These "rules" can be applied to any space, old or new, but there's something about having a fresh start, a blank canvas, that is so inspiring and really allows you to create your perfect space, and in turn, your perfect life.
Rule #1 HAVE A VISION Before you start digging through boxes take a moment (or several) and envision you and your life in your new home. What will you feel like? What will you be doing every day? How are you feeling waking up and accomplishing your daily tasks? Are you rushed? Calm? Upbeat? Jot down some words to describe your future life. For example, I imagine myself waking up to the sunlight streaming through my windows and a breeze lightly blowing the curtains. I have a big puffy white bedspread. I sit up and the room is tidy-no clothes on the floor, nothing out of place. And when I move into my new home I will do all I can to make those visions a reality. You can be as specific as you like, but start dreaming! Create your perfect space and your perfect life.
You can also do this for each space. What will your living spaces feel like? Will they be filled with friends? Are you using your kitchen to cook elaborate meals for your family? Will your office be bustling with inspirational sayings or does a clean, minimalist space offer you more clarity?
Questions like these help you to know which items you'll want to keep and display because they should fit into your visionary space. If an item is out of character for the space or life you desire, it needs to find a new home somewhere else in the house or in someone else's home entirely. Don't feel bad about getting rid of items that no longer serve your life's purpose and goals. People change and things that were once important or necessary to us might not fit with our current lifestyle goals. Maybe you've always worn sweatpants to bed but have recently decided you feel better about yourself when you're wearing a cute matching set. Throw out the sweatpants, it's not you anymore! Maybe you inherited a dining set when your grandparents passed away but it's not really your style. Sell it or give it away to someone who loves it and then find a set that you can't live without. Life is about evolving and growing. Our spaces and belongings should evolve along with us.
Rule #2 Discard As You Unpack Both packing and unpacking are perfect times for discarding items that no longer bring joy or serve a purpose in our lives. Having your items packed away for a time can bring clarity to what you really need and love. You may pull some things out of a box and be so happy to have found it, but others might come with questions of "Why did I waste valuable packing space on this?" It's a great time to hold each item in your hand and ask the magic question, "Does this spark joy?" If it doesn't, it gets donated, recycled, or trashed. Oftentimes people will ask, "Well what about this can opener/printer/mattress pad/etc? These don't bring my joy but I can't discard them-I need them! Of course you need them! So let me ask you this: Doesn't it bring you joy to create and eat your world-famous enchiladas with the beans you got out of the can using the can opener? And don't you love not having to go to the printshop every time you need something printed? Although these things may not be on the same level as a beloved antique dish set or a shirt we look and feel amazing in, they bring joy through the services they provide and the ease they bring to our lives. So show them some love and give that can opener a home in your kitchen.
Rule #3 Just Because Something's Always Been Doesn't Mean it Must Always Be Deep, right? Your new home will have different storage opportunities than the last. Maybe you've lost storage space in the kitchen but have gained more closets. Make your spaces work for you. In my previous home I always stored my vases in the kitchen. In my new home I don't have as many kitchen cupboards and I would really love my kitchen to hold just kitchen items (what a concept!). But my laundry room is larger and I imagine that a cupboard in there would work wonderfully for my collection of vases. Maybe you've always stored holiday items in your closet. Find a new space for them! Your closet should be for clothes and shoes, not storage for things pulled out once a year (if you can help it). Add shelving to an under stairs closet to hold entertaining or craft supplies that once occupied your office. If you're unsure of where to store a group of items, leave them in the box until you see how your space plays out with items you absolutely need in that space.
Rule #4 Place With Purpose This is my move-in mantra. Place with purpose. Don't stick the muffin cups in the drawer with the utensils just because they were packed in the same box. Resist the urge to unpack as fast as possible and sticking things wherever there happens to be an empty space. We want our homes to flow and make sense. Take the time now to put away things in the right spaces so that you can live with ease later. Think about the flow of getting yourself ready in the morning or cooking or setting the table. Where will your items be happiest so that you can get to them when you need them? It's much easier to do things right the first time around, and a new home is the perfect opportunity to make your home perfectly reflect you and your organized lifestyle.
Happy unpacking & organizing!
Are you currently setting up a new space? How's it going and what is working for you? Let me know in the comments!