I can't tell you how many times I have gone to a Design consultation and ended up telling a potential client that they don't need an Interior Designer they need to get rid of their stuff to improve the look of their house/apartment and declutter!!!!!!!!
I admit that I am a bit of a neat freak. Bringing up 3 boys meant I had to be organized and find places for all our stuff!!! I realized when the boys were toddlers, we had already accumulated a lot of toys, bouncy chair etc, that it doesn't matter how many boxes and containers I bought to put their toys in I just didn't have enough space for everything. Or maybe it was because I had bought too much stuff that didn't fit in a small apartment.
It was time to decide which stuff I don't need and which stuff was important enough to me and my family to keep.
I would like to share my thoughts on decluttering that worked for me and hopefully will help someone else. Being an Interior Designer is not just about creating beautiful spaces, it is also about having the ability to see if the problem is about design, layout, or clutter!!!
So I can politely make a client aware that they have too many things.
How to make a space better?
I first start at the place that visitors will see first. Probably your lounge!
Start there! You will see your house getting better if you work on visible places first which will motivate and inspires you to keep decluttering.
It is easier to live in a place with less stuff. Believe me I got so ruthless that I live now with the moto "less is more".
1) First step for me is to get rid of all the rubbish in the room. Sounds obvious but life is busy. We are all running around and sometimes we don't notice the paper cups on the table! Take a black dustbin bag. That way you can’t see the stuff you are throwing out!!! Start with rubbish because it is the easiest thing to start with. Hopefully, you will have no emotions to feel as you are not attached to rubbish. It helps me be ready for the next thing. The goal is to have fewer things in your space. So already the room looks better and hopefully, you will be motivated to carry on.
2. Put things away!!!!! The easy stuff. Take things to their established home. Find a home for everything you intend to keep like adding hooks to hang the coats that are chucked on the floor daily. If you have no space then it is defiantly time to get rid of your stuff. Kids tend to play with things and dump them on a surface. I can hear you say your kid should put it away and yes I agree with you but sometimes it is just easier to do it yourself.
One secret is to have enough storage space. You can never have enough storage!!! If you can put it in a cupboard and not see it, aesthetically it already looks better. If your cupboards are full of stuff it means it is defiantly time to sort out, prioritize what you really need, & use. A tidy space brings calmness and peace to our minds.
Already you have a clutter-free room.
3. Recycle /Donation. Now the hard stuff!!!!! The donation box is a good idea but it needs to be donational. Don’t decorate the box and make it pretty otherwise you won't be able to get rid of it.Put it in your garage or storage so you can add things to donate. If I can't remember the last time I wore the dress or it is one size too small it goes in the donation box. Don't let the box sit in your garage when it is full. As soon as it is full take it to the recycling place, straight away. Obviously, if things have a sentimental value this is different.
Ask yourself if it brings you joy!!!! If it doesn't and you haven't used it or worn it for a year it goes in the donation box. I have moved many times to different countries and this gave me the perfect opportunity to get rid of things we no longer used or didn't need. Be ruthless.
Set yourself a time limit each time you go through a room/wardrobe. It can get overwhelming. For me, I gave myself 45 mins each time. It made sure I wasn't wasting time deciding if I needed it or not.
4. Stop buying!!!!!! You don't need to buy a new dress or a new ornament. If you have to buy something new then you have to take something out of your house instead. My rule was if something new came into the house something old had to go!!!!!! I also used this with anything new I bought into my house.
Have the self-control to not buy shining ornaments. You have enough!!! I think the older you get the more important things in life are free anyway.
Interior designers wear many hats and through my experience of being a mother of three very untidy boys & a designer, I learned to keep my house clutter-free.
A house with empty spaces,clutter-free surfaces, and loads of storage is a calming, peaceful place to be.