It’s one thing to declutter your home and then sparsely furnish it with cool, retro Scandinavian -inspired pieces of furniture. But how do you maintain the look? How do you stop hoarding stuff you really don’t love? Swedish-born Sydney-based interior designer Anna-Carin McNamara shares her insider’s tips.
‘We are what we repeatedly do.’ Aristotle
Psychologists tell us it takes just twenty-one days to form a good ‘habit’ – whether that’s starting yoga in the mornings, or drinking enough water throughout the day – but it actually takes longer to break a bad habit! This is great news. Once you have a home you love, it’s easier than you think to keep it that way. Scandinavians consider home maintenance in terms of ‘cycles’. We have daily, weekly and seasonal tasks which enable us to keep on top of things, all the more important given the frantic pace of modern life. Don’t think of the following tips as chores. Think of them as rituals – tasks that might not be all that rewarding on their own, but when performed consistently over a period of time, will give your home that comfortable and calm feeling.
1. Make your bed in the morning (and get your kids to do the same). This ritual is non-negotiable. An unmade bed inclines you to dump your clothes on it – this just makes things worse!
2. Wipe down the bathroom basin and vanity after each use. Lead by example and everyone in your household will (hopefully) follow suit.
3. Put your outdoor stuff (clothes, shoes, sports equipment) away as soon as you come home. This is what cupboards are for. Make good use of them.
4. Pack away the dishes – not only does it look better but it’s more hygienic.
5. Clean the kitchen sink each night. It’s the heart of the kitchen, after all.
6. Before going to bed, do an ‘eight minute’ tidy up. Allocate a room to a different member of the family. The difference the next morning will be remarkable.
7. Lastly, hang up your clothes after taking them off. Not only does this mean your beautifully made bed stays that way, but your clothes will last longer, too.
1. Recycle your magazines and newspapers. Only keep the most current and collectable. If really important, scrapbook those special articles.
2. Sort out old papers, letters, bills and other guff that accumulate on benches, corners and on your desk. Again, be ruthless: scan or photograph anything important but recycle everything else.
3. Finally, clean out your fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards. It’s amazing how much out-of-date stuff we all accumulate. While you’re chucking out, give the insides of the fridge and cupboards a quick clean.
4. Review your wardrobe. Examine everything in your closets and make sure it brings you joy. If there’s anything that’s out of fashion, or damaged, or ugly, or that you just don’t love, give it a new home. While you’re at it, clean, fold and store any winter clothes so they’re ready to go next year.
5. Clean out the bottom drawer in the kitchen! We all have at least one of these repositories for junk. They attract objects that can’t find a home and then grow exponentially. Take a moment to sort those dead batteries, balls of string, foreign coins and broken utensils and free up storage space.
6. And air your rugs. Even just half an hour outside in the sunshine will work wonders.
1. Review all toys, sport and hobby equipment. What’s broken? What no longer fits? Why do we have nine tennis racquets when we only have two kids? Time to say goodbye to all that extra stuff.
2. Clean the barbecue. Just like your car, your barbecue will reward you if you give it a good spit ‘n’ polish every now and then. Imagine firing it up on a cold winter’s night (or sultry summer eve) and avoiding a plume of choking black smoke thanks to last year’s accumulated grease.
3. Lastly, give your bathroom cupboards and medicine cabinet a thorough going over. Out of date cosmetics and medicines are not only unpleasant, they can be dangerous. Medicine can turn to poison quickly and you never want to mess with expired sunscreen!
Make a Home to Love By Anna-Carin McNamara (Brio Books RRP $34.99) is available from Booktopia and wherever good books are sold. The book goes on sale in store from 1 April.
Picture Credit: Courtesy of Anna-Carin Design / Justin Alexander