I’ve been cleaning up around here lately.                                                       

Not Spring cleaning, exactly, but more along the lines of an Office overhaul and  remodel.

Out went the old credenza and hutch. In their place – built-in bookshelves, cabinets and drawers with more storage than I’d dreamed of.

Everything is neat and organized and clutter-free.

I am basking in this new space.

Cleaning up my office has even had a domino effect in that some of the old shelving ended up in a downstairs closet.

Previously, this particular walk-in storage closet was so filled with stuff one could barely step inside without tripping over things.

It is now spic and span with a place for everything and everything in its place. I can hardly believe the transformation.

As a result, I’m a whole new me.

While immersed in overhauling and re-organizing, I happened to take a couple of assessment tests on-line, things like the well-known Myers-Briggs. Plus another one that was new to me yet equally appealing in that it focuses on ones Strengths – hence the name Strengths Finders.



“Negative space is a powerful drawing tool. It’s one of the secrets to learning how to draw.” Brian Bomeisler

To paraphrase Brian Bomeisler, negative space is a powerful tool.    

Plus, it’s one of the secrets to a well-designed room!

That’s because the negative space in a room is just as important as the positive space.

Hence the message:   “Less Is More”.

Negative space can be defined as the area in and around an object.

Positive space is the object itself.

Let’s look at your typical living room. The sofa, chairs, coffee and end tables, carpet and accessories all comprise the Positive space.

The empty space around all these pieces is your Negative space.



“Your home should rise up to meet you”. Peter Walsh      

I recently heard about something called the 2% Rule.

Generally speaking, this refers to a percentage of wasted time in a given day, or week, that could be re-purposed into doing those things you “just don’t have time for”.

Like re-organizing the home office you’ve been meaning to get to for months on end, or just finding some extra time for yourself to unwind, read a favorite book  or go for a walk.

In my household, my husband has a 5% Rule, which goes something like this: if you’re munching on a cookie and a piece of it falls on the floor it is still edible if picked up within 5 seconds. This may or may not work for you. Personally, I prefer to know that the floor is really clean.

Then there’s the 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto principle. This rule basically says that in any given situation only a few, or 20%, are doing 80% of the work.

In reality, there are any number of situations this can be applied to. In some circles, it is suggested that you discipline yourself to stop eating when you are 80% full.

I like to stretch this rule a bit further and apply it to interior design, and lifestyles in general. To test this out for yourself, try taking a look at your closet. Can you see that you wear only 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time?

Or try analyzing an entire day in your life. You may see that in the grand scheme of things only 20% of your achievements really matter. Better still, do you live fully in 80% of your home, or do you spend most of your time in just 20% of it? I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Which means it can really make sense to re-design your home and make it work for you 80% of the time. Maybe this is easier said than done but with the right planning I believe it’s achievable.

To help you out, I’ve listed some of my favorite suggestions for making your home really work for you:

First, it’s important that you Nurture yourself by creating warm and inviting spaces for your favorite hobbies and pastimes. As an example, let’s look at the kitchen. If cooking is your passion, you’ll want to pare down to the bare essentials and make your kitchen really work for you with proper storage, appliances and utensils.

Incorporate colors and furnishings that are soothing to the spirit.

Pay particular attention to how your home functions, and how it accommodates your lifestyle. Be like a Scientist and observe every way that it comes up short. Record your findings for future reference.

Next, Reduce Clutter. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again:  crowded rooms are confining & less welcoming. By reducing clutter you can actually increase the amount of livable space in your home, which means you will use more of it.

Not sure where to start?

Consider hiring an organizational expert, or pick up a self-help book that can guide you through the process.

Choose Your Furnishings Carefully. In all areas of your home, and life , if you pare down to the basics you will likely get plenty of use out of everything.

Consider furnishings that serve more than one purpose thereby doing double-duty. For optimal organization, be sure to include plenty of extra storage, and definitely consider customized options if your budget allows.

Ultimately, it comes down to this  –  if it doesn’t honor who you are, think twice before bringing it home.

To subscribe to my eZine, and receive a FREE copy of my ebook Living Green:  12 Simple Steps for Creating an Eco-Friendly Home, please visit my website at harmonydesignsudio.com .