Spring Cleaning with Nate Berkus

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Posted on April 20, 2017 by Laura Lucky


When we last caught up with multihyphenate Nate Berkus (that’s decorator–product designer–author-producer if you weren’t keeping up), he shared his tips for refreshing your home, including how to identify pieces to say good-bye to. Proving that he practices what he preaches, Berkus has teamed up with eBay for a spring cleaning sale of sorts: a special charity auction, from March 31 to April 10, that will offer about 60 pieces right from his home. Think mounted vintage Lanvin ads, cuff links from around the world, and silk pillows picked up in Sri Lanka. The proceeds from the sale will benefit the American Brain Tumor Association, an organization dear to Berkus’s heart.

Keep your eye on the prize “The truth is that for me, there’s actually nothing—outside of any activity with my daughter—that’s more rewarding than cleaning. I love the instant gratification. Something about having a well-edited environment just makes me do better. I think more clearly, I’m more creative, I’m more relaxed.”

Know when to say good-bye “It’s so crazy what we hang onto. I wrote a book about how much things matter, but that doesn’t apply to everything under every cabinet. If it’s been in a storage locker forever, if you’re not interacting with it, if you’ve forgotten about it, it’s time for it to go. We all evolve; your home needs to evolve, too—that’s what’s fun about design.”

Think about a piece’s true life cycle “It’s really important that when you value objects, you also value passing them on at the right time. Everything I’m putting up for sale on eBay—they’re all great pieces. But they’re ones that I no longer need, and I think they might be the things someone else is waiting for.”

Make it bigger than yourself “With eBay for Charity, sellers can donate anywhere between 10 to 100 percent of the profits, and buyers can also add a donation when they check out. So if you have a favorite charity, this is a really easy and beautiful way to give.”

Arm yourself with the right tools “There’s eBay, of course. And a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Truly, there should be a place like Promises Malibu for Mr. Clean Eraser users. And a Tide pen makes me really happy.”

Give up your excuses “Basically, you can live with that overflowing closet of decorative accessories, or you can use eBay Valet, which does everything for you. You don’t even need to know what your pieces are worth, or take photos, or anything. You just download the free postage label and someone else deals with it. I cannot think of a good reason not to go online and do this.”

Remember the big picture “It’s common to connect memory and experiences to objects; those are the things that make us smile, or remind us of a place or person. I’m not suggesting that these are the things that should leave your house—they’re the ones that deserve a place of honor! But you won’t be able to find a place of honor if all your space is taken up by things that don’tmatter. Take away the excess and you’re left with the pieces that allow you to live the life you were meant to live in your home.”

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