Seattle Culture

Melissa Michaels on Simplifying and Organizing

The Seattle author explains how to make room for what you love

By Seattle Mag October 24, 2016


This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This past spring, Seattle-based and New York Times best-selling author Melissa Michaels’ followed up her previous home improvement titles with Make Room for What You Love (Harvest House Publishers), which is excerpted below. Her essential guide explores the connection between our physical environment and our mental state. A home’s creature comforts can easily become clutter and have a similarly chaotic effect on our interior life, Michaels says. The ultimate “less is more” manual, Make Room adheres to the philosophy that being more discriminating about what we bring into our home can impact the peace we feel within it.

Author Melissa Michaels

In The One Thing by Gary Keller, he describes what I find to be secrets to simplification in life as “going small” and “ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”

Going small is the opposite of what we think to do when we are striving for results. Isn’t life all about GOING BIG or GOING HOME? Do people with an organized, clean home spend more time on housekeeping or have a longer to-do list to check off each day than everyone else? Isn’t a sign of success the resulting happiness we will experience if we have more clothes, more toys, more gadgets, more house, more stuff? 

We do need to learn the art of more, but not in the ways we might think. What we really need is to focus more on the things that matter to us, and to do that we have to become gazelle-focused on eliminating more of the things that don’t. Think about the last time someone asked you how life was going. Did you tell them, “I’m good, I’ve been really busy!” Busy has become our default way of living. But if we were able to look more closely at our home and life, we would find simple ways to delete, edit, and declutter what isn’t essential to make more room for what is.



Think of something you wish you could make room for in your life. Exercise? Time with your kids? Hobbies? Spiritual pursuits? 

How can we be MORE selective about what we add to our life and be MORE intentional about what we do with the time and space we have? 

To succeed in simplifying our life and home, we have to first embrace what less will mean. We need to visualize having less stuff as making more room for what we love. Isn’t that what we really want? A life surrounded by what we love and what inspires us?

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