i found an interesting article last week that discusses clutter & our stress level.
“It turns out that clutter has a profound affect on our mood and self-esteem. CELF’s anthropologists, social scientists, and archaeologists found: A link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in female home owners and a high density of household objects. The more stuff, the more stress women feel.”
“Even families that want to reduce clutter often are emotionally paralyzed when it comes to sorting and pitching objects. They either can’t break sentimental attachments to objects or believe their things have hidden monetary value.”
i give a resounding amen to both of those findings. clutter does indeed make me nutty and yet i have a hard time letting it (it=things.frames.dishes.whatever) go.
so let’s first talk a little about one way you can minimize the amount of things on the surfaces in your home & enjoy meaningful things as well.
i think most of us love photos and love to have those memories visible. picture frames are cute and little pieces of art in & of themselves. many of them are quite affordable if not just plain cheap. so those factors combined make snapshots & little picture frames one of the quickest decor items that can take over your home in a heartbeat. while i’m a huge fan of getting those images off your phone & computer and into some hard tangible medium, little pictures all over my home is not going to help with clutter control.
when i packed up all the clutter in our home, the primary object being packed up was photos & frames. being an avid photographer for as long as i can remember plus a sentimentalist you can imagine this was a bit of a challenge for me. i would have an end table with 3 frames on it. a bookshelf right behind said end table with 8 frames on it. then there was the wall where i might group 3-5 frames together there as well. an overdecorated, over stimulated refrigerator door. picture frames in the dining room, the kitchen, the family room and on the walls. good gracious.
having said that, i absolutely love a gallery wall with multiple images all framed, not necessarily even matching frames, all together. the bold monochromatic effect of all black frames or all gold frames has a beautiful effect. the menagerie of art, both framed & unframed, combined with photographs is a visual delight as well. as long as the said gallery wall isn’t right beside a set of bookshelves also laden with photographs. follow?
i shared in the previous post that one way for me to unify our framed images & cut down on a cluttered look was to invest in coordinating frames. for the design & feel of our home i chose chippy reclaimed wood frames in 8×10 and larger. i take a lot of photos of our girls so i have a pretty good running inventory of snaps to use, but in this day of iPhones that take stellar quality images, i bet we all do! less images but larger size allows me to have pictures of my girls up & enjoy them. the less -but -larger actually allows for easier visibility as well. ( as opposed to all those tiny frames with tiny snaps that you actually have to pick up to see). for those frames i just use an inexpensive printer like sams/costco/walgreens and trade those babies out relatively often. sometimes i’ll get cool & print all the images for the frames in black & white. i love that rich, monochromatic look as well.
i actually have three gallery walls in our home. one just as you enter the side door of our home. another is upstairs and features art made by my girls. yes i have one about to graduate from college & her 3rd grade painting is still on the wall. the other is in our front entry way leading up the stairs. those frames are actually all creamy colored & found at walmart, i think they’re bh&g brand.
if your goal is to minimize clutter, one more thing i encourage you to do is refrain from using the door of your refrigerator as a memo board. clean that puppy off! clean slate!
so where’d all the tiny cute photos & picture frames go?
again. as far as this step goes, i encourage you to do what works best for you, your family, your space, your finances, etc. the thought of packing things up for garage sale at some later date usually makes me antsy. primarily because once i’m ready to move on i’m ready to move on and i don’t want all those things i just uncluttered to clutter up another place while theyr’e on deck waiting to bat. but. if you have storage space then pack ’em up & save them for your garage sale. just make sure you give your self a deadline or all those packed up boxes will just stay packed up boxes for ever & ever. i chose to give the things i’m letting go of to the local co-op. load ’em up & move ’em out. chances are, in a few weeks ( or hours) you can’t even remember what those items were that you labored over and painfully packed up. let it go sister. it’s just all stuff. let it go.
all the snap shots? i love snap shots. i love candids and polaroids and all the things considered images. so what worked for me was making a photo board. friends this doesn’t even require a tutorial. bottom line. grab a cork board & cover that baby with fabric. hang it on the wall & use push pins to attach your photos. don’t overthink this yall. 4×6’s are like 19cents, if even. pin the photo for crying out loud. or if that makes you nervous, just put the push pin on the edge of your image. ta. da. the end.
i change our board fairly frequently. that little ( 3×4″) cutie has held christmas cards. maybe before one of the girls birthdays i’ll make the board all about that girl. summer i may do a sunflower theme or beach image theme. you get the picture. pun intended. i’ll add art & cards, little this & thats. something about having all those little things , again on a unified color themed board, makes all those little thingies appear as “one” verses dozens & dozens of frames all over your world.
this is the current look. since i love to save cards & little glittered thingies, this gives me one unified space where i can display them. and it doesn’t make me feel crazy. another perk about using this board & it’s location is that it’s not actually in direct view whether you come in our side door or front door.
this was the display during december~
christmas a couple years ago~
& as the cards came in…( now keep them in our laundry room. up all year & i pray over each family)
so…my little tips might not work for you & that’s aok! you may have the prettiest, artsiest decorated refrigerator door out there & it works for you. this is just one of the first steps i took in trying to simplify the visual pretties all over our home! or honestly, you may look at these images & think–whoa! girlfriend has too much stuff!! too each his own right?!
so bottom line. 3 tips of the day~
1. use a unified area, space or object for your smaller images. this could be a mud room, laundry room, hallway, playroom…wherever.
2.allow yourself the freedom of changing out your images.whether framed or on a board, enjoy the meaningful glimpses of your people.
this will help rid you of the guilt & need to pitch meaningful photos as mentioned at the start of this post.
3. if you choose to have fewer but larger frames, you will still enjoy your photographs but not have the large task of changing out a plethora of little frames.
please feel free to leave comments & ideas that have worked for you as well!
i started a little series friday on organization & dealing with clutter. a little series 😉 if you want to start from the beginning, hop on over here.