OK. I’ll admit it. I’m a hoarder. I see you gasping in surprise. Yes, I can be a good Designer and still have a messy life. Dare I say the best Creatives are a bit messy? But more specifically, my strategy has been to pile the things I don’t want to deal with into the closets (yes this is a metaphor for life as well). I would shudder to recommend this to a client. OK ASID police, I hear your sirens. But there is some absolution in reveling this fact out in the open.
Now. That’s better. I can think.
Living in our Stockholm house for 17 years offers many opportunities for clutter. Growing up my family moved every year during my elementary years, my Mom and Dad still held on to items. Maybe this was some way to hang on to never established roots with all the moving. When my Mom finally moved out of her house, I had to clean out the desk, which held notes with phone numbers from 30 years ago, grocery lists, never attempted recipes. My Dad, in his neuroses can still spend a weekend trying to find that one thing that got filed away unexpectedly. Where is the therapy in letting it all go?
Clean Living. That’s a nice thought, but also difficult to come by. It’s so much harder when it’s your own stuff. I can edit with little tack when I am helping a client get their house on the market. My very first client, whom I adore, has made huge progress editing her piles now that she lives in a “big girl” house. I know she scuttles about clearing before I pop over for a visit.
Once of my favorite websites, Apartment Therapy, does a 30 day home cleanse called The January Cure. It’s worth taking a look to get you on the right path. It’s impossible to follow it to a T, but follow even a few steps and you are on the right path.
Even though I would never proclaim to be an organizing specialist, (there are people who do that!), I do have some go to remedies for my clients:
Less is More –as I stated in this article a few years ago, (see “A hardworking, tidy mudroom doesn’t have to be drab“). I know it is tempting to load up on hats, boots, and scarfs, but friends who have many children get it right; everybody gets one of each and you have to keep track of your own items. Why try to keep track of multiple items for multiple children. Although….mom is allowed to have a few extra pairs of trendy boots.
Ready Access – Why is that summer clothing still in the front of your closet? Unless you are heading for resort living, stash away items that you absolutely won’t be wearing for a period of time. Right now they just get in the way. Unless it’s a fashion statement, for example my red Kitchen-Aid Mixer which sits on the counter, stow away unnecessary objects.
Fashion Sense in the Container – There is a plethora of hip baskets, industrial bins, wire shelving, and memo boards that would actually make you want to spend time doing household chores. These items are everywhere from Target, to CB2, to trendy spots designer websites like canvas. And the mecca of all organization, – The Container Store, I constantly tell Brian this place is every woman’s fantasy.
Revel in the Negative Space – clear off those shelves. When we organize bookshelves, and yes we do this a lot, we take everything off, and artfully arrange the items that are important. Grandma’s collection, the loved, worn photography books, the antique bookends. Get rid of everything else. You can appreciate more with less.
As I make my own home organizing plans, know that we all do this. Some people are better than others, but know that decluttering your home, declutters your mind, and that is a good place to start the new year.
Happy Organizing! Best, Dawn
PS…this post is dedicated to Sadie, my assistant who keeps me organized and sane! Thank you!
Opening Image: LA Closet Design