by TJ AndersonThis prediction from Dwell magazine, from late last year, just made its way into my Facebook feed: “Step Aside, Subway Tile — Penny Tile Is the New Classic.” Penny tile,
Decluttering Tips For Nashville Homeowners Who Are Not Quite Ready To KonMari
by TJ Anderson
Aside of Bird Box and the forthcoming final season of Game of Thrones, it feels like all anyone’s talking about lately, on the TV-lover front, is decluttering their home.
CNN’s description of the home-decluttering phenomenon is pretty fantastic — “Kondo acts as a tiny garbage fairy for messy people,” the network said of the show, and “the whole experience has plunged people down their own personal trash chutes of existential crises.” Funny, because it’s true.
Marie Kondo and scores of other experts and professional organizers can help you down the road of genuine home-decluttering change — climbing headfirst into your mountain of stuff and determinedly tossing/donating a heap of it, until you’re down to the essential things that are truly useful, and really make you happy. I get it, though: Some of us aren’t ready to really address whether or not our collection of college T-shirts and old shoes truly sparks joy.
One thing a lot of pros say: Doing something is at least better than doing nothing. Not quite ready to follow the garbage fairy onto declutter mountain? A few declutter-y things you can do in your Nashville home that don’t require a ton of effort, and will make a lot of difference:
Starter approaches to decluttering your home that work
Embrace the one-year rule
This is a pro-organizer standby, and it’s because it’s a) an easy way to delineate and make hard decisions and b) it works. Anything that’s been hidden/packed away/boxed/otherwise untouched for 12 months or more has to go. Donate or toss it — anything but refiling it.
This is one of those mind-over-matter things — the chances you’ll need whatever it is, if you haven’t in a full year, are low. Just accept it, and move forward. Repeat after me: “If it’s been a year, I don’t need it here. I’ve got nothing to fear, now hand me a beer.”
Go forward in small, but complete, bursts
The problem a lot of people tend to run into when they’re embarking on a decluttering journey: getting overwhelmed by the size of the job, and quitting. The key is not to plan on eating the whole elephant in one sitting. Small, complete bites are the way to get things done.
Don’t set aside a long weekend to tackle the whole house — unless you’re the type who excels at going full-throttle. Most of us fare better by choosing small projects, and scheduling an hour or two to wholly complete them. Pick that one bookshelf in your living room. Tackle just the hall closet on a Saturday. Just the spice jars.
Give yourself reasonable goals, one at a time, and then celebrate when you complete them. You’ll feel good and accomplished, and it’ll spur you forward to accomplish more.
Stop storing someone else’s junk
So many of my Nashville home sellers have dealt with this issue — friends and family with small apartments, using the seller’s garage/attic/spare room as a free storage space for unending periods of time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by clutter/stuff, this is an easy step to take, since you theoretically don’t have to do any of the moving/organizing. You just need to call cousin Carl and tell him the free, climate-controlled storage jig is up.
It helps to set a strict schedule, if you’d like to actually get this done — tell folks you’re thinking about putting your Nashville house on the market (even if you’re not really planning on doing so any time soon, you’re still “thinking” about it, in the abstract), and you need the stored stuff out by the end of the month. The firm date sets up an expectation, and underlines that you’re serious.
Focus on what’s immediately visible
Even if you’re not ready to donate/ditch a whole bunch of your stuff, consider culling down what you’re looking at every day — the stuff on your shelves and tabletops, and otherwise sitting out in your living spaces.
There are tricks to making your shelving/etc. look purposeful and artful — like the “Rule of Three,” which helps guide you in arranging items in a visually appealing way.
There are also smart ways to use your shelves — organizing the right items for low and high shelves, both for form and function. I like this School of Decorating post about bookshelf styling — it’s a good primer on how well-styled bookshelves don’t necessarily have to be bare and minimalist. They just need some thought, and, yeah, only a reasonable amount of stuff.
When all else fails: baskets
I’m not encouraging you to cheat — decluttering for real is a worthwhile project. But ultimately, we feel most overwhelmed by clutter when it’s everywhere, in piles, in our way, at random. A lot of times, the simple act of getting some of your small bits of clutter out of your immediate view can do a world of good for your psyche.
Have piles of papers on the dining table? Tons of brightly colored plastic toys tangling up the hallways? Baskets.
First, organize your errant stuff in a way that makes sense to you. Here’s a pile of papers; here’s the weird tools I keep leaving out. Once you have a sense of how much you have to store away, go to your favorite home store, and buy one nice-looking basket that you won’t mind looking at for each of your organized hunks of stuff, big enough to contain them entirely. (TJ Maxx and the like always have ones that look good, at a reasonable price.)
Sure, you’ll have to find logical places to put the baskets. But your army of baskets is still going to look better than the clumps of everything previously strewn about the house.
Good luck on your Nashville decluttering adventures, whether you’re taking it on in earnest or just a little.
If I can help you find a bigger, smaller, or just better Nashville home to store your stuff in, please let me know. Check out some homes for sale in Nashville here, and call or email TJ Anderson Homes here.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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