Beginning a new design project can be a daunting task, no matter how excited you are. When you have that “dream room” in mind and don’t know where to begin, overwhelm can suddenly paralyze you into doing nothing. But it doesn’t need to be this way. Breathe in…breathe out! Let’s start at the beginning, declutter the mess, and get organized.
- Start with a “No Sweat” filing system. If you’re like most people with a dream design project, you have stacks of magazine pages torn out and in a pile. And I’m guessing that you have a few fabric swatches too. Well, the time has come to get this mess sorted and organized! Do you know what to keep? How long have you been saving them? OK…here goes.
- Solution: You need a fast, flexible filing system that’s based on keeping ONLY what you need for the project. This system works best if you have large folders. I like to begin with broad categories like Kitchen, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, etc. You can subdivide it all later.
- Supplies: Flat bottomed expandable hanging folders work great. Then you can fill them with color coded file folders (one color for each category.
- Time: About two hours to sort and set up the files. (A good friend helping out will cut the time in half.)
- What to keep/how to divide: First, divide the pictures and swatches into piles, one pile for each room that you’re working on (kitchen, bathroom, family room, powder room, foyer, etc.). Then label the folders with these room names and place the pictures in the folders.
- Receipts for items you’ve purchased or will purchase.
- “Before” photos of your space. It’s always fun to have a comparison to show your friends. Another, more important, reason to take these photos is for insurance documentation in case of flood or fire.
- Fabric and wallpaper swatches
- Furniture tear sheets and specifications
If a file becomes too full, it’s time to move it to it’s very own hanging folder with file folders to subdivide into receipts, photos, swatches, etc.
Remember, that this is supposed to be fun! So set a date to begin the decluttering of your project pile. Just do it!