"The idea of decluttering can sound daunting but before you start to talk yourself out of it, just get started, room by room. You'll be surprised how you feel when you walk back into the space you cleared out." - Ryan Allen, Men's Wellness Advocate, UK
Covid-19 forced us all to stay indoors and for many that caused anxiety to rise even among those who'd never experienced it before. Can our spaces change our minds? I do think they can, and if we avoid looking at this on a practical level, we might stagnate. Think of it like this, after a challenging day at work, would you prefer to walk into a dull, cluttered home or a bright and clutter-free space? I know what you'll say, the latter of course.
You might say, I like my home, I don't necessarily feel down or have bleak thoughts, and if this is you, then great, your one of the few. But, that's not everyone and I'm suggesting that our physical spaces, the colours around us and how we organise our 3D home worlds, may impact our sense of peace and clarity about ourselves and the lives we live.
We are as a species, that are deeply sensitive to our surroundings, and advertisers take full advantage of this. They use certain colours to grab our attention or even music and video to lure us in. And, we feel great and even optimistic with the ultimate aim of getting us to purchase a product or service. Films do exactly the same thing, we buy our ticket at the cinema, feeling a sense of excitement with all the smells of popcorn, and then, we take our seat and are pulled into a new world, with all the visuals and music to command our attention, and it works. When the movie starts, our sensory connections are ignited, taking us on a journey that alters our state and we are hooked.
The same goes for any space we walk into can transform our minds and bring peace or even chaos. Imagine you have an assignment or a report to write, and you sit in a room, that is noisy, and unclean and basically, not inhabitable to work in, could you do it? I suspect the answer would be, no - I couldn't. And, if you were to change the surroundings, to a more quiet and ambient space, you would potentially get more done, in less time. Interior designers and architects recognise the fundamental truth that design and how spaces are organised and built, create wellbeing and harmony, if executed correctly.
“What I know for sure is that when you declutter – whether it’s on your home, your head, or your heart – it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.” - Peter Walsh, New York Times Best Selling Author of Enough Already and It's All Too Much.
It really all starts with us, even the picture (above) is a beautiful modern space that I'm sure we could all imagine ourselves reclining in that yellow chair watching Netflix. And certainly those of you reading this blog, who are writers, could easily write a chapter or two in this space. Whatever your role or job, working from home in a space like this would be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for your mind and body. It's all a matter of perspective.
The legendary British Interior Designer Ilse Crawford CBE (pictured above) was born in London in 1962. Her father worked as editor of The Sunday Times and her mother was an artist and pianist. Ilse worked for architectural firm and also for the Architects' Journal which led her to work for two interior editorial magazines Elle Decoration and Bare magazine. Her expertise continued to expand throughout her career, where she worked with Donna Karan and later evolved naturally to setting up her own design studio Studio Ilse in 2001.
Studio Ilse has designed spaces for Soho House Club in New York, IKEA to Babbington House. Her experience and attention to detail is founded on the relationship between design and wellbeing. It's more than just design, but the material and how the 3D space connects with the human mind. Her revolutionary ideas can be watched on Netflix called Abstract: The Art of Design. A Netflix Show dedicated to artists and designers from around the world share their insights into their chosen field from interior design to architecture.
“We spend 87% of our lives inside buildings. How they are designed really affect how we feel, how we behave. Design is not just a visual thing. It's a thought process. It's a skill. Ultimately, design is a tool to enhance our humanity. It's a frame for life." Ilse Crawford CBE, Studio Ilse
"Time to pick yourself up and change your space for you. Do it as often as you can. To keep things evolving. It will transform your mind." Ryan Allen, Hey Ryan Podcast
How Can I Change My Space? I've No Time.
That's the question isn't it - and that's exactly how we sabotage taking action. The mind immediately suggests reasons, for why we shouldn't do something and then we give in. The list is endless and I know from firsthand what it feels like when you're moving house. You can't believe how much you have and why you need so much. The amount of things we do store up, we never actually use or even wear. So, why keep it all, when someone else could make use of it.
When you start the project of decluttering, play your favourite music in the background to motivate you and then get to work. Make sure to have boxes labelled with three categories, keep, charity and garbage. I bet you will have a big Charity drop off when you've completed the task, room by room.
Think of it like this, the sooner you start, the end result will be a clearer space for you and your mind. The feeling of accomplishment is the ultimate reward and it's worth it. It's not easy for some, and if decluttering is simply bringing on anxiety, then perhaps speak to a few supportive friends, family or partner to help you. More hands on deck will help to reduce any anxiety.
We are very sensitive creatures and we must do all we can to create equilibrium to lead a happier life. The more you can do to gain more headspace in your place - the better you will feel and think, which will positively impact everyone around you. You deserve it. Less is definitely more for your mind.