Photo: Ruven Afanador
My house is a mess. Boxes filled with everything I own line the hallways, in the process of being sorted for storage or giveaway. I'm redesigning: clearing out what's no longer useful, and simplifying for the way I live now.
For 25 years, my world revolved around the Oprah show. My house, though beautiful to me, was more a showplace than a how-I-live space, because the fact was, I didn't really live in it. I entertained infrequently. At the end of a day overflowing with commitments, the house was simply where I went to regroup and restore. Most of the time I spent here, I was holed up in my bedroom, my office, or the kitchen. Entire rooms never got used.
Several months ago, though, a friend stopped by for a visit, and as we sat in my aesthetically pleasing living room with all its accoutrements, I realized there wasn't a single place to put my feet up. My lovely silk-covered sofas didn't invite a good curl-up. Right then I decided to make a change.
I want every room in my house to offer its own welcome mat. I have no one to impress but myself, and what impresses me most are comfort and a style that reflects my pajama sensibility.
I'm not saying it's been easy to give up all the things I'd invested in. Like many people, I tend to get attached to the idea of things—losing sight of whether the things themselves actually serve a real purpose. What helped was finding new uses for old possessions. For me, it's easier to give up a once-favorite coat or chair or piece of jewelry if I can find someone else who'll appreciate it as much as I did.
What I know for sure: I don't want to hold on to stuff that's holding me back. We do this de-clutter issue every year for good reason. Clearing out the old and bringing in the new is a constant process. A metaphor for moving on, no matter how or where you live.
Goodbye to All That
A few things I've discovered I can live without:
1. Antique chairs that are not 100 percent comfortable to sit in.
2. Stone floors. Replacing them with wood will bring me joy.
3. All shoes that hurt my feet.
4. All clothes I haven't worn in two years.
5. Scarves. I never wear them.
6. Hats. I created a whole room with display cases for them, but now I'm selling them at a "church ladies" sale and giving the money away.
More Spring Cleaning Advice and Organizing Ideas
From the March 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!