For many, decluttering the home is an overwhelming, laborious chore that usually takes a back seat to work, family time, and social pursuits. Unfortunately, the longer you wait, the more daunting the prospect can become. But know this: home organisation can and will make life easier and more enjoyable. You just need to know how to undertake the task practically, and efficiently.
And the best part? It needn’t be a soul-destroying experience. As long as you approach each room individually and break up jobs into smaller, manageable parts, you’ll go from hoarder to order in no time at all. Achieving steady, small wins can keep spirits high as opposed to tackling the whole house in one hit, so remember to make a room-by-room checklist to stay the course.
Firstly, the cull. A dirty word in many people’s language. A painful prospect for many, the common adage is this: when in doubt, throw it out. Old clothes, books, toys and digital entertainment can take up valuable living space, so consider culling these types of items first. They don’t have to go to waste, though. Consider donating to a charity, family member, or even having a garage sale.
In these instances, storage is paramount. Ensure you neatly pack items in a clearly labelled carton. Heavy duty cartons are a great option as they can be safely stacked on top of one another to maximise your storage space. If you can’t bear the prospect of letting go of those CDs or DVDs, why not carefully transfer the discs to a special case or folder? If you must hold on to those collectible cases, then consider storing them in a carton.
Once you’ve tackled the cull head first (check), it’s time to move on to the kitchen. Start with the perishables. If anything is past its use by date, then bin it immediately. Anything else you don’t plan to use anytime soon can be donated to a charitable organisation such as The Salvation Army or Food Bank Australia.
Use storage containers to keep food fresh and neatly organised in your fridge or pantry. For the avid wine drinker who lacks appropriate storage space, consider keeping bottles safely in a special wine bottle carton. Any rarely used kitchen appliances that survived the cull can be packed into cartons and stored in your garage or attic.
With the kitchen sorted (check), it’s on to the bedrooms. Specifically, the kids’ rooms. Storage is king. Plastic containers, wooden toy boxes, desks with storage compartments. You’re going to need all of the above to keep your child’s room under control. Don’t be afraid to get the children involved, too. Why not have them sort their toys into these designated spaces, or stack books neatly on the shelf? It will provide not only a sense of ownership, but also teach them the importance of keeping a neat and tidy space.
And remember, toys and clothes can fall out of favour and fashion with children very quickly, so be aware of any unloved items that can be removed over the course of the year. In these instances, access to storage boxes is paramount.
Toy cars and teddy bears no longer a tripping hazard? Check. Next, the bathroom. The medicine cabinet is relatively straightforward. Anything past its use by date finds its way into the trash can. It’s as simple as that.
For all other bathroom items, whether they be in the overhead cabinet or vanity unit, try to keep a designated area for your first aid supplies, cosmetics, hair accessories, soaps and other toiletries. Adopt a system that works for you and stick to it. It will save you valuable time in the long run, particularly during your pre-work routine. Finally, towels should never be left on the floor. Install hooks or racks to keep all towels neatly in their place.
THE LIVING ROOM
With the bathroom no longer resembling a biohazard (check), it’s finally time to tackle the common living area, one of the hardest spaces to keep in order due to the high volume of foot traffic it experiences. Once you’ve tidied the floor, it’s time to look at storage solutions.
If you’ve effectively culled (or downsized) your digital media collection, you should have gained valuable shelf space to accommodate more personal items such as picture frames, candles or vases, which can also create a less cluttered look. If you require even more space, consider the addition of floating shelves or storage baskets to create decorative storage options.
If the living room, like the rest of the house, is now truly a comfortable living environment (check), it’s time to sit back, enjoy your new organised space, but know that home organisation is an ongoing process. However, with these tips you should be well prepared to ensure the task remains as hassle-free as possible.