Saturday, October 4, 2014

day 4: get rid of clutter...

Hello and welcome to my series 31 days to more order.  You can go here, to read all the posts in this series.

Today I want to talk about reducing the clutter in our homes.  Now many people feel like clutter and purging are the same thing.  I would agree that they are related in the sense that they are both processes in which we remove items from our homes.  But I want to look at clutter from the stand point of the decorative items you have around your home. 

Maybe you are naturally gifted in decorating and your space has been thoughtfully crafted to reflect your personality.  Or maybe you're more like me and your decorating style comes from filling your walls and space with things you love.  So your style isn't really a style but more like an extension of your personality and those who live in your home.

Like I said in my initial post, when my husband and I moved into our home we put artwork on the walls based on the nails already there from the previous owners.  So we didn't always put a lot of thought into the placement of art on our walls but always put things on our walls that we loved.

We have friends who have built in picture shelves on one wall in their living room.  My husband and I always loved them and wanted that same look for our home.  So we had picture shelves installed on one wall in our living room.  When we moved in, I put up some pictures of our kids, our family and our parents.  As time went on, we added other items.  But there was no thought or plan involved and somehow these shelves became home to items that were meaningful but had no other place.  I think after a while, I stopped seeing what was on the shelves.

One day, after we had started our purging discussions, I took a look at those shelves and realized they were no longer pleasant to look at.  I no longer found them to be a reflection of who we were and what we found beautiful. 

As you can see, they were a complete mess.  They had become cluttered.  Even though the pictures meant something to us, there was no theme no purpose to what was placed on the shelves and therefore, they were no longer pleasing to the eye or to us.

So, I emptied the shelves.  I took everything off of them and kept them empty for a month.  I wanted to create a balanced look while at the same time having the pictures and items be meaningful to me and my family. 

So I decided on only using white frames and all the same size.  As a side note, I took professional designers advice and shopped my own home.  My husband was surprised when I told him I already owned all of those white frame, so redecorating the shelves didn't cost us any money.  He laughed and said, that that wasn't exactly true since we had paid for them at one time.  My less than logical math aside, this is a really great tip.  Look at what you already have before you shop for more.  Maybe you can salvage something from your purge pile and place it somewhere new.

I wanted color since our walls are neutral so I picked pictures with color in them.  I then only put up non-picture items that were meaningful to us.  We love the beach, so I kept the jar of shells my husband I and collected on our one year anniversary.  I also kept the starfish, since starfish represent the ocean and have 5 legs and we are a family of five.  Which explains the box with the number 5 on it.

I know it's not the greatest picture.  But I think you can see the difference.  Now when I walk by the shelves it provides me with joy.  It is balanced and ordered and reflects all the things and people I love. 

Here's some things to keep in mind as you reduce the clutter around you:

1.  Make sure you are surrounding yourself with things you still love.  Since I had stopped seeing those shelves due to the clutter, they had become background noise.  Once I emptied them, I realized how distracting the clutter had been.  It did not create the look I wanted but I had stopped noticing it.

2. It's okay to live with a blank wall (or in my case a blank shelf).  I purposefully waited to put anything on the shelves until I knew exactly the look I wanted.  I thought through what I wanted to look at everyday and checked out pinterest and instagram for inspiration.  

3. Don't replace clutter with more clutter.  As I mentioned, I already owned everything I put up on those shelves.  I shopped my house first.  Ok, so I realize that not everyone will have six white picture frames in your home but if you have something that is close but not quite right how about painting it.  It's amazing what a good coat of spray paint can do to an old, tired looking item. 

4.  Have fun.  It was so fun to take everything down and start over.  I tend to get bored with my home decor at least once a year.  I tell my husband I need more color, our house is boring.  Truth be told, I love our neutral color palate and don't really want to spend a lot of money repainting our home.  So this little project, allowed me to redecorate space, add color without the time and cost involved in a huge remodel.  It also brings me joy every time I walk by this wall now.

Is there someplace in your home that you've stopped seeing?  That you've allowed to become cluttered instead of pleasing?  I'd say it's time to tackle that space and create an ordered, balanced look instead.


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