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.
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.
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.
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.