Organizing Strategy – Simplify

Cottage Home, Featured, Home-Keeping, Organizing

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Organizing – Simplify-What Does It Mean? 

Have you ever used the phrase, ‘It’s here somewhere?’ Sadly, I use it way too often. In my case, the problem is that I might pick something up, not thinking about it and in the process of doing something else, set it down. Usually, it’s my cell phone. I’ve told Dearest I think I need a cord attached for my phone! But in general, simplification in organization means so many things. It’s a word used often by those who are in the profession of organizing us, businesses etc…and it’s a word often seen on the cover of books. 

To You, What Does Simplify Mean?

One of our favorite movies is ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’. He had the unfortunate habit of drifting off into elaborate daydreams during conversations or when asked a question. Just for a moment though, not too deeply, let’s all be Walter Mitty. Take a moment to imagine and to visualize – what does simplify mean to you?

Definitions and Ideas of Simplification

  • The act of making simple; the act of reducing to simplicity, or to a state not complex.” or “the process of making something simpler or easier to do or understand.”
  • Some see multi-tasking as the reverse of simplification – too much to think about -too much going on.
  • Evaluate what you treasure and be willing to let go – 
  • Making Lifestyle changes – what areas in your life need a change – where are you uncomfortable- in your diet, at work, at home-basically making a change to comfort.
  • Sensory – in your vision, what did you imagine your simplified life to look like, to feel like, and to be like
  • The distraction of clutter and the urge to drastically declutter can cause us to have an all out spree on purging – instead – choose to focus and make conscious decisions on what adds to your life and what takes away from your serenity
  • Structure and lists add to the sense of simplicity – you know what you have, how to use it and where to keep it
  • Know your goal – what do you want you, your home and plan – like they say, ‘plan your work-work your plan’.
  • Define for your self what simplification means – what do you want less of in your life and what do you want more of….
  • Know when collections and objects become ‘stuff’ and get ‘stuffed’.

Being Creative and a Collector – Can I Simplify?

This is a personal question for me. Now that we have some thoughts and definition to simplification -how can I apply it to me? Well, I do so love to collect and I do love to create. To collect – I need places to display and to store. To create – I need the material, the tools and the storage system to contain the bits and pieces that I use to create. So, what do I do?

As for collecting, how much is too much.

There’s a line where collecting becomes hoarding. Hoarding can be when there’s an excess that prevents our ability to function in every day life. I think, for myself, simplification in collecting means that I am now more selective about what I collect. I can see something that I think is beautiful and that I think I’d love to have – but do I really, really want it or need it? I have collections of white Ironstone, teacups, teapots, white dishes, etc…these are things that bring complete joy to my heart. There are other things that ‘I’ve collected’ that I can let go of. When I do, I have more space in my home, mind and heart for that which I truly treasure.


It’s so much fun to reuse, repurpose and to recycle. To reupholster, to make and to create. But, it takes a lot of ‘things’ to do this. At some time these things can really clutter our home. I wish there was a place to ‘donate’ items that are crafty – such as cans, coffee cans, bottles that we’d love to make something out of, but just can’t at the moment – but, someone else might! We have to make detached, clear-eyed decisions about just what we do need to have, to keep to be able to accomplish the crafting we love to do. It’s also important to store in one place; to group like items together. We may find we have more than one bottle of glue, more than one can of spray paint or a half bottle of paint that’s drying out that we can easily obtain – but takes up space. 

A Place for Every Thing and Every Thing in It’s Place

If you read my post on what I learned from the library in organization, you know one of my favorite things is when a book is checked out – there’s a space waiting for it to return. There’s a clear organization system that works! To apply this to home and to simplification – do we really need a junk drawer? Are there things that we just can’t qualify to where it should/could be stored? Can we determine in which room things would ALWAYS be stored? The key to this or keys, I think, is that first determine and create these spaces for specific items and secondly – let all know in your home of these places. One of the obstacles is that all may not appreciate the importance and your efforts to organize. Bring the whole family in on it and let them be inspired by how wonderful for all ‘having a place for every thing and every thing in it’s place’ can be!

Decorating, Supplying and Equipping

In decorating, we oftentimes have several areas to decorate. These include bookcases, side tables, coffee tables, walls and more. Just how much do we put out that is the right balance for simplification.  As for bookshelves here are some tips: 

  • Let there be some ‘white space’. Leave room between books and decorative items
  • Group books together with similar color book covers
  • mix decorative items – draw the eye with color and texture
  • create a sense of balance in displaying decorative items

Supplying – that can apply to have what you need. There are so many articles and books, for instance on what you might need in a wardrobe. I have my clothing separated by season. Then I determine just what I need – and order by item and by color. Streamlining and selecting well made and well cut clothing that can intermix can make it seem that you have a very full wardrobe.

Supplying can also apply to towels and to linens. Determine just how many towels and bed sheet sets you need. Supplying can go to so many areas in your home – to include – toiletries, pantry etc…striking that balance to making sure you have what you need and just enough. You can apply a very royal term here, ‘an heir and a spare’. 


In the kitchen I consider some of my equipment as necessary tools. But, I know that I don’t need every cool gadget that catches my eye. It’s also good to see if you can find tools that can serve multiple uses-try to avoid ‘uni-tools’; if you can. The key here is making sure you have storage space. I love having clear counter space and cabinets or closets for storage of such items.

Lists, Calendars and Routines

I love lists. They help me out so much! I keep several calendars too – I do love the action of pen to paper. Digital calendars that are connected to all your devices can be lifesavers. Routines can also save you time and so much more. It’s good not only to have daily morning, midday and evening routines for home, but also for your business or your blog!

Not One Size Fits All

I know there are some basic principles to clearing, to decluttering and to organization. But, we don’t all fit the same mold! I never really liked that notion, ‘one size fits all’. We have to evaluate our own lives, determine what we want our lives to look like, what brings serenity and joy to our lives and what we need to function in our lives. That’s not a list that fits all – each of us will have something different. Simplicity, however, can be universal. It’s basically where there’s just enough to where we function well, where we’re comfortable with our lives and where we can have just enough to enjoy and be enjoyable!


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