Nobody likes clutter, but that doesn’t stop us from creating it. Old magazines, unwanted gifts, sentimental ornaments: you name it and it’s probably festering in my closet.
According to interior designer Myrlene Sundberg, if we want to achieve our goals and ambitions for the New Year, we need to start by creating an organized and functional living environment. This may seem like common sense, but simple things aren’t always easy to do. Here, Sundberg breaks it down like an IKEA bookcase to show us how we can live and/or work in a healthier, less stressful way.
Why do you think it is important to set new goals for one’s living or work space in the New Year?
The New Year is an exciting time, mainly because it’s new. It’s out with the old and in with the new. We make New Year’s resolutions and sit and re-evaluate where we are in our lives. What most people don’t realize is that our environments have a major effect on our lives. By assessing our wants and needs for living, we can then plan our spaces. If we are setting goals for our lives relating to health, financial, career and family, it just makes sense to recreate our environment to support these goals.
Do you think that changing the space around us can actually affect our ability to reach certain goals or ambitions?
Yes, I certainly do. We all live busy, hectic lives and our home needs to be a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Without this, the stress builds, clarity and focus are gone and decisions are not made efficiently. When your home is in chaos, it affects your work, your relationships and your health.
What are a few simple changes that a person can make to their living environment in the New Year?
The first thing that a person can do that will have a major impact on their surroundings is to edit their belongings. We are all living with too much “stuff:” things that at the time of purchase, we thought we couldn’t live without. We all have made purchases that put our closets and drawers and cabinets into overflow. It takes energy to look after this overflow so when we have less of it, we have more time and energy to do the fun things in life.
The second thing that I suggest people do is take the time to assess their wants and needs. Take the time to analyze who you are and what you want out of your space, and how you want to live there. We are each unique individuals and we need to plan our space from our heart and souls, not copy a page in a magazine.
Also, efficient storage is important in both the home and office environment. Clutter robs your space of energy. The smaller the space, the more organized you need to be. Find furniture that does double duty. Think vertical instead of horizontal for shelving to save floor space. Find storage that has both open shelves and some doors to hide the “stuff” that shouldn’t be displayed. Finally, once you have the best storage solutions, be diligent in using them. Be organized and put things away. When there is a home for everything, it is easier to find them.
What elements can we bring to or remove from the workplace to allow for a more productive work life?
A lot of people tend to bring personal stuff to the office, but I really think there should be a limit to this. When you look over photos of family and friends, it can take you away from work. Also, people need to make the most of the space they have at work because without space, it becomes harder to think of new ideas and make decisions.
Many people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions; what words of encouragement would you give to them?
I would like to see people create a dream for themselves, a vision of what they would like their lives be like and then create specific goals to achieving their dream. Write the goals down. Have specific actions and timelines. Keep a journal and remember, it takes 30 days to change a habit, so just keep going. If you have habits that don’t line up with your dream, you had better change them. To quote Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is then not an act but a habit.”
Myrlene Sundberg is the owner of Urban Mode. If you want to learn more, she’s holding a talk, “Fresh Start for the New Year” on Thursday, January 12th at 7 pm at Urban Mode on 145 Tecumseth St.