As I drive around, I am still seeing many properties showing signs of work being done – skips, tradesmen’s vans, scaffolding.
It seems that many of us are making improvements to our homes continuing the trend that began in lockdown.
Is there something about your home you would like to change?
A space or room that no longer works or which you want to use for a different purpose.
A change of layout.
A change of decor.
Let’s Start With Clutter
When I talk to people about what changes they would like to make to their home, often the response is that they would like to declutter in order to create more space. Certainly clutter prevents you seeing the space that you actually have.
Although clutter is generally associated with the problem of lack of space it can actually impact on other issues that you might have when planning any interiors project so I think it is a useful exercise to embark on a declutter before you approach any potential project. So firstly, why is clutter an issue?
Clutter can be an issue on a very practical level. If there is too much furniture in a room this can impede the ability to move around the room, access cupboards or may block the light from a window. If you have a lot of paperwork on your desk or a countertop you may overlook paying a bill for example. If you have just dumped your clothes on the floor, you can find it difficult to locate what you are looking for. The classic example, I suppose, is when you can’t find your keys, your glasses or your phone. Who among us has not experienced that feeling of panic when we are just on our way out of the front door only to discover that we can’t find that vital piece of kit? Which brings me on to a perhaps not so obvious aspect of clutter – how it makes us feel.
Clutter Causes Stress
I am not a naturally tidy person – sometimes it feels as if I only have to walk into a room to make it feel cluttered. I have a tendency to just put things down, particularly paperwork, with the intention that I will deal with it later. I do remember one occasion when I was in my living room sitting on the sofa and suddenly feeling that the room wasn’t tidy and I didn’t like it like that. So why does a messy environment make us feel stressed? Here are just a few reasons.
- If we are trying to solve a problem or brainstorm or think (for example you might be writing a piece of content) we need to have an open space around us and if we don’t that inhibits or creativity and productivity.
- Clutter suggests to our brains or work hasn’t been done so we can switch off.
- Clutter at us and excessive stimuli for our mind and therefore our minds are dealing with things that aren’t important.
So there are well-being reasons as well as practical reasons why clutter is a bad thing. It makes a lot of sense for us to declutter before we start on any interiors project however small.
So How To Start.
Embarking on a decluttering session can be rather overwhelming it can be very difficult to know where to begin the process so you give up before you’ve even started. These are my top tips
- Break it down. Any task can feel too big to manage taken as a whole. If we break it down into smaller sections then it is much easier to tackle. You could allocate a specific period of time or a specific area such as a drawer, cupboard or even a room. If things are going well and you feel like it you can always continue but stop at the point where you still feel you are ahead.
- Have different categories of what you are going to do with the items you are getting rid of. I like to have four which are bin, charity shop, sell and keep. You might like to have it extra one for things that you’re not sure about and want to think about overnight. Plastic storage crates or large boxes are a probably the easiest way of grouping the different items together and make it very easy for when you want to take things to the charity shop or recycling centre.
- Enlist the help of a friend. A good friend (choose the right one) can help you make decisions about what to do with particular items and also provide company. If you prefer to declutter on your own then put on some music which could either be energising if you need motivating or something soothing if you require calm.
Always stop when you have had enough and give yourself a treat when you have finished either a cup of tea, a glass of wine or a nice soak in the bath.
When you are decluttering it can be very tempting to go out and invest in some nice attractive storage on the basis that this will motivate you.
My advice is to wait until you have completed the declutter because until you have completed it you are not going to be sure of what storage you will need.
This is even more important when the declutter is a prelude to an interiors project because obviously any storage solution you invest in needs to be appropriate for the end result. On a temporary basis though, storage crates can again come in useful. Sometimes people advertise packing boxes from a move on social media sites or Apps like Nextdoor.
Once you have completed the declutter and are ready to begin planning your project then you can decide on the best form of storage for what you need whether it’s built in, freestanding or baskets.
A Space That You Can Feel Proud Of
At the beginning of this blog I talked about how clutter can impact on any interiors project that you are planning.
I hope that the advice given in the previous paragraphs has helped you address that issue so you are now in a position to start thinking about the project that lies ahead. One of the reasons why you might want to change something in your home is that you feel that it’s a room or or an area you’re not very proud of, perhaps you avoid inviting friends and family round. You might not actually want to “show off” your home but you simply want to have somewhere that makes you feel good. Professional input can give you options that you wouldn’t have thought of.
A Space That Works
You might want a space that works better for you and your family. Circumstances change and there can come a point where a room in your home or a space within it no longer works. People can even think that they have to move house when the problem is simply that the layout needs reconfiguring, And yes, that might involve some fairly major changes such as knocking down walls or even adding an extension or doing a conversion but those changes are less expensive than a move. This is especially the case if you actually like where you are. We are all different and any project needs to take account of your individual circumstances.
When we are thinking of an interiors project it can be stressful as well as exciting. Sometimes the thing that holds us back is a lack of confidence. We are worried about making choices or we are worried about making expensive mistakes. Having someone who can reassure you that your choices work together so that the end result will be what you want and that you won’t have wasted money can be invaluable. I like it when clients want to be involved in the process and make suggestions. On the other hand you might want someone to do the choosing for you, presenting you with a finished suggestion for approval. Whittling down the choices makes the process a lot easier.
I frequently return to the issue of time. Time is a very precious commodity, something that we are all short of.
We have many different demands on our time – work, family, hobbies, a social life. Most of us struggle to fit everything in and we have to juggle. We prioritise around what is important and what we enjoy doing. There may be things that we outsource such as cleaning or gardening or even taking advantage of a mobile car wash while you do your shopping.
When you first think about an interiors project it might seem quite straight forward and you think about the major elements but once you start, it can become apparent that there is more to it – fixtures and fittings, the positioning of electrical sockets etc. Add these aspects to the more obvious elements and you begin to realise that there is a lot more time involved than you originally envisaged.
If you are planning some sort of interiors project whether it’s a major undertaking such as an extension or even simply having a refresh then enlisting the help of a professional frees up your time to do other things. If you had that extra time what would you choose to spend it doing?
Maximising The Budget
There is no getting away from the fact that things have become more expensive. This might impact on the budget for your project and it may well mean that the cost of products and all labour has increased. It is therefore more necessary than ever to be clever with your choices. My advice is always to decide on your priorities. What are the things that it is most worthwhile investing in and what things are less important.
If you are planning an interiors project the amount of help and support you would like can vary enormously depend on the size of the project and your personal circumstances.
In a major project such as an extension you may need input from third parties such as architects, builders and trades. For a simple redecoration it might be design ideas to assist with aspects such as layout, colour scheme, choice of furniture etc.
I offer different levels of help from a moodboard, up to liaising with other professionals to coordinate the various elements.
So if you feel that you’d like some help with an interiors project but you’ve never worked with a professional before and don’t know what to expect here is an outline of my process.
You can contact me by phone, message or email. The first step is an informal meeting, ideally at the property itself, where I aim to gain an insight into your potential project and what you want. It is also an opportunity for you to meet me, get to know a bit about me and my background and ask any initial questions.
If it is a design you are after, I will create an initial concept board which is designed to give a flavour of the scheme and enables you to judge whether I have understood the brief correctly.
If you are happy to proceed, I Will arrange a follow-up consultation when we will discuss your project in more detail and I will then create a mood board or boards for your scheme depending on your requirements stop a floor plan is often a very useful addition that I can offer.
What’s It Like To Work With Me?
Customer service is extremely important to me and is at the heart of what I do. I know how frustrating poor customer service can be, whether it is answering telephone calls, responding to messages or turning up when you say you will.
Attention to detail. Attention to detail is crucial whether it is positioning artwork at the right height, finding the piece of furniture that is exactly what is required or choosing the right handles for cupboards. It is the little things that can make all the difference.
I see the design process as collaborative, it isn’t just about creating what I would like but the client is at the heart of the project and I do get enthusiastic!
I believe that there is scope for import from a professional no matter how small or large the budget, I really want my service to be accessible to everyone. So if you are thinking of some interiors project do please get in touch and let’s arrange that initial informal chat. Call me on (07745) 876182. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, North West and North Wales