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Solutions: Home organizing can offer confidence boost

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Organizing our homes is like managing our waistlines; it’s easier to add to what you have than subtract. With the arrival of spring, comes the incentive for many of us to trim both categories. It helps that getting your house in order burns more calories than watching TV, especially if you add snacks to the equation.

My complicated relationship with clutter control projects makes them come in spurts where I go from unstoppable to unproductive overnight. I’m not sure what happens, but inevitably something always seems to get in the way.

I recently cleaned out several drawers throughout the house. This might not sound like a major accomplishment, but one of them was my worst offender and it remains empty for now which is a big achievement in my book.

For years, it was filled with miscellaneous papers, most of which ended up in the recycle bin, making me realize that a lot of what I have is simply taking up space.

My nightstand drawers are another example. Why have a nightstand with drawers if you can’t use them because they’re packed with odds and ends?

For instance, I discovered a directory for an organization that I belonged to more than a decade ago. That tells me how long I had been neglecting this project.

Now that the drawers are in order, they are no longer a source of stress.

I’m also determined to edit my decorating, which is another easy way to spruce up our homes for spring. I remember a client I had years ago who bought a new bookcase every time she filled the ones she had.

But, the books themselves had no real value to her. They were paperbacks that would not be read again, so I suggested going through them and giving some away before the house was filled with one too many bookcases.

I have a similar soft spot for decorative storage containers and I often find myself adding to my current selection even though I have empty ones everywhere.

Keeping an eye on what we buy is one way to stay ahead of the game. Another is to clear surfaces of excess clutter and knickknacks.

One spot that I’m determined to fix is our kitchen table that is often covered in newspapers, magazines and mail. I’d like to get a handle on this area so that my daughter and her friends can use it more often for snacks and crafts.

I recently cleaned out the nearby bread tin that was filled with stale crackers, candy and crumbs. Even though other people didn’t know what was in there, I did, which made it a daily reminder of something that needed to be done.

Our achievements don’t have to be major to be meaningful.

That’s the beauty behind our homes and our bodies. It’s not always how everything looks on the outside, but how we feel on the inside that counts. When we’re comfortable in our own skin and in our surroundings, that confidence will come to the surface.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at