As you anticipate watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, why not use these last days of 2013 to start your own countdown to the New Year? If clutter’s been an issue, here’s a countdown that will help you shake off the dust of the past so you can embrace the promise of the future. Ready? Here we go:
10! De-clutter your family room – Choose ten catalogues or magazines to recycle.
9! Lighten up your bookshelves – Select nine books to donate to your local library.
8! Make room for your new holiday clothes – Go through your closets and drawers to see what you still love and what still fits. Remove eight articles of clothing to donate to your local Good Will Store.
7! Unburden over-stuffed cupboards – Remove seven old, broken, or mismatched mugs, glasses and plastic cups.
6! Manage a messy ‘junk drawer’ – Recycle or toss six items: old pens, dried up white out, and unknown stray parts that have been there for too long.
5! Streamline your pantry – Remove five food items: throw out any food past its expiration date and find something you could donate to a church or local food bank.
4! Freshen up your sock drawer – Remove four pairs of socks that have holes, worn-out elastic or that you no longer like to wear.
3! Reduce bathroom clutter – Discard three toiletry items that are expired or used up.
2! Clean out your jewelry case – Find two pieces of broken jewelry like mismatched earrings or broken chains, which you can discard or bring to have repaired.
1! Reclaim lost counter space in your kitchen – Remove one large item that you do not use daily such as an appliance or basket that’s serving no useful purpose. Store it away or donate it if you no longer need it.
I raise a glass to you – here’s to a healthy, happy, and organized New Year!
It’s clear that a psychological tie connects people to the items that they hoard within their home. Some people develop hoarding tendencies after experiencing a stressful life event that they had difficulty coping with, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, eviction or losing their possessions in a fire, according to The Mayo Clinic. However, the psychology behind your home lies in how you choose to treat it with color. Read below to see how colors can affect us both physically and mentally (via Squidoo.com):
Red – Increases enthusiasm, stimulates energy and action, and encourages confidence
Orange – Stimulates activity and appetite, and encourages socialization
Yellow – Mentally stimulating, activates the memory, and encourages communication
Green – Soothing, mentally and physically relaxing, and helps alleviate depression
Blue – Calming and sedate, cooling, and aids in intuition
Purple – Uplifting, calming to the mind and nerves, and encourages creativity
Brown – Stability, a connection with the earth, and offers a sense of orderliness
White – aids mental clarity, encourages us to clear clutter, and enables fresh beginnings
Gray – Unsettling and expectant
Black – Restful emptiness and mysterious, evoking a sense of potential and possibility
So, how do your favorite colors stack up? What colors are your rooms painted currently? Let the colors be your guide to create an environment that suits your wants and needs. Once you create the environment that you want, you may gain some new motivation to get organized. You don’t need to totally redo your house to emit the same feelings; you can just use and/or reuse accent pieces from other areas in your home, like these:
Soft furnishings – Pillows and throws can add a great pop of color and keep you warm and cozy in the cold weather.
Lighting – Try some new lampshades or just switch out the light bulbs. Soft white bulbs emit a warm yellow-toned light, while daylight bulbs like GE reveal® emit a more natural looking blue-toned light. Hence, the color on your walls can be affected by whichever type of light bulb that you choose.
Artwork and Picture Frames – Find inexpensive prints from places like IKEA and even less expensive pictures, from your camera! Put them into colorful frames or if you can’t find one of the right colors, consider spray painting a basic one!
Books – Head to a thrift shop to look for old hardcover books. Peek under the flaps to see what color the cover is. Pull together a grouping of books based on the colors you are looking for, it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is! Organize some flat and some standing for variety on a bookshelf.
Candles – These come in a variety of colors, give off a pleasant scent and a bit of warmth on cold days!
As for me, my home is painted in blues, browns with white trim and I accessorize with those colors as well. The blue offers me calmness, while the brown offers me a sense of orderliness and finally white encourages me to clear the clutter. Pretty right-on for an organizer, huh?!
Sometimes it’s not important to distinguish between being organized and looking organized. Perception is reality. Would you like to know how to fake being organized, even if you aren’t?
1. Keep repeating.
If you are a sucker for organizing magazines and TV shows, you’ll start to notice that repeated forms and themes are pleasing to the eye. Decorated rooms never have just one pretty storage box. There are usually lots of the same one artfully stacked. The organizing stores that you drool over, like IKEA, the Container Store, and Target, often have five to fifteen of the same item in one display. Even cheap plastic bins can be pleasing to the eye if they are labeled uniformly and stacked to the ceiling.
2. Calm the color.
What do you see when you view a really cluttered room? It’s not the amount of stuff that your eye responds to, but that there doesn’t seem to be any order to the items, which are made up of shapes and colors. If those shapes and colors are rearranged and made to relate to each other, the same stuff in the same space can very often be harmonious.
3. Clear horizontal surfaces.
This requires having other places to put stuff besides the counter, desktop, and dining room table. My own house sports a blessedly long kitchen counter that gets covered each and every day, but gets cleared several times a day as well. You may not be able to keep surfaces clear all the time, but being able to clear surfaces quickly is a handy trick. Hopefully you have a home for stuff that lands on your surfaces, but if not, do what you must. You might even know people who appear to have an organized space, but heaven help the unsuspecting guest who opens the drawers or closets. Booby-trapped drawers and closets can work, at least for a while.
4. Decorate for the appropriate season.
Nothing says disorganized more than a Christmas tree out in April. Fake peonies hanging on the porch in January are a dead giveaway that the house isn’t being kept up. Nothing says you have to dress your house to the nines for each and every holiday, or even decorate at all for that matter. But if you are going to do it, keep décor seasonal and current.
5. Take five minutes for you.
First impressions really are important. Take a moment to polish or clean your shoes each day. Before getting out of the car, check your hair and your teeth in the mirror. It may not be fair, but people do judge character by what they see. The Wall Street Journal reported not long ago that workers with organized desks are more likely to be promoted. At home, if you can’t keep the whole house organized, focus on just the entry ways (front and back) and the main room you would entertain in. Your guest room may be trashed, but people knocking on your front door don’t need to know that.
Being organized in your head and your space can lead to an amazing and full life without the guilt that many people report from being disorganized. These tips on faking it might just be the first step to getting a reasonably organized life – for real.
Fall is a time for change and I’m not just talking about the leaves changing color. With the kids going back to school and families getting back on a schedule, many homeowners are looking at their current spaces and what they might be missing in their home. I’ve been working with a number of clients who want to transform an existing room (extra bedroom or the room where everything gets dumped) into a place where they can fulfill a dream that revolves around a hobby, a passion, or a business.
Do you want a room where you can start sewing, doing crafts, getting out the scrapbooking supplies, or creating a new office for a home-based business? Sometimes a room has to do double-duty, but the main focus is to create a space to go to and get those creative juices flowing. Let’s break it down:
The first step is to decide which room is the one to transform. Your new room/space should:
The second step is to clean out the room you want to move into. First, sort through the items you can see. Sort the closets and drawers next. Set up a staging area on a bed, desk, or table to sort items (sorting from the floor kills your back). Make categories for:
Try not to leave the room while you are sorting. If you have difficulty making decisions on whether to keep something or not, do a quick sort first and then make a second pass at the more difficult items. After you are done sorting, take all items that don’t belong in the room to its new home.
The third step is to look at the furniture in the room:
Finally, organize the new room by zones:
Change the layout of your room as your life changes or as you change the projects you are working on. As the saying goes, life is not a dress rehearsal; don’t wait to follow through on those dreams and wishes for your home, especially if it’s just a matter of rearranging and not major construction. Don’t just dream about what your truest life could be, organize it to be so! Good luck!
Clutter Quote: “Our truest life is in our dreams awake.” Henry David Thoreau, American author, poet, philosopher.