As you know, I am a big fan of de-cluttering and organising. It makes for overall daily time saving, which in turn can be spent with my family. So I’ll hand over to Drew from Big Yellow Self Storage, who is a bit of an expert when it comes to de-cluttering.
Decluttering the home is a liberating exercise, if hard work. We all need to have a rid out every so often since clutter is one of those things that creeps up unnoticed. Before you know it your home is filled with stuff you don’t use and there’s no space for the things you do. Here are a few tips to help you get (and stay) on top of clutter:
The Three-Pile Strategy
Major decluttering tasks need a systemised approach otherwise they can overwhelm you. That feeling of being overwhelmed comes from not knowing what to do next, so by putting a system into place you know exactly where you are and what’s next in the process.
Pick a room and earmark three distinct areas (keep, bin and donate/sell) for items from just that room. Don’t try to declutter more than one room at a time otherwise you’ll end up running from room to room and create a muddle. Be ruthless about what goes into each pile. When everything is assembled in the allotted space, deal with them accordingly, again working one pile at a time: First, throw out the trash; second, find homes for the ‘keep’ items, and thirdly set about the selling/donating of items.
Be firm about selling, donating or recycle. Don’t let those items creep back into general storage in the room.
Use Hidden Spaces
Hidden spaces include:
• Wardrobes that could hold shoe organisers or plastic baskets for small items like scarves or even larger folded items that might otherwise fill up drawers.
• Under beds, where plastic storage boxes can house either bedding, toys or rarely used sports equipment.
• Kitchen drawers, where the addition of a drawer divider could provide more organised storage for small utensils.
• Behind cupboard or pantry doors where hooks can provide housing for gym bags, vacuum cleaner tools, outdoor clothing or laundry bags. If items are lifted up from the floor, there is instantly a feeling of more space.
Look Up for More Unused Space
The vertical space in rooms is often overlooked. High floating shelving a foot or so below ceiling height provides a frame for the room and can be used to display all sorts of items from books to ornaments and collections. One advantage of putting up high shelves for precious items is that they’re mostly out of sight — and definitely out of reach — of curious little fingers.
Organising Kids’ Rooms
Children’s bedrooms can quickly become clutter magnets. Here again shelving can become a best friend. Position them low so they’re within child reach and provide colourful storage boxes to house collections of small toys. Label each box with clear, bold letters that can become a game for very young children just learning to recognise letters and words.
Cabin and Captain beds can help reduce the clutter and also provide children with play or homework areas all within the same footprint as a standard bed. Another idea is to use an ottoman bed that provides plenty of hidden storage beneath the mattress base. These are ideal for those little used, larger items such as seasonal sports or garden games equipment or larger indoor toys and games that don’t get used daily.
Decluttering can be hard work, and stressful for some people. One way to minimise the need to regularly declutter different rooms is to be strict about zoning off areas of the house for specific tasks.
If, for instance, if you work from home, create an office area and make it a rule that office equipment, such as pens and staplers, don’t get removed.
Extended, off-site Storage
A new idea that’s catching on fast is to utilise self storage facilities for those items you want to keep but have no room for at home. Examples include garden machinery that’s only used during the summer, spending winter cluttering up the shed or garage and slowly rusting in the damp conditions. With self storage room sizes starting from around the size of a large locker and going up from there, it’s a cost effective solution that allows you to hang onto precious or expensive items that otherwise take up valuable space at home.
By being systematic and making decluttering a regular priority, it’ll go that much faster and be much less of a chore. As an added bonus, even the smallest of houses will feel more spacious and comfortable.