What was previously our sanctuary is now a collection of separate spaces – an office, school, the corner café and gym all in one place. Your home may begin to feel a little cramped and cluttered, as the unorganised papers, dusty plants and unfinished projects begin to overtake what was once your hideaway from a busy outside world.
To help you gain control back over your home, we’ve gathered a few ideas and tips as to how to you can detox your space and create a home where you always feel comfortably you.
“Don’t fight against the messy drawer – embrace its existence and harness its power.”
The Messy Drawer
We all have that one messy drawer – the place that holds all the miscellaneous objects that aren’t vital to our everyday lives, yet are too dear to throw out. Don’t fight against the messy drawer – embrace its existence and harness its power. To assert dominance over the messy drawer, start by evaluating its contents – that lonely screw that you found behind the dresser? Or that little plastic lid you don’t know what belongs to? You won’t need them and it’s time for them to go. Go through any takeaway menus and make sure they’re up to date. This leaves more room for the items that you do decide to keep in your messy drawer. Once you’ve freed up some space, try organising the remaining items into sections. If you have any small boxes or tubs lying around, or even cloth bags or pouches that you’ve kept from a nicely packaged purchase, they make for an ideal way of organising and separating your items.
A clean and organised pantry will save you time and effort when it’s time to cook. Try emptying everything onto the kitchen counter and check the expiration dates on each of your perishables. This will even come in handy the next time you do the shopping, as it will remind you of which ingredients you already have at home. Perhaps it will inspire you to try out a new recipe – that half-empty packet of saffron that you once used to make bread would taste great in a risotto! To make ingredients last longer, transfer the goods into glass jars or tubs. Remember that you don’t need necessarily have to go out and buy new ones – by saving empty jars and bottles from various sauces, marmalades and the like, you can repurpose them for an organised and individual pantry. Just remember to clean them thoroughly with boiling water before use.
It’s safe to say that even in this digital age, we amass a lot of papers and documents throughout the year. Get your affairs in order by sorting through that huge stack that’s just been growing and growing. Recycle anything superfluous and sort the remaining items into relevant categories – household, school and work, for example. Once you’ve got your papers organised, it’s time to find a proper home for them. Binders and folders are a great way of packing away those important, but not often-used documents, while a paper tray or organiser is convenient for those papers that you might need easy access to. Are you the kind of person who makes checklists and handwritten memos? A clipboard gives you easy access to your most important and pressing notes and can be propped up at your desk or on a bookcase – giving you a clear overview and making those hastily-scrawled notes easier to find.
Books, Books and More Books
Now is the perfect time to institute a system for your personal library. Gather all the books from around your home and decide on a structure that works for you. The classic system is to alphabetise by the author’s last name, but they’re your books, so choose a system that makes the most sense for you – whether that’s by genre, by colour or size or even your own personalised system. A good tip is to keep your new additions separated from those books that you’ve already read. Give these a visible location, and they will act as your own personal little bookstore, reminding you of all the exciting stories you have yet to discover.
CREATE A CALM ATMOSPHERE
Our surroundings can easily impact our inner workings – whereas a messy home may increase your levels of stress, a neat and tidy one will help to bring you peace and calm. When spending more time at home, it’s a good idea to think about the indoor climate. Less time outside means less fresh air, so make sure to invite a breeze into your home by opening your windows for ten minutes every morning and night. That way, you’ll improve ventilation and help air circulation.
If you’re currently spending the majority of your time at home, the previously separate spaces in your daily life have now all been assembled in your private sphere. To help promote a feeling of normalcy, it’s a good idea to break up the day into different segments – and lighting can be a great help. Are you keeping office hours? Focused, cool overhead lighting will help you to concentrate. When the workday is done, switch to warmer sources of light that are dispersed throughout the room to interact with the darker areas, creating a soothing and nuanced interplay of light. For an extra cosy atmosphere that also indulges your sense of smell, light a scented candle or burn incense.
Now is the ultimate time to clean out and reorganise your wardrobe. Start by collecting all of your clothes and gathering them in one big pile. And not just the pieces from your wardrobe – it’s time to dig out all of the clothes you have previously tucked well away – in the loft, under the bed or boxed away in the garage. Once they’re all gathered, go through them one by one. Pieces that you wear regularly and that have sentimental value go back into the closet. Pack away seasonal clothes that you won’t be needing for the coming months, and then organise those pieces that you no longer use – clothes that need mending or alterations, those that can be sold at a flea market or online shop and those that can be donated. Wash, iron and hang any pieces that you’ve rediscovered – most of us are hoarding long-forgotten treasures at the back of our closets!
A house isn’t a home until it’s filled with your personal bits and bobs; mementos and souvenirs; collected items that reference memories and a life that’s intimately yours. Collect all of these special items and arrange them so you can view them all together. Give them a good cleaning and dusting, and then evaluate their position in your home. Sometimes we grow so accustomed to our surroundings that we no longer take them in. Changing the location of your beloved knick knacks will give them renewed focus and an instant refresh of your space. Are there some that you no longer love? Gather them to be donated or sold at a flea market, so that they can find a beloved space in someone else’s home.
“Changing the location of your beloved knick knacks will give them renewed focus and an instant refresh of your space.”
NOURISH YOUR PLANTS
Plants make excellent roommates – not only do they serve a decorative purpose, but they make us feel better, too. Spend some time giving your green friends a little extra loving care – make sure they’re watered and fed, dust off their leaves, rotate their pots to expose another side to the sun and trim any frail leaves. If they’ve outgrown their homes, try replanting them in a bigger pot where their roots will have ample room to spread.
If you want to take your gardening skills to the next level, why not try propagating a new plant from an existing one? Select a healthy stem from the parent plant – ideally one which has recently sprouted new growth – and carefully cut the stem between 10 to 15cm long. Leave the cutting in a glass of water somewhere where it will get plenty of natural light, and leave it until white roots begin to appear, after which you are ready to repot your little friend into new soil.