Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Quest to Declutter by Patricia Petro


Have you ever looked around a room in your house and wondered, How in heaven’s name did I ever accumulate so much stuff?

Everywhere you look, there’s something to see; and much of it is just sitting on shelves and tables or in cabinets, unused and untouched, except for the times when you have to move it to dust.

Maybe the thought occurs to you when it comes time to pack for a move. Suddenly, your books fill ten boxes. The good china has to be bubble-wrapped and packed with extra care. Crystal stemware, rarely used, is a bothersome worry. Kitchen gadgets galore and drawers full of miscellaneous little things get carelessly dumped into boxes for sorting through later. Pots and pans, wall hangings, lamps, and linens . . . the list goes on and on and the packing feels as though it will never end. And then, of course, there’s all that furniture.

“It takes living without it to realize how clutter affects your life and takes away from your freedom and creativity. I am reminded of that every time I walk into my kitchen and, instead of seeing a cluttered counter,
I see sunlight streaming in from the kitchen window.” —Courtney Carver, Be More With Less

It happened to me

During my last move I was so overwhelmed by all the stuff I owned, it took months for me just to channel the energy I needed to start packing. I kept telling myself, Simplify simplify simplify . . . use this move to purge the stuff you don’t really want or need.

To make a long story short, I didn’t purge much of anything and decided, instead, to purge as I unpacked.

Tom and I had bought a house and were moving in. With our children grown and on their own, it was just the two of us. We didn’t need a lot of space—a smaller house was a perfect fit. We were, however, combining two households, each with over twenty-five years worth of furniture, furnishings, files, household items, clothes, electronics, garden supplies, tools, toys, a cat and a dog. You name it, we had it . . . and, in many cases, we had duplicates of the same things. It was a lot of stuff to unpack. Finding room for it all was impossible.

There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of stuff, if that’s how you want to live. It wasn’t, however, part of my master plan.

This move was going to be a fresh start for us, a new beginning. I wanted our little house on the lake to be an inviting, restful retreat. Clean . . . serene . . . relaxing. As lovely as any of the model homes we had visited during our quest to find the perfect house. With just enough furniture to make it comfortable. And no clutter anywhere.

Decluttering is easy as 1-2-3 . . . but you have to be ruthless

1. Start small with a drawer or closet.

2. Decide to either keep an item or sell it. If you can’t sell the item or give it away, toss it.

3. If something is tugging on your heartstrings, put it in a box. Write the date on the box and store it for a year. If you haven’t opened the box within a year, get. rid. of. it.
Let the purging begin.

Patricia Petro writes the book on empty nesting every day with her website Our Empty Nest. Her motto? "Living simply. Simply living well." She and her husband, Tom, enjoy a drama-free, clutter-free life of two happy-go-lucky empty nesters. Her website offers recipes for two, decorating your home, simple living and "simply living well."


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Picture Frame Says a Thousand Words


Guest blog by Dawnyel BowersoxDo It All Moms Blog

We love to ask people about their best - or worst - memories from moving. Some of those memories you have to block. We understand. I'm pretty sure I've blocked a bunch of moving memories, because I can't remember driving our 80-pound Akita from Kentucky to Florida with a car full of kids, suitcases, and random boxes of liquids and flammables. I mean, honestly, I can't remember a single thing about the trip, so I can only assume that there were nasty restrooms, bad junk food and some road rage involved. 

Dawnyel Bowersox, who has a cool moms' website full of fun, contests and coupons, has a story that we're glad is still fresh in her memory. It involves her mother-in-law, so you'll definitely want to read this.


Newly married and moving into our first house, my husband was given a precious gift from his mother.  My Mother in-law. It was a collage type frame filled with time line photos of him ranging from birth up until he got married.  Such a nice and thoughtful idea.

When my mother in-law presented my husband with the frame she looked directly at me and said "Do NOT let anything happen to this photo frame,  this is the one thing I have been able to keep for him throughout the years."

I kind of took offense to that statement.  She was speaking to me as if I was going to break it. I assumed it was a family heirloom that it needed to be kept safe.

Finally settled into our new home, I began to  unpack and hang all of our photos on the wall. 
I made it down to the famous photo frame that my mother in-law had given to us.  I will admit, it was adorable.  I took it out to hang it and bang.  Yup, I dropped it.  The horror that was going through my mind.  My mother in-law was going to have a fit.  I broke the precious frame she had given her baby boy.  She will never forgive me, what am I going to do?  She will be here in the morning to help finish the unpacking.

Panic mode set in.  My first task as a daughter in-law and I completely failed.  I began tossing things out of boxes in a desperate search for super glue.  I was going to glue that baby back together and she would never know!  I had things strung from one end of the house to the other, literally.  I was sparing no item.  Why didn't I organize the boxes better, why can't I find the freaking super glue, why did she look directly at me and tell ME not to break the frame?

After a good 30 minutes of looking I did find the glue, I am pretty sure the heavens opened and I heard singing when I spotted the glue in the office supply box.  Why didn't I look there to begin with?   Frantically grabbing the glue and the frame I prepped for a painstaking photo frame procedure.  I was going to revive this frame if it was the last thing I did.

I laid the patient down on the dining room table, as I began to open it up it wasn't wanting to come apart.  So I yanked on it to get to the inside.  A picture frame can  say 1,000 words. What I saw was shocking!  There was hot glue everywhere inside the frame.  It was apparent that someone ELSE had previously broken the frame and did a poor job of fixing it.

If I confronted my mother in law, she would know I broke the frame.  If I didn't mention it to her I would go on wondering what the heck for the rest of my life.  I decided to be honest and tell the truth, not because it was the right thing to do, but because I wanted to know what the deal with the hot glue was. Curiosity got the best of me.

When my mother in-law got here the next day I came clean, but not without questioning the hot glue.  Her response.."Oh yeah I have dropped and broken that thing a few times, the last time I dropped it all I had was hot glue."

What?...WHAT???  I told her I thought it was a family heirloom and how sorry I was.  Her response was NOT shocking at all, and I do not know why I did not realize this in the beginning.  The photos were the precious items she did not want ruined, not the frame.  Well in a nut shell.."DUH."  That was the only thought in my head at that point.. DUH, DUH,  DUH.

Dawnyel Bowersox, in addition to having a cool name, runs Do It All Moms Blog.  Find money-saving tips, deals and coupon match-ups at "Read my ridiculous ramblings and product reviews. Watch for giveaways, twitter parties, recipe and DIY ideas.  We make doing it all fun!"


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Getting the Cold Shoulder in the New 'Hood

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Remember when I locked myself out of the house right after taking possession of our house? That story brought out hilarious stories from people who were nice enough to make me feel like I wasn't alone.

Laura, mom of two boys, who has a bunch of moves under her belt, had moved all over the country, then to Hawaii and then to Kentucky. It was her move to Eagle River, Alaska, that left her locked out of her house in the dead of a freezing cold winter.

Here's what happened:

"So . . . what happened to me was that I was to move into my new home in Alaska in early December. I really didn't know the first thing about the house - I was completely unfamiliar with the house, the doors, lights, locks, etc. - but I got to the house around 0730 because the movers were to be here around 0800 to deliver my household goods.

I was a tad bit bored so I saw a broom on my deck and decided to brush it off since I knew my grill would go out there. The door to the deck had a little lock in the handle but I didn't think twice because I was able to open it without changing the lock. I try to go back in and find it locked.

Of course I didn't have a hat or gloves, not to mention a coat on and it was in the teens. Luckily there was snow on the ground because I had to get off the balcony. It was at least a 9 foot drop. I lowered myself down and then dropped the remainder of the way.
Of course it's pitch black outside (but for the light from the snow) and I know NO ONE in the hood. I went to one neighbor who just looked at me like I was crazy. The other let me try to find a locksmith though no one would answer their phone. Next up was the fire station. Shortly after I called, the other neighbor came back to tell me he happened to have a key from the previous owner. All this occurred thank goodness before the movers actually arrived. Ugh! Just the memories!!"


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Just Visiting . . .

Ladies, remember when you first got married and moved in with your significant other? Besides having to learn to live with a boy, you had to adjust to a major move and lifestyle change, possibly the biggest life adjustment you would ever experience.

Most of us have blocked that tumultuous time in our lives, but my memories came flooding back when I heard Diane's story.

"Everything in the house was brand new for both of us,  so consequently I carried my pocketbook from room to room because I never felt as if I were 'home.' This lasted for about five months until my girlfriend brought it to my attention. By that time I felt more at home, but when we moved five years later (with two kids and a LOT more stuff), I was lucky if I could find my pocketbook, much less carry it back and forth."

I'm picturing Diane walking from her bedroom to her kitchen . . . in her pajamas . . . carryin' her purse . . . There's a lot to be done, you never know when you're going to need a lipstick and some cash.


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

It's Your Move!

LOGO Itsyourmove

Hi movers and shakers!

When I wrote Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves I knew I wasn't the only one who had lived a slapstick comedy when moving. I've been amazed and amused at the stories I hear from others. My book readers often say, "You should hear what happened to me!"

So let's hear it! If you're a blogger or writer, I'd love for you to guest-blog here and tell Home Sweet Homes readers about your funny moving stories. And if you're not a writer, just tell me your tale and I'll take it from there.

Send your stories to me at

It's Your Move!

If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.