New approach

Daily household chores can be a pain. With ME it can be a killer. Hovering the tiniest room in my flat may mean I need to rest for half an hour afterwards.
Add to that the fact that the chores never seem to end…every week that same floor has to be hovered, the bed is hoping for new sheets. You get the picture.

During my rehabilitation at the beginning of this year, I discussed a lot of these chores with my occupational therapist. We looked at the way I did things and how we could make it less tiring and painful.
It made me think. I know the chores are tough and tiring, especially in my situation, but approaching it like that won’t make it any easier. Nor does getting angry with myself when I’m too tired to even hold the vacuum cleaner.
Slowly I’m finding a routine that works. I started by dividing my house in days. My living room is Monday, my bedroom Wednesday for example. The weekends I’m off duty. My flat has 5 rooms – and in this case I count the kitchen as a room and the bathroom, too. It only takes 5 days a week.

Now, onto the cleaning. I actually don’t call it cleaning or household chores anymore. On Monday I pay attention to my living room.
You heard it correctly, I pay attention. It sounds awfully Mindful, I do realise. It goes like this: instead of thinking “Christ, I have to clean this whole room…fuming!” I look around the room of the day and think “What in this room needs my attention?”. Hovering? Clearing up? Or maybe some styling? Dusting even? (the latter being my worst nightmare).
Today, Tuesday, it’s my study’s turn. Study is the wrong word. It holds a desk and my piano, but is mainly used as a shed in which my laundry hangs to dry, too. It’s a difficult room. Looking around this difficult room, I noticed a lot of things needed my attention. So I did some little bits of everything. Clearing out – sometimes all of a sudden things are good for the recycle shop – and reorganising and after that I was ready for some hovering. All this in under 20 minutes. Instead of procrastinating, I went for it and it cost me less energy than those times I looked at it as chores. Okay, true, I needed to lie down for 15 minutes afterwards. But all in all: Winner!
Guys and gals, this approach works for me. Like magic.

Grab it! Or how my interior picks me.

The study Interior Design makes me think a lot about my own interior and it can be eye-opening at times. Recently one of the assignments was to make a mood board that resembled my own living room, that breathed the atmosphere of my own house. Just practice. And it got me thinking; I wasn’t sure if I my interior could be boxed in a certain style? It needed research. Going through the theory books that are the basis of my study I discovered a style called, and doesn’t this sound amazing, the intuitive style.




I live in a little apartment, on my own. In this house you’ll find what I tend to call a Mix ‘n Match interior. Finds, vintage, cheap stuff, too-much-money-spend-on antiques, furniture from the blue shop with the yellow letters. Nothing matches really, not many things belong together, few things are sets. But it all works. And visitors feel at home. Most of the time. Even amidst my famous clutter and sky-high piles. And always I wonder why. Why does it work…? Why do people feel at home in my abundance of colour and textures. Nothing is thought through really. I never think “Well, what style do I like, what will I choose? Oh, let’s opt for…!” So how does it come together?


This is how it mostly goes.

I find. Things. A lot of things. Or maybe they find me. Sometimes I get them from someone else (always a tricky one). I hardly ever go out with the one goal to buy a so-and-so, unless I really and most urgently need it. A chair just happens to be at the right place at the right time. Then I walk in. And the chair screams “Pick me!!!” and I do. It feels good. Love at first sight (never happens with men though…). And that’s the whole point of the intuitive style, to me. No endless thinking and measuring. Simply check how it makes you feel.

When I do go out to find something specific, I often end up buying something I don’t like (or I find things I don’t need but that still yell at me). Which is why in these cases I apply the trick of buying the best choice, at that blue shop with the yellow letters for example. These buys are mostly things that I label “to be replaced at a certain point in life by a certain replacement that picked me”. And I always trust that the replacement will appear, whether it be right now, a week later or in 10 years.

I can't make it any less chaotic...[ The mood board I made with bits and bobs that I found in my many drawers and pictures from old magazines. I choose 3 big pictures to form the background; pictures that breathe my taste. As you may notice, I like colour. But don’t think my house is all pink and glittery! I simply have a thing for flowers, prints, delft blue, ceramics, beads, pictures, piles of books and stuff, buttons, ribbons – I LOVE ribbons – fabrics, tea cups, glass… well, you get the picture. An indeed, you’ve got it right: I tend to be very clumsy, although my brain will stop me the moment I climb on a pile of books on a chair. My brain just picks a chair that spins around its own axis. ]


I love my things and furniture; they make me happy when I look at them. I bond really well with my teapot. The dining chair I upholstered myself still makes me smile. And maybe, because I really love them and they make me feel happy, they work well together? When friends ask me for interior advice “because they don’t have that feeling” that’s what I tell them: as long as you buy it because it somehow makes your heart jump with joy, it makes you smile, I don’t think you’ll make terrible decisions.


However, I could say all this above is my pitfall at the same time. I don’t think of a strategy. I don’t decide on a style, because I’m not really looking to label my style. At times this makes the assignments of my study a challenge within a challenge and I guess it tells a lot about me…

In reality an interior designer often works for clients who have their own style and taste. If that taste isn’t yours, you will have to let go of your own taste because it’s about the clients new interior. Secondly, there is a time schedule to stick to. A design for a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen can’t wait untill the right bathtub, sofa or table has found its way to you. You will have to go and find them. Sketch the ideas, draw it, make mood boards. Decide on colours and materials. And present that to the client. That is your responsibility. That is your job.


Groundbreaking discovery. Challenge to be grabbed with both hands.