“A change is as good as a holiday.”

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while knows that I don’t talk much about organising. It is my experience that getting rid of a bunch of unused stuff makes it easier to organise the useful stuff left behind, so I focus on the decluttering side of organising.

However rearranging an area in your home can be a great catalyst to letting go of the stuff that doesn’t fit with what you expect as the end result of this task. Being bogged down in the same old, same old can be energy sapping and blind you to the stuff laying unused everyday right under your nose.

When I was a child it was not unusual to come home to find my bedroom rearranged, or indeed, not even where it used to be. I always found this refreshing. Like moving house without actually moving. “A change is as good as a holiday.” so they say. My mother obviously thought so too because she did this often enough that I remember it as one of her loveable quirks.

My sister-in-law, who has just been visiting me, told me she was planning on doing a bit of a furniture reshuffle when she got home. She was open to a little decluttering in the process. She said that it had only just occurred to her that she could use the furniture she already had to change things up a bit and sounded excited to get started.

Even though the philosophy behind one a day decluttering is to take it slow and not disrupt the household with a major reshuffle, sometimes that is exactly what is needed. The best way to approach this is to pump yourself up with a vision of what you hope to achieve, devise a plan of attack and throw yourself in wholeheartedly. Don’t look at it as a chore but as an adventure. It is amazing how much more energy is generated when one is excited about the task ahead.

Do you have an area of your home that would benefit from a reshuffle? It doesn’t have to be a whole room, perhaps just a closet, a work space or some kitchen cupboards. Any area that could be more functional or pleasurable than it is right now and get rid of some stagnant stuff in the process.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something made from fabric. An item of clothing, lines, raggedy or napkins, handkerchieves…

Eco Tip for the Day

It is better to refuse than to reuse or recycle. Imagine if everyone refused to use plastic bags. How much less trash would that generate.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


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  • Don’t return to old habits How many times have you decluttered in the past but then a year or so, or maybe more, later you find yourself back at square one. This is often the outcome when the task of decluttering is […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Colleen, this is such a good idea. We used to do this in our other places. Unfortunately, we discovered when we moved here that there are so many windows (we love it) we are stuck with where we can put things. We have tried rearranging the living room and it didn’t work very good. Not having a choice is one of the reasons we started getting rid of some furniture. So for us, even though we couldn’t rearrange, we still got the benefit because it helped us see unneeded stuff.

    • Hi Deb J, I have found this in more than one of the houses we have lived in over the years. What is really annoying, when renting, is when the television connection is placed in the wrong area of the room for good furniture placement. Our last house was like that so we run the cable under a large floor rug. No matter the situation there are always smaller areas of a home that can be rearranged to make things more functional. Kitchens particularly.

      • Colleen – I agree, I am baffled when I look in show homes that they still insist on putting the tv connection in the corner when the majority of houses would have flat screens. Of course, they’ll move them on the plans if you proceed but for a fee. Wow, you have to pay extra for common sense.

      • Colleen, yes the TV or interner or phone jacks can be in the oddest places. Another one that can be really odd is a room with only one electrical receptical.

    • Hi Deb J, I love windows too! It sounds like a nice trade off and a good thing you were so glad to let things go.

      Colleen, I love changing up furniture and moving things around too! I grew up traveling a lot too; so I wonder if this makes us especially enjoy the fresh changes. I especially do this over time because almost all our furniture has come used; so often we live with less than ideal furniture until that right piece pops up, and then we trade. My children don’t love this. They don’t mind one small change at a time, but they don’t like a room to go through a complete change, and they don’t like me to change their bedrooms! They got rather upset last summer after a beach trip where I came home and took down half of our artwork and changed the rest of the frames. On the bright side, somehow my one minorly messy child (who adopts all stuffed animals because someone needs to) has become very neat this year. I’m not sure whether it is from our example or he’s just growing up, but I love it! Though he has treasures on his dresser top, a shelf full of books, and a pile of stuffed animals on his bed, they are all placed neatly where they belong when he is done playing and before bed…finally with no reminders from me.

  2. We have a similar problem Deb. In our case it is becuase our house is very old (parts over 700 yrs old) and has had all sorts of additions made to it over the years. Consequently the concept of a hall and each room having only one door is quite alien to us. One room has four doors and most have at least two. Factor in the windows and it can be quite complicated. Not all the doors have to be used but in most rooms complete access to another part of the house does mean that we need to keep the doors. Once we have found somewhere to put our furniture it does usually have to stay there.

    Having said that we have swapped items of furniture around and moved curtains and paintings as an alternative.

    • Hi Gillie, I can understand that in a house with parts 700 years old the design would be quite interesting. A lot has changed in that many years. Houses now have bathrooms and toilets, running water and electricity just to name a few. It must be interesting inside the walls off your place where all these modern conveniences have been installed.

    • Wow! Yours sounds even worse than mine. In our house each bedroom has the door flush in the corner of one wall. Another wall has the window and the third wall has the closet. So that leaves only one wall for the bed. Unfortunately, that wall is the one that is 90 degrees from the door so everything can be seen from the door. We don’t have the beds on that wall because thankfully the wall with the door is okay for a single bed. Weird way to build the rooms.

  3. Colleen, I have to say I haven’t done this since our move into this new home (last summer) as everything still feels so new to me. But, in my other home, I would rearrange furniture because I needed change. Then, I realized that I had too much stuff I was rearranging and that was when decluttering came in. My parents divorced about 40 years ago and I had been estranged from my Dad for many years. He and I have been back together now several years and I made an interesting discovery…..He too, likes to rearrange every few months as he gets tired of how things look. My Mom, on the other hand, lived in my childhood home for 40 yrs. and once things were placed, she never moved them. She was proud of that fact and always complained how I would move things so easily in my home. I always wondered why I was so different on this! 🙂

    • Hi Kim, genetics are a funny things aren’t they. My mother always said it was the gypsy in her. If she couldn’t move house she moved the furniture. I am glad she liked to move house because marrying a military man made it inevitable that I would be moving too. Being too attached to a home can get complicated when one gets to old to maintain it. I solved that problem by moving into something small at an early age. 😉

      I am glad you and your dad got back together again. It always seems a shame that when marriages don’t break down amicably and children pay the price for that. Life is complicated and people do all sorts of things that inevitably hurt others, but as they say, “to forgive is divine”.

  4. I’m a reshuffler, too, and at the moment at the kitchen again. I’m making more room in the cupboards by rearranging the stuff in there and decluttering while being at it. Though I’m not rearranging the furniture at the moment, I’m rearranging what it is used for, so that is making a big difference as well.

    • Good for you Sanna. My kitchen needs a little hardware to make it more functional and then it will be rearranged too. I need to make a move on organising that. Also a piece of furniture that was damaged in our move will be repaired today so I can reshuffle everything back into it that belongs there which will make my home more functional again. And once we find just the right secondhand sideboard to use as out display and TV cabinet we will be able to get most stuff finally organised. That all explains where I got the inspiration for this post came from. 😉

  5. I love rearranging furniture. It really does feel like getting a new room or having a holiday. Since I moved 18months ago to a much smaller place I’ve only rearranged the living room twice. I like to do it more often than that. I still have too much furniture so it’s harder to move them around. But as I’m still decluttering and sorting I envisage a time when I can rearrange again. I love it!

  6. Colleen this is a great way to keep things interesting – and discover items that could easily leave your home! Like Deb J we have a lot of windows so that does limit change in some ways but we do it anyway because even small changes can be refreshing.
    I have a friend in the U.S. who has a decorating business that is based on using a client’s existing possessions and rearranging them before considering any extra purchases. Most times just this (plus a coat of fresh paint in a complementary colour!) is enough to create the change that is as good as a holiday 🙂

    • Hi Megan S, I envisage that coat of paint happening in my place sometime in the near future too. The place is stark white with one weird grey feature wall. It is weird because it is blue grey while the kitchen cabinets beside it are a greenish grey in comparison so they clash.

    • Megan, I think the idea you mentioned about how just rearranging and painting can make a difference. I’m sure for that.

  7. Oh I love love love rearranging furniture – I did it a lot as a child (never moved house until I left home) which was quite an achievement as I had a small bedroom. but the sense of renewal just by putting the bed in the only other place it could fit was wonderful.
    When I first got together with my husband, I did rather drive him mad by my regular moving things around, but he’s got used to me now. He knows the first warning sign is the sound of y metal tape measure being unwound 🙂 His ears can pick it up from anywhere in the house, but now he makes a joke about it.

    • Ha ha Doodle, how suspicious husbands are. Sometimes mine comes home and I immediately give the heads up that I have moved something. The usual response, prior to explaining the move is, “What have you done this time?”. “Don’t worry, I haven’t been touching your stuff.” is my response to that.

  8. I received this comment from Meg via email.

    I am in total agreement with your comment today that you don’t attempt to show us how to organize a bunch of stuff, but rather to eliminate. What I have discovered over the years is that when you start to focus on things to get rid of it becomes a conscious habit to look at everything as I move around and start to see things that I don’t need/use. So, into one of the containers it goes. Also, once you work thru an area it rearranges itself, all the things I have left, I need, I use and they all have a place. Hence, a place for everything and everything in its place. It feels open and airy, the way i like it to be.

    My big problem seems to be the large sections for some reason, saving big jobs for last, working up to them. Saving them for ‘good’?????? LOL. Not sure, but there is something going on in there that holds me back from just getting at it. Anyhow, thanks for listening, sometimes just sharing it with another helps me work thru an issue. I don’t expect you to come up with answers to this, but it certainly is a barrier to accomplishing things.

  9. I like to rearrange as I declutter, as things go out and space gets freed up I do a little moving around, so it’s kind of a continual process. I like it especially when getting rid of one item / set of items allows me to store something else much better in the space that is freed up.

    At the moment my books are getting a lot of reshuffling, today I donated another 20 and I have a further 14 waiting to go tomorrow (too many for one trip) so the space that is freeing up is allowing me the freedom to arrange better what is left 🙂

    By the way Colleen, I really hope you are enjoying your new apartment and are all settled in.

    • Hi Jane, your book reshuffle sounds a lot like my craft room reshuffle. As space opened up I would reshuffle everything and remove another piece of storage furniture, until at last I was satisfied. I most admit I enjoyed those reshuffles.

      I am really enjoying my new apartment, thanks for asking Jane. It took me two hours to clean it from top to bottom on Monday after my visitors left.

    • Well done on the book reshuffle Jane – books can be avery hard thing for some folks to let go of.

  10. Our living room could use a good reshuffle, but it is difficult because the television can go in only one spot. I am thinking more and more about getting rid of some seating in that room, so that would free up a lot of room by doing that. This time of year, since it is hard to get much done outdoors due to the weather, I like to examine and declutter my cabinets. I will be working on the kitchen cabinets in the near future. My thinking wheels are always turning. I am always thinking of areas that can be downsized. I try to challenge myself on a continual basis and this website gives me lots of inspiration for just that.

    • Hi Jen, I am glad you are finding lots of inspiration here. I wish you some happy decluttering of those kitchen cabinets. My cabinets don’t need decluttering but they do need some hardware to make them more functional, something I will be investigation further before the week is out. Seating in the living room is always a tricky one. I am glad our dining chairs are really comfortable because our sofas only seat five at a squeeze but went the whole family is over the dining chairs so fine for sitting around chatting.

    • Jen, we also were stuck with our TV in one spot for years. We found these cord covers, that you can hide all the television wires in, that sticks to the wall and hides the wires. You can even paint the cover to match the wall. We used that to move our TV. At first I thought seeing the wire cover would be bothersome, but we don’t notice it, and no one asks about it. Instead they ask were our TV is since it is so well hidden.

  11. I’m sort of in the same boat as some of the others – our rooms are small and either doorways or heating vents prohibit any major reshuffling of furniture. It can be somewhat limiting, but I don’t mind too much. I did think of shifting the guest room around, but the heating vent is in my way. I’m not sure it would have been more functional that way anyhoo. 🙂 This weekend I had grand success with hubby going through his four boxes and paring it down to three. Yay! I also donated some clothing, threw away other raggedy clothes, decluttered a few more books, some crystal candle holders I never have used, tossed some expired foodstuffs and a fern that the cat eats and then barfs, hung a shelf that I have had for 5+ years, did a little moping and dusting. All in all, pretty productive.

    I noticed quite a bit of food in the pantry and think I need to do a “use it up” month!

  12. A week ago a friend helped me rearrange my sewing room. I couldn’t believe that swapping around a few pieces of furniture would make such a difference to the usability of the room. (Photos here: http://thornecreations.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/new-and-improved-sewing-room.html)