Spring Cleaning

I actually started my spring cleaning years ago. We downsized when we moved into this home. Our new space was overflowing with stuff and there wasn't much storage. I justified our overflowing rooms with the thought that eventually we would add on to our tiny cottage. To sum up our story . . . the add-on didn’t happen and the economy tanked.

It took me until this last January to get really serious about our space. Here is an excerpt from a book that really helped me out:

"Be aware that most material items can be replaced, but your time can't. Your time is precious and far more important than your possessions. When you feel hesitant or guilty about letting go of possessions, think how often you waste your time buying, straightening up, and being concerned about possessions that don’t really matter in the bigger scheme of life."

From: Your Home as a Sanctuary by Josephine Collins

This book began to put into perspective what I was feeling about my home. I wasn't enjoying my home. My home was consuming up time that I needed for more important things. I was tired of fussing with my rooms (trying to make them look neat), so I took the plunge and swept through everything we owned. I kept the essentials and the things that were truly precious to us. Things I decided to save, but not display got stored. I limited myself to how much I kept. It basically consists of four pretty storage boxes.

The result, a simple look with room to breathe. Special items we love get highlighted rather than lost in a jumble of stuff.

Cleaning our home is fast and easy now. I don't have to deal with piles (except laundry piles!). Air and light flow through our space. The stress has lifted. The constant need to arrange and rearrange to make it all fit is gone. Now I get to focus on flowers, candles, and creating. The things I stored away become assets for change and creativity. This means I get to fuss because I want to, not because I have to. I have to admit I do like to fuss about a bit to keep things fresh.

If you're interested in Your Home as a Sanctuary, I recommend that you check it out at your local library or bookstore before you purchase it. While I loved this book, there were some ideas I didn’t identify with. Overall, I'm glad I purchased it. It gave me the push I needed to create a clear vision for my home.

The greatest reward from this whole experience was seeing home videos from years ago and comparing them to a recent home video. It was mind boggling how we lived with so much stuff. I'm just sorry it took me so long to do it.

Now, here is a book I whole heartily recommend.

This is a wonderful resource book for French Home Keeping. The photos are beautiful and the wisdom gathered in this book is inspirational! If you're an obsessed Francophile like me, this book is for you.


Berlin Deluxxe said...

I whole heartedly believe that simplicity is the mother of a clear mind...
I am enamored with your desk.

LiLi M. said...

I think you did so right Nancy! The photos of your home are stunning! I know that it is hard to let things go. I'm in the middle of that process. I have inherited way to many things from my parents and besides that I have way too many things of my onw, but I know I just cannot keep it all without driving us crazy. But this is a process. That is why your chosen sentence is a valuabe eye opener for me too. I'll start next week, this weekend we'll have a big party, celebrating my son's 14th birthday. Thanks for inspiration, I will keep you posted (whether you want it or not!).

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

It looks fabulous, Nancy. The best way to live; clutter-free in homespace and in spirit!

I can't wait for June......

Lori said...

Nancy, i love LOVE your philosophy about your home...and keeping only those things that are truly treasured...i really want to do that here...i have too many things...i know that...i just have such a hard time letting go of things...i did do some major de~cluttering of the kitchen a few weeks ago, and i am so much happier with how things look in there...now, i just need to do the rest of the house...some day...LOL...baby steps...

Alicia ~ Time Worn Style said...

oh my goodness, i felt like it was me writing this post!! You are SO right with what you have said here. I have made a very good start in getting rid of all those extra things even though we moved to a larger house, i actually have less now than I did before but still more needs to go. I am going to track down these books for sure. Wonderful post I can really relate to thanks so much hun!

Joanna Thomas said...

Nancy can I come and live there? My goodness that is just gorgeous! And one day I am going to do the same thing I promise! Bravo to you!

LW said...

Beautiful pictures …
That chandelier is breathtaking, the color and style is gorgeous.
I grew up with a lot of stuff, my mom liked to shop and go to tag sales.
She also had a lot of tag sales, thank god because this woman really loved to shop.
I was the duster from the age of six, by eight I had enough and decided then that my home when I grew up
would not be filled but minimal. I really did well until about 10 years ago and before I knew it the stuff came…. I do rotate my things, I don’t care to display all at once but I now find it too time consuming and really have not redone my displays in awhile. It is time for the stuff to go…but it is not happening as fast as I would like….
I am going to add A WELL KEPT HOME to my book list…thank you for sharing.

Have a wonderful weekend,

The Victorian Parlor said...


Let me begin by saying that your photography is remarkable! I found myself oohing and aahing over every picture. To add to that-your home is gorgeous! This is an interesting post for me to read this morning as I am currently spring cleaning (which has taken me several days and I'm not nearly done). We enjoy a true Victorian atmosphere so a lot of fussing goes on in our decor. However, I have begun to sort out things that are not as dear to me (in essence some clutter reduction:). Thank you for this post as it has inspired me and will help me as I continue to spring clean!



Rebecca Ramsey said...

I love your philosophy. It makes me feel more peaceful just thinking about it.
The book looks very interesting. I will check it out.
Happy weekend!

Margaret said...

These books look great. As an urban dweller with a 1 room apartment, I'm a huge believer in keeping things simple. I'm constantly amazed at how much roomier our 1 bedroom apartment (with a baby!) seems in comparison to friends' homes with multiple bedrooms and giant garages stuffed to the brim with extra stuff! (that said, I'm looking forward to the two bedroom ;). Good luck with your newly streamlined living space! Things look lovely!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

...and when the camera is in your hands dear one, there is magic that awaits us all. No one that I know can take an object and turn it into a dream like Nancy. No one.

I love year dear sister, and I await the summer AVEC IMPATIENCE....Anita

Fleur de Bee said...

Hi Nancy! Here's my monthly visit to you haha! Sorry, been busy with school STILL! STUNNING Photos (as always!!) I do not own that book and I MUST so I will have to get it as I am obsessed too! Nothing like cleaning house and even just downsizing. We are going to build a home so we recently moved into a smaller place I had owned. SO HARD to figure out what to do with everything and what to keep out or in storage. I am de-stashing a lot as I hate clutter! Thanks so much for letting me know it's not just me going through this! You always inspire me! xo Molly

Debi said...

Dear Nancy,
Thank you for your post! Clutter seems to be my life at the moment! I do spend so much time reaaranging, trying to decide what to let go of over and over on and on! Sometimes I can't sleep just thinking about needing more space!
Thank you so much for your book recomendations!I am off ot the library today!
Beautiful photos and inspiring as always!

Di Brito said...

Nancy, I just bought both books you mentioned. The photo's you have posted of your home are magnificent. Lovely, ornate, yet simple and perfectly edited, your home is a breath of fresh air.

The purge continues...
Diana from San Francisco