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
Hi again friends…if you are new, welcome, and please feel free to read my earlier Home & Lifestyle posts that you can find on the main menu page of my blog. If you have been with me for a while, then you’ll know that I have been in the midst of a big spring clean, declutter and home reorganisation.
If you’re anything like me, and love your aesthetics, and the ways in which colour, tone and texture can really affect the mood of a room, then you may also be like me in that you have changing colour cravings!
I like beautiful, complementary and sometimes bright colours, both to wear and to have around me. Last year, I fell in love with teal and shades of blue for my home, and over Christmas, I incorporated white furnishings such as white throws to brighten and freshen up my flat, and added some accents of red. Now that spring has officially ‘sprung’ (although this is not always reflected in the weather where I am!), I have folded away the red rug / throw and put away other more autumnal shades, and have been using my teal and blue / green colours again with the whites.
However, quite recently, and a bit out of character for me, I have had colour cravings for more muted tones such as browns and greys. And yet, I don’t want things to be lacklustre. I particularly had the desire to have browns and pinks in my room, with a desire for a more homely country and rustic feel, yet perhaps like you, felt a bit non-committal and did not want to risk painting my light coloured walls with more muted shades.
So I once again turned to the wonderful world of soft furnishings ~ pillows, cushion covers, throws, etc, that can beautifully change the tone and mood of a room to reflect your own mood or purpose for that time, without either breaking the bank, constraining you to live with a colour that you might not want to be a permanent feature in your home, and can bring out a little bit more of your creative inner interior-designer flair!
So to showcase this, here are a few pictures of my room with a zesty spring mood, a spring country vibe, and something somewhere in between (unfortunately I have been unable to upload the third picture which shows a beautiful incorporation of both of the looks with a few extra touches, you’ll just have to imagine it for the time being!). Enjoy! And colour the world beautiful with those unique colours within your own heart! xxx
If you are feeling like you need to brighten up your kitchen and / or bathroom spaces, but don’t want to over commit yourself in case you change your mind or colour scheme at a later date, why don’t you try some adhesive tiles instead of real ones?
I got these from Amazon (2 packs of ten) which was enough to tile horizontally across the strip behind my kitchen sink, as well as tiling a couple of shorter rows in the space underneath my work top.
These are incredibly easy to use and look quite convincing, and you can find the style that suits you best and brings a smile to your face 🙂 Enjoy some before and after pics, and your own experimentation! xx