I LIKE decluttering.
I know you what you are thinking....
"Oh no, not another blog telling me how to declutter."
Don't worry—I am thinking it too as I am writing. But stay with me—
(disclaimer: the word shit is going to be used a lot in this post. Not meant to offend, but I feel the word shit and clutter are synonymous and I prefer to call it like I see it.)
I was out with a friend the other night and IYLWIL came up in the conversation, specifically the interior design part of my blogs. She said to me "Could you come over to my house and declutter for me?" I chuckled back to her and said I would have to do that for myself first. She rebutted with "but your house isn't cluttered at all"....
This was me:
I was in disbelief.
When I returned home that evening I put on all of the lights in my house and took a really good look. This very astute friend of mine (Carrie from The Happy Hive homesteading blog) was right! Somehow, I reached an uncluttered part of my life and I didn't even know it. So, I took inventory and decided that decluttering is very simple and doesn't have to be a long list of "to dos" that most blogs write about.
None of us live in a catalog. Most of us don't have endless bookcases from floor to ceiling to put our shit. I will also bet that your kids don't play with wooden toys only. (see ridiculous image above—but look how happy and organized they are!)
Below are ways I have found to help declutter, or at least have the appearance of such. The first one may seem strange, but there is so much truth to it (warning! honest blogger) and I hope you can see the humor.
1) Pretend you are getting a divorce. Yes, that's right folks. In my actual divorce we threw out SO MUCH STUFF. Or if we didn't throw it out, we sold it in a very large but awkward yard sale together. The good news is you and your partner aren't getting a divorce, so you won't have the awkward part. We also had no problem walking away from stuff...objects, possessions. Getting rid of shit also takes some serious commitment...so recommit to each other, dust off your acting chops, and get into character!
2) Don't be afraid to go bare. I think one of the biggest problems I see when I walk into someone's home is that every wall has something hanging on it. What is this? Are you all afraid of blank walls? Think of your living room as an extension of your mind. Or should I say the mind you want. Don't fill it up just because there is space. Blank walls give a room a sense of calm and allow purposefully placed art the attention it deserves. Don't be afraid to have your room feel bare...fill your space with interesting conversation and people instead.
3) Wood, metal, glass, and greenery. Incorporating more of these four elements will immediately help to clean up your space. There is something about these and other natural materials (think leather, wool, stone, etc.) that make a room feel more comfortable, casual and cozy. From bigger items like a wooden chandelier to the smallest of things like a large glass bowl to put your mail in...you will be well on your way in creating more living space in your living space.
4) White, black, gray and brown. They are called neutrals for a reason, and they will neutralize your space. If you can't help yourself when it comes to shopping knick knacks—only buy them in these colors, or in the materials listed in #3. This will help in having a controlled and consistent palette without you having to think too hard. Believe me, this is an easy step and will transform your room. If you like color, designate one or two brighter colors and add them very sparingly, in only a few places.
5) Shelving. This is a tricky one but there is a very simple rule to follow to keep any shelves in your home looking clean. The shelves you put on your wall should be made up of materials/colors from #3 and #4 and the objects on the shelves should be made of materials/colors from #3 and #4. For example, install white shelves, and fill them with objects made of wood, metal, greenery and in the color palette of white, black, gray and brown.
Also, shelving that isn't hung on a wall but instead "floats" in a room helps to open the space. (see images below)
6) Bookworm problems. I don't read paper books a lot so I don't really have this problem, but I know it exists! It is true that a lot of readers like to hold onto their favorite books, and they have a lot of favorites. (My first recommendation would be to get a Kindle. Ha!) But if you are in love with the good ol' fashioned paper-made book, here are a few things you can do.
I have seen it done where people have painstakingly taken to covering their books in white or kraft paper and using a sharpie (if you have cool, casual handwriting!) to label them all.
This is an absolutely beautiful way to display books on your bookshelf, but it is very time consuming. There is also a new trend to book-shelving where you turn all of your books around to only see the paper edges. This provides a calming monochromatic look that uses all of the approved colors in #4!
The problem with this is you wouldn't be able to quickly reference book titles. But, if you are truly holding onto only your favorite books (throw out the others!)...you may be able to remember the shape and size of them at a glance.
7) Put shit in shit. That's right folks. If you can't contain yourselves from having s**t, then at least contain the s**t. I am sure you have heard it before, but that is because it works. Use cool storage ideas to store loose stuff, and again...make sure they are in the materials/colors of #3 and #4. (Have you noticed a pattern yet? #3 and #4 are KEY!)
So there you have my simple recommendations to unveil a new, decluttered you. It takes some tweaking on your part, and some letting go...both things tangible and intangible. In order to open up your space, you may need to open yourself up to new ideas (let go of so many colors! throw away your great great grandmother's pot holders!) but you will be happier for it.
Feel free to comment on if this was helpful and/or different. I am interested to hear!