The bane of good decorating is clutter. If you look at any good decorating magazine, you will see that the room photos are devoid of the mess, the litter and the confusion of things. This everyday muddle we bring into the home—or receive by mail—obscures great design. The lines of furniture go unnoticed because our eyes can’t take in the details. Colors are buried under things. The natural patterns of the room are buried under stuff.
“… everyday muddle we bring into the home…”
Take this ten minute test: Go around your living room, say, and remove any leftover clothing—the stray sweater, the socks, etc. Now take out the glasses, and any dishware from snacks or quick nibbles. Throw away coupons, telephone notes (transpose them first), miscellaneous catalogs, mail inserts, and magazines. Put nail clippers, pens, and any other detritus of life in the drawers.. Now take away anything that hides the furniture. Just for the sake of comfort however, return the throw and couch pillow. Ah-h-h. Do you begin to see the room in a fresher, cleaner light?
One other trick: If you have candles, small boxes, or any other decorative items, group them on a decorative tray. In fact, see how many tray grouping you can create. The simple fact of corralling them together, make them look less like debris.
One book that has helped us tremendously is Good Housekeeping’s Clutter Rescue! Just Minutes a Day to Get Organized—Forever! Aside from the excess exclamation marks in the title, this book is very inspirational and full of good sense ideas. Chapters are divided into the various room of one’s home: kitchen, bedrooms and kid’s rooms, bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms; basements and attics; garages and sheds; foyers, mudrooms and entryways; home offices; and laundry rooms. The photos are many and glorious as you would expect from Good Housekeeping.
Most ideas are readily doable. Of course, many require the purchase of shelves, shelf dividers, drawer organizers and the like—but the plethora of photos show what is possible and that in itself is inspiring. If you have lived in your abode a long time, the process of course, will be (and seem) excruciating because we rarely keep the balance of what comes in equal to what goes out. But who said it had to be done all at once? Like to book’s title, this is something that can be taken in just minutes a day. In fact, the editors wisely suggest that many things can be multitasked while you are waiting for water to boil, or the laundry machine to stop.
Rosemary Ellis, Editor-in-Chief at Good Housekeeping says in the introduction, “Clutter Rescue is not about ‘straightening up.’ It’s not about how to clean better or faster. It’s about making real changes that will alter the way you use the space in your home so that you don’t create clutter in the first place.”
“It’s about making real changes that will alter the way you use the space …”
If your once inspiring rooms are getting you down, look for Clutter Rescue. (Hearst Books January 2013).Sterling Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-61837-041-9; retail $14.95. By the way, the cover is a nicely-sized hardback with spiral binding for easy page turning.