Clutter-clearing Obsession


Before clutter-clearing was even a thing (as it literally become something big about 2-3 years ago), I used to go through all my stuff once a year to throw out everything not used for the past year (pretty famous clearing technique).

Then last year, I came across the Marie Kondo technique and read her book cover-to-cover in literally one day. After letting the story brew for a bit, I started clearing one kind of item at a time, each day, for about 10 days (the Marie Kondo technique recommends doing it all in one day but 24 hours are not enough to cover all my stuff). The picture above illustrates what came to be the most painful day of all: sorting my books. I read for the most part in French and the majority of those books have crossed the ocean with me at some point (I bring about 10 books back every time I go to France), which seems to create a somewhat special bond: I carefully pick them, read them, at times twice, etc. It was the first time I went through my collection and this is where Ms. Kondo's method prove to be efficient: gather all the stuff you want to sort somewhere and go through it one by one, asking yourself if it brings joy to your life. And let me tell you: after going through the trouble of piling up about 150 books, the thought of having to place them all back onto a shelf helps getting rid of them as powerfully as asking yourself whether it sparks joy or not (I let 75% of them go that day).

What I personally find interesting is this recent obsession for clutter-clearing. As an expat, I quickly realized parting with stuff is not only a healthy habit but a necessity so I can move more freely. Besides, the real estate situation in New York City also requires to be sensible about how you utilize your space. 

But let's not make it such a big deal: like any society phenomenon, clutter-clearing came about as a counterpoint to documentaries about hoarders. But both are rather extreme: a middle ground can be absolutely fine and nobody needs to go through a massive clutter-clearing to be happy in his/her space. A minimalist, clutter-free, neat and clean interior is not for everyone. I know a lot of friends whose spaces are a bit messy, their kitchen counter always busy with a lot of food experiments, herbs growing and such and their space exhale happiness, freedom and are über-stylish.

So clutter-clear if you like, do not if you don't want to: let yourself be... Happy!

Fall Cleaning To-do List


Fall started officially last week - but the weather in NYC was still too hot to truly believe it so we held off posting this. Now that the temperature has dropped, Fall has made its official entrance in our lives and it might be time to consider a new concept: Fall Cleaning

But what is a Fall Cleaning? The intent behind a Fall Cleaning is to mirror what we all tend to do when Spring comes (hence the name mirroring the 'Spring Cleaning' expression): clearing the air of our homes and get ready for the new season about to start. When thinking about it more carefully, a Spring Cleaning makes sense but can also be perceived as a bit of an oxymoron: we clean our homes for the arrival of seasons where we will mostly stay outdoors, one may question the point of it all. 

While a Fall Cleaning makes perfect sense here: we prepare our homes for seasons where we will enjoy the comfort of our interiors, have friends and families over for the upcoming Holidays, cozy up for movie nights on the couch...

Below are a few ideas you may consider for this Fall Cleaning - feel free to add your own and suggest them in the comments section. 

  1. Let the fresh air in, open your doors and windows to let it circulate: after months using the AC, it might be time to have real air coming in. If you live in an apartment building and opening doors in not an option, turn fans on for a couple of hours and leave the house to take a nice stroll (or cover up, no need to get the flu just yet!).
  2. Dust, dust, dust: summer time makes us bring in a lot of dust, sand, you name it, from the outside and it might be time to dust it all out after having let the air in for a couple of hours. Check our areas you typically do not go for every time.
  3. Swap seasonal clothes out: If you have seasonal clothes you typically store away, it might be time to take them out, clean then up and replace your summer outfits with mid-season/Fall ones. While you are at it: review and edit your closet so you can go shopping for the new season, guilt-free.
  4. Update your bed: this does not mean to replace it. Just using a few tricks:
    1. Review your linens: make sure your comforter has taken a deep breathe of fresh air before putting it back to use and take this opportunity to get a nice new set of sheets for the season: the summer always brings a fair share of perspiration in your bed sheets and now might be a good time to change it all up for warmer, more comfy linens.
    2. This one is from Aurelie's family: her mum used to flip mattresses upside down every Spring and Fall to ensure it would wear out on either side evenly and would last longer. This also gives the impression to have a brand new mattress as it feels a bit firmer when just flipped. 
  5. Make your sofa a heaven of comfort: as you will be spending a fair amount of time on it reading, watching TV, chatting with friends and family or simply cozy up, update your cushion cover with comfy, fluffy ones you can cuddle up with and wash or replace your throw(s) (or invest in one if you don't have one yet).

That's all I would recommend for now: you can obviously revamp your entire pantry as well if you like, clean up pots and pans, store away the barbecue but I did not want to make it sound like an endless list. Like any decorating tips, this does not have to happen all in one day and is rather a Labor of Love. Enjoy the process of getting into the new season.

Happy Fall everyone!