That jumble of clothes in your closet or stack of mail in your mudroom isn’t just an eyesore. According to organization expert Melissa Michaels, all of that clutter could also be draining happiness from your home.
“Clutter is a stealer of joy and an enemy to our contentment,” says the mother of three. This Seattle resident started out decluttering her friends’ homes, and word of her organizational powers spread from there. She launched her blog The Inspired Room, followed in 2015 by her first book, “Love the Home You Have,” which became a New York Times best-seller.
Her new book, “Make Room for What You Love,” came out this month with a slew of new ways to cut clutter and breathe more happiness into your home. Here are her best tips.
Question: What are the biggest mistakes people make when trying to organize their homes?
Melissa Michaels: The biggest mistake people tend to make is trying to get organized before they take the time to declutter. When you start with attempting to organize the excess, you will tend to get overwhelmed or overspend on bins and baskets to corral unnecessary clutter. Pare down to what you really need and have room for before you attempt to organize it.
Q: Organizing can be so overwhelming. Where is the simplest place to start?
MM: Start at the door where the family usually enters, and create places for the clutter to land before it reaches the rest of the house. Set up a paper recycling center and specific places to put mail, backpacks, shoes, and homework. Then work your way around the house, decluttering and creating designated destinations within each space for everyday necessities.
Q: Are there methods for making an entryway more warm and inviting?
MM: Fresh paint on the door will make a dramatic difference in the feel of the entry. Find a fun new rug or seasonal doormat. Add creative storage organizers for everyday and seasonal items, like crates, old suitcases, rows of hooks, and closed freestanding cabinets that can keep necessities and activities organized. A lamp will warm up the ambiance of the room, making the space feel inviting and welcoming.
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