Who says you need to wait until spring to begin a thorough cleaning of your home?
2016 is here, and with it brings another chance to “start over” in your living space with a fresh slate. One of the best ways to do that is to get rid of any décor, furniture, knickknacks, and random items that simply don’t contribute to your home’s appeal or meet your family’s daily needs.
Decluttering your home not only improves its appearance, but it can also be therapeutic for your entire family. Walking into a room where every item has a purpose and a designated place can make your home feel more cohesive and peaceful, whereas homes with clutter can feel chaotic, unorganized, and even stressful.
Unlike routine cleaning, which has easily defined goals and doesn’t require much foresight, decluttering is more subjective and requires planning. If you go overboard, you may feel like you’ve stripped your home of its charm and character, but not removing enough unneeded items can leave your home still looking disorganized and in disarray.
To strike a great balance between personal home style and clean design, check out Blindster’s tips for decluttering:
Create spaces for mail, important documents, and loose papers.
Nothing creates clutter in your home quicker than newspapers, bills, magazines, documents, and loose sheets of paper. Even the most immaculately cleaned and organized homes can look like they’re in complete disarray when this type of clutter takes up space on countertops, tables, and desks. To tackle this problem in your home, create an area where you can easily separate and respond to mail and bills and designate a space to store important documents, notes, and other loose sheets of paper that you need to save.
Put away all but the essential gadgets in your kitchen.
It seems like there is no end to the number of gadgets and gizmos that are vying for a space on your kitchen countertop. And while these devices—your blender, mixer, single service coffee machine, soda maker, etc.—can make your life easier, they can also quickly overwhelm your kitchen and make it look more like a department store kitchen aisle than an actual place to prepare and cook food. If your kitchen is feeling a bit cramped, take the time to put away any gadgets you don’t use at least once per week. Putting them away will free up vital counter space for food preparation and make your kitchen seem more open and far less cramped.
Reduce the number of pictures and pieces of artwork you display.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to display cherished family photos and favorite pieces of artwork in your home, but it’s easy to reach a tipping point. Each new piece can begin to detract from the others and create a disorganized display with nothing serving as a visual centerpiece. To keep things fresh for yourself and your guests—and to increase the emphasis on each individual portrait, photo, or painting—rotate your artworks and pictures on a regular basis with only a handful displayed at any given time. With only a few items on display, your home will look less cluttered and each picture or painting will be that much more impactful.
Don’t be afraid of empty or blank spaces.
When decorating your home, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to fill every available space on your floor or walls. But in many cases, empty spaces create a more powerful visual effect than even the most striking lamp, chair, or painting. White or blank space is essential for keeping the eye moving toward the most important elements of a design, and the same is true for your home. A blank wall or small section of a room that’s kept bare and free from furniture can immediately help de-clutter even the most cramped room.
Keep items in their designated storage spaces.
At the end of a long day, the only thing you want to do is take off your coat and shoes and relax on the couch or in your favorite chair. And while a single coat and pair of shoes in your living room won’t turn your home into a cluttered mess, it can quickly add up. Returning items to their designated spaces takes more effort initially, but it’s an easy and highly efficient way of keeping your home decluttered 24/7.
Clean out your junk drawer and create more space.
It’s okay to have one area of your home that is absolutely full of clutter—and that’s the junk drawer. Junk drawers are the one place to store the random items that simply don’t have a place anywhere else—spare batteries, the manual for the new coffee maker, or the box of paper clips that you use once per year, just to name a few. But if your junk drawer is absolutely overflowing and impossible to sort through, take the time to clean it out before you add anything to it. It should be easy to work your way through its contents and pitch items you don’t need—after all, it is junk. Then, begin refilling it, but only with items you know will (or might) be needing in the near future.
Enlist the opinions of friends.
Clutter doesn’t look the same to everyone—especially when it comes to your own home. If you’ve worked at de-cluttering your home but still feel that it’s lacking the organized look that you’re striving to achieve, consider enlisting the help of friends or family. A fresh pair of eyes looking at the situation from a different perspective can go a long way in identifying problem areas and helping you discover areas of your home that appear too cramped, crowded, and cluttered.