Can home design really make you happier?
A happy home equals a happy life and interior design directly influences how a home feels. Becci Oldman explains how to use design to bring joy and contentment into your home.
Our homes are central to our lives. We connect with friends and family, we work, play and relax at home, and a huge 73% of people who are happy in their homes are also happy in life.
That statistic is one of the headline findings from The Good Home Report, an international study carried out by the Happiness Research Institute and Kingfisher. This report brings together responses from 13,000 people from across Europe, to help unlock the secret to creating your happy home.
Happiness with your home is an emotional connection; it’s where we can be vulnerable, intimate and be our true selves. The Good Home Report is the first of its kind, that gives us strong evidence of the undeniable links between our homes and their effect on our mental wellbeing.
There are many different ways that you can use your home to achieve happiness, and this is the first in a series of blog posts that will look at practical and simple ways you can make changes. With advice and expert interviews, we’ll explore how to create space, get organised using the popular Marie Kondo method, the positive impact of inviting people into your home and easy ways of getting green-fingered.
This month, we’re going to get started with some decluttering. Let’s be honest, we all have areas of our homes that could do with a sort out! Many of us are fast approaching the school holidays, and although we’ll have lots of exciting plans for things to do with our children, there will no doubt be some time spent at home too. No matter their ages, it's a great opportunity to work together, create some order and teach your children about how to tidy.
Do it with them, not for them
We teach our children lots of important skills, like how to get dressed, clean their teeth, cook meals, but tidying is rarely on that list. We might ask our children to “go and tidy your room” but never actually teach them how to do it, we just expect that they know how or worse still keep doing it for them!
Maria Saxby, a Professional Home Organiser who I’ll be interviewing in a future post, explains that it's important to actually show our children how to tidy their rooms and make the activity easier for them.
Start simple and get organised
Although it may not seem like it at times, children like to know boundaries. Try giving everything in their room (and even your whole house!) a home, somewhere everything goes back to once finished with. Label boxes, baskets and shelves in their room so they can easily see which item goes where. You might have a big pot for all the pencils, storage containers for lego, a makeup bag for hair accessories, or basket for cuddly toys. Then they have the responsibility of keeping their toys in the right place, rather than relying on you.
Make it a game!
Have fun with your children while sorting out what's in their room; it doesn’t have to be a chore. Try some of these great ideas:
Take everything outside and put it on a blanket in the sunshine and then sort it into pots, tubs, or storage containers by category, using colour, size or anything relevant.
Decide together what they no longer need or have grown out of and suggest taking it to the charity shop so that it can be enjoyed by other children.
Have a garage sale or photograph items to sell online locally and let your children make some money out of their unwanted toys or clothes.
Have a fun afternoon putting on a fashion show with their clothes and accessories to work out what still fits and what could be moved on.
Make a library corner with books and create somewhere to read peacefully.
If your child enjoys planning, give them a clipboard so they feel like a project manager and let them draw a plan of their room, zoning areas if possible and identifying where items are going to be kept.
Give them stickers to get creative with labelling storage.
Go on a treasure hunt for popular items around the house, like pens or soft toys - you could be surprised how many you find!
Once you have cleared out any items you no longer need, there will be less to store and tidy and together you’ll see the benefits of your efforts. Generally, our children just want to spend time with us in the holidays, so although a clear out might just be something on your to-do list, if you do all of this together, make it fun, put music on, and give them ownership for their own stuff and tidying their space going forward, it can be a rewarding family project.
I’ve tried a few of these and it can make a real difference to keeping things organised, particularly for smaller items. I am always finding hairbands littered around our house, but it's so much easier to tidy them away and find them again now that they all ‘live’ in a wash bag in the bathroom cupboard!
I’d love to hear your ideas for getting your children involved in decluttering, and if you try out any of the activities I’ve mentioned here let me know how you got on! Helping people create a home they love can range from design and decorating projects to lifestyle changes like a family tidy up, and if you need any advice, I’m always happy to help.