the view from Sunday: March declutter

I’ve managed to keep a fairly streamlined collection since my first round of KonMari de-cluttering, but times change and things that sparked joy no longer spark. Rather than hold on to every thing, I’ve learned to let go and edit on a regular basis.

Here are the results of my latest round:

A quick review of my closet revealed a few items that I failed to reach for this winter, or which no longer fit as I prefer. The two smaller bags are items from my makeup collection that I cannot donate or share, and a few bits of paper and miscellany clutter that needs to go.

March declutter

A review of my unmentionables revealed some items that no longer serve, whether because the fit is off or the fabric is too worn.

March declutter

I use a diffuser to scent my home on most nights, but sometimes I just like the look and feel of a candle. Because candles come with jars, I’ve amassed a fair number of them. I’m getting rid of these, but looking to rehome or recycle where possible.

March declutter

Decorative pillows and stuffed toys from the ikea bin. I have a weakness for cute pillows, but these serve no purpose beyond gathering dust. I traded them in favor of the toys and pillows that I do use (mostly to prop my arm up while I sleep).

March declutter

Not pictured: the freestanding mini elliptical machine I bought two years ago in an effort to move more during writing days and have an alternative to outdoor walks during the rainy season. I used it for a few weeks and found that I didn’t like it, but it was too late to return it. It’s too large for me to try to sell it, and I can’t stand seeing it gather dust. I set it on the curb and hope someone picks it up. It’s wasteful, but a lesson learned.


project use it up: February empties + declutter



February 2018 empties

  • Nature’s Gate Revitalizing Jojoba + Sacred Lotus shampoo – I returned to Nature’s Gate after several failed forays into low poo options. NG works for my hair and doesn’t weigh it down.
  • ACURE pore clarifying facial scrub – this is a very mild, red clay scrub. I like alternating this one with the regular green scrub from the same brand.
  • alba acnedote astringent – my go-to acne treatment for hormonal (re: PMS) breakouts. Non-drying and just the right amount of salicylic for my sometimes sensitive skin.
  • Nature’s Gate whitening toothpaste – I meant to order the Kiss My Face but this one was just as good. Sometimes too minty for me.
  • Eden’s Garden Breathe Easier synergy blend – a blend of citrus and mint that really clears up a stuffy nose. This is my third bottle and I will be repurchasing.
  • Laneige water sleeping mask – not an empty, but I’ve noticed that I break out every time I use it. No noticeable difference in my skin. I’ve had a similar reaction to other K-skincare brands. I’m not sure what upsets my skin, but I’ll stick to my regular routine.
  • Solgar B Complex “50” – Just a good ol’ b complex blend. I like this particular line. Effective and affordable.


I’m making an effort to use up my packaged tea before I try any new blends. These are the blends I used up in February.

February 2018 empties

  • Tea India Chai Moments Milk Tea – instant milk tea. picked these up at an Indian festival as a treat.
  • Traditional Medicinals Weightless blend – I have issues with water retention and this helps move things along. This is not a *weightloss* tea. It is an herbal blend to ease water retention and a sluggish liver (I don’t have a gallbladder, so it helps).
  • Traditional Medicinals EveryDay Detox Lemon blend – again, not a weightloss tea. Mostly dandelion to ease water retention and clear up a sluggish bile tract.
  • Bigelow benefits radiate beauty blend – a very nice berry blend with skin-loving herbs. I’m not sure it cleared up my skin, but I like the flavor.
  • Triple Leaf Chrysanthemum tea – just a classic tea. Sometimes helps when I have tummy trouble. My Chinese coworker says Chrysanthemum tea is used in Chinese medicine to balance an off system.
  • Noveltea Oliver Lemon Twist – a lemongrass scented tea. Lovely, mild taste and cute packaging (it comes in a book-shaped box).
  • Zhena gypsy tea sampler – Egyptian Mint (green and mint) and Italian Chamomile (chamomile and rose hip) – classic flavors, just a nice sampler set.



I konmaried the house nearly two years ago, but it’s time for a review. I’m not engaging in a full-blown konmari declutter, but I am looking to eliminate/donate items that no longer serve.

I started with a review of my kitchen storage (not my pantry). This picture was taken half-way through the process. There were a few more items added to the pile, but it’s a modest selection compared to my first konmari declutter.

February 2018 declutter

An unexpected addition was my microwave (not pictured, obvs). It started to burn out (I could smell the wires burning), so it was time to toss. I am not replacing it. I didn’t use it enough to justify a replacement, and I’m finding alternatives to meet my heating needs. I’m also loving the amount of counter space it freed up 🙂

project use it up: January empties

project use it up-2


2018 empties #1

  • Renew Life Extra Care Ultimate Flora probiotics – these are easy to find when I need something extra
  • Gaia Herbs – Back Elderberry Syrup – takes delicious and really helps boost my immune system when I’m surrounded by sick students
  • Gaia Herbs Quick Defense – this is a super dose of elderberry and echinacea (among other hers) that makes a huge difference when I feel a cold coming on (I’ve used it in the past when fighting a really nasty cold and last year’s flu)

Toiletries & Skincare

2018 empties #1

  • Andalou Naturals Un-tinted Benefit Balm – I use this for the SPF 30. It leaves a mild white cast but it almost acts as a primer for my makeup. It’s not my favorite, but it works for every day sun protection.
  • Acure Facial Cleansing Creme – I prefer the regular cleanser, but my skin was feeling a little dry and sensitive, so I decided to give this one a try. It feels like a balm cleanser and works best as a second cleanse after removing makeup.
  • NOW Hyauluronic Acid Firming Serum – I love this and started a new bottle as soon as I ran out. It’s very light and acts as a moisturizing serum beneath my oil and sunscreen steps.
  • Botanical Beauty Organic Japanese Camellia Seed Oil – there is some debate as to whether the purity of this oil (amazon comments controversy, as per usual), but I credit this with helping my hair grow and become more smooth and manageable. It is my only form of conditioner and I use it on my ends and the lower half of my scalp where I tend to have some mild psoriasis. I love it and I already opened a larger bottle.
  • Johnson’s Head-to-toe extra moisturizing bath – I needed some moisture and I like baths.
  • The Beauty Shelf green tea Konjac sponge – I really like Konjac sponges and this one comes in a three heart set 🙂

Scents & Candles

2018 empties #1

  • Nature’s Alchemy orange essential oil
  • AuraCacia Lemon essential oil
    • I like citrus scents. These are from my office oil collection.

2018 empties #1

  • Frostbeard Book Lovers’ Soy Candle sample in Pumpkin Juice – this was milder than I expected. It has a nice spicy scent and does not linger.
  • Wilfred Wax Steamed & Frothed – one of my favorites. It’s soooo sweet though, a little goes a long way. I will replace this when I run out of my other candles.

project use it up: a mini update

project use it up-2

I had a box of things, but I tossed it during the hurricane prep fiasco, so this is what we have:

  • Used up 2 pens (success!)
  • Finally got through that bottle of Honey and the Moon I set out to use last winter (I had to wait for fall; it was too warm for spring and summer)

Project use it up progress: 2 pens and a bottle of scent

I’m going through another bottle of scent at the moment and will try to use up what I have before I buy a new scent. I still have plenty of pens to use up, but I’ve limited my collection to those I enjoy using :).

minimalism: closet update

Another video in the minimalist transitions series.

Let’s delve into my closet for another round.

Not that anyone has asked, but these videos help me make sense of my belongings and aid in the process of decluttering :).

Also, post-video update: the white shelf is now gone and a simpler, smaller solution in place. Progress every time.

minimalism: music declutter

A few months ago, my mom unearthed my old cd collection. This is good, because it means she finally cleared out enough of her own stuff to return what was left of mine. However, there was something about sorting through those old albums that made it really hard to purge. It had been years since I played any of the cds in the box, but the thought of parting with them was extremely difficult. They were tied up in nostalgia and sentiment in a way that surprised me. So I left them in a box and let them gather dust for a few months.

Three, to be exact. I looked through them a couple of times, but couldn’t do it. Then, the day after the Garbage concert, I was ready. I knew what I needed to do and I did it. The result is a small collection of albums that were essential to my young adulthood, and includes those that I still enjoy today. I sorted them into three sleeve cases, and kept a handful of soundtracks for future library events and writing sessions. The rest, I donated. They’re gone and I’m free of the baggage (in more ways than one).

Music decluttering #konmari

Music decluttering #konmari

minimalism: decluttering my bag collection

This is not the first time I’ve culled my bag collection, but it may be the most brutal. Though, perhaps not. These are bags I held on to the last time, because they were expensive or they had sentimental value or they might still come in handy. Except, I haven’t touched any of them in over a year (2-3 years for the last two). It’s time to stop holding on to things I don’t use.

I’m not sure if I’m going to try to sell these. I tried selling the pink one and it never sold. I haven’t the patience for ebay slow sales, so I may just donate.

bag declutter

bag declutter

bag declutter

bag declutter

video (and more): empties, decluttering, and birthday acquisitions

Firstly, a long overdue empties featuring a few items from Project Use it Up 🙂 (success!)

I also used up two fandom tea samples from Adagio Teas (decaf rooibos blends that were great for after dinner), and a pen(!). Being a pen hoarder, every pen is an accomplishment.


And, since I was on vacation, I decided to give my closet and makeup collection another cull. The result, 1 bag of clothes (mostly winter and workwear) and a few products that were lackluster or caused irritation (or both).



However, as it was my birthday on Tuesday, I did receive some newness, and made a few additions to my summer wardrobe.

Presents from the boy, new teas and a teapet (also Adagio), new treats, 1 tank, 1 blouse, 1 long-sleeve tee, a flashy necklace for flashy days, and a pair of strappy Crocs (my version of rain boots for work days).






Also, a travel size lippie from Milk makeup in O.G. Red (love it!), a tissue mask, and my birthday gift from Sephora; plus, a tube of Kosas lipstick in Royal (these feel so soft and nourishing, with brilliant color).



sparking joy: scaling back on beauty and skincare

I have the flu! Which means I had a lot of time to sort through my bedroom and make some decisions. This is a fairly small declutter, but after the last two rounds of decluttering, I am down to those items I thought stood a chance. They didn’t, but I sometimes I find it better to wait than to live with regret.


I was going to film a video, but these items are not revolutionary, so a post will suffice. I also tossed my empties. I was in the mood to purge and decided I could live without sharing my thoughts on mediocre products.

pictured from left to right:

top row

  • hair clips (assorted): My scalp reacted to these. Not sure if it’s the material or the tiny metal parts, but it was no bueno.
  • Honest Beauty creme foundation in Linen: I never really loved this. I thought about returning it at first, but decided to work with it instead. I found that the best application was skin to skin, patted on with fingers and blended with a brush, but the overall experience was mediocre and often patchy. I used it as a concealer more than a foundation, and now it’s well past the best by stage and I hit pan long ago. Tossed.
  • Hurraw balms in cherry and earl grey: They dried my lips. Did not moisturize at all.
  • elf lip stain: It’s ok, but it dries my lips the more I apply it.
  • Whole Foods dry skin hand lotion in vanilla amber: I like these lotions, but this scent is a little to heady for me.
  • Hourglass mineral veil: This was a sample and I’m unlikely to ever use it. Toss.
  • Assorted brushes: I have too many and I don’t use any of these regularly. Toss.

bottom row

  • Assorted samples: Red Apple lipstick, Buxom eyeshadow, Kjaer Weis eye shadow. These were nice, glad I sampled rather than purchased.
  • hair stick: like the clips, there’s just something about the material that doesn’t jive with my sensitive scalp.
  • Bare Minerals eye shadow (pink and smokey gray), Honey Bee Gardens shadow in Chai: I hate loose shadows. I don’t know why I even try.
  • Pixi shadow palette in gold: I like the colors, but the pigmentation is kind of weak. Replaced with an elf palette that works much better.
  • OPI gold matte polish: I like a nice gold for the holidays, but I’m not crazy about this formula.
  • Red Apple Lipstick in Audrey, Nars lipstick in Fast Ride: Audrey is past it’s use by and the formula went off. It smells really strong and feels slicker than before, and the color seems to be darker than when I purchased it. Fast Ride is nice, but it looks too much like Glossier Jam, and I like Jam better.
  • Elate lip to cheek color: This came in a Petit Vour box. The color is ok, but I hate that it smells like lemongrass and the packaging may be eco, but it just feels cheap.
  • Sephora lip liner: I never use lip liner.
  • Honey Bee Gardens eye liner in gunmetal(?); Pacifica eyeliner in jet: The HBG has glitter in it. Glitter! No good for my eyes. I like the Pacifica, but I prefer the brown.
  • Johnson’s bedtime lotion: An experiment for my nighttime migraines. Fail.
  • Marc Jacobs’ Dot: I like MJ scents, but Dot is a little to warm and cloying for me. I’m a Daisy girl, at best.