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Decluttering My Space One Jar at a Time!

By Julia Turner Lowe September 15, 2022 Lifestyle

I’m 72. I’ve moved seven times in the last 20 years, and I pare down with each move. I still feel like I have too much stuff! When I talk to my friends, especially ones that are around my age, we eventually get to the subject of downsizing, moving to a smaller space post retirement. Downsizing, decluttering, living simply and not overconsuming are ways I try to live and yet sometimes, I struggle with each.

Living a Simpler Life

I’ve lived in a small (900 square feet), but not tiny, house for most of the last 20+ years since 1999, and I’ve managed to recreate the look and feel of the larger 2200 square feet home. It’s been a sense of comfort for me and my daughters, but it also means I’ve crammed most of the furnishings and sentimental belongings into the smaller home.

I now want even less clutter. Trust me when I say that with each move, I threw out a lot of stuff, mostly “collections” of miniature houses from my travels, teacups and matching saucers, and tea pots (I still have those), old clothes, shoes, etc. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Do I need or want something is the question I ask myself when I’m out for a day of leisurely window shopping or at a crafts’ fair with a friend. This works most of the time. I recently upgraded my kitchen and decided that I wanted a new stove. I was about to make the purchase with the understanding that the appliance store would also unhook and remove the old stove.

I had assumed that my older stove would be donated. When I asked, they said no, and that it will be destroyed. I decided not to purchase the new stove. My old stove looks and works perfectly fine; I just wanted a new, fancier one with a convection oven and air frier built in. I hardly cook now, but it would be nice to look at. The jury is still out!

I share this story because I’m on a journey to a simpler life and less consumption and sometimes emotions, sentimentality and habit dictate my desire to consume or stop me from letting go of some of the clutter in my space.

Downsizing Is a Continuous Journey

When downsizing after my divorce, my daughters commented on the enormous number of mason-jars I’d collected. It’s a complicated story that’s connected to a childhood where we never had real drinking glasses but jars and also with my desire to use less plastic. In other words, saving jars became an obsession. We ended up throwing out several recycle bins of jars.

My point here is that clutter comes in all forms, even with my attempt to live greener. I still resist my desire to save every mayo or tomato sauce jar just in case I may need to store something. I’ve limited myself to one shelf and when they pile up in the dishwasher because I have no place to store them, I know it’s time to get rid of them.

I’ve gone through different phases of trying to declutter my space with the ultimate goal of leading a simpler life. I think many of us have similar struggles. For me, there’s a continuum, and I think for each of us, if it’s our desire, the level of simplicity or ability to declutter will be different. There’s no finish line; however, there is a street-wide yard sale coming soon, so I’ll take another stab at it.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you trying to declutter? Have you done it previously? What items seem to naturally pile up in your home, no matter how simply you are trying to live?

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Sarah Hendricks

Nice timing for this article. I started my latest decluttering about 2 weeks ago. I have taken LOTS of stuff to Goodwill, passed on things my family might want, and things that were just trash ended up in the trash. I have done a great job, but I get stuck on certain things. For example, I have a big box of countertop laminate samples…you know the 1 1/2 x 2 inch squares they have in home improvement stores. They were all the rage in scrapbooking and card making a while back, and I got their whole display full when a local store went out of business. I had long since forgotten I even had them, but they materialized before my very eyes when I started on my craft closet. For some reason, I find myself “needing” to hold onto them. You know that kind of “need” don’t you? I’d love to find ideas for using them, as I’d gladly pass them on disguised as Christmas gifts. Wish me luck…I don’t think this is the only “need” I’m going to discover as I declutter!

Priscilla Frye

I guarantee you could buy another set of those on eBay if you decided that you had to have another set of laminate samples again.

Last edited 1 year ago by Priscilla Frye

Oh yes decluttering downsizing anyway you say it and then, like magic the accumulated cabinets and drawers of “what is this? Why did I save that? Oh I better hang on to it…just incase.
I Need some assistance

Deborah Haynes

I’m 72 and every few months I ‘weed’ a room on my house or a closet giving items to charity. I’m hoping once it is time to move or my time on earth is over, it will be a much easier task. I believe you enjoy what you do have when you don’t live in clutter. My children are also not interested in inheriting my household so I’m helping both them and myself!

The mason jars could have been given away on freecycle or even sold. People who preserve food would have been glad to get jars, particularly in the early days of the pandemic.


Yes & I’m convinced that some items , like Mason jars have the eerie ability to repoduce!!

The Author

Julia Turner Lowe has a passion for fashion design and believes that every woman, regardless of her size or age, should be able to purchase clothing with exceptional craftsmanship and made with beautiful luxurious fabrics. She shares her thoughts about life on her blog, “Love the Body You're In.”

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