Waging a war on clutter a la Marie Kondo requires a lot of does-it-spark-joy reflection—and some serious time commitment. If you’re looking for just one battle you can win this weekend against the backlog of belongings piling up in your home, there’s hope.
Shannon Wollack and Brittany Zwickl, co-founders of Studio Life.Style, have developed a genius organizational mantra: Whenever you bring something new into your home, whether it’s a crystal or a chunky knit blanket, give something else away. Think of it as an exercise in mindful minimalism—one that helps to clear space in your home and your brain.
“A lot of times we hold onto things that serve zero purpose in our living space, but we don’t realize that once these items are gone, they won’t be missed.”
“A lot of times we hold onto things that serve zero purpose in our living space, but we don’t realize that once these items are gone, they won’t be missed,” says Wollack.
The interior designers swear this kind of considered curation has health benefits, too. “Aside from the dust factor, clearing out clutter can help improve your mood,” says Zwickl. “Organization—and the idea of keeping the items that are most practical and useful—not only benefits your mental health, but can also give you more productivity.”
But what to let go of first? Here, Wollack and Zwickl pinpoint five things everyone should toss to create both physical and energetic space in their home. “Getting rid of older items stipulates a newer, fresher energy in the house,” Zwickl explains. And once those good vibes are circulating, it’ll be easy to hit your clutter-clearing stride.
Keep reading for the one thing you should remove from every room in your house.
In the living room: coffee table clutter
This single piece of furniture is like a magnet for wayward household items that aren’t necessarily adding to your overall aesthetic.
That means recycling magazines that are more than six months old, tucking remote controls away in a drawer, dealing with your unopened mail, and finding places for other things that have claimed this space as their surrogate home. Bonus: It might also help reduce anxiety.
In the kitchen: your standalone trash can
If you live in a city, chances are your kitchen is about the size of a Stan Smith shoebox. So why waste precious square footage on a smelly trash can?
Wollack and Zwickl say this is one item you should downsize and tuck away, even if it means sacrificing cupboard space. “We find it to be more aesthetically pleasing and guest-conscious to hide [a trash can] in a cabinet or pull-out drawer,” says Wollack. It also means more room to do squats in the kitchen while you make your a.m. smoothie.
In the bathroom: excessive storage cabinets
“Finding the right amount of storage is a tedious battle—but we always go for simple and practical,” says Wollack. And those unsightly plastic organizers that house a Sephora’s worth of hair products, makeup, and skin serums are just cluttering up and complicating your life.
Now’s the time to edit your arsenal to only the essentials that fit in your bathroom’s built-in cabinets. You can start by getting rid of anything that’s expired or hasn’t been used in a while. (This would also be a good time to clean up your beauty routine—here are the toxic hair, body-care, skin-care, and makeup items to ditch first.)
In the closet: over-the-door shoe racks
Yes, these save space, but they’re actually not ideal for the health of your footwear. “These always tend to squish our clients’ shoes, making them the first to go when we’re overhauling a closet,” says Zwickl. “We recommend replacing with simple shelving or individual boxes.”
Not enough room in your closet? You can always turn your collection of kicks into an art installation, like this fitfluencer did.
In the bedroom: that trunk at the end of your bed
Be honest—how often do you really dig into your treasure trove of sorority tees, old yearbooks, and other bits of nostalgia? “[Trunks] always become an easy place to put junk,” says Wollack. Instead, choose the pieces that you truly can’t live without, put them into under-bed storage, and resist the urge to add to the stash.
If you need something to fill the space at the foot of your bed, “a bench or two ottomans provides a more refined and clean look,”Wollack says. Though, if you’re living that apartment life, you’ll likely welcome the extra breathing room.
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