The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

The Art of Simplifying, Simplified.

It’s week # 10 in Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing challenge. This week Org Junkie’s topic is “Tips for Cluttered Surfaces.” As always, her tips are fabulous. Go have a look-see when you get a chance.

Cluttered surfaces are definitely a big problem for me. Here’s one of my worst hot spots: the kitchen island. Oy vay!

Kitchen island "hot spot," earlier today.

Kitchen island "hot spot," one month ago.

Kitchen island "hot spot," three years ago.

This spot is truly a black hole. The minute I get it cleared off, people start piling stuff back up on it… like it has a mysterious gravitational pull.

Clearly we need a better system, but that will have to be a project for another week. First I have to do some research, and wouldn’t you know it, Org Junkie has all kinds of ideas for how to create a command center and get your paper piles off the counter! Sweet! I love that woman.

I did spend some time today clearing this spot and going through the mound of paper. Amazing what you can find under all that CRAP!

Ooops! Too bad this was at the BOTTOM of the pile. Looks like Bucket Head is learning to count with Cheerios at preschool.

It’s a miracle we don’t have bugs. Also surprising that Ike (the devil dog) didn’t find that Cheerio art and wolf it down. He was probably too busy noshing in the litter box.

So that is my next mission, creating a command center. A few feet away from that cluttered kitchen island is a built in desk that is also always mounded with CRAP. It would be the perfect place for a command center! Wanna see it? You know you do. Doesn’t looking at all my messiness make you feel SO much better about your own house?

Location of my future Command Center!

Another view... that's Nature Boy on his laptop.

You are welcome; I’m happy to help boost your self esteem at my expense. Stay tuned for the “after” pics when I have my spiffy new Command Center up and running… one of these days.

It’s been a rough week, what with Mardi Gras, and my hangover on Ash Wednesday, and my subsequent alcohol withdrawal because of Lent. But in spite of all that, there is one thing I accomplished this week that I’m dying to share with you.

This week I was inspired by two of my new Internet friends, Martha and Megan.

Martha is one of my separated-at-birth-sisters in the 52 Weeks Challenge. She put up a photo recently in a post about cleaning up her desk in which I noticed not one, but TWO decorative signs extolling the virtues of simplifying.

Oh shite, I thought to myself. I have one of those:

What is this, a Cracker Barrel?

And then I thought about Megan. She is on a quest to simplify her life by getting rid of something from her house everyday for a year. I’ve been stalking her for a week now, and let me tell you, she is fearless. She’s tossing things left and right, and not even horrible things. In other words, she is making some ruthless decisions about what gets to stay and what has to go. It’s a good thing I don’t live in her neighborhood, because I would gladly take most of her cast-offs, they are that good.

But anyhoo, I started eyeballing that “SIMPLIFY” sign and thinking, you know… I don’t really like that thing. I bought it a few years ago thinking it would help to inspire me on my quest for a clutter-free home. It obviously hasn’t helped. And since I don’t love it, it is clutter, and it has got to go! Buh-bye!

Sometimes LESS really is MORE!

Ahhhh. That is so much better! Isn’t it?

You probably have no idea how hard this was for me. We’re talkin’ borderline hoarder here, people. But it is like a switch has suddenly been flipped and I can finally see the light!

So thank you, Org Junkie, for the continued guidance; and thank you, Martha and Megan, for inspiring me to let go of that not-so-simple SIMPLIFY sign. I am hopeful this is just the start of a lifetime of letting go.

with gratitude and optimism,


PS: if you are just joining us and want to get caught up on all of my previous 52 Weeks projects, click here.

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


14 comments on “The Art of Simplifying, Simplified.

  1. Becoming Sarah
    March 11, 2011

    This is one of my favorite blogs in this organizational linky thing. You crack me up every week. I love the island pictures this week – we all have crap magnets. I look forward to seeing your solution and the new command center! Your transparency encourages me to let loose a bit too.

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 11, 2011

      “Crap magnets”… love that! Thanks for taking the time to comment, Sarah! And a great comment too… you made my day!

      Definitely let loose, it is so liberating. Embarrassing, yes, but also very motivating. No pain, no gain, right? Go for it!

  2. GypsyFox
    March 12, 2011

    lovely blog, bearded Iris!! & I too have one of those counters 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 12, 2011

      Awesome! Let’s conquer those crap magnets (my favorite new term courtesy of Becoming Sarah) together, shall we?! I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. Man, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve said that…

  3. Megan
    March 12, 2011

    Awww….thanks for the internet love! I am loving your blog too. Hair straightener and simplify sign in one week, good progress! Bye-Bye Simplify! I bet you won’t miss it.

  4. Martha (MM)
    March 12, 2011

    How cool is that we both gave each other a shout out today?! And I’m going through lent alcohol withdrawal too, LOL – maybe we really were separated at birth! Thanks for them mention. Maybe you should send me your simplifying sign to add to my collection? It would be just like me to have a room covered with those just to confuse visitors!

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 12, 2011

      Great idea! House warming present? Email me your address and I’ll make you a special Bearded Iris gift basket chock full o’ CRAP. I promise I won’t put any of Ike’s creative Poo Sculptures in it.

  5. Laura
    March 12, 2011

    Can you see me doing the happy dance over here for you? Cause I so am!! I love hearing about the light bulb moments…I am so happy for you! And you know what? That area is the perfect spot for a command center…I can’t wait to see what you do with it!!


    • The Bearded Iris
      March 12, 2011

      Thanks Laura! And my husband, and children, and mother, and neighbors thank you too! Oh yes indeedy, the forecast is looking SUNNY and CLEAR over here.

  6. Jellyhead
    March 12, 2011

    Well, I’m inspired to get out of bed (yes, it’s 11 am) and go de clutter my kitchen. Not actually the kitchen, just one little corner of it where the mail, keys, coupons, batteries, chapstick, old phone chargers, candles, pens, binder clips and who knows what else is piled up on top of the actual phone (which I never answer, so that’s OK). I don’t have the nerve to take before and after pictures, so you’ll just have to trust me.

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 12, 2011

      You GO, girl! My mom just called me and said she is going to go clean her laundry room, so hip-hip-hooray for me being a positive influence for once! Who woulda thunk it?

      She also said that she always hated that “SIMPLIFY” sign… thought it was the ultimate oxymoron. Jeez, why didn’t she tell me that sooner?! Oh, like I would have listened, anyway. She’s my favorite expert opinion to ignore and/or rebel against by doing the opposite.

  7. Tami
    March 12, 2011

    As usual you are hilarious. I am really enjoying your posts. Great spot for a command center. I’m sure it is going to be fabulous when you are finished with it. Looking forward to the pics. have a good one.

    Blessings 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris
      March 12, 2011

      Thanks Tami! I really appreciate the encouragement. Now I’ll HAVE to move forward with the command center! Org Junkie… she really knew what she was doing by creating this incredible online community of decluttering cheerleaders. BRILLIANT. Onward and upward!

  8. Kristen K.
    March 14, 2011

    My own secret to decluttering… LL Bean Totes. I fill those bastards UP with my stuff and then hide them in a room that isn’t being used to it’s full potential…with the intention of going through it while watching an episode of “Worlds Dumbest Criminals/Partiers/Brawlers”. I’m thinking of going through one this week… I believe it has Easter cards in it…from last year.

    Onward and Upward…indeed.

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