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September 17, 2018 9 min read

What is the #1 enemy of having an organized, beautiful, modern-looking space? 

C L U T T E R .

how to organize your home and make it look more modern 

 

Less is more, for sure. 

Over the years I've fine tuned the art of being in constant throw-away mode, and it has made my place look A LOT nicer.

I used to keep everything from used-up paint tubes, Christmas cards, things from the thrift store I never needed in the first place, and hundreds of CDs.

I didn't realize how awful the stuff was making me feel on a subconscious level until my partner, Mr. Minimal, asked me if I ever used any of it.

My eyes got big, I stopped mid-breath, and I looked around at the different sized piles and arrangements of things that surrounded me.

I couldn't even see the corners of the room. Ugh.

People don't use about 3/4 of the things lying around in their houses. And yet, that stuff is still there throughout the years. For me, there are 3 reasons to explain why these unused objects are still taking up space:

 

1. They've become invisible over time due to lack of use

2. You'll feel like you're wasting money if you throw it out

3. It's linked to a memory or person

 

Scrutinize every object in your house and objectively ask yourself if you'll need to use it again in the near future.

If the answer is NO, then you know what has to be done.

Additionally, visual clutter is known to increase anxiety and confusion.

You know how you are what you eat? Well, you are where you live too. That stress and anxiety isn't worth the pennies you're throwing away in those old products you never use.

If an object is linked to another person... Well, who am I to tell you to throw it away or not?

Just be objective and really take the time to consider what needs to stay and needs to go.

 

ARE YOU READY TO PURGE YOUR STUFF??

Ways to spring clean effectively

The list below are all perfect activities for a Sunday morning, provided you've got some great tunes, a cup of coffee in hand, and nothing but time to jam out and organize.

 

So, here are TEN THINGS you need to minimize or get rid of:

#1. C L O T H E S :

Male or female, you probably have too much clothing. 

Tiny closet? No problem. There are so many ways to create gorgeous open closet space in the actual bedroom.

Shelves, hooks, or an elegant clothing rack can enhance a bedroom while organizing your favorite things, so they're out in the open. [insert photos from Pinterest]

Big closet you still can't tame? Now, it's time for the garbage bag method. Further along, I'll explain a good tactic for justifying the purge of old clothes and how to feel better about it.

 

 

#2. U N D E R  Y O U R  B E D :

How to organize your bedroom and under the bed with storage containers

You know there are monsters under there.

But maybe they're just dust bunnies, old papers, high school photos, a stray bra, ceramic trinkets you had no where else to store, candles, Halloween masks you just can't bring yourself to throw away, etc.

You know where this is going. And it sucks.

It's funny that we all think "no one will know it's under there" when we stuff the cavity between the floor and our beds with crap.

YOU know it's there. You also know that it seriously shouldn't be stored there. Thus, the guilt you feel.

 

Even if it's something you only occasionally use, it sure wouldn't be put under the bed.

And not to freak you out, but cluttered spaces attract bed bugs, roaches, and mice. Triple yuck.

Sooo, maybe I was right about the monsters under your bed. 

 

Here are some contemporary solutions to curb this under-bed build up:

 Under the bed rolling storage cart   Bedroom storage and organization ideas

#3. P O T S  A N D  P A N S / F O O D  C O N T A I N E R S :

So, do you really use all those Tupperware lids that don't have their bottom halves?

You know, the ones without the actual bowl part that goes with them, which actually allow you to store food?

Right. Toss 'em.

We'll make this easy. Throw out EVERYTHING that has a missing a part.

How many food container sets do you need, anyway?

If you food prep for the week, then technically you need five. They should be able to stack to take up the least amount of space possible. 

If you need something to store larger dishes in the fridge, then have no more than 2 large, stacking plastic food containers.

As far as pots go, donate anything you haven't used in roughly 2 months. 

Consider your lifestyle and if you're the type of person who cooks every week, or if it's only an occasional thing.

You don't need a kitchen stocked with all the tools of a professional chef if you're a take out kinda person.

 

#4. P A N T R Y : 

How to declutter your cabinets and pantry

There are always outdated things in the fridge and pantry, so why keep them?

Not only will you be able to see clearly in the cabinets what you're able to cook, but you won't have rotting food in the kitchen crannies. 

Check out those expiration dates and even if it's still good but an unhealthy, guilty-pleasure type of food, toss it!

Purging the pantry gives you a great opportunity to go grocery shopping the right way for plenty of fresh produce and healthy, raw foods. 

 

#5. E N T R Y W A Y :

Packages, old mail, things you were supposed to return weeks ago, backpacks, purses, shoes, socks, recycle, and more always seem to pile up near the door.

So do piles of dirt.

You don't need a foyer to have an organized entryway. An organized, elegant front-of-house is all about having a few convenient storage units both on the wall and on the floor.

If you have an open, boxy floor plan, there are still so many ways to make where you enter a great spot to prepare for settling into the main area.

Here are some great pipe furniture designs for creating an entryway with just a single, multipurpose foyer organizer for shoes, coats, and bags.

Where can you get one of these you ask?

Mainly Etsy, but I prefer Home Depot of Lowes. If you have the time, you can experiment with making your own and go to the source of Home Depot for pipe fittings.

Or, there are pipe furniture kits for sale, like my company Iron & Sprout

 

Entryway Decor and how to make a modern entryway for a row homeIndustrial pipe coat rack and table for modern foyer and entryway decorEntryway shoe and coat organizer made of black steel pipes

 

 

#6. T V  C O N S O L E :

industrial modern concrete and reclaimed wood TV console

CDs, books, DVDs, board games, trinkets, oh my. 

Here is my TV console I designed a year ago with the adjustable shelf above it.

It's REALLY easy to get carried away and start using your TV console as a storage unit so I designed this as more of a minimal showcase. 

It helps when a console design is open without opaque doors because you are forced to look at the way you style and organize it.

Consoles with doors and hidden storage can sometimes be convenient, but they invite you to pack them with unnecessary clutter. 

Another upside of an open TV console is that it makes the room look larger, due to still being able to see the walls. 

I know, it was hard for me to get rid of my CD and DVD collection (or most of it...) and get into the media streaming, but boy am I glad I did.

Make sure that what your console has on it NEEDS to be there.

A classy console has one or two tasteful candles/holders, a plant, a few books, and in my case, an Amazon Echo device.

Remember that white objects also give an illusion of a larger space, so if you're going to decorate a bit more liberally, consider that the lighter the color they are the better.  

 

#7. B A T H R O O M  T H I N G S

Check under the sink to see the cemetery of half-used shampoos, conditioners, room sprays, hairsprays, collection of on-sale mascaras, and different toned-foundations to match the varying seasons. 

There always seems to be an abundance of makeup and toiletries down there. 

Pluck out the things you either haven't used in over 2 months, are barely full, or are expired and dispose them. 

The amount of stress and disorganization that their presence causes you simply isn't worth keeping them around.

If you don't have shelves in your bathroom, invest in some. Wall storage is not only a great way to free up floor space, but it's also convenient and right in the open.

* I highly recommend a shelf with a towel bar included, so you can make your storage as compact as possible.  

                                                    

         Steampunk towel holder and shelves for bathroom storageBathroom organization ideas with industrial pipe shelves

 

#8. F U R N I T U R E :

So, what furniture + decor items are you in danger of having too much of?

There are definitely items you can go overboard on... and that excess makes your place look smaller, more cluttered, distasteful, and antiquated.

 industrial style decor and sofa

 

Here are the most common types of furniture/decor that can become serious overkill if you have too much of them:

 

• SIDE TABLES 
• LAMPS
• RUGS
• PILLOWS

 

Now, for side tables.

The more floor, corners of the room, and wall you can see in a space the larger and lighter it's going to feel.

Little tables everywhere is going to kill that light vibe, so choose carefully where you need a strategically placed side table. They can easily overrun you...

 

Lamps are lovely, but in small doses.

You shouldn't have more than two lamps in any one room. Period!

One floor lamp and maybe one table lamp is all you need, especially if you have ceiling lights or track lights.

Similarly to the side tables, floor lamps decrease the amount of floor surface area and can quickly cramp a space.

You don't want to have to worry about bumping into your furniture.

Your apartment shouldn't feel like a minefield.

 

Little, useless rugs will make your place look tiny.

One accent rug per room is what I always say. Any more than that, and you're living in a carpet sample shop.

The only places you really need one is near the front door, a kitchen mat to serve as a useful pad for feet while you're cooking, and a rug for under your coffee table in front of the couch. 

A rug is an inviting item. But you don't want to direct my attention to five spots at once, or I'll become anxious.

They draw someone in like a focal point and should be used sparingly.

 

Pillows, patterns, puffiness, padding... TOO MUCH!                    

So, I'm a fan of pillows. It's hard not to be, they're great to snuggle up with after a long day. But you need to stick to some basic pillow guidelines:

 

 

 

 

 

• ONLY TWO DIFFERENT TYPES/TEXTURES

• ONE PILLOW TYPE BE SOLID AND OTHER SHOULD HAVE A PATTERN

• ONE SHOULD BLEND IN WITH THE SOFA AND THE OTHER SHOULD POP

 

how to decorate a modern sofa and living room

 

#9. T H E  C O F F E E  T A B L E :

Whether it's dirty glasses, too many coasters, remotes, or candles, there should only be one-three things on that coffee table. 

Clutter breeds clutter so a few innocent items on that coffee table can easily turn into a nasty, unnecessary pile.

In my own apartment, I only have the essentials.

There's the TV console, two adjustable pipe shelving units, one side table, a sofa, a bar cart, and an industrial pipe kitchen table.

That is my entire living room

Since I built all of the furniture, everything that's here feels special. I designed it, considered it, and made each item to serve a specific convenience + comfort.

There needs to be a specific reason for it being here and if there isn't, it goes.

My place has truly come a long way from where it was.

Clutter is without doubt the most harmful weapon you can inflict upon your home.

Controlling it starts in the mind. You have to make active decisions on curating your home.

 

Here is my personal tactic for curbing clutter: 

Scan the room for things you haven't actively noticed or used in the past 2 months. The 2-month time span doesn't have to be that short if you feel it's not a fitting amount of time for you, but try to keep it under a 6-month period.

Grab a fresh, new garbage bag from the box under your sink and go from room to room stuffing it with the things you haven't noticed or used within that time frame. Then GET IT OUT!

It is incredibly easy for me to rationalize getting rid of my things if I donate it.

There are so many people who would give an arm for some of the things in my and your closet. Things that we don't even use! 

I remember when I used to score at the thrift store and it actually made my day to get an amazing deal. 

 

BUT...

For those of you who still aren't sold, remember that the core elements of modern interior design are minimalism and designs where form follows function.

A modern furniture design is informed by what the function of the object will be. But do you think that elegant, modern, geometric wing chair has fifty million patterns and colors all over it? No way.

The most rewarding things in life are often the scariest, folks.

So it's okay to be initially nervous to get rid of your things. Just remember they are only that, things.

But after you're a seasoned home decor purger, you'll be dying to wake up early Sunday morning and get that garbage bag out. Or at least clear off your coffee table...

 

Anna Hodges


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