WHEN LESS REALLY IS MORE
Creating order allows for ease and effeciency in day to day life. But you don't have to sacrifice beauty! Here are my systems for de-cluttering, organizing, and decorating your space.
I love a warm cozy eclectic look. This can sometimes look cluttered though. So how do you keep your treasures and still find the homey look you want? The trick is to just get started.
“Does this bring me complete joy? Do I use this? Does this hold value for my present and future? Can I capture the feeling this brings through a photo?"
Memories through THINGS seem important and create a sense of tradition and feeling that is almost unexplainable. It's likely you could name a few mementos right now that seem hard to part with. We've all been there. Year after year, presents add up, and the feeling that we NEED something more means we buy stuff. Our consumeristic lifestyle has our whole culture out of control, me included. Especially because I get hungry for new beauty. But everything that comes into a space should be fully considered, and often if something comes in, something already in place needs to leave.
LESS IS MORE
1- START SMALL: Pick a space that drives you crazy, but a small space. Your car? A junk drawer? Your closet?
2- COMMIT TO THE PROCESS: After deciding on the space, chose a time frame to complete the process. Add a little pressure to help you dig in.
4- MAKE 4 PILES:
C- Give Away (recycle, etc.)
D- Don't Know
5- SEPARATE: Order your space by placing everything into the 4 piles. You can also use post it notes with the same labels as above if things are too substantial to move. Once everything is placed in their piles, deal with the piles. Start with garbage. Get rid of what you need to by taking it completely out of your space. Next take your give away pile to your car so it's also out of your space and ready for it's next step.
6- DON'T KNOW: Go through this pile and re-ask thesed questions:
A- Do I use this? (Have I used this in the past 6 months?)
B- Does this bring me complete JOY?
C- Does this hold value for my present and my future?
D- Can I capture the feeling this gives me through a photo?
Try to get your "Don't know" pile cut in half it's original size. Or sometimes it's good to just say "fuck it" and get rid of it anyway. This is where having HELP really comes in handy.
7- KEEP? Re-go through this pile too and see if you can find that place inside of you that can fully commit to letting go. Ask yourself the above questions. Then ask yourself this:
"Why am I holding on?"
8- ORGANIZE! I love this part of the process. This is where form and function find their way into beautiful design. Finding clever ways to order and hide the ugly but necessary items is actually pretty fun! Organizing itself deserves it's very own blog. Start with things like "colour" "importance" or even "alphabetical" depending on what specifically you are working with.
If you are going to spend money, this is where it's going to be used. But don't think you have to go crazy here either. Obviously professionally organized layouts are benificial, but you don't have to break your budget to find solutions. I've used plenty of dollar store finds and have made things look very luxurious. I am also big on used goods and re-vamping what i already have.
Baskets, containers, hangars, compartments and labels are your best friends when organizing and I cannot emphasize enough how important this process is. Knowing that everything has it's own place is essential for time management and ease.
9- CREATE BEAUTY: Once you have processes in place, systems that create a space where function is met, then you get to bring in the beauty. I love this part. It's where you really get to highlight the "stuff" and the "things" you really love that hold importance. Chose ways to showcase your treasures using design rules like:
A- FUNCTIONALITY: The goal in making a space beautiful is to produce an ambience that suits the role of the space. Determining the function of the space changes how you create beauty. For example, an office needs completely different lighting than a bedroom space, and knowing this determines how you infuse beauty into your space. Everything in your space should have a place that is accessible for its purpose. When things have a place, your mind is at ease because you wont have to go looking when things don't get lost.
B- LIGHTING: using either created or natural light can make a big difference in showing off your delights. Art especially needs proper lighting to really create the beauty and thoughtfulness that was intended.
C- SYMMETRY & BALANCE: The eye loves properly placed arrangements and finding the center is key to ensuring a room that is appealing. Matching halves don't necessarily mean two of everything. Understand that balance is about even-ing a space to orient the eye to a desireable pattern. Psychology actually shows us that familiarity in symetry allows the aesthetically pleasing design elements we see to feel good in our brain. Esentially this means balance makes us happy!
D- RULE OF ODDS: Most items on display should be arranged in odd numbers.
1, 3, and 5 are the most popular. Sometimes you can bypass this rule, but generally speaking, if you don't know, stick to the odds.
E- FOCAL POINTS: Drawing attention to something interesting or welcoming is key to decorating a space. Using the Functionality rule, find the purpose of the room and draw the eye to it.
F: SPACE: Create breathing room. Once you have your focal points in place, allow for airy-ness to be present. Not everything needs something. Make room. You can do this by considering windows and mirrors too. Adding a mirror can sometimes double the feeling of air in a room.
G- TEXTURE & DEMENSION: Layering is a great design rule. Use opposing textures in tactile objects (smooth, soft, bumpy, etc.) as well as patterns and colours to make things interesting.
H- SCALE: Knowing the size of objects being placed into a space is essential. A high ceiling needs completely different furniture than a closed in smaller room. Understand the demensions of the object you are working with and use them to your benefit to make height where height is needed or width to a space that feels narrow. You can really trick the eye to find beauty by understanding scale.
10- UTILIZE YOUR SPACE: You will only know if your new systems of decluttering and ogranzing are working by using your space as it was meant. Creating habits are essential for feeling like you have "let go" of things for a purpose. The purpose is to increase ease and feel good. When you have systems in place that create beauty, your life runs more smoothly. You can stay on top of things feeling like your time is well managed and you know what is what. There are tricks to knowing if the process of decluttering and organizing have worked for you. Are you losing things? If the answer is yes, either your new system is wrong for you or you are not habitualy using the new system as it was meant. Re-visit everything above from time to time, especially after occasions where you recieve gifts.
I help clients all the time in the area of "Letting Go". Sometimes, it really is an emotional endeavor. The results of finding the "Less Is More" within your space can be dramatic and often life changing. There is a great deal of success in a clutter free mind. Now if only I could remember this rule when packing for vacation!