Let’s talk about stuff. We all have daily life stuff that we need and can’t part with, but that doesn’t necessarily fit in with the aesthetically pleasing cozy decor style that we all aim to have. So many of you have reached out to me asking for advice on this and it is a daily conversation over in my Facebook Community Group and even in my texting group and email. So I wanted to offer some cozy tips today that have helped us reduce the look of clutter and stuff in our home. The one thing I will say before we get started here is that our 1800’s farmhouse was renovated by the previous owners in the 1980’s so when we moved in there was actually a LOT of closet space. Dare I say too much? Don’t jump on me for saying that, but I am one of those people that if you give me a bigger closet, I will just fill it & it will probably be a mess in a day. As we renovate room by room we are keeping closet space that we NEED & using the extra space for more space for how our family functions. Of course I am thankful for closet space for storage & all of these other ways we store all of our stuff. Let’s start by showing that the pretty cabinets around our house [like the one shown above] are not just for looks…
1. Closets, Space Savers, & Cabinets.
For clothing, coats, shoes, and accessories, separate them by season. Because we live in Michigan and our seasons are ever-changing and meshing into each other, this can be more difficult to do. However, I still like to separate our Fall & Winter and Spring & Summer. By doing this, it makes it easier to store items in off seasons. At the beginning of Fall & Spring we take time to switch out our items. This helps reduce a lot of clothing clutter. For these things we use closets, cabinets, drawers, & attic space designated for that member of the family for that off season while they are not being used. Tip: We are big vacuum bag believers! You can find them in the ‘household’ section of my Amazon Storefront [HERE]. The vacuum bags condense the items & save so much room. They are also great for packing! Think of what dressers, cabinets, & furniture you can use around the house that are either sitting empty or not being used to their fullest potential.
2. Mud Room Things.
Designate an area in your home where you can store coats and shoes. For us, that is our mudroom, but for others, that may just be a closet or basement area. We like to utilize peg rail shelving for coats and market bags and hidden storage within a bench for shoe and winter storage. Our mudroom bench we created we have a DIY for here [HERE]. We also utilize baskets for shoes that we aren’t currently using but want to have out for easy access. At this point I want to add again that each season it is a great time to weed through all of your items & see what you can sell, donate, or re-use so that you are not busy storing items that you do not need or want.
3. Baskets, Market Bags, & more baskets.
Utilize market bags & baskets as storage for grab & go items. Let’s break this down a little further. I like to have a market bag for car stuff and also a market bag for outdoor stuff. By separating items into bags, it not only makes it easier as we run out the door, but it also makes it so all of these items are in one place and there is less clutter around your home. I also like to throw things into market bags or baskets throughout the day that need to go upstairs, that I can bring up at the end of the day. That way I am not taking 1000 trips upstairs every day. Think of where you can put baskets: under coffee tables, on top of cabinets, in cupboards, under beds, on a counter, & even a big hamper basket in the corner filled with toys or blankets. Baskets are a lifesaver for me because I want to keep the house looking organized & pretty so they allow me to store things away & look beautiful at the same time. You can see market bags I love [HERE] & a variety of useful baskets that I love [HERE]
4. Lidded Hampers.
Let’s visit baskets one more time because I can’t stress them enough & quite specifically, let’s touch on lidded hamper baskets! Lidded hamper baskets is what baskets like shown below are usually listed on websites as. They are my number one secret because they are large multipurpose baskets that completely hide what is inside. I use them for toys, blankets, shoes, pool towels, & so much more! We use them for EVERYTHING in our home. From toys to linens, they are a great way of keeping things cozy and aesthetically pleasing. The bonus? These lidded hamper baskets add beautiful texture to any space as well & usually come with a washable liner inside so you can keep that fresh too. You can see some lidded hamper basket options in this post [HERE].
5. Peg Rails, Hooks, & Shelves.
If you follow my socials or my blog you may have noticed our use of peg rails, hooks, & shelves all over our home. There is a reason for that! We have peg rails all through the kitchen, mudroom, dining room, entryway, & so many more places. Peg rail not only fits in with our historic home well with the utilitarian vibes, but it’s my favorite way to keep my everyday items out in the open, but organized. For years I have been working on swapping out my everyday items a little at a time for heirloom quality beautiful everyday items so that they can be out in the open, but even be beautiful when hanging on the peg rails. Hooks and shelves are acting in that same way. Having hooks in areas where you notice guests need to hang coats, where you want to hang towels, or in an area you see items laying on the ground often. Shelves are another thing I add to spaces, even above peg rail so I can store items & display items. Many of you know I love collecting all of the things & my collections make our home feel cozy & shelving being added to spaces help those collections not being cluttered. We also added shelves in cope’s room for books, in our office for books, & inside closets for clothing & linens. Check out some pre-made peg rails (here). You can get a full diy peg rail/shelf tutorial [HERE].
6. Gates, Zones, & Rules.
As you know we live on a farm with many animals and an active toddler. With that comes a lot of dirt, mud, and snow that we try to keep designated to our mudroom area so that it is easier to clean. We like to keep family rules that designate certain zones for certain things. Of course rules get broken, but things like: close the baby gates when animals are inside & dirty to keep them in the mud room, take off shoes before entering the house, hang up we clothes/suits/snow gear always, & when done with items, put them away. All these rules are helpful & a great thing to talk through as a family to help with the daily stuff! & yes, we still use our baby gates to help contain the mess & keep the baby separated from the animals & the animals separated from the main part of the house until they are clean. We also try to keep shoes in the storage bench, on a boot tray, or in the lockers when coming inside. If you live in an apartment or smaller space, I would suggest either keeping your shoes on a rug or a boot tray right at the door, on a small rug in a closet space, or if you building allows, even placed nicely outside of your door in a hallway. Having gates, specific zones, & rules can be really helpful & will look so different for each family & each household.
I offer these tips to help but I also want to let you know that the stuff in our home makes us human and it is natural for our homes to not look like they are style for a magazine shoot. I am the type of person that cleans the house many times a day because a messy home gets me flustered, but that doesn’t mean the closets & rooms that can be closed off aren’t messy… they are. Know that people don’t need to show you their mess for you to know it’s there. We all have stuff, we all have messes, & we all get behind. I hope these tips help a little bit with all of that. While it is nice to reduce the clutter and stuff, please know that all of our homes have them. You can also grab my book, Cozy White Cottage Seasons, for more cozy storage solutions [see tip #8 for sure!]. Thanks for supporting my book, it means a lot! Do you have cozy tips for reducing stuff in your home? I would love to hear how you have been keeping things looking cozy and clutter free. Let’s chat about it on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks for stopping by the blog today and every day!
xx Liz Marie