The emotional cost of decluttering

The emotional cost of decluttering

So, you’ve decided to start decluttering? Great!

Before - bedside table
After bedside table

Once you’ve figured out where to start, and what to focus on, you begin in earnest, rub your hands together, and get stuck in!

Within a few minutes though, the excitement wears off.

The dread sets in.

You look around and see the insane mess that’s been left in its wake.

What the absolute fuck have I done?!?!

You ask yourself.

How do I get myself out of this hole??!! There is literally no end in sight!!

Before picture of bedroom mirror
After picture of bedroom mirror

You start to panic. Adrenaline sets in.

You get frustrated. Angry. Upset. Fed up. Defeated.

Why did I even start?

What’s the point in carrying on?

I’ll just shove it all back to where it was before.. I know, I’ll get more storage!


Breathe. In. And. Out.

Decluttering is so tough, because it overwhelms us with the sheer volume of stuff we need to think about all at the same time.

You have to think about:

  • What it is
  • Why it’s there
  • Where it belongs
  • What it’s used for
  • Whether you’ll use it
  • How (often) you’ll use it
    and so on.

The list is endless.

Imagine this: all your friends and family are all in the same room with you right now. And each one is trying to get your attention, telling you about a fond memory you share.

  • Remember when we went out that time?
  • Remember our first date?
  • Remember when you danced at your first school performance and we stood at the back applauding you all the way?

Your belongings around you all have a similar effect. It does of course affect men, but mostly I see it affect women, as we’re a lot more openly emotional (I say openly, as men in our society are encouraged to hide their emotions, but that’s for another post).

So, what can you do?

Before picture of bedroom
After picture of a bedroom successfully by Suzzy Smith @ Suzanne Designs

My top three tips for you to take away:

  1. Keep to between five and fifteen minutes of decluttering each time. Less than five and you won’t see a result. More than fifteen and you risk getting overwhelmed.
  2. Make sure you only do it when you’re feeling good: food in your belly, drink to hand, no other distractions
  3. Self-compassion. So what if you’d aimed for getting rid of three bags worth of stuff in one sitting? The fact that you’re attempting the process is the main thing, and there’s always tomorrow.

Design style – ready to shake it up?

Design style – ready to shake it up?

  • How often do you look around you and think “Oh yay, I’m so glad I have <insert thing>”.
  • Are you truly surrounded by possessions that make your heart sing? That makes your home a more comfortable place to spend your time?
  • If I was to show your best friend three pictures of bedrooms, one being yours, two others being other random rooms, would they be able to guess which was yours?
  • Does your home truly represent you?

In today’s society we’re constantly bombarded with information – whether it’s from Facebook or Twitter, or our TVs blaring the latest casualties in the latest conflict in the world, or family members discussing the latest Tweets from the political leader.

We’re also expected to work full-time jobs. Run immaculate homes. Raise our children on organic home-cooked food. Own the latest gadgets while also being environmentally conscious. Following the latest dietary advice (fad?), latest exercise regimes, and the latest <insert food>-free diet.

Are you happy with your life as it is? Truly? Or, dare I say it, are you chasing the latest must-have gadget and accepting of having to stand in line for 48 hours to be one of the first holding said gadget. How your friends are going to envy you.

But then what?

When the mist clears, and the feeling wears off? What will you do then?


Presumably, go off to find your next gadget to acquire?


Just. Stop.

Take a breath.

Who are you?

What do you stand for?

What do you need? Want? Desire?

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

While there is absolutely no doubt that you need to have goals and aspirations (God knows I do!!) do you ever just sit and relax without getting intoxicated?

I’m worried that our generation, and the future generations to come, will lose the ability to relax. To recuperate. To create. To dream.

Simply put, I feel we are all in danger of climbing onto a giant hamster wheel and running as fast as we can, leading nowhere.


What has this got to do with design?



I have seen so many people with problems relating to stress. To worry. To anxiety. To depression. To anger. To fear.

The only thing you can change in your life is you.

And, in order for YOU to change, you need support.

Support to carry you through the dark days (you know the ones).

Support to carry you through the tired days (of which there will be many – you will be the salmon swimming upstream)

Support to carry you when you’re sick. When you’re anxious. When you’re weary. When you’re doubting yourself.

Where will that support come from?

Look around you.

Yes, that’s right.

On top of your loved ones, and treatments as needed, it’s Your home.

You see, dear reader, if there’s anything I’ve learned in my (many) years of crippling anxiety and depression and various other challenges, if your home doesn’t represent you, it’s not going to help to support you.


That is exactly why I’m designing a new programme. A design revolution.


We will go through your home, together, step-by-step, making sure you will only be surrounded by things that support you, work hard for you (so you don’t have to) and help you. Nurture and nourish you.

The programme is still in its infancy, as I’ve only just allowed myself to wake up and accept its calling. But while I have tried time and again to ignore the voice, and gone along the mainstream journey of design, this is the only thing that’s coming really naturally to me. The one that my gut is telling me is the right choice. The only choice.

So, lovely reader, care to join me on the journey? I’m going to be looking out for Beta testers for the programme in the summer holidays. If you’re interested in taking part, sign up below…

Why I love being an interior designer

Why I love being an interior designer

interior design Cambridge Cambourne UK

Hello, darling!

Long time no speak.

I know, I know, I’ve only had myself to blame. Call it creative block, call it writer’s block. But it’s interesting that it seems to happen each winter, don’t you think? (Hint: Husband, let’s move somewhere warmer!)

The part I’m going to cover in this post is pretty lengthy, so do make sure you’re sitting comfortably, preferably with something nice to eat and drink..

In the past few months, I’ve really been working on gaining exposure. I’ve been featured in Cambridge Evening News’ paper twice (go me!) and I’ve had a couple of wonderful clients. 2016 really has started off with a bang, and I’ve been so incredibly blessed.

But, along the way, as often can happen, I’ve got side tracked.

As much as I’ve tried to focus on working with my ideal clients, and being true to myself and who I am, I’ve ended up being influenced by others. Going to networking events that haven’t been of any benefit to me, although I’m grateful that I’ve attended to test the waters – I’d rather live my life with “wow wasn’t that a nightmare!” than thoughts of “What if I’d pursued x y and z opportunity?”

In the last week, during the Easter holidays with TBT I’ve had (some!) time to think. (I say SOME, because, hello! Preschooler?) and I’ve realised more and more what my mission in life is.

To be an interior designer that changes lives.

Simple as that!

Does it make me sound cocky? Quite frankly, I don’t care.

My designs are never going to be the most ostentatious, most expensive, or most “out there” in terms of style. I’m not going to aim to become the William Morris of our time.

I’m going to work with you. Alongside you. And guide you. Show you how you can make changes to your home that will make it go from <sigh> to <silence>.

Don’t know what I mean by that?

Let me put it another way.

Our brains are forever busy, thinking, working, observing, absorbing. All our five senses are continuously stimulated every day.

Do you ever get home from work and find that you’re exhausted beyond all recognition, but your brain still won’t let you switch off? Maybe it’s the pile of junkmail on the staircase, or the stain on the carpet you still haven’t sorted out, or the wine glasses left on the coffee table from last night as you tried to silence your mind after a long stressful day at work.

Maybe it’s the volume of toys and complete carnage after a day with the kids.

Maybe it’s neither of these, or both at the same time.

Do you know something?

You’re worthy of silence.

You’re worthy of stillness.

You’re worthy of relaxation.

You’re worthy of feeling content.

How exactly does my home contribute to that

I hear you ask?

Darling, it’s simple.

When you’re not surrounded by overflowing toy boxes, you relax.
When you’re sitting on comfortable seating, you relax.
When you feel soft and comfortable fabrics, you relax.
When the walls have soothing colours, you relax.
When you’re surrounded by belongings that make your heart sing, you smile. And then relax.

That’s why I do what I do.

That’s why I’m an interior designer.

How clutter clearance works in interior design

How clutter clearance works in interior design

You may be thinking “I thought this was an interior design blog, not a clutter clearance one?

I know, I know. I’ve been getting increasingly heavy on the clutter clearance (no pun intended!) recently, as I have come to realise just how revolutionary it can be for you and me.

“But what’s the big deal? A bit of mess can’t cause any issues, surely?”

You may be surprised.

Think of it this way:

You walk into a friend’s living room with beautiful furniture, but you can’t see them for all the pizza boxes and beer cans lying on the floor. Would you really notice the beauty of the room then, or would you more likely be repulsed by the days-old pizza boxes and combined smell of stale beer and pepperoni?

Or, another example: you walk into the same living room, and, although you see a beautifully well-designed wall cupboard, it’s surrounded by a scratched old glass table that’s seen better days, a sofa that’s so worn you decline the kind offer of taking a seat, feigning some excuse about a long journey there so you’d prefer to stand. You know, just by looking at said sofa, that it’s going to hurt your back, and be impossible to get back out of.

What if your friend then confides in you that the pizza boxes and beer are from her teenage sons’ get-together they had two days ago, but your friend has HAD it with them being so messy, they’re in a stalemate about whose responsibility it is to clear it?
As for the uncomfortable sofa, what if your friend told you nobody ever wants to sit in the “damned thing” but she feels too guilty to get rid of it, as it was an item inherited from her in-laws?

Have you ever held on to items that no longer serve you, no longer are of use to you, or you don’t even find visually appealing anymore (it’s OK to express vanity!) for the sake of others, in fear of upsetting them?

2016 is going to be one hell of a powerful year, trust me on that. Mark my words. To some of us, that’s going to fill us with fear, which is what happened for me in January. I had to retreat into my sanctuary, and plan this all out in my mind before sharing it with you. I’m still finalising the finished product, but I want to share something with you.

I’d love to help you establish the connection between your interiors and clutter, and how it affects YOU as a person. Yes, you. The human being reading this.

“Oh yeah, and how exactly are you wanting to do that?” I hear you ask?


I’m offering free consultations (yes, completely free!) on Skype for 15 mins where you can talk about anything to do with interior design and clutter.

“There’s got to be a catch…”

Well, you’ve got me there.

What I would love for you to do is click on the button below, which will take you to a survey. At the bottom, let me know your email address and I’ll ping you an email within 48 working hours with instructions on how to book the Skype consultations.

Oh, and the other catch is – you have to put up with me. For 15 whole minutes. Chatting with you. Being me, being authentic, letting you ask anything under the sun.


Sound good?

Count me in!