So, is my home a clutter-free haven of tranquility now?
The short answer: no. I still have a long way to go, and I’m beginning to see this whole project as a long-term hobby rather than a quick fix. Which doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any progress. Quite the contrary: I’ve had some remarkable successes (as well as continuing challenges).
But, because I have a lot of pictures, I decided to split this update into two posts. The first part is all about the ‘big picture‘, or the ‘look‘ I’m after, whereas the second part will focus on storage solutions (and challenges).
Visualizing my goals
As Marie Kondo suggests, I started by visualising my ‘ideal lifestyle’, or rather my ‘ideal home‘. That being said, my current flat has never been (and never will be) my ideal home. In fact, it was never meant to be anything more than a temporary solution, but here I am, 20 years later… I’ve never lived anywhere for as long as I’ve lived in this small flat (50 m2, one bedroom + open-plan kitchen-living area). It’s too small for two people, let alone for two people with way too many clothes and books. Nevertheless, this is what I have to work with, at least for the time being.
In case you’re wondering, my ‘ideal home‘ would be a spacious loft with very few pieces of furniture, huge paintings on the wall, and just a few well-chosen (large rather than small) decorative items displayed on top of well-organised bookcases and sideboards. Smaller items (as well as books) would be hidden behind closed doors, making it easier to keep the flat clean and tidy. That’s because fewer items means less dusting required. No clutter and clean surfaces, that’s my idea or perfection in a nutshell.
So, in order to create that ‘ideal home‘ vibe in this less-than-ideal flat, I decided to focus on two things: displaying only items I like (or need) and eliminating clutter.
Displaying items I like
I don’t collect decorative items, or knick-knacks of any sort. But I do have a few items (flower vases, jewellery boxes etc) that I really like. And while I love the Nordic/Scandi home decor style (functional, simple shapes and neutral / light colours), I want to spice it up with a bit more colour and contrast.
In a way, the way I approach personal style affects my home decor. As you know, I mostly wear simple basics and add (just a few) interesting accessories to give my outfit some character. Similarly, here the ‘basics’ (2 bookcases, a small dining table and two chairs) form the classic, functional framework for the decor. The ‘accessories’ (pictures / paintings, flower vases etc) set the mood. This means that if I get tired of the current ‘mood’ of the decor, I can change it by simply replacing the ‘accessories’ with something different.
I was actually going to get rid of the big Audrey poster, but then I realised that it goes really well with some of my own artwork (the two smaller monochromatic pictures) and the other items I wanted to display (the iconic white Aalto vase, two flower vases that used to belong to my late mother-in-law, and a Pop Art style jewellery box by Henri Bendel).
Decluttering high-traffic areas
This is one of the most clutter-prone zones in the flat: near the entrance. This is where my husband drops off his wallet, keys, phone, gloves etc when he empties his pockets.
This bookcase is also where I keep my ‘work stuff’ (= folders, books etc). And as a result the entire area is usually a total mess: it is impossible to find anything, and frustrating to look at. Not exactly helping to create a stress-free living environment…
As a solution I got a few big cardboard folders (on the bottom shelf of the bookcase) to fit my ‘work stuff’ in. I also provided a marble bowl (which used to belong to my late mother) and a small, clear vase for my husband to use as the new ‘drop-off zone’.
I also told him that if he puts any crap (= the generic term used in this household for any items found in the wrong place) in the blue Aalto vase, I will throw it (the crap, not the vase) out, whatever it is. I call this ‘setting clear guidelines’; he calls it nagging. But who cares about semantics if it works (more or less).
The big painting also belonged to my mother; it was painted by my uncle when he was an art student in the late 60’s.
I don’t want to give you the impression that my husband is responsible for all the clutter; I have way too much stuff, too, and struggle to store it ‘out of sight’.
For example, my dressing table (which is in the living room), used to be my ‘drop-off zone’: this is where my wallet, reading glasses, makeup case, etc ended up. That, along with half a dozen pretty little trinket boxes, made the whole area look messy, and a real pain to clean. It was actually the constant dusting that finally drove me over the edge.
So, now all the pretty little trinket boxes are gone (some of them tucked away in the drawer with the rest of my jewellery and makeup), with just two bigger jewellery cases and necklace stands left. And it takes me just a couple of seconds to wipe the dresser clean of dust. I love it.
What you’ve seen in the photos is one half of the open-plan living area. What about the other half? Well, that’s still a bit of a mess (= too much clutter). Or, to use a more positive term: ‘a work-in-progress’. And no, I won’t be featuring that in part two. But who knows, now that I’m spending more time at home, maybe I can finally sort it out…
What’s your ‘ideal home’ like?
Linking up with:
Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, High Latitude Style, A Labour of Life, Curly Crafty Mom, Doused in Pink, Not Dressed As Lamb, Living on Cloud Nine, Elegance and Mommyhood, Nancy’s Fashion Style, Shelbee on the Edge, A Pocketful of Polka Dots Style Splash, Away from the Blue, Mummabstylish , Mutton Years Style and I, Independent Fashion Bloggers