It’s the start of a brand new year and for many, it marks the chance to work with a clean slate on all the things they want to do better this year. Home improvements are on many people’s lists and whether that involves a large or small remodel or a simple refresh of a room, the key word to remember this year is organization. Such a simple concept and yet one that sometimes people have a hard time with, myself included! In keeping with the spirit of organization for the new year, I have spent the last several days getting my design studio in order. I think we all get into the habit of turning a blind eye to areas that we live in or see everyday. Walking into a room with a mission to see the details and truly determine where to streamline can make such a huge difference. As a result of me doing this in my studio, gone are all the sample books that are over 3 years old. I discarded all the old tile and granite samples as well since the lifespan for samples in the interior design industry is around 3 years (anything older than that is dated and useless).

As I was cutting down on clutter and streamlining my workspace, I started thinking about my clients and the things we can all do at home to really get our spaces off to a great start this year. For instance, if the job seems particularly daunting, you could designate one Saturday a month for “Family Clean Out” day. Each member of the family can take 30 minutes to get rid of clutter, things that they no longer want or use and give it away to a charitable organization. By doing this, you’d keep things manageable and your spaces headache and hassle-free. Plus, at the end of the year you’d have 12 receipts for each month of tax donations- now isn’t that a pleasant thought?

When you are going through your things, ask yourself: Does this look worn out or dated? Does it look out of style? Would someone else appreciate/use it more than I do? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, the item in question should be given away or donated if it’s in good shape, thrown away or recycled if it’s not. Oftentimes I am shocked when I walk in to a client’s home and see how many dated and worn accessories they have managed to cram into a room. When the silk trees are 10 years old and coated with dust, it’s time to tell them goodbye and good riddance. If you wouldn’t put a tree that looks that bad in your yard, why on earth would you keep it in your home? Chances are, with all the other things in the room fighting for attention, the owners just didn’t notice now neglected the silk trees were.

Now, if you’re wondering why I’m encouraging everyone so strongly to clean up their spaces for the New Year, the answer is simple. Clean, clutter-free and organized spaces just feel better to live in which is right in line with our forecast for the trends in interior design for 2011. In the new year, you’ll see uncluttered spaces with larger accessories that make a bold statement and the rule of thumb is “less is best.” Surround yourself with the things you really love and get rid of all of the things you don’t care about that just collect dust. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes. Let’s get organized, eliminate clutter and enjoy a wonderful year with our families and loved ones. Happy New Year!