We can all agree we like this picture. (I think that would be a fair assessment)
But what would this place look like with dirty dishes on the counter, some lights burned out or mixed colors, plastic wraps, carton boxes on chairs, an overflown trashcan, and cleaning products on counters?
Then we can also agree the magic is gone!
I usually feature beautiful interiors and exciting buildings on my feed to get you in touch with that part of your soul that craves beauty and order. I always aim to demonstrate that great design can only shine in clean, uncluttered spaces. That type of space allows the mind to see the beauty of the design without the distraction of clutter.
Who doesn’t like a hotel room? Of course, we all like the newness of experiencing something out of the routine. But the neatness and simplicity of a hotel room have a lot to do with how we experience that space. That neatness and simplicity are no accident — it is by design.
Think about the magic that a staged model home delivers. Yet, even if you were to buy that same model home, furnished and all, as soon as the disjointed moving boxes and bags arrived on moving day, the magic would be gone instantly.
So, what happened?
No matter where you live or what you own, you can have a place that excites you to gasp. You can be in love with your own home! But it takes attention and intention. Unfortunately, these two things are pretty much neglected when it comes to the place where we live.
Many take their home for granted and stop paying attention to details, neglect to repair broken items, and use their home as storage spaces (instead of living spaces). Clutter creeps up when we stop paying attention to our environment and what we keep.
And we stop paying attention to our surroundings when we live mindlessly.
The level of clutter directly correlated to the level of disinterest shown in a home. It is easy to get to that point when we have so much stuff that we can no longer pay attention to anything. Nothing seems unique anymore. Consequently, we turn blind to mess and beauty alike. It’s a vicious cycle.
That makes me think of family relationships; after some years of marriage, some people start taking their partners for granted, stop trying, get bored, and don’t care. What if we tried to keep the magic alive?
So, is the grass greener elsewhere? Not necessarily. It is not always the case, and it largely depends on you.
So, keep your grass green; fertilize and water it, and enjoy it too.
The closet is where you start many mornings. An efficient closet system is crucial to making your life easier, especially in a rush. Keeping your closet tidy, clean, and easy to browse through makes a difference in how you start your day.
This particular space should be your inspiration, not a morning drag.
So, let’s organize your closet and make it inviting. Respect your shoes and love your clothes. Give your closet contents the care and attention it deserves.
First Things First – Out With The Clutter
A thorough purge is critical. Your closet should support the person you are now in your life. It should be something other than the dumping ground for clothes that have fit in 15 years.
The closet is not some storage space for everything no one wants or knows where to place. It is impressive that people keep things in their bedroom closets just because they have space available. The space available is good! Be at peace with empty space rather than rush to stuff items that should not be in that space (and then complain about lack of space in the closet). Learn what your closet should contain and let all other items find their proper place in the home.
First, go through the contents of your closet and remove from the space anything other than clothes, shoes, handbags, travel bags, accessories, and other things you wear. Leave in suitcases, though.
Once everything that does not belong in your closet is out of the area and reallocated, it is time to sort through what should go there.
Discard clothes that don’t make you feel fabulous. Discard what looks old, dated, damaged beyond repair, or does not fit you. You will not wear these things, no matter how long you keep them. Besides, having a closet full of petite clothing or something you don’t like wearing does not support you. Rather than inspire you, these clothes will subconsciously remind you of everything you can’t wear. There are better ways to start the day than that.
You’ll be amazed at the space you get back if you objectively look at your clothes and purge.
And from now on, stay on top of your closet management. When you realize that a clothing item is unflattering, unwanted, in bad shape, or no longer fit, remove it from your closet immediately. Practice keeping a basket or nice-looking bag in your closet to place these items at once.
Assess The Space & Inventory Your Stuff
Consider the type of item you’ll hang versus what you’ll fold, the number of items in each category, and the area where each group should go. These elements determine the type of containers, sizes, and style. So, this step comes before buying any storage solutions.
A common mistake is to buy containers before doing the work with decluttering, sorting, organizing, and allocating spaces for your things. First, you must assess what you’ll need to contain and where these things will live. To determine this, you must remove what does not belong in the closet and re-evaluate the clothing. This is the only way to know, realistically, how many hangers your need, how much long hanging, short hanging, or double hanging space you’ll need, for example.
In considering storage space available, it is common to overlook vertical space. However, some walls and behind doors are suitable areas where we can store many items. Just ensure that things placed behind doors don’t interfere with those doors opening freely.
Crafting The Closet – Must-Haves
Chandeliers, track lights, light inside closets, and under-shelf illumination are some options that make a closet look magical. At a basic level, the closet space needs good lighting. The lighting system you choose must increase functionality but also enhance the ambiance. That ambiance is all in the lighting! Usually, a mix of yellow light and white light works best.
A body-length mirror is a must in every closet. It serves a practical purpose because you must see the whole outfit on your body. But a long mirror also helps create that elegant atmosphere we all admire in amazing closets. The location of this mirror will depend on the space available. It can be installed on a wall, behind the closet door, or free-standing against the wall. However, the larger, thicker frame, the more elegant your mirror will look.
The Personal Touch
There must be space to express who you are. Make the closet your special place where you are glad to be. Use framed pictures or knickknacks that remind you of notable people and moments. Use these strategically and tastefully.
A trashcan is necessary for every closet (and in every home space, actually!). Get a trashcan that complements the space décor. To make things easier, consider a trashcan with no lid.
Have one hamper per person sharing the closet. Make the hampers look good in the space.
You may need a place to sit to put on your shoes. This seat could be as simple as the tiniest ottoman or stool to the most oversized armchair (space and style permitting). Ensure your seating option fits the room in style, size, and color.
The difference in having all the hangers look the same is incredible.
We recommend space-saver hangers because they prevent clothes from falling off the hangers or losing their shape. In addition, they save at least one-third of the space in your closet (just by switching hangers!).
Having the same hangers throughout prevents hangers from tangling and provides a more efficient experience in your closet.
Sports shorts usually go in drawers, but dressy and cargo shorts should go on hangers to avoid wrinkles and save space in your drawers.
Pro Tip: Use two space-saving hangers for heavy clothing such as coats or jackets. That way, your hanger collection remains uniform.
Some pieces of clothing deserve the protection of a garment bag. However, avoid plastic garment bags because plastic is detrimental to the fabric. Instead, replace plastic garment bags with fabric ones.
People seem surprised to learn they should remove plastic covers from their clothes when they bring them home from the cleaners. This is because the plastic used by cleaners is detrimental to the fabric. The plastic also traps the chemical residues of the cleaning process.
If you have drawers, you need drawer dividers. It is that simple. Dividers make a considerable difference in the maintenance of drawers and hold us accountable for the amount of stuff we keep in those drawers. Measure drawers before buying dividers because these come in different widths and lengths to fit every kind of drawer.
Baskets, Bins, Containers
Accessories may end up in baskets or containers. So, where will those be? Use baskets to contain anything folded on shelves and small accessories. But you want solutions that look like they belong in the closet, not like a random selection of last-minute solutions. Use the same type of basket throughout the closet. Using baskets on shelves and niches will give your closet a uniform, elevated look.
When choosing baskets, bins, or containers for the closet, measure the spaces where these will go to ensure the right fit. You must also assess the spaces to determine materials, color schemes, style, and what these will hold.
Best Practices – To Hang or To Fold
Go for it if you can hang most of what you usually fold. It is easier to see all your clothing when everything is on hangers. And thus, you wear more of your clothes more often. Putting the laundry away by hanging it is also easier than folding it. But, of course, underwear, PJs, sportswear, swimsuits, and socks should go in drawers.
In hanging your clothes, classify them by type and then by color. For example, place all casual tops together, jackets and blazers, skirts, denim, slacks, etc. You will efficiently select your outfits and enjoy how everything looks on hangers.
Place all your hangers in the same direction. Then, when hanging back those pieces, have the hanger facing the opposite direction. This system will let you know that you wore that item. In addition, the system enables you to notice what you do not regularly use, giving you a clue on what to discard. It also helps you rotate your wardrobe more often and get creative with mixing and matching your wardrobe pieces.
Pro Tip: Always place empty hangers in a single location to avoid having to fish them out when putting laundry away. Also, your closet will look better if you isolate empty hangers.
Pro Tip: When clothes come home from the cleaners, switch out the hangers! Cleaners always hang clothes facing left, which is the opposite direction of what most people desire (if right-handed). Also, they use wire hangers, which lose their shape, get rusty, get tangled, and make the clothes lose shape. Wire hangers are the least desirable kind of hangers. Besides, you want your hangers to match your closet. And by the way, the cleaners would like their hangers back!
Whether you have drawers in your closet or a dresser in the bedroom, some clothing categories are better suited to live in your drawers. These categories are loungewear, sleepwear, sportswear (including swimsuits), underwear, and socks.
Drawer dividers have a stellar role when dealing with these categories. They will keep the contents of your drawers organized and manageable.
Spend the necessary time to fold things appropriately, though. There are also options in terms of folding. You can go Konmari-style or roll each piece of clothing. The rolling method is quick and avoids wrinkling of the clothes.
And whether you believe that the dryer “eats socks” or socks run away from you, your missing socks are probably not coming back. So, stop wasting space and effort in keeping an assortment of unmatched socks. Socks are cheap, and your time trying to match them is much more valuable than the cost of a replacement pack.
Also, consider donating all your mismatched socks to a shelter. Did you know that socks are among the items shelters need the most? And when the weather is cold, having socks on your feet is invaluable. Nobody would complain of mismatched socks at that point.
If seasonal clothes take up too much space, consider packing them in air-tight bags to store underneath the bed or on a higher shelf. Since those bags get random shapes when extracting the air, consider placing them in bins that fit the area where you will store them. Bins stack neatly.
Organizing Your Closet Stuff
Organize accessories in soft baskets that go well with the closet décor. These baskets are ideal for collecting items in some closets’ built-in niches. If you do not have those in your closet, these baskets can live on shelves. They will still provide an easier way to group accessories by category and allow easy access by pulling out the needed basket.
Consider dedicating at least one of those baskets or bins to small items needed where you get dressed, such as the lint roller, extra bras straps, collar stays, chaffing tape, heel tape, body and cloth tape, insoles, handbag replacement items (like small hand sanitizer, breath mints, mini note pad), and the like.
Handbags stored in a drawer or a closet cubby or wilted on a shelf can quickly lose shape or become ruined by creases or rubbing against each other. However, you can preserve your bags and make them look fabulous.
You can stuff your handbags with quilted shapers that preserve their shape, protecting your investment and giving the closet that coveted boutique look. In addition, it will be a more joyful experience to look at your bags while deciding which one you will take out for that day.
If you like that idea but feel the investment is for someone else, achieve the same result by inflating Ziplock bags to the appropriate size and stuffing them with them. Packing paper and bubble wrap do an excellent job as well.
You could also place your bags on special purse hangers or put your folded handbags in baskets or bins on your closet shelves. However, this last alternative is better for synthetic material bags.
There are many products in the market to preserve the shape of your boots. But the same company that makes the quilted stuffers for handbags also makes them for boots. These are called Innies. But despite the number of products available, rolled magazines and stuffing paper will do just fine.
When no shelving or cubby space is available to display your boots, hang them with special boot hangers.
Shoes should be off the floor, preferably on shelves. This way, they are easier to access and don’t get lost in the infinite depths of your closet, gathering dust. You are more likely to rotate their use this way as well.
Some closets already have unique shelving or cubbies for shoes. But if this is not your case, you can incorporate a shoe rack that makes selecting your shoes more accessible.
Sometimes, removing a closet rod and making space for a shoe wall makes sense. We know of an excellent company that specializes in walls of shoes! 😊
When space is an issue with the closet, a clever shoe solution is the over-the-door hanging shoe bag. This bag utilizes the door space to store your shoes. Please note this alternative works best when the shoe collection is small!
If your closet has shelves, particularly the highest shelf, you should have stackable shoe boxes. These protect your shoes from dust but let you see the contents. You might incorporate shoe boxes with lids or boxes with front lids that eliminate the need to remove boxes above, to get that fabulous pair you want to take for a stroll. The shoe box option most uses the vertical space above your highest shelf.
Scarves can go on hangers in your closet, in front, or behind your tops section.
Hanging your scarves prevents wrinkles and gives them greater visibility so you might use them more often. Try using a hanger per piece.
You may choose to store your scarves in a drawer. If so, fold them neatly or roll them to avoid wrinkles. Then, place them in a divided drawer container or insert, preferably in a shallow drawer.
And how about repurposing an old shoe rack to create a formidable scarf display? We did that for a client once, and the result was exciting.
Belts & Ties
You need special hangers for belts and ties if you or your partner wear belts or ties. But belts bunched on a wire hanger or ties sliding off improvised solutions don’t work.
Drawer space permitting, you could roll each one of these items and place them in a shallow drawer fitted with the right divided drawer insert. Rolled ties and belts in a drawer create a colorful, accessible display.
When the drawer option is deep, make two or three layers of divided inserts per drawer.
If you own large hats, consider using hat boxes. These preserve your hats’ shape and protect them from dust.
When space is a concern, use wall space to install hooks to hang your hats. This idea works great for caps as well.
Jewelry Trays – The Container Store
Would you prefer your jewelry in stackable trays in your closet or your dresser in the bedroom? Or would you rather have a utility board on the wall to enjoy an artsy jewelry display?
If your closet is ample, you might have space to create a jewelry section. There are countless ideas to design this space so that you can enjoy your jewelry. Just check on Pinterest and be overwhelmed!
On the other hand, if your closet lacks the space to include jewelry, consider using stackable trays. Stackable trays are versatile, adaptable to your needs, and sit over your dresser or another flat area.
Before you decide on a jewelry system, though, make sure to edit your jewelry collection. All too often, jewelry is a forgotten category of items, and we tend to accumulate it without purging it.
After deciding what is still relevant, select the system that will hold the kind, size, and amount of jewelry pieces you keep. The critical factor is to have all your jewelry in one area, preferably using a single storage system.
Travel Bags & Suitcases
Only put away your suitcases and bags after emptying them first. The amount of trash collected from our clients’ handbags and suitcases is astonishing. Things get easily lost this way. Emptying suitcases and bags after every trip makes packing easier for the next one. It is easier to start fresh than to grapple with all the junk and expired products that remain in the bags from your last trip.
Befriend Your Closet
Avoid a closet that laughs at you in the morning and yells, “Ha! Good luck finding something nice to wear here.” Instead, every day your closet should invite you in. But it is up to you to make this happen.
Keeping it in order is essential for your peace of mind regardless of your closet size. Getting ready in the morning sets the tone for your day.
Start your day with a beautiful and organized closet.
Not sure you can do this on your own? You don’t have to! Contact My Space Reclaimed, LLC, to get professional organizing assistance.
This post is not about “tips and tricks” about how or where to store your things. Instead, I will bring you a simple but highly overlooked truth.
Do you need it out there?
We all need certain things handy. I hear it all the time – “Oh, this is out here because we use it all the time, and we need it handy.”
Let’s consider this for a moment.
If you have already purged everything that does not serve your life anymore, what you keep then is something you or your household members need.
But if we apply the same reasoning that “it’s out there because we use it all the time,” everything you own would be “out here.”
Can you visualize the chaos?
You’d be surprised at the unused or underutilized space at home. And usually, the reasoning behind it goes: “It needs to be out here because we use it all the time.” So the issue might not even be a lack of storage space – quite the contrary!
“By leaving these things out in the open, we think we’re saving time when we need them, and we think we’re simplifying our lives, but the result is anything but. I call this the “convenience fallacy.” And it’s a huge source of the visual clutter in our homes.”
“Sure, by leaving them out, you may save a couple of seconds when you want to grab one of them. But for the other 99.9 percent of the time, they’re sitting out, where they create a visual distraction, get in the way, add to the disorganization of our spaces, and attract more clutter.”
A place for everything and everything in its place.
To get and remain organized, you need to have a place for each and every item in your home. Also, after using it, you must return everything where it belongs. Do this immediately and consistently; soon enough, it becomes a habit.
Even when you start a project or process that you can’t finish immediately, get in the habit of putting things back at the end of the day. You see, life happens. And many times, despite our best intentions to finish the next day what we started, we don’t.
And it might not happen that week or even that month (sounds familiar?). There will be supplies, tools, equipment, and materials in odd places – anywhere but where these things should go. And stuff remains wherever for months and years while new, incomplete projects come into the picture.
A few things left out of place due to frequent use will soon justify all other things we use often left out of place. And eventually, only very few things are in their rightful place in the home. By then, the chaos around the house affects your productivity, joy, sleep, and life. What’s worse, your mind might not be getting what your body and intuition clearly perceive.
And it doesn’t matter how well organized the home gets to be at a particular moment. When everyday habits don’t support that order, the mess will return (and with a vengeance).
Continued effort is essential.
The idea behind organizing is to make life easier. Hence, in developing organizing systems, item accessibility and frequency of use must be considered.
However, that does not mean that a well-organized place with great systems does not require any effort. There must be a balance between the convenience of having an organized home, the ease of using our belongings, and the effort that maintains order in the house.
Your belongings might be easier to find once everything is organized (even labeled). Still, everything needs to return where they belong every time items are used. After all, that’s key to finding those things again quickly.
Many people struggle to understand their disorganization at home. Some buy containers or storage solutions. Others go after the latest trend in organizing and trying various things.
Unfortunately, the result is usually less than satisfactory or doesn’t last. This happens when the basics of home organizing are overlooked. And no fad, gimmick, or container will ever help. The truth is that three basic steps are necessary for the organization to stick.
Let go of all the excess in your life (clutter)
Designate a proper, permanent place for every item you own
Place everything back where it belongs after each use.
Those three steps are fundamental to maintaining an organized space.
Note that the first point is letting go of the clutter. You’ll inevitably have to face your clutter issue while designating a place for everything you own. Clutter must go away, and you’ll have to make critical decisions.
It’s the only way to open up the space needed to store what you intentionally decide to keep.
Let’s help with that initial push.
If your home has never been in top shape, you might need help with that initial organizing effort. The initial organizing of the house can be a profoundly confusing process for many people. If that is your case and you don’t know where to start, do not hesitate to seek help. We can assist you with the initial organizing but, most importantly, help you develop the systems and methods to keep your home space in great shape. Let’s chat!
When we have a dedicated guestroom, can we keep it ready to receive guests? It means keeping it empty of our stuff, decorated with a cozy atmosphere, and perhaps a couple of things to wow guests.
Maintaining our belongings out of the guestroom makes it easier to control our things. It simplifies everything. I can’t imagine the stress it would cause me to have random things in random places in my home, not knowing where’s what.
What The Guestroom Is Not
The guestroom should not be the dumpster for all the unwanted gifts you have received, your wedding dress or formal attire, gift-wrapping supplies, unpacked boxes from your last move, and old pictures in frames you’d rather avoid. Each of these things has a logical place – different from the guestroom.
If you’ve worked with My Space Reclaimedbefore, you know the logical place for each item in your home. But if you are still determining the best storage area for any of the stuff you want to store in your guestroom, I will be happy to point you in the right direction.
It is common for people to place random stuff wherever there’s space available. But this practice is incompatible with an organized home. So, for example, would you place canned food in a bathroom cabinet because it has some open space? (And if you answered yes, stop reading now – nothing here will make sense to you).
Keeping our belongings out of the guestroom also avoids the last-minute scramble to remove stuff from that space when guests come over. Or heaven forbids the need to make a little space for a guest or two so they can accommodate their things in the guestroom.
Please don’t do this unless you want your guests to feel unwelcome. The message given is that they’re interrupting how you live. I would not feel at ease as a guest in such a situation. I’d hate to feel I’m causing my host inconvenience or additional work.
What Every Guestroom Should Have
So, now that we know what not to place in that guestroom, let’s touch on what we should include.
Other than maintaining the room empty of our belongings, paying attention and intention to the guestroom makes total sense. We want to ensure the place is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, cozy, and inviting. To achieve that, let’s use simple, neutral décor, and cozy ambiance, anticipate our guests’ needs, and implement details that truly make a difference.
We must consider the following elements to create unforgettable experiences for our home guests.
Choose a medium-firm mattress (in whatever size you need the bed to be). If the bed frame does not have a headboard, create one, or buy a panel to install on the wall behind the bed. The headboard makes the bed feel warm and determines bed placement.
Choose white, solid sheets and pillowcases of the same set (try bamboo!). Get two additional pillowcases every time you buy a sheet set. In addition, invest in four firm pillows (two, if the bed is twin size), a mattress protector, and pillow protectors (waterproof but that don’t feel plastic). Use the bed recipe for that upscale look. https://www.stagingstudio.com/bed-recipe-video
Include one nightstand for a twin bed or two nightstands for a double bed, queen, or king size. Include a full-length mirror, whether heavily framed, on the floor against the wall or a simple long mirror installed inside the closet door or wall. Don’t forget a dresser!
Choose simple curtain panels and modern-looking hardware. When deciding on panel measurements, consider that those come in standard sizes and that the appropriate length for these is touching the floor and lightly pooling at the bottom. Choose darkening / temperature-regulating curtain panels for added convenience for your guests.
The darkening / temperature-regulating curtain panels will help control the temperature in the room. Also, because chances are the guest bedroom does not have a separate thermostat, ensure that the room’s overhead lighting fixture includes a fan—the least number of items you need to add to the room, the better. Floor fans and space heaters do not contribute to an enticing look in a room.
Include limited wall décor that is simple, size-appropriate, and not about you, your family, politics, or religion.
Lighting is crucial for ambiance and functionality. In bedrooms, warm (yellow) light is the way to go. Install warm light bulbs on the ceiling fan light fixture. Also, add a table lamp on each nightstand, plus another on the dresser. Use warm light bulbs on all light fixtures in the room. Replace any burnout lightbulb at once. Do not mix different kinds of lightbulbs (color or power).
A Well-Appointed Bathroom
Place perfectly white (preferably new) bath towels or sheets on towel bars and hand towels on towel rings by the sink. Ensure the toilet, sink, and shower/bathtub work well without annoying leaks. Add a size-appropriate shower mat or rug in front of the shower and the sink area. Do not use toilet covers or mats around the toilet! Include a 3-8 gallon trashcan and line in with a transparent trash bag of the appropriate size. If the bathroom has a shower, install a new liner for its shower curtain. Better yet, consider a hookless shower curtain (eliminating the need for hooks and including a removable, washable fabric liner). Choose a solid shower curtain in white, preferably. Fit the countertop with a tissue box cover and a matching soap dispenser. (Place a tissue box in the dispenser and fill the soap dispenser).
Selected Travel-Sized Toiletries
Your guests will probably bring their toiletries. However, you want to be prepared for those impromptu stays and unforeseen mishaps. Consider buying these items in travel size: Q-tips, cotton, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, disposable razor, hairspray, shaving cream, nail clipper, mini brush, mini comb, moisturizing lotion, feminine supplies, tissue, wipes. Organize these neatly in drawer organizers (inserts) in one of the bathroom’s most accessible drawers.
Stock the bathroom cabinet over the toilet with extra rolls of paper (without the plastic wrapper!) and a couple of tissue boxes. If the bathroom does not have a cabinet over the toilet, use another nearby cabinet area).
Include 10-12 wooden, sturdy hangers in the closet. Add a skinny square or rectangular hamper that complements the room décor. Include 1-2 additional pillows (with pillow protectors and corresponding pillowcases) and a blanket.
It goes without saying, but the bedroom, the closet, and the bathroom should be spotless. Look up to see that the fan and air vents are dust-free. Pay attention to baseboards and crown moldings. Avoid plug-in scents and candles since these items require monitoring and can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals. Also, scents are very personal, subjective elements.
Electronics / Safety
Add a charger for your guest’s electronics on one or both nightstands. Include a small flashlight in the nightstand drawer if the power goes off. Use a plug-in nightlight in the bedroom and the bathroom and a couple of these in the hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom (when it’s not inside the room) and to the kitchen. Include a home automation device (such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home).
Coffee / Water / Snacks
Space permitting, place a coffee maker with a few hot-cold disposable cups, stirrers, and individual serving format coffee accessories (sweetener, cream pods). Add a small decorative box or basket with prepacked snacks (such as granola, cereal bars, and individual-size packs of almonds or peanuts) and two water bottles.
Add a clear vase with fresh flowers (minimal leaves) filled ¾ with water. Add a white or beige bathrobe and plush socks or sandals to the closet.
So, to provide your guests with an unforgettable stay that could become the stuff of legend, pay close attention to those guestroom details and anticipate their needs.
Intentional storage means considering what we keep to determine how to keep it. However, in talking about intentional storage, we must mention something more fundamental: putting things down versus putting things away.
Putting Things Away
A simple life with fewer things means that we can adequately contain the contents of the house and develop sound systems around the use and care of those possessions.
A home that operates in this way is a home that facilitates putting things away instead of putting things down.
Putting things down is the beginning of the end in terms of organization. Putting things away after using them every single time is a fundamental habit to develop to have a home that breathes peace and order.
But it is much easier to learn to put things away consistently when everything has a logical, designated place in the home and things comfortably fit where they should go.
Containers Keep Us Accountable
I heard Joanna from The Home Edit say something that stuck with me because it is so accurate, and I never thought of putting it into words as she did. She said: “Containers keep us accountable.”
I can see now why their organizing method always includes all that micro-organization and over-division of stuff. The more (appropriate) containerization, the easier it is to determine when our stuff is becoming too much – they’ll start spilling over.
When things start spilling over, we must decide (if we don’t want clutter to take over) what we should let go of or if that group of items has grown for a legitimate change that might require a permanent change in space planning. And this is what being intentional with the storage means.
The Why Dictates The How
Suppose you love crafting, embroidery in particular. And you have a section in your home office with all those supplies needed for your hobby. At some point, your hobby turned into a business possibility. So, you decide to pursue embroidery as an income-generating activity. Now you’ll need much more material and supplies and probably more significant, better equipment to handle production.
In this case, it makes sense to “set shop” on a different part of the house dedicated to these activities, transform your home office into the facility you need, or even rent some industrial space. Either of these alternatives calls for a total change in how you gather, store, and use your embroidery supplies, materials, and tools.
Having a ton of new material available because your mother-in-law gave you a bunch of stuff over the holidays is not a reason to overflow or change the storage system that has worked for you so far. If you received embroidery material that you were not expecting or needing, you should decide:
whether to keep the new stuff and get rid of the previous material
sell or donate the new stuff
keep parts of each collection and give away the rest
The two cases are different, but deciding and acting intentionally is necessary in both.
If an intentional decision is not made, all that additional material will hang around the carefully appointed system and previously set containers. As a result, it won’t look as contained anymore nor be as functional as it was.
When Storage Space Is Minimal
And one more thing! If the home of your dreams has minimal storage space, some “stored” items might not be concealed (as in open storage). So, when stuff needs to be in view like that, the trick is to blend that with the design and make it “disappear” from view.
You’ll need some out-of-the-box thinking to achieve this. And finding the right storage solution means transforming potential eyesores into space enhancers, conversation pieces, and even eye candy. How about that? Are you up to the challenge?
The Lived-In Design: What she wanted to know about when she asked how anyone could live in a beautifully designed home.
A client once asked me how some people can have “cute things and display them.” She wanted to know how some live in such a way they have space to display décor items and make them look good. From her perspective, this was impossible.
The question does not surprise me, given that some people engage a Professional Organizer because they don’t want to live in a chaotic environment any longer. That means they call an Organizer because they do live in chaos.
But I have thought about this question for a long time and realized the answer lies in that inverse relationship between clutter and design.
What A Stylish House Doesn’t Need
Look at this picture (@flamingos.home). What do you notice? Or rather, what do you not see?
You can appreciate this design due to the absence of elements that pull your attention somewhere else, like clutter.
And clutter happens for two main reasons:
(1) Owning excessive stuff – Renders even the best storage space incapable of containing and concealing all the stuff.
(2) The lack of decision-making about things at any given moment – Causes stuff to land (and stay) anywhere in the home.
Although most people would not consider their homes magazine-worthy, as long as we have four walls and a roof, we can make the space as beautiful and incredible as we wish. Elegance, style, and luxury have less to do with money and the size of your home and more with taste, simplicity, and attention to detail.
But it seems challenging for many to envision the possibilities in their homes. Could this be because their homes’ clutter prevents the imagination from visualizing what they desire?
What Happens To That Magic?
Clutter prevents us from seeing the beauty of the home’s potential. But clutter also physically occupies the space that should be left available for new and better things to come into our lives.
I have extensively discussed the model home magic Vs. the nightmare of moving day. We fall in love with a beautifully designed, perfectly appointed model home, but somehow the magic disappears on moving day as quickly as it came.
Why does it feel so different even when we selected the same model home, building choices, and décor? This probably happens because:
(1) It is our stuff there now. And our stuff seems less than exciting in contrast to our new home.
(2) We see all our stuff together while moving in. It makes a big difference. This wonderful space now seems overcrowded and will be for a while until we get it under control.
(3) With the moving process as messy and disjointed as it usually is, stuff seems even messier and uglier than ever.
Puff! Magic gone.
Where The Stuff Is
Add to this scenario the prospect of living out of boxes for a while (there’s no time to put things away, and life is hectic anyway).
And at some level, we also recognize that wherever and however things land in the home on moving day, they will remain for the next three years or so.
Things might quickly improve if we engage some help, like a professional organizer, designer services, cleaning personnel, and such. The new home will probably thrill us again soon. And this better happens soon. A home is one of the most important investments we will ever make. So, we should care how we feel about it.
Life After Moving In
Everyone gets crazy about model homes, HGTV shows(the reveal is grand, right?), architectural digest magazine, and all those amazing home designs on Instagram and Pinterest. However, only a few make the connection between a marvelous design they love and the reality of the day-to-day living in that space.
No one talks about what happens after people move into a new home or back in with their belongings after a renovation. Having this conversation requires people to confront their mess demons and out-of-control buying. But, of course, nobody wants to go there.
Enjoying the beauty and style of a new home does not happen automatically. After moving in, we must work on it. Even the best design might get drowned in clutter. Clutter is the noise that distracts our senses from the beauty of the space and interrupts how we experience our home.
The Role of Empty Space
And aside from speaking of design, it is essential to honor space in the home. So many have issues with unoccupied space and try to stuff things in best-left-empty areas (“because I have some space there”).
However, a house should be a living space, not storage. Space is our friend, and it is best to make peace with it. Space is to the home like a white mat is to a piece of art – it enhances its beauty by isolating it.
It is possible to have a lived-in design. Clutter just has to go.