I’m constantly rearranging my space to better suit my current needs and style preferences, and with that habit comes a frequent need to pare down my home items as well. Thanks to all of the extra time spent at home in recent months, I've had the chance to be particularly judicious about the items I wish to hold onto and those that no longer serve me.
As difficult as it can be to part with treasured finds, there is something freeing about clearing out one's space. Whether you have half an hour or an entire day, think about tackling one of the categories below to allow your space to shine. Trust me, the organization process and decision-making will be worth it, and you may even end up with a little extra money in your pocket.
Sure, there’s nothing like walking into Target or HomeGoods and spotting a cute, trendy art piece for a mere $20 (and that price includes a frame!). But I find that chain store artwork generally doesn’t stand the test of time. The artwork I purchased from local creatives, sourced at flea markets and Etsy, or even conceptualized myself (think: favorite textiles that I sent off for framing) is more special to me for multiple reasons. I enjoy collecting pieces that I won’t spot in a friend’s house or all over Instagram. And, these items are more likely to bring back fond memories of a trip or special occasion, which makes them all enjoyable to admire on a day-to-day basis.
Purchasing one-of-a-kind pieces doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. The gallery wall in my dining nook features pieces from all across the globe, none of which cost more than $50, and it brings me joy every day. If you don’t want to purchase brand-new pieces, see if you can upcycle a store-bought find by reusing a frame or painting over an existing canvas to add your own artistic touch. Abstract art is always in style and easy to create yourself.
Furniture Purchased For Future Projects
I’m fortunate enough that my rental apartment also came with access to a storage unit in the basement of the building. While this has been a wonderful perk for a serial furniture buyer like me, it’s becoming pretty full. During the pandemic, I tackled decluttering this space, which holds many beautiful pieces that I fell in love with over the years and saved for the right design scheme. However, after hanging onto these finds for some time, I began to realize that—now more than ever—I truthfully don’t know what my next space will look like. In fact, if I eventually move cities, my apartment would most likely be smaller than the one I’m in now.
I decided that at this point in my life, selling some of these finds on Facebook Marketplace rather than letting them sit and collect dust (and earning some extra cash in the process) was the best solution. As difficult as it was to part with a beautiful set of burl wood nesting tables and a scorched bamboo nightstand I’d scooped up for free, I honestly feel so much lighter knowing that I’ll have that many fewer items to pack up one day. My apartment is still filled with plenty of pieces I adore, and the fact that I earned back several hundred dollars in the process certainly didn’t hurt either.
Extraneous Furniture and Decor
My aforementioned storage unit was also home to items I purchased on the cheap, but I had no intention of using them anytime soon. There was a $10 console table that needed a little rescuing, as well as a brass and glass bookshelf from CB2 that I had snagged for just $25 thanks to Facebook Marketplace. Though I wasn’t head over heels for these items, I live for a good deal, and couldn’t resist missing out when seeing them for sale.
That said, I realized that both items were taking up unnecessary space when I hadn’t invested much in them in the first place. I donated the table and listed the CB2 shelf for sale, and off they went to their new homes. As affordable and stylish as they might have been, these pieces weren’t serving me at all and merely took up extra square footage.
I’m not going to lie, I definitely have a soft spot for vintage bowls, cocktails glasses, and certainly can’t say no to a clever coffee mug. However, I was starting to dread opening my kitchen cabinets—and putting away my dishes—because the shelves were always packed to the brim.
One weekend afternoon, I took a critical look at all of my vases, vessels, and entertaining pieces, tossed those with chips or stains, and set aside pieces to sell or donate. Emptying the dishwasher now feels like less of a chore knowing that every piece will fit somewhere in my cabinets, and I still have more than enough basics to use once hosting groups becomes safe again.
A Growing Book Collection
I’m an avid reader, often finishing somewhere between 50 and 100 books per year. This means that I’ve accumulated a lot of novels. While I donated many to a local non-profit prior to my most recent move, my collection still manages to grow. The sheer volume was making it difficult for me to find the texts I did want to read next, and I was tired of finding books hidden in every nook and cranny in my apartment.
While I have a tendency to hang on to titles I intend to read “one day,” I know my genre preferences well enough to know which books I really will and won’t crack open. Thus, titles I kept putting on the back-burner—hello, historical fiction—went into a donation bin. I then placed all of the novels I hope to read soon on one shelf, and those that I love and want to keep went on another. I did my best to think realistically about what I wanted to hold onto and why—and memories of transporting heavy boxes of books during multiple moves definitely made me a little ruthless. Now, I can easily find my next read in just seconds, and feel good that fellow bookworms are able to enjoy some of my neglected titles.