We are all guilty of cluttering our homes – myself included. So I reassure you, this is a safe place for all clutterers! Welcome. We are all equals here. Having a lot of clutter simply means we all have too much “stuff” doesn’t it? And a lot of the time (most of the time, in my case) the majority of this “stuff” is never even used! In fact, some of it isn’t even touched! So really, why do we need all these extra things?
I don’t know about you, but I am MORE than ready for a home cleanse. I want my home to be my sanctuary. A place where I can find a pen without digging through a drawer full of takeaway menus, elastic bands and freezer bags. A space where when I walk into a room, I don't immediately think about how much I need to sort out that pile of toys. In an attempt to sort out my untidy home, I have done my research and found top expert advice on how to address my problem. And let me assure you, after taking in all this advice, I feel like I can take on anything - even my bursting wardrobe! Are you ready to join me?
It’s time to declutter the bedroom
Mural in photo: Mermaid wall mural
Let’s begin with one of the rooms that is often the biggest dumping ground – the bedroom. A place where one can find the well-known clothes pile chair. Or come across the color co-ordinated laundry mountains that are ready for the washing machine. It’s the spot where you open up your pants drawer and all you can see are piles of scrunched up blobs. Where you open your wardrobe and it’s winter, and you’re faced with flowery summer dresses... Anyway, you get where I am going. If this is you, then follow these steps.
Before any home organization can be done, you need to declutter everything and everywhere. There is no point in organizing a space until you have removed all unnecessary items. Ben Soreff, Professional Organizer at h2horganizing.com, says that by decluttering, we will have more of an idea of quantity. From there, we can think about how much or how big our storage needs to be to house the items we keep. Then we will be able to find things with ease.
"Before any organizing can take place first we must determine quantity. We can't figure out the best storage solution until we have the correct sizes…The most important step to organizing is determining the quantity because that determines the category….We want items to go in easy and come out easy. When deciding if you are keeping an item, focus on if it is a keepsake, then think about how expensive it is and how hard it is to get again."
This is important to keep in mind when sorting through your entire home. But let’s begin with clothing when it comes to the bedroom...
1. Put ALL of your clothes onto your bed
And I mean ALL clothes and accessories. Take a look at your clothes mountain and seriously think, “Do I need all of this stuff?” Often, you can't even remember buying certain items.
2. Start making piles
Caroline Solomon, Founder of Neatly.com, a home organizing business in NYC, tells us how.
“Create and sort through piles. To declutter, grab a few (heavy-duty) garbage bags and begin sorting items into ‘keep,’ ‘toss,’ ‘donate,’ and ‘sell’ piles.”
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the pile of mixed clothing items, then organize them into categories. Leila Amber, Design Trend Setter at Knothome.com, tells us how.
"When decluttering your closet, arrange clothes by type. Start with one type of your clothing, for example, start with your shoes, then go to jeans, then to socks, etc. It’s much easier to choose which shoes you need when you can see them all at the same time.”
Struggling to decide what to keep? Think when the last time was when you wore it. Professional Organizer, Sarah Dunn at getitdunn.co, helps us more.
“When it comes to clothes, if you've gone a year without wearing it, it's probably safe to say you don't need it anymore. But if it's that winter coat you only use once every three years when you travel to NY, then go ahead and keep it. My general rule of thumb is: if you use it, you can keep it. Rather, it's the things we feel compelled to hold on to, that we don't even use, that require deeper thought. Why are we holding on to these things? Is it sentimental? Or is it something you wish still fit you, but doesn't anymore? (If it's the latter, go ahead and get rid of it.)”
When it comes to seasonal clothes, don’t just throw all your chunky jumpers away because it’s the middle of summer. Lauren Tingley, Homemaking Coach and Decluttering Expert from Simply Well Balanced explains more.
Image source: Popsugar.com via Pinterest
“One of my favorite decluttering tips is to store your off season clothes somewhere other than your closet. Our closets tend to be cluttered and overwhelming and the fastest way to change that is to remove any off-season clothes and store them away until they are needed again. For example since we are headed into summer, I recommend taking a few minutes in your closet to gather up all of your winter clothes and accessories. This includes scarves, jackets, boots, sweaters and sweatshirts. Place them in an underbed storage bin and you will instantly see results in your closet. This strategy just takes a few minutes and instantly makes your closet look more organized and decluttered.”
3. Next, move onto other items in the room
Do you keep linen or towels in your bedroom? Make-up and cosmetics? Ornaments? Simply follow the same process as above.
4. Organize and store
This doesn’t mean shove everything back in so you can’t see it. It means placing it all back strategically so you don’t have to keep having a huge tidy session every year. Brianna Nitsberg, Organizing Expert from simplylifebybri.com tells us that,
“Once the space is organized, make sure you set up functional and manageable systems to KEEP the space organized.”
Want to know how to be a clothes folding goddess? Jenna Haefelin, Owner of SPIFF, a luxury home organizing business based in Westchester, New York, tells us how to fold clothing.
“When folding clothes, try the file folding method so you can see everything you have in your drawers, while keeping it neat when pulling an item.”
File folding clothes is a Marie Kondo method where instead of lying clothes flat, you fold and stand them up so that when you open your drawers you can see every single item. That way, choosing an outfit is quicker and easier!
Image source: Marthastewart.com via Pinterest
If you are lacking drawer organizers and wardrobe space, why not opt for door hanging solutions? These little pockets are great wardrobe organizers where you can keep shoes, underwear, belts, everything in its place! If you have a lot of makeup, why not consider a trolly to place next to your dressing table or mirror? With tiers of compartments, you will be able to organize your beauty items into the compartments with ease. For instance, use a tray for everyday makeup, another for hairbrushes and your hairdryer, etc.
Home organization and a tidy living room go hand in hand
Mural in photo: Leopard Habitat
I don’t know about you, but as well as my bedroom, I think the living room should be a place of minimalist sanctuary - once the kids are put to bed of course! And that is where organization comes into play. You don’t want to be relaxing on a Friday night then have to walk The Toy Brick Path of Pain when you want to refill your glass of wine.
1. Sort through the room
Often a high traffic room, the living room is a dumping ground for the most random objects and needs to be tidied on a daily basis. It is the home for empty glasses and mugs, abandoned jumpers and used crisp packets. After having tided away items that don’t live there, think about decluttering. You might be surprised that the room looks ok because the toys are back in their bedrooms and the dog's toys back in the basket! If not, once again follow the steps above and donate items you no longer cherish or use.
2. Be strict on toy storage
Image source: Wayfair.com via Pinterest
Whether you have kids or pets who adore their toys, it’s important that the living room isn’t the toy dumping ground. Of course, let your children or fur babies play in the lounge, but don’t let them take over it.
“Organization comes down to one hard and fast rule: group like with like. Our homes begin to feel cluttered when we have toys in the junk drawer, toys in the playroom, toys on the floor and in the bedroom. As much as possible, assign one home for each item. With the toys example, perhaps you assign one whole closet as the toy section of your home. When your kids want to play with something, they go in there, pick out their toys, and when they're done, they return them to the closet. This eliminates the clutter and the headache.” – Sarah Dunn (Professional Organizer at getitdunn.co)
3. Organize with baskets and shelving
Mural in photo: Foxglove Flowers
I can’t express how much baskets come in handy in the living room. Great for storing toys, blankets, wood for the fire, baskets are not only useful but they look great as well. Choose ones made from woven wicker, hessian and rattan for an organic, stylish touch. If you have room for raised shelving, do it! As well as looking great, you can store and organize without using any more floor space.
Every organized home needs an organized kitchen
Image source: Livforinteriors.co.uk via Pinterest
If you are a keen cook, then having a tidy and organized kitchen will change your life! Keeping on top of what stock you have in and where to find it will determine what meals you can prepare that week. And as a result, you may find unusual ingredients and spices that you didn’t know you had! Bring on more adventurous cooking!
1. Declutter the entire kitchen
This will not only create more of an organized kitchen to use but could make your cooking area more hygienic and safe in removing outdated foods. Empty ALL your food items onto the countertops. See if you have more than one of the same item and check all dates. Throw away anything out of date and if you have too many of one thing, e.g. flour, and it is still in date, take it to your nearest food bank. Again, create piles to help you, ‘keep,’ ‘toss,’ ‘donate’. Now move onto utensils, cutlery, crockery, cleaning supplies, etc. Be careful not to place cleaning supplies and food next to each to avoid cross-contamination. Now follow exactly the same steps as above.
2. Create a kitchen organizer system and reduce plastic waste
Image source: Brit.co via Pinterest
Don’t just put all those plastic bags of rice and oats straight back into the cupboard. It’s time to start storing them more efficiently. Buy or reuse old glass jars to store items to create your own kitchen organizers. Airtight and see-through, you can keep foods fresh and see them on your shelf easily with clear jars. To add even more ease, add labels to your jars. If you want to decrease your carbon footprint, see if there is a no plastic food store near you. Simply take your empty jars and refill them. This can be more economic as well as sustainable.
For fresh goods that don’t belong in the fridge such as onions and potatoes, store these in baskets in a dark cupboard. Place items you use everyday on shelves at your eye level or in reaching distance. For items you use every now and again, place them on the highest shelves or at the back of shelves. Laine Hardman, Professional Organizer at TidyUpNow explains more.
“Don’t occupy your “prime real estate” with items you seldom use. By this, I mean don’t put the Christmas platter in the kitchen cabinet that is at eye level near the dishwasher. That spot should be used for everyday plates or glasses.”
If you want to go one step further and have the space, create compartments in each cupboard section such as this baking cupboard. Labelled boxes will compartmentalize the different baking equipment and ingredients. You could easily create a tinned goods or pet food cupboard as well!
Image source: Thepinkdream.com via Pinterest
Under-sink storage can sometimes go to waste if you don’t utilize it properly. That’s where pull-out drawer organizers and see-through plastic trays are great storage organizers! You will be surprised at how much you can fit under there! Again organize items into compartments. For instance, one tray for cleaning the bathroom, one for cleaning the kitchen etc.
Laundry room and mudroom home organization
Mural in photo: Blushing Bouquet
If you own a laundry or mudroom, you are already onto a winner when it comes to home cleansing. Having somewhere to store and organize laundry as well as place to keep dirty footwear away from the rest of the house is a luxury for many.
1. Remove excess items
Although a luxury, mudrooms and laundry rooms are again high traffic areas where we like to leave lots of random items and forget about them. Trinket boxes full of keys are okay in a mudroom but anything else in there which isn’t a key isn’t needed. For instance, paper clips, screws, tools.... Empty all containers and cupboards in the room and make a pile of “other” items. This pile then needs tackling straight away or, I assure you, they will just get poured back into that trinket box! If at this point in the home cleansing mission you are starting to lose faith, then it’s time to take action!
“Play some inspiring upbeat music to keep you motivated. Wear the color red! (Red inspires action, whereas darker colors like black and grey can bring about fatigue during the organizing process.) If you need some moral support, grab a friend for a second opinion (clothes are often a major point of indecision), or call in a Professional Organizer to help.” - Caroline Solomon (Founder of Neatly)
2. Use glass jars, baskets, shelves and bench storage
Image source: Garden Trading
Whether you want to store detergent pods in your laundry room or dog biscuits in your mudroom, glass jars are great for keeping things fresh and stylish. Baskets can store all your gloves and scarves as well as keep your odd socks inside. Store everyday items such as laundry liquid at eye level and seasonal items higher up. For instance, your wellington boots can be hidden away in the summer and your sandals can go into hibernation in the winter.
Declutter your bathroom and wash your worries away
Mural in photo: The Birth of Venus, c.1485
I have a VERY small bathroom much to my dismay. So I am very envious of anyone who has enough space to store all their towels, toilet roll supplies and more in there. That’s why I will include tips for us small home owners as well…
1. Declutter and get rid of empty bottles!
You will be surprised at how many empty shampoo and shower gel bottles you have - trust me! I really do recommend only having one type of shampoo and conditioner. After all, do you really need a different type of shampoo for everyday in the week? Get rid of old towels that are a bit worse-for-wear and cut them up into squares to use as cleaning rags. Find all your female sanitary items and pile them up so you know which you need to buy more of and which you need to stop buying! We’ve all been guilty of buying way too much of one thing…
2. Use clever storage to organize everything
Image source: JadoreLeDecor.com via Pinterest
If you have a cupboard in your bathroom, always choose door hanging storage. They offer so much room, that you could even keep your bathroom cleaning supplies in there as well! Choose boxes or shelves that are covered or have a lid of them so that everything stays dust free. And again, label to your hearts content and compartmentalize items, e.g. dental hygiene, hair care, skin care, etc. For small bathroom owners, wall shelving is your best friend. Create more storage without taking up any more of the floor area. Install shelves above head level where you are least likely to bang your head and even try and fit some lower down on the wall to store toilet rolls and towels for instance.
In conclusion to our declutter and home organization tips
Image source: Emma Chappell via Pinterest
After having taken on all of these steps, you are sure to feel a lot better. I do! Decluttering the home really does declutter the mind. As long as you are strict on maintaining your organization, you will find you have so much more time for the better things in life! I’ll leave you with a final tip from the amazing Michelle Hansen, Cleaning and Organizing Expert at Practical Perfection.
“The main idea behind organization is to make a peaceful home that you love coming home to. It can also give you back a significant amount of time that you otherwise would have spent looking for lost items. Think of all of the things you can do with the extra time that you'll give yourself! Creating a designated space for everything in your house can be life-changing!”
Let us know how your home organizing went by leaving a comment below!