I recently started watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, thanks to the power of mooching off of friends’ Netflix accounts. While I can’t say it’s completely life changing for me, since I tend to be more on the neat side as it is, and I tend not to buy a lot of products I don’t need, it definitely inspired me to go through my closet and fold my clothes using the KonMarie method (which I actually really recommend, because it reduces the amount of space your clothes take up compared to shoulder-to-shoulder folding methods).
However, I found that when it comes to plants, every single one sparks joy (except maybe that one that has never done well for you and is infested with pests so it might just be easier to get rid of). Yet when you accumulate pot plants, your home can begin to look busy because of all the pots scattered around. This may cause some a lot of dissonance: on one hand, you don’t want to say goodbye to your plants, but you have limited space for them. In this post, I will be sharing my tips for decluttering when it comes to your houseplants.
1. Start decluttering with non-plant possessions first
Declutter your other possessions first. Looking at your clothes, books, paper and miscellaneous belongings before your plants means that you can clear out space for your plants, so you can decide how much space you can put aside for your plants and where you can put them. Stowing some items away in boxes can go a long way, and throwing away or donating anything that doesn’t spark joy anymore can also help to clear out a space.
2. Group plants together
No, I don’t mean put a whole punch of pots together in an arrangement in the corner. That might look good, but it doesn’t make your space a whole lot tidier. It also means that pests are more likely to get to all of your plants if they’ve infested one. I mean check your plants for pests, and then group the ones with similar care requirements into a single pot. This takes up less space in your home, and creates the effect of making foliage look fuller and more impressive.
Grouping plants together can actually benefit your plants too. When plants are potted up together and require the same amount of watering, you essentially soak the soil all the way through just like you normally would (provided that the pot isn’t way too big). If one plant is slowing down in growth or doing through a rough patch for any reason, and is therefore not taking up the water as quickly as it should, the other plants in the pot will take in the water, thereby helping to avoid root rot.
Another alternative is to group plants into one neat unit like a wardian case or a lantern.
3. Invest in grow lights
Often times, we plant people allow plants to gather in brightly lit rooms with south and west facing windows. This limits the space that we can disperse our houseplants in, which in turn makes the rooms that we put our plants in look cluttered and messy.
A simple solution is to purchase grow lights so that plants can thrive in any room in your home. Depending on how many grow lights you need, the cost of electricity with your provider and the electricity required for each fixture, the cost for electricity can vary. However, in general estimates range from roughly $2 a month to $10 a month if you want to keep the grow lights on 14 hours a day. Grow light sellers will generally provide a monthly estimate. I personally think that keeping them on for 14 hours a day is a little excessive in a room with windows. I would say in a room with north or eastern exposure with a window, you can grow medium light plants with just a few extra hours of grow light supplementation. Of course, the amount of supplementary light needed will depend on your space.
4. Create the illusion of space and order
The feeling of crowdedness comes from storing too much in too small a space. If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of the items that make the space look busy, simply make the space look bigger.
Create height by hanging your curtains from a higher point on the wall rather than hanging them from directly above the window. Use mirrors to create horizontal space. Make sure your walls are white and your furniture in light, coordinated colours.
Create order by using pots in the same colour with the same texture. Put together arrangements of plants which look unified. If you don’t like grouping plants together like arrangements, use grow lights to disperse them around the house along with other decor items like crystals, shells, vases, paintings, candles or particularly pretty books or magazines you don’t read very often anymore.
5. Finding your plants new spaces to live
Something I like to do is to put phalaenopsis orchids on top of my wardrobe. It’s large and flat, and the white paint reflects light well. It gets good light because it’s pulled a small way away from a large west facing window, and it’s tall enough that it doesn’t attract any attention unless you’re standing on a ladder. I do this specifically because they’re such slow growing plants, and are very low maintenance in a clay bead set up. I take them out from on top of the wardrobe when they’re in bloom to use as decor, so they can be appreciated. When they’re not in bloom, they’re charming but not particularly showy, so I don’t really feel the loss to keenly. I’m sure if you think hard enough, there are spaces and plants that you can do this to in your home.
There are also times where there is no choice but to say goodbye to some plants if you want to maintain an elegant and minimal space. Start by sorting through your plants so you know which ones you have multiple of because you propagated them. Keep the original plant (or a propagation if you like that one more). Also get rid of any plants that no longer spark joy in you. Perhaps they don’t give you that feeling of excitement and anticipation anymore, or they just don’t seem to be doing well for you, and they might be happier elsewhere.
As for the plants that I have advised you to “get rid of”, thank them from the bottom of your heart for bringing joy to you in the past, and for previously beautifying your home. Do not feel guilty. You’ve now found other plants for your home. This plant deserves to live in a space where it will be appreciated, and looked at fondly. It also deserves its own space to shine. Keeping it in your home where it adds to the clutter does not bring you or your plant any joy. If it is in good shape, and does not have any pests, gift it to a friend who you think would appreciate it and love it.
That’s all from me today, folks. Hope you found this post helpful!