What’s with all the shit everywhere? People, throw stuff away! You don’t need a designer, you need a dumpster. Clutter is the anti-Christ to design. Many times, I’ve walked into (potential) client’s homes and thought this exact sentiment. I say potential because I’m not a (professional) organizer or licensed therapist and so if I was called in to complete such tasks, it’s probably not a good fit. Do you need a designer to tell you the weekly grocery ads are not on the list of this year’s trend watch?
I’m not talking about hoarding; that’s an entirely different issue. I have empathy for these souls—this is not what I’m talking about here.
I’m also not talking about realities of everyday life and how we all fall behind on putting things away. Homes are meant to get messy and that’s ok. No judgement. I’ve seen plenty of shit-storms hit the Potter household.
Having clutter, chotchkies, too much furniture, 75 dog toys in a basket, receipts, china cabinets with 50 etched water goblets, kids’ toys (don’t even get me started), 1-800-Flower vases in your kitchen cabinets, is a huge problem. I have never thrown something away or donated something that I ever missed or wished I hadn’t gotten rid of. Every manual or important document can usually be found online.
When everything is on display, nothing is on display. The items in your house should say something about the people living in the home. What good is a beautiful rug when it’s covered in clutter? More importantly, how do you flop on the floor at the end of a day and roll around with your kids when you can’t even see it? (Wrestling is one of my kids’ favorite things to do with their Mom. That’s right. Wrestling. With me.)
Your home says something about your mental well-being and mindset. If you live in chaos, your life is chaos.
That said, I do understand the need to save things. My parents both grew up fairly poor. Both 1st generation Italian and Irish. My mother in particular grew up with nothing—you know the classic Irish-Catholic family story. Not having much, you keep everything in your possession as if you’ll never get it again. Items are revered, but as time went on for my mother she continued to keep everything! Suddenly the tipping point had been reached. Her treasures were more like trash. Sometimes she would even stop at homes and place thrown-out items into her car because they were too good to get rid of. (Okay, I’m not ENTIRELY against this practice—some people just don’t know what they are getting rid of).
Well, too many tables and cute chairs and sets of “good china” turned into keeping plastic Chinese food take-out containers “that could be reused.” It’s ok to keep one. But a whole drawer dedicated to plastic containers? Anyone heard of GLASS? Remember, glass? That hard, clear, non-BPS thing that can be washed and reused over and over again. Yeah, enough with the plastic! (Did I just write that out loud? Clearly I’m passionate about our earth.)
Anyway, back to design. Long sermon, long. Enough stuff, people. Donate or throw it away. Or just don’t buy it! Don’t keep the CVS receipt because it has a coupon for mouthwash on the back of it. Have you ever moved and decided not to open a box because you were so sick of it only to realize you never missed the shit inside? You won’t miss it, people.
Get back to basics: a nice sofa and chair. One piece of amazing art. A pretty lamp. Simple and clean and calm. Your head will thank you. Your home will thank you. Guests might actually get a glimpse into who you are by the home the home you live in. You’ll connect on a different level to your surroundings. You might even reconnect with your spouse again (it could happen). It’s like meditation. Quiet inside your head.