How to Give Your Home a Fresh Start Without Joy-Spark Testing Everything You Own


yearly routine

My house and I are ready for a simpler time.

Starting in the fall I find myself slowly adding in layers of coziness–a few extra pillows, magnolia leaves, an extra candle here and there and there, and by the time January rolls around, my surfaces are overflowing, and I kind of forget what my room truly looks like naked.


January is my favorite time to quiet the house. But I find myself doing a version of this at the beginning of every season.

A hushed, simple space is the best way to give your house a fresh start. Last year I KonMari-ed my way through a few rooms and loved it, but this year, I needed a quick fix.

This is a simple, painless, lazy/smart woman’s way to jump-start the decluttering process–I trick myself into decluttering every year using this fun method!


Everything in your room has a voice. Some voices are louder than others–if you have a bright red mirror its voice is louder than the white candle that sits on your dresser, but both have a voice and take up visual, physical and even emotional space in your room.

Kept unchecked, over time, most of us add things in but never take the time to purposely remove stuff from our house. Quieting your space removes all those voices in a room and the cute decorative stuff that you’ve become house-blind to will need to prove its worth its voice before it comes back in.

how to quiet your space

How to quiet your space (or hush the house) in five simple steps:

1. Pick one room to quiet.

2. Find a temporary holding place to put the stuff that you’ll remove from your room.

3.Remove all the knickknacks/geegaw/little junk/tchotchkes/decorative smalls–if you need a bigger change, remove everything from your walls too–even the drapes!

4. Let your space breathe for at least a few days so you can reconnect with it

5. Only bring back things that you really love, miss and need, don’t fill a space just because it’s empty.


If you’ve never done this before, read on for a little more explanation for each step. Be sure you do this during a time you’ll actually be spending time at home…

1.Pick one room to quiet. Even if you think you’re in a super ambitious mood, I don’t recommend starting with your entire house–start with the room that is annoying you the most, or the room that confuses or overwhelms you. If you get it quieted and want to do another room, then start the next room. I usually quiet our family room and then have enough energy to include the dining room.

2. Choose a holding area–in order for quieting to have any kind of effect other than your kids asking if you are moving, you’ll want to have a place to temporarily store stuff for at least a few days–think of it as a holding area. You’ll want a minimum of two days for a little purge like this to work its magic on you. I’ve stored my stuff under my bed, in a corner in another room, in the basement, on the porch, in boxes stacked in a corner of kitchen–it’s okay if another room is temporarily weird, this is a process that will ultimately kick-start you being able to see your space with fresh eyes–it is SO worth the trouble! As long as you store stuff in a room other than the one you are quieting you are doing it right!

3. Remove your decorative stuff and put it in the holding area--the goal is to have your furniture, lamps you use daily, TV, rug, and drapes in the room and nothing else. No magazines, books, plants, clocks, photos, pillows, throws (but feel free to bring one in if you are cold and need it!) candles, flower arrangements, baskets, or any decorative stuff. I usually remove my wall art too, depending on how much of a fresh start I’m looking for, you can take it as far as you need–remove the drapes if you need to!

4. Let your space breathe. This is my favorite part. The room is quiet, and those voices are hushed, you created room for the voice of the room to be heard. What? I know, I’m talking crazy. But really, sometimes we put so much cute stuff in a room, that we lose sight of how a room works best for our family. This process really does help you see your space with a fresh perspective & will trick you into considering any changes you need to make! Commit to leaving your space quieted for at least 24 hours–48 hours is ideal.

5. Bringing things back in. Now you can slowly start to bring things back in. For most of us, during this period we’ve realized that we need to make some changes in the room–move the furniture around, paint the walls, repair the ceiling, invest in a new sofa–whatever it is you’ve learned–that is progress!

You did it right!

You created an opportunity where you could truly see your space for what it is. You paid attention and now you see some changes you want to make that will help your space work better for your family–that is the entire point of this practice! You did it! Maybe you’ll bring everything back in, maybe you’ll get rid of everything–the important thing is that you made space for evaluation, purpose and change.

family room

Patience and empty surfaces are better than a room filled with stuff that makes you feel sad, stuff you keep out of guilt or stuff you don’t love but feel you are “supposed” to decorate with. Don’t put sad stuff, or stuff you don’t want back into your space.

Usually we declutter because we think we need less stuff, and that’s probably true. But sometimes our stuff is getting in the way of how we use our home and distracts us from the bigger picture. Often, once we address the bigger issues, we find we don’t need as much stuff as we thought–it’s magical and amazing and works every time!

Over the years this practice has led me to make all sorts of great changes in my home. Without all the distractions of cute little things, I can truly “see” my home again and address the real changes I need to make, and it almost always ends up with me painlessly and happily decluttering.

Here’s to a pretty and purposeful home!








  1. I love the tip about letting your house breathe. I think we forget what rooms actually looked like before they had so much STUFF in them. It’s refreshing and eye-opening to pull everything out (can you tell I’ve been decluttering, too? ;)). Love the picture with the kitties. Kittens can always stay! They’ll declutter a room for you, too, by breaking everything, ha!

  2. I always go extreme minimalist for the first week or so of January. Just seems like the right thing to do after a month of glitter on every horizontal surface! Love your tips and will employ them today!


  3. I’d like to buy the ebook for 1,99, but when I click on the link I end up on amazon with the usual prices.

    • Hi Ramona, it should be linked to the kindle deal, you’ll see two boxes on the page, the kindle and hardback version, the kindle one should be highlighted, if not, just click it! xo

      • It’s still priced with 16,08. I wonder if it is because I am outside of the U.S.?

        • OHHHHHHhhhhhh, yep. SO sorry, I didn’t think about that!!

          • Hi Ramona,
            wenn du magst, kannst du mein Hardcover-Exemplar für eine Weile ausleihen. Dann müsstest du nur das Porto zahlen. Bei Interesse antworte mir doch gerne hier und gib mir deine Mail-Adresse, dann melde ich mich dort noch einmal. Das Buch ist wirklich toll, aber ich komme im Moment sowieso nicht dazu, die ganzen Ideen umzusetzen. ;)

            Viele Grüße

            @thenester: FYI: Since Ramona seems to be from Germany like me I just offered her to borrow my hardback version so that she’d only have to pay shipping costs. Your book is amazing and everybody should get a chance to read it!

            All the best from good old Europe!

          • Oh, das wäre großartig! jademond(at) <3 Danke!

          • Anna & Ramona! I love what you are doing–Anna, thanks for your thoughtfulness!


  4. Such good advice! Also, kittens.

  5. I love these tips, and plan to give this a try. My home office is SCREAMING right now, as it’s become the “dumping zone” during the Holidays. As a Realtor, I’m thinking this would also be great info to pass along to my clients too!! I love sharing great ideas i own your book and love it! Have a blessed 2017

  6. Rachel Schindler says

    What if you bought the ebook along time ago, how do you access it?
    Thank you,

  7. Just purchased your book. I am getting ready to sell my home and need to make it ready to show. My home is really lived in. The other day I realized how much I need to do. So many memories and so much things everywhere. Time to revamp. Not have everything out there. I hope this book will give me the push in the right direction.
    Also love your tips on photo taking and will put it to great use in 2017.

  8. Nancy Anderson says

    I know I NEED to do this to my home. But I’m afraid to see things the way they really are. To say it another way, I don’t feel I have the time now to deal with those realities. But thanks so much for keeping this goal in front of me.

  9. Please write a post about how you approached KonMarie. Would love to know. I did my clothes but can not imagine doing the whole house. Scary.

  10. I think this is one of the best ideas I have seen for decluttering your home! If you don’t miss it you know you don’t need it. LOVE IT!

  11. I love this idea! I am going to take down Christmas decorations tomorrow and before putting bCk the regular stuff I am going to keep my rooms clean as you suggest for a few days.

  12. For us in Europe:you can always look at

  13. Love this! And January is just the perfect time to get her done! Thanks for all your “de-crapping” wisdom ;)

  14. Love the kittens! Also, this is a great idea! I’m going to do our bedroom first.

  15. Thank you oh-so-much for this post, Nester! ? Also want to thank you for writing your book. I finally bought it in a little shop in Branson, Missouri last weekend and did I say thank you?! I am gaining courage with every page.?

  16. The kittens in mid-pounce? YES!
    I completely resonate with the need to un-stuff after the holidays (and I’m not just referring to my pants). As we took down the Christmas tree and decorations it was like the house was letting out one big exhale. The open space where the tree lives for the past month is so nice to have back. And this is coming from a gal who LOVES Christmas. Sometimes it’s just time to transition to the next thing and pack it all away to be awed and inspired next year.

  17. I love the idea of this. I tried the KonMari method, but actually got quickly overwhelmed in the book stage (I admit–I have a collection problem). But, I definitely like the idea of tackling a room at a time and quieting them down, letting them speak to me. Our living room just underwent a renovation, so this is the perfect time to start! Thank you for sharing so much!

  18. Such a great time to do this too – as we clear out Christmas.

  19. This is off topic but I’m interested in listening to a podcast by you or one you recommend. I could not find one when I searched. Do you have any?

  20. Thank you! I love the book by Marie Kondo too, but I need a “quick fix” after Christmas. These days I don’t spend as much time at home as I would like, so every second counts! Thank you!

  21. Thank you! I tried your method right away and immediately felt relief and calm in the room I decided to “quiet” My kids and hubby noticed too and said it felt so nice and relaxing and also it felt like it did when we first moved in lol.

  22. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself
    or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to
    know where u got this from. many thanks

  23. That is a very good tip particularly to those
    fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.