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While it may seem a little early to be thinking about where to put your clutter, it is imperative that you give some time to planning for storage in the very early stages of building design…and it will not necessarily be an easy exercise. Almost without exception, the magazine images of home interiors we are all drawn to fall into two categories.

One: The minimalist who owns nothing save for three or four well chosen decorations. These people either genuinely own no clutter (and are therefore, in this designer’s opinion, not human) or they have carefully hidden it away.

Two: The eclectic who displays many pieces, all of which have significance to them and which are, also, only decorative in function. When, I ask you, do you see feature article on a fully functioning home, with life’s debris on display?

The rest of us are left to contemplate what to do with the mis-matched heirlooms from various relatives, the wedding presents that follow no single design style, and the general debris that accumulates over a lifetime. While it is appealing to think things like: “In this house, it will be different,” give some serious thought to how you live as much as what you own and where to put it. Are you really going to be less busy/more motivated/love cleaning?

If you are a large family who eats breakfast together, it may not be realistic to be putting your toaster away in the pantry six times a day. Consider creating a cubby for your breakfast appliances when speaking with your cabinet maker. If you have a home office and have paper files galore, you may have to face that you won’t have time between your full time job, soccer and karate lessons and building your new home, to streamline and become a paper-less tycoon. Create an office that responds to this.

I am not saying that this is not an opportunity for change and growth (and for a little de-cluttering) – far from it! However it is important to be realistic about how you interact with your home as an individual and as a family. Find solutions for how you live, make your house work for you – don’t work for it.

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