Design help for organizing a house?

cluttered closetMelissa emails:

We've lived in our house 10 years, and are in need of some help. We are a family now, with all the 'stuff' that comes with that, and just cannot figure out how to make a more grown up house that uses space well and files away all the paperwork of elementary school. Are there local decorators/organizers folks can recommend? Is that a real thing?!

We're always amazed by how people who have eye for design can rearrange a space to make it work better or just feel better.

Got a suggestion for Melissa? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a person or service or idea is always helpful.

Comments

It may not be about design - maybe you have too much stuff. This book changed the way we deal with "stuff" - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

I second Harold's comment. You might initially roll your eyes but when you open yourself up to her approach and ideas it can be life changing. (Source: me). Change the words if you need to: instead of asking if the item "sparks joy" (her words) just ask yourself if it's easy to throw away/donate. If it is, then do it and move on. Clothing? If it doesn't look great now it's not going to in the future. (Yes yes we all know we will lose weight and it will fit but if that happens you will want new clothes by then) Get rid if it. Cherry pick what you need to from the book (you may not want to embrace her approach to socks the same way) but it's a great place to start.

Laura Perfetti does a great job with this- https://www.facebook.com/PerfectPlanningbyPerfetti/

The best piece of advice I give friends who admire how much stuff I don't have is: if you don't use it, lose it! Papers you'll never look at again (save a few of the kids' drawings), books you won't read a second time (sell on Amazon Marketplace or donate them locally), clothes that are for a size-smaller you (give 'em away or send Thread Up brand-name items for cash), extra extra extra bedding (local shelters are always in need). Memories (stuffed animals, awards, yearbooks) are filed away in uniform bins in the basement. I try to have exactly what I need and not many just-in-case items. Also: everything has a place, and a place for everything. Apartment Therapy's blog frequently has great tips for getting started.

I also read that book. I took what I could from it and rolled my clothes in my dresser drawers to fit more for a solid 7 months. It really does make sense.

Thanks! Yes, I too have read the book. But I need more guidance on how to make our house more user friendly.

I have two children and completely understand your concerns when it comes to all the stuff you and your kids accumulate over time. Once school starts, it's a whole other ball game with papers, art projects, report cards, school pics, etc. I've helped a number of people organize specific spaces like attics, playrooms, and living rooms. I am not a professional organizer, but am definitely skilled at taking a space that is in complete disarray and transforming it into a well organized room with "homes" for items you use on a daily basis. I can send you pics of how I organize our main rooms, including how we manage our children's toys and papers. Let me know if you're interested.

I am an architect that focuses on homes. As a first step for all my clients, I help them do an inventory of their space pinpoint the ways in which it hinders or helps them from having the life they want. We talk about the flow of your day and ways you wish you could change it, and how re-organizing and renovating can make your house a home. Sometimes rethinking and re-arranging rooms is enough to avoid an addition! I liken purging belongings as triage – getting things under control so the situation isn’t overwhelming. Stage two is setting up systems through your house that make sure clutter doesn’t happen again. Simple steps like painting, thrifting furniture, and DIY projects all feature in my work. I believe in designing effective and beautiful spaces that can evolve as your family grows and changes. You can contact me at beth.mosall (at) gmail.com if you think I could be of help.

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