Friday, 21 October 2011

Life Laundry

I'm in the midst of undertaking a 'life laundry' - a phrase adopted from Lou, Boos and Shoes (whose lovely blog I have just discovered). The terminology seemed to capture and link together some otherwise seemingly random thoughts I had been having this week.
It started with my discovery and reading of be more with less - a blog written by Courtney Carver focused on minimalism living. Until earlier this year I had been leading a consumer-focused lifestyle, where instant gratification was the norm. However, with the decision to finally get my act together and start saving for a home deposit, I have over the past months found myself welcoming the shift from immediate consumer to someone who is more appreciative of both the things I have, but also the anticipation ofSitt saving for things I need or want. The austerity measures introduced by the British government, have merged into my own lifestyle, albeit in a much softer and palatable way. Through it, I've rediscovered my interest in sewing my own clothes and soft furnishings, and the pleasure I gain through hand making gifts for loved ones.
So, reading Courtney's blog came at an interesting time. Whilst I'm not ready to embrace minimalism in its entirety, there are certainly a number of elements that have resonated. I started to look around my flat with new eyes, and think more consciously about what I have, and how I use it. Given that I live in a reasonably small space, timely uncluttering never goes amiss. I've realised I have many, many things - even more so, when I think about the household possessions and furniture that are kindly being stored by my mother in Sydney.
At the same time, my love of design blogs keeps drawing me to roomscapes that are just so lovely - but this week, I've been trying to look at them through different eyes. Rather than focusing on whether the same element would work in my home (and then seeing if I could track down something similar), I've instead focused on what it is about the room that draws it together as a lovely space that expresses the owner's personality. Doing so has made me look at my own spaces with new eyes - what is it about these spaces and what fills them that expresses my personality, and what is extraneous.
So, what was originally planned as an uncluttering project, has metamorphosed into a life laundry project. I am going to attempt to abide by the advice of William Morris and have nothing in my house that I do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. I plan, over the coming weeks, to look at everything - from clothes, to homewares, books and even furnishings. I imagine some decisions will be simple, others will seem more challenging - I am sentimental by nature and know that I may have a hard time letting go of some things. There are other things (such as furniture) which I originally purchased as an expedient way to furnish the flat, rather than them being things I love. They will be longer term projects as I savour the anticipation of hunting at various antique fairs, second-hand shops and ebay to find replacements that have much more resonance for me (and fit with my budget-conscious wallet).
I do think this could be something I quite quickly run out of steam with (or at least procrastinate about getting around to). So, posting the pictures below is essentially about setting the starting mark for me - once these photos are up on this blog, I actually have to do something about it. This is the current state of the overloaded bookshelves in my tiny dining area.

 The two piles of books on the table are from my initial 5-minute cull
As you can see, no attempt at tidying was undertaken. This is the reality of my flat when sewing projects are underway (the machine and other paraphernalia also clutter my living space!). Books have always been a weakness for me. When I moved to London nearly 6 years ago I decided I would only keep books that I absolutely wanted to read again. The others are routinely donated to charity shops. But, given that I did a quick 5 minute cull the other night and ended up with the two big piles on the dining table, I obviously wasn't as strict as I thought I had been. This space also needs to double as storage for books, office/study supplies as well as photos etc. At the moment it is an unordered mess.
By the end of this project I am hoping it might look a little more like this...
 Guest Bedroom
 Image via windlost
Image via pinterest
Pinned Image
Image via pinterest
In addition to breaking my amazon addiction (I'm sure it is not normal to have 40 books routinely sitting in one's online shopping basket) and returning to my local library, I'll report back on the outcome when completed...


  1. Good luck with this Annie. I has a major declutter when we moved from our large 4 bedroom suburban Brisbane home to a small single front inner London terrace. It was very theraputic!
    Cheers Kylie x

  2. Oh Annie, I am sooo with you. Embracing decluttering like there is no tomorrow. I too follow Courtney's blog religiously. There is a great article on there this morning about running... it made me put my running shoes on... so I have just come back from my run! Living with less makes life lighter, simpler. I will never go back! A-M xx

  3. Thanks Kylie and AM - the project is underway, though it has hit a bit of a hiatus while I'm at work this week. Interestingly, I've started doing a 2nd trawl after my initial cull - and have surprised myself that I usually find other things that can be added to the declutter pile. And thanks for the direction towards apartment therapy on your blog today AM - some well-timed motivation!