Lois Hjelmstad

Lois Hjelmstad.com

Compassion and courage for the times you need it.

Who wants a calm, organized home?

Years ago I clipped a small quote from a man named Dr. Moore: There is a certain sanity about a balanced life. A spiritual quality about a well-planned home. A particular security in frugality. And nobility in manual labor–even for children. These are the ways of the good life.

Now I have to admit that during the years I was raising four children (first aged six, four, two, and newborn; then before I knew it, 16, 14, 12, and 10; soon they were…well, you get the idea), it was more difficult to keep our house tidy than it is now. And certainly my desk often looks as if I have opened a window and let a tornado tear through. And I’ve been known to have seventeen file folders scattered on my office floor.

But my well-being depends on orderliness. I find joy in the lemon scent of freshly polished furniture. Knowing where I can find the fingernail scissors or a sharpened pencil steadies my nerves. Clean space and beauty restore my soul.

It seems as if decluttering is a fad right now, but I have lived by these principles for a long time:


Limit your purchases
Picture where you will place an item before you buy it
Toss a garment for each new one you add


I go through every drawer, closet, shelf in our house yearly.
(When I get incapacitated, the tidiness should last five years.)

Everything goes into three stacks: Toss, Keep, and

I make much faster time if I’m not trying to
decide the Undecided right then. Several hours later I
have made so much progress that I am totally motivated
to Toss.

As I sort, I ask:

Have I used this melon-baller lately? Can I replace it?
Do I need more than one nice memento from any given person?
Will this original art make my kids rich if I keep storing it?
What are the chances I’ll ever wear a sleeveless dress again?
Do I REALLY need twenty-nine mugs in a household of two?

January is paper purge month. That’s done for this year. The office feels wonderful and looks pretty. In May I will go through the closets and drawers. The second weekend of November the kitchen gets kempt.

It really isn’t that hard when I have a plan.

So if you hate me already, I totally understand. I hate women who still have lots of hair.

Yes, yes, I know. The OCD, over-the-top, cleanliness-is-next-to-Godliness reorganizing makes my friends and family crazy sometimes.

But I’m serene.

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