“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
The quote above is from William Morris, legendary designer, poet, pioneer of the Arts and Crafts movement, passionate socialist and founder of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (where I work). He’s kind of my hero.
Sadly, our flat doesn’t quite adhere to Morris’ rule. It’s pretty hard in such a small space, with a toddler, to stop the random crap from wandering in. But I have been watching a lot of the Great Interior Design Challenge just lately, which had put me in the mood to sort out our home a bit. Not that it looks anything like the rooms on the programme, but at least we don’t have to store piles of rubbish on every surface.
I don’t know if other families find this (or if we are just messy), but there are certain areas of our flat that we just don’t use well. They are out-of-the-way corners where stuff that has no other home comes to rest, until we can be bothered to find it a more permanent place. Which we never do. The shelves in the bathroom are one example. The bookcase in the corridor is another. The top of the chest of drawers in our bedroom, the small space beside the sofa, the counter top by the hobs.
I’ve been slowly sorting through each of these areas, getting rid of the things that are neither useful nor beautiful. Some of these have been too battered to go anywhere other than the bin (recycling, if possible). Others are on their way to the charity shop, or awaiting listing on an online auction site. Furniture has been moved around to make better use of space, and I have made an effort to find permanent homes for all the lost items hanging around. I’ve sorted out shelves to give us more storage space, and chucked all the random bits of cardboard we were keeping in the bathroom out (there is no recycling bin in there, so it gets put down out of the way to be thrown away ‘later’ and then we forget).
I have a couple of places left to do, but already our flat feels neater and less chaotic. It’s amazing how decluttering our physical space seems to have given me a calmer mental space.
Having said that, Tom has been ‘helping’ with the decluttering efforts by sorting all his toys out. Onto the living room floor. Apparently, they just look better there.
I guess a calm, ordered flat is just a dream when you have a toddler in your home!