It’s been over a year since I started my KonMari project, and a long time since my last update. I thought it’s about time I let you know where things stand now, a year later.
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?
PS: If you want to see more of my artwork, check out my other blog,
Dilettante Artist (or on Instagram @dilettante.artist).
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
Your flat looks lovely, I have too many books for our space, I have my knitting and sewing which take up space but mainly I have the “can you hold on to that for me?” for other members of the family, mainly student daughter and husband. My ideal space – well if I could live next door to my family (gravel-guy, nr.1 son and daughter) I might have a chance! It would have big art work, my plant children and bookcases with doors – most excitingly it would have things where I left them. Have to admit I like to put my makeup and skin care away – it somehow feels better to me
I have way too many books, too, and they’re all over the place. I could get rid of half of them and not even notice. And my hubby is one of those people who find it difficult to throw away things. He’s getting better at it, though.
I can relate to not finding things where I left them (or where they should be), it drives me crazy! I think every item should have its place, and life’s too short to look for stuff. I just wish I could make me husband understand that…
Your flat looks fab and really tidy!. Love the art hanging on the walls and love the vases. I think that your decoration looks modern, functional and I like how you do neutrals with color accents. Really appealing!
Totally agree that the ‘drop off zone’ is usually a mess!. I also provided Mr.A. a small tray where he can put all his stuff, but he keeps spilling over lots of notes, pieces of paper and useless receipts which drives me crazy!. I keep my own caos under control putting everything into drawers and boxes, so it’s not visible!
I hate particularly open shelves (which have to be dusted). So much better to keep your books into cupboards or similar. And I’d also like to live in a spacious loft!
Thanks, Monica! I’ve worked really hard to make this tiny flat ‘livable’ and less messy. It’s still not ‘perfect’, and never will be (it’s too small and in the wrong part of town, for starters), but I like it a lot more than I did before I started decluttering.
Is it something all men have in common, this tendency to collect all sort of crap and then just offload it somewhere when they get home? Because my husband does the same: whatever container I give him to empty his pockets in is always overflowing with old receipts, coins, keys, whatever. I’ve tried drawers, but the problem only gets worse. You know, ‘out of sight, out of mind’: a drawer is like a big black hole where things disappear, never to be looked at again…
What a beautiful flat you have! Love the Audrey poster and the other two drawings. The whole look is what I’d like in my house. Love the black frames and white walls and the color pops from the accessories. You seem to be a very good decorator. You seem to have a knack for what will look great together. Now I’m really dying to see the rest of the room! Arlene from NJ
Thanks, Arlene! So sweet of you to say that.
The two smaller drawings under the Audrey picture are based on old photos of my mother, they’re part of a series of ‘Film Noir’ inspired pictures I made. I had them printed in an art print shop and professionally framed because I wanted to have some of my own artwork on the wall, too.
Wow! It looks so sharp and sophisticated. I love what you have done! It is colorful with clean lines and with a space for everything. With a small space it is necessary. I have found that getting rid of excess stuff these past few months has calmed me when walking into rooms: less stuff, less to clean.
yes, a space for everything, that’s my goal. Or my challenge, rather. And I couldn’t agree more on getting rid of stuff. It’s cleaning this place that actually prompted me to get rid of excess stuff and find a place for everything I want to keep. It’s a long way to go still, but I’m determined.
Pity there were no before shots it looks ‘curated’ now as they say in Apartment Therapy. I like your pops of red. We have way too many books too in spite of regular culling we have our book cases in the hall so that keeps the living area a bit tidier. Now you’ve gone down the interior design road how about a few Finnish recipes you look a bit like Nigella Lawson.
I’m afraid I lack the Domestic Goddess gene. I basically know only one recipe: put whatever you have in the fridge + some vegetables in a pot, add water (a lot if it’s a soup and a bit less if it’s a stew), stir more or less regularly for about 30 minutes and try not to burn it…
My ideal home is pretty close to what I have got at the moment. Our house is still relatively new and we had a good architect, who really listened our needs, when the house was planned. Only the entrance hall might need some reorganising and even planning now, as kids have grown to teens and curiously their clothes take much more room now than say two years ago.
Your own art go so well together with other art on your walls. I’m not very good at that front, we have few intaglio prints around, but they are only leaning against wall on the top of bookshelves or dressers. -q
The ideal home takes a lot of planning, doesn’t it? But I’m sure it’s worth it in the end.
your jewelry collection is amazing. I never really realized that you have so many. I always associate you with the most awesome umbrella collection there is! Thanks for joining the party.
Actually, what you see in these photos is just a part of my jewellery collection; most of it is tucked away in a drawer or in assorted jewellery cases. I guess I should wear jewellery more, to make the most of it.
How beautifully you have organized eveyrthing. I love your simple, elegant and classic style of decor. I love those big paintings by your uncle. Wonderful. Keep sharing more photographs…:)
You did a bloody good job. I was fascinated by the photo with Audrey and went over to your blog. Then I read “I started by visualising my ‘ideal lifestyle’, or rather my ‘ideal home‘. “and I thought: “Ah… this room is just the visualization, it is not her room. I knew it was too good to be true”. Luckily I read on and found out, this is your room. Really very nice. You did well my dear and inspired me to do the same. I have more space than you but I have gathered a lot of “crap” haha (loved that part of your story). As I am retired now, I will have time to sort stuff out, like you did.
PS The Word icon and the Google icon didn’t work for logging in. Strange.
Thanks, Greetje! It took me quite a long time to declutter and sort out the flat (and I’m not done yet). It’s just amazing how much stuff we can accumulate! It’s almost as if the stuff just somehow multiplies… But it’s so worth it, decluttering makes all the difference.
I have no idea what’s wrong with logging in, will need to look into that.
Now my avatar comes up automatically. Problem solved.
And I heard one good rule to declutter: if you don’t really need something that is cluttering up your house and you could buy it for less than € 20, get rid of it.
And that’s a good rule.
It looks amazing, Tiina! Now if I get all these darn kids to stop messing up my space and cluttering it with all sorts of God knows what, maybe I could enjoy a tranquil space, too! Thanks for sharing and linking up.
Thanks! I know, other people’s clutter…
Your space looks lovely! I take after my father, I can create a pile of mess that I know exactly where everything is in it. When I tidy up, I can never find anything! My husband is the kind of person that thinks everything has a place so he gets quite frustrated by me often, haha! It’s a balance I think 🙂
Hope that you had a nice weekend at home 🙂 Thank you so much for joining the #weekdayWearLinkUp 🙂
Thanks, Mica! So, you can create an organised mess? Well as long as you an find what you’re looking for , it’s good. I can get a bit obsessive about putting things in ‘their place’, but I’m trying to learn to tolerate some ‘designated messy areas’…
Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you recommend any other Beauty Write For Us blogs that go over the same topics? Thanks a ton!