In my heart, I am a collector. I love design magazines, books, teapots and cups, trays, coffee serveware, clothes, textiles, photographs and artwork. But aesthetically, I gravitate towards the spare and modern. This tension has been taken to new heights in the years following the birth of my children. As your household grows, so does your stuff. Exponentially. Of course, we also moved into a larger home and our stuff grew accordingly. A recent getaway made me want to pare down. It was so lovely to have all the dishes fit onto one open shelf at our rental. It makes putting clean dishes away so easy and quick. The kitchen, dining and living area got a lot of use while we were there but on the morning we were to depart, it took us no time at all to straighten up. We made the two beds easily and the house looked almost exactly as we had first found it. Cleaning and tidying up was so easy.
Lately as my boys have grown to be preschoolers and the special baby items are no longer necessary, I've been looking for ways to pare down. But I don't mean just giving boxes and bags of things to Goodwill, which we do every few months. I'm talking more of a sea change. And this is scary for me. But as with any challenge, you've got to face it. So here are my 3 basic tips for paring down at home:
1. The first step is to stop acquiring things. That is already difficult. As a design enthusiast and blogger, I am required to sift through hundreds of images of interiors, exteriors and objects all day long. It's not easy to see something your eyes and heart covet and leave well enough alone.
2. The second step is to really go through our house, top to bottom, and get rid of things including furniture. I don't think I need to explain to most of you how difficult this can be. But done right, you'll be able to start with a clean and uncluttered canvas.
3. The third and final step is to maintain. I'm assuming if I am able to accomplish 1 and 2, that I will have an overwhelming desire to fill in all that freed up storage space. So maintenance will be my lifelong burden.
Truthfully, I don't know if I will get down to the minimalist style that I am referring to. The blissful days away inspired me to reach for it. But a vacation house, after all, is a special retreat, not a full time home. So baby's coming home outfit, the childrens' artwork, our holiday decorations, the Thanksgiving turkey platter, and all that other stuff doesn't exist there. As with all important things in life, it comes down to a balance and I'm hoping to strike the right one for us soon.
(Image: Janie Lee)