Simplify Your Home: Declutter
Sweaty Creative Types
I’m the creative type. You know the type. I was one of the people no one wanted to sit with in high school but now everyone wants to be me. Creatives are lonely in that way. But if we are creative we live for the art and don’t really care what people think or do. I suppose you heard before that creativity is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. So that makes me and my husband sweaty creatives.
I have to say that I still squint at people who stop me at gas stations and greet me by name with a big smile, announcing that they knew me in high school. I squint because I can’t remember them for the life of me; they certainly never spoke to me at school and weren’t my friend, but now, we must be friends. Hmmm. I don’t care anymore about that. I am having too much fun being an artist.
Part of the new lifestyle I have adopted means living simply. To live on an artist’s income is not usually a very lucrative endeavor, but very satisfying. So I simplify. Not too long ago my husband and I were victims of budget cuts in our respective jobs. That’s turned out to be a good thing and given us more time to work on our respective creative first loves. To do this we had to leave our large house and move into a small one-bedroom apartment. We look at it like an upgrade instead of a downgrade. We have more time for creative endeavors; less time spent cleaning and maintaining a large home. Here are a few of the things we have learned about simplifying:
Keep only what you use or love, ditch or donate the rest.
When I first started ditching things it was a punishment and a chore. I felt really mistreated to have to eliminate my books (over 1,000) and my crafts (considerable) and my artwork (most went to storage). I love to have all that around me but the more I got rid of and lived through the loss, the more I found that I didn’t NEED all that stuff after all. It got easier and easier, until now 5 years later, I can’t imagine living with all that clutter again ever.
A dirty word
Do feel like downsizing or simplifying is a punishment?
Use bookcases as room dividers. Put hooks near the door to replace a coat closet.
You really don’t need a whole closet for coats after all. I couple hooks near the door and you are good. I have some hooks for my keys too so now they don’t get lost so often. Also bookcases that used to be filled with thousands of books now hold the few precious ones I have kept and serve double duty as room dividers to make two rooms out of one.
Ditch room real-estate hogs, such as big overstuffed couches, dining room furniture, and big beds. Bulky is out. Try not to interrupt line of sight with wooden or solid furniture that makes the space look smaller. As much as possible use wire, Lucite, clear acrylic, metallic dining room furniture.
I remember when the bulky over-stuffed look was very in, but it also made a room look crowded and small. With smaller spaces, these hogs just don’t work. We had to get rid of our overstuffed couch and love seat combo in favor of a smaller love seat size couch. The clear acrylic coffee table is a nice touch that opens up the room. Clear dinning is nice too, but we got a breakfast nook that fits nicely into the small corner space that serves for a dinning room. It looks small in the store but fills the space perfectly in the apartment.
Declutter one room at a time
Use pegboards to move clutter upward. Put shelves above doors and windows. Go vertical; get it off the ground.
I think going vertical is a genius move and I love having shelves above the doors and window for my little trinkets and memorabilia.
Use sneaky storage wherever possible; shelves and cubbies under beds, tables, bench dining. Find dual-purpose places that give 2 for 1 space under and behind. This is one reason we love our Breakfast Nook dining table. The bench chairs lift for storage under them.
Vertical stripes and light
Decorate with vertical stripes. It gives the illusion of more space.
Lots of light makes rooms appear bigger. Don’t cover up those windows completely. White is bigger… but impersonal… so add color accents.
Mirrors are an age-old fake-out. They make the eye think there’s more space than there actually is… and it’s very fung shui.
Declutter papers and magazines
As much as possible don’t leave newspapers, magazines, and flyers lying around. Toss these out weekly so that your home says uncluttered. Clutter makes a room look small and unkempt fast.
Home Blessing Time
Make a place for everything and everything in its place as much as possible. Carve out a “House Blessing” day when you go from room to room, attacking clutter, putting away and tossing the rest. Once a week is often enough to keep small spaces in great shape.