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Surround Yourself With Things You Love

By August 29, 2021October 4th, 202319 Comments

As professional organizers we often talk about what to do to get organized. We tell you about the benefits of being organized: saving money and time and reducing stress. And we talk about safety in the home and having what you need and use. But we do not often talk about the benefit of having other things, the things you love. It’s so important to have the things you love in your home for no other reason than that you love them. When you walk in your home, we want you to smile. The end goal of organizing your home is to create the place where you can let your hair down and relax, your place of refuge. Organize your home to save money and time, to reduce stress but most importantly organize your home and feel good about surrounding yourself with the things you love.

The question is how do you surround yourself with things you love & be organized?

Nate Berkus said, “your home should be the story of who you are and be a collection of what you love”.

This quote speaks to me because clients will sometimes tell me they want their home to be as organized, neat, and tidy as the pictures they see in the magazines. While the pictures are sometimes from real homes they are staged. Everything is perfect, the photo is snapped, and then the family goes back to living their lives. I guarantee you, just like your homes, the perfectly tidy space lasts only as long as no one is using it.

Think about who you are. What is the story you are telling now? What do you want to display to help you tell that story? The story will change as your life evolves.

Ask yourself these questions:

How do you want to be able to find your belongings?

Are you someone who likes to see what they have? Maybe you think things are lost if they are out of sight? If this is true for you then you want to organize your belongings in open cubbies and shelves. Make use of vertical space so that you can easily find what you are looking for and so that you have a place to put things when not in use.

If you are someone who likes to have everything put away with lots of clear space, then you want to have cupboards and drawers in which to place your belongings.

What if the person with whom you live likes their things the opposite way from you? That’s a tough one and it happens often. You know they say that opposites attract, right? My best advice is to compromise. They get to have their things the way they want them in their personal space as do you. Compromise in the shared living space.

 What do you want to see that makes you feel good?

My son made me a clay cup one year at school. He painted and glazed the cup and then gave it to me. It is truly ugly, but I love it. It makes me feel good to have this on my desk. This cup doesn’t hold very many pens, so I also have a second larger holder.

Celebrate what makes you happy

I read a post recently from another organizer who was describing how happy her father-in-law was when he found a bicycle. Did he need the bicycle? No but it made him happy, and it wasn’t hurting him to have it. He was surrounding himself with things he loves. I’m over-simplifying the story. The point is you can have the things in your home that make you happy.

What do you collect?

Do you have a collection of things in your home? Are they displayed? Maybe you have a hobby like photography or needlework. You can surround yourself with things you love and put them on display. If you take beautiful photographs, consider enlarging them, framing them, and then hanging them on the walls of your living room.

One of my clients displayed his fabulous, enlarged photos. He loved to take pictures of animals. There were amazing close-up photos he took when on safari in Africa on display in his living room and others of his dog being playful in his office. The point is that looking at these pictures gave the viewer an impression of the photographer.

I love fine needlepoint. My mother stitched some of the needlepoint pillows I display. Others were stitched by my grandmother! Yes. These pillows are showing their age. I love them and have them on chairs in the living room. Eventually, these will be replaced by needlepoint pillows that I make until then I am displaying them because I love them.

Organize your home and feel good

You can surround yourself with things you love as long as there is space for them. Remember your organizing preference: to see what you have or to have it hidden away. Then organize accordingly. One of my organizing friends loves the color purple so she organizes her home and includes pops of purple. Another client loves to decorate for each and every season. It makes her feel good and happy to incorporate seasonal décor which changes every season.

The space in your home is finite. Each person will have their own definition of how much is enough. Keep the other organizing strategies in mind (to save money, save time, and reduce stress) as you surround yourself with things you love. It’s O.K. to only display a few things at a time. Much as my client switches out the seasonal décor, you can switch out things you love from time to time.

If you would like help figuring out how to organize your home so that it tells your story consider joining the Clear Space for You virtual support group I run with Jonda Beattie.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.


  • Julie Bestry says:

    I love everything you are saying, but perhaps what I love the most about it is that it reflects how we professional organizers really understand how possessions make everyone feel. Too often, I think the media portrays us in some kind of frenzy to “get rid of” rather than to “make room for” objects in our spaces. You’ve shown how there is a way to keep and even display things that delight you without getting overwhelmed. Whoohoo!

  • Space Envy says:

    Great post! I love making use of the vertical space (wall shelves, bins, etc) to keep surfaces clear. Something about clean, clear surfaces makes the house look tidy even if everything isn’t perfectly organized.

  • Sheri Steed says:

    This is a lovely and important message. So often people feel obligated to get rid of things. We all have more than enough things we don’t want, need, or use that we can easily part with. It’s important to celebrate the things we truly love and create a space that feels like home. I love the quote at the beginning. It’s an excellent guidepost for creating your own personal space.

  • Special things can be seen and appreciated so much more when the surrounding clutter is cleared away! And some collections that look like clutter when scattered about the house are more enjoyable (and apparent) when they are gathered together.

  • Lucy Kelly says:

    I love your emphasis that the way you organize your space will change over time and you can switch out the things you have on display from time to time. Customizing your home so it reflects who you are and what you’re interested in is so much more rewarding than copying a magazine cover, I totally agree! I enjoy moving the furniture around in my house to freshen the space and give me new ideas about how best to use the room. It’s a reminder to assess everything in my space and decide if it’s serving me right now.

  • I love this post! I tell my clients that items can have an emotional attachment, but when the attachment is a negative or sad memory, this is an opportunity to let go of the item. The home should be an oasis and a place to escape and rejuvenate. Thanks for reminding everyone that it is OK to let go of things that do not work for them any longer.

  • The idea here of creating a home surrounded by things you love resonates so deeply with me. So often, when talking about organizing we focus on letting go, releasing, editing. And truly that’s an important part of the organizing process. But the goal is to clear so that the things you love can be seen and enjoyed.

    While I love traveling and exploring new places, I have a deep sense of peace and joy when I return home. The colors, textures, artwork, and collections that are “us,” bring life and love to our space.

    You mentioned that one of your organizing friends loves purple and has “pops of purple” in her home. I’m not sure who you were talking about, but it sounds like me. I remember years ago my niece was visiting. She’d been in our house dozens of times and turned to me and said, “Aunt Linda, you have a lot of purple in your house.” It was as if she had just noticed. So funny.

  • Sara Skillen says:

    What a great post – you’re so right that organizing isn’t about perfection or just getting rid of things. Mindfully considering what supports us and makes us smile is key. I have several things in my office that my children created (a picture of a peacock my son did in 3rd grade matches my color scheme perfectly!), and the energy they give off makes all the difference to me while I work.

  • I want clients to remember “The space in your home is finite.” Before adding items that have caught your eye, think about where they will live in your home. Will the new item replace something? Ask yourself if you love the new item more than something you already have.

  • Seana Turner says:

    I so agree with all of this. After all, your home should make you happy! My dad has a corkscrew collection of more than 500. He has them all displayed on a wall in his kitchen, and we always have fun when we are there looking at them and talking about where they all came from. I love that he has them out so they can be enjoyed!

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