The way we perceive our surroundings says so much about our mind-set. Equally, our surroundings are an expression of it. We all want our homes to feel lived-in and loved, but with just a small amount of time and effort, a domestic detox can help shed off the old inhibitions and possessions that no longer serve a purpose in your life and ‘make space’ for the new. Here are some easy tips on how to declutter and giving your space a domestic detox.
What’s your motivation?
How does your home make you feel? How would you like it to make you feel! Do your surroundings inspire you? If so, that’s fantastic! If not, now is the time to make that happen! I find that a written list of clear objectives is the first step to developing an action plan and to achieving a more effective, harmonious environment in which to live and work: The fun part is then to find practical and creative ways to do this. More about this later. I find motivation from knowing that items we no longer, need or forgotten about can be appreciated by others, through online selling and charity donations.
Bite size portions
Turn your hectic home into a tranquil space by tackling one small task at a time. We all know that any to-do list can be daunting, especially when trying to juggle an already hectic lifestyle. Divide the list in whatever way works for you – there’s no right or wrong way as long as it works for you! The KonMari* guide of collating all like-with-like items together in one pile before deciding which ones to keep is a very effective way of working. Your list could be sectioning room by room or making 3 lists marked ‘Must Do/Should Do/Might Do’. Now break these goals into realistic bit-size time portions.
*Following the KonMari method of decluttering is my tried and tested failsafe way of getting inspired and getting it done. Her book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is, in my view, a must for every home.
It’s about time
I find that setting my alarm for even 30-60 minutes at a time helps focus the mind in tackling each task systematically within the allotted time. Some background music can also help reduce getting side tracked. Taking time for a cuppa or small reward at the end is obviously just as important. Once the wheels of motion have been put into action, the hardest part is actually already overcome. Anything from half and hour to half a day usually works. Establishing realistic goals maintains long-term motivation. Call in a friend or professional to help you if it’s too daunting or simply too much to do on your own.
Interior design and styling: Catriona Archer / Photography: Jeni Meade
Re-purpose and up-cycle
Our possessions become clutter only when they no longer serve a purpose. But personally, I don’t believe it necessary to act on the impulse of ‘Out with the old / In with the new’ just for the sake of it.
There are so many wonderful ways of re-purposing existing items in, say, another room of the house, or giving it another function and making an object feel relevant again. Not only does it add individuality and fun to the space, but it reduces unnecessary spending and landfill: A win-win in my book. (e.g A blanket box can be given a lick of paint and be transformed into a window seat). Equally, moving artwork/mirrors around the house and changing the pictures within the frames is an easy and effective way to refresh a space.
Interior design and styling by Catriona Archer
No matter how large or small our homes, most of us have an uncanny knack of filling them with more than we could ever need! It’s no wonder there are so many clever storage tricks and creative solutions on the market to help us make the most of our existing space. This needn’t be expensive but should be accessible, efficient and user-friendly. See my Tips on How to Maximise Your Storage and Space. Not everything wants to be on show: Just be sure to consider how much open or closed storage is appropriate for each room and storage function. By only having items you truly enjoy allows a space to look and feel its best.
Interior design and styling by Catriona Archer for HiggiHaus / Photography: Jeni Meade
Dust also has a negative impact on our breathing, allergy resistance and energy levels. It’s a horrible fact, but 10% of a pillow’s weight can be down to dust mites. Experts advise for pillows to be cleaned every three to six months. Mattress are advised to be hoovered every month, and a new mattress bought every 8 years. Curtains should also be cleaned annually. Regularly washing the windows inside and out makes interiors look so much brighter and lifts our mood.
Photography styling by Catriona Archer
In an ideal world, electrical goods and work-related items should be removed from bedrooms altogether to reduce air pollution and avoid unnecessary distractions. Indoor pollutants from electrical goods, cleaning solvents, plastics, MDF, plywood and cosmetics have been known to cause allergic reactions, aggravate asthma and cause headaches amongst other things. Indoor plants have had a surge in popularity in Interiors over the last couple of years and are proven to reduce greatly harmful electromagnetic toxins and numerous other air pollutants found within our homes: Now, I’m no gardening expert, but extensive research by NASA has proven that certain potted indoor potted palms and rubber plants have been found to be most effective.. and who am I to argue with NASA?! Plants such as Long leafed Fig, Ficus Alii, Dracaena, Warneckei, Schefflera, Chrysanthemum Moriflium and Weeping Fig are just some of the plant varieties recommended. More details can be found in B.C. Wolverton’s book “How To Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office”.
Complete interior design by Catriona Archer / Photography: Jeni Meade
This has been adapted from an article originally published in Bath Life Magazine.