Today kicks off our CLJ Summer School where we’re focusing on How to Fall in Love with Your home in 30 days! (see the full calendar right here!) This first week we’ll be talking about purging, cleaning and organizing because loving your home starts with being intentional with what you allow and keep in your home.
Lately, I’ve had to make so many decisions about what furniture and things we’re bringing into our new home. I’ve found myself asking the same question over and over again. “Would I buy this couch again for the new house or did I just love it because it worked in our last house or did I just like it because it took up space?” In other words: Did I love it because I LOVED it, or did I just like it because it worked? I’m in a fairly new relationship with this house, and it’s been a tad rocky so far with the floors being ripped up, the kitchen demo-ed, walls and tray ceilings removed, SNAKES in the crawl space. So to nurture the relationship early on, I’m being really intentional about bringing in things that are beautiful, essential, but ideally both. We’re consciously choosing everything from the stain-in-place floors we had installed, down to the color of the kitchen scrubber we will wash our dishes with (once we finally have a kitchen to do dishes in).
In any relationship, it’s important to let go of things that are no longer serving you and the relationship. Maybe you’ve been in your home for just a short while, or maybe you’ve lived in your home for years, but let’s decide today to treat it like it’s the beginning of something new. With that being said, it’s time to address the physical baggage in your home. You know what I’m talking about–all the clutter that’s been getting in the way of enjoying your home, things that no longer work or things that you have been holding on to as place holders.
It’s easier said than done, and I’m in no way a decluttering guru like Marie Kondo, but I have a few little practices in my life that are worth sharing:
1. Keep what is beautiful to you.
I’ll share it every time, but I think William Morris had it right when he said…
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
After all, who wouldn’t want to be surrounded only by the things they love the very most? Such a good thought, and I really try to keep this in mind when I’m making decisions. But in all honesty, I’ve been guilty of hanging onto things I don’t love. A lamp that’s not quite right for an end table because I don’t have another. Curtains that are just meh. Even art that feels “just okay.” It’s time to be a bit ruthless though. If it doesn’t make me swoon, then it’s not coming into my new house. In relationship terms, this is about respecting your home by not overcrowding it or filling its empty corners with just stuff.
2. No more placeholders.
I used to hold onto things as place holders (okay, I still do this sometimes haha) — almost-there substitutions to hold me over while I hunt for the PERFECT frame/vase/plant/chair. In my last house I had these golden vases sitting on the shelving in the office. They were taking up space, collecting dust, and I feel like moving really gave me the permission to let them go since they didn’t make my heart sing. Think of the space in your home as precious real estate. You’re going to be leasing out space in your home to rugs, furniture, lighting, art, not to mention all the non-decor items, and you should think of that space as precious. Your home already serves you so much by providing you with comfort and a place to live your life; Don’t overburden it more than it has capacity for.
3. Give yourself permission.
Sometimes you feel like you need permission to get rid of something you’ve been holding onto. Moving really did that for me, but I realized I had the permission all along. If you’re worried about being wasteful, remember, the waste was made when you bought something you didn’t love, NOT when you decided to get rid of it. Regardless, you have permission to pass on something that you don’t love–even if it’s was a gift or an heirloom (in the case of an heirloom, reach out to family to see if someone else would like it “Hey! Grandma’s dresser isn’t working in our house anymore, would anyone else like it?”) If it’s not enhancing your life or serving a purpose then it’s time to toss, sell, or donate. And you know what they say… “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” or as I like to say, “one woman’s ‘trash’ is another woman’s Facebook Marketplace treasure hunt!”
Keeping things because you don’t want the money you spent to go to waste, shouldn’t be a reason to keep them around. Especially these days where selling things has never been easier, but for as long as we’ve been married, I’ve been selling things we no longer love, want or need to help fund our next purchase.
(I have found these are quick and satisfying and really gets the ball rolling on other purge-fests!)
Organizing is the thing that if you do it once effectively, then it’s going to make cleaning a breeze every time. It’s, honestly, the gateway to a clean house. I get asked all the time how we keep things so tidy all the time. Well first of all, we do this for a living, but second, everything in our house has its’ own home. I can tidy a room in 5 minutes because I know where everything goes, give it a little surface clean and it’s photo-ready. Junk drawers and catch-alls might feel unavoidable, but make a routine of going through those things.
Another word of advice I’ll give is to rethink where things typically go. Your life and home is different than anyone else’s, so customize where things go, based on how you live your life. I have a whole skincare regimen and I actually keep my facial cloths in the drawer with all my product, NOT in the towel drawer 5 steps away. It’s a simple re-think of putting like-things together, and storing things together based on purpose and routine.
I also revolutionized cleaning the bathrooms in our home with a simple adjustment. I’m obviously being a little dramatic, but I put a caddy of cleaning supplies in each bathroom so when it was time to clean the bathrooms, I didn’t have to walk downstairs, grab the supplies, carry them upstairs and shuffle them from bathroom to bathroom. Boom. Changed everything. I realized I was more willing to spot-clean throughout the day as well because the bathrooms all had what they needed within arms reach.
Set some clear expectations with yourself and your family about putting things back when you’re finished with it so it doesn’t become clutter.
Cleaning is the physical touch in the relationship. It’s not everybody’s favorite, but it’s essential in building a strong connection with your home. There’s typically two types of cleaners: surface cleaners and deep cleaners. I’m more of a surface cleaner so I hire out the deep cleaning, and focus more on the every day wiping. You don’t have to do it all! It’s okay to delegate things you don’t want to do, or don’t have time to do. Hire it out, or teach your kids how to pitch in.
Once you have a home for everything, cleaning becomes easier when you do a little bit every day and have rules and systems around it–dishes need to be washed and loaded every night before you enjoy a show and a snack, or bathroom sink gets wiped down every night after you brush your teeth.
Everything’s better when you make it fun too, am I right? Light a candle, put in your airpods and listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook to keep your mind occupied.
Honestly, you might not ever enjoy cleaning, but maybe you might try to shift your perspective a bit. Your home deserves some tender love and affection, so grab a toilet scrubber and show some appreciation to your home for all its’ hard work.
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Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
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