I am at in Audrey’s conservatory, and we are planning the session over coffee. She lost her husband over the year, and I am the first person to approach the delicate subject of how the rooms that are currently dedicated to her husband’s pursuits may have a different future, one that may make her life easier in the home. We spend some time unpicking what that might look like carefully and sensitively.
Many of us have been spared such losses but we have been looking at the same four walls for over a year now with the Covid-19 Lockdown restrictions and may be finding it hard to see it as a joyous sanctuary. For some the lack of social engagements has meant that longstanding projects have been gleefully embarked on. You may have found you have looked at the family photographs still in boxes or finally organised the pantry. But for some, the emotional demands of the last year have meant that just making it through the day with simple distractions has been enough.
I know in my home we have switched some rooms around so that I could relocate the Change Your Space office to the warmest and brightest room in the house which had previously been reserved as the under-used guest bedroom room. But on some days, we managed to just keep our spirits alive with films and jigsaw puzzles.
So, as we emerge from lockdown, how do we fall in love with our home again? Here are my top three tips:
Consider your home like preparing your garden.
If you are ready to prune, weed, and mow the lawn then think of inside in the same way. It is time to clear and reset before any new social opportunities, or projects commence, much like you would prepare the ground ready for seeds and plantings. Have a good thorough declutter of items that can go to recycling, and box and bag items ready for charity. We have about 2 million individual redundant items residing in our homes with an estimated reuse value of £32 billion for the recycling economy and charitable organisations. It is a win win. You are preparing the ground for your 2021 adventures, and the recovery of the country.
Reflect on how you have changed over this year.
As we emerge from a period of contemplation, or even out of a time of forced solitude, we can say what do I really enjoy doing and does my home serve me in those interests? What do I really use? We all buy items for a lifestyle we imagined but does not tie in with how we really spend our days. In the kitchen it may be that expensive juicer you bought has no use but forgive yourself, send it out and make room for the things you do enjoy day to day.
Honour your story.
In a more hopeful chapter, it becomes possible to reflect on the items in our home that create nostalgic memories and discern which are positive for us. It is an ideal time to create keepsake boxes for special items that remind you of special time in your life, or those of your loved ones. Once you have a special solid box for keepsakes, it makes it easier to prioritise what goes in those boxes and how other sentimental items such as gifts can be potentially given a new home and donated. I have seen a huge weight come off the shoulders of my clients when they realise that they have some special memories to keep, but that other gifted items are ideal to donate and give a new life elsewhere.
Change Your Space is a professional decluttering and downsizing service in Devon. We have helped hundreds of people address a sense of overwhelm in their homes since 2013.
Free consultations are available.