5 Ways to Cut Clutter the JLI Way

There’s much to embrace in “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy,” the runaway best sellers on decluttering your home by Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo. But can we really toss out anything in our homes or wardrobes that doesn’t “spark joy?” In the world of luxury interior design, where we search high and low to find our clients the right furnishings and accessories, it’s hard to be quite as ruthless as Kondo, the queen of decluttering, advises when our ‘joy’ about a possession fades a bit.

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The runaway best sellers on decluttering, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo, are both on the New York Times bestsellers list.

Given the costs it takes to acquire things, and the potential to recycle them someday (especially if you have children), it pays to keep some items around regardless of their joy-quotient. But it is important to be vigilant about decluttering your home. Here we are in total harmony with ingenious Marie, named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2015 and a self-proclaimed tidy freak. So rather than tossing almost everything out, we suggest careful editing and using the right furnishings to declutter your home. Here’s our shortlist of five pieces it takes to do the trick.


A vintage ‘armoire’ (given its French provenance) is an elegant linen closet in the Soho loft of Ochre owners Andrew Corrie and Harriet Maxwell. Photo: Remodelista

1. Wardrobes: We use these glorified cabinets—or armoires as the French say—to hide a multitude of sins, which was precisely why they were developed in the first place. First came simple chests, which eventually grew into more expansive and intricate affairs to match our growing material wealth—from household goods to clothing. And today, with mass production at peak efficiency, our need for storage space has increased exponentially. Furniture makers have responded with roomy options of every style, size and material. Our favorite thing about these clutter-busters is that they can house everything from clothing and linens to AV and office equipment behind closed doors.

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This low-slug console consolidates collectibles and books all in one place and leaves wall space for a light-enhancing mirror. Photo: Peter Mikic Interiors

2. Consoles: Also called credenzas, think of these as low-slung versions of wardrobes and armoires. Like their taller siblings, they can put so much out of sight and mind. But their shorter profiles leaves wall space for artworks, light-reflecting mirrors or a TV, and offers up surface space that can be used to consolidate collectibles or serve buffet-style when entertaining.

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These built-in shelves show off a pretty ceramic dining service and store linens in drawers below in a Piet Boon project in Korea. Photo: Architonic

3. Built-In Shelves: While these are a great way to make the most of every space, they’re especially effective at mining the storage potential of untapped or awkward alcoves and niches. And that means more room to use for display or storage (or both). Best of all, they can be executed in any material and style and tailored to fit specific needs—which means opaque doors in storage situations to get the full clutter-busting effect.

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This freestanding shelving unit double as a display piece and a place for storage in this home office. Photo: Lonny

4. Freestanding Shelves: Unlike their stationary siblings, freestanding shelving units can be used to cleave space into zones and move to other rooms or new homes. They can be used in multiples to create major storage systems, and split apart to meet the constraints of different spaces. Considering the cost of luxury furnishings, this makes them a good long-term investment.


A tray can bring unity to assorted collectibles, while pretty baskets and bins can keep them out of sight. Photo: My Domaine

5. Clutter-Cutting Accessories: It may seem counter-intuitive to buy accessories when you’re trying to deaccession possessions. But think of the power of consolidation a handsome tray offers on a coffee table or console as it pulls together an assortment of objects into a restrained tableau. Attractive storage baskets can have the same effect in some instances (we use them for bracelets and scarves) and taller bins can keep things entirely out of sight and organized on shelves. Our favorite types of bins are collapsible so they store flat as our possessions—and decluttering efforts—ebb and flow.

21 Mar 2016

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