Illustration: Melanie Lambrick
If You Want to Declutter, Think “Less Is More”
Remember: decluttering doesn’t mean getting rid of everything you own. Rather, it involves taking time to consider your lifestyle and recognize what’s working for you, what isn’t and why you’re hanging on to stuff. As the following experts can attest, organizing your home one room at a time can be a winning strategy.
How to Declutter Your Living Room
“Look around as if you are a visitor and this is your first time in the space,” says Regina Leeds, the Los Angeles–based author of 2008’s One Year to an Organized Life. “Does the room reflect the reality of today, or has it become a monument to the past?”
Next, sort objects and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. With each one, ask yourself: does it serve me well? Is it broken? Do I use it? Remote controls can be stashed in a basket; magazines can be recycled. Even something as unwieldy as a collection of VHS home videos can be digitized, says professional organizer Elinor Warkentin of Goodbye Clutter! in Vancouver.
If you’ve been keeping gifts, heirlooms or anything expensive solely out of guilt, just don’t. “Your goal is to make your home comfortable for you,” says Cherri Hurst, owner of Toronto’s Hurst Class Organizing. “Your affection and love for the person who gave you these objects doesn’t change if you let go of them.”
Tips to Declutter Your Kitchen
Unless you’re Old Mother Hubbard, your kitchen cupboard is likely full of mismatched china, oversized roasting pans and souvenir mugs. Montreal-based Kathleen Murphy of Organizing Options recommends getting rid of anything that’s damaged, neglected or unpleasant to use. “You’re the Chagall of your kitchen. You need good kitchen tools, and you want to enjoy the experience,” she says.
It may be tempting to hang on to objects in case you need them someday, but that’s not a valid reason to hoard stained, mismatched Tupperware. “For every 10 things you give up, you may end up regretting one. Save the space for something you’re using now,” says Hurst.
Once you’ve pared down those cooking utensils, streamline your kitchen to enhance the experience of making and eating a meal. Anything you use on a daily basis should be easily accessible, says Murphy, who suggests storing items such as baking tools, juicers and giant soup pots on higher shelves or in a closet.
Think your kitchen is spotless? Do you know about these 7 Surprisingly Germy Kitchen Items?