Living with Less

My 6Rs - based on zero waste guru Bea Johnston's 5Rs but including REVIEW and REPAIR


Fellow Brightonian interior designer Angela Cheung and I have decided to have regular conversations following the feedback we had from our one last month.   We have lots to talk about and to compare notes and most importantly to us - we share our learnings on sustainability and wellbeing in interior design with anyone watching!  We have different specialisms and enjoy discussing the overlaps together.


This week we are talking about LIVING WITH LESS.  Watch to find out more about minimalism, decluttering, Chloe's involuntary decluttering,  Angela's voluntary decluttering,  the health & wellbeing benefits for us both, design for longevity and buying better. 

This month marks my 15th year in business and it’s really making me reflect!  This conversation is very real for me because in my first week in business I had a house fire and lost most of my belongings.  I very quickly learnt to Live With Less!  It sounds so shocking doesn’t it - but it was the most important lesson to me about possessions.  Of course it was a shock and upsetting but I was hugely lucky.  No-one was hurt and I was properly insured (you just don’t know for sure until you have to claim).  You realise how many possessions you acquire along the way.  Much of it you rarely use or even look at.  You move from place to place taking it with you and paying for the extra space it needs to be kept in.  Reducing your possessions - severely for me - and it turns out for Angela as well - was a positive and freeing experience for us both.  As Angela observes “it leaves space for other things” which for her meant she’s made time in her life to do a Masters degree in Architecture at the age  of 50!!  I recognise it is not for everyone at all.  But to surround yourself with items that remind you of your loved ones and positive experiences you’ve had has such a huge wellness benefit. for us  I’ve learnt to not save things for best and to use and to wear and use them.  As Angela points out - live your one life now!

We know we are some of the highest consumers on the planet in the UK and the US.  David Attenborough showed us this in his recent, alarming documentary 'Extinction'.  We are over consuming and not appreciating the huge amount of resources used to keep us in our mindless, one-click buying habits of gathering STUFF.

In our conversation we talk about how we encourage our clients to REVIEW and SLOW DOWN when buying for a new space.  Buy things you LOVE and find ways to buy those better quality and longer lasting things including PRELOVED.  Appreciate too that those things will also have a resale value should you want to sell them on too!  REFLECT on the reasons you buy things - are they good reasons?  Last of all - buy things that are DURABLE and made to last.

Book recommendation: The Minimalist Way - Erica Laine

Must watch: Bea Johnson's Ted Talk