Tidying Up in the New Year

Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on cleaning house, home organization, and letting go…is what is on my heart this very moment. I hope there will be some gold in it for you.

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Hello Lovely Studio. Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on 
cleaning house, home organization, and letting go. Come take a little tour of
 our white, serene, Nordic French, European country inspired home!

Today’s post isn’t going to reduce home organization to 1-2-3 or be a “Change your junk drawer, change your life” ditty. There’s plenty of fluff out there in Pinterestland.

Rather, I will simply set the tone for the conversation gently–because there are enough pressures to do things more efficiently and productively and be a bada$$ in every area of our lives.

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Let’s think about tidying up, but let’s think about working from stillness rather than feverish, caffeinated hype. I’ll write more about working from stillness in a future post because it has changed my life.

I connected with my cousin Jen over the weekend, and she was stoked to show me the home organization strides she already made in this new year.

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It was inspiring to see her progress, sorted piles, and sparkling shelves.

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
Hello Lovely Studio. Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on 
cleaning house, home organization, and letting go. Come take a little tour of
 our white, serene, Nordic French, European country inspired home!

I listened to how Jen’s process of ordering, paring down, casting off, and sprucing up is changing and prospering her. Jen has a very calm spirit, and I admire the way she has an eye on the prize (that fully organized and spare home in her future) without the excess anxiety of getting there. She is working with assurance and gentleness and getting there, step by step.

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
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She highly recommends this title below for jump-starting the tidying up which addresses organization by category. When Jen tackled the cleaning supplies category, she says it was eye-opening to discover how many products lived in her home and in so many different locations.

When my cousin addressed shoe organization, again, she found herself amazed at the sheer volume overflowing from various locations. Half of them went bye-bye, and the balance all have a home and are in clear view (I saw them with my own eyes).

Jen’s motivation to increase her sense of freedom and to enjoy her home in a fresh way was moving and reminded me the time is always ripe to begin!

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Aside: a full-time writer like me is in my head and heart almost all day long. I’m in touch with how body-mind-spirit are balanced or imbalanced on a daily basis. But others need reminding to be intentional and mindful about the relationships between our literal and figurative interiors.

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
Hello Lovely Studio. Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on 
cleaning house, home organization, and letting go. Come take a little tour of
 our white, serene, Nordic French, European country inspired home!

Is it time for you to lean into further exploration as to how your home, objects, and clutter are affecting your lifestyle, functioning, spirit, and health?

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
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A well organized home does not simply serve us better in terms of our time and efficiency (where IS that lint brush!?!). When there is more order at home in drawers, closets, and pantries, there can be a soothing sense of calm since life is stressful enough.

2.38"H x 19.75"D Drawer Organizer
Photo: Wayfair. Drawer Organization
Wayfair Basics Stainless Steel Paper Towel Holder
Photo: Wayfair. Paper Towel Holder
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Chair: FIND HERE. Hello Lovely Studio. Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on 
cleaning house, home organization, and letting go. Come take a little tour of
 our white, serene, Nordic French, European country inspired home!
Rustic Round Dining Table
Round Dining Table:
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The dawn of a new year just feels like a natural time to address our stuff, and I’ll admit to you right here, my issues bubble up whenever I address my stuff.

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See more of our home RIGHT HERE.

Thank goodness I have teachers and mentors in my life to help! My sister Jody (and my parents!) are pros because they are wired differently than me and can offer a fresh perspective.

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
Hello Lovely Studio. Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on 
cleaning house, home organization, and letting go. Come take a little tour of
 our white, serene, Nordic French, European country inspired home!

While I’m highly sensitive with what seems to be an emotional memory attached to every scrap, they see through a different lens to bypass such territory and make steady progress. The mere act of handling papers, jewelry, and collected things can stir up anxiety as so many decisions are required in the tidying. Maybe you can relate.

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
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(It’s not a coincidence I blog so much about peace and serenity…I have to work at it…here’s an incredible find to learn to embrace the imperfect!)

So some of us must push through despite the overwhelm and discomfort. I am living proof that you can be more organized even if the skill does not occur naturally for you!

Whether we’re talking about clinging to material things or the immaterial, so much of life is about choosing what to cling to and what to let go.

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Quaker author and elder Parker Palmer is a spiritual teacher for me who beautifully writes about his evolving perspective and changing priorities as he grows older:

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“Most older folks I know fret about unloading material goods they’ve collected over the years, stuff that was once useful to them but now prevents them from moving freely about their homes. There are precincts in our basement where a small child could get lost for hours.”

I love the idea of removing goods which are obstacles to us moving with more freedom about our homes!

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
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Parker continues, “But the junk I really need to jettison in my old age is psychological junk—such as longtime convictions about what gives my life meaning that no longer serve me well. For example, who will I be when I can no longer do the work that has been a primary source of identity for me for the past half century?”

The psychological junk inevitably surfaces for me as soon as my fingers and attention begin to address the material junk I have collected and stored! I am reminded of why those things brought meaning. I am challenged to re-think their value and relevance to who I have become.

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The author says he has discovered a new question which leads him to a fresh understanding of what it is he should retain and what should be scrapped.

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Palmer says, “I no longer ask, ‘What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to hang on to?’ Instead I ask, “What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to give myself to?”

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Can you sense the powerful ramifications of such an evolving shift in perspective?

What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to give myself to?

He expands upon ideas of fear and abundance.

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
Hello Lovely Studio. Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on 
cleaning house, home organization, and letting go. Come take a little tour of
 our white, serene, Nordic French, European country inspired home!

“The desire to “hang on” comes from a sense of scarcity and fear. The desire to “give myself” comes from a sense of abundance and generosity. That’s the kind of truth I want to wither into.”

While we may not be in extreme hoarding mode, we may still be clinging to material goods at an unhealthy level which mirrors our fear and sense of scarcity and keeps us from greater abundance and peace. Its as if the weight of objects we cling to becomes a sort of gravity for us–except the pull is not trustworthy, and a part of us knows it!

Tidying up in the new year! Hello Lovely Studio.
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Oh the paradox of letting go to step into greater abundance!

Here’s Parker’s latest book:

YOUR TURN. What new freedoms will you receive in this new year?

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
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Colette Dining Chairs, Set of 2. #linen #slipcovered #diningchair
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What will you choose TO GIVE YOURSELF TO in 2019?

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
Hello Lovely Studio. Tidying Up in the New Year…reflections on 
cleaning house, home organization, and letting go. Come take a little tour of
 our white, serene, Nordic French, European country inspired home!

Thank you for bravely exploring your figurative interiors with me as we consider how we might begin to transform in important ways and give of ourselves more fully.

Come take a tour of our peaceful, white, serene, European country inspired home. I'm talking tidying up and letting go today on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #hometour #nordicfrench #europeancountry
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Decluttering Lesson from Marie Kondo

See more of our home RIGHT HERE.

Black Cast Iron Teapot
French Laundry Basket
Rustic French Farmhouse Table
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Teak 3 Leg Stool
Bonjour Pillow
French Linen Upholstered Dining Chair
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Linen Slipcovered Dining Chair, Set of 2
Campaign Style End Table
Louis Upholstered Bench
Oak Laminate Flooring
Knotty Alder Interior Door
Alabaster 30″ Lamp
Louis Ghost Chair
Rustic Wood Candleholders
French Linen Dining Chair Set of 2
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Beachy White Slipcovered Armchair
Antiqued French Lamp
STOCKHOLM Framed Print
PARIS Framed Print
Light Grey Rattan Chair
Tulip Style Modern Round Dining Table
French Industrial Metal Cafe Chair (Set of 2)
White Farmhouse Lantern Pendant Light
Oak Accent Stool
Bridge Kitchen Faucet (Stainless)
Jute ARea Rug
Leather Club Chair
French Linen Sofa
Venetian Etched Mirror (24″ x 36″)
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Polished Carrara Subway Tile
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Magnus Table Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
White Honeycomb Mosaic Tile
Fireclay Farm Sink
Linen Slipcover Dining Chair
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Wicker Patio Chair
Teak Farmhouse Stool

Happily linking with my friends at Thursday Favorite Things!

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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Source: Parker Palmer, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old (Berrett-Koehler Publishers: 2018), 26-27.

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21 Comments

  1. Kathysue
    January 9, 2019 / 9:33 am

    Very thought provoking. I’m in the middle of a huge purge in our garage because we are eliminating a storage unit that contains items We haven’t used in three years. What does that tell you? I love the phrase What do I want to give myself to? Really makes one think. Thank you for this most thoughtful post.

    • michele
      Author
      January 9, 2019 / 10:02 am

      I know you love Marie Kondo, Kathy! Thanks for taking the time to read this. We all have excess, and I don’t think there is one organization prescription for us all, so we have to begin with some soul housekeeping first to determine what’s going on and to set some intentions. What is beautiful is how once we get brave and begin to let go, we start to feel lighter. A harmony begins to hum. For me, it’s never a one and done sort of deal. I have to keep learning and re-learning because I’m still growing! Peace to you, friend.

  2. Karen H.
    January 10, 2019 / 9:42 am

    I agree that the beginning of a new year is a good time to declutter and organize, and that’s what I’ve been doing this week! I’ve read Kondos book and just started watching her new series on Netflix. I choose to embrace some of her technique and let go of other suggestions. I like the idea of taking it slow and knowing that it will never be “perfect”. Good luck on your organization Michele!

    • michele
      Author
      January 10, 2019 / 9:52 am

      Good for you, Karen! I have some piles I now need to address – things I must decide to sell online or donate. I am trying to focus on that great feeling I will have when the piles are gone! I need reminders it will never be perfect because I am prone to idealizing. Thank you for adding to the beauty here. xox

  3. Connie
    January 10, 2019 / 10:11 am

    First off, let me say that images of your home are a very calming and beautifully lovely sight always. I never tire of looking at beautiful light rooms.

    Secondly….about decluttering. Oooh I could write a book myself about it! Everyone (yes me too!) has some degree of clutter. But I think the key to keeping it under control is not waiting till it feels overwhelming but rather have ‘scheduled’ times for continued decluttering. Depending on their degree of comfort with clutter, for some that process is daily or weekly. For others it may be once or twice a year. However, what constitutes clutter varies from person to person. Some people live in what I personally would call cluttered and yet it doesn’t bother them one bit and they happily live within their environment. 😉

    I have my own personal take about clutter: I know so, so, so many people who are living lives of constant stress. Always seeming to battle simple illnesses such as colds. Always running late. Always saying “Oh you can come over…just don’t mind the dirt & mess.” I also notice these people tend to live in much more cluttered, messy and yes, dirtier environments. Could it be that their environment contributes to their illnesses, their lack of being on time, constant stress, etc.? I believe it does, though there are many who’d debate that issue. 😉

    Harmony within our environment is when we feel at peace with it. For some too few “things” around them causes stress…they often feel (as some have personally told me), “… like I’m going to spin out into space without all my stuff around me!” Others feel stressed when they have too much around them, some feeling near to the point of claustrophobic. It is such a personal thing.

    Finding our comfort zone, our zen, our sanctuary is indeed one of the secrets to our overall happiness and well-being.

    • michele
      Author
      January 10, 2019 / 10:21 am

      Wow! This so perfectly adds to the beauty of the topic. I’m inspired and will return to your words again since I need to write more on the psychology behind clutter and comfort with material things. Thank you thank you, friend!

      • Connie
        January 11, 2019 / 8:27 am

        Thank you Michele 🙂 I’d love to see some posts on the psychology behind clutter. There is so much to be said about it.

        • michele
          Author
          January 12, 2019 / 12:01 am

          Working on it, friend. 🙂

    • Joanna
      January 10, 2019 / 3:12 pm

      I agree clutter affects the senses. I always feel agitated when I visit a friend who has a very cluttered home. To her, everything is precious in her home. I would love to help her but know it will never happen, as she sees her home as “decorated”, while I see old things, too many pieces and dust.

      I declutter twice a year, maybe more. Every Christmas, I sort through my decor, buy what fits my theme and donate many pieces I no longer display. A new one in, an old one out! Every spring & fall, I sort through my clothes and donate what I no longer want to wear/fit/instyle. January will always find me sorting through my cupboards & drawers. As I get older, my decor is getting whittled down to a few choice pieces. I prefer bigger statement pieces to many littles and those that tell a story of who we are and the life we’ve lead. I’ll never understand a house decorated by Home Goods. Those homes look staged versus lived.

      Your home is beautiful and serene, Michele! That, and your words, convey a calm, beautiful person. I’m happy to have stumbled upon your blog.

      ~Joanna

      • michele
        Author
        January 11, 2019 / 12:50 am

        That topic of decor where everything is precious and hands off would be an interesting one! I think I’m the same way about going for grander statement pieces and feeling annoyed with all the “littles.” Thanks for the encouragement – I enjoy decorating with a light and simple hand!

      • Connie
        January 11, 2019 / 8:22 am

        Oh Joanna….I SO know exactly what you mean! 🙂 I feel the same way every time I visit a couple of my sibling’s homes. Their homes are extremely crowded with so much furniture, pictures, tchotchkes, etc. and their “vintage treasures” that are often just old stuff they can’t get rid of, and all the accompanying dust because they both hate to clean and think a poster that says “My house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy” or “This house is lived in, it’s not for show. If you don’t like the mess you know where to go” or “Messy people live here; get over it!” will be reason enough for their home’s condition. UGH! My father, who also liked a clean and organized home, once asked me to help one of my siblings “get rid of all her crap”. I laughed but then seriously told him “Nope. Can’t be done. She says she needs all this stuff.” Ah well……. 😉

        Like you I too have seasonal decluttering and donating what I don’t need/want/doesn’t fit me or my lifestyle anymore. Honestly the word that describes my feeling when that’s all done is “liberated”. 🙂

        We know there will always be those who live in a more “full” (cluttered?) home and those of us who enjoy more space created by “less” around us. I guess that’s one of those things that makes us individuals and reminds us that we must learn to live together in this beautiful and lovely world.

  4. January 10, 2019 / 12:35 pm

    So beautifully stated Michele! Only you can turn cleaning the closet into a spiritual journey of letting go and opening ourselves to greater gifts from God!! You’re the best!!

    • michele
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 12:51 am

      That is gratifying to hear, Holly. Thank you so much for lifting me up. xox

  5. January 16, 2019 / 10:09 pm

    What a lovely, soothing post. The photos of your house are so beautiful, and it looks so calming and wonderful. Thank you for sharing this at Thursday Favorite Things!

    • michele
      Author
      January 17, 2019 / 3:58 pm

      I’m so flattered, Pam. Thank you so much.

  6. January 17, 2019 / 8:30 am

    Perfect home with everything in it’s place! Stunning home with a calm and cozy feel. Happy New Year, Kippi #kippiathome

    • michele
      Author
      January 17, 2019 / 3:55 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words!

  7. January 17, 2019 / 8:30 am

    You have inspired me! What a motivational and calming post. I just love your home. I have featured this post at Thursday Favorite Things today. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • michele
      Author
      January 17, 2019 / 3:54 pm

      Yay! Thanks so much for the support, Pam. I’m so honored and truly love partying with you ladies whenever I can. Heading over now! 🙂

  8. January 17, 2019 / 9:11 am

    Michele, I am so jealous!! That Spice drawer!! In my dream kitchen, maybe. Featuring you again this week at the TFT party! Wonderful week full of blessings to you.
    Hugs,
    Theresa

    • michele
      Author
      January 17, 2019 / 3:53 pm

      What a blessing to connect with you in blogland, Theresa! I should show you how my spices are “organized” in my pantry — it would make everyone feel superior since they are a disaster! Hahahaha! Thank you for the feature and for hosting so graciously each week. I’ll be over to visit asap!

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