Spring has sprung, and you all know what that means. Yard Sales! Oh yeah, and cleaning. But seriously, one of the things i’d like to address this issue, is clutter, and collecting. One does not necessarily result in the other, and with careful editing, and maintaining a plan, we can keep our stuff from overwhelming our lives.
The first step of course, and often a very satisfying one, is going through our existing paraphernalia, and chucking what we no longer need or want. Also things that are broken, or projects that after 10 years, are probably never going to see the light of day. Be ruthless. It may be difficult or even a little painful at first, but as you get into the rhythm of it, you may find it quite freeing.
Antiques and collectibles may be worth something to others, so try listing on Kijiji (www.kijiji.ca) or another free website to sell your stuff. There are also several auction houses in the area which will gladly accept your stuff. Be aware however, that they will sell to the highest bidder, and unless you attach a reserve bid to your items, that may not be as high as you might think.
Having a yard sale of your own is another option, but only do this if you can keep in mind that the goal is just to get rid of stuff. Donations of whatever is left are welcome at the Salvation Army, Value Village, or the St. Vincent de Paul Society. There are also schools, women’s shelters, children’s hospitals, and many deserving charities that would appreciate good quality second hand items.
After the cleansing is completed, you will be left, ideally, only with the things that are most important to you. Now they need to be organized. What will be stored, what will be displayed, and what will be used often. Do your storage spaces need to be upgraded or made more accessible? You may need closet organizers, under-bed storage containers, or shelving built in the basement, garage or attic. And there are professionals to help with this if you need it.
Moving forward, we need to keep our homes and our lives from getting back into the patterns that created the chaos. This means a plan. Not everything we admire or desire deserves a place in our living room. We need an overall design, colour scheme, or style, which will help us in establishing the criteria required for each of the items and pieces we choose for our homes. Our own talents, skills, hobbies, trades and careers can help define these criteria. Who we are, and how we live, should be at the centre of any design for our homes.
You may see a home or room in a magazine or on one of the popular decorating shows that appeals to you. These can be a great source of inspiration, however, trying to impose a vision meant for something or someone else on your own home, doesn’t usually work. Usually, a good design, and the best interiors, begin with designing around the people who live in or use the space and what they do there, and when you bring in your own personality. This helps define the “function” of a space.
You may have heard this word teamed with “form”. Together, they are the tenets around which we create all things made by man. There is, of course, more to it than that. Colour and style also play a part, and those that appeal to us are as individual as we are. One place to start is in your wardrobe. What colours look good on you? What cut and style of clothing makes you feel happy when you wear it? Bringing some of these elements into our interiors can be a very good thing. Coupled with a good basic design based on what we need to do in the space, and consideration of the limitations and advantages of the space itself, we have all the clues we need to create a comfortable and welcoming home, inside and out.
Now go play outside!