If there is one thing that I love, it’s an organized and tidy home! When Beth Penn from Bneato Bar, a professional organizer in Los Angeles contacted me about her new book… I was thrilled to share it here with you all – and be sure to read to the end of the post to enter her book + a Giveaway! Today she is sharing some amazing tips on Tidying Up: Using What’s Old to Make Something New.
My husband and I have been going back and forth from NYC and Los Angeles for almost two years. And while that may sound fun, it’s been a lot of work. So I WAS relieved when we finally found a home to move into after months and months of living the bi-coastal life. What I haven’t told you is all our stuff has been hanging out in storage. Other than looking at published photos of our old home (and it’s contents here) I had almost forgotten what we owned.
Before giving up our old house in Silverlake, CA, we had worked with the home design website Homepolish. I cannot say enough good things about working with those folks and their designer, Talia. However, for this home, I wanted to take it a little slower and really live in the space for a while before making any decisions. I also was looking forward to not making all the décor decisions in one day, which can lead to burnout (and regret). In my book, The Little Book of Tidying, I talk about the process of going through your belongings. It’s important to know what that could look like for you so that you can take what works and apply it for your own home.
As we unpacked, I could tell that we needed stuff that we didn’t have. For instance, we lacked towels, pillows, trashcans and lamps among many other things. But here’s the thing. Don’t buy stuff immediately. Did I want to set up all the bathrooms with hand towels, waste-baskets and décor? Of course. Did the guest bedroom need pillows? Yep. But I decided I don’t NEED this stuff right now. The things that do need attention are much bigger (like setting up my husband’s studio and getting art on the walls). That doesn’t mean that these little items aren’t noted somewhere. It just means I’m parking them until they need my attention.
What’s interesting is that the pillows and towels came into my life without me having to buy them. Coincidentally, my parents were also moving the same month we were (and de-cluttering their home in South Carolina). A pod filled with antique furniture from their home was en route to our place in California. What I didn’t know is that it was padded with pillows and towels. I couldn’t believe my luck. I felt like I had won at life. Not only had I not spent money on these creature comforts, they had literally showed up at my door. And while this doesn’t always happen, if you wait before purchasing items that you think you need, you are giving yourself the opportunity to make-do with what you have.
As we continued to unpack and set aside the art I realized that I had hung onto a lot of stuff out of fear. It’s not uncommon for most folks to look at their belongings and say, “I might need this one day.” As an organizer, I see instances like this everyday. The more often you go through your belongings, the more you’ll realize you’re not putting a lot of them to use and finally feel confident that you can do without. This awareness does not happen overnight. Tidying is an ongoing process.
As I started to think about putting up a new gallery wall, I looked to our old arrangement (which I absolutely loved). And while I could do an easy recreation, I didn’t think it was quite right for our new home. The other kicker is that our bedroom has no room for a gallery wall. And if I’m being honest, I’m also looking forward to keeping it a little more peaceful and serene where we slumber. When you take it slow, you uncover things that you may have overlooked had you rushed to check things off the list.
Our space was a little more straightforward to figure out since we were mixing it up a bit with other pieces that we already owned. But if we had needed additional art, here are some tips for making it work without creating extra clutter.
Most of your friends have art and décor that are currently not on their walls (but stored in closets, never to see the light of day). Ask around and see if anyone has a painting or sculpture you can borrow for a while. Not only will you be freeing up space in their home you’re giving your walls a refresh with ‘new’ art.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a curated collection of local artists that the public can rent. I love that supporting contemporary artists can be another by-product of keeping a tidy home. Check out your local resources for something similar.
3. Make your own. Take an art class so you don’t have to buy your own supplies. It’s a great way to meet other folks, make friends and have something that you will cherish for years. You also get the satisfaction of having made something. Most of my friends don’t believe me when I tell them that I made this piece for our old dining room.
As far as how our new gallery wall turned out, I’m pretty happy. Instead of playing around with arrangements by laying all the art on the floor, I decided to keep the mess minimal.
- I took photos of all of the pieces that were an option and uploaded them to my computer.
- Using preview on my Mac laptop, I was able to easily cut the frames down to their essence. You can also do this in Photoshop, FYI.
- Finally, I dragged all the contenders (as well as a photo of the area above the couch) into Photoshop and started trying out different configurations.
- Because I was able to really see where the images would live, it gave me a great perspective and created a sense of confidence that the art would work.
If you are loving these amazing tips from Beth, then you will want to check out her book that just released for purchase.
The Little Book of Tidying is an illustrated gift book that is part inspirational and part how-to while being light and airy (because decluttering can be emotional and sometimes a little heavy). The book uses science and psychology for insight as to how things come into our lives and why it sticks around for so long.