Updated: Feb 11
How I plan to overhaul our home interior by simplifying and decluttering in a bid to attract calm and nurture creativity.
Some days, it feels like our little house is bursting at the seams with people and 'stuff'. There are piles (some albeit neatly stacked, sorted & organised, but piled nonetheless) everywhere... the piles of clean clothes that never quite make it back upstairs, the piles of paperwork - some read but still needing action, some still to be read and even piles of toys, books and games. Then there are the 'for the charity shop' piles, the for the recycling piles and don't forget the 'next upcycle/DIY or craft project' piles.
The often well intentioned but always present and never-ending clutter makes me stressed and yet I never quite find the time to deal with it. Correction! I previously never found the time to deal with it... 2023 Claire is on it! I would say I'm channelling my inner Marie Kondo, but if news reports are to be believed even Marie's given up on extreme tidiness since expanded her brood! (I must admit this news made me far too happy when I read it in the week!).
This post will serve as a kind of mission statement that I plan to revisit later in the year. I'm hoping the review process will be full of smug box ticking, and as I document my great success, the sound of my laptop keys tapping will echo around my near empty, calm, 'Vanilla Girl' house! Imagine! Anyway, here are my main objectives...
1. Easier cleaning
I hate cleaning, it's boring and there's always something else I'd rather be doing, but the weird thing is that I used to love it and find it oddly therapeutic. I've been wracking my brain about why this changed and I think it has something to do with being freelance now, so every hour I spend cleaning feels like it's been robbed from me as there are 34738478 more important & interesting things on my to-do lists.
In theory, less stuff means emptier cupboards and therefore space to put things right? Well thats the plan. I'm visualising lots of well organised and half filled cupboards, but in truth, I'd settle for ones that don't spill half their contents onto the floor when the door opens.
2. Time saving
I spend a lot of time looking for things. That's something of an understatement actually... Mr D teases me regularly about this and says my catchphrase is "where's my blank?". My thinking is, if I have less stuff there should be room for everything to have a home and this should make finding 'things' much easier. Of course, this grand plan relies on my putting everything away in its designated home, but let's not worry about that yet... one step at a time!
3. Improved flow
There are many advantages to working from home (WFH), but it does present challenges from an interior design perspective. Spending so much time in one or two rooms requires your decor to be multi-functional. Multi-functional doesn't sound difficult, but when you need a room to be a creative studio, homework room, (virtual) meeting space, chill-out area, dining space and washing sorting area all within 24 hours things can get tricky.
Over the past couple of years I've tried various styles and colours for our open-plan downstairs area, most of which I've loved (I could write a whole separate post on the mistakes!) but the current set-up doesn't quite work for WFH-life. The new plan is to make the space (which is actually three separate rooms) flow better by choosing a consistent style rather than three individually decorated spaces as is currently the case.
4. Calm neutrals
While I'm probably not going full 'Vanilla Girl' aesthetic (it's a thing...google it if you don't know what I'm talking about!), there is definitely going to be a nod to this muted and minimalist approach because I'm here for the associated calmness that it apparently brings to a space. I'm planning on bringing in lots of organic and natural textures like wood, limewash, sisal, stone and of course my favourite microcement, so my calm neutrals are going to veer more towards Japandi / Wabi-sabi influences than the boucle & gold that is often embraced by your typical Vanilla Girl. Below is the Pinterest moodboard I pulled together when I was doing my initial planning.
5. A clear head
One of my main goals is to simplify the styling and reduce the no. of accessories, ornaments and objects generally in each room because I feel the need to constantly rearrange them! I IKEA hacked and DIYed myself so many shelves and compartments that I'm forever cycling objects round into new homes and am always on the lookout for upgrades and replacements. I've decided to make some doors for the alcove shelves I built in the front room (read how I hacked them using IKEA HAVSTA bookcases here) as this will simplify the space, create more storage, mean less dusting and whole lot less faffing! The BILLY hack built-ins are staying open, but I recently changed the structure of those compartments (read about that here) to make them less uniform and a bit smaller, so they will each only house one large(r) item going forward which should help.
If successful, the above objectives all lead to one thing, a calmer, more harmonious living space that is better able to accommodate our very multi-functional requirements and should enable Mr D and I to focus and concentrate more easily and facilitate and promote creativity.
Interested in seeing how we get on? Here's the link to the next installment - an update on phase 1 (the big declutter) a couple of weeks in...
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