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Things to Offload for Instant Happiness

Coddington Design; Nantucket Entryway Photography: David Duncan Livingston

Ever decide to purge the closet and find it waaaaaay harder to get rid of things than you thought? Feeling all the feels as you decide what to keep, toss or donate? Maybe you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning and thought you had a good grip on the task, but really it’s making you feel less than stellar. There’s always a part of us that wants to hold on to the person we were, pre-kids, pre-career, pre-2020. It’s hard to say goodbye to the things that bring us back to those good times, even if they’re useless and causing a cluster eff of mess in the closet. It’s hard to say goodbye to our former selves.

Deciding to declutter is the first step. You got this. Watch an episode of Hoarders for motivation if needed. There are millions of blogs and books and podcasts to teach you how. As Interior Designers, we are more focused on the what. What to purge and how to manage it going forward. Clients ask us regularly “Should I get rid of this or should/can we use it somewhere?”

Coddington Design; Nantucket Bedroom Photography: David Duncan Livingston

The quick answer is this; If it’s been sitting in a box since you moved in or stuffed in a closet for more than a year, you likely don’t love it like you think you do and it’s time for the buh bye.

Is it the kid’s playroom or family room? Here’s a previous blog post that can help you through the process of hiding the mess and maintaining a highly functioning, beautiful home.

Here are our favorite things to get rid of ASAP:

  • Children’s art. If you’ve got young kids at home, take a page from my book and start early with this. My son watched me put his preschool art from the car directly into the recycling bin in our garage. Daily. Poor guy! If you are not this ruthless, designate one area in your house for kid’s art display.
  • Gifts. Please don’t save something just because someone you love gave it to you. Sometimes the thought & intention is sweet but the gift, not so much. Never feel obligated to keep something that doesn’t make you happy, or takes up the space for something you do love. It doesn’t make you a bad friend/ relative/ partner to purge something you don’t like. And if you feel the need to regift, check Martha’s etiquette guide.
  • Mass produced art. This includes prints in generic frames and giclee’s. You know you have them.
  • All the glass vases that came with the flowers you’ve received for the last 10 years. They’re choking space in your cabinet. Buy yourself some pretty vases that go with your decor & style. Bloomist has some pretty & unique finds, designer approved. Recycle the stock glass.
  • Paperbacks you didn’t quite get to reading. Or it was a one trick read. Good news here, those little library stands everywhere are aching for your castaways. Senior centers also love trashy romance novel donations. Scoop them up and Santa Claus them all over town. Your nightstand and bookcase will thank you.
  • Outdated furniture. This one can be tricky because you remember exactly how much money you spent on it . (This is called the “sunk cost fallacy” whereby a person is reluctant to abandon a strategy or course of action because they have invested heavily in it, even when it is clear that abandonment would be more beneficial.) Or it’s a family heirloom. Your designer can help you sort through what is worth salvaging, we do it all the time. We might suggest reupholstering or refinishing a piece with good bones. Maybe Aunt Peg’s chair would look great in a modern linen woven AND be the bedroom chair you’ve been looking for.
  • Small appliances. Bread machine. Air Fryer. Table top grill. Multiple crock pots. Blenders. Juicers. Waffle irons. Panini press. Instant Pots. Figure out what you really use on a regular basis and start there. Don’t distract yourself with thoughts of crepes in the morning. The convenience of many of these is great, but the space they take up is enormous and lets be real here, you’re not using them much. Take a moment to evaluate which appliances are one trick ponies. (Alton Brown will tell you to toss them, and we have to agree unless waffles are your signature thing.)

Coddington Design; Nantucket Kitchen, Photography: David Duncan Livingston

Not sure where to start? Thinking of redesigning your space but can’t get a grip on what to keep? Book a free Discovery Call with us and learn about our process and what we can do for you. We would love to hear from you!


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