From adolescence to adulting: Shaking your home up a bit

Sorting out a new home or getting your existing space in order? Carol O'Callaghan has advice.

From adolescence to adulting: Shaking your home up a bit

Sorting out a new home or getting your existing space in order can mean off-loading the detritus of youth and getting down to adult nesting, writes Carol O’Callaghan.

An insightful individual once remarked to me that when it comes to shared accommodation, such as student digs and we’ll-have-a-laugh-living-together set-ups, the lowest standard of housekeeping among the inhabitants ultimately prevails.

It doesn’t seem to matter if one resident is the reincarnation of Downton Abbey’s fastidious Mrs Hughes, and the second reasonably good at keeping their surroundings in order, it’s the havoc-making third housemate whose behaviour eventually makes everyone else give up.

This has to be particularly challenging for the, ahem, slightly more mature person who has relocated, or returned from a sojourn abroad, only to find themselves house-sharing while searching for a place to call their very own.

Having your own gaff on your own terms, even with a partner involved, is terribly grown-up, but it’s also the time when you might want to consider eliminating relics of the teenage, student and nomad years and adopt a few habits which are part of serious ‘adulting’.


It appears people who do this every single morning are more productive, better rested and exercise more than people who don’t, according to an American military big-wig who made a video explaining the benefits of this daily practice.


Frame diplomas along with photos of places you’ve been, and social highlights of a previous decade. While you’re at it, consider the future of old trophies and medals. Yes, you were a star in the making in your football and Irish dancing days, but unless you’ve won an Oscar recently, file those gaudy relics in the attic.


Would you admit to being a wine snob or at least an aficionado of botanically enhanced gins?

Get yourself a matching set of proper glasses which can do triple duty for wine, spirits and water, and send those redundant shot glasses from a misspent youth to a younger relative currently misspending their own youth.


Is it a nod to sustainability which makes me want to reupholster a few vintage dining chairs I recently acquired? I suspect I’ve been inspired by a friend’s spectacular result with an upholstered headboard. For 2020 it’s the way to go; I’m opting for pink velvet.


When it comes to day-to-day comfort, a good sofa is the business. Forget the futon intended for friends to crash on.

Those days are over as are the days of inflatable furniture unless you’re sinking a swimming pool in the back garden this summer.

A sofa bed is the perfect compromise. Just add in a nice set of spare linens.


There’s no end to the white envelopes with little windows which drop through the letterbox and end up in collapsing piles on the hall table, along with pizza delivery and supermarket special offer flyers.

Get a container to tidy it all up, something large enough to also fling the car keys. You’ll be amazed how something as simple as this will tidy up one of the smallest spaces in the home.


Well, actually, they tend to be more benign dust bunnies, formed over time and not exactly pet material. Often they’re kept company by missing odd socks assumed to had been snacked on by a peckish washing machine.

Admittedly, under the bed can be a necessary storage spot in space strapped homes, but if there’s something lurking there forgotten, then you probably don’t need it and it’s time to oust it along with 2019.

Get photos, prints and diplomas up on the wall and show off your achievements.
Get photos, prints and diplomas up on the wall and show off your achievements.


The pot plant is back as the must-have interiors accessory, but what about a few pots of herbs and giving tomato growing a try? Even if outdoor space is a small yard, balcony or a window sill, make 2020 the year when the latent inner gardener is outed.


There’s probably another two months of winter chilliness ahead, so if you’re not already vibing with granny, get yourself an electric blanket now. When there’s snow in February and the boiler breaks down, you’ll bless this marvellous invention.


Air your knowledge by stacking venerable tomes by the likes of Jane Austin and Haruki Murakami on some brand new shelving.

Add in a few carefully curated cookbooks; Jamie Oliver and Ottolenghi, and some virtuous veganism with The Happy Pear brothers for a totally grown-up affair.

It doesn’t matter if one resident is like Downton Abbey’s ultra-fastidiousMrs Hughes, if another housemate creates havoc

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