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My Toughest Spark Challenge Yet

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Is it the challenge of eating healthy food according to my caloric and nutritional needs?
No, even though in the past DH has called me “ravenous woman” and “bottomless pit,” I’m managing the tracking quite well.

Is it exercise?
No, I’ve always been active and fit even when overweight. However, I’ve learned it is much easier to STAY active and fit without dragging around extra pounds, especially uphill.

Is it forgiving myself when I slip up?
No, I understand that it takes 3200 EXTRA calories to gain a pound. So even if I ate the entire 1.5 quart container of ice cream, (not likely even for a “ravenous woman”), it would only account for a ½ pound gain. I have no trouble just letting go of my mistakes.

I can do all of the above as long as I check in to Spark each day for my daily dose of motivation. My toughest challenge is one I would rather not be reminded of

It IS this week’s new goal of my 5% challenge team.
“Declutter Week! Time to clean and make room for a healthier lifestyle”

I should clarify that my house is clean. We will not be condemned by the Board of Health, but “House Beautiful” won’t be calling us either.

Why? Because I am a “putter.” If there is an unoccupied horizontal surface, I will PUT something on it. Something I’m sure I will need in the near future and want to have handy or just like looking at.

The challenge explanation continued:
“Excess weight and excess stuff have similarities. Both can creep up on us slowly over time”
OVER TIME? Oh yes, at age 73 I have accumulated a lot of excess stuff. It’s all around me

I was seriously considering just skipping this part of the challenge.
This will be hard for me. I am a creature of habit.
It was Saturday morning – Day 1 of the challenge

Suddenly an unexpected bolt from the blue. There was a blog “Creatures of Habit” which described always reaching for the same coffee cup even though she has many.
I do that too

Here are my favorites (Easter Island, London 2012 Olympics, Prague)

There are LOTS more – lined up on shelves, in cupboards and hanging from beams like this.

Nearly 100 of them. Yes, I counted them

The blog went on – “Is there a routine in your life that could become more healthy, relaxed, and life-giving? Maybe there’s a way to make it a reality”

Yes, there is a way for me to do that. I WILL take on this challenge.
Here is the link to the blog that gave me the extra “kick in the pants” that I needed


Note: I didn’t blog about my acceptance of the challenge until today after I successfully completed Day 4. I now feel confident that I can keep this up through the end of the week. Maybe longer?

I know that the blogger above REALLY hopes I will declutter. She happens to be my daughter, Hayburner1969. If I don’t find the time to “declutter,” eventually it will be her job and I sure don’t want to do that to her.

Also a shout out to Alicia363 whose blog below let me know I was not alone in struggling with this and prompted me to write this morning.


All of the stuff in this closet had been dumped on my bed since last week when the heating guys had to get behind it to replace our heat pump. We have spare bedrooms and no visitors so I just left it there. What a mess.

Yea, it’s done! Who knows how long I could have made excuses without the Spark challenge.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm the daughter who inherited my mother's home filled with her emotionally-loaded items, my maternal grandmother's and my paternal grandmother's. I have no children or heirs to inherit the "stuff," so it's all up to me. Is it any easier? No, no, no. My problem is that for every item I consider, I hear my mother's voice telling me the history of those sugar and creamer sets given to my grandfather for serving as a pall-bearer for such-and-such great uncle, and I feel a part of those lives when I hold them. Does a picture on my laptop have the tangible feel of a grandfather I never met? There's something special about touching this china, purchased by a bereaved family (who most likely couldn't afford it) and handing it to my grandfather at the wake after the burial and funeral. I can, unfortunately, see the angry divorcee, buying a box of breakables at the thrift store, and throwing them one after another at her ex's photo. (And yes, I had a friend who did that.)

    64 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/19/2020 9:23:00 PM
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    71 days ago
    Good for you. I just purchased a larger apartment .Oh no not so I could add more stuff so my grandson and his son could move in with us.
    Yes I decluttered. Now I know I am going to need some of the stuff I gave away !!!! emoticon emoticon
    72 days ago
    But but but...empty flat surfaces beg to have something put on them (at least in my world) - you are not alone - I belong to Fly Lady - A slob comes clean - Declutter 365 (on Facebook) - 40 bags in 40 days (on Facebook) and many more - none of them so far have stopped me from keeping that flat surface empty (but I keep trying)
    72 days ago
    I totally understand about flat surfaces - they are never empty for more than a minute or two. I am trying to learn to minimize it, but yep, I'm a "putter" too. Packing house to move early next year and I am trying to make sure I only take what I really want/need with, but I love my antiques...
    72 days ago
    72 days ago
  • JERICHO1991
    Slowly decluttering my life too so hopefully others don't have to later. Thanks for sharing.
    72 days ago
    Great Blog!!
    I think with what you've written and reading the comments... I am getting motivated. I haven't done anything yet this week with that part of the challenge! emoticon
    72 days ago
    My worst clutter is books. Several years ago my resolution was to read in equal numbers a book from the library, a book from my kindle (there are more than 2K on the kindle,) and a paper book from my own TBR stash, of which there are also more than 2K. And I don't buy books anymore unless I think I'll want to reread it or it is unavailable from the library. As a former bookseller, this is TERRIBLE.
    72 days ago
    Congratulations on making progress with decluttering. That's a big challenge for me also. I recently decluttered (more or less) my garage. Now on to the spare bedroom...
    72 days ago
    I love the mugs and way to go you did it
    72 days ago
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    72 days ago
  • MARTHA324
    Yikes! Decluttering is my Achilles heel! I have sooooo many clothes, shoes, and bags that are just sitting there and taking up space. Why oh why don't I go through them????

    You give me the push I need!

    p.s. re-reading this today and reminded of us cleaning out our lake house. There was A LOT in our attic some from 2000 when we moved in and some from 2005 when I sold my NYC apartment. We got some young guys to move it all down and I ended up throwing almost everything away! Don't miss a thing.
    73 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/12/2020 7:51:25 AM
    Hi! I have been having a tough time organizing and getting rid of things. It is very easy to take it to our local thrift store but we haven't done that yet. I think that you are right better us do some organizing before our kids have to do it. Very wise words. I love your mug collection. I have a hat collection and a tshirt collection from the places we have traveled to and it has been to alot of places. Glad you wrote this blog. Good to know I am not alone in decluttering.
    73 days ago
    That is awesome! I am struggling with this challenge too....so much so that I find myself getting extra exercise time in to avoid the decluttering
    73 days ago
  • no profile photo RACHNACH
    73 days ago
  • DRDIVA28
    emoticon I enjoyed this! Congrats on deciding to tackle the hard stuff and on the progress made! emoticon
    73 days ago
    Congrats on being a featured blog.

    One idea, decide if you want to declutter or aim for a particular level of minimalism/essentialism.

    luttering tends to reverse!
    73 days ago
    I'm not a super good housekeeper, in fact I may be a bit lazy in that regard, but I'm a pretty good declutterer. Every spring and fall when I change over clothes I take a haul to the Goodwill. We live in an old house with 2 closets! We have everything we need in those two closets and a small attic for storage of off season, a wardrobe in the bedroom and a cabinet in the hall for bathroom linens and supplies. Even at that, I'm still often on the prowl for something to get rid of. If my husband can't find something his first query is to see if I have thrown it out~
    73 days ago
    I am like that also. If I cannot see something I need to do I forget about it.
    73 days ago
    DH and I got the declutter bug after having to clear out the home I grew up in. We decided that after filling several dumpsters, we did not want our kids to have to deal with THAT. APplying it to my mind has been a challenge. emoticon
    73 days ago
    I am proud of you for starting the "declutter" I have not even gotten that far. Mind wise I have been decluttering but physically not. I feel bad for letting my team down in this part of the challenge. Again so happy for you
    73 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
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    73 days ago
  • UPTOIT59
    73 days ago
    This is something I am working on almost every day. I am also working with my 10 year old to get rid of toys she no longer plays with (I promised her a desk for Christmas if we make room for it), We took 5 bags of toys, etc to Goodwill last week!
    73 days ago
    Purging is my strong suit as well as my hubby. When we first moved to our smaller town, it took two years of purging out things that were no longer needed but now each spring or fall cleaning we are able to really just get rid of a few items that need to be past on. The reason it took so long in our moving purge was that before we had a basement to storage a lot of things and we were not sure what we needed now that we were retired compared to working full time. We never were ones to keep stuff which is why we now only have two keepsake bins for the kids to have after we are gone. I love to clear out stuff and purge - eating clean - that is my challenge - LOL emoticon
    73 days ago
  • RHOOK20047
    I know what you mean about clutter. I was in our basement and found that we have over 100 different bed spread sets. Many of which have not been touched in years. I packed my car with over 50 of them. And took them to our church for food pantry day tomorrow and made a pile and said free take one. I am sure the will all be gone tomorrow, and I have recovered a good amount of space in my basement! I am right there with you. Now if I could get my 37 year old son to part with some of his toys that are stored in the basement. That would be a true feat. I told him he will inherit all the junk in the basement.
    73 days ago
    Today is the day
    73 days ago
  • LIS193
    We moved back to Europe over a year ago and shipped “only” 36 boxes (12x18”) of stuff.. the rest was sold, donated or tossed. It was a lot after 30 years in the US! It was very liberating and I don’t miss much of what we left behind... I do admit to adding to our “meager” possessions and have reached the point where I have everything I need and a little extra. Thanks to the lockdown I kept it under control 😄
    73 days ago
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    73 days ago
    73 days ago
    When I retired in August I vowed to declutter our place. I have cleaned all the kitchen cabinets, my dresser, my night stand and will next tackle the Master Closet! The only drawback is that I do tasks inside when the weather is nasty and it has been beautiful, warm and sunny for the last week. emoticon
    73 days ago
    I am a 'putter' too, lol!!
    73 days ago
    I seem to be a "putter" too.............well, not so much me but my husband is always saving junk he
    might need someday.....and papers he writes and articles and dozens of recipes he finds.....find their
    way to my desk....for me to ("look") at............

    So I have started the declutter of my stuff, and am beginning to box up clothes, shoes, and so forth. His
    stuff, will go at a later date...although a lot of it I have pitched without hurting him because he still has not
    missed it....LOL
    73 days ago

    A gal after my own heart.
    I guess there is a whole passel of us.

    73 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    I have been doing this all year long, and I'm still not even close to being done. I have done this before, but like my weight it has gone up again. I truly do understand the constant battle with decluttering. I tend to accumulate paper and magazines. I just sat down today and got rid of about 10 lbs of magazines, junk mail, and catalogs.

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    73 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4114015
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    74 days ago
  • ALICIA363
    That closet looks beautiful!
    74 days ago
    Great blog! By the way, the coffee cup I always go for is the Carnegie Hall one.
    74 days ago
    emoticon i need too do and make less
    74 days ago
    oh do I relate to this. I mentioned you in my blog today. It's hard getting rid of the mugs. I even use different ones for nightly tea...YIKES. Good for you for getting it done!
    74 days ago
    We are moving to a smaller house next to ur daughter’s house. Downsizing is hard. I am not sure of what I will want to keep.

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    74 days ago
    I am currently working on decluttering/downsizing my computer/sewing room. For me it is a long process because I am going through everything before I throw anything away but I HAVE thrown some things away so I am making progress.

    74 days ago
  • LINDA!
    Wow, this is a great step for you. I am also in the challenge. It isn't easy. But it really does feel good to accomplish these tasks.
    74 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Great blog, good food for thought, good ideas to purge, donate, throw and eliminate. I am doing my best not to bring new stuff home and to recycle and donate other things that are just dust collectors. Great job on pushing through the challenge. It truly isn't as easy as one would think to get rid of things you "might" need some day!
    74 days ago
    I wish it was easier for me to change from a “putter” to a “putter away”.
    74 days ago
    What a beautifully tidy closet!!

    I have never been very domestically inclined. We cleaned out a lot of clutter at our house with our 2019 reno -- 3 large dumpsters worth of it!! And truthfully, the house is so much more pleasurable to live in . . .
    74 days ago
    Good for you to finish your closet!.

    I've asked my daughters if they'd consider enjoying any of the the things I have collected. The negative answers point me to the direction I need to take and unload them in the future. I've emptied several parent's homes and don't want to burden them in the same way.
    74 days ago
    We sold everything last fall and traveled in our motor home for a year. Found a tiny house and we are keeping it simple. Surprisingly the things I miss the most aren't the things I thought I would. I miss the personalized ornaments I bought my kids each Christmas. They accidentally got sold on our auction. They are only special to us. And weirdly I miss my casserole style crockpot. Not the glassware collection or china I loved or the cookie jar that was a wedding gift or the Terry Redlin and Dave Barnhouse prints and all the antiques my husband refinished. Just a crockpot and a few ornaments. We live in a tiny home and love it. So simple and so easy. Sold the motorhome and bought a camper that sits in a spot permanently. Much easier to travel in our mini van than the motorhome, but I would not trade those days for the world. Keep it simple. It is so less stressful.
    74 days ago
    One of my downfalls too and I work on it but become exhausted with it. This would help me so much to follow through with is. Why keep things I will never use?
    74 days ago
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