Ours is a very happy and I dare say, lovely home. It’s not because we’re rich [we're definitely not] or because I’m a neat freak [too much effort] but simply because we’ve found a way to blend a comfortable family life with furnishings and everyday objects that make us happy and don’t require too much effort to maintain.
There’s a lovely quote by William Morris that says:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
This is really my mantra. However, I take it a step further though and break it down into 5 household rules:
1) Purge on a regular basis. Even if it’s beautiful and useful–if we’re not using it, it has to go! We do not live in a home where storage is plentiful. I sometimes have to be brutal to ensure clutter doesn’t take over. On a weekly basis I sort the “must-go’s” into three groups; Give-away, Throw-away and eBay. I keep these three named bags in our front hall closet and when they get full–I carry the plan through. This system works for me and helps me build up my all important paypal credit! I think clutter is depressing, it has a negative impact on people’s happiness. So easy to improve the situation though–purge!
2) I don’t buy anything that I worry about getting damaged. Life is too short for unwashable white rugs, delicate every-day dishes or silk drapes. Everything EVERYTHING in my house is washable, replaceable, durable. That doesn’t mean I compromise on quality or beauty. My sofas are cream-coloured but A) Purchased for a song on eBay and B) Professionally steamable–which I rent twice a year!
3) I refuse to allow plastic toys enter my home. Just because I have a young son does NOT mean I have to look at [or trip over] vibrant, tacky, plastic toys everywhere. We make a point of buying lovely wooden toys which in my opinion are safer, better for the environment and make for a nicer home experience. He’s nearly four and we have yet to encounter a toy he wants that cannot be sourced in a wooden variety. Even if a few are scattered it doesn’t have a negative impact. I tell everyone that plastic is not welcomed–and it’s honoured, even at birthday parties. People respect this choice
4) Stay on top of the cleaning/organizing. It’s true that a clean house feels happy. I conduct what I call a ‘surface clean’ every Friday for every room in our house. It not only helps me feel in control, but a surface clean is less daunting than a thorough top-to-bottom scrubbing. During the week I try to tackle one ‘thorough’ project at a time, rotating them over the month. For example, if it’s a sunny day and I have a quiet afternoon I’ll wash all of the windows. During my Friday clean though, I’m focused on what I can see [clutter put away] dust, vacuuming, surface wiping–I simply cannot be distracted by fingerprints on windows!
5) Keep rooms to two colours [and one neutral] only. Mulit-coloured rooms automatically look less planned, more cluttered and feel messier. I don’t believe that multiple bright colours make a space feel cheerful. I think it’s overwhelming! If everything matches and relates to the same colours, it just feels fresher. In fact, I run the same colour pallette through most of home. It’s easier on the eye, and it makes the items that ‘travel’ through the house not look out of place. It also makes it easier to shift furniture around when I’m trying to make room for a party, guest or holiday.
For more photos of my house, take the tour!