In the month ahead, we are about to consume a ton of both food and money. Let’s talk about purging our stuff and needing to make more room. Just as our stomachs only have so much space, so do our homes, businesses, and even our minds. Let’s first be grateful for all that we have but its time to declutter…
There’s a simple reason we need more space, we have too much stuff. Our rooms are not too small, there are simply too full with too many things in them. Try shifting the paradigm, instead of being persuaded to get rid of something, try having to defend why you should keep it. In my August’s post about Evolving rooms and flexible spaces. I mentioned that I would discuss storage in general at a later date. Below is an excerpt from that post:
Purge all unused items out of your space, it’s too expensive to fill with stuff you don’t use. Sell, donate, pass along, throw out, just make it leave. Clothes that don’t fit, rusty baking pans, old books, uncomfortable shoes, anything that doesn’t bring you joy or used daily is taking up expensive real estate in your home. Let it continue its journey and set yourself free! I recommend every season to get the stuff under control and from then on once a year to maintain the balance.
- Bedroom- Use closet organizers for clothes by type. Establish hanging vs. folded, stacked on shelves or in drawers. Buy a double bed for kids instead of twins for sleeping options flexibility. If you don’t have a linen closet, store bedding in each bedroom in the closet or in totes under the bed. To reduce furniture in small bedrooms, use wall mounted shelves, sconces, and place dressers in closets if needed.
- Clothes- Only keep clothes that are either sentimental or actively worn. Definitely keep hand me down clothes for your children in the future but not for yourself. If you no longer fit in an item, it has holes, stains, irritates, or is out of style then donate or toss it. When styles repeat as they always do, they are never the same. Your 80’s & 90’s clothes are just that, not the new 80’s and 90’s. Keep the classics, toss the trends.
- Kitchen- Raid the pantry cupboard and fridge for expired or forgotten food, then toss and donate. Keep your kitchen counter clear apart from appliances used daily. If possible, buy a table with self storing leaves or extensions. If there’s no basement, stash extra kitchen chairs in bedroom corners or use as desk chairs. Donate the collection of generic glass vases, warped baking pans, and old dish towels. Purge the Tupperware, mismatched mugs, and the fridge magnets.
- Bathroom- Toss out old toiletries, donate old towels, install hooks and wall shelves.
- Living/Family Room- Furniture should be scaled for the size of the room, first identify travel patterns and then arrange the furniture around those. Sort through old books and magazines, CD’s and DVD’s, then donate or sell.
- Paper- start a “touch the paper once” rule: pick it up, use it and file/recycle it. Shuffling papers around your desk wastes time and doesn’t help. Take photos of documents, use cloud software or external/jump drives for storage.
- Electronics- Organize cables and chargers, establish a home or station for them. Simplify the gadgets: multiple phones, tablets, laptop and a desktop is too much. Unless your job requires separate devices, scale it back.
- Furniture- Old office furniture is not a comforting look for your clients. Once you’ve depreciated the value on your taxes, no longer need it, and its way out of style, donate or trade it in to resale or refurbish. If you advertise your business as being current or cutting edge, but your conference room screams 1990, that’s a confusing message. Your physical office counts just as much for your branding image as your logo, webpage, and slogan. You wouldn’t wear a suit 25 years old so don’t make your office wear one either. If you can’t afford to replace all the furniture, be strategic in where the new furniture should go. Your staff’s daily comfort and the first impression of clients are paramount. Focus on ergonomic desk chairs and pleasant reception areas first then move on to replacing conference rooms and cubicles. I’ll address office furniture in more detail in a later post.
- Social media and email- Set a stopping time for the evening. Move to a relaxing activity such as listening to calming music or taking a shower. Sip a warm drink and start dimming the lights to induce a sleepy environment.
- Running errands- When going to and from errands, incorporate short walks to the end of the street, pause and stretch, then continue on your journey.
- Eating- Put the electronics down and really taste your food. Be aware of the speed you are eating, and look around you. Talk to the people you’re eating with and come out of the trough mentality.
In general, retain only sentimental and very useful items then either donate, toss or sell the rest. Resist the thoughts of “what if one day…” or “what if I might…”. Live in the now and make space for tomorrow. Not everything is sentimental, useful, or necessary.
Also, don’t feel like you have to do it all at once or that you don’t have time. If you watched tv last night, then you have time for one item, one cabinet, one room. I think you’ll find that once you start you won’t want to stop. Free yourself from the heavy emotional burden of all this clutter in your life and let the real you breathe. Just as roots need space to grow, people need it too.
Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ
Studio Owner & Interior Designer
Daricilar Design Studio – Medway, MA