Remember how I told you that there was no perfect month for me to ever do my 30 Days Without Home Accessories Experiment? I couldn’t have been more right. Instead of enjoying a house in the midst of exhaling I’ve had my head buried in my computer for the last 10 days working on edits for that book I told you about. So I feel like I’m not getting to fully experience our home destuffified.

But, having this extra workload has also let me appreciate the experiment in a different way. It’s been a week of piles of dishes, thrown together dinners and ignoring laundry. And? My house doesn’t look all that bad. It almost looks good. The cleared off surfaces are working their magic. Sure, they hold lists and clip boards and hats my boys just removed from their sweaty heads, but that’s it. And it’s been easy to clean up and looking around my house has been a really pleasant experience.


Here are the perks I’ve noticed in the midst of me hardly having time to notice ANYTHING:

  • my house feels bigger
  • my house feels cleaner
  • it seems more grown up
  • I can see my furniture better, and I like most of it, yippie!
  • I can see my white slipcovered sofa better, and it needs a new slipcover, sadness
  • I miss my pillows

I thought my house would look really different. It looks about 10% different without accessories which surprises me.  Also, my friend Maria came over the other day and she’s been here a million times, like once a week, and as soon as she came in she said my house looked great. I told her it was because I just mopped. But really I think it was because it was open and cleared out without accessories.

More thoughts to come, with photos, if the sun ever comes back out!

Your turn, I’d love to hear your thoughts if you are doing this challenge, it’s been 11 days, how’s it going?

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  1. We moved into our house over a year ago. All of my decorating items are still boxed away and sitting in our basement. Mostly because I’m still not sure what I want to do in each room but part of it is because I love the feel of no “stuff”. People always walk into my house and comment about how clean and nice it feels, even when i havent necessarily cleaned it. I’m not sure how much of the stuff in boxes will end up finding a spot in my home. im pretty sure a lot of it is going out the door.


    1. When my husband walked through the door, it took him a few minutes before he noticed that all the hoo-has were GONE from the kitchen soffits. GONE! He literally was speechless. A rare event indeed.

    2. The kitchen is open to the family room and the whole back of the house now looks more light, airy, serene. Go figure.

    3. All the little treasures that came down are still in the old plastic laundry basket in the dining room. I had friends over for dinner the other night and they didn’t even notice.

    4. We’re planning to pull out the hundreds of nails, spackle like crazy, and re-paint the soffits. I use the word ‘we’ loosely because I know my husband will end up taking care of this.

    5. I still haven’t the faintest idea what I’m going to do with these 105 little treasures. But I LOVE the calmer, white-er, much less cluttered view from the family room..

    6. Almost 600 of you showed up to take a peak along the way, and some left lovely, encouraging comments. And that was just plain FUN!

  3. I loved this idea as soon as I saw it! I am still I the process of packing stuff away little by little, room by room. I am pleased to say that most of it might not come back. If I don’t love it or find it useful, it needs to find a new home.
    I like the clear surfaces and breathing space this gives me. As much as I liked my ‘stuff’, I am finding that I like the emptiness and ‘quiet’ better.

  4. carol jane says:

    I agree. All those little things around my house drive me crazy and just feels like clutter to me. I am working on getting rid of alot of stuff also. I feel very anxious when I walk into a cluttered room. I love some pretty things around, that I love. Just not a lot of LITTLE things.

  5. I’m not doing the challenge, however, I’m in the process of completely clearing out our playroom so I can paint the floors. I was dreading have to drag everything out, but it’s proven to be liberating and fantastic! My goal is to bring only the items we truly love/use back into the room. Can.not.wait to be rid of all the extra STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. It does look great!!!
    I need to do this…i’m positive it will offer a fresh perspective!

  7. I think it’s interesting that you say it looks more grown-up. I am super clueless about decorating so my default is to leave everything accessory-less. I always think it makes my house look unfinished and my-first-apartment-y, so it’s interesting to hear your perspective from the other side.

  8. This must be why my house feels so cluttered when I don’t have time to clean, I still have too many accessories out. I will try cleaning them out a bit and see what difference it makes!

  9. I am a new follower of your blog and this challenge is very interesting to me. I think I may have to try it! I have a friend whose home is very sparsely decorated. Whenever I walk in I look around and it feels so open and clean, and I always want to go home and declutter. Ironically, when my friend comes into MY home she always comments how homey and warm it feels. She always walks around and touches things and says with a sigh that she needs to decorate more! Hahaha. Well, perhaps we both need to meet in the middle. I know I could certainly help her decorate/shop!!! :)

  10. I agree with you Nester! I haven’t missed my stuff as much as I thought, and the house feels more grown-up. Thanks for the challenge!

  11. I need to do this at 50%.. that’s all I can commit to. Taking 1/2 away. Maybe soon. Maybe.

  12. Every time (read, about twice a month) that I really clean my living room, I notice how few accessories we have. The room always looks incomplete, unfinished, and a little cold. I always hear my HGTV heroes talking about accessories being the finishers, the polishers, the things that add warmth and polish to a room. We just don’t have the money for house stuff and we have little kids and I don’t care to see things broken.
    So, my question to you is, do you really see calm, clean, uncluttered, simple rooms? Or do you see stark, cold, uninviting spaces? How do we get there without having too much stuff?

    • I see calm rooms, but, I have rugs and drapes and enough seats and lamps on and blinds open–to me, that’s what can make a room feel warm or sterile. The rooms are far from empty, but the surfaces are gloriously clear!!

      PS, great question!!

    • Actually, I have to say that I find the rooms in the pictures rather stark without accessories :-)
      But in my world, accessories are beautiful things with memories attached, flowers, plants, candels and books, not just “stuff” sitting around gathering dust.

      • yes, compared to the before it for sure can seem stark, there are for sure a few places where I cannot wait to put something back. but, I’m pleasantly surprised that it does still feel homey and warm to me when I’m in the room.

        remember, it’s an experiment, so I don’t think my stuff is random stuff either (no one does) BUT, I feel like maybe I have put great value on TOO many little things, there are a few things I find myself missing much more than others. really looking forward to what I put back in!

        • I guess that it kind of what I do after Christmas – look forward to see the favorites again :-)
          I also have – like you do – seasonal items. Now I have a porcelain bowl with berries around the edge, that only sits on the living room table during summer. In winter it is replaced by a crystal bowl or a porcelain bowl whit gold flecks than can help reflect the little light we get during the winter. And somehow it is like meeting an old friend again, when the other thing(s) are taken out :-)

  13. Thank you for your thoughts everyone! Somehow, living without my accessories makes me a bit nervous, uneasy and a bit anxious. Not because the tchotchkes are gone–that makes me feel calm and focused and deliberate–love that! But because I am worried about how it looks to other people. I feel I have to explain and excuse. Weird. (Do I do this in other areas of my life? Interesting thought.)

    One thing I’ve done is gone out an bought a plant for my hallway “table.” I couldn’t stand to see it bare. I also put flowers on a side table–must have more flowers!

    I cleaned. Thank goodness.

  14. Christie says:

    I think I’m noticing that my house feels just as nice without the extra accessories because I notice beauty in the useful stuff (like jars of food on the pantry shelf). I’m also loving my houseplants which got to stay in the cute vintage flowerpot collection. I notice the flowerpots so much more when they actually hold a plant rather than just dust on a shelf!

  15. We’re are loving our experience so far! Our house definitely feels more open and looks cleaner{which is great!} I really haven’t missed a lot of our stuff which just goes to show me just how unnecessary so much of it is. And that I need to think bigger with accessories if I want to keep that uncluttered look when the month is over.
    Unfortunately, the other clutter, like piles of dishes and laundry, is still around. Our kitchen looks awful but that’s because of the combo of really ugly wallpaper and the process of ripping it out that’s going on in there!

  16. It is nice not having as many accessories. It feels less cramped.

  17. Christie says:

    PS … Love seeing your kitchen!!!

  18. This is so encouraging!

    My small boys are wild monkeys, and while I’d love to have charming stacks of books on the table and cute trays on the chaise, those things apparently scream to my children, “throw it on the floor so we can climb there!” “spill mommy’s drink!” “hit mommy in the head with it!” So there are very few accessories in our home at present.

    But sometimes when I look at magazine photos or Pinterest ideas, I see all the accessories and think I might be missing something. It’s great to hear you love your house as much without so many trinkets. Thanks!

  19. I love that you’re doing this! I have very simple tastes, so when I see these gorgeous houses like yours and Ashley’s over at the Handmade Home I feel overwhelmed. Also, we just got the Jesus Calling devotional for my daughter for her birthday and she loves it! Have you ever read the one for adults? I’m thinking about getting it and having it be something we do together :)

    • Brittany … Jesus Calling is a fabulous devotional book … one of the few in my life I’ve stuck with over time. Its readings are so powerfully soothing that I use it at the end of counseling sessions to calm and refocus my clients on what is life-giving and true. I’ve given the book as a gift countless times. And my 6 grandchildren use the 2 devotional books for kids. SUPER!

  20. This is such an awesome idea! I’m not sure I could do it 100%, but definitely 50%!

  21. I’m struggling to keep counters clean. I have been able to keep the hutches and mantle clear of most decor. I have two pictures on my mantle now. I have finished several decoration pieces for the wall. If anything tucking away my accessories has helped focus me this month to really looking at what we have and editing out so much visual clutter.

    Over the weekend I finished two projects (a wall mirror and a chalkboard) and started an “art wall.” The house just feels ‘perked up.’ Oh PS I also packed away two big bags of little boy toys. They have so much out they don’t play with.

  22. Well, I am not doing the challenge but last winter I changed my decorating style and only have those things that I am in love with…I only put out a few spring things but that will be it until fall. I love the way my home is now…but I did get rid of many things when I went from prim to vintage.

  23. I put everything away in the attic. I went back and pulled out two ginger jars, because I had used them to hide stuff (checkbook, nerf gun darts when the boys are getting too nuts) and I missed having the hiding places. But otherwise, we are still accessory-less and I am quite happy with that. I don’t think any of the stuff I packed away is going to come back out.

    I’d love to read a post with your thoughts on gallery walls and pictures of family. These are my two problems at the moment–I miss having the pictures of the kids up, but having so many looks cluttered. As does the 400 pieces of art on the gallery wall. We moved into a new home last month and all my walls are freshly painted and free of holes, and i can’t decide whether to put up All The Art and pictures of the kids, or leave the walls quiet and blank.

  24. I have to say that our dining nook is one of the clearest, tchochke free spots without any art on the wall or anything, and it’s one of my favorite. It has a tray in the middle of the table with a fern and orchid and a pile of napkins on it, and that’s it. I think if I put a big piece of art over the banquette, that will be ALL it needs. And then maybe I can declutter the other rooms one by one :)

  25. I’m thinking this would be good for us for many reasons: opening up space in our small apartment, cleaning, and pre-packing for our big move to Texas! Love your idea and blog!

  26. It’s amazing how so few accessories can actually make as much of an impact as lots of accessories. I personally keep things simple, for budget, space and laziness reasons. But I do love a house full of accessories that tell a story, I’d just rather it wasn’t mine so I don’t have to clean it ;).

  27. This to me is a great idea. I think it makes you concentrate on keeping what’s important, such as treasured items, photos, etc. I might be brave and try it!

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