Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Keeping your simpler space simple

A few weeks ago I came across the blog of interior designer James Swan, and this post really caught my attention. It's also right on track with yesterday's post "How to achieve a simpler space." Seemed you guys really liked the topic, so I figured I'd ad on with what James had to say - (he ads a little of his humor and political metaphor for laughs)

"If you follow political and economic headlines there is a reoccurring theme that cannot be ignored. It appears that vast quantities of resources are, by the nature of the crisis, being focused on cleaning up the past before we can hope for success in re-calibrating our vision of the future. And this makes sense.

Sweeping inconvenient little messes under the carpet will eventually leave you with a lumpy carpet that is being eaten from within by the dirt and grime. And we all know how that ends, only too well. So let’s learn a lesson from our national headlines as we focus on making our homes a bit more beautiful during these otherwise rather ugly times.

I suggest to you that our first priority when considering how to make our homes more beautiful (with minimal expense) is to CLEAN UP THE MESS.

Please understand that “mess” is a relative term. My mother was known in our neighborhood as Mrs. Clean. A “mess” in my mother’s home was usually an errant dust bunny that had successfully fled the mighty Hoover and lived an extra day to tell its tale. It never had time to tell the tale twice! For others the term “mess” will have far more monumental connotations. Yikes!

The first step to a more beautiful home centers our attention on the terms “neat” and “clean.” How do we achieve this? Here are 3 Steps to a Neat and Clean Home:

1. Pick Your S#*t Up! Sorry to be vulgar but honestly! We are not children anymore (though they can be helpful to this process…in fact make this a family activity, seriously!) and we are perfectly capable of picking up after ourselves. The Rule is simple: Unless it is a substantial furniture piece, an important sculpture, or an aging family member it does not belong on the floor of our home. Put the laundry in a basket.

*Amen to that! I couldn't put it better!*

Put your purse or briefcase on a desk or dresser. Coats and jackets are hung in closets, sweaters are folded and placed in drawers, and books, magazines and newspapers are stored on shelves, in baskets and in the recycling bin respectively. Remember The Rule: scan a room and then get to work. You will be pleased with the impact this effort will have on your road to a more beautiful home.

2. Edit, Edit, Edit. We love our stuff. We gather, nay hoard, more than we can possible use so my suggestion is to edit. In today’s economic times the thought that someone else might actually put to use something that’s been collecting dust on a table, shelf or in a closet in our home for years should bring a smile to your face. Whether you elect to donate or to sell, the net gain for our own home is that of space. Air. Room to breath. And that, Dear Reader, is a beautiful thing.

3. Clean, Clean, Clean. From top to bottom; every corner and crevice needs to be cleaned. There are books and websites galore which can assist you in the nuts and bolts of this process, and allow you to be green while you do it. But the point is to do it. My sisters and I used to complain vociferously as we rolled up our sleeves and tended to our chores each Saturday morning.

These where times filled with purpose, laughter and the reward of accomplishment. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. Get the whole family involved and make it fun. Remember everything has changed. Nothing is the same so make the most of these times with those you love. Shoulder the responsibility for your home together, even if it’s just the ritual of cleaning. You will enjoy the beauty of the results and well as the joy of the process."

Sounds pretty simple eh? Well, I've been in plenty of homes where these commandments of basic home maintenance are broken. A lot of this is a matter of willpower. I tend to just use the simple mantra and Nike slogan "just do it." There aren't any excuses. If you can find time to watch TV, or play games on the internet (okay, so maybe we all don't) then you can do these things! And in the end, once it becomes routine, it will take less and less time to accomplish, therefore leaving you more time to relax and play in your clean and simple home. Good luck!

Here's a visual nudge for you. This is the home of Julie Carlson (Remodelista blogger), whose family created this home from what used to be a fixer-upper rancher!

top two images via Apartment Therapy, remaining via Point Click Home


Anettes hus said...

Hi! I love your blog! Thanks for the inspiration! Beautiful pictures!!

Klem Anette fom Norway:)

Julie EJ said...

How interesting! I got up early and planned to cleaning today(smile) and I thought I will just read some blog before I start my day and voila! I found your blog..
Yes.. Today is my clean up and organizing day.. Thank you for the Divine Afflatus!!!!


Shelly Beson said...

THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION. I really need it right now.

citysage said...

Oh man. We just moved into a new apartment over the weekend and these rules are calling out to me! The house is still a disorganized mess but how I would love to take the opportunity for a fresh start! Step one? Finish unpacking all the half full boxes crowding my hallways!

Great post Ashley!

Ashley said...

Anne - best of luck with unpacking! There's nothing quite like it ;)

Down Comforter said...

Really beautiful home :)


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