Are you setting up home for the first time in your life, and are excited about getting started?
Your shopping is over and boxes of gadgets and furniture have arrived and as you go about putting things in place, something seems not quite right. Take a step back and check what meets your gaze-is it just a plethora of beautiful things placed at random? Stop right here and now, and redo the placement of all that you have collected with a few basic principles of home arrangement like:
Scale, balance and proportion- These are the fundamental rules while placing furniture and accessories, not in separate sections but merged together. Scale refers to the size of objects placed together and they must match or form a pattern. Keeping small objects behind big ones is going against the scale principle. Proportion refers to the ratio of one object to the other and is similar to scale. Balance needs to be created in deciding where to place accessories in a manner that brings equal distribution of the visual weight in the room.
Balance can be symmetrical, that is one side of the room is an exact image of the other half, or asymmetrical, in which different objects are used but such that have the same visual weight effect. The latter is the contemporary style of homes.
Harmony and contrast- Harmony can be created by placing similar objects together, but since this can make the place look dull and uninteresting, a bit of contrast of colors and textures can help liven up the ambience. The idea is to balance harmony and contrast.
Layered arrangements always appeal. This means putting tall or large pieces as the central objects on a cabinet and table and then having a layer in front of mid-sized objects and finally the smallest pieces in front. Layering removes the monotony of pieces of the same size and has greater visual appeal.
Proper space planning- A home does not have to be very big for space to be planned. Whatever the size of your home, the idea is to use space optimally so that there is a place for keeping and storing all your belongings.
Color coordination- While buying things for your home, it is not always possible to pick up things that match completely. But to create visual appeal it is important to coordinate colors rather than place clashing colored accessories together.
Plan each room- It is important to plan the placement of not just decorative items and furniture but also of storing things like linen, toiletries, books, reading material, photo albums etc on the basis of their need and accessibility. Things that are not needed often can be placed in higher cupboard shelves and those that are often used can be placed within easy reach.
Prioritize- Living becomes easier if we could decide on the priority of various things we have in our home and their relative importance. Thus books may look good but not used often, so it does not make sense to keep them in front-the space can be used for other things needed everyday.
Once the home has been arranged, a big job seems done. But hold on, home arrangement is a one time job but keeping it in the same order, as organized and neat as it is on day one will require a bit of effort and a different mindset. The task is not difficult and all that is needed is the following steps:
Training your mind- The home is now your own and more than anyone else you are responsible for its upkeep. Relax, all it needs is training your mind and a watchful eye that can spot anything not in place. Walking past a cabinet, if you find a vase or a decoration piece lying crooked, straighten it as you move ahead. If you leave things in disorder will keep piling up till one day you will have to spend hours clearing up everything. A bit a day is better than a whole spring-cleaning exercise.
Clearing up- Spend five-ten minutes every morning or before going to bed to pick up things not in place, like a newspaper already read, a phone book left opened, a game left on the floor, napkins and food crumbs. This will keep the home looking orderly all the time.
Optimize storage- This will ensure that things do not have to be left outside on beds and chairs. Tucked away into cupboards, they remain clean and dust free and gives the room an uncluttered look. Cupboard shelves can also be layered with non-essentials at the back and only the front rows keeping necessary things.
Cleaning ritual- A weekly or even a monthly cleaning routine helps in keeping the home organized. This helps to keep every decorative item, furniture pieces and gadgets, clean and looking new for years on end. A big cleaning exercise can be initiated once or twice annually, for example before the new year, in which you can wash all your crystal, clear each cupboard shelf, clean cabinets and drawers, and engage in essential repairs. While this may seem so unnecessary when everything looks new, but it in the long run, things will remain new for much longer.
A de-cluttering routine- A home looks fresh and has positive energy flowing through it if it is not overcrowded and loaded with things. It is important to de-clutter regularly by discarding all that is no longer in use, has broken or worn out. Give away old clothes, magazines, unused or expired medicines, old mail and junk pamphlets, papers and old things that have served their time-even a once-a-quarter routine is good enough to keep a lean and trim and above all, a neat household.
Often, you may be undecided about things, should they be thrown or kept. The human urge to hold on to everything tempts you to keep old clothes somewhere at the back of the closet. One day they will invade your whole wardrobe and there will be no place keep clothes you wear everyday. A simple solution-take out the clothes you no longer wear and keep them in the maid’s room for a week. If you find you don’t miss them, it means you don’t need them-so give them away to someone who can use them.
These are some of the many steps that can be taken to keep your home organized and orderly. Cleaning does not need to become a time consuming fixation, and does not require too much thought even, only a notion at the back of the mind that ensures that you walk into an orderly, neat home everyday.