Keeping our homes well-organised and tidy is something we all aspire to. But it can be a constant headache if you don’t have a system that works for you.
There’s no right way to organise your home – and that’s the good news. What you need is a system that suits your lifestyle, taste and available space. That said, with just a few key strategies in your back pocket, you’ll save on time, money and stress.
Here are seven home organisational tips to get you started.
One place at a time
Sorting out every room in the house is a daunting task. It’s hard to know where to begin, and it’s definitely tempting not to begin at all. To overcome this feeling, start by focusing on just one area of your home. Maybe go for your main living space or the one most used by guests.
The thrill of getting this one, crucial space under control is motivating. It will spur you on to tackle the next room and the next, until your home is completely organised just the way you like it.
Don’t rush it
If you’re serious about getting your home organised, you can’t expect it to happen overnight. To keep your house or apartment tidy in the long term, schedule regular time in your calendar to straighten things up. This is a much more effective strategy than opting for a single overhaul every few months.
Likewise, it’s better to sort before buying storage supplies such as containers and boxes, rather than the other way around. This is how you’ll be able to evaluate what you have and what you want to get rid of. Then, you can decide how and where to store what remains.
Keep, donate, trash
The process of taking inventory in your home requires a clear head and a somewhat brutal approach to sentimentality.
Set up three large, clearly marked containers: one to hold the items you wish to keep, one for those that can be donated, and one for any that should be thrown away.
Once you’ve started with a general sweep of the obvious items, you’ve then got the difficult task of deciding what happens to whatever remains.
If you haven’t worn an item of clothing in two years, bid farewell to it. Also, take stock of the things you store that don’t necessarily belong in that space, such as kitchen gadgets or stationery. Relocating these items to the spots where they’re likely to be used will help you decide whether or not to keep them when it comes to clearing that space.
As a bottom line, when sorting into your three containers, ask yourself whether you need it, love it or aspire to use it as part of your future goals. Remember: storage space in the home comes at a premium. Only fill it with the things you use regularly or those that make you happy.
Consider your long-term system
Ideally, your home’s organisational structure should allow you to tidy a space within 15 minutes. If you’ve cleaned up and the room still feels cluttered or messy, your system isn’t working.
When taking on clutter, imagine you’re a guest in your home. Note the things a visitor might see that you simply don’t register anymore, such as piles of papers or magazines, or an overflowing toy box.
Better still, take a photo of the space – do you spot anything there that you’ve learnt to ignore? Addressing these cleaning ‘blind spots’ will pay off now and every time you tidy in the future.
Find your hidden storage space
Not everything needs to be stored within view. Don’t forget those nooks over doors and underneath beds. The vertical space is also often ignored but perfect for storing away the things you’ll need to access less frequently.
Once you’ve pinpointed your hidden storage areas, make the most efficient use of them by dividing them up and grouping like items together in stackable containers. This rule also goes for the more heavily trafficked storage areas, such as drawers or cupboards. Divide, group together, and conquer.
Think portable storage
Your storage options don’t have to be static. To offer your home more flexibility as well as storage, look out for containers or trollies on wheels. They’ll be able to accommodate many small accessories and can be wheeled back into a cupboard or corner when not in use.
Colour-coding will help you spot where certain items are stored quickly and easily. You could assign each family member a specific colour so that all things from their coat hook to their storage containers are visibly allocated to them. They can all say goodbye to lost shoes, mislaid homework, or excuses for not cleaning up after themselves!
You might also consider colour-coding your paperwork according to function or priority, such as bills, certificates or projects. These bits of admin pile up, add to clutter and are never what we feel like sorting through after a long day at work. So set up a system that gets you half the way there before you’ve even started.