Organizing "Things" & the Importance of Breathing Room

Just last week we were beckoned over to a friend's new apartment to help survey and advise about the new space (note: that's obviously not him above). He's an artist with a proclivity for pack rat behaviour, both out of natural tendency and also in relation to the process of creating his art. But he wanted to finally get his $&%* in order since he had a whole new place to call home...

Since moving from his previous dark and confining apartment, he's felt a need to tame his collection of "stuff", with the hopes of creating a new home where he could happily live within the space instead of living with an assortment of stifling things that were all battling for attention. He had been living with someone for a long while prior, so his desire to decorate a space completely to his whims and aesthetic was liberating...and also a bit daunting (this despite being a most gifted artist, proving an artist does not make a designer, and vice versa).

When we saw the photo above of the rainbow collection of shoes* displayed simply upon a white table from our LA Flickr Pool, we thought it perfectly illustrated the advice given to our friend: keep the larger surrounding elements free from clutter so you can create a focal point for the things you most love...give them some breathing room.

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A work in progress: books, artwork, records, art supplies, paper...our friend is slowly editing it all down and it's already starting to come altogether.

Initially, when we first advised that our friend edit down some of his possessions, we could sense a bit of hesitation. Letting go that first time can be hard for someone used to holding onto everything. But then we noted certain spaces had already been curated or organized with a thoughtful eye devoid of clutter. In those specific spaces, there was already a naturally eye-pleasing organization because he had unconsciously decided those areas were his favourite and therefore removed the clutter to respect what he wanted highlighted. It was communicating the idea for application throughout his whole apartment which would most benefit with his battle of the bulge.

The light in his head went on when he began to understand the importance of editing down his possessions so he could highlight the most important things he had in his home: his collection of artwork and his vintage furniture (there are several pieces in his collection we truly covet). He's still in the process of editing and organizing, but we're confident with this newfound understanding his new space will be different from his last because of just the simple understanding of breathing room. We can't wait to see how it looks 1-2 months from now once he's settled in.

* On a related note, the photos up top were shared by wood & wool stool at our Flickr Pool. Some of you might remember she happens to make beautiful knit adorned stools, and now we know she has an impressive shoes collection (we're most fond with the blue ones).

(Image: Flickr member wood & wool stool via the Apartment Therapy LA Flickr Pool)