Sunday, 3 January 2016

Tidying: My Golden Rules

My Nemesis: The Cupboard of Doom
I'm not afraid to admit it: I am one of life's messy people. Some would blame my ADD and dyspraxia, some would call it an expression of creative chaos, my mum just thinks I'm lazy. I can deal with a certain amount of clutter and my clothing carpet doesn't bother me as much as it probably should, but even I reach a tipping point where I wake up in the morning, look around myself and wonder in horror who came in and trashed the place. Then I remember that it was me. I did it. I trashed the place.

Being a blogger, I do fall into the cliché trap of wishing my whole life was a copper and marble minimalist haven, but that's never going to happen. But, on days like this morning where I want to create some semblance of harmony in my boudoir I do follow a couple of simple rules:

Dress Seasonally

I know British weather is pretty changeable but for the most part you can assume that in Winter it'll be cold, in Summer it'll be warm and in between is a mystery. If, like me, you have more clothes than you know what to do with then it's wise to split and store them along seasonal lines. Things like jeans and t-shirts are clearly year-round wear, but floaty summer dresses and strappy sandals can probably go away until May. Likewise, your heaviest jumpers and thick-knit dresses can go into storage in the middle of Spring. I use massive storage bags from dotcomgiftshop which have lovely prints and are remarkably sturdy. 

Don't Be Shamed By Your Closet

I think it's fair to say that a lot of us have clothes that we see as "someday" items: designer jeans a size too small that were too much of a bargain to pass up, that dress you wore once after a stomach flu? Conversely you could have larger items you still love but are too roomy now. Bodies change shape and size throughout our lives based on your age, your hormones, your lifestyle and your overall health, and I know in my own case I can get quite disheartened by ill-fitting clothes, whether they're big or small. 

What's more, most of us simply don't have the space to accommodate clothing that we don't/can't actually wear. So, get yourself in a good mood and a positive headspace where trying on clothes isn't going to make you feel crappy (for me the timing of this is crucial) and have a dress-up session. Make three sections of things that are too small, things that are too big and things that fit you now. Keep the things that fit in your closet, put the others away, clearly labelled (or if your weight is stable and has been for a while, you can maybe consider donating or chucking some of these other items). This way, if your weight fluctuates and your current wardrobe isn't quite working for you, you know where to look to easily find something to wear that looks and feels great.

Out of Sight, Out of the Way

It's a simple rule, but a useful one. Your space is never going to stay clean and tidy if you have to do an assault course through storage to get to everyday items. If your system means that your pants are at the bottom of a pile of ball dresses then you're going to end up with a room covered in gowns, your knickers on your head and you will be banned from your local Tesco for life. Or something.

What I mean by this is that you need to make sure that the things you need most are the easiest to get to. If you have one drawer or box for all of your lingerie, keep the fancy stuff near the bottom and your everyday undies near the top. Separate all of your basic plain t-shirts from your logo/band/merch tops. If you have office wear, try to keep this in its own place so you don't get frenzied on bleary-eyed Monday mornings. Things that you have put away for the season can reasonably be put in more awkward, out-of-reach places, like under-bed storage, deep cupboards and lofts, if you have one. I can also apply this to going-out shoes, as I pretty much never go out. I'm a hermit and happy about it.

Folding is Your Friend

I'm not Buzzfeed so I'm not going to write a list of top thirty-three ways you can fold a pair of leggings, but the point still stands. There's more than one way to fold, and the obvious way isn't always the best one. If, like me, you have loads of t-shirts in shades of black and grey, but with very different logos, figure out a way to display them so that the design is showing. If you have multiple pairs of black jeans that are actually different cuts or lengths then find a way to display that within your closet. This way you don't have to pull out half of your clothing to find what you're actually looking for.

Dream Theme

We all like a clear decorative message, whether that's in Instagram, someone's blog or in a well-thought-out room. I'm no Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen (is he still a thing?) but I have vaguely themed my office and my bedroom. My office decor is grey, turquoise and copper and my bedroom is more of a woodland rustic theme, with stag bedsheets, lots of wood colours and natural finishes. Having a theme can make objects seem like they belong together, and that in turn can make the space look more complete. Colour themes work well, but a more conceptual category can work fine too. If nothing else, if will force you to look critically at any random purchase you consider in the future and might put you off an impulse buy if it won't fit within the otherwise flawless décor. But this approach isn't just applicable to new things...

Time to Say Goodbye

We all have sentimental belongings. Love letters, little knick-knacks, photographs, we've all got 'em. But, there comes a time where we have to decide: do we want to have a clean and serene space or do we want a bookshelf covered in ceramic teddy bears? Either answer is perfectly fine depending on your preference, but you can strike a balance. Take a cold, hard look at some of your bric-a-brac and decide for yourself if you really want to keep that rock your ex brought you from Kenya when you were 19 (true story). If you don't really want it in the cold hard light of day, be ruthless and get rid. If you think you want to keep something for posterity but you don't want to be reminded of it all the time, put it in storage with a reminder to look at it in 6 months to a year to reevaluate. If you want to keep it, and you want it on show, find some way to showcase it prettily and meaningfully. I have a specific shelf for just this purpose, and once the shelf starts to overflow I force myself to rethink how much gubbins I really need.

Remember Who You Are

It's all well and good listening to me harp on about shoulds and should-nots, but you know better than I do what your lifestyle requires. Pick and choose what suits you, don't be afraid to experiment with storage and display solutions to find what works best. Keep the ideas that work, and try something else if it doesn't. Also remember that I am still a messy person and as such I am not in a constant state of instagram-friendly feng-shui. But, hey, it's an excuse to put on some loud music and chuck clutter, which always feels pretty good once you're done!

How do you keep your world in balance? Are you a closet wizard or is your floordrobe bigger than mine? Let me know! I'm about to apply my own rules to my own room, so I'll keep y'all posted via Twitter!



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