Sometimes decorating can feel like dieting. A never ending cycle of trying and failing and hoping you come out on top…only to find yourself face down in a pan of brownies at midnight swearing you don’t care about fitting into your pre-baby jeans. (Just me? Oh, ok…) When you’re feeling overwhelmed and out of your element –be it dieting or decorating– the process can be self-defeating even when you give it your best effort.
And it’s not all your fault.
No matter how hard you try or much time you spend on Pinterest, you struggle to create a space you love. The problem isn’t that you don’t know your style…You know what you like when you see it. But every time you bring home that great piece you think will work it suddenly seems sad, lost, and severely disappointing.
Friend, the real problem is that you tried to add to your space without first subtracting.
Your home can be clogged with so much decor clutter that even when you find pieces you love in the store, they’ll never work with the current state of your home. Before you EVER get serious about decorating your space, you’ve got to declutter. Decluttering is the first and often skipped step of the decorating process.
Whenever I have my initial session with a new client, we always talk about what pieces she isn’t loving and isn’t using. We remove items from the equation, literally getting them out of the room’s orbit before we ever proceed to talk about what needs to be added.
You could bring a Van Gogh into a cluttered home and hang on a crowded wall, and it’ll look like junk. When you allow decor clutter to stick around, it destroys any chance of you creating a space you love.
SO WHAT IS DECOR CLUTTER?
Don’t get me wrong…we ALL have that piece of furniture we dislike but know it’s not in the current budget to replace. (Heads up…Even if you dislike the style, if it’s used daily then it’s needed right now. Be grateful for the role it’s serving for your family. One day it will get to retire.)
Decor clutter is an unnecessary item that can be removed without hindering everyday life. It’s all the stuff that if it went missing you’d honestly be relieved…or maybe not even notice it was gone.
It’s things you rarely use and never really liked, but you’re keeping because…
A. You paid good money for it. (Don’t buy into that one…pun intended.)
B. You’re not sure what else to put there.
C. It was a gift that you feel guilty about getting rid of.
D. It was a stray that somehow found you and you never intentionally chose it.
1 Decor clutter keeps you from ever having a cohesive style.
You don’t truly know what you’re dealing with until you subtract the unnecessary. In all facets of design, subtraction is almost more important than the creation.
A quote by Minh Tran that I come back to on every project is this…“Great design is eliminating all unnecessary details.” It really is so true. Over the years I realized that many times when I tried to decorate for myself (and those first clients in the early years) I was trying to fill up a space because I wanted it to have impact.
Over the years and hundreds of rooms later, I’ve learned that impact comes not from quantity but from how items play together to say something stylistically.
When you have items that don’t reflect your style jumbled in
with pieces you do love, your style gets totally buried. #decorclutter
Imagine this…You hire the best photographer in your town to take family pictures. You kids are dressed in adorable coordinating outfits that shockingly made it out of the house without a spill or stain. You show up to a gorgeous location, and the light is perfect. Everyone had a great time laughing and posing and goofing around for some candid shots. You’re so excited to see how these pictures turn out. Then when you get them back and realize that some random stranger had posed in the background. Of every. Single. Photo.
It doesn’t matter how cute your kids smiles were or how great your hair looked. You will never love those pictures because they were contaminated with something you didn’t love.
It’s the same with our homes.
Lose the rando stuff, so you can actually appreciate the things you do love.
2 More room, more visual calm, less waste.
One of the things that can make a huge impact on your ability to relax at home is what’s called visual whitespace. If you’ve lived in your current place for a while, this can be especially challenging. When I moved into my first home, I was itching to fill the blank walls as quickly as possible. Fast forward a few years and every wall was littered with wall decor…Some of which I loved, but most of which I had purchased and hung out of convenience or cost. Even the things I loved were not easily visible to me with all the extra stuff.
When I started removing pieces from my living room walls, a funny thing happened. I felt more relaxed in the room. The walls felt less busy and immediately the room felt more calm.
A similar thing happened when my oldest daughter became a toddler. Suddenly all those little accent items that filled every corner of every room became accidents waiting to happen. So up to the attic they went into home goods purgatory. But what I realized once they were gone is that they were not missed at all. By anyone. I ended up selling most on Craigslist or giving away to friends.
Any item taking up precious real estate in your home that is not loved or used is clutter. And it’s wasting your space. Space that could be used to play, lounge or simply to give your eyes a break.
Here’s the thing…Our eyes need a visual space to “rest”. Our rooms need space to breath. Our family-especially kids-need some room to spread out.
3 Decluttering allows you to see your true needs.
A wonderful thing happens when the junk starts to leave your home…You can see where you have actual needs. For example, if you get rid of some of the smaller pieces on your living room floor, you may realize that you really do need a nice cozy rug to fill the space so it’s more usable. You might realize that what that side table really needed instead of a bunch of little decorative items is a great table lamp for reading.
Without the clutter, you can accurately evaluate what new item will serve your family better.
4 You can make decorating decisions with clarity.
As you subtract the items that clearly do not reflect your style, you’ll start to see the items you do love playing off one another…It’s like now they have a chance to visually communicate without the constant interruptions of decor clutter interrupting them at every turn! (Can you tell I love me some metaphors?)
Honestly though, this is a huge step to help you begin to solidify your style and clearly see common characteristics of things you love. The eventual result is that you can make decorating decisions with focus and clarity that weren’t possible before.
5 It costs absolutely nothing to declutter, but it still moves you closer to a home you love.
Let’s face it…We’re real people with real budgets. And sometimes shopping and decorating isn’t in the budget. Decluttering is ALWAYS free. Amen and amen.
DECOR CLUTTER DETOX
So…now what? Take some action. Today. While you’re motivated.
I’ve created Decor Clutter Detox that walks you through 3 areas in your home where clutter likes to hang out. You can grab it for FREE below.
You ready to do this, mama? I’ll be cheering you on.