Let’s Simplify.



Sometimes life (and home) is pretty. Sometimes it is not.

The stuff that we draw in. The projects. The potential. The clutter. Are you drowning in it? I am. My office (where I write these posts to you) is part lovely orangeness-and-magic-and-light and part crafty-chaos. The things – they are everywhere.


If I'm honest I would confide that it has gotten a little ugly around here. Formerly serene, orderly, and downright photogenic spaces have become tattered, cluttered, and chaotic.

Our home has unraveled a bit and it's wearing on me.

Inspired by one reader's pledge to get organized in 2012, I have decided to do the same. It's time. I need to breathe some life into simplicity again.

If you remember my burst of simplification last winter you know I take it pretty seriously. But time passes and chaos inevitably returns (at least around here) and we find ourselves with too many napkins and socks and books and toys knickknacks once more.

Let's move it out.

I know an inspiring feng shui consultant who offers these wise words: everything has chi. Every pencil, every paperclip, every thing. Whether it is in your basement or your storage space or your dresser drawer or your mother's house – everything you own has energy.

What's your energy?



If you look through my medicine cabinet my energy is disorder, chaos, and abandonment. If you must know, the same could be assumed if you look in my refrigerator, garage, knitting basket, or linen closet.


Do I choose my energy to be incompletion, chaos, and clutter? Or do I choose my energy to be bright, clear, authentic, and kind? I choose the latter. And the photos above aren't telling that story. (In fact, they're downright scary. I'm surprised I decided to share them with you at all. You would think those sheets aren't even folded. But I swear they are. Or they were…)

Yes. It's time to get to work.

What about you?

Are you ready to experience a transformation? Are you ready to move out of your life everything that is not useful or beautiful or otherwise authentically important to your heart? I certainly am.

Who will join me? I'm formulating a plan and I'd love to fellow travelers on this road to Awesomeville.

Who's in?

44 thoughts on “Let’s Simplify.

  1. KC says:

    I am totally in. I already started last weekend by clean up my garden, my garage, my daughters room and our guest room. Now on to my sewing room, my closet the family room, the car and my space on our family computer.

  2. Amber J says:

    This sounds right along the lines of my recent thoughts. I have been looking around my house and all I see is stuff, in piles, taking up my space that I want to have for living. I cleaned up two boxes from my daughters room a few days ago with at least a couple more to go. Not to mention the rest of the house. The one that scares me the most is my office/craft/storage/guest room. I probably have about ten boxes to get rid of in there. Its exciting and terrifying all at the same time!

  3. Jillian says:

    I’m in! I’ve spent the last few days purging those things that are no longer useful or don’t add beauty and warmth to our space. Your post reminded me that to fully simplify, I need to tackle those easily forgotten spaces and not just the main living areas.

  4. Julie says:

    I’m in!! Its a never ending job!! I have been doing it sporadically all year, but with the end of Christmas and all of the new presents, its time to PURGE!!! It always makes me feel more calm when I get rid of junk!

  5. Em says:

    We had to get rid of a large portion of what we owned when we moved across country to a tiny NYC apartment in October (we don’t even have a linen closet!). The whole experience felt really freeing, like we were throwing off our burdensome belongings. Now, I’m in the final days of my pregnancy and nesting like a mad woman- purging and tidying up all those corners. It feels great, but I’m also striving to find a balance between the clutter-free space and keeping enough to make our space feel warm and inviting and personalized. I’m always looking for a better use of space (especially in our new tiny living space), so I’m excited to see your ideas.

  6. Jessica says:

    I’m in. We just took bags and boxes to Goodwill. When things come in for Christmas, things have to go out too. I would love virtual friends in this journey as well. 🙂

  7. Jenn Of The Roof says:

    I’m totally in, and started a few weeks ago…we’re hoping to secure our “dream property” and start building a house this year, which means selling ours, so I figure I might as well get started with the cleaning and organizing now, so we’re not scrambling at the last minute. Sort of a “if you build it, they will come” scenario – if the house is organized, there is a better chance we might get to fullfill our dream…in a roundabout sort of way!

  8. stephy says:

    Oh Rachel, you have read my mind! This has been heavy on my heart for a while now and it finally feels as though I will have all I need to do justice to our home. So much simmering in my heart and mind on this subject – let’s do this!!! I think the extra support will be energizing!

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    That, in honesty, is half of my motivation, too. Were hoping to move as soon as spring, so less stuff to clutter up our space for showing the house is great, and less to deal with come moving time is also inspiring. Good luck on your wonderful journey!

  10. Heidi-Paul Krueger-Cummings says:

    I am totally in!!!! I would love the extra support as well. Yesterday we did our pantry and all of our spices!!! whew!!! that was a job,but so wonderful when we open our cabniets and pantry!!! It has motivated me to continue on….and I am so pleased of your post at this point in my life as well!! So present!!!

  11. Charmaine says:

    I’m in! I started with my son’s new room this weekend and it felt soooo good to really purge, clean and only move what he needs into his new space–so he HAS space to play. He’s been really enjoying space up there now, it’s so sweet. Have goals to hit other spaces–including the basement. But am slightly be-fuddled with what to do with project supplies. I feel like it’s nice to have a stash, just in case. You know?

  12. Val says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these photos of your imperfect spaces! It’s easy to feel inadequate about our own houses and lives when the images we see online from bloggers we admire look so pretty and perfect all the time. It’s inspiring to know that you struggle with the same things I do, and still manage to create and accomplish so much. Gives me hope. 😉 Simplification is one of my 5 Intentions for 2012, so I’m definitely in. (I discovered your blog via your simple parenting simplification project last winter, btw.)

  13. Cassandra says:

    How timely! I am so with you my sister! I spent my vacation time last week clearing out my basement. 6 SOLID DAYS! And we are still working on it in the evenings. My husband and I have made at least 3 trips a day to the charity shop to drop off loads. No lie. I am embarrassed how much we saved and collected. Bin after bin of books, toys, baby stuff, sports memorabilia (my husband’s Ebay hobby as a single guy), electronics, etc. We are paring down to only what is either necessary or beautiful. This is going to continue until we have every closet organized and cleaned as well.

    You have no idea how different the vibe is in our home after this great purge. Something has completely changed the energy of our place. And now I am able to have my own sewing room as well as a dedicated playroom/library for the children. Mayhem and foolishness begone!!

  14. goodkarma says:

    Our house had gotten quite bad also. I’ve spent the last week and a half simplifying, organizing, and decluttering. And with every small space cleaned and every item tossed in a donation box, I can feel my head becoming less cluttered. I can think straight again. Day by day my house is becoming more peaceful. And I’m not stopping yet.

  15. Karla says:

    I’m always up for simplifying! Just today I went through a bunch of the kids’ clothes, toys, etc. There were some things I was saving “just in case” we have another baby, but I decided we’ll be just fine w/o them even if we do have another.

  16. Nancy says:

    I’m in. Need to find good usable, uncluttered spaces for everyday things like mail, bags, etc. but, hate to spend $ to get new organizing helpers. It has to be done.

  17. Nicola Claassens says:

    Also came across you from your Simplicity Parenting book club – I am in all the way – Is it beautiful and does it have a place? I am inclined to throw the whole house on the the floor – not feed my children who then get grumpy and then I get into a strop about the mess. I think the trick is to pace myself. My whole family have been influenced by Fly Lady – but only one person has read it – so the watered down version I go by is never take on more than 5 min at a time and make a regular commitment of those 5 min – so perhaps once or twice a week – only one shelf – or one draw – and one day it will all be done – and you wont have burnt out your enthusiasm. Ill take this moment to make that commitment to myself!Thank you for the spurring. x

  18. Teri says:

    I LOVE to clean and purge! It is so fun for me to release as a way of inviting in new abundance.

    We also have an impending move across the country to a piece of land with no structures! So, in a few months, I could potentially be living in a tent with 2 young kids!

    We currently live in a very small house, so I’m pretty organized, but it’s all of the farm stuff that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed about. Barn, greenhouse, woodshed, digging up plants, etc. etc. Better get started!

  19. anne says:

    I’m in as well! I’ve been attempting to declutter for about a year now since I started reading about minimalism and simplifying life. There is a great deal gone from our lives, but so much more to go.

  20. Pinkknotes says:

    I’m definitely in! I love to clean, purge and simplify. One of my resolutions this year is to refocus on what we need & love vs. what we have taking up space. There are so many places in our home that are filled to the brim with stuff that I can’t even get to in order to identify it!

  21. Courtney Milford says:

    Reading your post, I felt like you had entered my head and described my life last week! I SO relate to everything you shared—I just accomplished much of this over my holiday break last week. One of my plans for the New Year is just that– to SIMPLIFY (www.barefootedmamas.blogspot.com). I went through every single closet/drawer/nook (ok–a few snuck by for now) and purged everything that didn’t have a purpose/use/or special meaning. We were left with huge piles of donation/sell/toss and it felt so good (mostly after the fact). Now the hard part for me is keeping up with it and not falling back into old habits. I’ve been trying very hard this week to make sure everything gets put back in it’s proper space at the end of the day…it’s not easy! Good luck to everyone trying to live simply. It’s a great goal! P.S. My linen closet looked a lot like yours—I kept two sets of sheets per bed and the rest will be finding new life elsewhere 😉 I was not brave enough to share my bathroom and closet photos- though I too considered it. I found expired products from 2006!!! Yikes!!

  22. Meg says:

    I’m in!! I’m so glad you are doing this. Your honest discussion and before-and-after photos are inspiring and helpful. I’ve been working on this for a while but maintenance is a problem for me. . .

  23. Jennifer says:

    I am in. I have been plagued by illness this past month and all the lying around has made me look at the chaos that has become our life and all I could think about was “AHH WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!!!!” So, now on the mend, we will. With trash bag and donation boxes in hand, I will join you!

  24. soul Journey says:

    no it didint show… I said I’m so in its not funny! because of your post I did my linen cupboard today in spite of it being oh so hot and humid we live down under! looking forward to much more motivation… I love clean and simple!

  25. amy says:

    I’m in too, yay! Love it. I started this process last week with a few boxes of things that never got unpacked from our move this summer. Can’t wait to dig deeper into the stuff and uncover more space. Thanks for the inspiration.

  26. Jenn Of The Roof says:

    Thanks, same to you! I’ve only found your space recently, and marveled at how similar our situations are (I’m a soap maker as well!) I feel like I’m a few years behind where you guys are now, but reading all your stories have been inspirational to say the least!

  27. shayray says:

    I will follow your path to declutter for inspiration. We live in a small home. I like the “everything has you energy idea.” We are wanting to declutter and simplify too. I look forward watching it unfold.

  28. Jeanine Ertl says:

    Love it. I was just attempting to declutter my reader and this has been me for the past few weeks. Glad to see others are getting the new year’s fresh start too. And glad for some reminders and ideas. Cheers!

  29. Shannah says:

    If you ever come back to check these comments, I would love to know about the “yes” border in your room? Are they appliques or painted on? How did you apply them. I just love the idea of a room surrounded by positive energy.


  30. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hi Shannah,

    I purchased the letters online. They are cut from thin plywood. Then I primed them and painted them in a gloss version of the flat wall color behind them. (You could probably just paint them with your wall color and then hit them with a clear gloss top coat.) I stuck them to the wall with a double-sided adhesive designed to hang posters.


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