When the new season of Fall enters, it’s a time of extra motivation to declutter and get organized – for added coziness and more order while you entertain guests and travel as the winter months come up. It also promises more beauty in your life. And this is always a good thing, especially in our homes, a respite from a busy world, and a place to share special time with loved ones.
In this Fall Guide to Decluttering Your Home, I will walk you through each step so you can do it without overwhelm. Working with my interior design clients over the past decade, I’ve seen firsthand how a little bit of organization and decluttering can elevate our surroundings and display more of what matters – our home is such a unique and personal expression of ourselves.
That’s why I created Art of Display – a service centered around organization and decluttering. We can have a beautiful home with gorgeous design and decorating, but if we have clutter and a general lack of organization – the beauty of the home is quickly impeded!
We are going to walk through six places in the home to get you started in your decluttering and beautifying process, defining the spaces in two words on how they will make us feel, to focus our efforts.
This is the space you will want to feel most nourishing and nurturing.
This can be as deep and thorough as you’d like, or as simple as decluttering your spices. I recommend going to each cabinet and shelf, pulling everything out of it, checking expiration dates, and getting rid of things you’re probably not going to eat. Do this with pots and pans, plates and flatware, and if it hasn’t been used in the past year, let it go.
Take everything out of your refrigerator and throw out old food, organizing each food group. Adjust the shelves in your refrigerator to your everyday need. Each food group can have its own container or basket. This way you can group alike foods together, and it protects things like fruit from bruising.
Organization Tip: Take all of your nuts, baking flours, grains, beans and put them in mason jars – they don’t even all have to be the same size. It just makes things more pretty in jars (and they stay more fresh!), and you can throw away all the packaging that makes things look messy and cluttered.
This is a space you will always want to feel warm and welcoming for your family and guests you’re entertaining.
The living room is a place you may spend quite a bit of time in, either in family activities or you may even have a desk in your living room. Making this room clutter-free and organized is easy to do with bookshelves, decorative containers and knowing how to place things. For example, keep books you love in neat stacks on a nearby sofa table, coffee table, or other sturdy surfaces.
If you have children toy’s, creative supplies, or would like to hide media, combining containers with baskets. You can slide them under a coffee table or place them on the bottom of a bookcase shelf. Oversize woven baskets are ideal for open shelves.
This is a room that you will want to be soothing and calming.
Decluttering of the surfaces out in the open will contribute to a restful space. Be thoughtful of each item on display – a lamp, plants, photos, and books. Have a convenient place that’s hidden for keys and wallet, and other things you go to daily. Don’t forget to purge your jewelry – like your clothing, if you haven’t worn it in a year, let it go, unless it is something special you are saving. Organize the remaining pieces, untangling everything and hanging jewelry hooks or placing in a way that you can easily access it. Use pretty holders like ceramics you love and uniform baskets to reduce visual clutter.
Make your bedside table functional and beautiful. You may want room for a stack of books you’re reading, candles, flowers, a place to set a cup of tea – while keeping it minimal so the space can stay clear and calm around you while you sleep.
A simple and pretty design is wooden wall hooks (the coveted Instagram picture accessory). If you get one with quite a few hooks on it, you’ll have space to hang baskets, scarves, jackets and various pieces you grab each day. It’s also a nice way to display some of the pieces you love right now and want to wear often.
This is the space where you want to feel comfortable and confident.
Purging our closet and getting a bit more minimal in a fashion-crazed world, can add an unexpected richness to our wardrobe. Quality over quantity definitely makes sense when it comes to our wardrobe, and opening the doors to a simple, streamlined wardrobe makes it much easier to decide what to wear everyday. Cutting out confusion where it’s totally unnecessary is always a good thing. Something to keep in mind as you begin: Let go of emotional attachments to your clothes and lighten your load.
Start by identifying what’s really important to you, and use this approach as you clear your closet. What do your clothes represent for you? What do you wear on a day-to-day basis? Do you love dresses, spend time in loungewear, wear a lot of tights or leggings? Know what you naturally go to and what suits your daily living. What is the weather like year-round? Do you have seasons or the same weather year-round? If you have a cold winter, do you have one reliable warm coat or do you have many – and do you need them all? What do you wear for physical activities? Do you have a few outfits you can wear for exercise or outdoor activities? Do you have a bunch of extra shirts, shorts and leggings you haven’t worn in ages?
Now that you’ve taken some inventory, take everything out of your closet and place it on your bed. Make space on the floor for three different piles: keep, donate, toss. As you pick each piece up or try it on, ask yourself if you like the item? If you haven’t worn it all year, you may want to think about letting it go. You’ll find you need much less than you think you do once you let go of the excess. Choose to keep pieces that you would buy today; if you wouldn’t purchase it today, let it go.
Try to hang up as much of your clothes as possible, so they are visible and will be worn. The pieces that won’t be hung can be rolled to save space and stay organized and can be placed in decorative boxes in the closet if you’d like to get a heavy dresser out of your bedroom.
Some final organization tips: Install shelves all the way up your closet to store out-of-season items. Keep your closet floor clean and clear of clutter with shelves for shoes (use boot shapers so they stand up straight and take up less space). I like keep a nice basket in the closet for laundry, so nothing piles up on the floor.
This is the space you’ll want to feel functional and sturdy.
If you haven’t set this room up properly yet, it might be pretty messy. Having some basic things in order will keep things organized moving forward, as your family is moving in and out of your home. If your entryway is small, you can create a mudroom in your garage near the door, and you can combine storage space for typical mudroom items like shoes and sports gear along with plenty of space for garage items as well. A sturdy, solid bench in the mudroom is essential – a place where everyone can put on and take off their footwear. You can even fasten this to the wall. If you have recycling bins – you can also lift those off the floor to get some clear and clean floor space – just get some fixtures that hang them on the wall.
This is a space you’ll want to feel clean and fresh.
Like the kitchen and closet, pull everything out of the shower, cabinets and shelves. Clear out the products you may have used but didn’t finish and haven’t been touched in months – bottles of shampoo, old makeup, last year’s sunscreen, old face cream. Freshen things up and streamline what’s in your shower and cabinet and keep things simple, try to keep only the essentials – decide what those are for you. In the shower, I like to have one bottle each of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, along with my face cleanser, and a razor. I bring in a fresh washcloth for each shower. If you’d like to go the next step, check the labels on your bottles and start to detox your beauty products, choosing more natural and organic ingredients to put on your skin. The skin is the largest organ of your body and it absorbs everything we put on it.
Sometimes these things are easier said than done, and it helps having some extra support. Learn more at Art of Display. If you have questions, I’d love to hear from you!