The Catharsis of Decluttering & Organization

by Katy on June 5, 2013 · 14 comments

Lined baskets

I know a lot of women who de-stress by indulging in spa days and others who find calm through knitting, but I am and forever will be someone who relaxes through decluttering and attractive organization. That’s right folks, my skin is un-exfoliated and my yarn stash is, well . . . I own no yarn.

But there is nothing more freeing than getting extraneous stuff out of my sightline, and to make that which stays be pleasingly stored. A cathartic lifting of the mantle that weighs upon my shoulders.

Ahh . . .

Just yesterday I sold a play structure slide that had been relegated to the rear of the backyard for at least a year. Swept up in the momentum, I donated a bag of gifted Japanese decor and doo-dads to the Japanese elementary school and then swept the house for library materials. My evening was capped off by reorganizing all the small plastic bins that live in my built-in buffet while watching Alias with my son.

Ahh . . .

My compulsion for attractive matching storage is easily supplied from my local thrift shops. Cute glass jars in the kitchen for bulk items and squared baskets with white liners for everywhere else. They’re both extremely common to come across and neutral enough to avoid becoming dated. I’m fully aware that matching storage can be bought all at once, but I avoid the temptations of The Container Store and Storables like a recovering alcoholic from her favorite watering hole.

I’ve noticed that it becomes painful to hold onto items once I’ve decided to part with them. This being true for everything from a pile of branches in the backyard to fussy lamps and unwanted books.

Like Lady MacBeth:

“Out, out damned spot clutter!”

I do not want to give the impression that my house is clean and perfectly organized, as I suffer from the malady of seeing potential in many, many objects. (“Don’t throw away that tiny scrap of vintage map, it’s enough to cover a clothespin!“) But for the most part, objects have logical homes and tidying up is not an endless stream of “Where does this even go?!”

Where was I?

Oh yeah, decluttering is cathartic; and attractive and matching storage is pleasing to the eye and calming.

Much more relaxing than a silly ol’ spa day.

Ahh . . .

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Trisha June 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

It always feels so good to tidy things up! Congrats! We’re about to move across town and I cannot wait to purge! 🙂


Vivian June 5, 2013 at 10:59 am

Love it. Now if I can get my husband to work with me.


kris June 7, 2013 at 5:21 am

Amen to that! His side of the bedroom needs to be purged/organized desperately and I just can’t get him to move on it. One day I suppose.


Maureen June 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

Neighborhood garage sale is scheduled for 6/15. I’m in the process of finding lots of things to put on a $1. table just to get rid of the stuff. Oh I can’t wait. If it doesn’t sell, it’s going straight into the car for Goodwill. I don’t want it around here anymore!

And yes, I can’t wait for the wait to be lifted off my shoulders because we have too much stuff.


sage June 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I’d like a spa day AND an opportunity to declutter and organize!
We had a successful yard sale last weekend. Not everything sold, though. Some will go on Craigslist, but I’m thinking of having a second yard sale. I LOVE finding more stuff to get rid of. My goal is to pare down enough that we don’t need much in the way of (matching) storage. Periodically, I go through a phase of reading stacks of books about organizing and decluttering (super motivating). I gleaned two great pieces of advice: 1) Don’t buy any storage containers until after you’ve purged; 2) It’s OK to get rid of a gift from someone you love. Once it’s yours, you should be able to do with it as you please without feeling guilty. SO freeing!


Marcy June 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm

*This* times a million! When I’ve done a good tidy or clean, I always get this amazing calm feeling look at clean, clear surfaces. I have recently been slack with cleaning the wooden floors in my bedroom, but finally got around to doing so. Now that all the bits and pieces which were cluttering the floor have been removed for cleaning, it’s amazing the thrill of joy I feel everytime I look at those clean, bare floors.


Katy June 5, 2013 at 4:12 pm

That might have to be my goal for next week, as my wooden floors are absolutely filthy.



rosarugosa June 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Love the lined baskets for storage – that looks great!


Kira June 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I love the rich color and texture of your curtains


Katy June 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

There is a streetlamp right in front of our house, so our bedroom curtains are thick dark red velvet.



Sadye June 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm

I too LOVE to declutter, but let me just point out that exfoliating is also getting rid of something you don’t need (dead skin) and can be done on the cheap with an exfoliation glove from Target. Plus, then when you put any lotion on after a shower, it feels extra-good and sort of luxurious (though really it’s not)!


Heidi June 6, 2013 at 4:07 am

We did a major de-clutter before our move last year. It feels amazing. I vowed never again to let things pile up on me. I’ve been taking things out of the house for goodwill or friends as we outgrow them (clothes) and I have a short list of stuff to photo and sell on Kijiji soon. It’s wonderful to not have any extra stuff cluttering up your mind.


Rebecca June 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm

If u ever feel the urge un painted wicker baskets can be easily stained darker and any basket can be spraypainted. Just sayin . . .


Terilyn June 9, 2013 at 3:45 am

It must be a “nurse thing” to be sorted and organized. My daughter in law uses those same types of baskets on shelves to organize everything. It is kind of cute because she organizes our grandbaby’s toys in them and puts them neatly on the shelves. Of course, that lasts about 60 seconds until the blocks are put with the legos, and the dolls go in with the stuffed animals while all the barbies are just tossed on the floor and undressed. Barbie clothes get spread all over the place. Then our daughter in law patiently resorts the toys and puts them back away….. for another 60seconds or so. She the head nurse at the wound clinic , and I guess they organize their personal offices into containers so neatly like that too. But it just doesn’t seem to work too well for a 2 yo. Her laundry area, bathroom, and kitchen look great most of the time until the baby helps her with those too.

Your baskets look so nice. It makes a perfect picture.
Yours looks so nice and neatly arranged.


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