Keeping our homes welcoming and neat is important to most of us. But often I see people obsessing with having the newest furnishings in their home and redecorating when the slightest wear appears. Reupholstering worn fabric or revarnishing is rarely considered these days and some people even think they must have the newer model or their friends will think poorly of them. If that’s the case – lose those friends.
In Ireland most rented accommodation comes furnished and when the landlord owns the stuff you can’t get rid of it or change it without their permission. Because I couldn’t get rid of the furniture in my last rental I had to accept the fact that it wasn’t particularly my style – after all the location, price, and size was alright. The furniture isn’t what I would have chosen but I realised something after I decluttered – I loved my home regardless. I also realised that a lot of the previous negative feelings I had towards the house weren’t about the furnishings but about the way I had used the house and filled it with clutter. I felt love towards it after I decluttered because the things I kept made a rental house a home. Because everything had a place it felt peaceful even with terrible DIY wallpaper and odd lighting design.
Sure, if I had owned it I’d have started out with a different design but I would still need to make it a home. My clutter free living room was made a home by a few select items – artworks on the wall, a few candles and two fabulous rugs that cover the ugly carpet and the books and DVDs neatly in their shelves. Showroom designs seen in magazines and in furniture shops are desirable because they are spacious and tidy. The clutter free beautiful room with a carefully placed candle or two in a brochure picture is used as a marketing trick to sell the furniture shown. We are so used to obeying the call of consumerism that we don’t realise that it isn’t the furniture we want from the picture, but rather the minimalist lifestyle used to sell it. Even if you redesigned every five years you would be unhappy because owning too much other stuff will prevent your house from ever looking like the picture and giving you what you really desire – a calm space to relax. You can get that same sense of satisfaction and calm if you declutter the space you already have. When I eventually live someplace where I can choose my own furniture I will design it beautifully with longevity in mind. Some of the wooden furniture in my old rented house was probably at least fifty years old and still going strong. I lovingly call it granny furniture. Isn’t it wonderful to value something and find it practical fifty years later? A lot of furniture is replaced when it isn’t broken, or sometimes poor quality cheap furniture isn’t made to last. But our grandparents and great grandparents valued their furniture and bought it to last until their grandchildren came around. We didn’t have a choice but to move out of our granny furniture home and now that I rent a sleek ikea furnished apartment (more on that another time) I do occasionally miss the antiques. I especially miss the tiffany style lamp – its design has remained beautiful since 1895.
An uncluttered home designed once with love, care, and longevity in mind – This is what zero waste interiors mean to me. No need to keep up with the Joneses.