Homemaking, as I see it, is based on a paradox: We order our homes to make them nurturing environments for life, yet life itself is inherently disorderly. The horns of this dilemma perpetually skewer our domestic decisions. Should I wrap the living room in plastic and rule it off-limits to children, food, and leisure activities—in short, to actual living—or should I let the day run its chaotic course, with kids and pets creating a debris-sedimentation rate that rivals rainfall in the Amazon basin? There's a boundary between the kind of neatness that enhances life and the kind that squelches it; knowing where to draw that line is key to domestic contentment—and it's different for everyone. Are you in your comfort zone?
Declutter your life! Our March issue features a complete guide to streamlining your life, from Peter Walsh's 30-Day Organization Challenge to innovative ways to clear your mind. Plus, go behind the scenes of Oprah's yard sale and find out how you can improve the world with a simple "hello."