organize

Useful or Beautiful - Part 1

I'm sure you may be familiar with this quote from the well known textile designer William Morris:

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."


(photo credit Morris & Co)

Ahh... doesn't that sound so simple? When we think about our homes it's easy to get caught up in our consumer culture, or the latest trend and before we know it we have accumulated a mass quantity of things we don't use, or don't even like that much but hold onto anyway. Since spring officially starts tomorrow now is a great time for a little spring cleaning & a good declutter.

The ultimate goal is to pull a room together and make a few really special pieces stand out. In order to do that we need to reduce the excess clutter and simplify the surroundings! Here are a few tricks I find helpful to make the purge, and strategies to stay on top of it.

step 1: the purge

WHAT:

Define what it is that you like, don't like, or don't use. What are your goals for the room - Do you need a cohesive color scheme? Large scale artwork to offset smaller items?  Updated furniture?  Then decide what you have that doesn't work towards your main goal and put it aside. 

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WHERE:

Start with one room at a time to avoid being overwhelmed. Pare things down to what you need and like (useful or beautiful) and see if you can repurpose an item in another room. Eventually work your way through the entire house until you have a clean slate.

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WHEN:

Ideally you'll look to purge all the time. Whenever you look at something and think it should be replaced, updated, don't like it anymore etc - put it aside. Our tastes change and evolve every few years, so it's good to keep updating frequently so our home evolve with our tastes, instead of putting things off until it feels overwhelming. Doing it often and in small doses won't feel so emotionally & physically draining either. Consider purging with each change of the season - did you use all winter decor this past season or can you purge some of it?

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HOW:

Pick a method below or try a combo to see what works best for you. A big part of purging is how you feel about the stuff you're getting rid of. If you can rationalize letting things go you'll be much better at staying on top of purging!

1- Keep an ongoing donation box in your home. (my favorite)

Designate a basket or box in a small corner of your home. As soon as you grab something from your closet that doesn't fit well, or you just don't love anymore put it in there!! Same with any serving dishes in your kitchen, decorations, surplus office supplies, technology, toys, etc. The goal of this is to "temporarily" get rid of it. For many this is a much easier decision to make because it's not final. If you need to just "grab that shirt" in a pinch you can since it's still in your house. But most likely you will gradually keep adding to that donation box and then forget what you've even put in there. Then in a few months it's one step closer to the door and it's time to make a donation!

2- Donate while it's still good!

Nobody gets excited about buying anything second hand that is damaged. The trick to making a great donation is to get rid of things BEFORE they are destroyed. As you start loosing interest in an item don't feel bad about getting rid of it - someone else will appreciate it that much more!

3- Sell or consign

So you spent quite a bit on that side chair and kind of regret it? Try selling it on your own through a resource like Craigslist or Ebay. Or try finding a consignment store in the area to help you do it and share a bit of profit. This is a win-win because people love to buy nice items for a fraction of the price and the seller gets to recoup some of the cost! When I sell an item on Craigslist for example I try to research what a "new" similar item would sell for, then offer mine for about half price.

4- If you're sentimental

Take a photo of your beloved object so you can always remember it. Most times it's just the memory of who gifted the item, rather than the actual item itself that brings you joy. So snap that photo of how you used it in your home, archive it on your computer, then share with joy with someone else!

If you're looking for a creative way to document some of your items check out this website:
www.ThingsOrganizedNeatly.com

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I hope you found this post to be helpful! This is Part 1 of 3 so check back soon for more tips on keeping your objects from owning you! Also if you're interested in some local resources drop me a line - I'd be happy to share what I found helpful in the area!

 

Cheers!

     

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Bringing the Outdoors Inside Is Only Good Sometimes...

As I was gathering my thoughts for this post with Mother's Day quickly approaching I was thinking about all the different things I could show that a mom would love. Then I was thinking a mom would probably love nothing more than for her life to be a little simpler... just one less thing to take care of, right? And considering it's just the beginning of the messy outdoor season with gardening, yardwork, and generally muddy feet tracking in the great outdoors.... I thought that perhaps the idea of a mudroom could make a mom happy. A place where muddy feet stay, bags get tossed, wet rain drenched coats hung... and nothing filthy goes past this barrier so the house stays fresh and clean, ahhhh....

 

Are you with me on this? What do you think? Is this something a mom would appreciate? Here are some ideas for a mudroom that you could work into any space.

 

If you don't have alot of room for a built-in try framing out some cubbies around a window. This offers plenty of storage while still letting the light in. I would even suggest making the cubby in front of the window lower to create a window seat.

 

See how this concept puts the bench nice and low below the windows to create a seat? Cubbies with baskets neatly stacked above eachother are kept towards one side. Tile floor is easy to clean and the carpet catches all the mess.

 

If you have a cubby area or nook near the entry create an alcove for stashing your stuff. This Mediterranean design is just beautiful, look at that tile!  Try a rug by the door for wiping feet! They probably look bad in photos but they are very practical :)
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A Home Office On My Mind

Well it's been a whirlwind few months for my professional life but I am happy to say that I have officially transitioned into a full time consultant! I will be able to spend more time decorating as well as continue designing products on a contract basis. During this transition period I spent a lot of time thinking about home offices and how I wanted to set mine up. Last year I carved out space in our house that I could call my own and it has worked great so far. But with the additional work I'll be doing at home (including sketching and hands on work) I decided to bring in more storage for supplies and rearrange the room a bit.

I generally feel lucky to have a home office in the digital era - I am trying to go as paperless as possible! For those items I do need to have on hand closed storage is the way to go keeping clutter at bay and workflow efficient.  I'll upload some pictures of the updated office but for now here are some pictures for inspiration!

 

This home office color is kept pretty neutral with strong black accents. The versatile desk desk allows seating on either side and a variety of built-in storage. Window seat keeps furniture needs simple and curtain warms up the room with subtle pattern.

Modern Home Office
by Minneapolis Interior Designer INVIEW Interior Design


Glossy office is serene with just white and silver. Lots of storage and floating desk allows a spot for visitors to pull up a chair.

Contemporary Home Office
by Irvine Interior Designer Nagwa Seif Interior Design


This office is tucked away in a little corner. Built-in storage utilizes a small alcove in room and painted a soft green to coordinate with the wallpaper.
Traditional Home Office
by Charleston Interior Designer LORRAINE G VALE, Allied ASID

 

Great idea for an office turned guest room. Murphy beds tuck away when you don't need them but unfold to provide a full size bed.

Contemporary Home Office
by Orange Closets And Organization Tailored Living

 

If you have a shed or backyard space have you considered an outdoor office? I've seen so many great ideas for modular outdoor offices! Maybe I'll even do a separate post on these...


Contemporary Exterior
by Sydney Architect Danny Broe Architect

 

Quick Tips: Organizing the Kitchen

The kitchen always seems to be a vortex of circulating activity where things get thrown in all directions and are easily misplaced. And that can be especially frustrating in a small kitchen space! The more organization you can add to a kitchen the cleaner it will stay and the easier it will be to use it. While there are many beautiful custom cabinets with storage galore, here are a few tips that focus on small kitchens and ways to add organization without a renovation.