The epiphanyThat’s what I’d been trying to do for years. I had spent so much time and energy into setting my house in order, but I could only ever get it to a certain point before it fell back into mayhem. But then the answer came in a vacation that inspired an epiphany, which changed everything.Our family had rented a little cottage on Lake Michigan. I kept the place as neat as the proverbial pin, and it was so simple. Wondering why, I realized our life at the cottage was limited to food, clothes and books. And that was that. I decided this was the way I wanted to live all the time. No matter what, I was going to get us down to food, clothes and books. I was finally going to live William Morris’ maxim, “Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”With the help of an organized friend, I began a spree of decluttering and reorganizing, the likes of which our home had never seen. Over the course of several months, I went room by room, sorting, throwing away and donating until I had gone through almost everything. And then, in one of life’s little ironies, in the wee hours of June 27, 2010, an arsonist randomly set our house on fire. My husband and I and our three children were all at home in bed and escaped with the clothes on our backs. I did grab my laptop, because it was right at hand. I didn't even stop to put on shoes or fetch my purse, and I was so thankful to have saved our digital pictures and all my writings.