Monday, 15 April 2013

Top Tips for Organising and Decluttering a small home!

I have been trying to get organised and decluttered for many years, and more importantly, once there, to stay organised and clutter free! Recently I seem to have achieved this more or less, and I thought that I would share my top tips and things that I have found work for me. Most of the organisational ideas have evolved over time, and the decluttering is like painting the Forth Road Bridge (to coin a phrase of my Mum's - the bridge is so huge that once the painters finish it is peeling again where they started and they go right back and start over!). So here we go for my organisation ideas:
  • Storage doesn't HAVE to be pretty - it's nice if it is but clutter definitely isn't pretty and I'd rather be tidy than stylish! Examples of this in my home are the divan bed base with four drawers under it, the plastic box by the front door for shoes, the toy storage tubs with a set of toys in each and stored in the garage which keeps them complete and dry and are easy to carry.
  • Bags for everything - I have bags for swimming, bags for gymnastics, a bag of climbing gear, a rucksack for going out everyday, and a few more in reserve. I store in them everything needed for each activity, and as soon as we are home, equipment is washed/dried/cleaned and replaced in the correct bag ready for next time it is needed. This stops any crazy running around searching for things at the last minute!
  • Lists - I have a master to-do list and then a daily list with one or more to-dos picked from the master list and whatever needs doing that day. Depending on how fluffy headed I am feeling, I even write what activities we are going out to and what I'm making for lunch and dinner on it. I keep these in the same notebook and I can't do without it as I note down ideas that I think of during the day or resources I come across, write bits of blog posts and so on. I work through my home education plans in there and they all stay together. I pull out the pages and throw them away when I'm done with them.
  • Have systems that work for you and your space - I now store all the children's toys in trugs in the garage, each has to be packed back in and returned before another is checked out - it stops everything getting muddled together and gives them plenty of choice as they can access it all when they want. I have almost perfected a laundry system that sees clothes being put away as soon as they are dry rather than gathering in piles in the lounge - loving it! 
My top decluttering tips are:
  • Have realistic expectations - we home educate and have three children in a pretty small house. It is unlikely that I will have a home fit to grace the pages of 'House Beautiful' until they grow up and move out! When the children, and especially when I am ill, the clutter builds - I have learned to just accept this and not stress about it as it can be tidied once normal energy supply is resumed!
  • Have routines - never leave a room without taking something with you to put away, when you have a spare moment, choose three things out of place and put them where they should be, deal with mail the moment you pick it up and file it in one of three places - a 'to-do' folder, a 'to file' folder, or the recycling bin!!! Remember to add dealing with the mail 'to-do' list to your master 'to-do' list!!
  • Declutter and purge regularly, be ruthless and move on things that are not used/needed/are duplicates etc. I often filter a few items of clothing from the children's wardrobes that I've noticed are no longer worn or are too small for them. They are either put away for a younger sibling or given away to friends. There is way more to be said for decluttering them I can do justice here but do it when you can. Tackle small decluttering jobs rather than going for a whole room - one cupboard or shelf at a time will make you feel great and you'll see fast results! I have a 'room 101' pile for extraneous clutter in the garage. I tackle it every so often when I have the energy, it looks a mess but saves it from making rooms in the house look a mess!!
  • Make a place for everything - this doesn't always have to be the most obvious place - store it where you use it most often and where you will be more likely to put it away straight away. 
  • Keep to what is necessary - do you really need five different spatulas or do you only use one or two and the rest can go? My rule is that if we haven't used it in six months then we won't use it. I put things away in the garage and if we haven't wanted it in six months then  it goes. I limit myself to one book case for my books and only keep my absolute favourites that I know I will read or refer to again. Others that I have enjoyed but aren't necessarily keepers are sold on Amazon market place, I can always get them again if I want them!
  • Make your storage systems child-friendly if you want the children to help with the clutter control.... labelled baskets, child height chunky pegs to hang coats on
I'm not sure entirely why I have become so much better at tackling clutter and keeping the house tidier and more organised...... but I like it!! Do you have any top tips for clutter? Leave me a comment and share!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant advice, it is so easy to think that de-cluttering will be really hard work. I found that I had a lot of items I wanted to keep but wasn't really using. I put them in self storage for a while and then got them back when I had space for them again.