Surprising Ways to Pare Down at Home

Like anybody who likes poring over home design photographs, I appreciate well-designed, beautiful objects and gracious spaces. I treasure pictures of cozily overstuffed rooms brimming with books and squashy cushions. But the fact is (true I’m slowly and reluctantly coming to grips with), the more stuff we’ve — to care for, clean, preserve, repair and replace — the less time and money we must appreciate our home and the life we lead in it.

Does this imply we would be much better off living in pristine, minimalist houses? Certainly not. Every one of us has exceptionally individual preferences and requirements. But what we can do is challenge some of the assumptions we might have regarding the things we presume everyone “must” have in the home. Try to keep an open mind as you browse the lists — would you imagine going without any one of these things? Your answers might surprise you.

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Kitchen. Consider that tools you rarely use but feel that you “should” have in the kitchen. If you don’t actually use these items, think about letting them move.
Food chip: For a daily crucial. For others a dust gatherer. Salad spinner: How about gently wrapping the leaves in a dish towel instead? Highly specialized tools: Steak media, pasta maker, panini press etc.. If you don’t reach for it at least once a week, then why hold on to it? Trash can liners: If you mulch, then your trash should be fairly dry. Why use a liner? Empty the can directly into the exterior crap instead.

Ana Williamson Architect

Dining room. How many sets of dishes, flatware, linens and eyeglasses do you actually need?
Specialized cocktail glasses and wineglasses: Go with one kind of wineglass and a versatile tumbler that may be used for water and cocktails. Placemats and tablecloths: Which would you like to use? Two sets of either placemats or tablecloths are probably. Holiday or “fancy” dishes: Gussy up your table for special occasions with flowers, seasonal fruits and homemade place cards instead.

Studio Sarah Willmer Architecture

Living room. Streamlining this space can mean shorter cleanup times and a more relaxed atmosphere.
Magazines: Subscribe to electronic versions of your favorites. Books: Check them out of the library. Music and movies: Store music in your pc and use a service such as Netflix or Hulu for movies. Decorations: Unless you really love them, why don’t you remove some and see how the space feels without? Less decor means less stuff to clean. Extra surfaces: More horizontal surfaces imply more clutter is likely to collect there. Why don’t you take away extra cabinets and tables instead of filling every corner? A little empty space could be refreshing.

Shenandoah Cabinetry

Cleaning supplies. Is your cleaning cupboard packed so full of stuff that you could hardly open the door? You may be amazed at what you can do without.
Paper towels: Cut up old T-shirts to use as rags for messy spills and maintain a large pile of these close at hand. Specialized cleaning goods: There are not many places in the home that an all-purpose cleaner can not clean.

Natural Balance Home Builders

Home office. There is no reason to accept being surrounded by substances in your workplace. If your workplace is not working for you, consider these ways to decrease clutter.
Printer: How often do you must print? After realizing we print just airplane tickets, we eliminate our bulky printer and just stop by a copy store or a friend’s house once we must print. Desktop pc and notebook: Do you need both? Some might, but in the event that you really use just your notebook, look at selling your desktop computer to someone who’d use it or contribute it to a local school or library. Filing cabinets: Consider paying a service to scan all your paper files and save them to the cloud. Then shred all of the really essential … and use the paper shreds as packing material.

Holly Marder

Bedroom. The bedroom should be peaceful, an oasis. What is clogging up your own space?
Extra bedding places: How many do you use? Two sets of sheets per bed plus several blankets (and a duvet for cold climates) for layering should suffice. Clothes and shoes: Which are your favorites? Which could you instantly reach for to pack on a journey, or if your house were burning? Consider eliminating everything else.

Nick Noyes Architecture

Bath. Reducing bathroom and linen closet clutter is simple, and will make your mornings run more easily. Why don’t you give it a try?
Towels: Use monogrammed hooks or color code your towels for each family member, so towels get reused more. Keep two sets of towels per person and one extra for guests. Toiletries: How can you use daily? Put these items front and center in your medicine cabinet, and also eliminate the rest. Seriously, you will never use those old fashioned bottles of cream.
Rethink your daily “essentials”: Do you need everything you use daily? Keep in mind that thousands of products are marketed to us that we don’t actually need. You could try using one multipurpose cream rather than several, or even combine the folks who take a no-poo approach rather than shampooing.

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Sports and hobbies. When you have accumulated a great deal of expensive gear, you may be reluctant to let it all go. Keep things that you love and use with some regularity, and sell or donate the remainder.
Seasonal gear: If you use your boogie boards just for one week each year while on vacation, think about renting them as needed instead. You will conserve storage space and conserve room in your vehicle in your trip to boot. Hobbies you have given up: Believe you could occupy golfing, drumming, painting or vacations “one day”? Let it move. If your passion is revived in the long run, seek used gear to begin.

Amy Renea

Yard, Garden and Home Improvement

Caring for even a small home with a modest-size lawn or garden can generate a lot of gathered tools and supplies — and those who like to garden or tinker with DIY jobs may be prone to falling for the newest, coolest tools and accessories, causing unneeded waste and clutter.
Lawnmower and rake: If you replace your lawn using a low-maintenance choice, you can give the lawn maintenance tools. Or mow, but allow the grass clippings lie rather than raking, which is better for your bud anyway. Seed pots: Use egg cartons, recycled tin cans and old flowerpots to start seeds. Garden markers: Write straight on pots or make your own markers utilizing recycled materials. Specialized tools: Apart from a fundamental tool set, the majority of us can do without a great deal of specialty home improvement and gardening resources. If you need something special to get a job done, rent it out of a local tool library or home improvement store, or borrow from a neighbor. Tell us : Have you streamlined your home supplies? Please tell us how in the Remarks.

More: 4 Obstacles to Decluttering — and How to Beat Them

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