Thursday, January 19, 2017

Purging and keeping and using...

When I was contemplating 2017 as a year of "finding joy in the ordinary" one of the plans on my list was to donate as many of my books and magazines as I could, and keep just those I truly want to use, read, or keep for reference.

Well, that was quite an adventure!
Over two days Mr E watched as I went through the contents of every book case and every individual magazine (there were a lot of those) until the car boot was overflowing and I was ready to empty it at one of our local charity stores. 
Actually, he was so inspired by my decision that he spent the following day in his study purging his own collection of reading matter. 

The upside of this adventure is only having now what we truly want, as well as some empty space in the bookcases! 
But you know how you start one task and it runs into another? That's what happened to me. My sorting and cleansing of literature triggered a re-arranging of things in the dining and entrance areas, which I'm happy to report looks better than I'd hoped. 

Naturally we're always limited in a rental home as to what we can do, but I'm enjoying thinking about how to make what we have 'work' within the area and colour scheme of this house.

Now that the books and magazines are sorted and what remains are what I want, I was thinking it would be a fun idea to re-acquaint myself with them over the course of this year.

For example, I have a small white bookcase which holds my recipe books so each week I plan to make a new recipe from one of those cookbooks. There's 49 weeks left in 2017, so I think trying 49 new recipes from the 30 or so cookbooks I own is quite doable, don't you?

Another thing that I'm going to try, though not weekly, is to make one project a month from my craft books, of which I have enough to see me through about 38 months. Rosie Heather mentioned she was doing something similar with her craft books when we caught up last week so that's who triggered this idea. 

I also have a number of small stacks of homemaking books which I'll be revisiting on a weekly basis, looking for fun ideas to share with you and to follow through with in my own home.

I'll show you my magazines another day, and explain why I kept the ones I did. 

Now, I'm not saying I won't purchase more books or magazines in the future, because I will, but I've returned to being a regular visitor of my local library and will source as much as I can from there before making those purchases.

This is my Library Chair, our official 'holding station' for all library borrowings. As I've returned to reading fiction this year after a very long sabbatical the library as a resource definitely saves the pennies.

I still have rooms to re-organise, my office being next on the hit list.
Mr E bought me a new corner desk and assembled it yesterday so this afternoon I'll change all of this...

...into the best office I've ever had. 

Is your home in need of refreshing?
Perhaps there's something, just one task, you can begin today?

Blossom has been doing this, one room at a time, and it's given her so much pleasure! 
Maybe she takes after her mum...LOL!

Our Gentle Domesticity Facebook group now has over 1200 members and this year we'll be having a weekly chat question where everyone is invited to share their ideas and experiences.

This week's chat topic is...

Want to join in? You'll find our group HERE.

You're also welcome to chat via the comments on this blog post because I'll be sharing each week's question here too.

until next time,
may you find joy in the ordinary.


  1. Hi Jennie, We must be like minded...I do this every year. This year I have culled all those collected patterns and put those I want to try in one folder. Last year I made a new 'rule' for myself. If I find a pattern I'm interested in I aim to do it straight away, rather than file it under the 'one day' category. I have tried quite a few quilt patterns this way and donate the tops to the charity group I belong to (Sunshine Linus) That way I get the fun of making them and some one else gets to use them!
    Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration.

  2. Your house looks so clean, cheery and organized. We had to get rid of a lot of things because of moving into a smaller home but still have plenty. Will probably be a constant battle! Nancy

  3. Hello Jenny I agree with the comment above - your home always looks so peaceful & welcoming & serene. I know you struggle because its a rental & you are not allowed to hang things on the wall but you still manage to create a wonderful calm oasis filled with pretties & your handcrafted treasures. I can spy some lovely books in your bookcase ... lucky I don't live just down the road as I would be borrowing a few books from you my friend !!! x x x

  4. You have such a beautiful home. I say "home" because there is a distinct difference between the words "house" and "home". Homes are to be lived in and you have managed to do that without any clutter. It looks so peaceful too. Unfortunately, I have a great resistance to getting rid of my books. I did send some to the Op Shop a few years ago but now my bookshelf is overflowing but I do love having books around me. I love that computer chair! Looks a bit like a racing car seat LOL. My hat off to you for your big clean up.

  5. My aim this year is to remove from my clutter 1 item everyday and take these seven item to an op shop that will mean 365 things in a year. It doesn't matter how big or small and I won't miss a lot of things all at once. So far it has been easy and I'm sure as the year goes on it might be a challenge.

  6. Such a beautiful and inviting home! So bright and airy!
    I've never before picked a word to live by or strive for in the New Year. For 2017 I chose Winnow. Now w I just have to put it into action and start tackling my cluttered areas!

  7. My house needs a general management. I think I'm going to start with the pantry. I have seen your house so beautiful and neat. You inspired me to begin. Hugs.

  8. Looking lovely Jenny. You've made great progress. We have a pile of boxes which are an Ikea office in the making. We just have to empty the room and paint a wall before setting it all up. It will be quite a process, but we are so looking forward to the new look. I hope you get to use your books as planned.

  9. Hi Jenny,
    One way to get a kick start to reorganising is to get a leak in the wall between the hobby room and the bathroom! That's now our winter project!
    That's great corner office space with a window! Enjoy creating the new look!
    Take care,

  10. I love how we have so many similar books - I even spied Back To Basics :-)

  11. Beautiful! Love!..and I have Jane Brockett's books too! She's great.

  12. I'm so pleased your book titles can be read. Annoys me no end to see photos of bookshelves when I can't snoop at what is on them. I think your house is lovely

  13. I like where your desk is now. You will have so much sun coming in on you! How happy and cheerful. I went through my cookbooks at the end of last year and got rid of over 100. They were crammed into my bookcase so much that I couldn't find what I wanted when I wanted at all. Now they are organized and a joy to look at. Your house looks so nice. How do you keep your wood floors looking that way?

  14. Ahhh yes, January is that time of year I think for many of us to get in and clean things out, do a bit of purging. The rearranging often happens when you get rid of things, or just because it's sometimes nice to have a change too! I see we both have the back to basics book and several others along the same lines of domestic goodness. I think God called many women over the past years to rethink their role in the home and family. Even though I still have to work outside the home a few days a week, I'm mindful of keeping my home - hence the ongoing preserving, soap making and such. Your home looks lovely Jen .... and I just love that office chair,wow, looks very comfy!!
    Hugs sharm

  15. Looks lovely Jenny. Very fresh, I love your blue settle & your table & chairs.

    Your chair looks so comfortable when you sit at a computer you need a good chair to support your back.

  16. Apologies I meant settee not settle!

  17. That's a great question. I have an idea about what has to go first to make everything else work. I pared my life way down in 2005 when we moved into a 5th wheel, but it's gone up again - not too much, but some. I really must stop saving things for someday. It never comes! LOL Your progress looks amazing. I love seeing your house, because whatever you do always looks so wonderful. Your Christmas cactus still looks healthier than mine, and mine didn't bloom this year. Boo hoo!

  18. I've been trying to go through all my possessions too and declutter. It is a slow process for me, but I have been enjoying seeing the progress. As often as I go to the library, I've definitely saved more than pennies - at this point it is probably a million dollars over my lifetime!

  19. Oh Jenny, every time I read your newsletter/blog post my dear sweet lady, if you only new half way around the world that I think you have a lol So when I just read about you going through your magazines, I laughed. Last year I did that same thing. Page by page, looked at each, made copies of some, took pictures with the phone so I would have for reference. So many projects to do, ideas that I had to have of course. Then the pile that was left, off I went to our local charity to donate. Kept a few, had to for things I just have to have for reference. lol Moved out of my bookcase and into a pantry cabinet my husband put in my sewing room years ago for storage. Bookcase gone. Opened up space in sewing room, loved that too. And yes, it felt freeing to see those magazines thinned out and moved on. Now the cookbooks, well that is a project I have yet to tackle. Organized they are, but probably too many with just that one or two recipes I always go to. Books are great to have but they do take space and collect dust. Great when we can finally come to terms that someone else may enjoy them too.

    Your corner desk, lovely! I too have had a corner desk the hubby bought me and I love it. It has served me well.

  20. Last year, I too decluttered my reading materials. The first batch were fiction. I've kept a list of the ones I still want to read as I bought more than I had time to read. I know borrow them through my library as audio books and they play on my phone so I can listen to them when I'm doing some sewing that doesn't need super focus, or when I garden, cook or clean. Thank you for sharing. It allows me to feel connected to people with the same values and likes I have.

  21. Glenise Magnano - Gold CoastJanuary 22, 2017 at 3:32 PM

    Jenny - Your home, like yourself is so beautiful and a true inspiration for all of us. I just love the white and all your beautiful handwork everywhere. Your home seems so calm, peaceful and serene. Just love it. I live in a modern one plus one apartment but I aim to declutter BIG time this year. I have started but limited with where to store my craft items. Your photos have spurred me on even more to make the plus one area (a small open study room) into a prettier space for me to play in. So in love with your colour scheme. Even though it is a rental you have truly created a gorgeous home for you, Mr E and your family. Thank you again for your wonderful photos and inspiration. Hugs Glenise xxx


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