Diving Head First Into The Simple Year 2

If you think you have the most cluttered house on the planet, be prepared to feel a whole lot better about yourself. Or, if your house is already spotless and organized, pat yourself on the back. I’m hoping to join you by May 2014.

My Dressing Table

I have a dressing table in my bedroom that, like a lot of other surfaces in my house, has become a dumping ground. Well, more like a landfill. Or, if you prefer, the Mount Everest of Crap. *hangs head*

The Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Before

The Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Before

To get this party started, I took everything off the table and put it on my bed to sort. Two baskets of stuff were really meant to be in my office, so off they went. That left a stack of textbooks (I use them in my work for an educational publisher), which were put in a box to ship back.



Another box was filled with a few items that can either be returned (I accidentally bought a Blue Ray DVD – I don’t have Blue Ray) or sold.

Add in a half bag of trash and a box of items to donate to the charity coming to my house for pick-up and that’s everything.

To demonstrate how overdue this adventure otherwise known as The Simple Year 2 is, I present you with a list of the oldest and most random items I found just in this pile:

  • A thank you note from 2009.
  • A knitting needle. Which is really quite interesting since no one in this family knits.
  • Perfume. From college. I graduated in 1994.
  • A necklace I wore when I was 12. Whaaaat???

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus

After an exhaustive decluttering whereby I broke a sweat (does this count as exercise?), I present you with the glorious after:


This Feels Amazeballs

When The Girl came home from school, she walked by the dressing table toward the bathroom at which point she stopped dead in her tracks and backed up. “Whoa!”

I hope to get that reaction. A lot.

39 Responses to Diving Head First Into The Simple Year 2

  1. Hi Kandice,
    I just wanted to stop by, say hi, and personally wish you all the best in your simplifying project and with this blog. I really enjoyed Kerry’s posts (although I found the blog in her last month or so…I was very late to the party!), and I look forward to reading more from you. Decluttering is so, so, so liberating! (“Mount Everest of Crap”–love it!)

  2. Yay for a good start! I hate clutter. Just ask my fam 😉 No knicknacks, etc. Everything has a place and everything is in its place . . . in my bedroom and in my dreams maybe. The kids’ rooms are a different story! Looking forward to seeing the next step in simple!

  3. Oh my gosh – I feel so much better knowing that I’m not the only one with landfills in my house! LOL!! Great job girl. You are inspiring me 🙂

  4. So brave to show the before–brava! It looks like you made some serious headway, and just think about the money you will recoup returning the DVD.

  5. This TOTALLY counts as exercise, plus now that your dressing table is clean and gorgeous, no one will want to mess it up by putting something there that doesn’t belong.

    Great post. I’m so glad the blog is continuing. Thank you for stepping up!

  6. Gosh, I am going to keep reading what you are doing, Kandice. I certainly hope it’s going to rub off on me… I need it to.

  7. That’s impressive, Kandice. My guest room awaits me. It’s the storage space for all the things I can’t bear to put in the garage. But, why is my daughter coming over to your house after school and checking out your dressing table?

  8. Thanks so much for taking the baton! I’m looking forward to following your adventures over the next year, and will be joining you in some de-cluttering. We moved internationally a couple of months ago and I am left wondering why we bothered to ship most of this “stuff”!

    • I’ve never moved internationally, but I have moved to and from Alaska. I’ve had the same thoughts, and unfortunately still have most of the “stuff.” :/

  9. Great start. I still struggle with letting stuff accumulate on surfaces (it comes back when you aren’t looking), but I have made a habit of picking stuff up regularly through the day and before I go to bed so that at least the surface areas look clear. Now my biggest problem are those areas that are hidden (closets, and drawers, and one small craft room).

  10. Amazing job! I was just looking at our dresser today and was really embarrassed by it’s state. I need to follow your example and just clear it off. I’ll even take a before and after picture, too.

    • It’s an enormous dictionary. I’m leaning towards donating it, but still need to make a final decision. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog!

  11. So let me get this straight: EVERY SINGLE THING on the dressing table belonged elsewhere??! You did a great job of walking us through the process. Thank you!

    • Aside from the stuff that needed to be recycled or donated, yes. Everything belonged somewhere else.

  12. I love this: congratulations! Now to read back through your other posts; I really need to do a ton of simplification, too.

    By the way, as a perfume fiend I have to note that, if your college-era perfume was kept in a relatively cool, dark, and dry place, it’s probably still just fine. Many of us scour the internet, garage sales, and other places looking for such ‘treasure’! If you find any more, please email me before throwing it out


  13. I laughed out loud at the knitting needle comment. It’s great to read a blog about simplicity with humour! I need these blogs for motivation. They really help me! I’m crummy at lots of things, including before and after photos, so I can’t share my journey, which is too bad cause I think it would help me to see my own progress. However, it helps me to live vicariously through your photos and posts. I am grateful to Joshua, Leo and Kitty lady and hubby & all the simple living peeps out there for sharing. Thanks to Kandice for sharing the post and her humour! I have stage make-up from….1981 and 82. What do you think? Any good? Chuck it? my kids have used it almost 6 times since they were born (youngest 14…not months yrs. old) and I probably used it several times myself since 1982. I reduced the number of make-up items, but can you believe I still have some from early 80s! Oh boy. And the necklace comment made me howl with laughter Kandice. I have necklaces my kids made me circa 1997. Oh gosh. I better get going here.

    • Thank you! So glad you’ve found your way to the blog. I hope to “see you around” in the comments. ~Kandice

      • Update.I have been slowly tackling (since 2009) the books. This is the hardest part for me to address. Much easier to address clothes, shoes, anything but the books. I had books, my husband had books when we married three decades ago. Eighteen yrs. ago we had a huge collection (48 small refrigerator sized boxes…75-125 books PER box!) foisted on us by relatives who suffered from indecision and just didn’t want to be bothered with dealing. The boxes were in storage and my mom-in-law was paying (18 yrs ago) $200 per month for TWO storage units. And had been for 10 yrs on one and 12 yrs on the other unit. Expensive habit. Long story longer: at one point we probably had about 4,100 or maybe 4,300 books. A small bookstore in our home, in fact. Over the years, I sold three boxes. That’s all to second hand books stores in NY. Books are IMPOSSIBLE to sell and get any real money unless they are rare hard to find and pristine shape. Even second hand books stores DON’T want them. Most of the books were still in print. I donated most duplicates. I gave 2 boxes to my mother-in-law. By 2006, I was probably down to 3,300 but in the past 20 yrs., we’ve ADDED at least 600 books (school requirements, gifts, freebes from writer friends etc.). In 2008, I had to move again. I began donating a box or two a year to library, Salvation Army, Goodwill. Not easy for my husband to let go at all. End result: down to about 2,500 by June, 2014. In July I began reading my way through the rest of the collection, including the kids books. Enjoyable WORK. Getting free from feeling I have to hang onto these treasures that are mostly NOT books of my choosing, but books forced on me by others not wanting to deal! by reading through, I am really deciding which books are really vital to me and my husband….not books that were important to someone else (probably dead) 30 yrs ago! I’ve gone through 100 books in this manner. I have written some reviews of them in my personal journal or on amazon (helpful for a book lover…you could suggest that on a blog if you want) before I have donated them. I have found that only three of the 100 I’ve read through so far, need to be replaced and I recorded what they are. I will buy them for myself as a gift when all the hard work is complete. I have even gotten to a point I never thought I would: if the paperback is old, musty or the book is hard cover, but had water damage and I’m not going to reread it or feels gross and smelly to read….I have thrown it away in the recycling bin! This is progress for a book lover! To be able to toss it is HUGE for me. My goal to get to a 1000 book library, full of books in good shape (no water damage, no pages falling out), that are books that I have because I love them, they reflect me and my husband.

  14. I made a gross typo. Over 20 yrs. our family of five, probably amassed at least 1200 or maybe 1500 books, but I was often trying the one book in, one book out routine, so maybe net gain was 1,000. Point is, we ended up, despite selling, donating with lots of books!

  15. Reading my way through…down to about 2,075 from a high of 4,300/4,400. Many books are not well written, truth be told, and not worth keeping. I am working on getting rid of a book a day now, so i can get to my 1,000 book goal. It is taking this book lover time because i do read over the books before letting them go.

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