Courtney Warren is a Texas-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and Today.com. She is a frequent consultant on Fox 4 TV’s Good Day program in Dallas, was ranked in the top 3 percent of interior designers in the US by Houzz.com, and starred in the Dallas episode of TLC’sFour Houses. She delights in helping overwhelmed clients create beautiful spaces—and will never turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie or Diet Dr Pepper.
How many paring knives do I REALLY need? Hmm. Clutter creeps up on me all the time, especially when I’m not mindful of the things I own. Then, I’m trying to hide clutter, zigzagging around my house like a crazy person just 10 minutes before my family comes to visit– it becomes an even bigger job.
Many of us form a love-hate relationship with clutter. You’re not alone.
Will we need it?
What if we throw it out and need to rebuy it again?
Are we being kinda hoarder-ish?
We get it. Parting way with the material things in our lives can be super tricky.
Once we drop the items that DON’T bring value to us, we can start sorting the ones that do. Y’all, WE are ALL about sneaky, bespoke solutions to hide clutter. BUT, conquering clutter–that’s a whole different ball game.
You pick up an item.
Huh, where did this come from? Dang, I haven’t used this in 2 years.
But maybe I will use it when Aunt Sally visits OR when we host a Halloween party for the kids next year.
Nope. Chances are if you haven’t even touched it in a year, it’s bad news. When I see my belongings in a fresh light, I think about its value.
Why do I have this?
Because…I have it!
Not good enough. Here are three signs that show you 100% need a good decluttering session.
When you start decluttering, be brutally honest with yourself.
If you’re not using the item and it has no value or function to you in this present time, LET IT GO. The things we tell ourselves and the “What if” situations we put our minds through. Forget about it.
Instead, donate the item to someone who CAN use it. Maybe you’ve got a friend who needs a blender, and you’re storing two. Commit to viewing the donation as an act of kindness.
Couldn’t we all use some warm, kind vibes right now?
As Marie Kondo says, if the item in question doesn’t spark joy for you, get rid of it. If you’re holding on to a piece of clutter because of obligation or anxiety, don’t. Instead, give it someone else who CAN find joy from it.
I always say pretty is a vaccine against clutter. Organizing your stuff and designing beautiful spaces go hand in hand.
Organizing clears your junk. It makes room for new, lovely things to enter your life and spaces.
Designing creates beauty and function in your spaces. Once your spaces function well and feel good to you, you’re less likely to hold onto items that don’t. And you won’t throw things down where they don’t belong.
Remember the questions to ask yourself:
❒ Is it useful?
❒ The item that I’m holding on to– does it make me feel good inside?
❒ Are my spaces functioning well for my family and lifestyle?
BUT for the items we do need (and don’t want to display out in the open), here’s what to do.
I’m talkin’ batteries, light bulbs, printer cartridges, office supplies. You get the picture.
Focus on creating groups for each item. For example, designate a storage bin for your printer supplies. Buy a battery organizer with a clear cover so you can access them in a snippet of time.
Don’t forget to eliminate duplicates! Only keep what YOU NEED and USE.
Once you’ve decided on your keepers, style your organization. Buy color-coordinated bins or rattan baskets to tuck away your things. Place monogrammed or handwritten chalkboard labels on each bin. Organize the labels based on the person or category of item.
For example: In a drop zone, designate one basket for each kiddo. DIY a personal name label for a basket that only houses their stuff. OR, categorize baskets based on item type– office supplies versus extra laundry detergent.
Use patterned curtains or bold sliding doors to close-off a space when it’s a mess.
We find delight in making every detail look good! It makes all the difference when you polish a space!
Thinking dual purpose can make a nice impact too. Buy ottomans that act as seating and open up as storage. Or benches that HIDE and go SLEEK.
Now, there are even sleeper ottomans that look like ottomans but open up to a complete twin size bed.
Carved accent storage chests are a good investment also. Plus, they come in many colors and designs! They’re versatile. You can use them as an end table, console table, or media center. Perfect for hiding clutter.
Mobile file ottomans are clever. They look good and keep your necessary paperwork out of sight. Nice for small spaces too.
If you live in a small space, square footage is a problem. There are endless storage options that fit right on top of your door.
Everything from towel holders, mirrors to over the door baskets for organizing your essentials.
Organize your spaces based on function. If you have pets, build a pet feeder station with pegged hooks on the sides. This will hold essentials like leashes and a flat surface on top to store treats and toys.
If you love to craft– carve out space in your home just for crafts. Then, hide these busy spots with door-fronted furniture.
Creating stations controls your clutter. It makes your clutter stay in the right place. No messy clean-ups. Forget those irritating 3-hour reorganization sessions on Sundays.
Pro tip: For your kitchen space, try concealing recycling or trash bings with built-in cabinet facades.
Don’t fret. Come up with a plan and timeline for each space. Start small! Choose one drawer or cabinet to organize every week. If you’ve got a very large space, break that space down into small counterparts.
Example: Today I’ll organize my dresser. Tomorrow, I’ll organize my filing cabinet.
If you do one section/week, by the end of the month, you’ll tackle four spaces. That’s a HUGE accomplishment. Celebrate the small steps. After each space you finish, do something nice for yourself. Invest in self-care. Bake brownies or get a pedicure! Whatever floats your boat.
If you’re ready to clear the clutter out of your home and make a design plan– Let’s chat!
Get unstuck and LOVE your home. if you’ve got some design questions on your mind, no problem! I offer a complimentary; no strings attached phone call consultation.