My sister had a small fire in her condo about a week before Christmas. She’s perfectly well – all is fine, though singed in a few areas, and her bathroom will need a complete overhaul, as well as new paint throughout.
As she is now preparing for the insurance and repair people to come into her space, she realises she needs to junk out, pare down, and purge a bunch of stuff, so she can make the most out of all these changes.
“My house is fat.” She said, flatly, while on the phone with me the other day.
I knew she didn’t mean phat.
“Don’t worry, just visualise…” I said.
I meant it. You have to have an idea about what you want your space to look like when you’re finished with it, otherwise you don’t have a goal. Visualise. Then, make your space like the picture in your head. Yes, it’s that easy. Of course, this takes some honesty, and possibly some discipline. If you can’t tear down walls or change tiles and wallpaper, you have to live with the structure and furnishings you have.
Sometimes you can let go of “collections.” Like, shoes. Or books.
I am LOATHE to get rid of books. But, most people have a finite amount of space for books. Once you’ve used it up, you really can’t bring more in, unless they become stack on radiators and in doorways. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if it’s not the look you’re going for, then you must ask yourself how many of these books will I really read again?
You don’t need to keep every single thing you’ve been given, you know. You don’t negate the love or the goodwill of the sentiment of the gift, even if you let go of the thing. Sometimes we amass or collect things for a time, but once they begin to feel like an albatross around our necks, we can get rid of those things – and one needn’t feel guilty about that. (Yes, really.)
Think about S P A C E.
To start with, you need to SORT your stuff, like with like. When that’s done and set into piles, you can begin to PURGE – and you need to be ruthless – the things that are not useful to you, the things that are broken, duplicates, whatever. Never mind how much you spent on them once upon a time… move on with your life. And be quick about it – just decide to get rid of it.
The same goes for clothing, kitchen utensils, old make-up or cosmetic items… free yourself. No one needs six different kinds of shampoo, and those bottles are mammoths. Just get rid of what you don’t love, or what you don’t use.
ASSIGN a home to what you have left. Don’t stash stuff in places where you don’t use them. And you don’t need stamps in every drawer. Nor scissors. Nor tweezers. I’m just saying. If you have forty pens, pare down to ten – pick your favourites, and get rid of the rest. I’ll bet you can get more if you really need them – there’s no need to be a hoarder.
Next, think about CONTAINERIZING your stuff. Get an appropriate sized box, bin, or basket for what you’re keeping, and get rid of whatever else doesn’t fit, since your space is finite. Same thing goes for your shoe closet. And your clothes. Your sheets and your towels. Your CD’s and your movies. You get the picture. I mean, how much do you really need to keep? Be honest. Be ruthless.
After this, you need to keep things EQUALIZED. This means, if the assigned place for your books/dish soap/towels is already full, then don’t bring home any more until you use up/get rid of some – that way you’ll have space for your new thing. You can’t just keep bringing things into your home if you don’t put anything out – that’s how you end up with a fat house in a hurry. That’s just simple math.
Remember the acronym – S P A C E. I tell you, it works. Pick a high-impact place in your home that bugs you, and just start sorting. The New Year is nigh.
So, while I can’t be there in person, I can help my sister from afar… while I nurse my pre-New Year cold, curled in the warmth and safety of my faux fur blanket, and sipping a small cup of wine while my husband isn’t looking. Shhhhhhh…
Got plans for newness in your home space? I wanna hear about it… tell me everything.