Kristen Christian of Bee Organized has seen it all in her day—the clutter, the never-ending knickknacks, and the multiplying tchotchkes. She and her business partner Lisa Foley founded Bee Organized in 2015 to help clients gain control over mess and mayhem. They work with each client by educating them about organizing philosophies and methods.
Christian says when it comes to décor and decorating, less really is more. The big question—why are we so attached to our stuff? And more importantly, how do we pare down our stuff? If you’re looking to gain some counter space, Christian has some tried-and-true tips and techniques:
“Our belongings and decor choices are an extension of ourselves, our experiences, our loves. A painting from a semester in Italy, a vase handed down from Grandma, even items you found in the clearance bin at HomeGoods might remind you of a simpler time. Our belongings tell our story.
But when we allow our stories to take over every square inch of our homes, the items we have lovingly collected, can over time become visual clutter. Instead of telling our story, these items overpower it.
Luckily, two simple rules honor the heart of every story: perform the power purge and assign everything a home.”
1) Perform the Power Purge
The process can be emotional, but three simple questions will empower you:
Do I love this item?
Of course Grandma’s beloved vase brings back happy memories, and you loved that painting when you bought it during your semester in Italy (and the handsome artist who sold it to you), but do these things still catch your eye and make your heart skip a beat? If not, it may be time to let them go to a new home.
Do I use this item regularly?
Does the vase live on the back of the lowest shelf in a guest bedroom bookcase, or does it proudly hold the occasional bouquet of flowers? Is the painting living on the floor, wedged between the sofa and the wall, or is it hanging somewhere for all to see? If the item serves no real purpose and you have no love for it, then it is time to bid it farewell.
Is the item valuable/replaceable?
If the item serves no purpose other than monetary value, perhaps you would be better off finding a safe place to store it, rather than letting it clutter your living spaces and overpower your home.
As you edit your story—and belongings—remember that if everything is precious, nothing is precious. Hold yourself to a strict standard and you will be ready take on step number two.
2) Assign Everything a Home
Once you have culled your belongings down to only include what makes your heart happy and serves you on a regular basis, it’s time to honor those items and their memories with a new home.
Find a new way to show it.
Bring the painting from Italy to your current part of the world by having it reframed. Simply updating the display of art, photos, and other memorabilia can extend the life of that piece of your history and give others a new look at what has made you who you are today. (Pro tip: Refresh/reframe old pictures, paintings, and posters with modern framing or use jersey cases for special sports paraphernalia.)
Find a new way to use it
Grandma’s vase is full of love—but filling it with flowers like Grandma did isn’t quite your style. Consider its shape and size and—rather than buying yet another storage container at a discount store—give new life to the vase by using it to hold scarves, sunglasses, washcloths, or, of course, hard candy. Grandma would approve! (Pro tip: Make a T-shirt quilt with old sports shirts.)
Find a new way to store it
That valuable family heirloom needs as much protection as it does reverence. Sometimes the best way is to stash it in a storage room, but other times an item can be both stored and protected in plain sight behind glass, in a decorative box, or tucked safely away in a piece of furniture. (Pro tip: Small display cases on a bookshelf can provide a protected home to a cherished item, as can a storage ottoman or a decorative box. Acrylic risers are a way to bring emphasis to a special item.)
Thoughtfully showcasing belongings and decor that highlights what and who you really are allows your home to properly support you unencumbered by your stuff. Allow your spaces to sing in a way that is pleasing to the eye, and you will see that less really is more and will create a sense of peace that always welcomes you home.”