Green and Tidy

Helping people all over the world declutter and create homes they love

What if you were friends with Order? (guest blog)


If you’re not yet part of the Green and Tidy community, sign up here (and get a free decluttering masterclass as a bonus).

I am so pleased to welcome the inspiring Kathy Sprinkle to Green and Tidy. If you’d like some extra bliss in your life (ha! who wouldn’t?), check out Bliss Habits. In the meantime, over to Kathy…

About three months ago, the last time Order week rolled around at Bliss Habits, the delightful Rachel invited me to write this guest post for Green and Tidy with the invitation “How about writing a guest post for my blog on why order is one of your bliss habits?” and I set about doing so. Honestly, I have written and re-written this post a dozen times. My journey with Order has taken several turns since adding it to my Bliss Habit list and I was still struggling with why I think it belongs.

I tried the philosophical approach,

“To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and the psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use.” ~Anais Nin

I really felt that there must be some deep and profound connection to Bliss that was accessible if I could just get and keep all of my things in order. My mentor in the whole Bliss Habit’s project, Ben Franklin, included Order as one of his qualities for living a virtuous life. His definition is the one I choose to use:

ORDER – Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time

Isn’t that Bliss inducing on its own?

OK, so maybe not for you. But in arranging my entire Bliss Habits game in which I follow what I call the 13 Habits of Bliss, my word choice has become very important and Ben’s definition of Order truly spoke to me. Ben actually conducted a 13 virtue experiment for his entire life not unlike my Bliss game. His goal was a lofty “virtuous life” and while I personally couldn’t get motivated to do the exact same thing, this virtue of Order taunted me with its promises of shiny clean surfaces and calendars filled with promises.

So, I tried the earnest approach.

“If you look at your entire house as one unit of junk, you’ll never do anything because the job is too overwhelming. Take it one drawer at a time.” ~Janet Luhrs

I dutifully cleaned out my closets and cupboards. I studied my calendar and did my best to fill it accurately. I endeavored to reduce my wardrobe and all the clutter in my home. I poured over magazines that spoke to my joy in this vision, Real Simple and Container Store catalogs.

As fast as one corner lived up to my magazine perfection another area would slip away. The juggling balls of perfection became tedious and soon everything returned to its former disarray.

Then, I stopped trying.

And it happened. I realized I could love order for order. It did not have to become a destination, a must do or a requirement for happiness. It can foster bliss just for being. I have always thought this is the case for people. I adore my daughter no matter what she does. She doesn’t have to do anything for me but the idea that a concept could be just as free was novel for me.

What if I just ENJOY Order? What if I admire and foster it but make no specific demands? What could happen then?

I let myself get lost in the perfect shelves of fine stationery stores. I visited furniture showrooms that boasted minimalist ideals. I flipped through magazines and websites like this one. I let the beauty talk to me but I didn’t force anything.

And now I see it. Tiny pockets of the pristine space I crave have been popping up all over my home. The coffee table, once home to piles of unopened mail has one small plant atop it. The underwear drawer, formerly a jumbled mess houses tiny piles of neatly folded items. The silverware drawer with every fork and knife housed in the perfect spot.

Yes, I have much further to go before my home is showcase and perhaps it never will be, but in the course of this inquiry Order has become my shiny tidy friend, available to enjoy and find bliss in and no longer an adversary to conquer. If you too find Order elusive you might try this approach. Become friends. Allow yourself to enjoy the possibilities, in time you may find your new friend all around you.


Kathy Sprinkle can be found engaged in all sorts of blissful pursuits over on her Bliss Habits blog, on her Facebook Page, and in her Twitter Stream @BlissHabits.

If you’re not yet part of the Green and Tidy community, sign up here (and get a free decluttering masterclass as a bonus).

  • Kathy —

    I get what you mean about Order being a part of Bliss. Intuitively — at least, to me anyway — Bliss is an aspect of the underlying Unity, and Unity would inherently be ordered in a perfect way. In practice, it seems to me that it’s a process, of starting at one “level” or expression of Order, and then discarding it as a higher level becomes apparent.

    Having said that, my personal life has a high degree of dis-order, and it’s really obvious to me I need to discard a lot of things. Maybe there’s some order in there somewhere. (Sheesh.)

    — Daniel

    • Hi Daniel. I like what you say about starting at one ‘level’ and then discarding it as a higher level becomes apparent. Introducing, and maintaining, order in your home requires mindfulness: continually noticing what doesn’t work, what could work better, what opportunities there are for order. Green and Tidy living is a process, not an end result.

    • Ditto to what Rachel said!

      It really has been something for me to get out of my adversarial relationship with Order which I see as a new “level” for me!

  • Jackie Walker

    Ah, now I can manage the enjoyment and appreciation much better than the demands I would put on myself – thank you for the nudge Kathy!

    • Excellent Jackie! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know what I wrote made a difference!

  • What a great approach! It’s sort of related to the idea that what we focus on expands. Instead of looking at our clutter as an adversary to be overcome, why not focus instead of all the ways we *do* have and enjoy order in our lives and set the intention to create more of that? I love it and am not at all surprised that has been working for you. I’m going to give it a go.

    I’ve been working on decluttering and streamlining for about 5 years now, and while I have made good progress, I also have a child in the house so it’s something of a losing battle. I’m also feeling really swamped by it right now and need to break it down into small pieces, like what Janet Luhrs said. I have a feeling the combo of smalls steps and making friends with Order is going to be a winner!

    • Yay! I’m glad my ideas helped you! I too have a little one in the house so I understand about the losing battle. We have just ordered some new toy bins and are talking about donating some stuffed animals to needy children… I’m hopeful my friend order and my daughter can become friends too!

  • Pingback: I’m not organizing a thing, this week we are finding the Joy in Order. | Bliss Habits()