It’s January. Every single surface of your life is filled with words like “fresh,” “new,” and “revitalizing.” Junk mail touting gym memberships covers the kitchen table, articles about healthy meal plans cram the computer screen, and all emails on your phone reference resolutions to be maintained. Things to be bought and sought, thrown out or traded in. But this year, let the change of season be rejuvenating without the stress, without the buying, without the endless, never-satisfying fetching of “new” and burn out of “old” – by reassessing what you already have. With a few changes, additions, and adjustments, your house will be ready to welcome all the new year has to offer, just by focusing on two words: storage and organization.
There may be few sounds as inherently unappealing as hearing someone reference storage. Storage sounds like the plastic tubs shoved under beds, dusty eaves in old houses; an embarrassing number of molding boxes in the garage, the childhood dark and gloomy 1970s particle board cupboards. Storage doesn’t sound glamorous or fun, like the living room’s new fireplace or the back yard’s new pool. But storage can, when well designed, be all of those things and even more – it can make you house a place of calm and cozy, instead of a place where frantic mornings are spent searching for this and family dinners spent hunting for that. It can create spaces of beauty and balance, where the unique qualities of your home can shine, instead of being hidden under piles of ephemera. In this dining room, what could have just been drawers of dishes became a gorgeous centerpiece where lovely glass-fronted cabinets display crystal to the natural light, framing an enchanting window with the incorporation of a gracefully included archway.
These first months of the year can so quickly become a byword for guilt: unfinished projects, dumped ideas, mislaid resolutions. But nothing becomes more insidiously disappointing than the promise to declutter. There’s no escaping, because it stares at you from every overflowing closet and messy table; but there’s never quite enough time in the day, and always a few too many precious pieces. But maybe it isn’t that you have too much stuff – it’s that you simply don’t have enough places to put it. And not only to put it, but to put it in such a way that it can be easily found and used. This may seem obvious, but unless you had storage in mind when designing or buying your home, it may not have inherently been a part of the structure; and it may need to be added. While the idea of a renovation might sound scary – particularly when it’s the time of year where all you want to do is curl up under a blanket with Netflix and a glass of wine – the addition of shelves and cabinets doesn’t need to be traumatizing. Let it be enticing, an opportunity to not only remake your home, but make it work for you. Look around at the existing spaces, and consider where a new source of organization might be – in that alcove? An unused nook? Behind that forgotten lamp? Even your hallways can become a vibrant place when they are filled with purpose and cherished mementos.
Of course, if there’s one place in your house that is planned and designed with storage, it’s your kitchen. In all likelihood, adding more storage has probably been on your renovation to-do list for the past three years. But if adding new storage isn’t a possibility, adding new life certainly is. Storage, while often a large set of cabinets along the entire perimeter of a room, doesn’t have to be dark and overwhelming – brighten how a space feels with a fresh finish or change of paint. Remove a few cupboard doors and put their contents on show, adding a splash of color to the room, and lightening the lines with the lessening of weight. It may seem like it would be unnerving to potentially put clutter intentionally in view, but organization finds a way when the pressure is on.
These changes don’t have to be overwhelming in another form, too: scale. Add storage in specific, even small places, and you’ll feel their tremendous impact in days. A new rack in the shower, a ledge by the tub; these luxuries of ease and comfort will add enjoyment to your day in the simplest of ways. However, if you are feeling ambitious as the days continue to get longer, let your hope for new organization inspire other dynamic shifts – retile a bathroom wall in your favorite wonderful color, and inset the spa-like shelves you’ve always wanted.
What may once have seemed the most boring, pragmatic part of a house’s long-term planning and daily operation can truly be an exciting catalyst for design. All bathrooms need storage, but few designers would have taken this conventional challenge and created an exquisite space with its inspiration. From the delicious contrasts of color to the magnificent contrasts of straight, contemporary lines with sweeping, antique ones, the extensive storage of this suite became the brilliant foundation of its success.
Storage as inspiration for design – and all resolutions toward storage itself – can be as simple and as exceptional as this fabulous trunk, nestled perfectly at the foot of the bed, tying together every design detail in this room. By acknowledging a big, overarching problem, and accepting it as a thrilling opportunity, the solutions discovered will go on to solve every little problem along the way – be they junk mail, kitchen pots, or just that end-of-the-holidays clutter. By finding and creating homes for every little thing in your life, your home will really feel like home; a “fresh,” “new,” and “revitalized” one at that. And then, the rest of those New Year’s resolutions will start taking care of themselves.