Why clutter should be avoided. According to studies, clutter in your home can lead to stressful living. It can also create the inability to find things, accomplish tasks and feel life satisfaction. So if you want to have a lot of stuff, go crazy, but keep it tidy, especially if you live with others. Having to move things to find what you are looking for, being embarrassed to have people come into your home and tripping over your possessions are what we want to avoid. How does one stay tidy while still allowing themselves to collect and keep stuff? Let’s explore…
Keep only the things that are useful or beautiful. There is a difference between having stuff and having garbage. You are going to have to regularly purge the items which should not be taking up space and could be otherwise occupied by your precious collections and future books, I mean, beautiful things. If you haven’t done so in a while, clear out your storage spaces. Regular clean outs will make this task less daunting in the future. I spend a week a few times a year taking an hour a day to clean out drawers and closets. For more organizing tips, read my post 5 Rules to Organize Anything.
Group like items together. If you are a collector, show off your goodies in a pleasing manner and make them part of the decor. A collection is 5 or more pieces of similar items, and there is power in numbers when collecting is involved! Having all 50 of your globes displayed together will create a powerful visual and is worth showing off. I also enjoy mixing a collection of smaller items among books on shelves to mix it up.
Rotate your collections. Once upon a time, all of the linens in the home were rotated with the seasons. It involves a bit of effort, so perhaps as time has marched on, this has lost popularity for time management reasons. But it’s great to do if you love textiles and have an overflowing linen closet. Besides switching out the obvious like throw pillows and duvet covers, think bigger with curtains and rugs if that’s your thing. Now go one step further and consider rotating your collections and art. This means that part of the time, you will have some collections tucked away to reduce the visual chaos. Although, visual chaos can look stunning if done right, so go for it if that’s your thing!
Be intentional with what you have displayed in your home. I’ve always been a flea market and “junk” collector and have an entire shelf of books that talk about gorgeous ways to showcase these treasures. If you too like to pick up the curious and unique, go for it, just make them look intentional in your home. I have an antique rope on the wall of my living room (see the top photo). I searched for said rope for a year and when I gleefully found it, I had to buy it a suitcase to get it home from NH to TX. So worth it. I not only have the rope, but it has a story. The point is, if you’re a
Style tabletop vignettes. I enjoy things on tables. But just the right amount of things and they have to be intentional things. It’s about balance. A variety of heights, color and texture should be involved. I’m almost embarrassed by how many articles I’ve read about styling coffee tables, but only almost as my table brings me constant delight, so I’m glad I made the effort. I also stash remotes, electronics
Buy furniture which doubles as storage. I’m a bit obsessed with cupboards and
Shelves can hold more than books. I was delighted when we bought our house to find that we had tons of built-ins. Then I realized that they were not in the rooms where I wanted to keep books. There were also a lot of them which was an issue as when I moved from NY to TX almost a decade ago, I had to make a decision about paying to move my lifelong collection of books. I decided to par down what I kept, selected my favorite art, coffee table and business book and sold and donated the rest (all 5,000 of them! I read a great deal). I have never regretted this decision and now immediately donate anything I would never read again or fiction. As I read 97 books last year alone, you can imagine that I could quickly fill up all the shelves in the house. But I intentionally choose not to do that. Instead, I wanted to display a mix of books and collections. In my office, I currently have my oil painting supplies on the shelves, as I find them beautiful in their repurposed containers. As you can imagine, I am very selective about my office furniture. If ever I need privacy in my office I also like to use some folding walls. They can make such a difference and can even be used to hide away any distracting excess clutter. In the kitchen, I have a collection of white ceramics, which I’ll admit, I didn’t even realize I was collecting until I noticed so much white in what I had and then decided to showcase them. Use your shelves for what you want to see, not for what you think you’re supposed to display; remember they’re your shelves.
Get over the guilt. Above all else, you