Even when the sun is shining outside if the house get’s too full of ‘stuff’ I can’t help but feel like we’re just dragged down by it all. Dust gathers, surfaces disappear and the kids descend into cries that they are bored with ‘nothing to play with’. Whilst that’s decidedly untrue, I have had to admit that often we have so much clutter it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.
I think living in a country that brings so much cold and wet weather can be tricky. I feel like the winter encourages us to scavenge and hoard a little too much and somehow before we know it – we’re drowning in ‘things’ again. My strategy has basically been to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Last year when I visited the BoConcept store here in Edinburgh, I got chatting to one of the designers about the ‘rule of three’. Her theory was that you should always have objects arranged in odd numbers – ideally three and no more than five. Somehow our house had become more like the rule of nine with several lego figures thrown in for good measure.
I really like the scandi vibe that loads of people have got going on but equally – I think consumerism has taken over a little. Rather than being about minimalism and uncluttered houses, every time I go into Sainbury’s there is a new display with the next Scandi – ‘must buy’! With small children I’m never really going to succeed at being truly minimalist but equally – do we really need all that stuff?
Whilst I still being thinking I’m more in the ‘boho’ camp rather than scandi (love colour a bit too much!) – it has been cathartic to declutter as much as possible.
I’ve found a good way to freshen things up is to simple to rearrange them. I feel like we get used to seeing something in a particular way and so we may stop noticing it full stop. I have elements of my home that I really enjoy – like my rhino print – but because I see it all the time, it ends up resulting in me not really seeing it at all. Does that make sense?
With that in mind, I’ve been busy rearranging and replanting some of our plants – giving some a good dust! – and trying out new homes for things. I had been coveting the Stockholm mirror from IKEA for a while so picked one up so I can give our old mirror a new home too. I love including mirrors in darker rooms and just feel the need to try and reflect as much light as possible!
It annoys me that I know many of the kids toys are really destined for land fill. Many have broken easily and just not stood up to the rigours of play. With our overuse of plastic being so forefront at the moment, obviously the ideal is to just not buy things like this to begin with. Personally, I do prefer wooden toys – aesthetically and environmentally – but even these have a shelf life.
My strategy has been to just buy well and to hand on. As I type, I’m on a train journey to visit my godson – armed with a large suitcase filled with toys and clothes that the kids are done with. I love seeing him play with once treasured toys and knowing that it’s life continues.
I feel like the same principle applies to larger objects in our homes as well. I often see people on selling pages offering things for free. I think this can make people feel that they have no value and may be less likely to take them but equally – I’d much rather pass something on for free then have it languish in my garage or end up at the tip. Even if you sell something on it at least ensures that the object is getting it’s full use. For example, recently I sold one of our old stair gates for about half the amount we had originally paid – it was in perfect condition and no different to the one they would’ve been able to pick up in the shops. Whilst it would be nice for things to ‘keep value’ what use did we have for it? The kids are no longer stopped by gates, we don’t have any pets and I certainly can’t figure out an ingenious alternative purpose for one.
And if you really want to kill two birds with one stone, by decluttering the house and getting rid of all those unused tech products, consider using an online recycler like Plunc.
Whilst my mission is far from finished – I still have a garage full of art work, two more stair gates and an array of other random objects – the house is feeling… better. I feel like we have a bit more space to breath and I’ve begun to notice things again.
Hopefully soon enough we’ll have more genuinely hot days and we can begin to live in the garden again!
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