Thursday, August 4, 2011


An interesting transformation has occurred over the past decade:  the magazine photos and books I am drawn to--detailing rooms that I admire--have changed.  

It's a subtle change, but I realize that the rooms that once wow-ed me contain too much busyness and I no longer admire them.  

Too many books, carpets, pieces of furniture, paintings on the wall, and objets d'art cluttering up every surface.  It's visually chaotic.  

This book was a favorite:

And when I opened it up again yesterday, I quickly closed it and chose another book from my shelf.

And just a few years ago I admired that look of organized, neatly arranged abundance.

Why the transformation?  I believe that the busier a person becomes, the less she wants visual chaos around her.   And as my life has increased in responsibilities, I realize I crave even fewer material things, not more, to care take.

What about you?  Think about how your own life has increased in speed, responsibilities, activities, and things over the past five to ten years.  Perhaps a heavy dose of decluttering might help quiet the visual chaos around you, and provide you a calm, peaceful environment in which you can manage your growing responsibilities with more grace and serenity.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, July 11, 2011


New beginnings are the perfect time to pare down your possessions to the essential.  Moving house is probably THE biggest and easiest time to let go of all that clutter, and to keep the barest of essentials for starting afresh.

Since the average American moves 14 times per lifetime, that gives us all many opportunities to declutter.

Today, I had the privilege of helping my oldest son pack just the essentials for his cross-country move:  he joined the Army and is shipping out for basic training.

Since not every soldier's mother is a pro organizer, the Army gave all the new recruits a packing list for the next few days.  What you see in the photo below are all the essentials with which my son will begin his new life:  a small carry-on bag with a change of slacks, briefs, socks, a couple shirts, his shaving gear, toothbrush and paste, and deodorant.  He also took with him his wallet with ID and bank card, some cash, a plaid flannel for the plane ride which might get cool, and a camouflage hat.  He also carefully zipped his birth certificate inside the bag.  And I threw in a bunch of granola bars, just in case.

If you're feeling wistful as you read this, longing for the freedom to pack a small bag and fly across the country on a Great Adventure, then I say to you, lighten your load!  You don't need all the STUFF you've collected around you to live; in fact, all the stuff is hindering your life, slowing you down, and restricting you (yes, YOU!) from all the adventures you dream about experiencing "someday."  Get rid of all the junk, and go live your dreams!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


All material things, whether homes, cars, garbage disposals, lamps, or shoes, eventually need to be repaired and/or (at some point in time) need to be replaced.  

Sure, museums have specially-trained staff to help preserve documents, furnishings, and other artifacts, but those items are not USED, simply admired from a distance either behind glass or roped off with thick velvet cords and little signs saying "Do Not Touch." 

But in our lives, we actually use our possessions, not admire them from a distance.  So it's a good idea, then, to begin looking at your things as ultimately replaceable, and to decide whether or not some item, when its useful-to-you life is over, is actually worth replacing.

The great secret is that most of the things the average person owns are not worth replacing.

Possessions often hinder our living vibrantly and fully, simply because there are too many things around us that steal our time and attention away from doing what we most want to do with our lives.  We slog through our days burdened by too much, and all of it in the process of either deteriorating through age and exposure to air, dust, bugs, humidity, etc., or through actual use.

When you come across the next breaking/broken item in your life, think about whether or not you really want to replace it.  You just might surprise yourself and say, "No! Out it goes, and I don't want another one.  I choose open space and a bright, clean, vibrant future!"