We live in a Golden Age of choice. We have been fortunate enough to live in Canada and enjoy a wealth of choice in shopping. That is a good thing. The down side of this is that we all accumulate more than we need to live happily in our homes which are, naturally, a finite size. This leaves us stressed out in a cyclone of guilt and chaos, unable to find basic items readily. A bit of interior design is called for! Our culture demands that we dash around, over-scheduling ourselves, fearful that we will miss something. If you are never at home other than to eat quickly on the fly between events, or to collapse, exhausted into bed, how can we possibly keep on top of clutter and chaos? Decor items really add to the finished look of a room. It is essential, however, that they are chosen and arranged carefully in order to be effective rather than merely piled. Once the space looks cluttered it is overfilled! The room shown below is lovely and contains several decor items. They look wonderful in the room because there are not too many and they relate to each other.  This room is relatively easy to keep clean because there are a finite number of surfaces to dust. Also, the decor is not constrained by concerns about whether a dark colour will make the room look small. It is clutter that makes rooms look small, not dramatic colour.upscale casual living room in masculine colour palette with contemporary stone clad fireplace with adjacent flat screen televisionWe are bombarded with printed matter that may or may not be useful. Once we are overwhelmed we may even stop opening mail of certain types. The problem occurs when that mail is kept just in case it is useful. Streamlining our habits can really contain the chaos. Immediate recycling of unwanted material upon first handling can be a huge stress reliever. You may find that a hanging file in a decorative box is a great help. Create sections for bill paying, school papers, receipts, coupons, restaurant reviews and the like. They will be just as accessible without being so unattractive using this method. We all have plenty of things that we need to refer to or find on a regular basis. There is no need whatsoever to have them horizontally piled on every available level surface. Instead, create peace and harmony in your home by using horizontal surfaces for the display of a few decorative or functional items. Similarly, bathroom toiletries are often packaged very attractively so are suitable to have out on display. This keeps them handily within reach and they look very nice displayed.beautiful bathroom with dark wall colour, wooden table vanity with vessel sink, and tea wagon storage for toiletriesIf artfully done, a beautiful vignette of many accessories can also be successful. The key is balance. The result is serenity. Our in-tray is another clutter collector that causes us to put off dealing with printed matter. The advent of email has greatly increased the mountain of paper surrounding us. The average person uses around 250 pounds of paper per year. Papers in the in tray needed immediate attention are jumbled in with things that are low priority. Make a habit of sorting each piece as soon as you get it. Get rid of as much as possible on the first handling. Have you noticed that life looks much better without all that paper in full view? Have you also noticed that you can’t seem to get to the jumble of paper because of the constant barrage on in-coming texts on your so called Smart phone. The truly connected will defend their technology in the face of chaos. It takes a concentrated effort to turn off that stream of in-coming tasks and just concentrate on removing clutter from your life. It is an artificial form of “busy”. blue dining room buffeet with large abstract artwrok in blue and turquoise, texture wall finish in charcoal, and striped area carpetBathrooms tend to collect far too many extraneous items. We likely use only a fraction of the items that are stored in a bathroom. This is a stressful way to start and finish the busy days of our lives. Take a good, hard look at what is stored in the bathroom and dispose of the excess. The stress relief will be enormous. The addition of serene or interesting colour will add quality of life. Having an excess of physical items in a bathroom makes it very difficult to actually keep them clean. It’s just another task on your long list of too many things to do. This is particularly true if you are constantly looking into a phone.charming bathroom organized with white, glass doored cabinetGlass doored cabinets are a doubled edged sword because nothing is hidden. They are quite charming, however, and literally, once you can see the clutter through the glass it’s time to edit. It’s likely time to do a bit of cleaning by then, anyway! Glass doored cabinets are the more upscale version of open shelves because items are visible. Impulse purchases stored behind closed doors are another clutter hot spot. Once the closet door is closed you have a case of “Out of sight; out of mind.” It can become overwhelming and hard to deal with. Remove everything from the closet and take a good hard look at what you’ve got. You may find gifts that you had forgotten you had purchased in advance. Dedicate a drawer to gifts purchased in advance. Once it is full, do not make any more gift purchase until current stock is depleted. Lack of light in a closet is often the reason that we have over- accumulated. Without removing all the objects from the closet into the light, we cannot see what we already have. We are not advocating  a minimalist approach to life. Far from it. We love our stuff. Decorative displays are very desirable in any home. It is impossible to achieve successful decor and interior design with clutter. In the tiny home office below there are a huge number of items. When this number of items is not corralled into a storage centre the result is utter chaos. It may or may not be necessary to have this many items in a home office, but the point is that they will not even be findable without a place to put them. Once they can be seen, the owner is then able to make the decision as to whether they are needed any longer, or not. This many items will collect dust unless handles regularly. bedroom with floating corner shelves and long corner deskYou may decide to institute a few easy to follow house rules such as  “Nothing left on the dining table overnight.” Dining tables are often a catch-all space instead of the showpiece that they are meant to be. Remove seasonal items from the front closet. Customize a seasonal box for every member of the family. Swap items in and out seasonally. When the box is full, you have too much stuff. Donate the excess. The dining room, especially, is prone to clutter, as many people do not consider it a place to eat on a day to day basis. On the contrary, eating in the dining room does not have to be a formal affair. Rather, it can be colourful, and funky! Why not use it more? There is certainly nothing overly formal about the small dining room below. Rather, it is an upbeat and cheerful place to spend time. The surfaces of modern furniture are easy care and simply wipe clean.upscale casual dining room with clean lined dark wood furniture, chevrom pattern area carpet, vases with branches, and turquoise stained wall panelling

Having too many kitchen items can actually decrease our efficiency in the kitchen. Maintain a “one-in-one-out” rule. We can’t save time if our drawers won’t even open. Your interior decorator or interior designer can assist you with advice on de-cluttering and moving on to aspects of home décor that have more zing. You and you alone can make the decision to dispose of the excess. Even quite a small home can be a palace if clutter is eliminated. Often we have had clients who lived in potentially beautiful homes, but who were frustrated by these very homes. They felt that they needed more storage vehicles or storage units, or they needed to. The addition of these bins and boxes actually increased the stress, because more items were being brought into an already stuffed home. It is actually our daily habits that can defeat us in this battle. We feel that, because we are so busy, the task of filtering can be put off till later. We think that dealing with the constant barrage of texts is productive. It is actually lowering our quality of life. We are not so much busy as misdirected. Of course, technology is a wonderful thing and we are lucky to have it. It is only helpful if it doesn’t waste our time.bottom drawer for tray storage

Since 1993 Mulberry Interiors, interior design consultants have been assisting clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington, Brampton, Milton, Georgetown, Etobicoke, western Toronto, and Vaughn. We specialize in residential interior design and decorating and are at our most creative when we use colour as our theme. We offer a full range of interior design services such as choosing paint colours, space planning, furniture sourcing, custom draperies and soft furnishings, flooring selection and accessories. Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home.

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