The Nester
About the Author

Myquillyn Smith, The Nester, is a home stager, redesigner and design school drop-out. Her last home (a rental) was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Cottages & Bungalows, Ladies' Home Journal and in her upcoming design philosphy book, The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful....

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
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Reader Interactions


  1. I just adore the way you see home as a beautiful refuge and the way you teach us to see it that way, too. Here’s to goodbye, clutter and hello practical and beautiful.

    Much love to you. xo

  2. From you bio….I know decluttering is a good thing when moving a lot! πŸ™‚ We moved just short of three years ago and I decluttered. It was amazing! And we are moving again. When the movers came to pack us up I recieved compliments that I decluttered well! We didn’t have much junk but our pieces were heavy. I remember beaming inside! Feeling very proud! And I thought I needed to apply to to my life. Get rid of the bad and keep my heaviest most loved pieces (my positive relationships including the one with God). Thanks for the reminder. There are days I forget and try to dig back up the clutter. And this is a fresh reminder!

    • good for you!!! I admit, I think moving made me WOrSE at decluttering, I was always so afraid I might ‘need’ it in my next house. or the next!! good for you!

  3. Love this. And I was surprised when I saw it was you that wrote it. Because I love the way you decorate and your home looks beautiful. It’s so nice to hear someone voice out loud the importance of simplicity.

    If the Nester can make a place beautiful with minimal ‘stuff’ then I have hope for my space … thanks for sharing!

    • I ALWAYS try to guess who’s post it is before I get to the bottom, it’s something I love about incourage, that the names are at the bottom of the post.


  4. Thank you for this reminder. It is something that I am in the process of doing…because it is easy to for me to collect and to add and to hang on to stuff. Now it’s time for it to be pared down. Comfort isn’t in the abundance of “stuff.”

  5. Nester – I should have known this was from you – clutter does do damage to the beautiful in our lives! In my devotional this morning I read that we need to let go of what is not necessary or beautiful – just let it go! Why is it so hard for me to do that? I love art and beautiful things and see value in so many of the things I collect, but they are getting in the way now. I think it is no mistake that I read this post right after the devotional – it is like a confirmation. As hard as it is to do, I know if I declutter, it will feel (and look) so much better! It is so true! We need to be satisfied with the one (or few) beautiful things and let go of the rest! Thank you for another inspiring post!! You have a knack for doing that!

  6. When I read this, it hit me between the eyes. My husband and I have tried to do this during our married life, only to fill up the cleared out spaces again. We are again attempting to do it this summer and have adopted a new rule, “Nothing comes in unless something goes out.” We have fallen away from this rule of late, but hope to get back on the horse again because we feel so much better when we clean out all the clutter. Thanks for the supporting reminder.

  7. That’s precisely why I’m participating in my neighborhood garage sale this weekend…to purge the unnecessary stuff in my home. Also need to purge some unneeded emotional and mental baggage as well…as Max Lucado says “Travel Light”.
    Thanks for a timely reminder!
    Bev (Clutter bugs anonymous) πŸ™‚

  8. As an organizer wanna-be, I really liked this post and the quote on organized is often well-planned hoarding. After I finished reading it, I thought, “Wow, that is so true.” I can feel good about re-organizing and organizing some more, thinking I’m doing the “right” thing keeping it neat and orderly. I can justify the piles. But wow, what a concept that sometimes you just need to let it go. I’m always holding out for a future purpose. But I too want to enjoy the clutter-free white space in the now. Thanks again.

  9. Thank you Nester. Especially this part…When everything is clamoring for your attention, nothing really gets what it deserves. So so true and probably my greatest battle daily.
    Thank you for always giving that fresh set of eyes to what seems to be endless noise. We’re quieting the house today, even if I have to sit on my children….;) not really, well maybe…

  10. After reading this I realized I hadn’t thought about bringing anything beautiful into my home for ages…thank you so much for encouraging me.x

  11. Keeping the house simple means it is easier to clean. There is great benefit to getting rid of clutter…I find once it is gone I don’t miss any of it. You are right, the more you have, the more time it takes to maintain. I think one has to know their limits.

  12. I’m all about taking care of my home like this. The trouble is that my husband doesn’t understand it and has so much “stuff.” I’m trying to figure out how I can calm my space and start to get him at least a little on board. Wish I could be living differently.

    • yes, my husband hasn’t really cared one way or another, and when I look at the garage I get hugely annoyed. but then I look at all my own stuff I need to go through and figure that should take up a long time, maybe by then he’ll see a difference?

  13. Amen. I learned this a while ago, and it suits me well. When we moved last year DH was thinking we had to put *all our stuff* out and up on walls to make it home. I’m so glad I convinced him to wait. I lived there for a few months before putting anything up. Only about 1/3 of what we had in the other house came out, although this house was larger. I’m being prayerful, and intentional, about what goes on the walls, the shelves, each area of white space. It’s soothing and calming. I’ve also eliminated the unofficial policy that there has to be *noise* on all the time in the house (tv/music) and it’s quieted my soul. Love it! Thanks for sharing your words.

  14. Nester,

    My hubby and I declutter ALL the time. I find myself constantly looking at clothes, & items we have and thinking when’s the last time I wore, used this thing. I also ask could someone else use these item?

    We don’t like clutter, but love openness, clear, clean, white walls & shelves. We also love uncluttered yards and lots of open spaces. Basically call us simple folks who enjoy the simple aspects of life–not clutter!

  15. I have been trying to downsize, simplify and unclutter for a while now. It is so refreshing. I love open spaces. I find I feel more peace.

  16. Oh my goodness, so true! I was recently trying to figure out what to do with the clutter problem in our house, what I should buy to organize it all, and the answer smacked me out of the blue – the solution to stuff is not MORE stuff, it’s LESS stuff. Your post today is confirmation of that. πŸ™‚

  17. There are days when I walk around my house and wonder what I can get rid of. I perfer things pared down a bit but the clutter seems to creep up on me. I like the idea of continual editing. Thanks for reminding me less is more.

  18. Love the phrase, “quiet a room.” You’re so right: decluttering can help achieve that goal. Makes me think about quieting my life. How can I declutter my days to be still before God, to experience his peace and restoration more fully? Thank you for a thought-provoking post!

  19. […] thoughts on stuff continue to change too. Want to go a little deeper with me? Join me at (in)courage and let’s chat? Welcome! If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to the Nesting Place RSS feed. Thanks […]

  20. For me. Always for me. You have that knack. I’m devouring Tsh’s book again hoping to have a little more of this less stuff idea rub off on me. With homeschooling it’s the books and papers I’m drowning in. Can you relate?

    • We’re homeschoolers too. I keep one small bin for each child, labeled with their name on a shelf. When they complete a paper, project, coloring page, or leave papers laying around, I toss them into their bin so they’re out of the way. At the end of the year I go through them, save three papers per subject which shows their progress, put them into a large, orange manilla envelope with their name, grade, and year and file it away. I recycle all the rest. As for books, ones we’re not using for the current school year I have labeled in a bin, which we stack in the garage. It’s easy to go out and get needed books and that way they’re out of our living space. Good luck!

  21. I super love this!!! We have been on a crazy decluttering mission all year. It is crazy that even after all the bags and bins and boxes of stuff we’ve gotten rid of there’s still so much left! I have no idea what a quiet life would look life but it sounds awesome. πŸ™‚

  22. I love it! I used to be a simplistic chic decorator. When my husband and I married, he filled our home with a whole lot of “stuff.” Beautiful, thoughtful stuff, but, it was too much. I would sometimes walk into our living room and gasp for air.

    Thankfully, we came to a happy medium. We could still use some more “white space.” I think we’ll work on that. Clutter has slipped back in to a few spots too many.

    Thank you for your post.


  23. “Quiet the room” – I never, ever thought about it that way before, but I love it. Quieting a room sounds restful and contemplative — exactly what my family and I need right now.

  24. About 2-3 years ago I was on a big minimalism kick. EVERYTHING was pared back to just the necessities. I got rid of a ton of clothes, linens, Christmas ornaments, decorative accessories, pots and pans, etc. It was along the lines of counting all my possessions and having 56 articles of clothing, etc. along with some popular bloggers of the time. I enjoyed it for a few months but then I felt like everything was just sterile. I was in shock when real life hit. As an example I didn’t have my pretty necklaces which gave me joy to wear because having 15 was “too much” so I gave them all away. Obviously when I do something I tend to go overboard. After a while I then bought and bought to fill up all the empty spaces – in both my things and in myself. So I’m back to having too much stuff. But this time I’m being more thoughtful in my approach instead of giving away items just to get to an arbitrary number. When I get rid of an item I ask does this fill an empty space in my home or in myself? And what purpose does filling that space hold? I have organized hoarding in a spare room and storage closet. Time to tackle it again – but in a kinder, gentler way. Love your essay.

  25. Loved reading this Nester! I’m trying to get each room in order one by one but there is always the “junk room.” My junk room{and my closet} are in desperate need of a purge. I have my little hoards of paper and things that I convince myself to hang on to because I’ll find a use for it someday{riiiiiight…}. I need to cut it down to what is really important and just LET THE REST GO. It is so hard for me to do. Thank you for this post.

  26. I have finally learned that while I love and appreciate visual clutter on the walls, gallery of frames and trinkets, I hate surface clutter. Which makes it easier when I am tempted by awesome displays at Ikea or gorgeous smelling candles. Knowing you vs what they try to sell you is priceless.
    Love this post!

  27. When I married a Marine I inadvertently signed up for a lifetime of moving… 6 homes in 9 years (and 2 babies). I didn’t realize I’d be leaving behind not just the city I loved but any hope of continuing a career that I had wrapped my whole identity around. Today, almost 10 years later, I started heaving large plastic bins of fabric, patterns and half-finished projects out to the curb (mourning all the way).
    I was so afraid of letting go of who I was supposed to be, that I haven’t let myself become who God wants me to become. I was afraid of disappearing into housewife-mommy anonymity. Which is why I’m so grateful God has placed his spirit in me, to grow into more than a career ever could have provided. So much more than the fleeting satisfaction of finishing those long-ago projects.
    And… my house is prettier!
    Oh, and my husband (the original minimalist) is mysteriously less stressed at home. Bonus.

  28. Hey Nester, somehow this post and your post about the parsonage relate to each other, my mind anyway. Simplicity and beauty are good things. It made me sad to read of so many parsonage experiences that included old, worn-out, dirty and broken house elements. I think that we should have homes of beauty and simplicity and cleanliness. That doesn’t mean it has to be fancy or expensive. For example, simple wood floors in a parsonage are cleanable and pretty and long-lasting, compared to a 20+ year old carpet that probably didn’t look good after the first five year!

    Anyway, I loved both of those posts. Thank you. It is always good to consider good things about our homes.

  29. “When everything is clamoring for your attention, nothing really gets what it deserves.” This is such a profound statement! I needed this today (and always). It’s just far to easy to let the “clutter” collect without even realizing it. Thank you for this reminder!

  30. This is such a great post! I read Nesting Place almost every day and I always admire your ability to style a room and decorate with knick knacks (there’s probably a better word for what I’m thinking of – ha, sorry!). You’re so gifted! When it comes to my own home I practically develop a nervous tic if dresser and table tops aren’t left clear except for a table lamp. But ever since moving into a house that’s 3x the size of the tiny apartments I’m used to I find myself looking at each room like “what does it need?” It’s a stressful perspective and it’s taking the fun out of decorating! Thanks for this reminder to store up treasures where it really matters (and to decorate slowly).

  31. we have a 16 month old and thanks to him we are masters at decluttering! now I have to get better at cleaning…sad when your toddler picks stuff off the floor and eats it. sheesh.

    • Even if your floor was spotless, he’d still find something to eat…it’s a toddler superpower. πŸ˜‰

  32. Wonderfully said. Isn’t it a blessing that we don’t stay the same and we can experience so many different parts of ourselves in a lifetime.

  33. “When everything is clamoring for your attention, nothing really gets what it deserves.”

    I’ll be pondering that today–as it applies to decorating…and life. πŸ™‚

  34. I want a little Nester wind-up toy or clock like in the cartoons so that every time I start to forget the beautifully simple message above I’ll get bopped over the head {and it might have a funny voice “Simplify, Claire!”}. πŸ™‚

    “I quiet the room…” . Love.

  35. Thank you for always inspiring!! I have learned so much from you! I am in the process of painting my home in whites and simplifying. It’s hard to make decisions on what needs to stay or go..I’m slowly learning that so much we just don’t use and editing them out as we go. It’s just so hard for me..I’m always changing things and thinking maybe I’ll have a new use for this or that!! Help!!

  36. I am a minimalist and even I needed to hear this today. It seems I am never satisfied with my instincts. Instead of focusing on the parts I truly want in my rooms, I dote on all the ones I am probably missing. You have helped me refocus my energy on just the stuff I love. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  37. For the last 5 years I have been in forced edit mode. Although I am not nor have I ever been a fan of clutter, I find myself in a bit of a pickle. Because of my husbands work we have been on a tour of Texas. Moving every 18 months has left me an expert at keeping only the necessities. Hallelujah…we have finally found a place to settle down and we are in the process of building our first (real) home. Since I have downsized on every move my fear is that I will now have an empty home and I am not confident in my decorating abilities so am becoming anxious I will buy things just to fill space. Any suggestions, tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated.

    I have just recently found you and love everything I have read so far, so please forgive me if you have already tapped into this subject. How do you marry the two; editing and adding?

  38. I have the opportunity to re-do the living room and that is the idea that I want to bring into there…a place of quiet and rest…editing is hard. I love to decorate and put things out that I love. We moved into this house six years ago (the house where my husband grew up and where his mom lives near by). Letting go of the things they put here that they thought were beautiful feels dishonoring to my husband…I want the room to reflect us. Like I said, this editing is hard, not just on me but those I love.

  39. Amen! I too wish that my eyes had been opened to this fact earlier … but it is never too late to learn!

  40. Dear “Nester”,
    Thanks so much for your observations & insights on decor. I too have moved many times early on in marriage but have been settled in 1 place now for several years.
    The clutter has got to go!