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Living in a home that you are proud of, care about and feel comfortable in is so important to your overall health. Are you tired of all the mess lying around your floor? Do the kids or housemates never help out with cleaning and organising the space? Try as we might, organising a home (and the people who create mess in it!) can be a daunting task to get started with.
The reality is, because of our busy lifestyles, we don’t have as much time to put the love and care into our homes that is required to live in them the way we want to.
While it may feel like an overwhelming task at first, we’ve broken down organising and decluttering into seven simple steps that will provide real results in your space (and bring those mess-makers into line!).
1. REMOVE CLUTTER FROM THE FLOOR
Think like an interior designer and start with the floor. It is so easy to leave things on the floor when you are tired or stressed. We all do it. This is why clutter builds up so quickly on floorspace.
The problem with having messy floors is that it makes your home look very disorganised, as people’s movement is restricted and the room immediately feels cramped.
It can be a quick task to declutter floors, depending on the type and amount of items lying around on them. If you’ve let your living space, children’s play room or bedrooms go for a while, the first time will be the most challenging. Once you’ve completed the initial cleanup, schedule 15-20 minutes every day to pick up stray items and locate any rubbish that hasn’t yet been thrown in the bin.
2. CLEAR SURFACES AND TABLE TOPS
Surfaces draw a lot of attention when messy, particularly dining tables, kitchen benches or counters, desks and cupboard tops. As these surfaces are on display, clutter is highly visible and can create feelings of stress and anxiety, especially if you regularly entertain guests or lease your home from a landlord or agent. It also prevents you from using rooms and spaces for their intended function, if the clutter is serious enough to affect your lifestyle.
Reduce mess on table tops by surveying everything present. What absolutely needs to be there? Remove everything that doesn’t provide a utility or function relevant to how you use the room in question and either store or trash it. Once the surface is clear you can revisit it and return any centrepieces or decorations that add to your personal style and flair.
3. SORT AND ORGANISE DRAWER SPACE
Drawers are hidden caverns of clutter, rubbish and unused items. Because drawers are closed unless you need to retrieve something, they require regular sorting to remain clean and organised. Ensure you are only keeping important items that are relevant to the function of the room the drawers are in.
In kitchen drawers, for example, you might have cutlery, hand towels, dishwashing supplies, and other items for cooking and dining. If all the items either relate to or are used during cooking and dining, then your kitchen drawer space is organised. The same rationale can be used in regard to other rooms in your home.
4. ALLOW ADEQUATE SHELVING AND STORAGE SPACE FOR BELONGINGS, ESSENTIAL ITEMS AND DECOR
We understand that a lot of the items you have in your home are meaningful to you and you don’t want to part with them. That is why having enough shelving and storage space is vital to ensure your home remains organised.
Shelving should be used for items that you need to frequently access or that you’d like to display, while storage spaces like cupboards are for the things you don’t always need, or want to protect from environmental conditions such as light and dust.
Shelving and storage spaces can elevate your room design if chosen thoughtfully. Opt for colours that match the overall aesthetic, or if you are looking for a bold addition to a room, consider a bright or darker shade to create an effective contrast.
Keep in mind that shelving also needs to be regularly cleaned, and this can be the perfect opportunity to reorganise what they hold. Clear away not only the dust, but also the clutter!
5. ARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE TO COMPLIMENT ROOM SIZE
Arranging furniture to maximise your use of floor space will not only complement room size, but will provide a foundation to organise the other elements of the space.
Space out your furniture according to how you want to use your space, and ensure that each item of furniture performs a specific function. Larger and taller items should be up against the walls. Keep door space clear and ensure any furniture by windows sits beneath the sill. You don’t want to block out any natural light or potential for fresh air.
Allow for easy movement through the space. There should be at least a gap between your furniture for walking, but the more open space you can allocate, the larger and more comfortable the room will feel.
6. ORGANISE YOUR BACK DECK ACCORDING TO ITS PURPOSE
Before you start to declutter your back deck, ask yourself what purpose the space is serving?
If your deck is for entertaining friends and family with a BBQ, then it will be a lot different to the way you organise your deck if its purpose is to provide a safe place for the kids to play. You should also consider if the deck is covered or open, and the type of material the decking is constructed from. You will likely want to remove items that could potentially harm your decking and don’t serve the function the deck has in your home.
Keep in mind that however you have used your deck in the past, doesn’t need to be how you use it in the future. If your deck was used as storage for your gardening tools, but you would like the purpose of your deck to be for entertaining, consider moving your tools into a storage space in the backyard or in the garage so you can add an outdoor dining and seating area.
7. CLEAN YOUR HOME REGULARLY
Every family and home is different. We all accumulate clutter and mess at varying rates. Whether it’s once a week or monthly, consider how often you need to clean your home. And we don’t mean the regular vacuuming or kitchen wipe down. What we’re talking about is a whole family cleaning operation that covers the entire home.
Put together a cleaning schedule that suits your family and space. Delegate tasks or individual rooms to different people to get the job done fast and efficiently. This is a great way to teach the kids the importance of keeping a home clean, or get unruly housemates into line and contributing to the overall cleanliness of the home.
BONUS TIP: USE THE “ONE MINUTE RULE”
Once you have decluttered and organised, how do you keep it that way? One quick and easy tip is to use the "one minute rule". When you see something on the floor, or dust on a cabinet, or any small item out of place, ask yourself "can I fix this in less than one minute?" If the answer is yes, do it now. It's amazing how much this question can help you keep the house clean!
It takes less than one minute to do the little things like putting the shoes back on the shoe rack as soon as you see them lying on the floor. It's when all the little things add up into big things that they begin to become anxiety inducing mountainous tasks - so do the small things it in one minute or less.
DECLUTTER AND ORGANISE YOUR HOME TO FALL IN LOVE WITH IT AGAIN
Decluttering and organising can get a bad wrap because it takes a lot of motivation to get started. Don’t feel pressured to solve all the problems with clutter in your home in a single day. To do the job efficiently takes time.
Allow yourself the appropriate process to consider how you will reorganise your space and your use of it, not simply removing unwanted items. That’s when your home, and lifestyle, will truly transform.