Five ways to a clutter-free, more relaxed home life
Sort It: Slowing down is something we all wanted to do, but couldn’t see how to do it
Less has been more during lockdown while daily rituals have taken on greater importance.
For many of us there will be things we’d like to forget from the past few months, home-schooling and endless queues - not to mention all the worry, uncertainty and constant change. But despite all of the disruption to our everyday lives there have been some changes that would be very beneficial to hold onto. Here are five in particular I believe will linger and in doing so will have a really positive impact on the future of home design and our quality of life.
Less is more
We’ve all gotten used to living with less, and consuming less. So much so in fact there has been what could only be described as a decluttering craze. In the UK skip hire firms were opening seven days a week to deal with an upsurge in orders during the lockdown and Waste, Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Ireland says it is struggling to meet their recycling targets with the increase in electrical waste due to extended spring clear outs during lockdown.
Too much stuff causes stress. In a survey we carried out earlier this month the number one cause of arguments was clutter. I’m not suggesting we move towards a more minimal lifestyle, but rather a more considered one. Hopefully we will continue to consume less and make better choices about what we do consume, thus reducing waste and our impact on the envorionment. But also reducing stress and creating a calmer environment at home.
There have been many benefits to slowing down over the last few months. Slowing down is something we all wanted to do but couldn’t see how to escape the fast pace we’d become accustomed to.
The imposed slower pace has allowed us to take pleasure in everyday rituals. A morning stroll, listening to bird songs or simply taking more time over a cup coffee. Waitrose and John Lewis reported a masive increase in sales of breakfast-related accessories, such as egg cups during lockdown, Sales of teapots and mugs are up 6 per cent, while speciality loose tea also jumped 13.5 per cent at Waitrose.
People are spending more time than usual over the first meal of the day. Things we normally either didn’t make time for or did on autopilot became sources of delight and calm.
Books have grown in popularity during this time too. In the UK, fiction sales climbed by a third according to a BBC report. Reading is the ideal way to take a break from screens and the perfect way to escape especially when you can’t actually go anywhere. It’s the ultimate immersive and mindful pressure.
Whether its a comfy nook to curl up and read a good book or a sunny spot in your kitchen to sit and have coffee. Making space both in our lives and our homes to enjoy these kind of rituals is something we would all benefit from.
For many families, the last couple of months has highlighted that when they are all in the house at the same time, it can be hard to find any personal space. The once coveted open plan space is no longer so appealing. We’re already seeing clients asking for help with sectioning off large multifunctional spaces.
Open plan areas were extremely popular because for working parents they allowed the family to easily spend time together in the evening. But with the new way of living where all members of the household occupy the home simultaneously–that lockdown has made more prevalent these muulitfunctional spaces are not ideal.
Where people are juggling working from home and homeschooling amongst other activities seperate spaces work better than large openplan rooms. But rather than a return to the more traditional floor plan with a series of smaller individual rooms, homes will need to be designed to allow greater flexibility. Rooms will need to be easily adapted throughout the day to enable the occupants to carry out different tasks with ease.
There is hopefully a renewed understanding that we are all interconnected, and the impact our actions have to each other and the planet. The remarkable scenes during global lockdown of animal life entering cities around the world, the amplified chorus of birdsong and the noticably cleaner air were all stark reminders of the effect our way of life had been having on the planet.
The benefits we all enjoyed when we all stopped has led to a desire to make more sustainable choices especially when it comes to our homes. The introduction of NZEB (nearly zero energy building) in November of last year means if you are doing a major renovation to your home which affects 25 per cent of the surface area of your house you will be obliged to bring the whole house up to a B2 rating.
Forty per cent of carbon emissions globally come from buildings. By improving your home’s energy rating you not only will you be improving the comfort of your home and make significant savings on your energy bills but you will also be doing your bit for the planet.
Finally there has definitely been a huge shift away from the more superficial aspects of life. People are prioritising how they feel over how they look. When it comes to the design of our homes, the focus is shifting ways from aesthetics and more importance is being placed on how the house will function over time and how it is going to enhance the wellbeing of those who live there. This shift in the way we think about our living spaces from how they look to how they make us feel we will dramatically improve our day to day lies and enhance our wellbeing.