Tips on Organization

“If you are in the process of selling your home deduct 5%-15% for clutter!”
Douglas Hedings, Realtor

Wallpaper: Costello Collection courtesy of Thibault

Denver interior designers are continually confronted by clients’ disorganization and overload of “stuff.” I must admit organization is a daily effort. Personally I set aside two periods in every day just to “put away:” Each morning, before I fully awaken (something comes along in the middle of the night and messes-up my house), and, each evening after supper.

If you are underwater, drowning in “stuff” the best interior design advice I can give you is: hire an organizer. I interviewed Nina Solo, Professional Organizer, on this universal household issue.

“The reasons people are disorganized are as varied as the individual. If you don’t understand the reasons your things have taken over your home, you won’t have long term success,” Nina warned. She cited multiple reasons for disorganization:

  • Emotional attachment to things: especially children’s/parents’ things, family heirlooms, collections.
  • Filling a void in your life with stuff.
  • Using stuff as a control tool.
  • An unconscious fear of being without.
  • Lack OF ABILITY TO STAY FOCUSED. This is a big reason. Not seeing the value in organization. Stage of life: little children or elderly household members.
  • Lack of skill to organize.
  • Lack of a system for organization.

“Typically it is a combination of reasons,” she further advised. “Sometimes you do not know until you get help.”

“Moving things from one area to another does not accomplish a lot. Sort things out, and get rid of things on a regular basis,” Nina suggested.

“Filling containers with stuff is not organization, even if the containers match.” Oh!

“Organization is a plan, a system, an ongoing process.”

“We train ourselves to follow a system to drive a car,” she noted. “We do this for our own safety and protection. Therefore, anyone can follow a system; follow rules of organization in a home–to protect them:

  • From embarrassment.
  • From unnecessary time loss.
  • From poor self esteem.
  • For your health and safety.

As we age we need established systems of organization so we need less help.  It is not simple, but it is doable. And it is valuable and satisfying as we live an organized lifestyle.”

Nina Solo,…or just pick up the phone and call her at 303.909.0904.

If you are trying to sell or sublet your home it is imperative that you collect your clutter so the prospective purchaser can figuratively “step into your life.” Call me if you need help and I will direct you toward appropriate resources.

~ ~ ~

As an interior designer I am commonly confronted by the perched and the scattered.  I make an effort to utilize most materials my clients have on hand: their collections, heirlooms and souvenirs–as points of focus, developing room to room consistency, rhythm, repetition and strong sight-lines.

After I contracted to develop the interiors of The Redstone Inn Chalet, I faced an attic full of historic Stickley and Stickley-style furniture plus regional art: an old umbrella stand, luggage racks, copper lighting, school chairs with rush seats–a very important collection I was informed. I am a strong fan of adaptive reuse, so I am never daunted by a challenge. It came together like this:

The Redstone Inn Chalet:

Note the re-use of the antique luggage rack as a cocktail table with a 1” polished edge glass top, and the color palette driven by the Redstone artist, Frank Mechau, painting above the fireplace.

~ ~ ~

Collections can be daunting, particularly when it involves a lifetime interest in ancient artifacts. I wouldn’t want to walk under this perch! Would you? Yikes!

Fortunately, the homeowner let us design a new artifacts center for collected treasures, with well-lit spaces for each artifact in this collection. The center also served as a transition between the entry foyer and the kitchen. The finish materials are compatible with the other main spaces in this home.

Ancient Artifacts Multiple Purpose Center

Vision differences were accommodated through color contrast, more than two digits on the gray scale, to increase the imagery of the objects. High gloss, low-voc cover in heritage red was purposely chosen as part of the visual spectrum available to our homeowner. The crimson hue also enhanced the antiques. The ceiling was coated in super white to bounce more ambient light onto the artifact surfaces.

The cabinet itself defined boundaries and contrasted with the painted surface and glass shelves. The shelves offer crisp, clean, simple contrast to the complex forms. The cabinet drawers store gloves, scarves and other entry-appropriate items. The stainless steel pulls are scaled for aging-in-place.

~ ~ ~

Collect your clutter into vignettes of like-kind objects.

Wall-Hung Collection

A favorite Granny inspired this cabinet design

Our homeowner inherited an international-travel jug collection. It had been scattered throughout the home on/in/under objects. We displayed the miniature jugs in this glass sided cabinet, lit by a single recessed puck light, against a faux finished wall. The faux finish was scaled to the jugs. The single light, operated on a dimmer, added drama to the balance of the space.

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