knowledge!

  13. Good for you for being so honest about everything. I have one too many rooms in my own home that are full of stuff to go through and I would be mortified if anyone saw them. I just posted some photos of my living room makeover, but you should have seen it a couple weeks ago.

    I've been so overwhelmed with stuff lately and decided to go through room by room and redo, reorganize and recyle all things that I'm not using or just don't want anymore.

    I really do like everything in it's place and organized, but I keep buying things(mostly for my booth)but, then where do they go? We have an outbuilding that you can barely walk in. So I'll be busy this Spring and Summer. We are building a potting shed/storage room for just my stuff and my husband can have his back that I've overtaken.

    So I will be following along routing you on as well as myself.

    Take care and good luck!


  14. What an amazing transformation, and so soothing. I would love to walk in to that space everyday! No matter how small or large, so beautiful. Great advice, thank you. Love Nate! Take care, Riki

  15. These last two posts here are going to help so many of us Donna. I had to do some major changing in this area over a year ago. I had no place for my family to come and stay because the guest room was a mess. I had to make some hard choices on what to keep and what to let go. I am a little OCD on this area. So it was hard! But the thing that is always so strange to me, is that I never miss what I get rid of (which was always what I feared the most). I have had to realign my thinking when I shop too. I would pick up things and say 'oh this is cute' but never have a plan for it. I don't do that know.( much) I need to know how and where it will live before it ever comes home with me.
    I think because it is Spring and I know that I will be pretty much living in the garden, I have started the cleaning in earnest now. I have some drawers that would scare the bejeebies out of you if you ever looked in them...and we won't even talk about my closet!
    sending you big love today...

  16. I think this is fabulous advice as we have talked about. You are such a great organizer and although my creativity works a little differently than yours, I can learn from your skills and apply them when needed into my world.
    Yeah, keep up the great posts and thank you for being so open and honest, I love your heart.

  17. I admire what you are doing. I'm so sorry I didn't comment before, when perhaps you needed it more, but switching from a slow office job while at my computer all day to a stay-home wife with a large garden, large home, over 50 chickens, and suppers to make, I don't get to visit all the lovely blogs that I used to check in on every day, as often.
    I fully suport this renovation, I too am a clean freak, a little OCD!
    Thank you for being honest.

  18. I love a wonderful house, I love pretty things...I have a lot of pretty things! My house is getting to be very cluttered and I'm not seeing all the pretty things - just the mess. It's so overwhelming for me. My husband is away for a while (military) so I don't have the normal incentive to keep it neat. I've got to get myself in gear.



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I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné