Outer Order Leads to Inner Calm

by Katy on November 9, 2015 · 11 comments

Gretchen Rubin on Oprah show

Although I occasionally write about minimalism, it’s not my goal. I like to be surrounded by personal and meaningful possessions and actually feel uncomfortable in homes that are too spare. I like to think that I strive for the happy medium between stark minimalism and full-on hoarding.

I like my belongings to be extremely organized. I abhor wasting time looking for stuff, but have gotten to a point where this rarely happens. I guess you could say that I’m going for not too much stuff, very well organized. Plus, no clutter!

Another person who is very deliberate about the clutter in her home is The Happiness Project’s Gretchen Rubin. She has a turn of phrase that sums things up well, which is:

Outer order leads to inner calm.

I suppose there are people who function well in a disorganized space, but I’m not one of them. Can’t. Focus. Too. Much. Stuff!

Why is this on my mind? Because Gretchen was interviewed on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday last night! And I gotta give her props, as she did an amazing job looking relaxed and articulating her main points on happiness and habits.

Gretchen was a huge help to me when I was on The Today Show back in 2012, as I was having a hard time not falling into a pit of nerves and anxiety. She and I had dinner the night before, and she explained that the people on The Today Show got to this point in their careers because they’re the best at what they do. Especially since I’d just received a phone call that the show was adding another guest to my segment.

What, why?! Am I too boring for a stand alone interview?! Are they setting me up?!

She helped me find my inner calm. See? Relaxed.

Katy Wolk-Stanley & Gretchen Rubin

I’m very happy for Ms. Rubin, and I’m now suddenly motivated to sort through that stack of mail in my dining room.

Ohmm . . . .

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer November 9, 2015 at 10:30 am

Sometimes being frugal makes it tough to purge stuff. For instance I tend to have what I will call” little piles” of stuff that I keep on hand in case I need them for a craft, repair, etc. I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder but I do have quiet a lot of those little piles. I really do use lots of the things that I hang on too, though.


Dale Emanuel November 9, 2015 at 10:36 am

You are just plain wonderful, Katy. Please know you too have a Zen. Without it those who need your medical care would leave empty. And when you write – its with grace and with out judgment. You may feel like landing in the digital world of Clark Howard is a home run. Your fans would content his company is very smart to have you onboard.


Katy November 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Thank you, you are so sweet!


Tammy Brackett November 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Katy, you always uplift me and give me hope! I’m sorting through the garage…Boyfriend’s domain. Scouring and sorting and SELLING stuff we no longer have any use for. This weekend I made a whopping $40 selling STUFF. You always inspire me, you make me laugh and I love you and this very encouraging community!
PS- No heat in the house but I am hunkered down in the kitchen cooking a pot o’ beans for warmth while I am working!


Katy November 9, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Crap out of the house, money in!


Mariana Cisowska November 9, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Yes, yes. I have a big pile of stuff on my desk ready to be posted on EBay.
The pile = Christmas Vacation Fund.


Lucy November 10, 2015 at 5:32 am

You have insoired me to make this my mantra!


Ann November 9, 2015 at 12:56 pm

When I was working as an accountant in a large office, I used to organize, organize, organize in an effort to reduce the amount of “visual chaos” in my office. Especially in my line of sight. If I could identify folders and binders at a glance, that helped, too.


Linda M November 9, 2015 at 3:20 pm

I like the Swedish word lagom….loosely translated as “just the right amount’….not too much….not too little….just right! Sounds like Goldilocks….but appeals to me. With that said….I have a long, long way to go….and have came a long way! Hey, life is a journey:) And, Katy…..you have been so motivating and uplifting for me…thank you so much, girl!


Amy November 9, 2015 at 9:55 pm

I have and have read more than once – Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project”. I like it a lot! (Obviously…)

I also have Julie Morgenstern’s book “Organizing from the Inside Out”. I like this one too – but for a different reason. Ms. Morgenstern may be the only organizing author that lets you keep your stuff. She walks you through several (like 9) different personality types and lets you be whichever one(s) you recognize as yourself. She still wants you to be organized, but if you are a “Stuff” person, she does not require you to “minimalize” – it just ain’t gonna happen, and she’s smart enough to know it.


JD November 10, 2015 at 6:27 am

Like Katy, I like stuff, but not too much stuff. The old Fenton glass bowl on my bookshelf reminds me of my grandmother who owned it; the Depression Glass plates mounted in the kitchen bring his grandmother to my husband’s mind.
That said, I hate clutter, and can’t seem to function when I have clutter surrounding me. I can’t cook if the sink is full of dishes and excess items sit on the countertop, such as groceries needing to be put away. I have to clear it out, first, even if it means we eat late. Clutter causes me to lose focus and waste time and energy. It also makes me irritable.
I have a Mon-Fri. job but I just can’t make myself do projects or take a trip on the weekend if the house isn’t cleaned first. I can’t clean if it isn’t picked up first. I can’t pick up if I have no places to put the stuff to be picked up. Therefore — organization is key for me to ever be able to relax and do fun things. I am strongly motivated to find ways to organize!


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