Often it’s only when we arrive home from a holiday or a long trip overseas, that we realise how cluttered our living spaces have become. Modern homes are smaller than those built a generation ago but this doesn’t mean we place fewer demands on them. If anything, the fast, always-on pace of 21st century living puts greater demand than ever on our living space, and getting motivated – when you return from your travels – can open up rooms and surfaces, making even small homes feel light and spacious. Here are some tips and inspiration on how to make it all happen!
Less is More
Whisper it softly, but decluttering is still the best solution. You don’t have to throw all your precious items and heirlooms away, you just need to be picky about the ones on show and find alternative storage for the others. Displaying just one or two choice items, leaving plenty of open space around them, not only focuses attention on the items themselves, it creates a sense of space and openness.
Start by clearing out cupboards. If you have cabinets full of items you never use, you end up with nowhere to put the things you do use. Arm yourself with a few strong boxes and pack away anything that’s lurking in a cupboard that you haven’t touched for the last six months.
Be ruthless because you’re not going to actually throw anything away. You’re just creating a divide between what you use and what you don’t. Perform this exercise throughout the house, but pay particular attention to kitchen cupboards where machinery and gadgets can quickly take over.
Choose Your Exhibits
Having taken care of cupboards, turn your attention to items you keep on display. In order to stay on display, each item must meet two of the following criteria:
You love it
It complements your decor
If an item only meets one of the conditions, pack it away for now.
Having cleared out cupboards beforehand, you’ll have space to stow things you want close at hand but not on display (like craft or hobby equipment).
Take the same approach with furniture. If you have inherited pieces that you can’t bear to part with but which don’t fit into your home, putting them into storage gets them out of the way while keeping them safe. Dismantle larger pieces if possible by removing legs from tables, for instance, or separating the top and bottom halves of dressers. Wrap delicate items in old blankets to protect them from damage.
Practical Storage Solutions
There are a few different options for the furnishings or boxes you’ve packed:
Stack them in the loft or basement/cellar
Store them in the garage or shed
Rent a self storage unit
The final choice is an individual one, but for security and peace of mind it’s hard to beat self storage units. This is especially true if your items are precious or if they’ll suffer when stored in a damp or otherwise unfriendly environment. The convenience is hard to beat, with rental periods from just a week and no long term contracts, so you retain complete control over what and for how long you store things. The other advantage, of course, is that you’re not taking up space at home when the original idea was to create space. You’ll also find the sizes of rooms available are suitable for those with just a few boxes right up to those with a houseful of items to store. It’s definitely a solution worth investigating if this is a new idea to you.
Taking control and reclaiming your space is a liberating experience, especially when you’ve returned home after your travels. Whether your house is bijou or palatial, it can always be more spacious and more lovely when you maximise your storage options.