April 25, 2015

My Spring-Clean List!

ENG I'm a junkie for lists, and here comes my list on resources for spring cleaning/ decluttering. (I'm beginning to enjoy organizing so much that I even like planning for it!) And sorry, this time around it's only in English.

The photo on the left is courtesy of Remodelista: Ilse Crawford's design for the rooms at High Road House in London drawing heavily on Shaker staples such as pegboards, quilt racks, and clean-lined furniture (for more on Shaker style organizing, See below).

1) Events Now, if you're in Finland, take advantage of initiatives such as Recycling Factory this weekend and Siivouspäivä, or "Cleaning day", in May 
2) WWW Get inspired by eg. Apartment Therapy's Organizing section and Pinterest (take a look at a whole series of neatly organized cabinets on my HOME⎮a to z)
3) Books And look forward to upcoming Ryland Peters & Small titles such as Everything in its Place and Keeping House. Below, there's an excerpt from a somewhat outdated volume, DK Home Design Workbooks: Storage (1997), that I nevertheless find illuminating on changing cultural attitudes toward storage:

Greater awareness of storage needs over the last few years, is, of course, related to the fact that we live in an increasingly consumer-driven age. We have vast amounts of goods to house, whereas several hundred years ago the only storage a simple household needed would have been a carved or painted chest in which to keep linens and a few modest belongings. As societies become more affluent, storage expands to cater not just for need, but for opulence – to show off wealth through possessions. 
During the second half of the the twentieth century, the dynamics of the house changed so that the utilitarian rooms that were once taken for granted and associated with drudgery – pantries, laundry rooms, and larders – are now considered luxury. The modern yearning for living space – the relentless pace at which we have knocked down walls – has been at the expense of those functional rooms, which once acted as a vital support for the smooth running of the house. Today, these rooms – as well as other dedicated storage areas, such as cellars and lofts – are still invaluable: they take the burden of storage, allowing the other rooms in the house to remain elegant and uncluttered. 
The Shakers introduced what might be termed the first real storage "system" in America in the late eightieth century and early nineteenth century. Although the Shaker style has since become fashionable, and expensive and aesthetic, it was born out of pure practicality. Peg rails fixed to the walls provided a convenient place to hang chairs when sweeping the floor, and built-in, as opposed to freestanding, furniture made rooms easier to clean as well as leaving the space uncluttered for prayer meetings. 
Although the Shakers' views on storage came through their work ethic, they had much in common with the traditional Japanese interiors, which arrived at the same kind of simplicity from a cultural and hygienic point. Hoarding possessions was alien to the Japanese mentality – they would have only one individual object on show in the traditional display recess called the "tokonoma", as they considered that only in its solitary state could it be fully appreciated and inspire contemplation. Belongings associated with everyday living, such as futons, were stored in another recess, concealed behind sliding doors. Today many aspire to this Japanese-style minimalism in their surroundings – but it only works well if you have a ruthless ability to discard extraneous possessions. Storage can certainly help organize an untidy person, but it is unlikely to fundamentally change their character. For this reason, plan your storage, tailoring it as closely as possible to your individual circumstances, personality, and lifestyle. rather than deciding on a "look" dictated by fashion which may not suit you.
Happy cleaning! XXX, Katja K.

PS Talking about Japanese tokonoma, I'd love to read Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo's best-selling guide to decluttering your home, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up (Crown Publishing)helping readers clear their clutter and "enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire." According to the author, the secret is simply discarding excess items and designating a spot for every last thing you own! (The book's just been published in Finnish, too, by Bazar – See the cover right here!)

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