Image Map

Terrifically (un)tidy

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I've been looking at a lot of lifestyle blogs today. Marvellous as some of them are, they do have a tendency to depress me. Everything is so stylish it hurts. I read through them and end up whimpering gently to myself about the lack of wooden floorboards, big cosy chairs and cute cushions in my life. Not only are they stylish, they're always depressingly tidy.

I live in a rented house so unfortunately there's nothing I can do about the wallpaper/carpets/weird fitted wardrobes but I can work on my own inability to throw things away.  It started towards the end of last year with epic amount of books and trinkets being hauled off to the charity shop but I'm still generally surrounded by towering piles of stuff. My bookcases don't have three artfully placed Penguin Classics and a quirky retro tin full of spring flowers on them. They're full of actual books. Double stacked and sometimes triple stacked. And they're a bit dusty. Shock horror! 

I have no wish to get rid of any of my good books but in the general spirit of decluttering, I'm chipping away at the other things bit by bit and I've made at least one tiny corner of my room tidier.  My smaller bookcase holds my most treasured children's books - the entire Chalet School series and a wide assortment of Roald Dahl, Trebizon, Drina, Borrowers and Mary Poppins books amongst others.  It's also a very useful height for putting stuff on, so the top is generally buried in dead receipts and spare pairs of glasses and various phone/mp3/camera chargers.   Not any more it's not!

It now holds earrings and necklaces, neatly stored on some wooden stands:

My diary, writing notebook and an assortment of books that have risen magically to the top of the to-read pile:

An old, but very pretty Ikea lamp:

And occasionally a candle.  In my continued efforts to get rid of crap I'm on a 2013 mission to burn all the candles that have been sitting in my room for, in some cases, years.  Unsurprisingly, the scented ones that have been there that long haven't exactly retained their scent but I like fire and I love the smell of burnt out matches so I'm merrily working my way through them anyway.  Four down, two to go...

It's on a vintage saucer and there's a Penguin paperback behind it.  I'm getting there!

ps - check out CROCHET CAT.  He's an adornment to any room.

He's also very disapproving and "MOTHER! For god's sake! Why are you putting a BLANKET on me?"


  1. I have a theory that outside the viewfinder on most of these blogs is an unseen catastrophic mess! Well, it helps me to think like that anyway.
    I find it so hard to part with books but I am getting better at it. I do like the thought of someone else reading a book previously read by me. I wonder if they enjoyed / disliked / or struggled with it in the same way.
    Your home sounds very real, and much like mine - dust, spare glasses, old bills etc can all be found here too!
    I'm impressed with your jewellery stands, they look really pretty, much better than hiding them away in a drawer.

  2. Great idea re using up candles. I have decided that every time we sit at the dining table for a meal, I will light a candle or two. That should deplete my excessive store.
    Did you know that the most effective way of cleaning a dusty looking candle is to put your hand inside an old nylon pop sock/pair of tights, and wipe over the wax. It sort of 'exfoliates' it gently!!
    blessings xx

  3. I am feeling the same. We have just moved from a one to a three bedroom house and there is STILL too much stuff! I will get there though. I did the same with the candles a few years back.

  4. "My bookcases don't have three artfully placed Penguin Classics and a quirky retro tin full of spring flowers on them." Yes exactly! It seems to affect lifestyle and vintage blogs especially - I get irritated because it's not lifestyle if it's fake. A tidy house filled with useful things is less 'cluttered' than a shelf with 3 never-to-be-read books, with the owner's fave books stashed out of sight because they don't match.
    Also, the uncomfortable juxtaposition of blogs which encourage buying/making more stuff then telling us that 'less is more'. I sometimes suspect it's like food shops- encourage everyone to 'space diet' in January then prey on our suddenly needing stuff, and sell us it the rest of the year!

    I like things to be tidy. Books on the right shelf, accessories on the correct rack. But I've never seen the point of everything in a house matching, nor the idea of minimalism (which can be quite consumerist... as if you chuck your snow shovel, for example, to keep your garden pretty year round... you're just gonna buy another next year).

  5. I adored the Chalet School books. I had some of my Mum's original copies. When my parent's split up about 20 years ago, when I was at Uni my Dad ended up with the house and then when he moved a couple of years later he cleared the loft of EVERYTHING. It all went in a skip. In that loft were all my childhood books. He didn't tell me he was doing it, until it was gone. I cried. I still morn all those lovely hard back, linen bound books from my Mum's childhood.

  6. Love a cat picture... Also, I'm glad I'm not the one who triple-stacks her bookcase. xx

  7. Ah I want to read the Chalet School books again! I am slowly sorting out my living space and my library corner is now complete (and dust free- for now!)

    Maria xxx

  8. I've never read the Chalet School books, but I can join you in having crazy piles of stuff everywhere.

  9. It's many blogs would have it, I've curated a load of crap over the years. It often feel overwhelmed by it all. A good rummage through unearths some long lost treasure from time to time. I'm on a mission to be more organised / tidy!

  10. As, not it's. Should work on my proof reading skills too...

  11. I am a complete hoarding slattern- my spare room is a clothes mound!
    Ooooh, I am so envious of you owning ALL the chalet school books!!! I only recently discovered them- I found four in a charity shop and I am currently reading 'Mary-Lou of the Chalet School' and very much enjoying it! I forgot how much I adored boarding school books!!!!!!
    Loving the mouse and cheese earrings though they are a little too topical for me at the momeent!!!x

  12. Love the wooden stands and the lamp. I've never heard of the chalet school books, I'm probably too old. I'm sure like Hazel that beyond the viewfinder those rooms aren't as pristine as they'd like us to believe.

  13. No matter home tidy and clutter free I try to make my home look it doesn't work, I just have way too many things and I'm not willing to part with them......ever xxx

  14. I know what you mean, I am hideously neat though, but my house never looks as stylish as others

  15. I motherfreaking loved the Chalet School and obvs Trebizon books - hello?! She has the same name as me!

    I had that Ikea lamp and it was my most favourite thing in the whole world, then my housemate broke it and I really wanted to cry. I've never got over it!

  16. I fail at getting the house tidy! I think maybe a skip is the only answer for me. Everyone has a load of junk somewhere surely?

  17. I will never be tidy, have too much 'stuff' and it's not crap either, which is the problem or else I'd just throw it out. Having to do the same and chip away at it, bit by bit : (

  18. I'm with you on that, my house is nothing like the amazing pics I see posted everywhere, each shot I take in my home is very carefully positioned to avoid the knickers on the radiator and the huge pile of washing and mending on the chair!
    Love your jewellery stand, those stands are designed for sorting embroidery cotton into colours,I'd love a couple of those.

  19. Ha! 'whimpering gently' is pretty much my reaction to those impossibly tidy lifestyle blogs and pictures on Pinterest. I find those articles in Mollie Makes on the houses of Swedish designers particularly depressing! Meanwhile I'm having to pick my way through two lots (mine and the bf's) of hoarding! Jen x

  20. I have never been a tidy person, but moving into a flat share and also having to share the one room that is mine with someone, has made me more freakishly tidy than I had started to become. SIGH. Is it so wrong to want to be able to leave all my shoes out without getting a zip embedded in my foot or breaking my ankle?

    Loving the stands for your jewellery, they're just beautiful, and love that you have bookcases full of books. That's what they're for! My book case (at my parents house) is floor to ceiling, but it's mostly filled with the academic books accrued from all the hideous studying... I just can't bring myself to pass on any more, even after trading in £100 (trade in vale) worth last year.

  21. Lovin the big earrings queen!

  22. Glad to find other Chalet School fans! I still collect them in the hope of owning them all one day..thank the stars for Girls Gone By publishers who are re-publishing them

  23. I’m pretty much convinced that these ‘Pinterest’ style homes are all fake or they have all the clutter pushed to the other side where the camera can’t see.
    I also dislike the ‘three penguin books, one black and white photo and a vintage tin’ on a shelf ideal..none of the books ever look read, have creased spines or look loved.

    Your jewellery looks nice and organised, better than my current ‘tangled but in a pretty tin’ approach.


I'm easily pleased - a simple comment will cheer me up no end. So do drop me a line below...

Sorry to readers who prefer to comment anonymously but I am getting clobbered with spam at the moment so have had to disable anon comments. Feel free to get in touch with me in another way!