One of the most helpful organizing tips we ever received was the suggestion to focus on our favorites. Organizers often quote the 80/20 rule: the idea that we use 20 percent of our things 80 percent of the time. Whether or not that number is accurate, paying attention to what you love to use can help clear space to lose the rest. It seems simple, but in reality...
...many people hold onto things they don't love (like extra sets of dishes, unread books, or little-worn clothes) because they feel that they should keep them or might need them. More than just a clutter control tactic, playing favorites allows you to become more secure in your sense of style and frees up the space and time you would otherwise devote to unloved objects.
We saw this most clearly when we redecorated our guest room. When we first moved in, we felt overwhelmed by our apartment and used the guest room as a catchall space for things we didn't want to deal with. Since clearing it out and filling it with a few of our favorite items, it gets regular use as a reading room and office. Although it may not be the most original approach, we've found that focusing on our favorites provides a framework for paring down as a positive experience.
Photo: Nacho Alegre for Vitra