Behind the Scenes

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I was hoping for a bright sunny start to May, but it is stormy and overcast here today. Not an inspiring day to start some spring decluttering.

May 1 for me is a little bit like New Year’s Day – in that it is a time of transition – transitioning to living and spending more time outdoors. It feels so energizing to know I can take a walk without a heavy winter coat and eat meals outside once again.  The best part for me though…

Outdoor Decorating Ideas

…to be able to have all the windows open in the house.

No Sew window treatment ideas

Last Thursday night I needed to buy more white tissue paper for the flowers I made for my dining room and when I went to the garage to get in the car to drive there – the garage was empty.   I forgot that my daughter took my car and my hubby was out, too.  If it were still cold outside, I would have just had to wait to go get the paper, but since it was nice and still light out, I hopped on my bike and went to the store. It was not a hard ride and I was back home within an hour. It felt so good being able to get out in the fresh air like that – on a whim, no planning at all – plus I was able to start making flowers.

Transitioning to spending more time outside also adds to my “To Do” list.   I have many projects lined up and the materials to do them all ready– I just need to tackle them one by one to get them completed. In a perfect world I would be able to focus on one at a time, but I usually end up jumping around from project to project because I want to make sure I thought it through first and then go back to it when I know that I am sure.  Another reason I end up jumping around is that life gets in the way of your plans and you have to stop doing one thing to take care of another.

That is the case with what I have been working on behind the scenes. I have been helping my older daughter with spring decluttering in her room. She hasn’t truly lived in her room since she left for college 7 years ago.  She lived at home for a few months after graduating while waiting to start her service in the Peace Corps. That was two years ago and now she is embarking in a new direction come August – her own apartment and medical school.  She has been home for a little over a month now getting used to life back in the states and going through the process of editing and decluttering all of her belongings. When she moves into an apartment she told me she wants it to look decorated – not just a Hodge-podge of stuff.  I had to smile at that description and I will be very happy to help her out.

In My Own Style Daughters

We have a staging area set up in the basement for items not only for her apartment, but my youngest daughter’s, too. She is graduating from college in 3 weeks and will be bringing home the contents of her apartment with her.  It will all go in the basement staging area until she needs it again in the fall.  I am sure once she gets home, she will go into major declutter mode, too.  She is going to work as an intern on a farm for 5 months and won’t need much in the way of furnishings until the fall.  She will be living in a tent with no electricity. The most important furnishings for her are going to be the battery operated and crank style lamps and solar charger her sister used in Africa to see in the dark and stay connected to the world.

You may recall when I posted a tour of my house for the Parade of Homes House Tour.– I intentionally taped off their rooms since they were truly lacking life – both rooms – just museums of their childhood, because that is what they have become.  A curated collection of their lives well-lived frozen in time.  The stuff that they needed to grow up with, but no longer need in their grown-up lives.


When they were teenagers, I let them each decorate their rooms as they wanted. I helped them paint and showed them how to hang their stuff on the walls. The rest was up to them.  They asked my opinion from time to time, but they created the rooms they wanted.  I never had my own room as a child and dearly wanted one so that I could have a place to call my own.  That is why I wanted them to create the rooms the way they envisioned. I also think it is the reason, I love my studioffice so much. We all need that space, even if it is a teeny tiny space we carve out somewhere to help nurture us and our creative spirit.

Teenagers Bedroom Ideas: Spring Decluttering

She is using the guest room as her staging area to bag and box up all the unneeded stuff from her spring decluttering. There is a lot of it!  I can see she is enjoying the process and it is making her feel good.  That is what a good decluttering can do  – make you smile and clear the way to happily move on with life. I see her smile from time to time when she takes something off the shelf and remembers playing with it – a fond memory, but the object can move-on now to make someone else happy.

Behind the Scenes Spring Decluttering

She found a place to send her trophies where they refurbish them for kids activities and programs that can’t afford to buy them new. It is called Lamb Awards.  It is the only place she could find that accepts them anymore. Most have stopped the service as they received too many. At Lamb Awards you have to tell them what you have and wait for them to tell you when to ship them. You do have to pay $21, so you have to really want to give them a new home and help an underprivileged kid out.

Ideas for Trophies: Spring Decluttering

Even her cat, Trax is getting in on the action.  “Hey, look at me – if I stay still enough to resemble one of your many stuffed animals and figurines will you pack me away in a box, too?”  He loves boxes!

Cat antics

She told me she would repaint the room, but I told her if she could live with the color for a few months, it would be easier once she moves out. I will probably paint it a neutral color so if we move the room will be ready to go.

Clearing Out the Clutter - organizing tips

Here is the first area that has been decluttered.   She brought 3 pieces of fabric art home with her made by African women.  I helped her make wood frames to staple each piece on. She then glued ribbon all along the sides. This is the largest of the three.   The saying is true – That the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Like me, she has a thing for the color purple, too.

African Art

Once all the stuff is bagged up to take to the thrift store the guest room will be nice and neat for approximately 3 weeks before daughter # 2 comes home and will want to do the same with the unneeded stuff in her room.

Perhaps I should give the room a new name – as it hasn’t seen many guests lately –0nly piles of unneeded stuff.

How to get rid of clutter

While I haven’t been helping my daughter, I have been working on the brown table with the wheels I found at a thrift store. It is almost done. I will post about it later this week.

I also have new post over at Momtastic with a tutorial on how I made Dalmatian blinds for a child’s room.

I hope you enjoy May Day!  It is getting a little brighter here – maybe the sun will show after all and I can spend some time outside enjoying the spring splendor that is popping up all around.

*For more big decluttering projects check out how I tackled my Basement and Attic!


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  1. I have told you many how much I enjoy you and seeing your DIY ideas. It was exciting to learn about your daughters yesterdays and future. I wish them well in their plans and goals. I wonder what the “guest room” will be next . . .

  2. I had to smile at this post, Diane. I let my kids basically choose how they wanted their rooms decorated and did help them pull it together. And, I have been able to enjoy that little space of my own with my small craft/sewing room. I’m so happy to actually have a room of my own and I do enjoy being in there creating and sewing.

  3. You are probably tired of it but we are swooning over your daughter’s room.
    My daughter is 8 and also a horse girl. We have horse figurines and ribbons on the wall too. We wish we had more room for more art as she constantly collects horse things and our house is so tiny. I see more horses and ribbons in her future so I love seeing the ribbon trim at the top of your daughters room :) Thanks for letting us see beyond the tape.

    1. Hi Heather – It is a little bit sad to see it all go, but I am happy to know that her room has inspired you. My daughter lives and breathes horses. They are a part of her. I am not a horse person and when she was 4 and wanted a horse on her birthday cake, I never imagined how much horses would become part of my life, too. Funny thing – I am highly allergic to them! But as long as I stayed outside and never touched them or her saddle when she was at lessons or shows, I was OK. She is out riding at a friends stable as I type this. She kept the ribbons that meant the most to her and donated the rest. I hope there are many blue ribbons in your daughter’s future.

  4. I have seen coat racks made with old trophies – the figure at the top- screwed into a board – they look great for a sports-minded young person.

    Won’t Goodwill or Salvation Army take them?

    I wish I had known what to do with my sons’ trophies; we donated them to charity. By the time they were ready to get rid of them, they were too old for the coat rack craft idea.

    1. Hi Rickee-

      I think the Salvation Army will take them as they take just about anything. She wanted to find a place that would re- use them for some other kid to be proud of receiving, but it seems that option is not as popular. I have seen the coat racks and think they are a very clever way to re-use them.

  5. Where did your daughter find to donate her trophies? We have boxes of them and hate to just throw them away

    1. Hi Alice- I forgot to ad the link in. I just added it to the post. Most places she found do not accept them anymore. The place she found is in MD, called Lamb Awards. You have to write to them first and actually pay a fee so they can get new engravings on the trophies She is still looking for other places, but there doesn’t seem to be many.