Decluttering for Magpies

Bundle of Maps - Decluttering for Magpies via

Fiestaware Teacup Collection - Decluttering for Magpies via

When I first started blogging,

my blog was called Cottage Magpie. There’s a reason why “magpie” was in the title; I have a natural-born desire to collect things (ooh, shiny!!). On top of that I am a completionist. If I like one thing, I feel a drive to have ALL of that thing. All of a book series. All the colors of Fiestaware. All the items in a set. I love collecting.

Here’s the problem: I don’t love living in a place full of stuff. It’s crowded. It’s cluttery. It makes my brain suffer and I feel stupider than I really am. Plus, to be really practical about the whole thing, stuff takes up time and money! It takes time to organize it, maintain it, clean it (or clean around it). It takes money to acquire and store it. Just thinking about it all makes me exhausted.

The only solution is to have less stuff. But how? When you are someone who is driven to collect, how do you keep your home empty enough that you can breathe, think and have joy?

Here’s my answer: Decluttering for Magpies. In this post, I introduce the three steps, then in the following posts I will discuss each step in detail. For today, here are the three steps:

Step #1: Curate Instead of Collect

Looking at Art - Decluttering for Magpies via

Collectors are all about more. They want all the things. But curators are focused on selecting the best examples and showcasing them beautifully. When we collect, our spaces are so crammed that we can’t see or appreciate any of our things. When we curate, we only keep the best examples and limit our collections so each item can be seen and appreciated.

For more, see the postCurating Instead of Collecting.

Step #2: Desert Island Decluttering

Walking on a Tropical Desert Island - Decluttering for Magpies via

The goal is to have beautiful, precious things that are a joy to live with, so to get there we need to get rid of everything else. For me, the easiest way to do that is imagine that I am going to get to live in a dream space or property, but that the space is SMALL. Then choose the things that I would take with me from my home. Keep those, donate the rest. Simple, powerful and effective.

For more, see the postDesert Island Decluttering.

Step #3: Don’t Bring It Home

Flea Market Picture Frames - Decluttering for Magpies via

The urge to collect is strong within us, so we need to avoid the places that trigger our need to acquire. Recovering alcoholics avoid places with alcohol. The deeply feeling avoid pet adoption centers. We as natural born collectors need to avoid places that have things to collect. For me that is thrift stores, antique malls, vintage find Instagram feeds and fabric stores or websites. Or Etsy. I don’t enter these places casually—I go armed and prepared with laser focus and get out before I have a chance to really look around.

Coffee by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash via


The goal here isn’t to change who you are, or to eradicate your love of treasures and precious things. It’s just a way to help re-think about your collections so that you can have a space that leaves room for YOU — space to breathe, space to create, space to relax.

For more, check out these posts right here:

Are you a natural-born collector? What’s your best decluttering tip?

Much love,

Love, Angela


Many thanks to the generosity of photographers whose work is shared for free onUnsplash:Ruthie,Vincent Tantardini,Ishan See From the Sky,Jessica Ruscello andBrigitte Tohm.


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