things that make you go zzzz

Ft_mother03_l Air Supply. Lemon water on a coaster beside your bed. Playing Word Warp on your iPhone. When you can imagine a descending escalator, each step falling into the next as you go lower and lower, deeper into sleep. Imaging yourself in your childhood bed, listening to the sounds of your house, trying to remember falling asleep as a child.

When your linen closet is neatly appointed, with labels indicating which are the Euro shams; sheet sets strung together with a satin bow, and yes, when your sheets and pillowcases are ironed.

When your glue gun has done its job, fixing that loose plank in the bottom drawer–nope, not a euphemism for sex.

When your bathroom has spare rolls of toilet paper… in the actual bathroom, in a wicker bin, on a shelf, just not in the garage.

When your guest room has stacks of clean towels, perfectly folded, even a dark washcloth embroidered with the word "MAKEUP."

Exhaust yourself. Who needs a treadmill when there’s a broom closet with which to be reckoned. Imagine if your mop looked clean? If your broom didn’t have hair and dust bunnies? If it were actually clean in there? Makes you want to cuddle in white sheets doesn’t it?

When all your hard drives, speakers, chargers, and laptops are outside your bedroom, their wires each labeled and wound.

When your books are organized by subject and size; your desktop free of random downloads and unused icons; every last puzzle piece is in the correct box.

When you know you have laundry detergent, oxy clean, and a place to hang things, a neat and tidy laundry room, with clothes pins, and an iron at the ready.

When your washcloths are all rolled and set in a truffle dish, beside your favorite liquid soap. When your nails are manicured and moisturized, your teeth are bleached, and your face is medicated with anti-everything creme.

When your pantry and spice rack are organized, labeled, and fully stocked with baking supplies, cans of tomatoes, potato flakes (for crusting fish), pastas, aborio rice, basmati, semi-sweet chocolate. Knowing your refrigerator has been wiped free of spills, that your bar is fully loaded with the ability to make at least one impressive cocktail at any given moment.

When you know you’ve an appointed travel toiletry kit, fully loaded and already sitting in a suitcase, duplicating all your must have items: complete with travel sizes of Alleve, Excedrin, Pamprin, Q-Tips, cuticle clipper, nail polish remover pads, clear polish, a nail file, tweezers, waterproof mascara, toothbrush, paste, and floss, your go-to deoderant, hair gel, and three extra party supplies (aka tampons).

I feel most at ease when I know everything is in its place. While I know that everything I need will come to me when I need it, that I don’t need to live in a state of over-abundance, I’m still comforted by possibilities. I like knowing that if I want, I can whip up a lemon tart, or at least stir up some cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I’m comforted by what’s possible, what’s available without having to leave my home.

I can go to sleep when I feel ready. I don’t have to know for what, just that I’ll be ready for whatever comes my way.

A YEAR AGO: Fear of Contradicting Yourself
2 YEARS AGO: Hi, My Name is Stephanie Klein, And I’m a Scrapbooker
5 YEARS AGO: Restraint



  1. Doing all that would make me tired as hell, so in a way that would work. Other than that: I don't need to be that organised to feel comforted. I thought I had to, have my house perfect in every way, when I moved out of my parents house and started living together with my bf. It just wasn't possible. I decided I'd rather live instead of preparing.
    Which doesn't mean I don't let out jealous sighs now and again when I watch the Martha Stewart show.

  2. Funny, when I saw "things that make you go zzzzz" I thought you meant as in BORING. And I have to say… that's what this list is to me. I need a little less order, a little more adventure & "not knowing," in my life.

  3. This is like a fantastic "to-do" list. I'm the same way and would love to have order in my life. I just don't ever get to the details in my house and then spend a gazillion dollars on self-help books that try to help me find peace…..when all it really is is cleaning up and feeling settled like what you described above.

  4. I spent many years of my life learning to shake off the need for everything to be perfect & in its place. I'm the happier for it. I do keep a fully stocked toiletry bag in my carryone suitcase, but since I never go anywhere and haven't for years, I'm sure the deodarant's gone all crumbly.

  5. I'm cheering you on as you organize and stock and, perchance, sleep. But nothing, nothing, nothing can truly make any of us ready for whatever comes our way. We just don't know…until we do. And throughout it all, we simply do the best we can, even when that's lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

    All blessings to you and yours.

  6. I like this post and really relate to it. It's not about hoarding or materialism or perfection. Feeling my home is prepared, well thought-out and orderly greatly helps me reduce my anxiety and gives me a sense of calm. It takes the edge off the stress of the other 99% of my life that I cannot control or ever adequately prepare for.

  7. Oh my God – Stephanie, this post totally spoke to me. Here is my continuous lament to my husband, "I would just feel so much better if everything was in order." He's finally getting it. BTW – I just organized my linen closet – no ribbons on the sheets yet, and I'm still making labels, but it was a fabulous feeling to have it all organized, right down to the "crib sheet" shelf. Bliss.

  8. ah, sigh, i think you just described how i live and organize my life…here in nyc, in an organized, efficient studio, travel sets packed, labeled and ready…for whatever opportunity comes my way…rose flavored/scented food and beverage items for an indulgent treat in the meantime. shoot, i just remembered that i even made a spreadsheet of all my favorite daily and monthly beauty products and decadent kitchen items, how long they last, how much they cost, with a link to a website for where to purchase and replenish….haven't done that yet for closet invetory. now, i just have to let some of the organization and feel the freedom and relief it is supposed to provide, and just go live life. i enjoy the organization and details too much…it's an illness, literally. miss you, chica!

  9. My home is gorgeous and I don't do half the stuff you do to make it feel that way Steph. Perhaps I am slovenly but I don't think so. I think I have 3 kids and meeting their needs is #1. The other stuff can wait (if ever) until we are happily ensconced in our retirement home. Go easy on yourself girl!

  10. I agree with the person who said "things that make you go zzzzzz" conjures "boring." I think it would be depressing to be so tied to all things material. You seem like you would be a marketing person's dream. :) Consumerism!

    It seems like it would take a lot of mental time and energy to be so obsessed with *things* and organizing things and arranging things (and describing things). It just gets messed up again. You could spend your whole life organizing and it would never look like a magazine because THOSE SCENES ARE NOT REAL! They are not "Real" Simple!

    To each his/her own, I guess. I don't know why these entries (describing food in great detail, or your house/accoutrements) rub me the wrong way but they do.

  11. I am sorry but this is over the top. Lighten up a little and learn to enjoy life while letting go a bit. Sounds like a Stepford Wife home to me.

  12. spoken like a true american. and while all that sounds amazing…i dream of a place where things are imperfect, spontaneous and lived in. in all my travels i feel that the europeans live best…with their messy stacks of books, wine stained glasses and clothes draped over chairs.

    they truly know how to live.

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