Hello New Year, GoodBye Clutter!

Home Stager with Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions

Triangle Staging & Design

People often think of the New Year as a fresh start and a chance to improve their lifestyle. De-cluttering seems to be at the top of the list these days. Don't wait for spring cleaning to instill these new habits. Tackle your clutter now and feel less burdened by your junk in 2011.

This lifestyle change can be useful towards staging to sell your home or just keeping your sanity. Even if you do not plan to sell your home in the near future, you will be thanking yourself for implementing these beneficial routines when you are actually ready to move.  Clutter is not a result of lack of space within your home; but a lack of having a system for keeping it under control.  

  Taking on different rooms or sections of the house one at a time can make the task seem less intimidating. It is easy to get overwhelmed, so perhaps work on just one room for the entire week. Don't set unrealistic goals for yourself or you will be left frustrated. Always have three items on hand while you de-clutter your home; a bag for trash, a bag for charity items, and a bin for things you want to keep and need to organize.

Our team at Triangle Home Staging & Design support The Green Chair Project, whose main goal is to "re-use furnishings while renewing lives in the Greater Raleigh".  The Goodwill, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity are also fantastic organizations to donate your items to. You are contributing to a good cause and don't forget that you can get a tax deduction for donating. One man's trash is another man's treasure...but let's focus on getting rid of your trash!

Paper seems to be a major culprit in clutter and can be the most difficult to organize. Invest in a filing cabinet (or two!) so that you can easily find those important papers you are looking for rather than searching through piles for hours. Once you organize all of your papers and put them into this new filing system, pick a day/time of the week that you will select as your paper organizing time. On that day, you will go through all of the junk mail, receipts, bills, sticky notes, and other paper materials that you have accumulated throughout the week. If you are able to stick to this schedule, you will no longer be swimming in paper. Don't forget to recycle!

Tchotchkes, everyone has them. Look at your knick knacks and ask yourself if they are truly worth something to you. There is nothing wrong with sentimental attachment to items, but only keep a few of the things you really cherish. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, "Have I looked at or used the item in the past year?" If you haven't, why on earth do you need it collecting dust under your bed? Answer: You don't! Be brutal with yourself or ask a friend or family member to help you who will be ruthless.

Sometimes you need to get to the root of the problem as well. While shopping, ask yourself, "Do I really need this? Is this either a useful item or something that I could forever put on display in my home to be admired?" Employ the "one in, one out" method. If you purchase a new pair of shoes, an old pair of shoes must go out. In the end, mindful shopping will leave you, your home, and your bank account much happier.

Getting rid of junk is freeing, relieving, and empowering. Don't allow material items to bog you down. The serenity of walking into a well-edited home with space, purpose, and a few items of beauty on display is refreshing to the mind and spirit. Life should be about the memories and experiences you partake in, not the amount of items you own!

May 2011 be a year of positive change for all of us.

Aritcle & Photograhy by: Emily-Claire Ballou, of Triangle Staging & Design

Please feel free to contact us at Triangle Home Staging & Design or 919-324-2225 if you need any assistance.  We are here to help.

We are dedicated to moving the Home Staging Industry forward by offering the most relevant, comprehensive and innovative Home Staging Training that the industry has to offer through the Staging and Redesign (SAR) 3 and 5 day courses.  For more information regarding our services and our training schedule, please contact us at 919-324-2225.   

Comments (14)

Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Michele - I have posted about getting organized as well recently, and yes, the biggest challenge in my home is paper, piles and piles of paper!

Jan 08, 2011 03:06 AM
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Michelle,  I am all in!  I can't wait to tackle a couple of the "problem" spots in my house!  Thanks for the tips!

Jan 08, 2011 03:09 AM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

I love the feeling of clutter free...now only if I could manage to keep it that way once I get it cleaned! Great post Michele!

Jan 08, 2011 03:36 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

This is something I constantly struggle with in my personal home - but not my work - I wonder about the distinction.  I have come to the point in my life where I'm really ready to start letting go of "things" that have accumulated from a past in my life that felt important to me that now just seems find to hold in my memories... I need someone to help me sell it all off though... that's the tricky part!

Jan 08, 2011 05:07 AM
Janine Varney, Well Dressed Homes

Great post Michele and Emily.  Something I can use in my personal life and share with my clients who are always needing to de-clutter!

Jan 09, 2011 12:26 AM
Michele Kurelich
Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Home Staging and Design

Carol-  I checked out your post and great tips!  http://activerain.com/blogsview/2061017/new-year-s-resolutions-creating-new-habits-using-organization

I like the idea of the wine carton.  Maybe I should pour a glass of wine while I dig myself out of paperwork!  I should have plently of wine cartons for storage to keep up with it all! 

Jan 09, 2011 02:33 AM
Michele Kurelich
Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Home Staging and Design

Karin & Karen,

Thanks!  We all have those "PROBLEM" spots that get out of control when life is CRAZY.  Keeping it that way is the challange for sure.  It's so much worse if we let is go for too long!

Jan 09, 2011 02:36 AM
Marie-Denise Kratsios
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Huntington, NY
Where ever you are, that's where I'll be!

I agree...paper is THE NUMBER ! CHALLENGE for me!  I make piles, I sort piles, I throw out piles, but I'm still left with more paper than I have space for.  I thought the use of technology was supposed to make us paperless.  I seem to have more now than before.  I've gotten better.  I make folders on my computer, but there is still so much left to do. 

Jan 09, 2011 04:48 AM
Michele Kurelich
Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Home Staging and Design


I think that sometimes as time goes on the "things" don't really represent the memories like they once did.   It's good you can make the distinction from work to your personal life.  For me, if one is out of control, so is the other.  My goal for this year is to keep both managable.  I also feel that I have so much "stuff" in my life at work with all the inventory that I want "LESS" to deal with at home 

Jan 09, 2011 05:48 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Michele: Like Marie and probably so many others, I am drowning in paper - contracts, receipts, bills, etc. I invested in a high end scanner in December. You can feed in up to 50 pieces of any kind of paper (any size 8 x 14 and under) and it will quickly scan everything into a folder. You can then move the papers into other folders on your computer. My goal is to be as paperless as possible by June 1. For me, being organized is important for my well being. I look forward to the day I can have a shredding party with all my old documents.

Jan 09, 2011 08:08 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Michele - I like this article.  I've found this a great time to organize my walk-in attic as we put the Christmas decorations away.  Having orderly closets and cabinets is a good thing!

Jan 09, 2011 07:19 PM
Michele Kurelich
Triangle Home Staging & Design/Lasting Impressions - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Home Staging and Design

Janine - Thanks!  I aspire to be as organized as you some day! You my friend are the example to follow!


That sounds like heaven to cut down on all the paper floating around my house.  Between, work, kids stuff and our personal paperwork it's a partime job for sure.  Do you mind sharing what scanner you purchased?  I agree that being organized is important to our well being!  I know it affects how productive I am


I am glad you like the article!  Packing away after Christmas is a great time to organize!  I recently contributed to an article in the N&O regarding packing up after Christmas.  One suggestion is to pack away Christmas items in the order that you want to put it up next year.  I decorate my house in stages and pack it accordingly, which allows me to do a little at a time so it's not overwhelming.  For example, I pack in clear plastic bins by each room.  I always decorate my foyer table and family room first, so those will be the last items I take down this year and will be at the top of the pile next year.  I use the same idea for the for the outside lights.  Happy organizing!

Jan 10, 2011 12:02 AM
Barbara Heil-Sonneck
Design2Sell - Atlanta, GA
Home Staging Atlanta

Happy New Year Michele, great blog and pictures, the "Green chair approach" is a great one to incorporate, paying forward...

Jan 16, 2011 12:52 AM
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Michelle, wonderfully written, great advice. It would be my pleasure to reblog it! I'd love my sellers and future sellers to know this.

Feb 10, 2011 02:47 AM