Home & Garden

Getting the new year off to a clutter-free start

The wintertime blues can run rampant this time of year. But can seasonal clutter add to the misery? Karen Libby, Design Consultant with OneSource Home Solutions believes so.

“You’ve pulled all your boxes out onto the floor of the garage. You’re trying to cram decorations back into containers and now you have another dozen pairs of jeans with no room to put them,” she said. “Post-holiday clutter can be a depressing start to the New Year.”

Based in San Luis Obispo, OneSource offers garage and closet storage systems as well as window coverings and garage flooring treatments.

Although Libby believes that most people have pack rat tendencies, she also maintains that anyone can become organized, with the right routines and systems in place.

The first and most difficult job, she said, is the “emotional let-go.”

“You need a good cold, hard reality check and let go of the emotional attachments to stuff you don’t need,” she advised. “You know, the jeans that are two sizes too small and the deviled egg platter you got for your wedding and never used.”

Libby believes the success of the process is all in your attitude. Instead of feeling deprived, she suggests looking upon purging as a “fun, cathartic experience.”

Part of the fun may be giving seldom-used items to those who really need them, such as books to your local senior center, or clothing to a thrift shop or homeless shelter.

“Don’t forget to keep a list of everything donated,” she advised. “Year-end tax write-offs can be the last present you give yourself in 2010.”

She recommends parting with any clothing that hasn’t been worn in a year. Broken, extra or unnecessary items are instant goners. If the emotional attachment to superfluous stuff is too strong, you may need the help of a professional organizer.

The next step is creating a storage system – then training yourself to use it. There are many organizational systems available on the market for do-it-yourselfers, or you can turn to a professional organizer like Libby to help you make the most of your space.

“Some people are good at picturing how things are going to fit in a space, but others can’t visualize it and need a little help,” she said.

This can include designing closet systems so that every shoe, bag and garment has a place. Or, it can involve finding efficient ways to store all of the odd stuff in your garage, such as with cabinet systems, overhead storage that makes use of often-wasted space near the ceiling, and wall racks to keep tools and sporting equipment off the floor and easily accessible.

Libby believes that most homes have enough space to store the items that are really important. She is a firm believer in “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Do a little organizing now, she said, and the savings in time and space will be a gift you’ll enjoy all year long.

OneSource Home Solutions is located at 3982 Short Street, suite 100 in San Luis Obispo, 548-0110.