Autumn Sorting – Getting the home ready for Christmas

As the weather is turning and the big ‘C’ word approaches, we will naturally find ourselves spending more time at home. Autumn is a great time to declutter and organise in preparation for Christmas to prevent unnecessary purchases and to create a wonderful festive home. When we think of spring we think of spring cleaning to recover from Christmas when actually, we should re-organise the home before so that spring cleaning isn’t such a mammoth task. The Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO- for which I am a member) have marked National Organising Week from 4th – 10th November. I think this is a great idea, so let’s get see where to start, but of course you can begin earlier.

Clothing

I think a great place to start is with clothes. You may have already started this as summer is behind us, but go through all your clothing passing on anything that no longer fits or is broken, or that you don’t envisage yourself wearing next year. A separate blog post on your Autumn wardrobe is coming next week. We often find clothing the easiest thing to part with in the house because we don’t hold too much sentimental value to it.

Bedroom

As we’ve started going through the wardrobe we can continue the rest of the bedroom. It’s a great time to have a good clean behind and under furniture as its spider nesting season! Another good thing to do is to make sure you flip and vacuum your mattress. You could also wash throws, cushions and change to your winter duvet if this is something you do. As you may be entertaining for Christmas, this is ideal to do now so you’re not panic buying additional bedding.

Bathroom

The bathroom is not usually a difficult one. Just go through the medicine cabinet checking dates, returning prescriptions that are unused. Often people buy us shower and bath smellies so it is a good time to pass on the ones you haven’t used from last Christmas. You could think about chatting to people and saying you don’t need these items again this year (more on that in another post soon). Give the bathroom a really good scrub focusing on grout, re-sealing is necessary and looking at dampness prevention if this is something your home suffers during colder months.

Children’s Bedrooms

This is one of the most important ones if your children are expecting Santa Claus. It is a great way to take note of what they have and might need replacing with gifts. It is a lovely way to teach children about giving too at Christmas. Empower them by allowing them to choose a charity shop for their unwanted toys. Start with their clothes to get them into the decision making process and then move to toys. A great thing to do is the shoebox appeal for items that may not have been used or are in a fantastic condition. Try to make it an exciting event rather than a chore and children will get on board.

Kitchen

This one goes without saying but clean the oven, fridge and freezer. Pull out any appliances and clean behind them. Then you can tackle the cupboards. Depending on the item and how you feel about it, discard anything you haven’t used in the last year and are not planning to use over Christmas. Then there’s food. Check all items for dates and if it something you have not used or not going to use, consider giving it to a food bank. Again you can involve children during this time. You may also want to seal or re-varnish solid surface and wood worktops.

Living Areas

You can vacuum behind furniture and under sofa cushions – you may find some money. Polish wood furniture and flooring. You may need to seal over any wood furniture or flooring with the temperature change in the home as heating starts. You may need to get the chimney swept also if you are lucky enough to have a real fire. You could also condition any leather furniture. Wash any cushions and throws. It is a good time to give any house plants a bit of attention too and wash artificial plants.

Other Jobs

Give the windows, doors, skirting boards a good clean and consider getting a window cleaner. Give the switches and plug sockets a wipe over and spot clean any carpets or rugs. Consider cleaning the rain gutters outside. Last but not least, check your loft for Christmas decorations, greetings cards and crackers which you may have left over from last year.

Have a great week.

Reclaiming Interiors was founded by Lauren Paige Smith, a Professional Organiser and Interior Stylist. She is member of APDO and qualified with a Master’s degree in Interior design. Also a qualified yoga teacher, Lauren is passionate about wellbeing and slow, intentional living in a home that brings happiness and calm. She is on a mission to help people to restore the love for their home.

Sustainable Christmas wrapping | Waste: It’s definitely not the most wonderful time of the year

How is it the 11th November already? I’ve been saying this all year like most but it doesn’t feel like Christmas is just over one month away. I’m really excited this year as I’m off to Florida again to spend it with the in-laws.

I’m not sure about you but the thought of Christmas brings a range of emotions. It brings excitement, happiness and anticipation as well as stress and worry for a lot of people. The present buying also brings happiness but there is a feeling of stress about money, what to buy people and having the time to buy things with doubt over how much they will like or value the present.

I get most excited for the food and family time at Christmas now. Instead of presents last year I bought experiences for my family. Whilst I know this is not for everyone I’m sure most people will agree one of the least fun parts of Christmas is the present wrapping part. In past years I would leave it until late and end up spending Christmas Eve or Christmas Eve Eve or Christmas Eve Eve Eve wrapping presents on the lounge floor getting pins and needles and a backache. That’s just no fun! Can you relate to this too?

Anyway the most boring part of Christmas – the wrapping is also damaging the environment. Fact. Did you know that in the UK we use 227,000 miles of gift wrapping paper, 83 kilometres of which will end up in our bins. Each house on average goes through four rolls of wrapping paper. We also use 40 million rolls of sellotape each year!

Most people probably aren’t aware that a lot of gift wrap is non-recyclable. A lot of people won’t check this and it won’t be blindingly obvious on the single use outer packaging whether it is either. So if you, like me are looking for more sustainable – yet classy and equally magical ways of wrapping presents here are some lovely ideas for you.

You can see the tons more on our Pinterest page here.

Have a fabulous week everyone!

Reclaiming Interiors was founded by Lauren Paige Smith, a Professional Organiser and Interior Stylist. She is member of APDO and qualified with a Master’s degree in Interior design. Also a qualified yoga teacher, Lauren is passionate about wellbeing and slow, intentional living in a home that brings happiness and calm. She is on a mission to help people to restore the love for their home.

Decluttering the kids stuff before Christmas – Workshop

Hello Reclaimers!

I have had a really busy week last week and am glad to be back writing on the blog. I have been away for a week on some training and have a full week of decluttering and organising next week. All very exciting stuff for Reclaiming Interiors and our Reclaimers!

Last Saturday we held the first decluttering workshop in Ipswich and it is fair to say it was a success. A total of six ladies came along to the event which focus was on ‘Decluttering the kids stuff before Christmas’. We talked about the importance of decluttering, existing fears of decluttering and barriers preventing us from getting started. 

It was not surprising to find out that everyone shared similar fears surrounding the subject. Here are the fears we discovered:

  • Parting with something and regretting it later on
  • Losing memories we have of a significant time or event in our lives
  • Not being ready mentally 
  • Not knowing where to start

I too have experienced all of these fears when I decluttered. I say decluttered because I refer to the one time that made a transformational change for me. In narrowing an entire house down to a suitcase I can honestly say there is only one item I have struggled to part with which I will talk about in another post some other time. 

At ‘The Studio’ In Ipswich. A perfect venue which is bright, fresh, clean and well-designed.

We talked about going on holiday and the weight off our shoulders when we are living out of a suitcase. We get get room to breath, a clearer mind and a feeling of being refreshed and rejuvenated. 

What about that feeling of walking through the door and feeling a sense of dread, suddenly confronted with hundreds of to-do jobs, noticing unfinished jobs and the dread of ‘normal’ life setting in again? Sounding all too familiar?

I just love this wall mural in The Studio. “The creative adult is the child who survived”

I personally feel that decluttering can give us a new existential meaning. Our thinking process becomes less murky and we gain a new sense of clarity. We are able to focus on the things that really matter to us. I can say that when I decluttered I was in a place in my life where I need a big shake up. I look back at this time of my life as my quarter-life crisis. I had bought my first house, filled it to the brim and using all my brain’s capacity to maintain this state of perfection. I didn’t see it at the time. I wanted and needed to declutter as much as I could to pursue a burning desire to travel. 

Every single item in your home has a story. A reason for how it got there. Imagine creating an inventory for your home. A long stock list of every piece in your home. Just take a moment to think about how many items that really looks like? That’s a lot of decisions. It’s no wonder why we struggle thinking about where to start. Make a plan and get started. By making a plan to decluttering we are much more likely to follow through. It is good to set a date and prepare everyone in the home for it. I think a lot of people wait until they feel like it and then decide on impulse to get started. 

If you do get going I’d love to see your progress pictures. Use the hashtag #myreclaimedinterior

Have a fab week everyone.

professional-organiser-Ipswich

Reclaiming Interiors was founded by Lauren Paige Smith, a Professional Organiser and Interior Stylist. She is member of APDO and qualified with a Master’s degree in Interior Design. Also a qualified Yoga teacher, Lauren is passionate about wellbeing and slow, intentional living in a home that brings happiness and calm. She is on a mission to help people to restore the love for their home.

Where to start when sorting out clothing

The weather is turning and it is certainly darker in the mornings. It gets to this time in the year where we want to spend more time in bed and less time choosing what to wear. We look at our wardrobe and still have the summer clothes as well as some winter clothes left from last year. It is the perfect time to have a good sort out and ensure your wardrobe is only filled with the things you love but most importantly that make you feel good.

The best place to start is by removing all clothes from the wardrobes, chest of drawers, cupboards and even laundry basket so you can see exactly how much you have. This first step is usually quite alarming to most, so be prepared to be shocked by the quantity that you have. A good way to think is the 90/90 rule. This idea covers most seasons as Autumn and Spring can be similar in terms of what you wear. If you haven’t worn the item for the last 90 days and don’t plan on wearing it for the next 90 days then it is safe to say you won’t miss it. Maybe someone else may get a better use out of the item so you can consider passing it on to charity or selling it yourself. There is of course an exception when it comes to hobby clothing but this can be discussed in another blog post in the future.

Once all your clothes are in one big pile you can work through the pile and sort into four sections. 1. Keep 2. Not sure. 3. Donate 4. Dispose. Everything in the dispose pile should only be disposed of if it cannot be passed on. Most charity shops have a contingency for the items that are not in a good enough condition to be resold.

Once everything is categorised into these piles you can focus on the ‘Not sure’ pile and spend some time with these items. Common thoughts here are I have only worn it once and I would like to wear it again. If you do not have an occasion to wear it again then really consider whether you would or whether you have a guilt of parting with the item because of the money you spent on it originally. Another common thought is I will keep this just in case. The just in case is a waste of your time and wardrobe space, trust me. Whatever that just in case meaning, you will be able to find something similar in the future if you need it.

With the Donate pile, ensure you donate these items either the same/next day or week if possible. It is all too tempting to keep looking in that bag if it is lying around gradually taking items out and creeping them back into your room without a plan for it. Keep it somewhere that is becomes an obstacle to remind you to take it to the charity shop. If you put it in the garage, the chances are it’ll be forgotten about.

The Dispose pile. With this pile, do not take this too lightly, plan how you will dispose of the item, ensuring it is recycled where possible and not ending up in landfill. This conscious effort in how you dispose of items should be considered when you purchase things too. There is a worldwide shift in attitude towards fashion and you only need to look at the amount of programmes and documentaries about it online and Netflix.

The Keep pile. Firstly categorise your clothes into sections. If you find you have similar items such as three grey jumpers but you rarely wear grey, then pick your favourite one or two and part with the rest. Anything that is damaged beyond your own scope to repair it can be passed on also. Try to be honest and logical during the process. Also putting the item on and seeing how it makes you feel wearing it can help decision making.

I will do a separate post on how to re-fill your wardrobes and drawers using the space effectively so keep an eye out for that soon.

On 2nd November I am holding a workshop on how to declutter the kids rooms ready for Christmas, so book on if this is something of interest to you. I hope to see you then!

Have a fabulous week everyone.

professional-organiser-Ipswich

Reclaiming Interiors was founded by Lauren Paige Smith, a Professional Organiser and Interior Stylist. She is member of APDO and qualified with a Master’s degree in Interior design. Also a qualified yoga teacher, Lauren is passionate about wellbeing and slow, intentional living in a home that brings happiness and calm. She is on a mission to help people to restore the love for their home.

“I don’t have time to declutter!” – I get it.

Autumn is officially upon us now and the ‘C’ word will be here as soon as you know it. Christmas is one of the most stressful times in households with organisation, spending and everything else that comes with “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Decluttering is something that most people tend to when they are at their wits-end. We just don’t consider decluttering when we feel that life is going pretty damn well. We do it when we feel like we really must, because we just can’t take it anymore. When the house, the partner, the kids, dogs and everyone has contributed to the mountain that feels like Everest, we decide to take action. It’s a strange psychology when you think about it. We allow our external space to become untidy, unorganised and messy which completely affects our internal space and wellbeing. This domino effects changes the dynamic of our household, our relationships, work and diet. We then plug away and exhaust ourselves to the point of burnout knowing that it’ll last for a certain amount of time before we need to repeat the cycle over and over again. And yes, I have also been there! I have built my business and methods based on my own experiences which is why I am so passionate about this industry. I have gone from being a scatty person 90% of the time to scatty just 5% of the time – and to be honest I’ve learnt to accept and grow fond of that 5% scatty me.

Professional-organiser-Ipswich

I don’t believe there is ever a ‘perfect’ time to declutter. I do believe that it should be carried out regularly however. I also feel that different areas of the house should be cleared more regularly than others. Wardrobes can be decluttered every two to three months – this works well with seasonal changes in weather. Also if you decide to go on a big shopping day, just scan through your wardrobe or closet to see what you actually need first. When doing a food shop, just look through and plan your meals before you go out to use up what’s already in the cupboard. This type of planning allows less waste and healthier choices but also the financial gain of unnecessary spending. Another area which should be decluttered regularly as often as weekly or fortnightly is paperwork. Keeping on top of bills, statements, renewals etc. is vital to prevent additional stress and worry of your finances or forgetting appointments.

Professional-organiser-Ipswich

Hiring a professional organiser is one of the most effective ways to get your home in order. By having an external person to assess your home and lifestyle (without judgement), you get an honest opinion on what could be improved. It is also a great way to get all the family on board, involved and excited about the changes. I truly believe to get your home to a place of continuous transformation, there needs to be a lifestyle change. This is also not the responsibility of one person in the home. Having a professional organiser’s help also makes the process more productive rather than spending time reminiscing when finding all sorts you had forgotten you acquired.

With my business I offer a free home consultation which is approximately one hour long to create an action plan for the home. If you have ever had a professional organiser or are thinking of having one to come and help I would love to hear from you.

Have a great week everyone.

Reclaiming Interiors was founded by Lauren Paige Smith, a Professional Organiser and Interior Stylist. She is member of APDO and qualified with a Master’s degree in Interior Design. Also a qualified yoga teacher, Lauren is passionate about wellbeing and slow, intentional living in a home that brings happiness and calm. She is on a mission to help people to restore the love for their home.