Happy New Year!!! Well don’t look at me like that! In my eyes, the summer is over and the kids are back at school after a long 6 weeks off so it’s almost like the start of a new year. September is the new January! Even if you don’t have kids you will have started to notice the darker nights creeping in and you’ll soon notice your commute to work starts to get much busier… so summer is over and it’s time to get your house ready for a new season. I actually made a start on mine when we returned from holiday because as soon as we walked back through the door, even though I had done the “big clean” before we went away I just felt the house was in desperate need of a detox and declutter. Did anyone else feel this way when they got back from holiday? I expected to get home, put the kettle on and be happy to be home to relax in my own space, but I found my own space surprisingly hard to relax in. That’s when it kind of hit me, we travelled lightly, stayed in a lovely apartment which was sparsely furnished, impressively clean and most importantly, clutter-free. Therefore my own house felt far too overcrowded and busy! I love social media, it has so many advantages, obviously it has a massive pull on things you buy because you either see them styled so beautifully in someone else’s house or your fave online store is having a sale or just ranged some amazing new lines which you just can’t resist. It’s also had an impact on how I’ve styled my home and added so many layers to it without stripping things back as I’ve gone. I’m not sure it’s an actual “thing” but i’m gonna call it overstyling! Where you have lots of lovely things but they’re actually all fading into the background because there’s too much going on in one place! Or you have a gorgeous vintage, rustic stool but then you throw a sheepskin over it, when actually it looks amazing on it’s own and you don’t need the sheepskin there, you’ve just bought it and not thought about where it’s going to go. I do this all the time….I see something that I love and then it arrives and I’m not really sure where it’s going to live. So I just make space for it when actually there is no space, I’m just cramming it in and over crowding! “Oh yippee… Abigail Ahern is having a sale, that huge faux cactus is half price!” Mr postman delivers it, I can’t wait to unwrap it then find somewhere to put it. “Oh I’ll just move this to the side and put it there!” Suddenly I have a cactus, a side table, an oversized candle stick, my gorgeous vintage vase, a cowhide rug and some art all squished in together! Can you relate to this? At the time you’re not aware that you’re doing it because you’re so happy with your new purchase! So basically my own house was making me irritable and cranky! So here’s the plan….
Take it one room at a time.
It’s not going to happen overnight, so be patient. Start off in the room which is irritating you the most and work around the house from there. For me it is my dining room which is a passing room to get from the living room into the kitchen.
Move everything off the floor and place it in a big basket/box.
Then you can can look at the calm and clutter free room, give it a good clean and then start sorting through and decide what you want to go back in there. I had a pile of pine cones on the windowsil (why?!), a pile of magazines purposely stacked, and a lovely corner which I have gradually added to and now is far too cluttered. Some things needed to go and others could be stored away ready for when you’re ready use them in replacement of something else.
Strip back any shelves/bookcases.
The shelves in my dining room were crammed full, mainly with recipe books but then I’ve added lots of tea light holders, candle sticks, vases, and just other “stuff” along the way. So I pulled everything off and rearranged them, only replacing around a third of the books and rather than have lots of small items on there which I feel are the cause of it looking too cluttered, I added bigger pieces like my wooden lantern and stone jug. Can you see the difference? It feels so much better and I actually feel like I have a little extra space to breathe when all the stuff isn’t packed tight into my living spaces. Don’t you think so?
Try to keep on top of living spaces so they stay clutter free.
We have kids, and it’s just so easy for things like papers, colouring books and crayons to pile up on the floor, or toys to accumulate on the couch or the coffee table. I’ve been trying hard to move things each time I leave the room.
The one minute rule.
If you’re a fan of Gretchen Rubin you will have heard of this, I first heard it on her podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin (Totally recommend it) The idea is to immediately do any tasks that come up if they will take one minute or less to complete. For example, if you walk in the door after coming home from work, don’t just kick off your shoes in the living room. Take the extra 20 seconds to place them back in your closet. Don’t just hang your coat on the back of the chair (like my Husband!!), go and hang it where the coats live. If you have breakfast, instead of just leaving your bowl and mug, spend 45 seconds washing them or loading them into the dishwasher before heading out to work. So far this seems to be working for all of us but if the kids forget all I have to say is “one minute rule!!”
Magazines (send help!)
This is where I seem to have a problem and need help convincing myself that I am not going to reuse the hundreds of Living etc.. that I have been hoarding since 1999!!! I just cannot part with them… I keep thinking that one day when we finally sell our house that we rent out in Yorkshire and buy somewhere here in Northumberland I may need every single one for inspiration!! But in reality am I ever going to have time to sit and look through them all? I very much doubt it as I’ve still not had time to read the latest two issues! (insert roll eyes emoji!) So My mission from now is to keep a file for any magazine clippings that I want to save and then start to get rid of some of my collection…. watch this space!
This is a teeny percentage of my collection!
Decide whether you actually have a home for it.
Before you head to Ikea for one pack of tea lights and end up coming home £100 lighter decide where you are going to put things and whether you do actually have somewhere rather than squeezing it in… otherwise this process is going to start all over again… in the very near future!!!
Here is an example of how things get squeezed in! The 1st photo which is less cluttered makes me feel much calmer, how about you?
Can you relate to any of this? Will you be having a detox in your home for the start of a new season? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.
If you enjoy reading my blog you can subscribe below to receive posts straight to your inbox. Also the deadline is approaching for the Amara Interior blog awards. I would love you to vote for me in the best newcomer category to help me get shortlisted. only 5 out of 39 of us will go though to the next stage, you will also get the chance to win £250 to spend at Amara just by voting. If you’ve already voted then thank you so much, I really appreciate it. If not you can vote for me here.
Thank you so much.