Tidy is good.

I went to a lovely open house event recently. The house was was perfectly decorated and almost zen-like in its overall lack of clutter. There was art on the walls but very few objects on surfaces. What was on display was more interesting because there was not much competing eye candy.

Then I found this article by Penelope Green from the NY Times about Marie Kondo, a 33-year-old professional ‘tidier’. Her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, sounds like a good read.

To quote from the article:

Ms. Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service; and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.

I was in the mood to de-clutter anyway but all of this sent me over the edge. For the last many days I have given away, boxed up, and thrown out extraneous objects that no longer make me happy. Elanor and Jack claimed some things, which was nice. The house feels happier—for sure, I feel happier :-).

Steve is slightly mystified by all of this tidying activity because he was around for the years when I enjoyed acquiring stuff. Thankfully, he’s happy with less clutter. And, in the spirit of being tidy, we are not leaving stuff out on the kitchen counters. The kitchen is his space so this is a team effort. Dishes are washed (not left in the sink) and put up rather than being left to dry on a towel on the counter. The kitchen wasn’t a big mess before, but it’s so very nice now!


In addition to all of the this, I watched the video that was linked to in the NY Times article.

I have vowed to be a better folder. The sock drawers came first:


The closet shelves were next:


Everyday, I’m refolding a little bit more, and it feels so very good! We can’t control much in our lives, but being tidy gives me a sense of control, and orderliness, that calms my spirit.

17 thoughts on “Tidy is good.

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it calms your spirit. Too much ‘stuff’, whether it’s in our living space or in the attic, somehow creates a little bit of chaos. And who wants more chaos in their lives? How much ‘stuff’ produces that feeling differs from person to person, I think. :o)


  2. I’m wondering if this has to do with getting older. For the last several years I have been wanting less and less. We downsized and moved several years ago so there was a big clean-out there and I haven’t replaced very much. Don’t miss any of it. And now my criteria for buying almost anything is: do I need this? Fabric excepted of course……..


  3. One thing I learned is to place towels folded edge showing. This allows removal of a towel, even in the middle of the stack, without disrupting the others. It has helped me many times to prevent every towel from tumbling out of the shelf.


  4. Yes, putting things away after you have used them is actually the best way to reduce clutter. I have also found that purging every 30-60 days helps. I go through closets, drawers, etc. about once a month a find things that are ready to move out and on. Like you, I feel good reducing the clutter in my house. Sometimes things just need to find a new home and there is always someone or somewhere that they can be of use. Penny


  5. i really enjoyed this post and needed it. After moving from over 1900 sq ft, to 500 sq ft, with very little storage, it is easy to be cluttered. Especially as I love to sew/quilt/knit/crochet/embroider and must do it in the living room. I love the look of your kitchen. You have inspired me.


    • 500 sq ft… that sounds both wonderful and frightening. I have 1725… I know I could live without some of it, even though we do use all of our spaces, just not all the time every day. I hope you live in a climate where you can utilize a lovely patio.


  6. This is a really timely article. Thanks for the reminder of how much better it feels, and how much easier to find things, when we de-clutter. Now to just begin…:-)


  7. It must be something in the air because I was struck by the same yen to declutter for the past couple of months. Mine is going slower, but everyday something goes out in the trash, into a bag for Salvation Army or something gets better able to be found. Thanks for the article. I’m going to look for the book.


  8. I tackled my sock drawers (yes plural…one for white athletic socks for sneaker wearing, one for colors) a few months ago. What does a Florida girl who lives in flip flops and only owns 3 pairs of closed toed shoes need with OVER 100 pairs of socks? I dont know either. I got rid of more than half….it felt so good. I dont fold or roll them. I stick one sock inside of its mate and then line them up….so you always grab a pair. I need to get a handle on other clutter, but it is so overwhelming!


  9. Oh, you hit my sore spot! I’m hopeless with this kind of stuff but I am inspired by the posts here. Your place looks awesome! A little a day. If only I can get myself to do that… I have a big problem with paper. Somehow I hate to let it go. I moved 2 years ago and already my bigger space is overly cluttered. Sigh. I donated/disposed of tons of stuff but it seems like there are still tons around. I read all the tips; I know what to do; I just don’t do it. How do we fix THAT? LOL…


  10. We also went to an open house which had been professionally decorated. The only clutter was the accessories. The feeling that came to me was that it was relaxing as there was not stuff laying around which would require someone to do something with (work). Sometimes less is more.


  11. If you read the book, you would know that aside from using the KonMari folding method, you should store your clothes vertically, and not horizontally. You are putting more weight on the clothes on the bottom, which causes wrinkles, and the clothes do not last as long.


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