This is a paid partnership with Homesense
Have you heard of Lagom? It’s a Swedish concept or phrase meaning ‘just the right amount’ – for the Scandinavians it’s about living a contented and balanced life with not too much and not too little. It’s taking a considered approach and doing things in moderation, whether it’s curating a work/life balance, drinking the right amount of coffee or not eating too much cake. In the home, it’s about living simply and sustainably with just enough; surrounding yourself with objects that are both beautiful and serve a purpose.
On that note, my favourite off-price homeware store Homesense challenged me to take a closer look at one room in the house and give it a little refresh. I’ve written about Homesense before – part of the TK Maxx family, they offer everyday essentials and unique pieces at up to 60% off compared to the recommended retail place. It’s where I go for discounted designer candles, solid wood chopping boards and quality knives, soft towels and beautiful bed linen. It’s also where I go to get all my Christmas presents in one place; cashmere scarves, cookery books and bottles of extra virgin olive oil, yes please!
Embracing the Lagom lifestyle, I decided to turn my attention to the bedroom. As winter approaches and the temperatures dip, it’s the perfect time to refresh the home and create a cosy sanctuary inside. It’s also the ideal moment to declutter – determined to get on top of the piles of clothes and unloved corners, I looked over the bedroom with a fresh eye, taking note of what I had already, what was missing and what the space really needed.
Armed with a gift card, I went to my local Homesense with a rough idea in my head of what could help rejuvenate the bedroom. While I was nearly seduced by all sorts of things from cushions to tea cups, I decided to invest a large chunk of my budget on one key essential for winter – a warm duvet. Quite amazingly, I’ve never had a proper winter duvet; we’ve been using the same duvet for all seasons and while it’s lovely in the summer, it tends to feel light and barely there in the colder months. I like to be able to feel a bit of weight and two extra blankets on top weren’t quite doing the trick.
So now I have a deluxe white goose feather and down duvet that gives the bedroom a boutique hotel feel for much less. With a 13.5 tog rating, 233 thread count cotton cover and grade 1 feathers, it feels wonderfully luxurious and cosy; so inviting it’s hard to get up in the mornings! For £69.99 for a kingsize duvet (similar duvets range from £85 to £140 RRP), I think it’s a great investment and something I’ll keep for years and years to come. I also like that the duvet has the Responsible Down Standard, which makes me feel a bit better than the geese who provided the feathers were humanely treated.
To go with the duvet I also upgraded our cotton throw (which I’ll still keep for summer) to a thick, grey blanket (£49.99, RRP £75). Made of 100% wool, the blankets are produced by a Swedish company using wool from New Zealand sheep. I love that you can find quality brands for less in Homesense. The fact that the farms that produce the wool for these particular blankets meet strict rules around animal welfare and don’t practice mulesing, and that the wool isn’t treated with bleach, really appeals. Sustainability and making ecological choices for the home is also part of Lagom.
I also couldn’t resist leaving Homesense without a candle from their huge selection. I chose a beautifully scented wax candle (£12.99, RRP £25.00), hand poured and blended with essentials oils including soothing lavender and roman camomile – instantly relaxing.
Next it was time to turn the attention to my wardrobe, which I had been woefully neglecting – it was a huge mess behind those sliding doors! I pulled everything out and went through the things I no longer needed, creating one black bag of stuff for the charity shop. I don’t think I really needed twenty pairs of jeans (no joke) or thirty different tote bags. The tote bags in particular were getting a bit out of hand, I think we’ll soon be as careful with them as with plastic bags. I’ve kept only the ones I really like (less than 10) and found a couple of grey wire baskets (£4.99) to sort and store them in. I’ve rounded up some of my tips for creating a clutter-free, minimal wardrobe at the bottom of this post.
One of my favourite finds was a grey storage box with 12 storage compartments (£9.99, RRP £21.00), made of recycled paper and quite by coincidence, also created by a Swedish company. It’s just right for storing scarves and belts out of the way. I like that it’s shallow and can be used in small spaces. I could only find one but I might go back to see if they have more as they’re so useful.
You always need socks (especially in my mind if they’re striped!) so a pack of bamboo socks (£4.99, RRP £12.99) also slipped into my shopping bag.
My tips for decluttering the bedroom and curating a minimal wardrobe:
– Good storage is the key to an uncluttered home, you want enough so that everything you don’t necessarily wish to see on a daily basis is hidden away, leaving surfaces such as bedside tables free of objects. Pull-out storage boxes under beds are great. You don’t want to climb into bed at the end of the day to see a pile of mess by your side, clutter-free surfaces will give a greater feeling of calm to a space
– If you do like to have objects out on display, arrange things like beauty bottles, jewellery and candles on trays and dishes to keep them contained, it will look cleaner
– Think of your wardrobe in terms of seasons, storing any summer clothes you don’t need out of the way (and visa versa with winter clothes in summer), so that the things you use everyday are easily visible and close to hand. If it’s freezing outside you won’t want sandals and summer dresses getting in the way of woolly jumpers. You also get a nice, little surprise each year when you swap clothes over and rediscover pieces you’d forgotten about!
– Group occasion wear such as smart dresses and suits and trousers in clear garment storage bags, not only will it protect your most treasured pieces, it will stop long skirts, loose ties and ribbons from dangling down and getting in the way of a clear wardrobe space
– When you’re having a declutter, start by taking everything out of your wardrobe and create a big pile to systematically go through. Then sort into three piles: to keep, to sell, for the charity shop. Be pragmatic, honest and decisive in your choices, almost as if you’re looking at your wardrobe for the first time or from a best friend’s point of view. Question what you really need and if it brings you happiness. If you haven’t worn something for 3-6 months, will you wear it again? If something doesn’t fit, is it really worth hanging on to if it doesn’t make you feel good? If you have ten of the same thing, are there one or two you could let go of?
– Have a ‘one in one out’ policy, so you maintain the same level of stuff and don’t retain too much
– (One I’ve particularly learnt…) Don’t have a chair in the bedroom, it will never get used for it’s purpose, but as a dumping ground for used clothes!
– Upgrade all your odd hangers with a matching set (Homesense is great for multi-packs of non-slip hangers) – your wardrobe will instantly look smarter and like it’s curated with intention
– Restrict the number of hangers to only the number you really need, then you’ll feel less tempted to fill empty hangers with new purchases and more stuff. Only use hangers for one item at a time otherwise you won’t be able to see everything and things may remain unused at the back of the wardrobe
– I learnt this one from Marie Kondo, the tidying specialist – fold clothes in drawers and arrange upwards, so when you open the drawer you can see everything easily, that way you’re less likely to just use the items at the top
– Use storage boxes and baskets to separate different categories in your wardrobe so there’s a place for everything – tote bags folded neatly into one box, scarves in another and belts rolled up into sections. I like to reuse old shoe boxes and any nice boxes that deliveries come in. Cotton shoe bags or pouches are great for dividing up things like purses, hats, gloves, jewellery (I love to use them when I travel too)
– Restrict your bedding to only what you need, how many of us have faded, old, grey pillowcases lying in our drawers? Use them to store shoes in pairs or donate to a textile bank
– Create a calm, cosy place to retreat with soft textures and warm, natural materials, with one, big throw on the bed and a couple of well-chosen cushions – you want the bed to look comfortable and inviting but you don’t want to be fighting with dozens of cushions to get in…
So there we have it, a refreshed, clutter-free bedroom. Below is a little before and after so you can see just what a difference a good sort out made. Our wardrobes, which I’ve written about before, save space by having a hanging bar that comes out rather than across – it also means that there’s a limit to how much we can store, which is no bad thing. Now I can see items quickly and easily from a distance, I know where everything is and I’m not rummaging in the back for something forgotten. All in all I think I made careful, considered choices and will get use out of all of my purchases. Lagom has taught me to think twice about the things I have in my home and create balance with the seasons. I’m well and truly ready for winter now, you’ll find me under my duvet.
Items featured (all Homesense – stock is always changing so I can’t guarantee these will be in store):
Kingsize duvet, £69.99 (similar duvets range from £85 to £140 RRP)
Grey blanket (£49.99, RRP £75)
Lavender and roman camomile wax candle (£12.99, RRP £25.00)
Grey wire baskets (£4.99)
Grey storage box with 12 storage compartments (£9.99, RRP £21.00)
Multi pack of bamboo socks (£4.99, RRP £12.99)
All images Cate St Hill