Lamps, paddles, a sculpture of boxes, and some peace of mind.

Odd Job Jon finally made his appearance, drill in one hand and selection of screws and nails in the other. So after various ailments (his, mine, and the baby’s) I was finally able to spend an afternoon rejigging the hallway.

Below I’ll explain what changes we’ve made and what the impact has been so far:

  1. Hanging a good sized coat rack from the wall.

This (obviously) gives us somewhere to hang coats, umbrellas and hats. Before, we were putting coats away after each use in

our wardrobes….but we weren’t, as most were kept in the baby’s room, and if he was asleep we’d just hang it on a chair until he woke up (by which point we’d have moved on to more demanding issues and forgotten about it).

The KonMari method recommends storing all ‘like’ items together, so in theory, yes, all coats should have been hung with each person’s clothes. However, space allocations didn’t permit this, and Marie Kondo also advocates tailoring one’s storage arrangements to suit the individual circumstances.

We’re aiming to check the coat rack once a week and re-hang any unseasonal or little-used items back in their rightful place, which will remain our individual wardrobes. The coat rack will hopefully be used for daily items, e.g. light jacket each for dog walking, sun hats in summer, etc.

 

  1. Sending all boxes to our garage.

We seem to have bought a few appliances recently, and kept meaning to put the boxes away. We didn’t so we’d built up an interesting sort of postmodern box sculpture next to the dresser. This has now been rehomed (more neatly) in the garage.

Marie Kondo suggests not keeping appliance boxes and normally I do agree with this (if you’ve had it for more than a few weeks, and it hasn’t broken, it probably won’t break, etc…). However, we will ship these items back to the UK when we relocate in a couple of years and want them to arrive safely (perhaps soon I’ll feel strong enough to tell the story of the TV we shipped unsuccessfully to Malta), so original packaging is the way forward for us.

  1. Keeping a favourite candle and lamp at the entrance.

This is the first bit of our apartment I see when I come up the stairs, so to me it matters that I’m greeted by things I enjoy looking at. The candle (Jo Malone) is one of my favourite scents (Mimosa and Cardamom) and the lamp I love despite the fact it was very nearly impossible to put together. In short, they spark a lot of joy for me.

  1. Handbag box experiment.

When I came up the stairs previously, I’d leave my bag at the side of the dresser and kick off my shoes. In The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo talks about the importance of emptying one’s bag at the end of each day. She recommends keeping all daily items e.g. purse, lip balm, keys, in a special box reserved only for those items. The idea is that each morning you can then select the bag which appeals to your mood and outfit instead of grabbing the same one as always because there’s no time to change things over.

I’d been umm-ing and aah-ing over this for a while and couldn’t quite bring myself to commit, but since the rest of the hallway was looking smarter, I decided to give it a try.

When I was last at The Atrium I went looking for a suitable container, and of course I couldn’t find one. But I did find in Habitat this rather bold pillar-box red, metal tool-box type receptacle and I liked it. It lives in plain view, because if it was in a drawer I wouldn’t bother using it. Because it’s always out I can see at a glance if certain items stay in there and never get used, so it’s not a big job to give it a quick once-over.

So far I’m enjoying the Marie Kondo Handbag Box Experiment and it means I always know where my lip balm and business cards are!

  1. Rescued plant columns under coat rack.

I found these wooden columns on Olio, the app which allows you to share excess food and non-food items with people nearby. Originally I was going to use them to hold plants, but my son is just about the same height as them, and soil is messy. So the plants are staying elsewhere for now, and I’m experimenting with using these to hold bags. I empty mine daily (see above) but my son’s nursery bag doesn’t need emptying at all, so can stay at the entrance. My wife hasn’t taken the plunge with the bag experiment (yet!) so she will also store hers here. The third column (plinth? Is a plinth only an architectural term?) can store hats or a pre-packed beach bag ready for beach days, when the warm weather comes.

I do want to paint them as they seem to suck in the light in a space which already has little, but at the same time they have such a lovely finish that it seems a shame to spoil them.

 

And that’s it so far. I’ll keep you updated on The Bag Experiment and whether we can refrain from hanging our coats over dining chairs. But for now, coming home to a clearer and more minimal hallway definitely puts us both in a better mood, leaving us feeling able to get on with the things we want to do (reading for pleasure mainly).

 

TL;DR?

Our hallway wasn’t dreadful but it was being used as a storage space.

Odd Job Jon came and hung our coat rack. It is tidier.

I am undergoing The Bag Experiment, where I empty my handbag out every evening when I return home. So far I love it.

A tidier hallway = a cheerful return home and more productive evenings.

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