We spent time in January on the topic of decluttering, and we are still talking about it because it doesn’t get done all at once. If you’re like us here at @Home With Sunflower Designs, our decluttering is still underway. Last weekend Mr. Sunflower Designs (Mr. SD) and I tackled a living room refresh. I want to pass on our lessons learned and some tips that I think will help you as you work on decluttering, organizing your home, and preparing for spring cleaning.
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Have You Decluttered Yet?
Our weekend project of refreshing the living room was following the blueprint of the January blogs, Decluttering 101. I thought I had decluttered the living room, but there was much more to be done! So my first tip is to embrace the fact that decluttering is not a “one and done” approach. Decluttering is an ongoing approach to living a less stressful life.
Even though decluttering took place before we began the refresh, both Mr. SD and I came to realize that this wasn’t just about getting the bookshelves cleaned off and looking better. This room refresh was equally about organizing the things we wanted to have around us. It’s much easier to find what you’re looking for if your belongings are organized in a way that makes sense to your lifestyle.
Don’t Try to Do It All At Once
Don’t set aside an entire day for a project such as decluttering and organizing. No one has that kind of time or energy. You will become frustrated and less effective as the day progresses. Better to set aside 2-3 hours per day for one project, or one room. My caveat to this is: if you are close to finishing one task (or room), then finish it before stopping for the day. That’s why our living room refresh took a weekend. We chose to work for a few hours, then come back to it the next day to design the room after all the purging had taken place.
Organize First – Buy Second
The biggest mistake people can make when tackling a decluttering/organizing project is to start by going out and buying storage tubs, or other storage supplies before even sorting through the home. I understand – The Container Store is one of my favorite places on the planet! But as enticing as all the bins, boxes, and baskets are, they won’t help unless they: fit the space, hold what you need them to hold, and work for you in your space.
So clean and declutter first, and look around (shop your home) to see what you already have on hand that will do the job. My basket collection (hoarding) isn’t just because I like how they look; they are actually very practical. Tired of having all.the.things. strewn all over the top of our coffee table, we took the time to carefully think through what we truly needed at our fingertips and how to best organize those items. I wanted to be able to clean off the top of the coffee table and corral all the remote controls. Basket to the rescue!
Be sure to look around and see what you have that works. Once you determine what your actual needs are, that’s the time to go buy storage supplies. One of my favorite recent finds is this
Foldable Storage Container by Sorbus. Perfect for clothes, blankets, closets, bedrooms, we love using ours.
Complete Each Task or Room
If you’ve gone through a closet and sorted everything and have those bags or boxes to deliver for charity, don’t just put them in your vehicle and tell yourself you’ll deliver them another day. We all know how that works….the boxes/bags ride around in your car for months! Take the time to deliver those items to charity. Or take the time to finish the process by taking out items that were earmarked as trash. You’ve done so much work to get to this point, go ahead and finish – even if that means spreading the project over a weekend, or multiple days.
You’re Finished, But You’re Never Really Finished
Just because you’ve decluttered and organized your space, that doesn’t mean you can just consider things “done”. A great tip is to spend 10-15 minutes per day on one room or one space, picking up and keeping it organized. Set a kitchen timer and do what you can in that amount of time. Expect to spend some time on upkeep, and it won’t be such a daunting task.
Our coffee table is one of those areas that needs to be continually organized. We had let it get out of hand. Here’s the before and after of the coffee table. It looks and feels so much better now!
Don’t Be Like Me
I am a self-confessed perfectionist, currently in recovery. So don’t be like me when it comes to organizing your home. There really is no such thing as perfect. No one’s home looks like an ad for a home décor magazine. Do what you can to keep things organized and decluttered, and enjoy your life. Just imagine how much easier spring cleaning will be if you’ve already spent some time decluttering your home!
Here’s a look at the three bookshelves in our living room. I’ve provided the before and after photos of each. They all needed some decluttering, purging and redesign. We are really happy with the results!
Finally, let me say that without Mr. SD this result would have been much more difficult to obtain. Mr. SD gave up a day of golf to help me. That’s correct….he gave up a day of golf. Without his help, I might still be working on the project. Full disclosure, in the beginning he was only interested in getting everything off of all the shelves and was happy to help with the purging. But before we were finished, he was in full-on decorator mode, putting his creative side to work in replacing things on shelves, moving them around and placing silk florals where he thought they would look best. Not even kidding – placement of florals!! Hats off to Mr. SD! After the result of this weekend project, I’ve decided the kitchen is next! (Shhh….don’t tell Mr. SD yet.)
Helping you create a beautiful home is what SunflowerDesigns2018 is all about. Each week we offer suggestions on ways to add beauty and simplicity to your surroundings, so that you and your family can enjoy your home. Until next time… #livecreatively!