When greeting a visitor to your home have you ever said ‘nice to see you, excuse the mess!’ ?
You can’t clean around clutter!
De-cluttering your home is an effort but one which, when it’s completed, will make you feel fabulous, refreshed and revitalized.
Once you’ve de-cluttered, not only will cleaning and maintaining your home be easier, but you can sit back and relax knowing you’re looking after one of the biggest investments of your life – your family home!
The basic rules of de-cluttering can be applied to any room in your house and making a decision about what stays and goes can be easily resolved if you go along with this ‘mantra’ – ‘there’s only a place in the house for things which are useful, beautiful or seriously sentimental’.
10 Basic Rules that Apply to Every Room in Your Home
MAKE IT A FAMILY EVENT
Let everyone know and they can be a part of the decision making. The golden rule here is that ‘everything has a place’ and if everyone in the house knows where that place is, your life will become easier.
CLEARING NEEDS PLANNING
Before you begin, look in every cupboard and drawer, regardless of what it contains at present, decide what you are going to keep there in the future. Then, as you are tidying, you will be able to put any misplaced items where you want them to be.
ONE ROOM AT A TIME
De-clutter one room at a time, or even half a room or even a drawer. You’ll find as you empty your cupboards and shelves that you create more of a mess to begin with, don’t be put off, no one’s behind you with a stopwatch!
GET YOUR RUBBISH BAGS READY
Have rubbish bags at the ready: Mark them SELL, CHARITY SHOP, RECYCLE & BIN IT Sell: car boot, garage sale, reputable internet auction sites, auction rooms (for more valuable items).
Charity shops always need clothes / household goods.
You may need several bags for this, depending on how your local autority work. Recycle: paper, card, glass, plastic, clothes, wood.
It’s a good idea to have a bag to put letters, bills, instruction manuals etc. that you may discover around the house, and will need to file for easy access.
Anything you need to keep put back straight away.
HAVE A METHOD
Pull out everything in your cupboard or drawer and lay it out so you can see it clearly – this will help you make a decision as to what you want to lose and what you need to hang onto.
MAKING THE DECISION TO KEEP IT OR CHUCK IT
When your holding your item as your self: “Do I really need it? Do I use it? Do I like it? How many of them do I need?” Don’t just rearrange! One sure fire recipe for frustration is to simply tidy up the content of a drawer or cupboard but leave yourself with the same miscellaneous collection of ‘stuff’. Be ruthless!
Above all remember – de-cluttering is meant to make you feel good – make room for the future and don’t get too caught up on the past.
Keep an eye on my website, Decluttering isn’t something you can do overnight, so I’ll be featuring great ways to Declutter every room in your home.
Decluttering your hallway
No one likes a messy home, and if you de-clutter you’ll not only feel better but you’ll have more time, because you’ll be able to find things quicker and cleaning will take minutes not hours.
A great place to start your de-cluttering is in the hallway as it shouldn’t take too long. A hallway needs to be inviting, bright and free from clutter. Then both you and your visitors will notice a difference.
So clear all the clutter and sort it out, and, put away everything that should be somewhere else in the house. Then start with an empty canvas and create a space you want to walk into and one that’s welcoming.
If your hallway is narrow, you maybe better off creating a space underneath your stairs for coats and shoes, invest in a good quality coat hook and baskets or a shoe rack to help keep everything in place. If you are lucky enough to have a slightly wider hall, there are some great pieces of hallway furniture you can add to make your hallway a feature rather than a dumping ground. Give your house keys a home, and not in the hallway, keeping your keys somewhere else is safer, maybe a small basket or box in your kitchen or lounge, you’ll soon get used to it.
When you choose your hallway furniture try and go for something that’s not only beautiful but practical. A console table may look nice but it offers little or no storage and takes up valuable space. Baskets, baskets, baskets! these can look stylish as well as being a great place to store shoes.
Once you’ve decluttered don’t neglect your hallway – give it some attention – it’s an important first impression!
RULES OF KEEPING A HALLWAY FREE FROM CLUTTER
One coat rule – that’s one coat per member of the family. The hallway is not an extension of your wardrobe. You can only wear one coat at a time.
One pair of shoes rule – again you can only wear one pair at a time, don’t let the family use the hallway as a dumping ground for numerous pairs of trainers and shoes.
Throw away any junk mail or papers you don’t need immediately (rather than letting them stack up in the hallway).
Fix a good quality coat hook or invest in a coat stand (depending on how much room you have) and stick to the one coat rule.
Use baskets or a slimline shoe rack to keep piles of messy shoes a thing of the past, and stick to the one pair of shoes rule.
Don’t clutter your walls – keep photos and pictures to a minimum, otherwise they can make your hallway feel smaller.
Wash over hallway radiators (they’re a magnet for dust and dirt)
Create a space in your bedrooms for coats and shoes to avoid them working their way back to the hallway.
If you have a downstairs toilet (it always seems to be the one your visitors will use first) keep it clean and clear (my pet hate is seeing a bleach bottle by the u-bend it looks awful) and always make sure it’s stocked with toilet paper, hand wash and a towel.
Do a little everyday to maintain the space you’ve created! Above all when it comes to your hall ‘less is definitely more’!
Keep your hallway swept and vacuumed.
Put up a mirror. A Mirror can make your hallway look bigger. Hang them horizontally to increase the length of the hall and vertically to increase the height.
Above all when it come to your hall ‘less is definitely more’!
Decluttering your kitchen
- Tidy one cupboard or draw at a time.
- Start with the food cupboards and throw out any food that has passed its sell-by date.
- If space is an issue store large saucepans and items you only need at Christmas or for large dinner parties in the loft, shed or garage. Wrap them in paper and put them in a labelled box.
- Tidy all the work surfaces. Does that donut maker and rarely used coffee grinder really deserve a permanent place on the work top?! Put them away and only keep out the utensils and small appliances you use regularly.
Organising the kitchen;
- Store things close to the area in the kitchen where they are used – it’s a real time saver.
- Put everything you need when you are cooking – saucepans, cooking utensils and ingredients – in cupboards near the cooker.
- Use small drawers for everyday cutlery, small cooking utensils, tea towels and such things as scissors, string and sticky tape.
- If items are stored on open shelves, keep them in labelled containers or glass jars – it’s a good way to recycle attractive containers and glassware.
- Don’t let your kitchen table become a dumping ground!
Decluttering your Lounge
Make your lounge cosy, uncluttered and welcoming – a place where you can relax with family and friends. Everything on display should be there because you think it’s beautiful or because you are sentimentally attached to it.
De-cluttering the lounge;
- Empty any cupboards, sideboards and storage chests and check for unwanted items
- A neat and organised bookshelf will add to the look and character of a room. A cluttered heap of books, magazines and junk mail piled onto the shelves won’t!
- Clean up your music collection. If you don’t play it, don’t like it or can’t even remember why you bought it in the first place, make someone else’s day and take it to the charity shop.
Organising the lounge;
- If the lounge also doubles as a hobbies room, invest in some sturdy lidded storage boxes to keep the bits and pieces tidy. Attractive boxes can double up as occasional tables.
- If the computer is on the lounge, have a couple of attractive file boxes by the side to pop any paperwork into while you are not working.
- Make space for a toy cupboard or a flat lidded toy box (so it can double up as a seat for little bottoms) and teach the children to put away their toys when they have finished playing with them.
Decluttering your bedroom
Your bedroom should be a relaxed and beautiful sanctuary. Don’t let it become little more than a storeroom with the bed!
De-cluttering the bedroom;
- Start with your wardrobe.
- We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time… so why are our wardrobes filled with piles of stuff we’ll never wear?! It’s time for a clothes audit.
- Remove everything you are not going to wear this season, then decide what you want to keep. Store your out of season clothes under the bed or in the guest room, if you have one. I’m a fan of vacuum packing – shrinking puffa jackets and other bulky garments to half their original size.
- Tidy all your drawers and cupboards and get rid of anything you don’t need.
- Tidy your dressing table and only have cosmetics on display that you use regularly.
- Keep perfumes in a cool, dark place as they deteriorate in the light.
Organising the bedroom;
- Make use of storage space under the bed and on top of wardrobes by storing linen or out of season clothes in closed baskets or boxes.
- Invest in shelves to display books and photographs.
- Make your bed the centrepiece of the room and a joy to look at. Buy the best quality bed linen you can afford… and remember, a duvet a size bigger then your bed will make it look luxurious.
Decluttering your bathroom
A bathroom should be warm and inviting, a place where you want to spend time. If everything is tidy and in its place, it will become a sanctuary for you and your family.
De-cluttering the bathroom;
- Go through the cupboards and around any shelves removing any old products that you never use. Wipe everything you want to keep and replace it in the cupboards.
Organising the bathroom;
- Keep the area around the sink and bath as clear as you can. If you don’t have sufficient storage in your bathroom, try to keep products to a minimum.
- Check out some bathroom wall units for storage solutions
- Keep your toothbrush and toothpaste in a holder to keep the sink area tidy.
- Hang towels on a towel rail or fold or roll neatly on a shelf
Decluttering your kids’ Rooms
Teach children how to be organised and you’ll give them a head start in life! Explain to them why its so important to keep their room tidy – it will mean they have more space to play, they will be able to find everything easily and their toys won’t get stepped on and broken. Tell them that if they have toys they don’t want anymore some other child might love to play with them. Explain to them the concept of charity shops and how they turn their old toys into money to feed children in poor countries with no mummy or daddy. I’ve had 100% success rate with this one.
De-cluttering a kid’s room;
- Tidy the wardrobe and cupboards and get rid of anything outgrown or no longer needed.
- Throw away broken toys and give unwanted toys to a charity shop.
- Clear the floor as much as possible and put toys and games in bags and boxes.
- Tidy surfaces and book shelves.
Organising a kid’s room;
- Try to make the bedroom as attractive as possible so they’ll want to keep it tidy!
- Make use of space on top of the wardrobe for out of season clothes and items that the child doesn’t need to reach.
- If there is room under the bed it’s a great place to store toys and bits in plastic wheeled boxes that can be pulled out easily.
- Group similar toys together – all the bricks in one box, the games and puzzles in another, furry animals in another, so they know where to find them. If your children are small, cut pictures out of magazines and stick them on the front. Tiny kids can identify the brick box if it has a picture of some brick on it!