When it comes to knowing where to start to organise your home, it’s fair to say that not all rooms are equal.
Many professional organisers will declutter and organise room by room, but often a different approach and mindset is required for each.
Storage solutions in particular will certainly vary according to the function of the space.
Here are some top clutter-clearing tips according to the different rooms in your house.
the Loft, Garage and Cellar
It can be a blessing in disguise if you don’t have one of these. They are well known to be clutter magnets and the obvious place to keep “just in case” items or things you don’t have the time or inclination to make a decision about.
Although it may be far from enticing, these rooms might be the best place to start.
As they contain the most storage room, it makes sense to clear them out before you begin the rest of your house so that any important but infrequently used items can be moved there.
When it comes to the garage,
- Make sure it can actually fulfil its core function – to lock away a car – numerous households park on the drive or road because excess stuff prevents utilisation of the garage.
- Consider wall storage for tools/garden equipment and shelves with containers for smaller items, utilising the full height of the space, whilst keeping the floor clear.
The loft and the cellar
Regarding lofts and cellars, resist the temptation to overfill them, particularly if accessibility is an issue.
- Protect paperwork and clothing by containing in plastic, airtight containers and label clearly (on all sides of each box) to ensure easy retrieval.
- Better still, could you find somewhere else to store those seasonal decorations and add value to your house by converting these spaces?
- A quote from Miss Minimalist springs to mind: “Your home is living space, not storage space”
Often overlooked, a bathroom is one of the most vital parts of a home. It’s where you get ready to face the world in the morning and where you wash away the day and wind down in the evening.
It can also be a sensible place to start if you don’t have a loft/garage/cellar or if they seem too overwhelming to tackle first. The bathroom is manageable so you can make an impact quickly, which will encourage you to keep going.
- As well as having an initial purge, accept that the mini process will have to be repeated weekly due to it being a high usage area.
- Toss any empty toiletries or those you don’t like or don’t suit you.
- Remember that liquid make-up only lasts six months and other toiletries a year.
- If you have a habit of buying in bulk, I suggest you break it – I don’t believe the saving is worth the loss of space. The odd two-for-one deal aside, none of us are very far from a shop where we can replenish our stock.
- Use open containers to separate items in under-the-sink drawers and consider attractive glass or bamboo storage for items on show.
- Don’t forget to utilise wall space e.g. by fixing shelving above the toilet, wall racks for towels or wall mounting storage in the shower by suction or adhesive.
Often described as “the hub” of a home, the kitchen should be social and welcoming. But so many activities may occur in the kitchen – cooking, eating, entertaining, laundry, work, study, crafts and general hanging out. All of them have the ability to create mess and disorder so it’s important to keep on top of this area and ensure ease of cleaning.
- Keep counter space clear enough to make food preparation easy, only allowing daily used items and appliances to live there.
- Ask yourself whether you can cull some crockery and cutlery. Question whether you own multiple items which do the same job and declutter the duplicates.
- And do you really need a “junk drawer”? Find a home for every little thing instead.
- As for the inside of cupboards, maximise the whole space by using stepped shelf inserts or turntables. Move the height of the shelves if required and utilise other clever solutions such as tension rods between which to place flat trays.
- Organisational systems can really come into play in a kitchen. Hang up a dry erase board as a way to note shopping list items as soon as you discover you are running low and move older food to the front of the cupboards and fridge before you unpack new shopping.
It’s common for the bedroom to become a dumping ground for laundry, unpacked bags and miscellaneous items.
It’s generally not a room guests see so it may be the last place you tidy and declutter.
But in fact, it’s the last place you should let clutter accumulate. Its functions are simple – sleep and relaxation – and it should be a peaceful retreat.
The number of possessions stored here should be low in volume but high in quality.
- Bed side tables often have built in drawers which are a useful double function but don’t overfill them. Hidden clutter can still impact on wellbeing.
- Many beds come with storage underneath but do you really want to sleep on a pile of “stuff”? Save this for linen and towels.
- When it comes to clothes, a well organised wardrobe can make all the difference to how you start your day. Minimising clothes that you don’t wear is always the first step – most people wear 20% of their clothes, 80% of the time.
- Don’t hold onto clothes that don’t fit or don’t suit you simply because you feel guilty about what they cost. The money is already spent so better to focus on making more intentional purchases in the future rather than reminding yourself of the mistake on a daily basis.
- When you organise the clothes that remain, drawer dividers can be useful for separating small items of clothing.
- And consider adding an extra rod to the wardrobe to hang double the number of clothes and using uniform “skinny” hangers to maximise space and enhance the aesthetics.
- Firstly, ensure the furniture fits the size of the room – too large and it creates a crowded feel.
- Look for furniture with built in storage such as coffee tables with drawers and ottoman foot stools.
- If children’s toys are stored here, cubby hole units tend to work well as they can be filled with plastic or wicker boxes in which to store everything out of sight at the end of the day.
- Using boxes and bins to gather TV remotes and video game controllers gives them a “home” when not in use.
- Glass display cabinets can be used to store treasures or collectables with the advantage of reducing the necessity for dusting. In these rooms, creating a daily routine of clearing out old magazines/newspapers and putting away items which don’t belong there, is a necessity.
This article has been produced by Kate Ibbotson of the Association of Professional De-clutterers and Organisers (APDO).
Useful room by room tips for decluttering.