Design + DIY

How to Create More Personal Space in Your Home

I often feel like I need more space in my home. I’m the kind of person who gets really flustered when there is too much clutter around, but I’m not the tidiest person either, so it’s always a conundrum! As I plan for my move back to our Philadelphia home, I’m working on finding ways to clear the clutter and find more space for myself. 
September 2021
How to Create More Personal Space in Your Home
How to Create More Personal Space in Your Home

After spending the last year and a half in New Jersey, I have been trying to get adjusted to moving back to our Philadelphia home this fall. My kids’ needs have changed a lot over our time in New Jersey, and we’ve all gotten used to having a bit more space to spread out. 

When we moved, we left behind a lot of our less essential items. My husband Leo and I moved into our Philadelphia home 14 years ago, and went from 20-somethings to now 40-somethings. We never really parted with things as much as I had anticipated (can anyone else relate?). So as we’re preparing to move back, the amount of stuff we have accumulated is quite frankly, overwhelming.

I have been doing a lot of cleaning, organizing and donating to create a welcoming environment to move back into. I tried to do some major donations of clothing that didn’t fit the kids, and toys that aren’t age-appropriate anymore. I also gave away a lot of the kitchen items that we don’t use or that doesn’t suit our needs anymore. 

As I’ve been cleaning, I’m also thinking about how to set up our home to manage sharing our space as a family. It’s important that I have time to myself each day, and having a dedicated space that feels like mine makes that easier to achieve.  

I am focusing on getting my home office ready to suit my needs. It’s not surprising that my needs have shifted a lot in the last year.  I’m looking to organize my space in a way that feels more purposeful. It’s one of those rooms that despite having ample storage never looks clean.

My home office space, before and after reorganizing.
My home office space, before and after reorganizing.

Getting Help to Create More Personal space

One thing I am planning to do is enlist the help of a professional. A few months ago, we wrote a piece asking professional organizer Kathleen Edelstein the question, Are Professional Organizers Worth the Investment? In my opinion, the answer to this question is always yes. It can be really helpful for taking some of the emotional burden away, bringing positive energy to your project and motivating you.

Steps to Create More Space

When working with a professional here are the steps I will take (with their help) to create more space.

1. Make piles

I will take the time to group similar items together into piles so I can put them together in a way that makes sense. 

2. Create bins 

Once I have my items grouped together, I will make bins with easy-to-read labels so I can find what I need, when I need it. 

3. Schedule time weekly to maintain my newly created order 

Getting the office in order may be a one-time challenge, but it’s up to me to keep things in order. I am going to commit to scheduling a few minutes each week to tidy up, so my office doesn’t turn back into chaos.

Tips for Maintaining Space in Your Home

I get really stressed when things are out of order and it helps to take things one room, or one area at a time. I get myself really worked up if I start picking at different areas of the house, and I need to remember to not work on too many things at once.  Just one drawer or one part of my closet might really be all I have time for that day, and trying to do too much can feel discouraging. A few tips that help me make space in our home are:

1. Tackle the clutter in the kitchen or entryway first

I try to tackle the clutter in small ways especially in our kitchen or entryway early in the morning as soon as I’ve had some coffee. Even a few minutes of tidying makes an impact that I’ll appreciate for the rest of the day. 

Walking into a cluttered entryway or trying to prepare or relax over a healthy meal in a messy kitchen can increase anxiety. I know if my kitchen is organized and ready for me to cook, I am much more likely to cook a healthy family meal.

2. Find the root cause of repetitive clutter 

If I am finding repetitive clutter in my home, I try to figure out why it’s happening. For example, if headphones are always being left on the washing machine or sandals are all over the floor when I walk in, I want to find a better way. 

The solution might be as simple as using a basket to put sandals in (so there is a clear place) - or moving things into deeper storage so that there can be space in the cabinet above the washing machine to give those headphones a place to go. Bonus points for labeling bins since that allows everyone in the family to know where to put things.

3. When things come in, others go out 

Since I work from home and my work involves a lot of garment samples for future collections, it can be overwhelming when these samples start piling up. No matter how much I try to avoid shopping or adding anything to our home, as a family of 4 someone is always bringing something into the house faster than we can get rid of things. So managing the ebb and flow of our material items can be quite the battle! 

I try to be conscious of what we’re bringing in and donating or recycling items that aren’t being used in our home. As my kids grow out of their toys and clothes, they are donated or given to friends with younger children as many of them still have plenty of life in them.

What about you? Have you made any changes to create more space for yourself in the last year? Tell us about it in the comments.

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