settle in & consider yourself warned. this is not a short story!
i spent an entire day as i packed up our christmas decor and basically re-organized it all. we have a small crawl space off the attic and behind our bonus room. it’s a labor intensive event just to get back there, combined with the fact that i have an unjustifiable fear that a critter will get me when i’m in there means i seldom enter that space! while i am no expert in organization, that christmas reorganization process stirred up a few ideas regarding how i keep things uncluttered & organized. so over the next week or so i hope to share a few easy to follow thoughts.
let me lay out a little history. i’ve always been a collector. from letters & cards to cowboy boots, bottle brush trees to photos, lip gloss to black leggings. if i like something i tend to
hoard have a few options. i tend to attach sentiment to most anything. and i like an entire spectrum of colors & styles. while i’ve always been a collector, i’ve had a need for organization as well. and by organization i mean everybody has a place. and the place is usually tidy & intentional.
while i’d love to see my self as a creative, a free spirit and an artist, i realize i’m probably more of an uptight needer of order that just loves the creative free spirit artsy world. so i’ve gone through life wearing fringy things, loving cowboy boots long before they were cool and flowy tops listening to classic southern rock all while keeping papers in nice neat stacks, writing down every debit in my check book register & keeping a clutter free desktop.
back in the day i owned a gift shop. it was cute and quirky filled with cards & decorative things for your home. it was charming & set right beside a wonderful coffee shop. my customers became my friends & i rarely brought home a paycheck. madison would sleep in her little moses basket & i played shop owner. looking back i realize i decorated our home like i merchandised my little tiny shop. i mastered the art of having loads of little this & that’s in a small space. colorful frames & pillows everywhere. i loved all my little loved things, whether they be cute cards & pictures to collections of mercury glass..i wanted them to be out & visible at all times.
i’m not exactly sure what the catalyst was, but a few years ago i walked into our home & was completely overwhelmed with all the stuff. all the stuff, albeit neatly & tastefully displayed, was on every space & then some. my eye had no where to rest. that day began a quest for simplification. it was not necessarily easy nor was it painless. free yes, but for someone who attaches meaning to every little thing and has loads of little things, this epiphany turned into a project which has since segued into a lifestyle. i went from a cluttered yet tidy home owner to a declared lover of the minimal.
i realize my minimal monochromatic look is not for everyone and probably is sorta boring. our home is about thirty years old and a reno is not in the budget. we don’t have an open floor plan but rather small individual spaces. the need for less & the need for monochromatic colors helps those little boxy spaces seem to flow more open. in my mind anyways.
let me try to break this process down for you.
1. i tackled one space at a time. i took things off the walls & packed up every picture frame & this and that object into sort of a holding pattern.
2. i painted what were once different colored spaces all the same neutral creamy white. since a pro-painter wasn’t in the budget i basically did this myself over a period of weeks. honestly, my photos make our spaces appear a tad more white than they are in real life. so what i’m trying to say is i used an eggshell creamy white stock paint from walmart. no fancy story there. we also don’t have window treatments so the actual color & tone of each room seems to change with the seasons & how the light plays off the walls. our kitchen cabinets however are high-gloss true white.
i’ll tell you. having everything off the walls, a clean palette, now the unified spaces felt amazing. it truly was like my home took a deep breath and asked me what took me so long.
3. i decided that every space did not need a little something on it. every book shelf did not need to be loaded. every wall space did not need something hung upon it. many small pieces of furniture were actually unnecessary. every chair didn’t need a ginormous pillow that i would cringe every time someone sat against it. this began the painful portion of the process. that of deciding what would make the team.
4. i simplified and took out all small teeny tiny frames & brought into our family room six large frames all made by the same artist ( dry ads dancing in atlanta). they’re all white & chippy and blend in with the bookshelves. i have a frame for each of my girls, one for art & one for our family and i trade out these images throughout the year. a lover of snapshots, i decided to make one large 3×4 foot cork board into a landing space for these images. it’s covered with linen so it blends into the kitchen wall & i trade out snapshots of the girls & their friends, christmas cards & even add cards and little pieces of art to that. therefore i have my collection of images & art/cards but it’s simplified and appears more as one object than a dozen or so objects all over all the spaces.
5. i brought back in one thing for the wall in my downstairs spaces. one-ish. my dining room has a mirror and a chalkboard. my family room has a large clock. my studio has metal letters that spell out love. the kitchen has a large painting that i change out and the linen photo board. the end.
6. so what happened to the collections? well i now trade out the team. no special schedule & it’s not all the time. i also decided instead of having pieces of my said collection here & there to group the collection all together. this enables lots of small items to view as one. for example. i love mercury glass. so instead of having mercury glass here & there, i will group all 16 pieces together on a table top and now it looks like one. genius.
a few things i’ll share about soon:
~a few more images of simplified spaces
~what do i do with collections & things when they’re not in the decorating line up?
~how to be the boss of what you allow “in”
~how i tamed my inbox
~keeping my workspace clutter free & yet inspiring
~ my disclaimer about goals & lists
~living with 5 other people some of whom do not share my same need for all things tidy & organized
~organizing photos & photo storage
~fear not. i will not even attempt to discuss meal planning, grocery shopping and organized pantries because sister is not a stud in that game
and for your weekend enjoyment i’m adding a poorly shot video, complete with unsynced voice & video where i talk about a little bit about this process. this was before the days of mastering the video option on my camera. ha! i originally wrote a post about simplifying here. i’ve actually decluttered even more since that post. any future videos on this subject will be better. pinkie promise.
see ya’ll next week!