“Add life to your accessories: Jazz up a boring lamp shade by adding crystals or metal studs or even feathers.”


Which is it … can we really have too little or too much when it comes to one’s personal contents in a home?


I rarely get invited to homes that are just “average,” as my clients are extreme. Either they are the neurotically organized and want my advice to see how they could better use their perfectly clutter-free home, or the other 98 per cent of them are overwhelmed with clutter and can’t figure out the first step in recovering their space.


Here’s a true scenario of the overly organized and clutter- free.

Kate is a single woman who works in accounting. She calls me months in advance to book an organizing consultation. The day finally arrives. She waits with anticipation, and tardy me is 3 minutes late — gasp! I walk into this barren, naked apartment and wonder how I can give her any organizing advice because she has no stuff. No artwork, not a plant, no paper piles, no colour on the walls, no mementos out, no special items to talk about, no laundry to do, nothing on any surfaces as if there was no one living there. Did I mention the place echoes?

Kate tells me she is looking for help with her furniture layout to gain some better functionality with her space. All she has is a couch and matching loveseat, it’s a rental unit and she doesn’t plan on living there longer then eight months but she wants it to feel like home.

Here is my advice for the overly de-cluttered home.

•Bring your personality into your home or embellish a little if need be by adding colour to your walls. The naked and bare space can become sleek and stylish with the right paint treatments.

•Add life to your accessories: Jazz up a boring lamp shade by adding crystals or metal studs or even feathers. Pillows are a nice look, don’t be shy to add detail to the trim. Couch throws are useful but are also decorative. Be creative about the texture and colour. Add a few very beautiful and interesting coffee table books and you are almost there. Adding these details will give you a big look.

•Showcase something special that you made or received that you find interesting. This could be a conversational piece or something that just makes you feel good by looking at it.

•Greenery is a lovely touch. You can never go wrong with a plant that you don’t neglect.

•Rethink the standard placement of furniture in a large space by angling your couches and wall units across corners to create a circular cozy lounging area.

Brenda Borenstein is your professional organizing guru. Look for her column every second Thursday in Metro. For more tips and ideas, visit www.organizedzone.comor call 416-665-2165. Brenda has organized hundreds of homes and says, “There is nothing I haven’t seen and nothing that can’t be overcome.”