tidying up: part 5, reflections on functionality vs. aesthetics


a big “thank you” and “good job!” to everyone who has been responding to these posts with their own clean-out journeys. it’s very encouraging to know i’m not alone and to feel that i’ve inspired even one person to try the same thing in their own home is highly motivating to me!

here are some thoughts that maybe everyone else will think, “well, duh” but were revelations to me:

So every once in awhile, I remember to really clean out my fridge.  When I have the time to do it right, this means taking everything out, wiping down the shelves, throwing away any mysterious things or anything else that i know will never get eaten and then putting the good food back in. This purge feels like I’m finally doing that process to my whole house for the first time ever and it’s driving me crazy to look around and see all of the stuff that’s the equivalent of “mysterious fridge things” that are taking up room in my house.  And to also realize that maybe, JUST MAYBE, instead of keeping food just because it hasn’t spoiled yet, perhaps my criteria should be, “am I (or anyone else in my house) excited to eat this food?” because if not, then it will just take up room in my fridge until it molds and only then will it get tossed. With sincere apologies to my Depression Era grandparents and to all of the people in the world who do not get enough food to eat on a regular basis, I don’t think that holding on to leftovers that were only grudgingly tolerated during their original meal is helping anyone. But this series isn’t really about my fridge or about food, it’s about my house, so in this instance, what I’m really talking about is stuff that’s in my house that no one really loves but it’s still functional. Argh.  Still flying right up into the heart of privilege here, but let’s talk about my bathroom hand towels, shall we?


I probably own about 7? And of those, most are stained or have bleach spots (which are a mystery to me.  I don’t use bleach ever.  Does whitening toothpaste also bleach fabric? And if so, which one of my family members is getting toothpaste all over the towels?). I am itching to go through the whole linen closet and get rid of everything that I don’t love (pilly flannel sheets, I’m looking at you!) because while many of these items are technically still serviceable, I cringe every time we have to use them.  But if that means replacing them with higher quality pieces (I’m really curious to know whether the Garnet Hill flannel sheets would be less pilly than the cheap-o Target ones I get once a year*.  I’m open to recommendations!), I am able at this point in my life to be able to make that choice and spend a bit more to get really quality pieces.  But does that fly in the face of my Simple Living upbringing?

*note: after writing this reflection, i did go ahead and order a set of garnet hill flannel sheets that were on sale.  i’ve washed them once (turning them wonderfully soft) and they’re on our bed now and i am loving them!  of course, the true test is how i’ll feel about them in a year or so, but they’re already behaving better than the cheap-o ones do, so i’m optimistic.

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