My Un-Tidy Start

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I grew up in a big family, fourth out of five kids. We had dogs, we had cats (seventeen at our highest population!) We all had friends over. My grandmother and great aunt lived with us half the year. It was amazing. It was chaos.

My parents have many great qualities. They are generous and kind to all. They gave us a beautiful childhood. Tidy, they are not. I’d go so far to say they are hoarders. Having so many people and animals around, our house was not only cluttered but dirty despite having a live-in housekeeper.

I was never taught how to clean and organize as a child and this skill eluded me into adulthood. I always craved a clean, sparse space like a hotel room, but I could never quite get there. I’d do marathon organizing days but could never sustain it for more than a few days.

I bought many organizing books over the years and followed the advice given only to fall back into my old ways. I didn’t have high hopes for The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, but bought it right when it came out in 2014.

The book was controversial and there has been backlash against her her, but for me, it changed my life. The KonMari Method was different and here’s why. You must discard every thing in your home that does not spark joy before organizing. Then you figure out where to put everything. Sounds so simple but for me it was revolutionary because all the other programs just showed crafty ways to store and organize the crap I had without discarding first.

I have never relapsed into my old ways. I’ll say that again. I have never relapsed into my old ways! What?

Our shower used to be stuffed with half used products, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, face soaps, loofahs, on and on. Now we have one shampoo, one conditioner, one kind of soap. It makes my heart sing, like being in a hotel! Same with toothpastes, the collection of kid toothbrushes and pastes we used to have. I’d say “which one do you want to use tonight, Strawberry, Frozen or Ninja Turtles?” Screw that. One toothbrush per person. Period.

Almost three years later my closet and drawers are still neat, tidy and sparse! My drawers look like a clothing store and there are spaces between the hangers in my closet. Me! I don’t live alone so I can’t make every decision about what stays and what goes but for the most part my home only contains our most treasured items. We are four people living in an 800 square foot house and it’s just fine.

I was talking to one of my best friends from high school who has a hard time keeping her small space uncluttered with three young children so I offered to help. That conversation launched the idea for my organizing business.

Reduce, reduce, reduce until you’re only surrounded with your favorite things. It will change your life.

I am a total Marie Kondo devotee and was so excited about the method that I traveled to New York City in September to become a Certified KonMari Consultant! Woohoo!

I’m still working with some folks during my training period for a discounted rate. Get in touch at to get on my list. I’d be thrilled to work with you to make your home the sanctuary you deserve. You hear that, Mom?

  • Nelle Niles


    Come on over!! I am NOT a hoarder!

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