One of my pet peeves is clutter. I’m not just talking about the small pile of mess shoved to one corner of the room. Or the stack of old magazines you haven’t had the time to flick through. I’m talking literally the growing amount of everyday ‘stuff’ that starts to take up space and every crevice in your home.
Here are some simple tips with the help of a few experts, to help you lead a decluttered home life (and mind!).
Dump, donate or sell It’s so easy to say but harder to do. In the 12 years of living in our home, I have agonised (yes, it’s ’emosh’), over what to chuck out and what to keep. In the end I had to get ruthless as I’ll find any excuse to keep the most random things. “People who want to declutter their homes should use joy as the yardstick when deciding what to keep and what to discard”, says Marie Kondo, founder of the Kon Marie, Japanese art of organising.
In other words, what are the things that you truly (madly, deeply) love and what won’t you miss if you’ll never see it again. I’ve split mine into three groups to make my life easier.
First, chuck out the tatty and dated items you’ve held onto for that non-existent, ‘just in case’ day (unless you want to upcycle?). Give away to charity shops or to friends (what’s one person’s junk is another’s treasure and all that…). Or sell decent items online and make a bit of cash in doing so. The latter can be tedious, but there are various apps that make selling a lot easier from your phone.
“Set your timer for an hour, put some uplifting music on and clear everything from that area,” agrees Hannah Young, Professional Organiser. Even if it takes longer than an hour (let’s face it…it will), it’s always good to give yourself a cake break!
Savvy storage Modular storage to organise your stuff is the second step to the process. Space saving units or stackable ones can be a great way of minimising clutter, and putting things in their rightful place.
It’s also a good way to display your favourite things, rather than having them lying around. MUJI and IKEA are renowned for their ‘compact-living’ styles with a wide range to suit all homes.
If you don’t want items on display, storage cubes can easily slot into the units or come with doors. “Where possible buy good quality, sturdy and transparent storage, that way you can see the contents,” says Hannah, “Whilst fabric and materials made from natural fibres can be more aesthetic they can be difficult to clean, so stick to plastic or glass containers in the kitchen and bathroom.”
Float on If you don’t have enough floor space, there’s nothing like a good ‘shelfie’! “Play with walls. Use wall space as a canvas for the things you find interesting”, suggests MUJI expert, “works by your favorite artist, postcards you found while travelling, knickknacks. Decorate your space and make your home your own.”
And if you don’t have enough wall space, corner floating shelves are practical and stylish. Before deciding on any floating shelves, do make sure your wall is sturdy enough. The last thing you need is a damaged wall and more expense!
Hide away Multi-purpose storage is brilliant. Things like ottomans and chests can be moved around the home, or double up as a seat or footstool.
They usually work well in smaller spaces where you have limited storage options. “Ottomans and cubes are great as they are so flexible,” says Hannah, “they’re easily moved around to use at the dining table or your sitting room and also used as side tables.”
Get creative You don’t have to spend more money on new storage. Get creative with everyday things you might find lying around the house, like glass jars, crates, or wrought-iron or woven baskets.
Another genius hack I discovered on Pinterest are curtain tension rods. These are great to hang things up (like all those heels!) or use as dividers in cupboards. As they’re extendable, they fit any crevice and won’t need any drilling as they literally grip the walls.
They are cheap and cheerful on Amazon or in any home store. I won’t get into too much detail here, as I’ll be writing a separate blog post all about the many hacks!
Label where possible One thing we don’t do enough of is labelling. I know it’s not a priority, but it does save you time in the long-run.
How many times have you emptied out boxes and drawers searching for that ‘urgent’ thing? Just as I thought! “Make beautiful labels for your containers,” agrees Hannah, “especially for children so they know where things belong and can be part of the tidying up process.” Everything in its rightful place after all!
Special thanks to Hannah Young. She’s a Professional Organiser running Revive Your Space in Yorkshire. She is also Head of Partnerships and Campaigns for APDO Association of Professional Organisers and Declutterers www.ReviveYourSpace.co.uk