Mission Clutter Control

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{Picture Source}

Any illusion that I am nearing a more minimalist clutter-free way of life were brutally shattered over the weekend when we embarked on mission Loft Clearout. There is an NCT sale* in our village next weekend so my husband and I decided that, now that the baby days are behind us, it would a good opportunity to sell some of the toys and clothes that have been lurking in the loft for far too long. Only I hadn’t realised just how much stuff was residing up there – seriously, it is a wonder the ceiling hasn’t caved in under the weight of it all. So there we were, the children and I, standing on the first floor landing while my husband chucked down bags and boxes through the loft cavity for us to catch. At first it was kind of fun seeing all these long forgotten things again, but when the bags and boxes just kept on coming, I started to feel slightly alarmed – I know a good clear out has been long overdue but this was something else. Before long the kids and I were standing on the only small patch of clear flooring left, pushed up against the ladder with boxes and zip-up bags, as well as big bulky plastic toys, a rocking horse and a travel cot, taking up the rest of the space and blocking all the bedroom doorways. It was dusty too, as would be expected since no one ever cleans the loft. In the end, we counted 12 zip-up bags crammed full of baby and toddler clothes, five big boxes of toys and all the other bits, including no less than five cot mobiles (all in good working order so why we have so many I have no idea!).

Now I am faced with the mammoth task of dividing it all into three different piles for selling, giving to charity or keeping (only those very special pieces that I can’t bear to part with – I plan to whittle this down to one smallish box – wish me luck!). Upstairs is still a mess – to clear the landing so we can actually get into our bedrooms I have moved everything into our room and the boys’ rooms so the poor things now have to climb over umpteen boxes to get to their beds. I never thought of myself as a hoarder but now I am not so sure. I guess it’s true that however much space you have, the tendency is to fill it up. It was easier to just send everything up to loft to be dealt with at some later stage – out of sight, out of mind! – so the boxes kept on accumulating. Now that we’re planning to convert the loft into a bedroom, we will have to think a lot harder about what we hold onto, and frankly, I’m pleased. There is something about having so much stuff that you don’t use or plan on using in the near future, that makes me feel very uneasy.

My eldest son is ten years old now and while lots of clothes were passed down to his younger siblings, his brother was a bigger baby and his sister was born in the summer so some of the items had not seen the light of day for over a decade! If I leave the next clear out for another ten years, he will probably have left home by the time I get around to it. So I’m determined to try and stay on top of it and the trick seems to be little and often when it comes to decluttering.

*Any UK mums will probably be familiar with these ‘good as new sales’ run by the National Childbirth Trust.

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As I am obviously in no position to offer tips myself here is a useful guide that I found on the blog We Only Do This Once – to read the full article click here.

Start small – Pick one small section of a room to start with, whether it’s a chest of drawers or a kitchen cupboard

Stay motivated – If you declutter consistently it will become a habit. Don’t get obsessive, try to keep it to 15 minutes a day

One area at a time – Tempting as it may be, don’t move onto another area until the first one is finished

Limit your time spent – Set the timer and give yourself half an hour to clear out one small section

Make it a routine – Set a regular schedule for decluttering that works for you and your lifestyle

Make piles – As you go along sort the stuff into piles for keeping/giving away/garbage/selling etc

Organize – Once you’ve whittled down your possessions make sure each one has a home

Take breaks often and stay chill
 

Interior Inspiration: A Place for Everything…

…and everything in its place. Oh, how I wish that could be my motto! I really hate spending any more time than necessary searching for things, whether they are vitally important, like passports and tax returns, or more trivial, such as a favourite lipstick or scarf. With five family members and too little storage space, I sometimes feel that I am fighting a constant battle against STUFF. However much I try to clear out and give to charity shops, sell on eBay or just shove into the loft, there just doesn’t seem to be any respite.

The main problem areas are the kids’ rooms and playroom as well as our bedroom, which also serves as my office. I get sent a lot of press releases and look books which I print out (not the most Eco friendly way of working I know, but I like to be able to underline key passages and make notes in the margins) so at the end of the day my desk is often a sea of papers.

And as anyone with kids knows, however much you encourage them to tidy their room before bedtime by the next morning it inevitably looks like a bombsite again. After we spent hours sorting all his Lego into different boxes by colour, Cameron’s room is not too bad but both Casper and Clemmie still have a tendency to empty out every single toy on the floor when they’re playing.

Kids Room Storage

The answer, for me at least, is lots of spacious storage boxes that you can quickly scoop all the toys into. Zara Home has some of the best kids’ storage solutions on the high street, like these boxes on castors. The boys have one each in white and I’m tempted to get this girly one for Clemmie’s dolls and soft toys. The little suitcases are also from Zara Home and are perfect for smaller bits and pieces, like toy cars or dolls’ accessories. Danish House Doctor is one of my favourite brands for homeware and this striped basket to hang on the door handle is really cute. I think one of these on each of their bedroom doors would be great for dumping toys and other paraphernalia in after doing the ‘downstairs sweep’ while they’re all in bed, ready for them to put away the following morning. I also like these storage baskets in the bottom row of the picture (l-r) from Ferm Living (another Danish brand, what is it about the Danes and interior design?), The White Company and H&M (which also has a great range of affordable storage solutions).

Storage solutions

For the home office, House Doctor again has some of the best and most stylish accessories, like these Creative Play storage boxes (bottom row, middle picture) which I ordered today from Design Vintage to store all my work papers in. The nifty wall storage unit is also by House Doctor, as is the rustic wire letter tray (in the bottom left picture) and the magazine files (top right). The white lacquer trays (from The White Company) are perfect on a dressing table or on top of a chest of drawers to hold jewellery, candles or makeup. And one can never have too many baskets – I use them to store everything from shoes, hats, scarves and gloves to all the chargers and headphones for phones/computers/iPads as well as the kids’ paints and craft materials. I usually buy mine from Ikea but this one from The White Company has a lovely washed grey finish.

 

Interior Inspiration: Cool Kids Rooms

I have just spent an hour or so looking at kids rooms on Pinterest – funny how time flies when you’re on there, I always keep thinking, just one more pin! It’s so addictive..

I would love to incorporate some of these ideas into my own children’s rooms. At the moment, most of my planned house projects are on hold as the layout may change with our planned building work, which is taking far too long to come to fruition for my liking. Hopefully we will do our extension before they are all teenagers and have firm opinions of their own on what they want!

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{I love the colour combinations and this lamp, Liv by Jonas Bohlin, is my all-time favourite}

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{Pink & white – a classic girlie combo}

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{Beautiful floorboards and the teepee would be a fab place to chill out, read a book or listen to music}

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{I’ve seen this castle in interior magazines before and if you have the space I think it is a great way to fire up kids’ imagination}

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{Or how about a slide to help you get out of bed in the mornings? I would quite like one of these myself!}

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{A lovely workspace. The string shelf is a classic that looks good in any room}

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{Blackboard paint – a simple way to get the creative juices flowing and also handy for writing down reminders to bring in homework, PE kits, instruments, etc}

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{Another lamp that I really like}

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{Bold colours against a white background look fab in kids rooms}

For more pictures and inspiration see my Kids Rooms board on Pinterest. No doubt I will add more pictures before the week is over!

‘Til the next post. X

Five on Friday

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{A Monday afternoon treat – vanilla latte and a slice of chocolate cake at Costa}

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{New arm candy! Two bracelets in rose gold – my new obsession – from Stella & Dot. Perfect for summer and will look even better with a tan.}

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{That time in the morning when there is still peace and quiet before the rush to get ready for school and the arguments over who used up the last bit of milk start..}

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{Casper VERY carefully carrying a cup of milky tea for me at the Beavers’ mothers’ day tea party. I’m hoping for even more treats on Sunday!}

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{As I said in the previous post, our house at the moment is far from tidy but at least there is one spot which is looking good so I will concentrate on that. While I love fresh flowers, I normally just place them on the kitchen table but this week I put a bunch in our bedroom and I really like it. Incidentally, my husband bought me these flowers from the supermarket (where they were reduced – he always has an eye for a bargain), two weeks ago! They have lasted much better than the expensive flowers I normally buy}

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! xxx

Linked in: Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring Cleaning collage

There is a theme to this week’s Linked In post: Spring Cleaning. I don’t know about you, but each year when March rolls around I start thinking about decluttering, reorganising and cleaning up both the house and the garden. I have to confess that this week I have not accomplished much, in fact I have even been struggling to do the everyday tasks like cleaning the kitchen and keeping up with the washing (with five people there is a lot of washing!). Obviously I have my excuses at the ready: I have been working more hours than normal and also we took delivery of a new tumble dryer this week, which didn’t fit through the door to the laundry room so I couldn’t do any washing for two days. Ever the optimist, I’m determined to get on top of things next week so here is a bit on inspiration from around the web to help me (and you) do just that!

1. Find some tips on how to make a spring cleaning checklist

2. The starting date for this challenge to purge five items a day from your home may have passed but it is not too late to join in

3. Here is how to clean and still be kind to the environment

4. Need some help? Here are some tips to get the kids involved with the cleaning

5. Spring is also a good time for a digital declutter

6. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be confined to the inside of your house: here are some tips for sprucing up your garden

7. Ever get the feeling that however much cleaning you do, it is never done? This article shows you how to look at cleaning as a practice  not a project

 

Interior Inspiration: A Touch of Monochrome

With a wardrobe that mainly consists of monochrome pieces with a bit of denim and neutrals mixed in, perhaps it is not surprising that I am drawn to interior schemes that also reflect my taste in clothing. Black and white is a timeless combination that can easily be varied and updated by adding colourful accessories.

All these pictures and more are on my Pinterest board ‘My dream abode’.

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{I love the lamp in this picture and the wooden floorboards}

Black & White 1

{A cosy and stylish living space}

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{The curtains, the rug and the lamp in the corner – it all works beautifully together}

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{I love the zebra rug and the Eames chairs. The kakelugn fireplace is a very popular feature in Scandinavian homes}

Black & White 4

{Marble worktops may not be practical but they sure do look stunning}

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{I would love a headboard like this in my bedroom}

Interior Inspiration: Mad for Marble

A beautiful material that has been used since ancient times, marble is in my opinion the most elegant of stones – smooth and cool to the touch, it simply oozes luxury when incorporated into an interior design scheme. My other half has rejected my suggestion of a marble countertop for our kitchen on the grounds that it is too showy, expensive and impractical and I probably have to agree on the last point. Because of its tendency to stain and scratch, marble countertops in kitchens and bathrooms is not always the most practical choice. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in a few choice marble accessories around the house.

Marble Collage

{A classic tulip dining table or a marble top coffee table like these ones by House Doctor and Asplund would be lovely but, failing that, any of these accessories would fit nicely into our home as well. Marble trays by Hay, chopping board by House Doctor, kitchen utensil holder from Crate & Barrel and marble candlestick by Menu at Royal Design}.

Five on Friday

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I went on a spending spree at Space NK and used up the vouchers I got for Christmas and my birthday last autumn. Love that shop! I will do a separate post on the things I bought next week.

Kitchen file

I started putting together a kitchen inspiration folder ahead of our planned renovation later this year. Between that and my Pinterest board I don’t think I’ll be stuck for ideas.

Jewellery

This jewellery tree was on sale for only £10 in a local boutique. Having some of my favourite pieces on display on top of my dresser will hopefully encourage me to accessorize more.

Unisa boots

Honestly, I am not a shopaholic but I had forgotten about these Unisa boots that I bought just before Christmas. Now that I’ve found them, I can’t stop wearing them as they are so comfortable. They remind me of my favourite pair of boots that I had at school.

Star jumper

I’m also somewhat obsessed with my Star sweater from Hunky Dory (another Sale buy) – accessorized here with my ten-year-old son’s beanie, which I keep stealing – much to his embarrassment I should add (I just tell him it’s pay back for all those toddler tantrums he used to throw in the middle of the supermarket to embarrass me!)

Happy Friday everyone! I hope the weekend is all you want it to be – and more! X

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Guns n roses

My parents have put their house on the market and, as they’re downsizing, kindly invited me over this week to go through some boxes they had found lurking in the deepest, darkest corners of their loft. I spent quite a few hours wading through more than two decades of memories, from the newspapers published on the day I was born to my university dissertation. I won’t keep all of it of course, for one we haven’t got the storage space and also I don’t think it’s that interesting to anyone apart from me. But it was fun to relive old memories.

books

What made me laugh the most were the little books that my friend and I wrote (and illustrated) ourselves back in Sweden when we decided to start our own library – we can’t have been older than eight or nine. For someone who had a very harmonious and well-adjusted childhood, I sure managed to come up with some dark, disturbing plot lines…

Photos

I found some old photos of me as a toddler and as a teenager with my beloved grandmother.

dolls house

We bought Clemmie a dolls house for Christmas without knowing that, tucked away in my parents’ loft, was a box of all my old dolls house furniture (the house itself has been disposed of along the way). We brought it all back home and she loves playing with it so we could have saved ourselves a bit of money!  There is tons more, including bedroom, bathroom and three (??) kitchen sets – I only photographed a few pieces as I wanted to show you the sauna – so very Swedish!

Teddies

Clemmie also took a shine to my old teddies which are now propped up on her bed next to the Maileg bunnies. Considering they have been in storage for such a long time they are rather well preserved although I have warned her to be gentle with them as, in Teddy years ,they are old age pensioners.

The Face

I also found some copies of The Face, dating back to 1996. It must be the same year (or maybe the year after..) I saw both The Prodigy and Oasis live at Glastonbury. I wonder if my children will be impressed?

There are still many more boxes to go through (having had the luxury of lots of storage space, my parents haven’t cleared anything out since we left Sweden!) but I hope to whittle down what I keep to two box files at the most. Wish me luck!

 

Linked In

Linked in

1.In the end, happiness is what we all strive for. Here are ten habits that will make us happier

2. Save up to 30% on Shopbop with the code BIGEVENT14 (Valid until tomorrow). I love this Juicy Couture necklace

3. Make your own original headboard with this DIY guide

4. Put a spring in your step and drool over the latest styles just in at Selfridges from Isabel Marant, Nicholas Kirkwood, Acne and Tods

5. A new book with helpful strategies to help kids cope with sensory overload in today’s hectic world

6. Pancake Day is just around the corner: here is a foolproof recipe for perfect pancakes