The Clutter Squeeze
by Douglas Dolezal
For far too many of us, time is frantically
divided between careers, committees, carpooling, keeping fit,
and staying on top of our kids’ academic and extracurricular
pursuits. Yes, it’s exhilarating — but exhausting
too. So imagine returning from a particularly hectic day and
opening the door only to be greeted by visual chaos.
More than physical shelter, a home should be a haven for the
spirit, too. But instead of acting as refuge, for many, homes
are disorganized and encumbered with clutter. The environment
this creates is stressful and results in a continual feeling
of being on edge. The disarray can literally squeeze energy
right out of you. Fortunately, for every clutter problem there
is a ready solution.
Experts, such as Dana Korey of Away With
Clutter, are available who specialize in the art of organization.
They can help with
all the nitty-gritty details of reducing and rearranging
closets, drawers, file cabinets, and desks. Use them especially
have a hard time letting go. It’s work that will lift
the burden of holding on to years of unnecessary stuff.
addition to managing the mayhem behind closet doors, there
are easy solutions for interiors that will bring a sense
of peace and serenity. First, stand in a room and notice
Look around and observe the furniture arrangement. Is it
spread out and lined up against the walls? Even if each individual
piece is beautiful, the room will look disjointed and messy
when there is no rhyme or reason to layout. Cluster furniture
together to create conversation areas. If a room is large,
position several of these groupings to create an environment
that’s warm and intimate. Add interest by using pieces
that vary in height and dimension. Find a common color that
appears in upholstered pieces and make it the accent — place
pillows and a throw in that color around the room. This simple
touch will tie everything together for a consistent flow
throughout the space.
Now turn attention to the accessories.
Chances are, there are too many of them. Filling a room with
lots of things
it look tacky, even if they are made of the finest quality.
Think of accessories as a room’s jewelry and choose
only a few pieces to strategically place in small groupings
decor. Treat collections as one unit and come up with clever
displays. Artfully arrange them on a mantel, set them in
an antique hutch, group them on a tabletop, or mount them
frame. When kept together, they’ll add impact and interest
Family photographs are beloved accessories
that can sometimes get out of control. Think about limiting
the quantity and
consider rotating them in and out throughout the year. You’ll
enjoy the change. Then pick
a common element such as black and white prints or frames
in one particular color or style. This will unify them and
place the focus where
it belongs — on
the wonderful memories they conjure.
Bookshelves provide another
opportunity for showcasing collections and photographs. Unfortunately,
they tend to be crammed with
books, knick-knacks, and anything else that doesn’t
seem to have a place. Results can be astounding when just
thought and attention are applied here. Pull everything out
and, when you start anew, don’t plan on filling each
shelf to the brim. Anchor a few books with two or three on
their sides. Skip some space and place more books, varying
the quantity each time. Dot related items throughout, such
as photographs, small plants, interesting boxes, sculpture
or items from your favorite collections. Step back and take
a look. The shelves should appear as though they are one
artful arrangement. If it’s hard to envision this,
search through design magazines for inspiration and ideas.
harmony is achieved through artwork. Arrange art in geometric
grids to achieve a sense of order. Use symmetry — keep
both sides of an arrangement equal in size, shape, and position.
The results will be balanced and beautiful due to the corresponding
relationship. Like frames and matting will contribute to
the look. And don’t forget to scale your artwork to
the furniture and wall space. If you are unsure, trace each
piece onto brown
paper and tape the arrangement to the wall before committing
to anything permanent.
On the practical side, for everyday
items that can look cluttered: a decorative box makes the
perfect hideaway for the remotes;
stylish baskets with lids can be neatly lined up under a
console table for a quick dump and stash — get one
for each family member and remember to have them clean it
out at least once
a week; decorative apothecary jars make quick storage for
keys; and a Chinese trunk can serve as both side table and
storage for throws or your latest craft project.
necessary steps to free yourself from the squeeze of cluttered
spaces. Doing so will ensure that at the end
of every frenzied day, you’ll find sanctuary in the
tranquil environment of home.