For my first blog of 2015 I thought I'd help you give your home a lift after the Christmas decorations have come down. Plus, we all like a bit of a change in the new year and it doesn't have to cost anything except for your time (a valuable commodity I know).
The first step to falling in love with your home again is .....
Use baskets (you all know how I love a basket). They're great for keeping small objects tidied away and in one place (so you know where all the hats & gloves are for example). It's also a good idea to keep one at the bottom of the stairs (you need a particularly beautiful one for this of which we have many). They're great for storing stray objects that need to go up into bedrooms etc. Encourage all family members to check it at the end of the day and deal with things accordingly - there's nothing wrong with teaching tidiness from an early age although they may not show their enthusiasm for this new 'game' right away. Below is a beautiful example of a tidy, well-organised hallway or boot room (for those that have the luxury) and I've taken the liberty of including our gorgeous Rattan Square Baskets in case you were interested.
Put out of season items away; use furniture in the hallway that doubles up as storage, i.e. a lift-up seat; have plenty of hooks for coats and bags and place kids' hooks lower down so they can reach them themselves; use pots to keep loose change in or keys so they're not just strewn across the kitchen counter or on the hall table; and lastly, if you can use your back door and keep all of the coats, shoes, school bags out of the hallway, so much the better.
2. Clearing out
It's a very cathartic experience having a clear-out. Whether you're clearing out the playroom or your wardrobe, make sure you have 4 piles - what to keep, what to store, charity and recycling / the bin. If you're keeping something, do you really think you'll still want it/be using it in 5 years time? If you don't think you will be, get rid of it now. There's no point in cluttering up the place only to throw it away down the line. Who knows, at the end of it all you could end up with a wardrobe as beautiful as the one below by Lee Ledbetter & Associates - as if we'd be that lucky. (photo by Pieter Estersohn)
3. Deep clean
Next step is a deep clean because everything always looks better after a good scrub. Plump up cushions, shake out (and wash if necessary) blankets & throws, and make sure you move furniture you don't usually move to vacuum underneath (and while you're going round with the duster, have one last look at anything that you've missed that can be stored away or cleared out). Make sure you give the windows a clean too - they'll look even more filthy once everything else is sparkling, plus, clean windows equals more light.
Lastly, here are a few small pointers to add some style and ambience and to make your space fabulous.
a) Make use of natural light - move furniture to face the light (once you've cleaned those windows of course) and hang large mirrors to reflect light and bring the sunshine in. Two perfect examples are below although we're not all lucky enough to have those windows (must be a nightmare to clean).
b) Create some art - bring out photos, kids paintings or a sketch you've done (only if it's any good of course. That painting of your cat you did when you were 9 might not cut it) and replace outdated or unloved artwork for a fresh look. The photo below is of Annika von Holdt's gorgeous house (she's Danish - need I say more?)
c) Aromas - get yourself a couple of scented candles (you know how much I like those too) and light them at the end of a long day or just because you fancy it (I find any time is a good time to light a scented candle). Use a linen spray when you're ironing or, just get baking. You can't beat the smell of freshly baked bread and lovely aromas really do make a house feel like a home. The candles below feature in our current sale by the way. (photo by Gill Bowyer)
So, my final piece of advice is to tackle one room at a time (probably the one that you're least happy with) and dedicate a weekend to improving it - tidy, de-clutter, deep clean and even add a splash of paint as we've probably all got a load of it sitting in our sheds. You could even change the use of the room entirely (if you've got that luxury).
I hope you enjoy the process of de-cluttering, getting organised and beautifying your home. I'd love to see pictures of any 'before and after' scenarios or just tell me how it went (if you ever get round to it that is).
NB. I've tried to credit the photographer where I can of these stunning photographs but haven't been able to source everyone so if you're the photographer, please let me know so I can add you.