The Big Clean Up

I've been loving the Christmas paraphernalia strewn ALL over the house for weeks now. There's been scented candles of pumpkin and winter spice wafting down the hall as I've kicked aside the last remnants of wrapping paper; candy canes peeking over the rims of bowls as I've searched the kitchen bench for the phone recharger (still lost!); flashes of tinsel and wire-edged ribbons sticking their ends out of boxes I've rumaged in for last ditch effort christmas card addresses; and cards I love too much to send out into the world tucked into the pages of books I'm struggling to cram on to already full shelves.. But I'm over it!The glorious glittering paraphernalia is starting to take on magic pudding qualities (ie. it's expanding!) and what was fabulous is now just a big mess that is crying out to be cleaned up. And, horrors (!) I'm starting to crave some clean surfaces and (gulp) less clutter...
So it is time for the decorations to go back under the house. This time I won't pack the spare taper candles into the bottom of the crate, as last year's collection had melted in to one big ugly unusable tablet of wax. I'm also intending to cull the broken or damaged ornaments that (hopefully) don't have sentimental value. And I am finally going to op shop the large hard fake gold molded ball thingos I bought over ten years ago that I can't stand anymore. Maybe someone will love them for their tree next year...

And I'll look at all my newly wiped and dusted surfaces (hopefully, depending on energy and enthusiasm levels) and start some new arrangements. It's time to break out old collections of bits and pieces that haven't seen the light of day for a while, add some favourite books and a plant or two to make a display that will give my heart a lift every time I walk past and see it.

I'm using these two books for ideas, as they show  wonderful ways to display a great range of objects. I don't read them and feel inadequate or like nothing in my house measures up. Instead I suddenly see things with new eyes, like the rustic pot I had outside with a dying lavender bush that I could put inside for a while and top with cuttings from the hydrangea bush (pic below).  Plates placed vertically can be admired on a sideboard or table, much better than if they stay buried in a cupboard.

Stack some favourite books together and place a related object on top. Try detective novels with a magnifying glass, or cooking books with a favourite wooden spoon or a vintage measuring cup. Using glass like a tall vase (doesn't have to have flowers in it - try some sticks or reeds or even some fun scrunched up material) gives your display height and reflects the light. Lamps and candle sticks will also add interest.

I'm going to put some new photos in to frames (to replace the Santa shots) and group them together. Summer shots will brighten things up - the beach and blowing bubbles in the back yard. The best place for the kids to be when I'm packing up the decorations.

Too small for bubble blowing so (wrapped) chocolate coins were a temporary distraction
and goodbye to Christmas paraphernalia 2011..


  1. Classic... I am so with you. We had a big tidy up today, although I couldn't quite pack up all the Christmas things yet, so will leave it a few more days! I nearly bought "All in the Detail" on Saturday, but instead purchased "Books Make a Home, Elegant ideas for storing and displaying books" by the same publisher! Even had to leave the 2 books at the front counter and go and have my flat white and then come back and make my purchase! Love your blog Sarah! Thanks... x

  2. That is amazing about the book(s) RG! Maybe we could postpak each other with the one we don't have for a lend later on! Hope you've had more success with the cleaning than I have. Am afraid our house STILL looks like the Christmas bomb has hit it:-)
    p.s. love your strategy for making book decisions.

  3. that photo of arch. BAHAHAHHAAAAA

    1. I know! Makes me laugh every time...


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