Form meets function in my home-office solution, which features vintage organizers and bins and a large antique farm table with enough work surface to accommodate the entire family. (Photo: Roy Inman)
OK, call it a resolution. I’m just a tad overwhelmed by stuff, so the new year seems a fitting time for organization. There are stores dedicated to it, publications with a sole focus on it and people who make it their job to help us manage it better.
While the creative intersection of organization and design can seem challenging, it’s actually an opportunity to blend the two into a statement-making environment. When I buy antiques and vintage goods for my shop, it’s not always for the provenance or value of the items, but rather sometimes for the utilitarian purposes they can serve. I determine how to enlist these goods as foot soldiers in the war on clutter.
A SECOND CLOSET
Coats, shoes and book bags are always like stray animals around my house. There are lots of them, and they never seem to have a place to call their own. Because we are in an older home, closet space is minimal, so we’ve had to get creative without sacrificing on style. Our dilemma was solved when we recently located a sturdy, 19th-century English bamboo hall tree that was roomy enough to accommodate our family of five. It sits right off our entry-way as a reminder to put things in their place.
Another great solution is using old dressing-room lockers to stand in as extra capacity for bulky dry goods. These are common finds at antique markets or such sites as eBay and Etsy. With a little sanding and paint, they are fun yet practical closet-space extensions.
OFFICE WITHIN REACH
The sight of desk clutter just brings me to my knees. No matter how many desk and drawer organizers we used, things seemed to just continue piling up. It’s as if no one realized the desk had any drawers. So I purchased a large antique French farm table and made it the new location of our home office.
I used antique glassware, metal bins and wire baskets to organize the small objects. With all the necessary accoutrements within sight and reach, we had both plenty of workspace and a stylishly organized solution. We even applied magnetic and chalkboard paint to the facing wall to keep shopping lists and important dates handy. It’s also a place to hang special artwork.
I’m starting to think our kitchen has more inventory than Williams-Sonoma as we find ourselves wading in gadgets and service pieces. It’s the one room that works overtime in our home, so things must have their place. I’m a big fan of open shelving, where things are both accessible and visible. It’s important to arrange them for function, but it also means they become display pieces, and it can be tricky to pull this off without looking cluttered.
We started by discarding unsightly plastic ware and purchased nice but inexpensive glasses, dishes and cutlery at chain retailers and at antique shops that would be within reach. They don’t always match, but that’s the charm of collecting and editing. Baskets, overhead pot racks and counter caddies are also great sentinels.
And don’t neglect the pantry or refrigerator, because there are organizing tools that help keep tabs on what you have so you don’t let things spoil or expire before you’ve had a chance to use them. I resolve to live a little better this year by keeping both things and perspective in their place.