Reducing Stuff

I’m not a modern minimalist. I like books on the shelves, art on the walls, and a knick knack here or there. But, live in one place long enough and stuff accumulates. Your life changes, your taste changes, what you use changes, and yet those things on the shelves stay put. Not only do these objects collect dust and clutter the home, but for me, they also clutter my mind. There’s something freeing about letting things go that one no longer needs. The hard work of life is to do this with the intangibles – prejudices, assumptions, grudges and fears – but it isn’t so hard to do with things. It may sound trite, but when I jettison the stuff that’s physically cluttering my space, it serves to open my mind as well. For example, when I donate a box of books to the library book sale, I feel like there’s room in my brain for new reads.

A few years ago, I had an excuse to purchase a lot of delightful things to use as props for Tillie Lays an Egg. My editor and I discussed future books in the series, and I scoured eBay and flea markets for cheerful chicken tchotchkes. Then my editor was fired and I was handed over to an editor who had no interest in me or my writing. (This happens all too often in publishing.) I was left with boxes of props. I like all of these objects, but they’re weighing me down. They’re part of a project that is now defunct. They need new homes and so I’ve slowly been selling them off on eBay. Yesterday I sold an egg timer for 99¢. It didn’t make me me much money (I believe that I paid more for it when I purchased it) but it made me happy to see it go. Someone is going to enjoy it, and I have more space on my shelves. And in my head.

Yesterday I listed one of my favorite finds – picnic plate holders.



There’s a place for the plate, a cup, and a handle. How useful is that!

picnic plate


Not to mention charming.

chicken head


One person’s clutter is another’s necessity.


The auction listing is on eBay. These plate holders will ship out in a flat rate box, and there’s room in it for more. If one of my HenCam readers wins this auction, I promise to fill the box will other chicken-themed fun objects. Just let me know with a note at checkout! (Sorry, but I only ship to the US.)

Have you jettisoned any clutter recently? How did it make you feel?


  1. I retired, from teaching, at the end of this school year. I have been on a marathon cleaning spree. It is amazing how much can be acquired over the years. A little bit here, a little bit there and soon there’s a lot. I’m the type that makes a big mess when I reorganize, pull everything out, only keep what I can’t live without. The feeling l have when the job is finished is WOW. I love the uplifting, mind clearing feeling of letting things go. I have a big load to go to the Humane Society Thrift Shop. I breathe easier when my house is clutter free. I love your blog. It is the first site I go to each morning. Thank you for such a refreshing look at hen keeping.

  2. Getting rid of things feels amazing and I recently found a book at the library titled “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” that helped me with method and courage. This is a great topic, thanks for posting it.

  3. I just put a bid on these! Couldn’t pass these up. I hate the feel of those thick paper chinet plates, and these will help :)

  4. I read about your broody hen situation. What ever happened to your broody chicken in your article?
    I have THREE broody Cochin hens (serial broody’s apparently) at once and all are in the same nest box in the coop. I’ve tried the dog kennel trick but it did not work. Now our one dog kennel is the night time home to four pullets too old for the brooder as their new coop is being built and simply not available for a broody break box. I’m currently taking the broody’s out of the nest box three times a day to eat/drink/dust/poop. I simply don’t have the secure space to build or place a wire type cage “broody breakers” that people talk about using. I’m not worried about no eggs in this instance. Other than losing weight what can happen to the chicken that is negative to letting serial broody’s work this out on their own? I am not interested in doing the cold water thing….Has everyone ever just let a serial broody stay broody until their hormones naturally change?

    • Timely question – check today’s post (June 29). The reason the dog kennel trick didn’t work is that the hen has to be on wire with air circulating under her in order to reduce her body temp and stop the broodiness. Simply separating doesn’t work. What I’d worry about with your cochins, jammed together, is heat stroke. If they’re your only hens, put the food and water outside and let them brood on the ground.