Inundated with stuff but lacking storage — or have you just caught the KonMari tidying bug? Either way, now’s the time to cut through the clutter and tackle your mess.
Counterintuitive as it may seem, you’ll need to get messy before you can be clutter-free. The first step to tidying up is assessing what and how much you own, and determining which items are regularly put to use. So clear out your closets, cabinets, and shelves and lay all of your clutter out where you can see it. When all your things are piled up in front of you, not only is it easier to decide what needs to stay and what ought to go, but you also get a true sense of just how much stuff you truly have (and for most of us, it’s a lot).
Remove anything from the pile you no longer use and donate or recycle it. This is often easier said than done — we may have sentimental attachments to things, or we convince ourselves that we’ll find a use for them in the future. If you find yourself struggling to let go, a good rule of thumb is: if you haven’t used an item in over a year, it’s generally safe to say it won’t be missed. Or, if that doesn’t help, consider this: if the object in question was lost or destroyed, would you feel upset or relieved? The answer should inform whether or not you keep it. Remember that the ultimate purpose of decluttering is to fill your space with things that add joy to your life and remove the things that don’t.
This holds true for bigger items, too. Oversized club chairs that no one sits in, shelves and end tables that hold nothing of real importance, and kitchen appliances that haven’t been used since your juicing days — these items take up valuable real estate in our homes, but many of us don’t evaluate our bulkier clutter nearly as often as we should. Consider whether these objects hold real value; you may just find that clearing them out opens entire rooms worth of space.
Clutter happens when things don’t have a dedicated space — trinkets get tossed indiscriminately in drawers and on counters and slowly accumulate until we feel we’re drowning. Now that you’ve done the hard work of purging, ensure your space stays neat and tidy by allocating the rest of your belongings to their own dedicated storage places. When everything you own has a home, finding things becomes much easier — which means you’re less likely to re-purchase objects you already own. Cleaning also becomes less burdensome when you know exactly where everything belongs!
How you choose to organize and store your items depends greatly on your needs and your lifestyle. Perhaps a small drawer in your hallway console is all you need to contain your stationery; or maybe you’re a telecommuter who requires a dedicated writing desk with lots of built-in additional storage. This is where taking stock of your clutter, and closely evaluating your usage of certain items, will come in handy.
For those of us with limited square-footage, investing in multi-purpose or storage furniture is a great way to maximize space while keeping everyday items out of sight. And because multi-purpose furniture can be used for, well, multiple purposes, it doesn’t take up the additional space that a cardboard box or plastic storage container might (items which, in the long run, only serve to make more clutter). For instance, wall-mounted organizers like the Betty mirror are stylish and offer a functional way to utilize vertical space. Additionally, coffee tables with built-in storage, like the Tesoro, can discretely hide away toys, office supplies, or throw blankets while performing double-duty as a height-adjusting table.
Airing out all your possessions at once can quickly become overwhelming, so tackle one zone at a time. It could be one room, one cupboard, even one surface. Then, expand this de-cluttering zone at your own pace until it encompasses your entire house! The goal is to ensure all flat surfaces are clear of mess, and all possessions are tucked into their dedicated spaces.
Sometimes, decluttering can be too great a task to tackle on one’s own — especially when experiencing a major life change like moving to a new city, downsizing, or preparing for a big renovation. It helps to have a dispassionate professional by your side who can help you determine what you need and what you don’t and how to optimize your existing square-footage.
Professional organizers are great resources for those of us who just don’t know what to keep and what to toss. If you’re looking to further maximize your available space, the designers at Resource are experts in space-planning. Our design team works one-on-one with clients to help them determine what pieces best suit their storage needs, creating floor plans and 3D renderings that show you how clutter-free and functional your home can look and feel.