It’s easy to think you need to live like a robot to have a beautiful home, but that’s not the case! The design for your home should always support your unique lifestyle. Designing a house that embraces your life and look is easy: Notice how you live.
I always encourage my clients to note their daily routines so we can set up a space to best serve them. Do your shoes never seem to make it to the bedroom? Do backpacks get left on the floor by the entryway? Do your coats just get thrown on the nearest piece of furniture? Don’t berate yourself. Just notice. Then you can make design choices that will help make your life easier, less stressful — and yes, more aesthetically pleasing.
Examine Your Entryway
Are shoes, purses, backpacks and scarves piled up? Are there stacks of mail? Can you never seem to find your keys? Notice what you need when leaving and notice what you naturally do when you come home. Don’t judge; just observe.
If you throw everything down on the nearest surface when you get home, chances are that all of your design solutions need to involve one or two steps max. More steps away from the entry than that, and you probably won’t stick with your plan.
Very rarely do people change who they are. And habits take a long time to break. You can promise yourself that you will walk to the office with the mail and organize it like a responsible adult, but yet there it is, all stacked up at the front door.
Why set yourself up for failure? Just accept yourself exactly as you are and make your home serve you, “bad” habits and all.
Choose the Right Systems for Your Items
Once you’re clear on how you use your space, you can choose systems and tools to accommodate your habits.
Usually people have to figure out what to do with things like shoes, purses, backpacks, umbrellas, mail and coats. Organizing needs can be addressed fairly easily, but you need to be honest with yourself.
Consider your needs and the setup of your home. Maybe you don’t have a back entry, and one of your needs is a gorgeous front entry that can also serve you with storage. Relax — it’s possible to have both.
Coats. You might think the solution to your coat pile is to hang your coats in the coat closet. But when it really comes down to it, will you? Maybe the act of opening a door, pulling out a hanger, putting your coat on the hanger and hanging it back in the closet will just always be bypassed for the one-step option of throwing it on a chair.
If you know this about yourself, choose a one-step coat-hanging option, like hooks.
Shoes. Maybe putting shoes away in the bedroom closet seems like the normal thing to do, but who cares? This is your home, and if having a space for all of your shoes near your door serves you better, then it’s the right choice.
Not all homes have the space for shelves like these, but you can always outfit a front closet with shelves for shoes or add a rack near the door for shoes you wear every day.
Mail. I have a client who uses baskets just like this in her front entry; she tosses in all the catalogs and magazines that arrive in the mail during the week. On Saturday mornings she takes the basket into her kitchen and goes through it while she drinks coffee. It keeps her organized with minimal effort.
The little things. A group of small boxes displayed on a table is a great tool! Boxes can hold anything: keys, mail, even makeup. Again, this is setting your house up to serve you. If you rush out the door every morning, and having your mascara near the door is the easiest thing, who can say it’s wrong?
Implement Your Strategies
Once you know your needs and have picked the tools that can serve you best, it’s time to pull everything together.
Be flexible. Don’t be afraid to think creatively when it comes accommodating your needs. I have one client who keeps all of the family’s multivitamins near the door. If they can’t grab them as they are walking out the door, they forget to take them.
That’s not where most people keep vitamins, but that location serves her family best.
Be stylish. It also never hurts to make a statement. If you need to store something out in the open, do it with style!
You can’t see them, but mail, keys, makeup and multivitamins are hiding in those drawers.