My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

Some bumps in the road

I hope those of you who are doing this thing right beside me had a more  productive weekend than I did.
I started out well
But had to deal with some issues right off the bat.

After I emptied out my sewing room, I vacuumed the ceiling, the walls, washed the windows and steamed cleaned the carpet.
As I started emptying my sewing room into the already packed main area of the cottage...
My old sewing table collapsed!
It had been broke for awhile and finally gave it up! 
first bump!
I had to stop and fix the table.

Then...I realized I was going to need more storage pieces.
I really don't have the extra money right now to outfit the cottage the way I would like.
second bump!
to borrow an expression from  the movie Despicable Me    "Ah Poop!"

I went and sat on my front porch for a few minutes.
Why I am doing this!
I could just call and schedule a pickup and get all of this out of here!
And then...I heard it and clear as day!

There are issues we will be dealing with in this process and having it picked up or putting a rug over it will not fix the real problems.

I am not kidding you!
"Ah Poop again"

I needed a pick-me -up to get me going again. 
I checked my comments! Not very many and 
Uh Oh....I lost 2 followers!
I am not suprised. Every time I have ever taught this in a class...
I have ladies get offended and once or twice get up and leave.
"I'm not getting rid of my Stuff!" I hear them say! 

I hear you and feel what you feel!
Those of you who did comment or send me an email...THANK YOU! 

I really needed it! 

Now what!
(little voice said:)
Go read your own notes on the subject!

So we are backing up a bit.
And as much for me as for you; here is how to get started:
  1. Start small.

  • one room at a time.
  • drawer at a time.
  • whatever it takes to get you started.

    2. Materials required. 3 boxes per area. More if required!
  • box #1 is for trash (pure junk, or broken)
  • box#2 donations-anything that can benefit someone else, or rummage sale.
  • box#3 to be kept (but refer to this as a temporary box) The items must meet certain criteria.
                                a. used.
                                b. displayed.
                                c. worn, etc.
                                * if you have too many "love it, keep it" wait a day and re-evaluate why you love it!

Later on...we will work out the why's of   "to keep or not to keep."

Here's the biggie for me today.

Make a commitment to yourself...To stay on target. No time limit just keep going.
I thought of the little fish in the Disney movie Finding Nemo..."Just keep swimming"
Okay back to work.
Be Creative.

I had several baskets that were in the zone and decided to use them in my new spaces. But not in their current condition. So I filled an empty spray bottle with some of the gray stain leftover from my new closet adventure and stained my old baskets.
While they dry...
I grabbed some of my old jars and set them out along with other storage pieces I already owned and began again  going through my goodies.


I am not changing the look of the room so I can begin putting things back on my ladder shelves once I sort through them. And of course, when the carpet is dry!

Let me stop right here for a minute.
I know a lot of you, like myself, have a business that involves stuff. Yep, I get that. Those of us who have a booth space or make things and sell them always have a ton of excess sitting about.
In the back of my mind there is always that nagging little voice
"But you can sell it"
Do you know what I am talking about?

Since the cottage will now be just to house my work stuff...I can cut myself a little slack.
But I made the decision to really think about that a little more. And I won't make it easy.
I am so tired of having all of this stuff.
The spaces we all create to sell our wares are a reflection of us... likewise, the items we sell also reflect us

I know! I felt it too!

Now what?

Since this is my studio space...I know which things I will use for future projects and the things I  have been holding on to for "whatever reason"
I have decided I no longer want to make things that are not in my "color palette"
By making this decision, it  helps me decide on what to keep and what to donate..
I have started boxing  these craft supplies to be donated to people who need such things.
Check with your local church. Sometimes the elderly classes and children's programs are looking for supplies.
Also check nursing homes and missionaries in your area.
I always try to donate my stuff to charities who are in need of these things before I even consider throwing them out.

Now, for the third bump in my road.

As I was sorting...I came across some things that I continue to hold on to.
The "whatever reason" stuff.
(Okay Lord...I really need you right now.)
One box contained a puppet my son and I started when he was 5 years old.

It also had a puppet we bought him for his 5th birthday.
Unfinished projects.
Oh how I hate the thought of them! 
They bring back memories and hurt that I am just not wanting to deal with.

Remember what I had heard at the start of the weekend? 
I can't put the lid on the box and once again not deal with it. 

I called my son.
I dealt with the issue. 
Ouch again!
He vaguely remembered this but knows me well enough to know there was more to it.
"Whatever is bothering you's okay! No scars!


I was able to deal with a few more boxes of unfinished business and move on.

So was your weekend this hard?

I really hope not! I decided to share this with you because I once again, want to be truthful about my experience. I am not going to make this look easier than it is.
I am not going to take a picture from a better angle and hide this anymore!

Want some good news?

Starting over with an organized home or for me, workspace, may will take time.
But the rewards are immense!
  • you will experience a tremendous sense of relief.
  • literally feel lighter.
  • You will be more creative and productive.
  • You will have more time to spend with those you love doing what you love!
Did I learn anything from my weekend of drama?
You betcha! (totally a Rebecca statement)
I learned that I needed to stop and fix things before I put them back. (no sweeping under the rug) 
I remembered  to be creative and use what I have!
I don't have to spend any money to have a beautiful work space.
I chose to deal with issues as they arose. No more putting off!

I need a break...reliving this has given me hot flashes!
I will be back soon and I am bringing Rebecca in to help us deal with some of our   my issues!

Keep those words of encouragement coming! I am leaning on the Lord but need your support!

Gawsh (Gosh) this bites!


  1. I like seeing your work in progress and your fresh, truth-full approach. we can all relate...

    so easy to attach emotions to things, isn't it...?

    keep up the good work.

    oh, and those gray-stained baskets ROCK!


  2. You aren't traveling alone. I'm coming with you on this journey! Thanks for inspiring me. I NEEDED IT.

  3. Oh, Donna, you are too much :0.

    Listen, sometimes we lose followers because they get off the boat. They might terminate their own blogs and then the sites they follow lose them. Oh, well. I also get stuck when I think I've lost a follower or two because I somehow offended them. Don't worry about it! I just read an article on this that basically said not to run after those guys. They are lost to you. Stick to your message and...soon enough...those who "get you" will come around (and will stand by you).

    Thank you for your honesty with this process. The whole process of organizing and decluttering can be very emotional. Unfinished projects. Heirloom guilt. UGH!!

  4. Isn't it neat that the Lord wants to use the process of organizing this area to clean up some other even more important things maybe in our life. I hadn't thought about this process when I started working on my room. It will be interesting what He brings up- He's good about it and knows just when and where to deal with me in my life.
    Thanks for this post!

  5. Oh I hear 'ya sweetie! For me, the hardest part is just getting started, and where. The entire house needs help. But just today (after the laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming) I did box up some things to go to charity. Even though it was just one box, and admittedly I took the easy way out here, it still felt good.

    It won't be easy, as you have just experienced, but every step you take, no matter how big or small, is that much closer to being done.

    I'm proud of you for taking on this huge project, and dealing with some painful and frustrating issues head on!!! Each room you conquer will be a triumph.

  6. Right there with you! I haven't been blogging much..I'm trying to clean and declutter NOW...before my kids are home for the Summer. Today's little girls' armoire and my closet. Not done, but it's so much better. Everything is organized by color. I can see what I have again. Baskets of clothes are put away. One more bag of stuff to give away. One more bag of stuff to give to a friend for her daughter. It feels like the weight on my shoulders is lifting. Hang in there!

  7. You are inspiring me to get started again...thanks for that!

  8. I am right here with you! I did have a productive cleaning and organizing weekend. It's theraputic to me and I really enjoy the whole process so I'm having fun with it and your posts are really helping me out. I'm also working on my office/creative room and am learning a few things about myself...I'm obviously not as organized as I thought - I have SO many duplicates of things! I also only am keeping things in colors that are truly me - so I took 2 huge bags of fabric, sewing things and crafty things to one of the preschools down the street...they were thrilled which made me feel so much better about the whole process.
    I appreciate your honest thoughts and pictures - who are we all kidding, our homes are not always perfect like we all like to show on our blogs! :)
    keep up the good work and keep showing us your ups and downs...that's where we get our inspiration ~

  9. First...I'm so happy to read I'm not the only one who hears voices (make that ONE voice), proving it's not my imagination.
    Second...God bless your son!
    Third...I'm tickled to read that when I started my decluttering this winter, I actually had a similar plan to the PRO's! In the past, I've always taken it out, put a handful of stuff in a box and proceeded to put most of it back, but this time something "told" me to do it differently. I've got empty spaces just waiting to be filled, but I'm in no hurry. When they're refilled it will be done all proper like!
    Fourth...I love the baskets and the stain! really don't want to hear about my weekend. It involves a lot of dirt and grime!
    Almost time to head to the Big Show, so I'll check back when I get back!
    Yay Team D & R! Go, fight, win!

  10. P.S. Keep pedaling that trike...I'm following right behind you!

  11. Sounds like a lot of us are thinking and "hearing" alike. My Bible Study post from February 23 is so similar to what you're going thru. Lot's of stuff to "clean up and clear out." I'm in total agreement with your "Oh Poop" sentiment at times, LOL! Great movie,
    love ya,

  12. First of all thank you for being vulnerable and sharing with us that you hit bumps in the road. I found myself tearing up as I write this to you because there are times I feel so overwhelmed with my house. Sharing this organizing journey isn't just helping yourself. It IS helping others. Keep Going!!!!

  13. Dear one... this process or journey that you are sharing is obviously not only for you. If God is speaking and dealing with you and then telling you to share, He has a long list of those that are right there with you that need guidance. This is such a special gift you have and if there are a couple of people that don't appreciate it, it wasn't meant for them... period. Next...
    This message is good to hear over and over too, so maybe a year from now I might be in need of this and I can re-read this post as I am cleaning (like the garage) :)
    This was well written, concise and from the heart... you couldn't ask for more.
    Love ya

  14. Thank you for the perfectly timed motivation, inspiration and guidance! I am trying to organize my life for the better and am in the same boat too. Your sewing room is so pretty! I would love to see more pictures as it changes. By the way, your blog header and layout is lovely!

  15. Your going to make this room great!
    What i found out as i have gotten older is to take it out of my head and just start's never as hard or as long as i think it will take and I take a lot of small I raked only the side of my garage and put down my crabgrass prevention, it's going to rain tomorrow, and then stopped to make dinner, dishes and read your blog! My plan is to make a veggie garden this year, so I'm doing small stuff each day to get to it...and there is the ever Rose garden...but my soil is not the best..but someday!
    and i still need to see that movie...

  16. I am exactly right were you are at, at the beginning of the year I wrote a post entitled "sweetheart isn't it about time you got organized" I started blogging my progress, but progress has been slow and not always steady. It has taken me months just to get to where I am at, and I have a ways to go. But people like you encourage me, we have to keep eachother motivated. The Lord is so good and providing inspiration through others.

  17. I was so bummed the other night when I walked into my kitchen(sweatshop), what a cluttered mess...I was determined to do something about it in the morning...I make soaps and candles in my kitchen, so there's always boxes of jars and soap sitting new lil' shop/studio displays it all until shipped elsewhere, but still the guilt of the mess was still with me(thank God I live alone)...

    Then, as luck would have it, dearest friend TOT sent me the latest issue of "Where Women Create"...and I was instantly relieved by the home of Robin Brown and also by her attitude...I'M CURED!!!

    I will never again justify this mess, it is my job, my art and my love...NUFF SAID!

    Sharon...The Wild Thing

  18. You have no idea how refreshing it is to see and read your honesty. Your realism is what will help me the most. I have every excuse for why I keep things and cannot get rid of them. When I do donate my supplies to charity then I feel bad because I need something I gave away...and on and on and on. I seriously cannot live long enough to use all the things I have. Let's keep going on this journey...

  19. When I was 21 my father died and my mother packed a suitcase and a few pieces of furniture and left. My sisters and I had a four bedroom home attic and all filled to the max to sort through. I learn right then and there I will NEVER be a pack rat and do that to my children. Growing up my children would leave notes on things Mom DON'T throw this out!haha I've learned if I put things in really attractive baskets and boxes I either forget what's in there or never bother to pull it down to go through the hassle of putting it back up high on the shelf. So once a year a get rid of what I wasn't able to the year before. I think your doing as Martha says A very good thing!

    Thank you for the posts. We all need refresher courses.

  20. You are doing good!!! Keep it up.

    I always pop in to see what you are up to but haven't always taken the time to comment- never enough hours in the day!

    Take care,

  21. you can do it :)...
    Stopped in a the store Sat.--
    bought a few lovelies & just enjoyed the re-do!{& chatted w/ kk}.It looked lovely!
    Blessings my friend...

  22. I'm typically guilty of being a "drive-by" blog-hopper, but this project has caused me to comment twice now! One thing to hold onto when you lose followers or get negative comments (or no comments) or whatever - as long as you are being authentic, you will keep those who value and respond to that authenticity, as well as gaining new followers who appreciate it.

    Great re-evaluating and re-thinking and re-energizing, and (as soon as I get this monstrous project that I signed on for out of my space) I am SOOOOO doing this! I've been piling and rearranging and dealing multiple times with the same "stuff" for far too long. Claustrophobia and overwhelm are taking over... Thanks for some great ideas and new ways to look at (and assess) what I should keep and what needs to go. Carry on, and bless you!

  23. Thanks for the reminders. We are moving to a smaller home, not a lot smaller, but enough to make us rethink what to bring. I have a shoppe too. It's in its own building, small but beautifully packed full of wonderful goodies. No shoppe in the new place. Etsy is something to get onto but as you know, it is a one step at a time thing. Working though it, one day at a time...

  24. I so admire your honesty Donna!! I try to purge at least once a year so it doesn't get drastic around here, but I am finding out that with a booth STUFF accumulates and I don't like it. Not sure what I am going to do about that...hmm.
    Keep plugging along and keeping us inspired!! We love you!

  25. You are doing an unbelievably good job Donna! Proud of you, and you have kick-started me to begin to clear out the stuff. I have the best intentions, but something always seem to get in the way. Now I have no more excuses! Let's do it together.
    Thank you for your sweet visit and your kind words about Belle. It means alot to me.
    Hang int here, you'll get it done!

  26. Well now you've gained a follower! Your honesty is like a breath of fresh air! Keep going... Don't give up... God will see you through your struggles and those who truly care will be there to help carry you through to the end. Take care and God bless!

  27. I am new to your blog and this series is for me! I , too, am in the midst of a huge de-cluttering time. I love this army of women who are doing the same thing and you are leading the charge!

    I am tired of moving piles from attic to garage to basement and back again. I want to be FREE! Right now, my entire house is full of piles as I sort through the attic and closets.

    I loved reading about how you pause to spray paint a basket, talk to a son, etc. That is SO ME! It takes longer, but it is just how I roll.

    Anyway... back to the piles...It has to be messier before it gets better, right?

  28. You had me when you struggled with the box of your son's projects...things reminding of us of them...those are the hardest!
    I am so enjoying this series...I found the COURAGE to post...and linked back to you...thank you so much.

  29. Thank you Donna for your words of
    encouragement on your journey of getting rid of and organizing ~
    I am going to start up again !!
    I keep putting it off but it is going
    to happen ~

    Hugs to you sweet friend ~

  30. Donna,
    I love this series! You are so right. Start small.
    PS Thanks for the how-to's and your sweet open heart.:)

  31. Well, I'll be a replacement for one lost follower. I wondered over here through Rene at Miss Gracie's Cottage and Theresa at 612 Riverside.

    I am always struggling with clutter and the volume of 'stuff' I bring into the house. I joke with my friends that I'm one dead husband away from the hoarder show. But seriously, I really am afraid if he didn't come home every night I'd loose any sense of control. I both hate that he hates all my crap and love that he saves me from myself!

    It's funny that you're an organizer cause I love to organize too! I wanted to do that as a job but thought I couldn't because I let my spaces get out of control. So you've already given me hope. Thank you!

    So I'm going to be following you and Rene to both cheer you on and inspire myself.

  32. I guess what you never have you never miss. I never signed on for followers, I always felt if someone wants to visit and leaves a comment that is wonderful, if they choose not to visit or just look at the pictures that is perfect too... my posting is an expression of myself, the places I visit or the things I create.
    I must admit I truly admire your struggle to purge your collections. Working for an auctioneer as I do can certainly expose one to a great (no I mean GREAT) deal of stuff. Trying to save a piece of history or someone long passed treasured things can become addictive.
    I live in a small cottage and somehow things do get away on me now and then.
    I admire your honesty and mission...

  33. I don't want to make you feel guilty, but I hope you didn't get rid of those puppets (your son's). My son loves to hear stories of when he was little (He is just 8) and he loves to see things he used as a baby or toddler. I am saving everything to pass on to his kids one day. I know, I know, but that is my son and he is your son, and they are different, so I still hope you didn't get rid of the puppets (crying here :( ) I don't know if I make sense with this comment, please forgive me!
    XXXX Ido

  34. Looks like you are making progress!! We all have our messes and our procrastinations. I love to focus on what I am accomplishing, but of course it is just as important to clean up, sort it out, and put it away.

  35. I love to see how you do things! I love your style!!!! Keep doing projects! pLEASE!

  36. Donna, I'm with you all the way in this! You have great comments and information and inspiration!
    p.s. the word verification is "uncry". Seems fitting! :)


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné