A Weekend for Nesting During the January Money Diet

Create a beautiful home | Happy Simple Living

Welcome to Day 6 of the January Money Diet. If you’ve just joined us, welcome! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your comments, tips, and stories this week in the comments you’ve been leaving. Be sure to check out Sara’s impressive results in yesterday’s Net Worth post. You’ll also enjoy Amy’s tips about Meal Planning, and EcoCatLady’s practical ideas about Saving Energy.

This weekend’s challenge (should you choose to accept it) is about clearing some space to create a more peaceful, comfortable home.

When we’re at home, we’re usually not tempted to spend money. So the more comfortable and appealing we can make our “nest,” the more settled and content we’ll be.

Along with the inner peace that comes from working and living in a pleasant uncluttered space, organized living means we’ll spend less time looking for lost items and more time enjoying a visually pleasing, harmonious environment.

Some of you may remember when I wrote about clearing a cabinet that held vases and reducing our vast vase collection by half. Empty spaces in a cabinet? Believe me, this was a whole new concept for me. But what used to be a jam-packed source of stress is now a half-empty source of peace.

But What About the Messy Heathens I Live With?

Some of us may have little kids or family members who don’t share our zeal for clearing things out. We may have to focus on just the spaces we can control right now. I’ve been there, and I know it can feel a little discouraging to live in an untidy space. But perhaps you can work on straightening your desk, or organizing your side of the closet, or making space in your dresser drawers, or neatening your shop area in the garage. Try to create a secret place of calm just for you.

A Holy Encounter

Groceries | Happy Simple LivingOnce when my daughter was a toddler and I was working long hours, commuting, and feeling generally overwhelmed, I stopped at the grocery store after work and bought a huge cart of groceries. My daughter was fussing as I loaded the bags in the trunk, and an older woman stopped and smiled at me. “Oh my,” she said. “You’re right in the thick of it, aren’t you?”

I nodded, fighting tears because of her kindness and recognition.

“I was like you once, but now my children are grown and my husband passed away last year.” She held up a single grocery bag. “So it’s just me now.”

We both looked at each other, and I sensed that she would give anything to be back “in the thick of it” as I was.

I think of her sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, and try to be grateful for these jam-packed days. Someday, I know I will look back on my child-raising years as the Good Old Days.

We do the best we can, so let’s be gentle to ourselves during each of life’s seasons.

This Weekend’s Challenge

In the coming days if you’re in the mood, spend a little time decluttering one area. It can be a small or big project, depending on how much time you want to devote to it. You could tidy your bedroom so it feels like an oasis of calm at the end of the day. Or you could get rid of unnecessary papers and clean the kitchen counter until it sparkles. Or spend thirty minutes organizing the medicine cabinet.

You could clean out your refrigerator and wipe down the shelves. Or unclutter the coat closet. Tackle one wall of the garage. Spend the afternoon straightening up the basement. It’s up to you. Just organize one spot, and bask in the satisfaction of a nice, clear space.

For inspiration, you might enjoy Unclutterer and Organized Home.

If you tidy up a space and like the result, we’d love to hear about your project in the Comments section of this page.

And if you’re tired and you just feel like relaxing, by all means do that.

Enjoy the weekend, and we’ll tackle a new challenge together on Monday.


The signature for Eliza Cross

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.

A Weekend for Nesting During the January Money Diet

  • Judy

    I have been working on decluttering my quilting room. There is way too much stuff and it has been causing stress. I am giving away and donating items that have been stored for years. I am about half way completed and can see the light. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Vicki

    Once Christmas was over, I always feel the urge to clean things. Getting rid of unused clothes, kitchen gadgets, you name it, just things you are never going to use or haven’t in quite a while. I have three boxes already for goodwill. When I finally get a room done, it always looks so much better. I think less is best. Less things to dust and take of. I try to spend 15 or 20 minutes after I get home from work, while I still have the energy, going through a cupboard or a shelf. You will be proud of the results, and your home will look so organized and we will find things when we are looking for them. It just makes everyone feel better too.

  • KruidigMeisje

    I roamed in my own littly cubbyhole, where all of a sudden the perfect table for my religious duties appeared in my meditation corner.
    In the attic I found the babyscales I have been weighted on as a baby (got it ages ago from my mother). That, with a cloth I made during a sickbed long ago, and it all fitted perfectly to my corner. So happy and content now!

  • Nonya

    Becoming content with the space I live in without spending (more) money on it is a goal of mine this year. Living in a tiny rental with four (three kids that wreak havoc on a daily basis) other people all with LOTS of hobbies, it can become miserable, very quickly. I’m committed to emptying every room of the house of at least a third of it’s contents this year.

    I’ve tackled three different ‘spots’ in my house since this post. My kitchen stove area was a disgrace. I’d taken to storing some really big pots on one side and simply using the other two elements, and stacking large ungainly flat sheet pans at the back. It needed a clean, and everything was grimy. I tossed a large pan that I never use that was too gross to give away, cleaned up and gave away two more pans, cleaned and put away rarely used pans, and wiped down the whole area. After that, I found myself throwing away a whole other large bag of accumulated crap from my shelves and bench space. And mentally valuating a lot of other things- I think I might go through that room again tomorrow. Ah, the relief of bare surfaces!

    My bedside area is a work in progress, but is SLOWLY becoming a more efficient area. And the pantry items stored in the laundry were sorted, and I found so much stuff! Clearing and shopping at home in one hit.

    My favourite ‘clean up’, though, is finding an old letter-sized accordion file thingy. I cleaned up all the receipts I had already accumulated this month, and put them into the second section of the file. The first now holds some repurposed index cards that have titles such as ‘school expenses’, ‘non essential groceries’, and ‘garden expenses’. Everything is being recorded as I file it, now, with enough sections in the filer to keep receipts and records for six months. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, now, and this way, hopefully I can start seeing where our money really goes, and what needs to be budgeted for more carefully. I’m super pleased that I found everything I need to keep it organised at home, which saved me going and buying something, and that I am on top of it at the start of the year.

    Just several hundred more things to organise, and maybe I will unearth a bit of contentment in this mad house.

  • Betty

    I am a quilter and have several projects going at the same time. One of my projects is a patriotic wall hanging that I started about 2 years ago. I am making it to hang on my front door around the 4th of July. It is nearly finished – all pieced and just needs to be quilted which I will do on the machine and binding around the edge to finish it. I will work on it tomorrow and complete it by the end of January.

  • Meg

    I had a wonderful weekend I cleaned my fridge on Saturday morning cleaned my kitchen counters cooked a large ham I got at a bargain price sliced it up and it’s now in the freezer no ham to buy for the next two months.
    I cleaned my bathroom it’s now sparkling clean.
    The rest of the weekend I did only things I wanted to do I started reading a book I’ve had for ages I watched a film that I have been wanting to see for a long time I went to church .
    It was very wet and cold here on Sunday afternoon but we were nice and toasty warm inside with the stove on.

  • Pam

    I tackled a couple of challenges at once: giving away, decluttering/tidying and shopping in my own home. I have a lot of purses – I admit I have a purse problem. This weekend, I went through all of them, found a few that I had forgotten about that I will now use, and gave away many. The remaining ones are neatly hanging in a closet. Thanks for the call to action to get that done.

  • Betty

    I chose to work on my cluttered library. I am an avid reader which leads me to collect many many books. After sorting through, I discovered that I owned many that I never read and now seemed to be outdated. I kept pulling them off the shelves until I had chosen about 25 and I had only gone over one-half of them. I will donate them to,the thrift store where I volunteer and they will be sold to buy Bibles for missions. The best part is looking at my uncluttred shelves. I would recommend the book “the life-changing magic of tidying up.” That is the book that finally allowed me to declutter my books even unread ones. I will keep working on my library this month intel I finish it. I love the challenges given to this month!

  • Sara

    I teamed up with my boyfriend to do this, we have changed the curtains in my living room and rearranged the paintings to make the place feel like new. I also helped him clear out clutter from his wardrobe so he finally could access his winter coat, that was needed since it was quite a cold weekend. I have also cleared out my bathroom cabinet, to give him some room for his grooming products.

  • margaret Schwartz moravec

    My fridge has been driving me crazy for weeks… It has been stuffed full and smelling bad… And now it’s a lovely functional fridge again!!!

  • Lisa

    Thank you for sharing your ideas and inspiration for the weekend. I shared these ideas with my 17 year old Son in the midst of stressful preparation for his senior exams. We decided to take Saturday off from studies and use this time to declutter his bedroom and work space. I am so proud of his hard work and his ability to let go of material possessions that no longer have meaning or use in his young adult life. The clean surfaces have allowed him to feel more Organised and in control of his revision.

  • Hilary

    Read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up over Christmas and have already started the process – really helping break the habit of amassing ‘stuff’!

  • Deborah

    After a busy week at work, I am planning on cleaning out the bathroom cabinets. I am also going to catch up on my posting to the weeks challenges. Thanks for all the great tips!

  • Susan Trimble

    I spent the afternoon working on our bedroom. It’s not done yet, but looks a lot better. I don’t know why I let it get in this shape.

  • Carol

    I plan to work on a cluttered home office space. It needs to be turned into a guest bedroom/office. I want to spend 30 minutes daily until it’s completed. The inspiration to do this is really appreciated!

  • Kimberly

    I have been working on this since the beginning of the year. I took a 15 minute a day challenge to declutter , but decided I would do 30 minutes daily. Praying I might be able to sell a few things but if not they will be donated. Time to change my life for the better.

  • Susan Trimble

    I plan to work on our bedroom. This is “my space”. Everything is pretty, but it gets so junked up.

  • Amy@MoreTimeThanMoney

    It’s great to hear you found my meal planning tips useful.
    I’m always up for some decluttering – my bedside table is a big clutter magnet so I think I’ll attack that. Thanks for the inspiration.

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