Category Archives: Home

Life after lockdown. *An Uncluttered Mind – From Mess to Rest*.

I’m enjoying a beautiful view of the city as I type. What started out as a grey and rainy day has given way to sunshine and blue skies, and as I write I can see cars stream along the motorway bridge, and in the far distance I can see hills, tall flats, church spires and dark green leafy trees.

Above the pale blue there are a few cotton candy like white clouds, and above them some heavy grey clouds moving slowly across the sky, giving glimmers of hope through gaps from which blue skies and sunshine can be seen.

After some days of rain, it is a comfort to see the sun and shadows shine through my windows, making patterns with light and shade on my wooden living room floor.

The steady stream of traffic makes me wonder where people are coming from and going to, although it is not overly busy. This scene in itself, in my peaceful, newly tidied living room with a glimpse of the outside world is beguiling in its simplicity.

We are still living in uncertain and unsettling times. Every time I watch or read the news I see more information about the pandemic that we are living through. I hear of tensions in the world with regards to upcoming elections, misuse of power, racism and injustice and suffering and anxiety about the future as children go back to schools, as we approach autumn and winter time and people fear for a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic getting above the capacity to manage it.

We’ve probably all become familiar in these times with the concept of focusing on what is within our locus of control. Initially writing about life post-lockdown, I am now writing during a time of some restrictions being reinstated in my city due to new outbreaks, and elsewhere in the UK there are local lockdowns.

This past week I have been using my time at home while I await updates from work, to do a big home declutter and reorganisation. I’m glad for the time to do it because otherwise things always seem to wait for another day. For motivation I’ve been watching some programmes on You Tube about hoarding, decluttering, and deep cleaning and organisation.

Just as with clearing out our homes, we need to take time to clear our minds of clutter, and unhelpful thoughts and thinking patterns, and unsurprisingly the state of our immediate environment can affect our inner state in terms of our emotions, thoughts and outlook on life.

While in this pandemic there is a lot that we can’t control, things that we need to look at through the lens of Faith, there are things in our immediate surroundings that we can do to help us to gain more clarity of mind, peace in our surroundings in our homes as we spend more time there and giving ourselves the chance to reflect and consider how to move forwards in our individual lives and to seek out creative solutions. When we are burdened by the clutter around us, we won’t feel as free to think, reflect, solve problems, create, or grow.

And just as in the process of decluttering, tidying and making things beautiful, we face phases of having to look at the mess, sort through and make decisions on what is important enough to keep or discard, and finding a place for each thing in order to simplify our lives and promote wellbeing by reducing stress as our lives become more ordered in our environments, we also go through similar processes as we sort through and process our thoughts and experiences.

So whatever uncertainties you may be facing in this pandemic, and in life in general just now, perhaps you can take a fresh look at what is within the realm of your control, and what steps you can take to change things for the better. A practical first step is to look at your living space and ease the load off yourself by getting things in order, and creating spaces that free you up to do things you enjoy and pursue creativity and seek peace and relaxation during this unsettling time in the world.

If you need help with this, I have several posts in my section on Home and Lifestyle that can help to get you started and avoid feeling overwhelmed. While we spend more time in our homes this year, where possible, let’s try to make some changes for the better that will help us to move forwards with greater clarity of mind, and less anxiety in our hearts. x

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

Autumnal Home Décor

Around this time last month, I wrote a post reflecting upon autumn, and also that I was making a start on creating an autumnal vibe in my home décor. I left you with a messy picture of the beginnings of ‘tidying away the spring’ in my home, and I almost immediately got to work on ushering in autumn into my home. The only thing is, I didn’t get around to posting it, so my apologies for that. You can look back at my previous post here:

https://livingfully2017.wordpress.com/2019/10/12/autumn-winter-home-decor-2019-cleaning-and-decorating-inspiration/

I’m well into my ‘Winter Survival Guide’ series, so I thought I’d better share my autumn home décor updates with you before it’s time to post my Christmas and winter home updates! 🙂

So here goes with a little glimpse into my home.

Gathering in what I already have:

I think with most of us wanting to be environmentally aware, and responsible, a good place to start when changing your décor from one season to the next, is by looking in your home to find what you already have rather than immediately going out to buy new things.

I did just that, and I didn’t actually buy anything new to update my home for the autumn season. I just gathered together what I had that might have been hiding away in the back of cupboards, or stored under the bed or wherever I had put my autumn and winter things, or just things that I hadn’t really noticed for a while.

Here is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into my home.

I have a few more pictures I’d like to share, but that I can’t upload at the moment, which means you can look forward to a part 2 with the finishing touches 🙂 x

1. Looking through my home and gathering together what I already have, rather than buying anything new.

 

2. Organising and ‘redecorating’ with minimal fuss, to usher out the spring, and bring in some Autumnal vibes, that can easily be added to or changed up when Christmas and winter comes around.

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Winter Survival Guide (30) ~ Lighting.

With my love of all things cosy, you may have guessed that I’m one of those people who has ‘fairy lights’ dotted about my home all year round. Mostly single colour lights with a soft yellow or white glow so that they’re quite subtle. They really add to the atmosphere, and I love looking at them, and the cosy feeling they bring.

If you don’t have them in your home throughout the year, why not start bringing them in and putting them in a bit earlier than December? I imagine most people wait until December, but with it being mid-November, the days are getting darker earlier and having that extra bit of cosiness at home makes it less gloomy to stay in on a winter’s evening.

I highly recommend it! 🙂 I wonder if there are others among you who also like to have fairy lights in your home throughout the year? Drop me a comment if you do! 🙂 x

Here’s a couple of pictures in my home, taken a few days ago:

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Autumnal Kitchen Vision Board…

If you’ve read my previous post

https://livingfully2017.wordpress.com/2019/10/12/autumn-winter-home-decor-2019-cleaning-and-decorating-inspiration/

you’ll know that I’d like to create a ‘vision board’ to help inspire me, and hopefully also inspire you, to tidy up, declutter and create a cosy home environment as we head into the autumnal and wintery months.

So, I’m starting with my kitchen, and here are some pictures that inspire me just now:

 

close up photo of coffee
Photo by Mew wy. on Pexels.com

photo of vintage stationery
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

close up of dry maple leaves on the ground
Photo by Anna Zhdanko on Pexels.com

photo of waterfalls during fall season
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

two clear glass footed mugs
Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

person holding clear glass mug filled with mini string lights
Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

kitchen with furniture and appliances
Photo by Mark McCammon on Pexels.com

bake bakery baking candy
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

white ceramic mug
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

acorns bow candle card
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

person holding a mug infront of a lighted christmas tree
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Are you stressed out & drowning in clutter? Believe in yourself and make a change…

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As promised, dear friends, here are the first of a few ‘before & after’ pictures from my big 2018 declutter, reorganisation & spring clean! 

One of the main reasons I am posting this series, other than to help me keep track of my progress, is because I believe from experience that the way we live and use our space can have a huge impact upon our mental health, well being, stress levels and as a result, our quality of life. 

I also want to encourage you, if you are struggling, that I wasn’t born tidy or organised, and from the pictures above you can see that it has taken considerable effort to overcome the challenges of disorganisation, clutter (and depression!), and to create a much happier, peaceful and enjoyable environment for myself and hopefully others.  I also want to encourage you that if you want to make a change, but are currently feeling overwhelmed, not to worry, you’re not alone, and it can be done. 

I’m sure that even looking at the before and after pictures, let alone being in the space, evokes an emotional and psychological reaction in you…the first picture no doubt represents somewhere that you probably wouldn’t want to be, whereas the second, ‘after’ picture is quite peaceful, ordered, inviting and aesthetically pleasing. 

So where do you start? Let me suggest a few helpful hints and tips on your journey…(and for more, check out my previous blog posts in this home & lifestyle series that you can find from my main menu).

  • Know what you are dealing with, and break things down into smaller more manageable tasks. What I mean by this is that you will absolutely, definitely feel overwhelmed and daunted and perhaps even confused if you say to yourself, ‘I need to sort out / tidy / clean / declutter my house / flat’ etc if you don’t have any idea of how you are going to do this or where to start. Even if you feel like your entire living space is chaotic and that you can’t do it, believe me (and the pictures for proof!) that you can. Start with a pen and a notepad, and jot down the key areas or rooms of your home or flat. For me, this would be: the hallway, hall cupboard, my bedroom, small en suite bathroom, spare room (or dumping ground as it was for a long time), main bathroom, open plan living, kitchen, dining area. These can be broken down further, but that will be once you have focused your attention on a particular area. I find it helpful, even if I am doing different tasks simultaneously, to work as much as possible either by room by room and / or by theme.

 

  • Once you have chosen where to start, say for example, the bedroom, think about the  items you use there, what you need, and your daily routine. Then think about how you will create a place for each type of thing. For example, storage of clothes, toiletries, bed linen, etc. Name places, even in your mind, but writing it down initially helps, and be disciplined in how you think about storage.

 

  • Next, when faced with a mess like that above, you will need to lighten your load and begin to declutter, bin, recycle, give away and sort the items that you do have. I found it very helpful to keep myself from getting overwhelmed to set aside some time and to look upon this stage as a game or a puzzle to solve. For example, I would perhaps get a big bin bag and start by identifying and throwing away all of the things I could see that could go straight into the bin. I did the same with items to be recycled and sorted them into papers and plastics. I also went by item type, and created a single (yes, just one!) identifiable storage space in my home that I could either immediately start putting things away in or where I would be able to once I had done more work of creating that space. For example, an easy step was to begin to identify the many plastic bags, take them out of the room, fold them and put them in one single place that I could go to when I needed a plastic bag. I did the same with other bags, and types of items such as scarves, etc. With clothes, towels, etc, I got them all out of the way and put them to one side, after which I washed and dried them and sorted them: some would go to charity, some for storage for the appropriate season, and others would be the clothes that I need for current use.

 

  • Sometimes you will need to purchase additional items to help you  create a system. For example storage organisers, boxes, etc to create order. I have a small / medium sized wardrobe in my room with sliding doors. This can be tricky to make the most of the space available and I know that some people with these cupboards prefer to take off the sliding doors for easier access. I personally like the idea of being able to close the doors as who can guarantee that they’ll always keep their new system tidy?! I found that a lot of space was being wasted because there are no shelves or drawers inside, and any clothes that can’t go on the hangers tend to find themselves heaped in a pile at the bottom of the cupboard. So working from the inside out, I created additional storage space by buying this easy to assemble item as shown above and have organised my clothes and accessories so that the hanger space and the ‘free space’ is utilised. I have taken care to not pack the space full of stuff, which was made easier by getting rid of things when decluttering as well as creating storage space under the bed, by purchasing a very affordable ottoman to go at the end of the bed, and storage bags for underneath the bed, all with a specific purpose for particular types of items.

 

  • You will find that certain types of items just don’t belong in the room that they are in and that you will need to create an appropriate space for in the ‘correct’ room at a later date. You can begin by finding a temporary space to gather items of that type so that they don’t stay in the room that they’re not supposed to be in.

 

  • The whole process can be time consuming, depending on how deeply you are in your clutter, and can sometimes feel laborious, or overwhelming. However, you can do it! A wonderful place to start is with your imagination and inspiration. Daydream about your ideal room, and how you are going to make it that way. Having a strategy will enable you to accomplish so much more and much more quickly, as you work to a plan and don’t get caught up in the emotional baggage of how you got to this state in the first place. Perhaps you only need some ‘fine tuning’ in which case, as I develop my own, I will post guidance and tips on a daily / weekly / monthly / yearly ‘maintenance schedule’. Make sure that you don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. If you read over my previous posts you will find advice on the importance of having a space that you are happy to go to, even the tiniest ‘cosy corner’ so that you can take breaks, enjoy ‘now’ and allow yourself to rest and be refreshed.

It is a process, but if you turn your process into a puzzle to be solved rather than a chore to be endured, you might find that you enjoy it a whole lot more, and create the home of your dreams….right where you are!!! All the very best with your homemaking journey, friends. xx