In Defense of Clutter
Your stuff is not the enemy. This year, keep the tchotchkes and lose the guilt, instead.
Cluttered, Full Closet With Hanging Clothes and Shoe Shelves
A great way to declutter your home is to get rid of clothing you're not wearing. Donate or sell any items of clothing you've had for more than a year without wearing. You'll clear out much needed space in your closet allowing you to be better organized and have easier access to the items you do use.
Since I starting working here at HGTV, I've interviewed at least 20 professional organizers, who, collectively, could whip the worst Hoarders nightmare imaginable into tidy shape overnight.
But here's the thing: I like having a cluttered home. Collections. A refrigerator full of photos. Colorful cookbooks. Yes, yes and yes. For me, more is more. Do I use some of the amazing techniques I learned from chatting with organizing pros? You bet I do! But that doesn't mean I want to get rid of every item that doesn't fill me to the brim with joy. (Sorry, Marie Kondo.) It's your home, not your uber-organized friend's home. Here are 5 things to remember before you toss Grandma's antique vase into the charity pile.
Eclectic Multicolored Living Room With White Sofa
A cheery collection of mismatched frames and artwork bring plenty of personality to this eclectic living room. The white sofa serves as a blank canvas for all the colors and patterns around it.
Clutter and organization aren't necessarily enemies. Everyone has a system. For the super-organized, that system involves color-coding, label-makers and lots of bins. For you, it might involve piles of books sorted according to your personal author ranking system and a catch-all junk drawer. If you can find what you're looking for, where you were looking for it, that's a working system. Why change a good thing?
Home Library Hits the Right Note
In need of a home for their beautiful bass and extensive collection of books and records, the homeowners turned to designer Harmony Weihs to transform an unused corner into functional storage space.
Your stuff shows your personality. You are not your stuff, but your stuff does help tell friends and family what you're about. You'll find coffee table books about Salvador Dali and a shell and rock collection gathered from travels in my living room. An empty surface is just clean...there's no backstory.
Messiness (might) promote creativity. You've likely seen the study, shared by every messy person you know on Facebook: A messy desk encourages creative thought. Hey, it worked for Albert Einstein, right? Some people thrive in a messy environment. If that's you, own it.
Your things reminds you of people you love. Sure, I could take a photo of Aunt Jean's quirky shot glass collection, then donate it to charity. But I'd probably enjoy it a lot more if I got to share stories about said glassware while I was imbibing with friends and family. Cheers to clutter?
Decorating With Books: Orientation
When arranging books on built-ins or bookshelves, break up the vertical lines by alternating the orientation of the books from horizontal to vertical. Next, add personality by incorporating objects with graphic shapes onto the horizontal stacks of books. This will help break up the lines and also allow the books to serve double duty as risers.
Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions
You like this stuff....remember? Tastes do change. But just because you don't love something today doesn't mean you won't long for it 3 months from now when you no longer have that family heirloom. Or a grater. Everyone needs a grater, even if it's sort of ugly.
Contemporary Workspace Tucked Under the Stairs
Sometimes necessity brings about the best and most creative ideas. A shortage of space is an inspiring dilemma with potentially great results. In order to make use of absolutely every available space in her apartment, online lifestyle editor Briana turned the open space under the stairs into a home office. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn.
As British design icon William Morris put it, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." So if you find junk drawers useful, and old Christmas cards beautiful — and yes, I do — keep them around. After all, it's not a magazine photo — it's your living, breathing home. In the new year, focus on visually-pleasing presentations for your collections and knick-knacks. Clutter doesn't have to be an eyesore. Start with your books:
Still feel the urge to donate half your stuff to charity? You do you. Here's how to get started.
When arranging books on bookshelves, break up the vertical lines by alternating the orientation of the books from horizontal to vertical. Next, add personality by incorporating objects with graphic shapes onto the horizontal stacks of books. This will help break up the lines and also allow the books to serve double duty as risers.
Colorphobic homeowners may love the idea of using books to pop bold hues into their space in a removable way. Edit through your old and new books, and consider removing dust jackets to expose the original upholstery. Then, arrange the books in stacks with colors randomly placed. This idea works beautifully in crisp, white rooms as the colors read true to their values.
If you're more of the tailored type, color-coordinated books may be the perfect fit. When styling tabletops, consoles and credenzas, try layering several shades of the room's dominant color. This will add to the overall depth and complexity of the room without looking matchy-matchy.
Look to the color wheel for inspiration when it comes to arranging your books. Edit them down to complementary colors, which are hues that sit directly across from one another and have opposite values. Here, a collection of books in shades of blues and oranges adds personality to a bedside table.
Add instant character to the center of your living room with a collection of coffee table books for guests to grab. To keep the overall look practical and uncluttered, try to keep the stacks of books less than eight inches tall. This will allow for a full look that doesn’t feel overpowering.
Expired or Unidentifiable Medication
Dispose of old prescriptions and anything you can't identify — but — because meds are considered hazardous waste, it's important that you follow the FDA's guidelines. Also, check with your local pharmacy or law enforcement agencies, many offer year-round or seasonal drug take-back days so you can safely drop off unwanted meds for proper disposal.
Last Year's Gift Wrap
You probably refresh your wrapping paper supply while Christmas shopping, anyway, so go ahead and recycle the old stuff. If you can't bear to part with it, try keeping it organized in a rolling mesh laundry basket. You can also turn last year's leftovers into festive decor.
Old Chargers and Cables
A friend or relative might be able to use a spare USB cable or an old charger. Anything you can't give away can usually be recycled in electronic stores or online. Keep unruly cords organized by using media boxes that are divided into "cubbies" with scraps of cardboard. Label each section, so you'll never confuse the camera cord for the phone charger again, and give the boxes a bit of color by decorating the cardboard with scrapbook paper.
Properly sealed (read: air-tight) paint can last for up to 10 years if kept at an even temperature and prevented from freezing. However if, like most of us, you store leftover paint in the garage or shed, the temperature swings will cause it to break down much quicker. If you have old paint cans with bulging lids, leaky seams or, once opened, a thick layer of dried paint on top, it's time to give that can the toss. But, before tossing, research safe disposal steps by contacting your local household hazardous waste center. If the paint is still usable, you may even be able to donate it to a local charity, like Habitat for Humanity or even a local scout troop or school that could use the paint for crafts.