In the spirit of back-to-school week and the inevitable change of seasons, I felt the annual nudge to enhance my home. First, I went on a shopping spree that yielded more than enough pieces to refresh my rooms. The fact that my efforts didn’t cost a dime because the items came from my storage areas made the process more enjoyable.

My latest mission would also lead me to another organizing project as I began to discover one too many decorative boxes and other storage containers that could come in handy in other parts of the home. Clearing these pieces of their current contents made me feel even more productive.

Then there were the sets of empty baskets that would help to corral miscellaneous items in my kitchen and bathroom cabinets. I also found an extra wine crate that can be attached to the wall as a shadowbox for special objects.

The time had finally come to rescue a piece of vintage luggage from my storage room and give it a proper place as a display piece in a main area of the home. There’s also an old typewriter that might come out of hiding, too.

Even some old travel souvenirs that haven’t seen the light of day in ages because they’ve been tucked away are coming out of storage to serve as a reminder of good times.

Among the other fun finds were some small wooden cubes that can hold paperbacks and CDs and a unique store display piece that can easily be integrated into my décor.

During my recent endeavor, I found that my goal to empty a box a day was not only doable, but fulfilling. As usual, it came as no surprise that many of the random items I found inside these containers should have been gone long ago. Sorting them into different bags for recycling, donation, etc. felt freeing as I knew these pieces would be put to good use.

A series of decorative boxes that I’ve had for years has been scattered about the house. Now they’ve come together in a convenient spot to hold seasonal items like hats and gloves where I can easily find them.

When I had my daughter go through the dressers on our lower level, that simple act led to three bags of books, games and DVDs to pass on to friends with younger kids. I even managed to free up some space in a spare linen closet packed with odds and ends as I found more of the same to give away.

With garbage day quickly approaching, my momentum continues to rid my rooms of all this excess baggage. Luckily, the seasonal shift has always been a big motivator.

While the end of summer fills some with sadness, I’ve always been a fan of fall and the energy I feel with the arrival of slightly cooler temps. Now it’s time to channel it to get my act together and my home in gear for the school year.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at

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