Clutter Free Life

Get a dumpster he said. We don’t need one I replied. We don’t have that much stuff.

That was the argument Mike and I had for years before he passed. We had thought about downsizing with the boys away at college. Some things would have to go.  I couldn’t imagine putting our personal belongings into a dumpster. We have all really good stuff, I thought.

With the nice weather and my fiancé planning to move in, it seemed like a good time to make some space in the garage. I spent five hours emptying the one car garage and wow there was a lot of  junk in there.  Everything was pulled into the driveway and I posted a few items for sale online. I even had people contact me and buy some of my no longer needed belongings. But there’s still so much more to get rid of.

For the past three years and a half years I have been slowly going through my clothes, my photos, my books and donating Mike’s clothes and different items we no longer needed.  You know, those things that don’t bring me joy.

I watched the Marie Kondo Netflix series and was inspired. I bought a few books on being clutter free and I thought I was doing all the right things.

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But somehow I was just spreading all of my things into the new spaces of the house.

Since both boys were away at college and Mike is no longer here, I’ve had the house to myself for 3 1/2 years. During that time I have sorted through some of the memories and things little boys need while growing up.  We have lived here now for 13 years, enough time for the kids to have gone through some wardrobe size changes as well as sports and electronics trends.  I did some rearranging and my home is starting to have my personality and look even better than ever.

I like the changes I have made. This past winter I renovated my bedroom and bathroom and master closet and added a washer and dryer on the third floor next to my bedroom. So much nicer than climbing down 2 flights of stairs to the basement for clean clothes.  I got used to having the house to myself and though it’s not perfect, it is getting there.  

But guess what? The boys have moved back home! Yay!!! And I’m getting married soon so my new love will be moving in here too!  Woohoo! My fiancé is preparing his house for a sale and will live here with me. I need to make some more room so cleaning that garage was an eye-opener that I really have accumulated to much in the past 14 years in this house.

I don’t know why I have 35 old cans of paint in my garage. I had two sunfish sailboat sails, five lacrosse sticks, a chocolate fountain, a juicer, two lawnmowers (even though for the past 2 years I have had a lawn service) four pairs of skis and boots and poles. There are boogie boards and rakes, snow shovels and even a never yet used generator.  I will not go 11 days without power again like we did after Hurricane Sandy.

After moving everything into the driveway I opened some large black garbage bags and started to toss.  People began to stop by and inquire about objects in the driveway.  It  appeared they assumed I was hosting a garage sale as they wandered about touching my stuff.  Next a few strangers from Facebook who had contacted me about my unwanted treasures stopped by and handed me some cash.

Cleaning out the garage did get tiresome.  I daydreamed about some future trips I’d like to take.  I imagined that all this lifting and moving things around was vanishing inches from my midsection.  But once I located the possible leaky pipes and loose tiles in the garage, I had had enough.  As Scarlett O’Hara says, I’ll think about that tomorrow.

My mantra continues to be:  

“I trust I am being led to where I need to be.  Everything comes to me at the right time and place”.

 I have faith in my life and I am looking forward to new beginnings.

Don’t give up the fight.  We are so oppressed by our stuff.  The idea of a smaller home and less junk is starting to appeal to me. Even the idea of retiring and not working every day is starting to look good and a possibility for my future.  It is all a question of needs and wants.  I need to have a healthy life style with shelter, food, water and love.  That’s what I teach my students.  The extras aren’t going to bring happiness.  

Being happy with what you have is what brings happiness.

Clutter can be so overwhelming and is often hard to even begin to attack.  Start with one drawer or one surface.  Clearing the space brings such a calm feeling that we can all appreciate.  

Letting go of what is not necessary and making an effort to stop bringing more stuff into the home is my goal now. 

Some of my belongings will stay with me a bit longer. 

Clearing space in the home will allow me to bring more love and hope into my life.  I am excited to see how it will all look.

Moving forward is the only way to go.  What can you leave behind?

UPDATE:  See the home renovation that took place after this post.  I am so happy with how it all came out.

moving forward clean garage clutter free


View posts by runawaywidow
At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.


  1. I am constantly purging. My daughter goes to college in the fall, and when we were switching out her clothes I told her one pile definitely going to school, one pile maybe, one pile donation. And well go the rest of her room after that.

  2. Moving from a four story 1920’s house to a 4 room apartment gave downsizing all new meanings. All the colonial furniture and doodads would flood a living, dining, kitchen and two wee bedrooms and baths….yard sale, donations and with a tear, some in the trash…even delight when someone picked a treasure off the pile to bring it home and give it new life.there really is a silver lining to many dark moments, give it time.

    1. Absolutely. Time and endurance are necessary to get through this. Thanks for reading. Xo

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