You’re feeling like the walls are closing in. You’re not a hoarder, but you just have too much stuff. It’s not that difficult to change your disorganized
ways. If you want to take control of clutter, get a few boxes, one for each room in your home. Start with one room at a time.
According to Keith McCleary, Academic Director of Interior Design at The Art Institute of York – Pennsylvania, begin this initiative by removing everything
on top of your cabinets, tables, and in bookcases and place it all in a box. If there are other random accessories in the room, remove them as well. Keep
just the basic furnishings. Now sit with the room in its simplest form for awhile. McCleary says, “In room design, make good decisions about what you
choose to put in the room and, often more importantly, in what you choose to leave out. Simplicity and clean lines make a room feel livable and that’s what
it’s really all about: comfortable living.” McCleary wants you to think about the kind of focal point you’re trying to create. How should you orchestrate
this space and show off your special pieces in terms of size, scale, color and texture?
After a day or two has passed, go back to the box and look for items that define your personality, or will be noticed by guests visiting your home. “Ask
yourself: when is enough, enough?” notes McCleary. Each piece of furniture in the room can function to complement. Accessories and works of art should
contrast.” When you look at your well-designed room, you should see positive elements, as well as appreciate negative space by removing unnecessary pieces
that don’t add to the design composition.
Interior design students at The Art Institute of York- Pennsylvania are taught to help their clients step back and ask themselves: is it finished now? We
err when we go shopping and purchase nice pieces for our homes, but before long we begin to accumulate too many of those nice things. Much of what we have
is “stuff” we don’t need or want. It might be time to share those boxes, which are full of stuff you haven’t missed in years, with your local Goodwill.
Sometimes, we believe we have to keep memorabilia or outdated gifts from Aunt Ethel in our home all the time. “Not so,” says McCleary. “It’s perfectly
acceptable to remove those items when you do your box exercise.” If you get a call from auntie who’s planning a visit, head to the attic and put those old
Beanie Babies she gave you when you were a fanatical collector decades ago on a shelf in your den, temporarily. She’ll be happy for the gesture. When she
leaves, feel free to replace them in the box of memories until her next visit.
After you complete this exercise in each room in your home, you’ll notice that the clutter has disappeared. Now you can recognize how attractive the
remaining items are in that same space. This initiative takes determination and focus, but when you’ve completed the exercise, your focus can be on the
lovely space you’ve recreated. Clutter-free.
To learn more about The Art Institutes schools, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/nz.
The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu) is a system of more than 45 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important
source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.