Revive Your Sanctuary in One Day

By Johanna kennedy

Whether your humble abode is 800 or 3000 square feet, homes have a tendency to fill up over the years. What was once a simply decorated, flowing ensemble of rooms has heaped up into a pile of memories and clutter. Spring is the perfect time to open up our homes to a cleansing that will restore the serene environment of long ago as well as reclaim space that has been taken over by years of accumulation.


Schedule the cleaning day as a nonnegotiable appointment on the family calendar. Arrange a sitter to come in to your home, or swap child care with a friend. Do all the laundry and have it put away so you know what you actually own. Enlist the help of your hubby, children and/or friends to help get as much done in one day as possible. If family is not a viable option for assistance, consider swapping house-organizing days with a friend. If organization and de-cluttering are not your strong suits, invite someone who considers these her hobbies in life. However, remember to not be offended as she objectively sifts through your life’s mementos.


A popular saying in design circles is “form follows function.” If you are using it keep it. If it is not serving a purpose, throw it, give it or sell it. Also, the appearance of cleanliness is evident when everything has a home. When an object does not have a place in which it resides, it gets added to the junk pile or drawer. If there are objects in this category that are not “working” for you, dispense of them post haste. If it is a useful item, find a cozy home for the item within your dwelling.

Closets/Dressers. Look through each person’s closet, and the linen closet, with two garbage bags in hand. Fill one garbage bag with clothing/shoes/accessories that have not been worn in the last year to be given away, excluding seasonal clothing. Load the other garbage bag with articles to be handed down to a sibling or will be worn in a different season of life (pregnancy). When considering what to keep and what to toss Cynthia Devitt of Signature Designs in Billings says, “The hardest thing to get past is what you paid for the item.” Count it as a loss, shed a tear, resolve to shop smarter next time and place the item in one of the bags. Think necessity not sentimentality.

Drawers/Cupboards/Pantry. Go through all the cupboards, drawers and the pantry with the one year rule and functionality in mind. Dispense of unused electronics, bowls, boxed or canned food items that have created their own dent on their shelves.

Bookshelves. Same rule applies here as to clothing. Go through your books and pitch, donate or sell all those that are not useful to anyone in the home.

Furniture. Yes, furniture. An interior designer for over 30 years, Cynthia suggests, “Consider the scale and amount of furniture you have in a room. Place less furniture in smaller spaces to create a more calming atmosphere.” Even one piece of furniture removed from a room can cause a little more breathing room and better flow. Also, consider changing out basic furniture, such as an end table or coffee table, for a more efficient piece such as a chest or a storage ottoman to hide toys, magazines and throw blankets.

Simple Updates

There are a few relatively inexpensive ideas one could implement in the home to create a fresh, uplifting attitude. Hit the local second hand or discount stores and look for new colors of throw pillows and blankets for your living room. Consider changing out one or two of the area rugs for different prints or colors. If the kitchen is the place that needs an update, a simple change in cabinet hardware could make a noticeable difference. Keep in mind the smaller the area the less variation in color will give the illusion of a bigger room. Lighting always creates a warm, inviting attitude. Is it time for a new, lighter tinged lamp shade or some sheer drapes for the summer? The Signature Designs owner also proposes to stock up on a box of spring decorations to be displayed each year. For instance, in the spring she will swap some candles, flowers or pillow covers to brighten the mood in her home. If keeping up to date with current trends is of importance, birds are chirping in decorating circles this year.

By the end of the day, your home should be transformed from the muddled cave in which the family has been hibernating for the winter into a refreshing, more spacious living area that can be enjoyed by all. SFM

Johanna Kennedy resides in Billings with her husband and three children and is making a valiant effort to practice what she preaches in terms of home organization and life in general.