Master Bedroom Saga: Part Three (Nony Gets Discouraged)

It’s time for part three of the Master Bedroom Saga.

In the journal, part three really started on the first day.  After I’d come up with a plan and finished with the easy stuff.

After the easy stuff comes the hard stuff.


Here’s what I wrote in my journal while in the midst of this horrible, terrible, very bad decluttering project:

Once I got through the easy stuff (and only in the fireplace section), I realized that the hard stuff in here is truly hard.  It’s all stuff that I have deemed worthy of keeping at one point.  There’s just too much of it.

Too many knick-knacks that I don’t really love, but that have sentimental value.

AFTER I’d partially decluttered this shelf. Eventually ALL of this stuff went to the “holding area” in the other room.

Three clocks.  THREE! 

Three . . . clocks.

All on one shelf.


So I sweated through, realizing once again how physical decluttering can be.  And realizing again how thankful I am for my health and how if it was gone, I’d be stuck.

And embarrassed.

And the dirt.  Oh my word.  The dirt.  I’ve often been asked if I’m a clutter slob or a dirty slob.  I consider myself a clutter slob, but truly . . . you can’t clean if there’s clutter everywhere.  The dust behind, under (how does it get under?) and around everything was horrifying.


My heart sank as I pulled out so much of “my” stuff and realized how much of Hubby’s stuff there is.  It’s one thing to declutter your own stuff, but another thing entirely to make decisions about someone else’s sentimental stuff. 

I was completely discouraged when Hubby got home.  But do you know what he said?  “The bedroom looks fantastic.”


Even though I could open a Dust Bunny Store and have enough inventory to last me three years.  (Not that anyone would buy from a dust bunny store, but whatever.)

Even though ALL I DID was remove things and put them in another room.

Which opened up the conversation of figuring out what to do with all of his stuff.  After he saw how much of a difference it made for it to NOT be in there, the conversation was easier.  Make sense?

Now, that other room?  The one where I’m “temporarily” moving all this stuff?

It scares me to death. 

I’ve been there.  I’ve “swapped cr*p” many times in my pre-blog life.  The results were never good, and generally ended up with a continuation of the my-entire-house-is-a-disaster cycle.  That’s the reason why I don’t recommend this method for the newly changing slob. 

And today I feel scared.  I’ve already decided to give up three times this morning and talked myself out of it at least twice.

Right, that math means I’m not sure exactly what is going to happen today.  I know I’m trying to get in there sooner to start working and see how much I can get done today.  I have today and two more days this week to work on it.

We’ll see.

Day Two:

I started day two totally discouraged and unsure that it was even worth it to keep going.  But I trudged.  Meaning, I just went in and started working, even though I couldn’t imagine that finishing was ever going to be possible.

I used three newly purchased (this morning) storage tubs to separate out the kids off-season clothing so  their clothes will no longer be stored in the dish crate/table that is constantly a cause of disaster in our room.

(written by me now, after editing the video)

I also finished clearing that blankety-blank shelf that had the three clocks I mentioned above.

Anything that I knew was leaving forever went into a donate box, and I carried anything I was going to keep to the gameroom.

I got crankier and crankier as time went on, but I was far enough into the process that I just decided to keep going.

Stay tuned for the next part of the saga when I move past this section of the room.  That’s right.  Everything so far has been only in one third of the room.



If you’re just now joining me, you can read parts one and two to catch up on this saga.

(If you’re reading via email, click the title of the post to come here and watch the video!)



  1. 1

    You’ll get through it Nony! I really felt the darker tone to the video even before your parting comment. I know what you mean about the hard stuff. I had a big pile in my garage of ‘stuff I wanted in the house’ after getting rid of lots of easy stuff. About a week after I cleaned up the garage and made the pile, I realized that inside the house is practically bursting and there was no where to put anything else. I came to the realization that at least that amount of stuff had to leave my house for good, either what was in the pile or stuff inside the house. I had gotten to stuff I had not previously thought of as clutter, but it actually was clutter! My parents helped me disperse and get rid of a lot, enough to park in the garage again. Unfortunately, some went to the storage building : (

  2. 2

    As per the pics and sentimental flat stuff (papers and the like) give yourself permission to have an ugly but functional scrapbook. Before scrapbooking became an expensive hobby, people as far back as the 1910s had simple scrapbooks. They didn’t have access to as many frames as we do. Save those pics in a photo box (it need not be organized, its just a hopper for pics and mementos — and never ever compare oneself to “scrapbookers” who invest thousands of dollars in papers and embellishing — that’s not the goal here! Utilitarian = Good! Project area done = Great! And as per the rest — ask yourself if you LOVE it. It does get riotously discouraging when you keep dealing with the same stuff, keep moving it, keep it hopping room to room *bin to bin. Stop the madness! First point and laugh at it. Even if it feels forced (it does) but point and laugh loudly at it. It gives you immediate distance from the emotional entanglement! It really does. Then ask yourself do I love it? The hardest part is the overthinking –ooh but … (it came from Aunt Zelda, or I got this when the kids were babies, or maybe I will need it later)… and the overthinking PLUS the emotional entanglement in having to touch it and deal with it and touch it again… stop the madness. Touch it once. It is HARD work. Why is it so hard?? Because decision making in 2012 is not decision making 1992. We have re-wired our brains to deal with so many choices on a day to day basis (like choosing deodorant from the wall of 39 choices or trying to navigate the 401K options our employer gives us). Simpler times = easier to make decisions. Now our brains get fried easier when making lots of decisions (same reason we get exhausted after hours at a mall or amusement park). Great book validating this new decision making sea of overwhelm we live in = The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less [Barry Schwartz]. Nonny — seriously force yourself to laugh at the overwhelm. “Oh I am overwhelmed. Oh hello overwhelm how nice of you to show up again. Ha ha ha haaaa!” I learned about Laughter Yoga (its theater games + laughter) and it has totally changed how I cope with decluttering (and other stresses). Now I choose laughter instead of anger, frustration, shame, or the like. And I like the touch it once rule. And have Mr Wonderful or the kids take the thrift store stuff to the car so its not in the house — you have already touched it once! 😀 As per the “stuff you still can’t decide about” = let Mr Wonderful make the choice or allow yourself time together (after kiddos are asleep) and ask each other ” Do you love it?” If there is hesitation — or you want to honor it — take a picture of it and THEN donate it! I believe in you! Don’t give up. You won’t miss the “hestitation stuff” — trust me. And pics of the stuff — over time you look at the pics and go — Nope don’t miss that at all! Less stuff = more time for family and LIVING. And dusting is sooo much easier (and you can hire out the kiddos to do it!) You are making it happen! You are hard working, passionate. Don’t get down on yourself. LAUGH! Laugh! (Remember when having the kiddos — the intense pain, but then the relief and amazement at seeing what you created? You are in the midst of household contractions, but what you are creating and bringing into your life — is BEAUTIFUL!) Laugh thru the process until then! 😛

  3. 3

    Hang it there! I am totally there with your hubby I have several boxes in my bedroom of stuff from my mothers home that she left me after she passed away and every time I go to open it…..I just can’t….. Tough stuff! In the end I gave it less a home in a closet so at least I was not tripping over it.

  4. 5

    This struck a chord with me when you said thank goodness you have your health. We mostly err on the optimistic side – there’s always tomorrow to sort out our stuff. But sometime we will run out of tomorrows. I am old enough now to recoil from the thought of dying and leaving some other luckless soul to deal with my cluttered home. My mother ensured that she left a very orderly house and I was very grateful to her for that.

    Equally, the loss of our health could mean that we were unable to continue de-cluttering and could have to face the embarrassment of strangers having to struggle with our over-stocked homes.

    So, difficult as the task is, Nony, I applaud you for facing it. I am taking inspiration from your resolve.

  5. 6

    You’re doing a wonderful job! My school teacher friend just blogged that October is the New January, and that makes me think that new beginnings are always possible.

    Keep up the inspiration! I appreciate it.

  6. 7

    You are funny even when you do not try to be, I loved this video again. You seem so true and you are doing a tremendous job. Well done!
    But could you please slow down the texts after the video. I can’t keep up and the texts are fun, I’d like to be able to read those without having to pause the video.

  7. 8

    You can make it! I prayed for you this afternoon. I trust that you’ll get through it. It’s tough, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Breaking the bonds of attachment to things is Hard, and we are so propagandized to think that things will make us happy. It’s hard to just let go of all that and drop all that extra mental and emotional weight and the things connected with it. I wonder if we’re afraid we won’t be happy any more without it? I don’t know but, it’s so freeing to let it go! I’ve tasted it this year, but I’m still on the journey and have a long ways to go. By God’s grace we can overcome it!

    And, the advice about an old fashioned scrapbook is good. It might solve that angle for you. Besides that, you could take pictures of some of the “special” things you don’t truly have room for and add the pictures to the scrap book while eliminating the actual items. And, let the kids help make the scrapbooks! I have to say that I somewhat resent what modern commercialism has done to good old fashioned scrapbooks. Those old books were full of memories and special bits and pieces that meant something, as opposed to lots of expensive but meaningless stickers and embellishments that are purchased to adorn one lonely photo per page. 😛 OK, I’ll get off my soap box. 😉 If you want to see what a real old fashioned scrapbook looks like go here: This scrapbook was made my L. M. Montgomery the author of Anne of Green Gables.

    Anyway, being overwhelmed by the enormity of a job is no picnic. But, if you keep on plowing through the urge to quit (which I understand!), it Will eventually get done. Try to focus on what to do next rather than the whole picture. Maybe it will help. It’s like eating roast beef, if you take too big of a bite at one time you’ll choke, but smaller bites will go down faster. 😉 Don’t look at the whole roast – focus on the next bite. 🙂 lol

  8. 9
    Lisa Halamka says:

    Nony, I love following you. You are such an inspiration! I know you will get through this BIG project. Like you said just don’t quit!
    I have plenty of my own clutter and giant Dust Bunnies (even after I’ve “recently” dusted??). Plus I have inherited clutter – that’s deffinitly not mine! My Mom lost her health 10 years ago and will ask me where something is. I’m afraid to get rid of stuff for fear she’ll ask me for it.
    We also share a house with my MIL – well sort of – she’s been visiting my SIL for four years! LOL! After dusting someone else’s “collections” for four years I have realized I do NOT want to “collect” anything!
    It collects dust, I have to move it, and eventually someone else would have to deal with those things when my health fails or I die.
    I’m still not very good at decluttering, but thanks to you I’m inspired and on my way. HERE’s to taking pictures that store much easier and DECLUTTERING WHILE WECAN!

  9. 10

    Dude! What have I done? I mean, school started so I fell off the planet and back into work, then there has been the Great Potty Training Regression of Sept. 2012, but I finally have a night of insomnia where I can catch up on blogs and this? And it worked on your husband too? Hmmm … (eyes innocently sleeping husband beside her with speculation).
    Congratulations on all your hard work and on not giving up. May clues for maitainance flow through your life in abundance!
    If I ever take my own medicine with our bedroom, I’ll let you know. 🙂

  10. 11
    Slob with OCD says:

    Hey Nony,

    A million thanks for this video/entry. I’ve been dying for some declutter inspiration (even though I am doing your ebook and am finally getting a rhythm to my home maintenance).

    So I was glad to see the bedroom tackled again-My bedroom’s not my problem but I have a similar relationship to doing the art supplies that are in our dining room (we don’t have an eat-in-kitchen so art supplies everywhere have to be dealt with every night) and it’s good to feel like I’m not the only one who has to go back to the same project over and over again.

    It also helped enormously that you don’t polish this up for us. Discouragement is part of the process, and when I am feeling discouraged I sometimes think that means progress isn’t possible, so hearing about you feeling that way and doing it anyway helps so much.

    Also the comment that it’s hard work and you are glad you have your health, was so important to me, because I don’t. I have fibromyalgia, and yesterday when I was working on those art supplies again, I just couldn’t summon the energy to go at it at my usual pace. I was able to acknowledge that it’s hard work, and it was just going to take longer than I wanted.

  11. 12

    Nony, I just love you to pieces! Wish I could reach out and give you a great big bear hug. You are doing great! Just keep on keepin’ on!
    That space you’ve created – that empty space in your table thing-y — that must feel so freeing, so wonderful — but, I honestly had these fleeting thoughts of the myriad of things you could store there instead of the kids’ out-of-season clothing. ACH!!!! why is it we Slob Brains feel compelled to fill every square inch of space? I say be radical, and leave it empty!
    Looking forward to the next installment. You inspire me!

  12. 13

    Yes, you WILL make it. I have the utmost faith in you. It looks as though you have a dust allergy, just like me. This SHOULD inspire us to keep things clean, but I know it really doesn’t. I often just pop an allergy tablet and go back to bed till it ‘kicks in’…and of course, the allergy tab just makes me sleep MORE. I’ve pledged to myself and my family that as soon as you’ve finished YOUR project, (just the master bedroom) I’ll finish MINE. Not fair at all, I know. But, slobs do tend to be UNfair, and use any excuse in the book to explain our failures. Sorry for putting MY shortcomings on YOUR back. But, I am rooting SO hard for your success. (As is my family…LOL!)

    Anyway, you are such an inspiration to the rest of us. I am praying for us both. Thanks again for all you do. I honestly love you. (Not a stalker…LOL!)

  13. 14

    I love how honest you are in this video series…it is so encouraging! I appreciate it because discouragement when tackling a big project like this is so real. Can’t wait to click on newer post and see what happens!

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