Solutions: Creating a nest by cutting clutter

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

You don’t have to be expecting to get the nesting instinct. Though I remember that feeling when I was pregnant with my daughter, it’s different this time around. Perhaps it’s the pretty birds perched outside my window and the official arrival of spring that make me want to get my home in order.

Looking back at our daughter’s baby pics, I’m impressed by how nice our nest looked back then. Maybe it was due to the fact that we were forced to simplify our lives when we had to childproof the rooms and edit them for our golden retriever who got into everything.

Whatever the reason, the lack of clutter in those images is something I’d like to see today.

I can still remember making the most of what we had back then, like the hand-me-downs from friends and the gifts from family members that allowed us to turn a guest room into a nursery. Creative repurposing also came into play with a sleeper sofa that became a changing station and a wine crate that held a fresh supply of diapers and wipes.

When our daughter was an infant, a large dresser in our master bedroom became a temporary changing table. Today, that same dresser is filled with so much stuff that you can barely see the beauty of the wood.

On a brighter note, a lot of furniture has come and gone since then and I think I’ve finally parted with more pieces than ever before. Though there were times we had more than we could handle, I’ve come to realize that the bigger items are not the only problem. It’s the knickknacks that came into our lives that lead to clutter.

Back then I was bothered by the fact that such tiny creatures seem to need so much stuff, like the high chair and the playpen and the bouncy seat that were taking up a lot of space. But the photos tell a different story of a well-edited environment that looks fresh and welcoming.

Maybe it was because I spent more time at home as a new mom, which left me with less time to add to what we already had. The fact that some of our furniture was more cohesive then might have contributed to the lighter look too.

Though it’s easy to accumulate things over the years, I want to follow the “less is more” strategy when arranging my nest.

So, even though I’m not expecting another little bundle of joy, I welcome the concept of nesting inspired by the spring season in the hopes of having a more orderly home.

As I continue to gain momentum in the quest to make my rooms neat and tidy, I find myself admiring images on websites like that feature inspirational rooms with a few well-chosen pieces. For me, nesting is about going the extra mile to make a home feel lighter and brighter, whether you’re expecting a new addition to the family or simply savoring the new season.

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