Thanks to Marie Kondo and the whole decluttering movement, everyone is obsessed AF with finding minimalist bliss and getting rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” But what if you don’t want to throw away things you actually like? Enter Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick, the team behind design site Remodelista.com. Their new book Remodelista: The Organized Home ($25; on sale November 14) is packed with simple yet unexpected tips for creating a beautiful home. The book breaks it down, room by room, to show you how to display the things you love while achieving the organization you’re after. Keep reading for their best tips on how to embrace minimalism.
Brit + Co: What’s the difference between organization and decluttering?
Carlson + Guralnick: Organization involves finding the proverbial “place for everything.” Decluttering is a winnowing process that clears space for what’s important.
B+C: How can you keep things you love and still embrace a minimalist aesthetic?
C+G: You can keep the things you love in a minimalist way by living with things that are both useful and beautiful — a lesson we’ve learned from the Shakers. From dishware to wastebaskets, select well-made everyday household items that do their job well and make you happy. Keep these objects on hand, and you won’t want for much more. And for those of us who, like Margot, have a lot of sentimental possessions, keep in mind that you don’t have to display all your favorite things all the time. You can store your toys in a chest — or cabinet or closet or attic — and rotate them in and out of circulation.
B+C: Why do you think decluttering has become such a huge trend lately?
C+G: It has to do with several different 21st-century realities. We’re far more mobile now than ever before, so we all want to be able to pick up and go (and work remotely). That involves living with a light footprint, which, of course, is good for the planet — another big motivator. Decluttering also allows us to feel more in control at home — and in this fragile, unstable world, who doesn’t want that?
B+C: What is the best organizational advice you have ever been given?
C+G: “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Benjamin Franklin said this, and we endorse it.
B+C: What are your top three tips for creating more space in a home?
C+G: First, put up hooks so you have an easy place to hang all sorts of things, from clothes and bags to your broom and dustpan. Second, use trays to corral loose items of all sorts (jewelry, cooking utensils, desk accessories). Whether in drawers or on display, trays create islands of order all over your home. Third, no matter where you live, there’s unused storage space: at the top of your closet, over a door, or under a bed. Insert drawers or shelves and take advantage of it.
B+C: After all the hard work of decluttering and organizing, what’s the trick for keeping it that way?
C+G: Stick to the plan: Put your things in their designated spots, starting with your coat on arrival. Before going to bed every night, do a quick tidying up — clear the kitchen sink and put away errant shoes. And schedule spring cleanings throughout the year.
B+C: What are your favorite areas of the home to organize and declutter, and why?
C+G: The entry is a favorite because it has simple requirements: You just need to establish a good place for outerwear, shoes, keys, and mail — and the results improve all your comings and goings. We also love transforming junk drawers into household tool kits, so you can always put your finger on a screwdriver, flashlight, or tape measure.
Looking for even more ways to get organized? Follow us on Pinterest for more storage inspo and decluttering tips.
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(Photos via Remodelista: The Organized Home, Artisan, 2017; photos by Matthew Williams)