Cutting through the decluttering maze

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • May 4, 2019

Getting rid of what you no longer use (decluttering), gives you space for something new and pretty, like flowers. Shown: Melissa bud vases from Ballard Designs.

Getting rid of what you no longer use (decluttering), gives you space for something new and pretty, like flowers. Shown: Melissa bud vases from Ballard Designs.

Too much information can be a bad thing. And we are surrounded by it. Overload. It comes at us from all directions.

There are articles, blogs, books, magazines, television shows, newsletters and podcasts totally dedicated to this one topic. People are making a living from telling us what to do with our stuff.

Think about it for a minute.

They tell us why we should do it. How to do it. When to do it. How to talk to our possessions when we do it. How we should feel when we are doing it. What will happen to us if we don’t do it. Yikes.

The very name (decluttering) has gone from a spring cleaning that you do every season (or before your interior designer arrives at the front door) to a lifestyle. And while, it can be life- changing, it can also be confusing.

Been there and done it

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I talk about decluttering a lot and I mention it in most of my articles. Sometimes the thought of decluttering itself is overwhelming. Just the physical aspect of getting rid of things and deciding what to do with them is difficult and stops homeowners in their tracks. I understand that because I have just done it.

During my recent move to a new home, I did a major editing of everything I own. You know that 10 percent of our clothing that we wear all the time? I got rid of the other 90 percent. Furniture and everything else that I have been carrying around for years that was no longer working and part of a past life: gone. Donated to good causes that can help people.

Was it painful? Some of it.

Was it worth it? Yes.

Why? Because now I am surrounded by things that I love. As opposed to meaningless items that have just been around for years and take up space.

Because I don’t want this to be another article telling you what to do, let’s cut through all of the clutter with a few gentle thoughts that focus on the most important aspects of decluttering. I promise it will make you love your home again.

Scaling back means that you can say more with less in your home. Renowned designer, Bunny Williams has an oval lattice-style cachepot like this one resting on the mantel in her New York apartment. She designed this version for Ballard Designs with a watertight, removable iron liner so you can fill it with freshly cut stems. It’s perfect for smaller centerpieces. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Scaling back means that you can say more with less in your home. Renowned designer, Bunny Williams has an oval lattice-style cachepot like this one resting on the mantel in her New York apartment. She designed this version for Ballard Designs with a watertight, removable iron liner so you can fill it with freshly cut stems. It’s perfect for smaller centerpieces. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Go at it like you mean it

Do you love it? Need it? Use it? There you are. Done.

Keeping it clean and simple. Room and accessories from Frontgate.

Keeping it clean and simple. Room and accessories from Frontgate.

Keep a clear head

A few years ago a client said goodbye to some furnishings that meant a lot to her. These were pieces that she had collected with her husband on their travels. He became ill and they had to downsize. Rather than waiting to see what her next home would be like, she panicked in all of the confusion and sold too much too quickly. The lesson: don’t make a major decision while you are under stress.

Stop shopping now

Drive right past Home Goods and I don’t care that Target’s new line of (affordable) patio furniture looks great. Don’t buy one more thing until you edit what you have. Just because it’s pretty, doesn’t mean it should be coming into your home as an emotional purchase. Go for a walk or take a yoga class.

Decluttering that you can do NOW

Edit a few things and you’re on your way. Say goodbye to:

· Old shoes, toys, books, potpourri, gift wrap, calendars, cookbooks, paint, craft supplies, remote controls that have no TV.

· Wire hangers, makeup samples, expired medicines, greeting cards from years ago.

· Clothes you haven’t worn in a year (even if the tags are still on them)

· Toss appliance manuals. They are all online.

Simplify your accessories and let your favorite pieces speak for themselves. Shown: Frontgate’s Regency 4-Drawer Bow Front Chest pays homage to a neoclassical antique. The hand-painted gold beading catches the eye almost as quickly as do the bow-shaped drawers, hand carved corners, and veined Carrara marble top. Photo: Frontgate.

Simplify your accessories and let your favorite pieces speak for themselves. Shown: Frontgate’s Regency 4-Drawer Bow Front Chest pays homage to a neoclassical antique. The hand-painted gold beading catches the eye almost as quickly as do the bow-shaped drawers, hand carved corners, and veined Carrara marble top. Photo: Frontgate.

Delete some of the visual stimulation

Pare down your accessories. Keep your decorating simple. Eliminate or rearrange some furniture and establish a comfortable conversation area that is relaxing.

Summary

When you unburden yourself of the items that are causing stress, your life becomes much easier. Try it, what have you go to lose?

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog