There is something about the change in the seasons that makes me want to have a clear out and try to achieve a better balance in my life. I know from talking to friends that I am not alone!
Just googling “de-clutter” comes up with lots of different books, seminars, apps and TV programmes all dedicated to helping you tidy your space. I don’t know about you, but I can live in organised chaos for some time and then something just clicks, and I need to sort it all out.
I know that for some people, a tidy room can be soothing and for others it just feels sterile and bland. It seems to me that it is very much a personal choice as to the level of clutter that each person feels comfortable with.
I can work productively in a place that some people might find untidy. Having my things around me helps me creatively and allows me to relax and come up with new ideas. Sometimes I just don’t see the mess and it’s not until I am expecting a visitor that I fly around and tidy things up.
There was a great quote from Albert Einstein, famous for his creative thinking:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” You can probably tell from the photo below that my desk is rarely empty!
I think shared spaces is probably one of the "battlegrounds", like offices where one person’s mess can be another person’s nightmare. There is clearly a balance to be struck between super messy and totally tidy. Even if you are messy, it's easy to recognise that issues can occur when your mess spills over into someone else’s tidy space. It happens at home as well as in work and explaining the issue can sometimes help to resolve it!
Messy can very quickly turn into unhygienic if you abandon mugs and plates under papers or your bed (!) or unproductive if you are constantly searching for the bit of paper that you can’t find. Tidier people seem to have cleaner homes says one US study.
The same study also found a link between physical activity and cleaner homes. They identified that people with cleaner homes were more likely to be willing to exercise; there seemed to be a correlation between taking care of their homes and their bodies!
Psychologists in the US found that people who described their space as “cluttered” or “full of unfinished projects” were more likely to be depressed and tired that those who described their homes as “restful and restorative”. The people living in clutter also had higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Research shows that clutter can make it more difficult to focus on one task. Visually people can be distracted by things that aren’t relevant to what they are doing, making it harder to work efficiently. Studies in the UK, USA and Canada found a link between clean environments and academic performance.
Scientists at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute show that our brains like order and that constant visual reminders of disorganisation drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to focus. They also found that when participants cleared clutter from their work environment, they were better able to focus and process information and their productivity increased.
This knitting machine in my studio is a reminder of unfinished projects, but it does also stimulates the creative juices!
Small Changes Can Lead to Success
There are loads of tidying up gurus out there offering advice around better organising your life. What’s perhaps most surprising is how most of these books advocate small changes for big results, so it might be that making your bed each day would lead to a better night’s sleep?
One of the most famous organisation gurus is Marie Kondo, who has written books and made TV programmes about how to tidy your house by category like clothes or books, instead of room and discarding anything that doesn’t “spark joy”. Her system of KonMari provides a structured approach to decluttering each category in turn so that you systematically re-evaluate your possessions, leaving only those that you truly want.
"A dramatic reorganisation of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming” – Marie Kondo
5 Ideas to Help Declutter Your Home
We make quite a few products which are linked to organising and managing space; the development of each product has been driven by a personal need!
Equally, as a brand we believe in buying what you need and making things that are long lasting, so sometimes it's a question of taking the principle and translating this into a practical solution for you.
Idea 1: Carrier Bag Holders
Keeping all your carrier bags in one place so that you can quickly take them out and re-use them is a bit of a life changer. No more arriving at the supermarket and having to buy another one or searching around endless drawers in the back of cupboards for them. I think every kitchen should have one. Hang it up and fill it up!.
They are also great for socks, tights, wool, old bits of fabric that you want to keep, dish cloths, tea towels - really anything that you want to store and that doesn't need to be carefully folded!
Idea 2: Fabric Storage Pots
Cosmetics can sometimes really get away from me, so here are a couple of ideas for storing face wipes or bottles. Equally, these lovely linen fabric storage pots can be used for plants or stationery. I have one on a shelf in my office, which means that all the bits and bobs are held together instead of floating around.
Idea 3: Produce Bags Set
This set of 3 Linen Produce Bags are a great plastic-free alternative for storing fresh produce and dry goods. Linen is a naturally breathable material with antibacterial properties, so an ideal choice for food storage. The linen bag allows air to circulate, keeping your vegetables and leafy greens deliciously fresh.
The bag's linen cord creates a secure tie keeping your selections safe and secure. We take ours along to the weekly farmer's market to fill with locally sourced goodies.
Idea 4: Pouch for Storage
Use a zipped soft purse or pouch for keeping lots of little things together.
You could store sewing essentials or keep a charger and ear phones in one. How about keeping your make up together so it doesn't get loose in your handbag or for use one for a small first aid kit.
I keep a sketch book and pens in one pouch and have another for a crochet hook and yarn. I also use a soft pouch for taking on holiday for my passport and other travel essentials.
Our Useful Bee Pouch is made from pure, soft washed linen and features a hand printed design from our new Honey Bee Collection, with a dark navy velvet lining. Each one has a strong brass zipper with a soft velvet zip pull.
Team up with our sweet little linen coin purse, pop one inside the other and you have all your essentials in one place!
Idea 5: A Notebook For Your Lists & Ideas
Are you a lined or unlined notebook person? Apparently a plain unlined notebook allows you to express yourself creatively.
Keeping notebooks with all your lists, ideas and sketches allows you to refer back to them and have a permanent record of your ideas.
Things can pop into your head at any time, so it's good to keep a notebook to capture all these ideas.
Our notebooks are available in A5 and A6 sizes. With a strong Kraft card cover and 16 pages of great quality, heavyweight 150gsm ecological white plain paper, they are great for both pen, ink and pastels. A lovely choice of screen printed designs is available including birds, floral or bee designs.
I am never without at least one in my bag, one next to my bed and one in the kitchen!
I hope that there is something that you can take away from some of these ideas. Not least that there are products out there to help you get better organised to beat the clutter if and when the mood strikes you!
For full details of all of our products that might help you to keep things together visit the "De Clutter" section on our website!
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