Organized Clutter

This is another little “back-story” I wanted to share with you to give you a bit of insight into my life…and in this case about my love affair with what I like to call organized clutter. It applies specifically to my kitchen…and more generally to our home. I hope it gives you a bit of a snapshot of our life…and hopefully something you might find helpful if you’re like me!

A place for everything…

I love clutter. I admit it. I love all sorts of clutter…books, antiques, kitchen things, husband things, kid things, dog things…ooohhh and my favorite….vintage things…especially old cookbooks! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hoarder. Ok, well, maybe I am…but at least not like the folks on the TV show! I just love my stuff. It’s cozy and familiar and makes our home comfy. Comfy, cozy, and wonderfully cluttered. That’s our home – and our life. And we love it all.

But comfy and cozy can quickly degrade into total out and out mess if you’re not careful. There is a thin line between a lover of stuff and a hoarder. A line that can be easy to cross if you don’t learn the secret. Well, it’s not really a secret. More like an adage. One that you’ve probably heard many times growing up…

“A place for everything and everything in it’s place”

Avoiding “hot spots”

You don’t really have to know where you’re going to put your little treasure when you stumble upon it, but once you get home you better find a place for it. And fast. If you don’t, it’s all too easy for the dining room table to become “its place” and next thing you know – you have one more Fly Lady hot spot to worry about.

Trust me. I know. My dining room has been “home” to more things than I’d like to admit. Yes, there has been the usual fare – a briefcase, a pocketbook, toys, books, newspapers, typical garage sale finds including baskets and assorted main stream nick-nacks. But it has also been home to the less than usual fare…meal worms, an iron clad beetle, a microscope, bug containers, swimsuits (wet!), dog toys, dog treats…even the dog!

Trouble is…finding that “place” – that permanent home for something – isn’t always easy. But over the years and with some wonderful advice from others, I have found that place – that sometimes elusive place –  for stuff…my stuff – with a lot of emphasis on my kitchen stuff, my husband’s stuff and my son’s stuff. Oh, and did I mention the other member of our family…a Texas sized dog named Obi-Wan Kenobi. She has a lot of stuff. Texas sized, big stuff. Big bags of food, big treats, big beds (in every room!), big blankets (king-sized), big toys, and more. And, let me tell you, finding a place for those light sabers was no easy task!

But ultimately everything found a home.  Now to be honest, I must share that everything is not always in its home, but for the most part there is a semblance of order to our home that keeps it running – and humming along – providing that wonderfully comfy, cozy, familiar space we crave.

Rachel and “Carter” come to the rescue

Speaking of living with our stuff without feeling overwhelmed by it, Rachel Meeks at Simple Notebook has a wonderful post about this exact topic. If you haven’t had a chance to visit her sight, I highly recommend it.

Oh…I almost forgot! The picture at the top of this post is of a book by Mary Randolph Carter – who likes to be called “Carter” ( Not me. I’m a different Mary). It’s titled A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of A Misspent Life: How to live creatively with collections, clutter, work, kids, pets, art, etc… and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place. I love this book…and Mary too. She gave me permission to love my clutter without guilt…and better yet…she encouraged me to keep my clutter and find a place (more or less) for all of it! And let me stress…she helps you find a place … Not a perfect place, just a good-enough place. And that’s perfect for me! :-)

In a future post, I’ll tell you more about Carter. And if you’re like me…and you love your clutter…but not living a cluttered life…you’re going to love Carter too!

Do you have trouble finding a place for your stuff or do you have a place for everything and everything is in its place? :-)



2 thoughts on “Organized Clutter

  1. Hi, Mary. Am I ever glad to find you! We certainly are kindred souls! I have been an organized collector ever since I was very young, and arranged shells, pine cones, and pop bottle caps in my childhood room.

    And yes, Mary Randolph Carter is a wonderful friend! What an advocate for the pleasant, nostalgic, slow-lane lifestyle! Twice I have emailed her to show my appreciation, and both times she answered my emails! :)

    I live in Wisconsin. B-r-r-r-r-r! Winter is coming. Meanwhile, you can visit me at and get a glimpse of life in “Slow Lane North”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s