If you worship at the church of KonMari, you’ll know that there’s no greater sin than clutter. And, sure, you can go through your closets to find what sparks joy, but what if you’re still in the design process? If you’re building a new home, you can clutter-proof your place by getting organized long before you load up your linen closet. By designing for a streamlined look and plenty of storage, you won’t have to worry about cutting the clutter a couple of years down the road. Here’s how to think organization as you design.
Plan for more than you need
Almost any homeowner will tell you that they wish they had more storage. If you’re designing and building your home, you’ll have the luxury of creating as much storage as you think you need. The problem is that you’ll probably need more than that. Make storage a priority in your home design and you won’t regret it. Storage space is relatively cheap square footage and you can always co-opt the space for something else if you don’t need the storage. Trust us, though: you will.
When designing your home, be intentional about where you’ll put your things. If you label a cabinet your “junk drawer,” chances are that you’re going to fill it with — you guessed it — junk. Instead, repeat the mantra, “Everything in its place.” By thinking about where you’ll keep everything from linens to junk mail and sports equipment, you’ll be able to stay organized in the home. It’s okay to have a few places for miscellaneous stuff, but design with intention and you’ll clutter-proof your home in the long run.
Go through the motions
Seeing your floor plan on paper is one thing, but actually living in it is something else entirely. One of the main sources of clutter is not taking the time to consider how you’ll actually live in the house. Consider this example: You go outside to get the mail every day. What do you do with the mail when it comes in the house? Be realistic about your behavior. Are you the type of person to throw the junk in the trash ASAP? Or do you tend to pile mail on the first surface you encounter? Imagining the way you’ll live in the house can give you a better idea of how to cut clutter. If you tend to toss mail in the trash, a recycling bin near the door makes sense. If you like to keep everything, a mail sorting rack can help you stay organized.
Think about the way you bring in groceries, do laundry, clean up and go in and out of your home. Then, design a home that makes these tasks easier and more logical. That way, you don’t leave grocery bags in the foyer because the kitchen is too far or end up with piles of laundry in the living room because there’s no space to fold.
Think functional furniture
A new home usually means some new furniture, too. When clutter-proofing your home, make your furniture work for you. Functional furniture that helps you stash your stuff can cut down on clutter while still looking fresh and chic. A storage ottoman is a great way to hide toys. A built-in TV cabinet can help keep your devices out of sight and out of mind. Designing your home with functional furniture means keeping your place clutter-free while still making sure it’s totally livable.
Pick out pain points
When you’re designing a new home, it’s important to consider flow and predict some of the possible pain points along the way. If you know that your front hall tends to get messy, for example, you might want to make sure to give yourself plenty of room and storage options there. If your current bathroom is always a mess, skip the open shelving and choose cabinets that help you organize and conceal.
It’s important to remember that a new home doesn’t mean you’ll become a whole new person. Sure, your organization skills might improve if you have more space and options, but you’ll still have the same habits. Don’t set yourself up for clutter by designing a home that looks picture perfect for a week but won’t stay that way. Identify what makes your current place cluttered and your designer can help you come up with ways to solve pain points and help keep your new place tidy.
Declutter before moving
Don’t wait until you start moving to go through your stuff. If you’re in the design process, it’s a great time to start cleaning out closets and attics in anticipation. By donating and getting rid of the stuff you no longer use, you can make sure you’re designing a home for the things you really love. After all, you don’t need to design a storage space for ice skates when you haven’t played hockey for the last five years. Start the process by only moving your necessities into your new place and you’ll save on moving costs, time and stress.
A new home means turning over a new leaf. But if clutter is your main concern, you can start getting organized long before moving day. By designing a home with clean spaces, organized storage and a zen-like feel in mind, you’ll clutter-proof your new space so you can love it for years to come.