In December, I visited my sister at her house for the first time in a few years. Since the last time I was able to get to Germany, she had moved three times. Within those moves, she hadn’t had a ton of oppertunities to declutter her objects.
When I arrived, her guest room was full of moving boxes. It was totally understandable – she had moved really recently. I started to help her go through a few boxes and properly organize different things. The moving company that helped her move was incredibly unhelpful – shoving all sorts of random things together into boxes. I probably spent around 8 hours helping her get things into order. I talked about some of the process here. It’s now 7 months later and I have a little more time to go and help her. I’m going to be going in a little over a week. I wanted to talk about the next steps in the process of getting her house into a state where she feels stress free but comfortable.
- Get a budget – whether it’s a small organization solution or a complete revamp of a room or two in a house – make sure that you have a budget that you are comfortable working within. Even when I buy drawer organizers for my makeup and crafting cart, I go into the Euro market with an idea of exactly what I want to spend. As this is a larger project that my sister and I are working on, we have a plan for what is reasonable.
- Measure everything – I’ve obviously been to my sister’s house before so I know the shape and architectural details of the room. However, it’s important to get specific measurements of a room or area that you are planning on organizing. If I were using some of her existing furniture, I would definitely be interested in getting measurements of drawers so I could purchase inserts that fit within the space. That being said, my sister and I had a pretty detailed discussion with measurements of doorways, windows, space from window to walls
- Start on Pinterest – there are a few specific storage solutions my sister is looking for – necklaces, scarves, christmas ornaments and other seasonal clothing. A great place to take a look for this type of specific solution is Pinterest. There are loads of ideas ranging from DIY to modifying store bought items (can you say Ikea Hacks?) to simple dollar store ideas. All of them are worth a look. Even if you can’t get the exact things – the whole point of pinterest is to gather ideas and then make it your own. My plan for the office area of my sister’s guest room has come almost exactly from a picture I saw on Pinterest.
- Do a lot of online browsing for furniture and organizational solutions – I’m an Ikea lover and believer. One reason for this is that I know what I’m getting no matter where I am in the world. Another thing is that I can find specific measurements online which is so helpful. There are plenty of things that I want to use in her house that aren’t from Ikea. But if it’s not broken – most of the furniture plan does come directly from the big box store. I have a list ready to go for things that will work both in size and function in her space. However, I’ve also been poking around on Etsy to start a gallery wall to bring a little joy to the overall aesthetic.
- Use your time wisely – So I’m going to be in Germany for around 10 days so I need to be smart about how I use my time with my sister. Even if this is a longer process for you, just keep in mind that your time is valuable. One thing my sister has suggested is actually having Ikea deliver and put together some of the furniture going into her house. Before I arrive, she is doing some clearing out to make everything easier when I get there. Also – I should say that having the furniture ready to go will make it so much easier to organize as we go. It will maximize our time together.
- Finishing Touches – For me, I favor simple, clean solutions to design problems. But I don’t want to live in a white on white on white mental institution. Even when solving completely functional organizational problems – there is something to good design about leaving it with a little panache. Keep it simple but in the aesthetic that works for you. To create a clean space – plants are essential in my book (and my sisters). Light is also something completely underrated by some people in keeping organizational solutions working well. Consider how you can keep the area clean in more than one way when you are planning a major overhaul.
So those were my plans before I head over to Germany to help my sister declutter. Coming soon will be my final thoughts after spending 10 days working with her. Let me know if any of these tips help you declutter!