On Editing

I used to never edit.  I’d only add, rarely subtract.  And now I’ve learned it’s one of the secrets to a good room.  I like to ask myself, what’s the least amount of stuff I can have in a room and it still look like home, be useful and beautiful?  That amount of stuff is different for me than it will be for you but it’s a good challenge.

I try to quiet my house a few times a year.  Just gather up every tchotchke, small, geegaw, little junk and pile it all someplace out of the room where it can sit for a day or two.

cozy minimalist

Sometimes I remove the lamps, sometimes I don’t.  But you want to give your room a day or so to breathe.  I was shocked at how full our room was without any little junk.  The gallery wall adds so much to the room that we hardly need anything else.

edit your space

About 90% of that stuff ended back in the room.  That doesn’t mean the exercise was a failure, it just means that I’m getting better at removing stuff we don’t use as we go.  But I was able to get rid of some books and a quilted blanket we never use and a few little tchotchkes that don’t get the attention they deserve.  I gave the blanket to my mom and I’m hoping to sell some of the other stuff we no longer use.

Half of creating a meaningful, beautiful home is simply taking out what isn’t helping–it’s free, fun and will give immediate results.

“It is vain to do with more what can be done with less”

–William of Occam

Related Posts:

How to Edit a Room (step by step)

More With Less : I Got Rid of Little Junk

Did you quiet your house and realize that you hate all of your main pieces?  Read this:: Sick of Your Stuff? How to Change Everything.


  1. Quieting a room. Now there’s a great expression. I love the quote as well.

  2. Ditto what Suzanne said. Love the quote “quieting a room.” I did that in our living room…it’s a little sparse right now (it’s the room my hubs hangs out in and I’m not sure how to decorate it without using beer cartons or something). But it feels so much better without all the stuff cluttering it up. That doesn’t mean that as I type this there aren’t two little girls in there with Barbies all over the floor, but it’s nice to have breathing space in there. :)

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • I always like it sparser in the summer and a little more full in the fall and winter! And you know, that’s exactly WHY I quiet a room, to make room for the living, the barbies, the books the dog bed, the puzzles!

      • Yes! The summer always feels like there is a bit of breathing room! It is nice to live in less for a few months to get me energized to fluff it up in the fall and winter!

        I love this all! I have learned to quiet my space as well thanks to your inspiration! I started watching my nephew part time this past year and it has been so helpful to realize how we really use our space…specifically with a child in the house. I also like that by quieting a space, in time, when you find the right look or accessories it can be added in time and not feel forced to have the room all put together all the time.

        • Can I also say there is a fine line between quieting a house and having an empty house…like you said the gallery wall and few large pieces still ground the room making it feel full and warm without being overdone. But there is also a chance that the room could feel unfurnished which is not the case for your home at all!

  3. “Quieting a room” is what I have been trying to work on with some success. I still have a hard time letting go of things. Baby steps…

    • trick yourself, I have a little holding closet where I use a shelf to put displaced items, after a few months, if I don’t pull them back out they get moved to the garage where I put them in a box to sell or giveaway

  4. I “quiet rooms” all of the time. I am currently in a “more is more” state of mind after having a more restrained approach to decorating the last few months. In the summertime I love to be surrounded by my collections of shells, coral and starfish. They are literally everywhere in my house right now but they make me smile as I pass from from to room. I have also been adding to my blue and white ginger jar collection and now have a beautiful mass of them on my foyer table. Maybe in the fall I will want less again… then again!

    • sounds LOVELY! And there is no wrong, what I may call “more” you may call “less” the idea is to evaluate, be intentional and purposeful!

  5. Sometimes this is the only way I feel I can truly inventory, clean, rearrange – to completely clear out a room and start again, deciding what’s worth taking up residence in the room and what’s not. Love the “edit” tips. And I love popping over here… your site colors are my master bedroom colors so I always feel at home!

  6. We just did some serious editing in our finished basement. It was starting to turn into the room where all things went to die (you know, things that don’t work in other rooms that just got sent downstairs). It makes a big difference and I don’t miss the stuff that we removed from the room.

    • “where all the things went to die” — that’s a good way of putting it. Bad for the room, but in a way it’s great to have a room like that — a place to quickly stash the stuff we don’t really need. There’s no pressure (we can always take it back), and we get a chance to safely try out what it’s like to live without something. For people who have a hard time parting with things, it’s probably ideal — the gradual goodbye.

  7. Great encouragement! A bit past due here, so thanks. : ) Hey I really love your combo of blues and greens… so fresh & pretty!

  8. QUIET! I think that is the most beautiful word right now…..not alot of that in my life these days!

    • yes, I CRAVE it and finally realized that my house could help foster that–one of the reasons I painted my walls white, just to hush down the room!

  9. When do you get the new sofa?

    • aww, you remembered! I think it’s going to be delievered this week or next. Hope it doesn’t look like a black hole. I’d say I’m nervous, but really I’m not, whatever it turns out I look forward to the challenge of making it work. the moment I get it, I’ll let you know!

  10. Even in the great joy we find in collecting, rearranging, decorating, accumulating, there’s a place in our spirits, calling out for quiet, for space, for minimalizing what we have and taking it down to what we need.

    I’m finding that calling to me more and more, even through my books, kitchen antiques, quilts, seaglass, and endless treasures strewn from here to there.

    Has it all become an albatross? Not quite sure …

  11. http://www.ideasonly.net/1/post/2012/06/home-or-not.html

    Thought you might enjoy reading this post!

  12. Tracey H. says

    So enjoy doing little things like this to a room!! Helps me take deep breaths and reminds me of all I have!! On a complete side note, can I buy what you don’t need anymore:0)? Seriously would love whatever you have!!! Have a great day:0)

  13. Moving will cause you to edit as well. I am currently doing that and did not realize how much stuff I had just sitting around. Also, I’ve noticed something happening in my heart. I don’t have the desire to add more stuff. I want to enjoy what’s there and not create more stuff to my life. Maybe it’s the packing that’s talking but I hope that it’s something that sticks around.

  14. “I try to quiet my house a few times a year.” Yes, ma’am. Thank you for saying that.

  15. I love that Occam quote.
    I discovered that editing trick after I moved. We had so much going on, I didn’t unpack anything but essentials for awhile. First of all, I was amazed at how much I could do without, and how much I didn’t even miss. I’m trying to be intentional about what I add back.

    Even though we gave so much away before we moved, I still have so much I can give away. I feel I’m conscious and careful about accumulating — I can’t imagine how it would be if I weren’t!

  16. I love it when you write about this. I come from a background of compulsive hoarding, where there is NO space. There’s something calming about a decluttered room. Sometimes, I think we have so many treasured things to put on display that NONE of it is treasured any more. It can’t ALL be special, right? But by taking out all that stuff you often have more space to create memories.

  17. It is amazing what we can accumulate!! Even unknowingly! and that little stuff…the worst!! Good for you! Awesome post!

  18. People are so connected to their stuff!!! I’m a little claustrophobic so i can’t have a room full of stuff, plus I hate to dust so there you go.

  19. “Quieting.” Yup.
    Clutter creates such visual noise, doesn’t it?

    (Of course, I know that but I’m a huge offender…)

  20. We just sold a chair from the corner of our living room that had become a very expensive dog bed. No one sat in it because it always had either a dog or a pile of dog hair in it. There was no keeping them out of it. It was their little self established watch tower with a great view of all the happenings on our street. I was planning on finding a leather chair to replace it with (much easier to clean) but we’ve enjoyed how much more open our space is that we’ve never replaced it! Even my husband has commented on how much better he likes it. Now you know it must have been a huge impact for him to even notice!

  21. Did you put that lady head planter thing back into your room? I love that piece! I would love to get one someday, but the ones I’ve seen are pretty expensive.

  22. Your room looks so good. This is a great reminder that most of the times “less is more”. I think a few statement pieces is all you need to make a room shine!

  23. This is such a good post! We are getting ready to move and so (besides getting rid of a lot of stuff at a huge yard sale) I have been packing up all of the non-essentials. You know, the longer we live with it like this the better I like it! I really want to take this lesson with me to the next house and start fresh. Also, people have been shocked by how much stuff we are getting rid of but for me it has been so freeing. There are very few material goods that I am so attached to that I can’t live without. Home is made up of the people that live in the house not by the things we cram into it.

  24. This is great. I’m pretty sure I would never think of this…..thank you for teaching me so much!

  25. Thank u for sharing this with us! We just started photography and this is really helpful! What kind of camera do you use?

  26. We are re-doing our floors on our entire first floor this weekend (I posted about progress today…) and now that all of the furniture and junk/pottery/pretties have been moved, I am going to be totally selective about what I put back. We took down our huge floor to ceiling bookcases that covered an entire 18 foot wall too! I bought all kinds of things to fill it because there were so many darn shelves. Now that it is gone (and we haven’t figured out what we want to do with that wall yet) I have so many things that I think I can pass on…I smell a garage sale coming on. I am on a decluttering kick and really trying to make my home meaningful, too, that is why I named my blog Meaningful Nest. :)

  27. I think Coco Chanel said something like, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Maybe that mentality applies to our homes as well. But I do hope you’re not going to get read of the bust / planter thingy. She’s my fave.

  28. I cant wait to see the new couch either! I loved the old school red toile sectional thought :) can’t wait!

  29. Love this…. “I like to ask myself, what’s the least amount of stuff I can have in a room and it still look like home, be useful and beautiful?”
    So true & such a beautiful place to be… knowing the things in your home don’t define you – but, they do tell a story & they reflect you. Good stuff:) You ever read David Platt’s book, Radical?

  30. Love this… ” I like to ask myself, what’s the least amount of stuff I can have in a room and it still look like home, be useful and beautiful?”
    Such truth & what a beautiful place for your heart to be – editing is a way of allowing us to know that “our stuff” does not define us – but, it does in a way tell our story. Good stuff lady!

  31. Well – thought my first post got deleted!!! Guess NOT! Almost the same thing I typed originally:)

  32. Can’t wait to see the new couch! The room is going to look fabulous!

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