Got Vases? A Mini Decluttering Challenge

Jelly Jar Daisies at Happy Simple Living blog

I love fresh flowers on the table here at the urban homestead, and more often than not I’ll just pick a few posies and loosely arrange them in a jelly jar to brighten the table.

So the other day as I was trying to find something in the jam-packed laundry room cabinet, I suddenly saw my overflowing vase collection with new, critical eyes. Do we really need quite so many containers to hold flowers, I wondered?

Crowded cabinet at Happy Simple Living blog

To face the question truthfully I removed every vase from the depths of the cabinet and arranged them on the kitchen table, where I was somewhat astonished to discover 25 vessels.

Vase collection at Happy Simple Living blog

Faced with the vases, I was also confronted with the two opposing sides of my domestic personality. The happy simple living side of me is, most of the time, truly content to whittle down possessions, enjoy orderly spaces and keep just a few things that I really love.

But the Martha Stewart side of me loves having many, many choices of domestic goods in every color, size and shape. 25 vases? Sure, in case I want to get creative and make pretty arrangements: a red vase for Christmas and Valentine’s Day, a tiny bud vase for little flowers, a pale green vase for January days that need a dash of spring color, a large vase for those times when men arrive bearing unexpected bouquets (hmm, why is that one so dusty?), a curvy bulb vase in case I want to force hyacinth bulbs (even though I haven’t been thusly motivated in ten years), and so on, and so on….

Vase collection at Happy Simple Living blog

Twenty-five vases is too many, though, so I steeled myself and ignored my inner Martha. To thin the collection, I eliminated the duplicates, waved goodbye to the plain cheapies, and let go of the ones I never use. (I kept one large model for those unexpected bouquets, because hey, a girl’s got to be prepared.)

To some minimalists this might not seem extraordinary, but I did get rid of almost half of the collection. Thirteen vases made the final cut:

Small vase collection at Happy Simple Living blog

It only took fifteen minutes to send a dozen vases to the curb, which is a figure of speech because I actually drove to the box to the ARC drop-off center and handed it over immediately before the clever little voice of She-Who-Likes-To-Have-Infinite-Vase-Choices could dissuade my resolve.

The best part of all? When I put the remaining vases away, our laundry room cabinet had room—glorious, spacious breathing room.

Cleaner cabinet at Happy Simple Living blog

Vases, like candles and baskets, seem to multiply faster than rabbits here at the urban homestead, until they threaten to take over an entire room.

How about you? Could your vase collection use a little weeding out? Would you like to tackle the task this week, perhaps? If you do, be sure to let us know what you keep and how many vases you let go.

Sending you big, overflowing bouquets of happy simple living vibes today,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Have you entered to win a free hardback copy of the new book Good Clean Food?

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

10 comments to Got Vases? A Mini Decluttering Challenge

  • Good job on pairing down the vases. I don’t have a huge amount of vases (yet, my GF just moved in so I see them coming very quickly lol) But I do have a huge amount of random cups and glasses. I need to sort those out and get rid of a bunch.

  • Fred

    The flowers is all I care about they are beautiful

  • When I went through my last apartment I got rid of all but 2 vases, then after seeing I never used them, pulling out jelly jars and other glass jars I save and use for storing foods in I donated the last two. Love the open space you found after clearing out the cabinet.

  • Jill

    I had to smile at your “Inner Martha” wording because that’s exactly what I call my inner domestic diva. Unfortunately, between two kids, a full time job and a husband that needs lots of alone time to be happy, she doesn’t get to come out and play very often. But she did help me figure out what to do with some lovely vases I have but never use – fill them with sea shells and put them on display. Now I get to look at two lovely things every day.

  • That’s a lot of vases – can you send some over? Some of them are really nice. We never seem to have suitable containers for the rare flowers…..:-(

  • Oh I love that orange ball one, glad you kept that! vases are one of the things I am very bad about collecting. I really need to cull mine I think as I don’t have flowers inside much anymore. I prefer to open the windows and look out at the garden.

  • Carolyn

    Alas, my Martha-wannabe genes greatly outnumber any minimalist genes, BUT, I love those little budvases – I keep a stash (buy cheapos at garage sales) so that I can bring a little bouquet from my garden to ailing friends…a practice I hope long to continue.

  • Just started reading your blog, love it. I have one big vase, for unexpected bouquets hehe, and jam jars which get renewed with every jar of jam. Mainly because I’ve not many fresh flowers to choose from unless I pay a fortune 🙁

  • Weeded our out when we moved 2 years ago. Actually, can’t use them anyhow. Our cats eat the indoor flowers 🙂

  • Joyce

    This is the perfect post for me to comment on. I used to have this many vases but no longer. I have a couple large flower gardens and give bouquets when I visit friends. Now just the other day I was planning on a Goodwill trip to get a couple vases as I now only have 3….a bud vase, a large one, and a medium one. None left to give away.

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