Last month I mentioned that after Christmas I really felt the need to get everything put away, to make my house feel fresh – to rejuvenate it. Then I stumbled across the blog Apartment Therapy who had initiated something called the January Cure. What they had done was set out a day by day list of projects to get your house feeling loved again. It completely summed up how I was feeling about my home – a little bored, a little frustrated – and because there was a list that I hadn’t had to write, I got on and did it. And it was fun! How sad is that?
I went through my kitchen cupboards, I wiped down window sills, I hoovered under my sofa and pulled out my bed and binned all the old tissues hiding there. I opened drawers that were filled with stuff and turfed it out. I visited the charity shop and the dump. I even gave away some design books. Next up is to post on Gumtree some furniture I no longer want, (eBay is too much hassle for stuff that isn’t very exciting, dealing with all the emails just as the auction closes is hard work, you have to plan your week around it!) That’ll be the ultimate in space clearing and even better I can put the proceeds towards something I’m really hankering after – reupholstering my sofa.
As an exercise it felt great and it worked. I love my house again and its been interesting to get involved in someone else’s planning. That’s a good lesson for me because so often I’m the one in the driving seat and this was about standing back and taking advice. I liked having a different perspective and reflecting on why I’d tucked away so much stuff in the first place.
So often when you acquire things, you have no home for them. I’m not talking about items you plan for, but the impulse purchase, the things friends give you that you ‘might need one day,’ the stuff you can’t say no to. If you have to find a home for it, it doesn’t belong there. I like William Morris’ quote about not having anything in your home that you know not to be beautiful or useful. If you can’t apply that rule to something, why are you considering including it in your home?
So what did I learn from my January Cure? That my home needs attention to look its best. It’s very easy to dump a box of wine in the dining room and just leave it there. Its very easy to leave the hoover sitting out and to forget to go through the foodstuffs in the pantry regularly. But in doing so I’m forgetting that the space I live in needs to function for more people than just me – if I leave things sitting out indefinitely, what hope do I have to get my children to tidy up after themselves? And more importantly, my home can’t do that for itself. It will look unloved, if I don’t show it that I care. And having just found out how much the property market has improved in this area, I do care!
So here’s a little list to keep you focused for 2015.
Don’t keep stuff you have no immediate need for – or won’t need in the next six months.
If you can’t think of a use for it the minute you are offered it, its really just another man’s junk.
If it takes up space you could use better, you don’t need it.
If you don’t love it and its not going to replace something you love less, what is it actually adding to your scheme?
If you can’t answer these questions, it isn’t right for your home.