pillow with my happy place written on it

Ten Practical Tips to Conquer Clutter for Good

Storage and organization go hand in hand with design. You can create the most beautiful space, but if it has clutter, who can enjoy it or feel good in it? As I keep saying; It is all about Designing to be happy!

Clutter means different things to different people. To some, it means it is time to clean out the junk drawer. But to others, it can be a much bigger deal, and may even prevent them from entertaining in their home. If left un-managed, it can create tension between family members, cause stress, and unhappiness.

How much clutter do you have? Whether you have a little or a lot, these tips can help you can conquer it.

Clutter in our home can cause us stress

Tip 1 of 10- Design with storage in mind

If you live in small quarters, it is easy to accumulate clutter simply because there are not enough places to store items. Try to reduce what you have by eliminating doubles and things that you don’t use often. Next, make sure you are using your closets and other storage areas as efficiently as possible. Be very selective when choosing furniture. Tall furniture pieces take advantage of verticle space and provide much-needed storage. A credenza with storage space can be utilized behind a sofa and would be a better choice than a console table that does not have storage space. It is incredible how much extra space can be found with good design.

Tip 2 of 10- Thin out the excess

If you can’t blame the lack of space, perhaps you have too much stuff. Over the years, we acquire and inherit, and the result is the burden of caring for much more than we need. In some cases, it becomes overwhelming. When this occurs in your life, it is time to thin out what you have. This task is sometimes difficult because there are emotional reasons that prevent us from letting go. Let go of things that don’t fit into your ultimate design plan. Permit yourself to give away items that you have felt obligated to keep.

Tip 3 of 10- Develop good organization habits

Some people are innately good at keeping things organized. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, it just means you have to work a little harder at it. Start by making a conscious effort to make sure everything has a designated space and that it gets returned to it’s named home after use.

Tip 4 of 10- Throw out what is of no use

Throw out anything you don’t want, and that would be of no use to others. Get rid of old paperwork, broken household items, tattered towels, comforters, sheets. Completing this step first frees up space in which other belongings can be stored.

Closet systems can help control clutter

Tip 5 of 10- Give away


It is easier to lighten the load if you find your once treasured belongings a new home. If you don’t use it or need it, see if friends or family have a use for it. That way, you did something nice for yourself and someone else! Also, there is a fabulous website called freecycle that helps put you in touch with community members who might be searching for the very item you are looking to give away.

Tip 6 of 10- Donate to charity

Donating to a charity is great to do too. Some will even pick up clothing and household items that you would like to donate. I confess that I am guilty of arranging a pick up before getting donations together to get my family to clean out their closets. That tactic has a 100% success rate.

Tip 7 of 10- Sell unwanted items with significant value

Technology makes it easy to turn unwanted items that are valuable into cash. Craigslist, facebook marketplace, let it go, and next-door are great places to post the items you wish to sell. They are also an excellent resource to determine the value of the things you are selling.

Tip 8 of 10- Box up items that are difficult to let go of

If you are finding it difficult to part with some items, try boxing them up in plastic totes and storing them for a while. The plastic totes keep your items safe. If a year goes by and you have not looked for the things you packed up, it may be easier for you to bring them to a donation shop.

Tip 9 of 10- Go digital when possible to get rid of paper clutter

Try going digital if you must retain it—besides not taking up physical space in your home, it will be easier to find when you need it. Digital works great for papers but also can work for keepsakes from the past. Try taking photos of each thing, and then permit yourself to let go of the actual items. You will still be able to enjoy them.

checklist of what has to be done to remove clutter
Make a list of goals and then check off as you make progress

Tip 10 of 10- Take small steps

Be careful about pulling everything out all at once and becoming overwhelmed. If you have a lot to go through, remember that it took a long time to collect, and it may take some time to clear out. Be patient, and keep forging ahead. Taking small steps is still working in the right direction and eventually will get you to your goal.

boat painting

Incorporate Good Mood Influence Into Your Decor

This week’s focus is on how to incorporate good mood influence into your decor. What is a good mood influencer? Red wine? Sure but, we are talking about decor, so that is not what I mean. It is anything that makes you smile. Don’t you want to look around your home and smile? This is an important component of creating a space that is perfect for you and that will add to your happiness.

I am sure that you have incorporated some good mood influencers into your decor already. Look around your home and consciously look for things in your home that give you a positive emotional reaction when you see them. Now, are there ways to incorporate more good mood influencers into your decor? Of course, there is and I bet you didn’t think of some of them…..

Shows an example of a family photo wall
Pictures of loved ones can be good mood influencers

Family Photo Walls

The easiest way of incorporating good mood influence into your decor is by decorating with family pictures. A family gallery wall made up of old and new photos is a great way to surround yourself with treasured memories. When hanging a grouping of photos, I like to either use all different frames painted one color or all of the same frames in one or two colors. Gallery walls can have other elements worked into them, too, to add interest. Consider adding a shelf with a few accessories or canvases with quotes. 

To make an interesting arrangement, I lay everything out on the floor and move them around until I find a configuration that pleases me. I usually pick the biggest item for the middle and then work outward. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical, but it must balance. Once I have determined their best placement, I transfer it to the wall and hang. If you create a grouping and can’t hang them all that second, take a picture of them so you can remember the arrangement you decided on. If I had a dollar for every time I thought I didn’t need to do that because I would remember, … 

Art is a way to incorporate good mood influence into your decor

The picture of boat is an example of how to incorporate good mood influence into your decor.
Photo of a boat was made to look like a painting

I worked with a family who spent their summers sailing. They had a gorgeous picture of their boat, which they had used computer software on in order to make look as if it were an oil painting and had had it printed quite large on canvas. It was beautiful. They brought their boat right into their living room! The picture made a great design impact and had huge meaning to the family. The lesson here is to think out of the box to incorporate good mood influencers into your decor.

Mementos on shelves can make you smile

Personal Collections as Good Mood Influencers

Many people have collections. They take pride in them and enjoy looking at them. Depending on the items being collected, they can and should be displayed. However, there are ways to do this to keep a space visually pleasing.

First, they should have a dedicated space and be grouped together. Things have more of an impact in a group rather than scattered about. Their dedicated space could be a curio cabinet; a shelf; or, for some large collections, even a room. The golden rule is not to let the collection grow to the point that it takes over and becomes visually overwhelming. If you dedicate a shelf, and you run out of space, consider rotating what is displayed from time to time.  This will keep your eye seeing and loving what is there, rather than becoming accustomed to it and letting it lose its magic for you. 

When accessorizing shelves and furniture pieces, things usually look better in odd numbers. When staging a shelf or curio cabinet, group things together that have some commonality. For example, display all glass pieces. This could be vases, candlesticks, glasses, figurines, etc. When accessorizing a piece of furniture, I like to group items of varying heights, and groups of threes work well. 

More Reading to Enjoy


Even though this week was an exceptionally busy week, I still managed to get in my screen time. I stumbled upon another blogger who shared some of my own thoughts about our home environment being connected to our well being and happiness. If you get some time check out Decorating to Freshen Up Life, which I found completely validating. For more ideas on how to incorporate some more good mood influencers into your decor, check out, 10 Easy look good, feel-good ideas you can do today.