Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life

Decorating to Declutter: Creating an Organized and Beautiful Space


I’m excited to share this guest post from Angie at The Creative Mama with you. Angie and I are lot alike in our quest for organized and simple homes, but there’s one big difference between us – Angie’s ability to make anything beautiful. I’ve shared before that my focus is almost always on function, with the form – or style – being little more than an afterthought, and I asked Angie to share about how she blends beauty and organization in her home.

Whether you’re participating in the Spring Cleaning Party over the next two weeks or not, I hope Angie’s ideas will help you incorporate little touches of beauty in your home even as we focus on decluttering, organizing and cleaning!

I’ve always been a crafter at heart. As far back as I can remember, I have been collecting goodies for future projects, or little tidbits that I just knew I’d need one day. This collection followed me to marriage and soon caught up with me. I ended up with boxes of what my husband lovingly referred to as “stuff”. The “stuff” to him became my most treasured pieces, and the organizer in me soon realized I needed a better system for my precious items. So became my room.

It Started with a Vision

We were blessed to be living in a home much too big for our little family, and this front room had been through many face lifts in our five years of occupancy. I am unsure why it took me so long to realize the potential it held, but oh how I am glad I did! In no time I had a vision, and true to my compulsive nature, it came to life in just under a week.

There were some definite must haves, but the biggest thing for me was to try making use of items already in our home. Spending as little money as possible became a challenge of sorts and I was determined to succeed! Succeed I did, I came out of this project spending a whopping $60.

The Elements of a Haven

There were five main ideas I knew would be vital to this plan. I wanted an organized space, but I also wanted more. I sought a beautiful retreat, a calming place of rest – I was seeking a haven. Webster’s dictionary describes a haven as: a place offering favorable opportunities or conditions. I knew I must push forward with this mission. The five principles I wanted to pursue were sight, sound, smell, touch, and of course an organized space.

• Sight. Obviously I wanted this area to be visually appealing. My style is a mix of Shabby Chic meets Pottery Barn and I knew just how I wanted to implement this. The few gallons of paint would be where half of my money was spent. I searched high and low for just the right blue and was pleased to see it ended up just as I had envisioned.

Next came the furnishings. The big comfy chair from a yard sale got a good scrub down, and the gorgeous, yet delicate white day bed made for good seating. Some previously distressed pieces acted as wonderful side tables and shelves, and of course the tall white unit would house my many organizational needs. The scheme was soothing, and little lovelies here and there tossed in bits of just enough color. I went against modern art and used images of my family that had been enlarged and mounted on the wall. Being able to walk into the organized space and not notice the “organization” but the calm of the room was what I had hoped for, and was thrilled to accomplish.

• Sound. I loved how big the room was, the hardwood floors gave it a soft echo and music seemed to swirl around just right. Every time I was in the room creating, writing, or editing, my favorite music would play.

• Smell. I am a sucker for a good smelling room. I love entering a space and being gently misted with just enough fragrance to remind me of where I am. A collector of candles, I went with a light coconut, but I do think it’s great to change things up a bit every so often!

• Touch. As with everything else in the room, I wanted to feel as though my space is a comfy one. I sought out an amazing after Christmas sale for my warm and cozy knit throw. It wrapped around me in the chair as I edited pictures; I sat atop it on the hardwood floor while going through my photo boxes of chipboard letters. That blanket is still with me and is a constant reminder of the beauty it helped create.

• The organized space. Of course this is the obvious one, yet I wanted to get creative even with this. I like a really streamlined look, so I made good use of the ten or so empty black photo boxes I had laying around. They housed everything from acrylic paints, to ribbons and sewing tools. Labeled on the outside, these guys were easy to decipher. My favorite fabric scraps were rolled and placed into a round basket, creating a fun little centerpiece of sorts. The tiniest of must-haves were housed in plastic thread storage boxes. Everything had a home and that in itself made the room what it was.

Lessons Learned

Now that we have moved on, and no longer live in the bigger-than us house, I think back to that space and smile. It really was my retreat, but more than that it was my organized retreat. I have taken those same principles with me as I organize current and future pieces of our home. Regardless of where my “stuff” is, as long as it has its place and I feel it’s beautiful, I am happy.

For more ideas on blending beauty and function, be sure to head over to The Creative Mama!

What little touches of beauty have you added around your home to make it a haven? What is one idea from Angie’s list above that you could incorporate today?

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5.5, 4, 2.5 and a baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

3 Responses to “ Decorating to Declutter: Creating an Organized and Beautiful Space ”

  1. [...] I have some fun yummies to share with you, but I’m also over at Organizing Your Way writing about incorporating beauty and creativity while getting organized. Come on over and share [...]

  2. I definitely would not call my home a haven yet, but we’re working on it. Corralling five kids’ worth of stuff is quite the challenge, so we’re all about creative ways to use what we have as well. Hopefully we’ll find a good method soon!

    Tara @ Deal Seeking Mom’s last blog post…Albertsons: Kraft BBQ/EasyMac Moneymaker


  3. Angie is a favorite blogger of mine! I am going to take up that “black photoboxes” idea. Love it! I know exactly where they are going. Thanks Mandi for featuring Angie!

    theadora’s last blog post…Field Trip!


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