Before You Buy More, Ask: “Does This Inspire Me?”
If a once-a-year walk-through isn’t enough, catch yourself regularly while you’re shopping. “I think it is important to check in with your space often and make sure that there are not things that have accumulated that are not functional or bring you supreme inspiration,” says self-professed minimalist and clothing designer Jesse Kamm.
Before you walk to the checkout line, ask yourself, Is this cheap Ikea coffee table really worth it? When I look at it, does it feel like me? If it’s not something you’d brag about to friends at a dinner party, wait for the real deal.
Not everything in your home has to be clean, crisp, and new. Incorporating aged pieces sourced from local vintage and antique shops is a great way to tell a story within your space. Without veering from her pared-down aesthetic, photographer Amy Harrity’s zen San Francisco home is the perfect blend of flea market finds and modern pieces. Her word of advice? “Wait to find the pieces you love!” shares Harrity.
Fewer items with character will always beat out a ton of clutter that bores. “If there’s something I need, I look for it secondhand or I make it if it’s possible. For instance, if I need a new light in a corner of a room, I might look on Craigslist for three months before I find the right thing,” says Kamm. “This process is slow, but when I finally find the thing I am looking for, it often feels much more meaningful.”
Schedule an Annual Purge
On January 1, whip out your agenda and mark down a day (or an entire weekend) to dedicate to clutter. We’re not talking spring-cleaning or tossing a few throwaway items in a donation bin: We’re talking a thorough purge. “It’ll help you stay organized and [ensure] everything in your home has a home,” adds Harrity.
Do a Nightly Sweep Through
“It is easy to keep a neat space when there is very little to clutter it up,” suggests Kamm. Her hot tip? “Spend about 10 minutes each day putting things back in their place. When you do a bit each day, you’re more likely to stay on top of the organization. Plus, the OCD helps.”
It’s easy to forget what you own when you don’t see or touch it on a daily basis. Going around to each room—even if you’re just looking—will help you out when it’s time for your annual purge and you’re trying to prioritize what needs to go and what can stay.