I hate mess and piles of stuff but for ages I couldn’t seem to shake it. It’s not just the initial clear up but actually keeping my home clear that was a daily challenge. Here are the best tips that I have found that actually work and will transform the chaos into order.
1. Have Less, Store Less
Don’t waste life tidying, sorting, organising, cataloguing and storing things that you don’t like or will never use. In the words of everyone’s favourite Disney princess, “Let it go!”.
If you don’t like something and you don’t use it, then get rid of it.
You don’t even have to go über minimalist if you don’t want to, just get rid of some stuff and see how you feel. Once I started I found it addictive and got rid of loads, and you know what? I don’t miss any of it.
2. It’s the Putting Away that’s Difficult
…So make it easy by keeping things you put away together, together.
I know very few people that have any trouble taking things out when they want to start an activity, it always seems to be the putting away again that is so much harder. The best tip that I have come across is to make it as easy as possible.
Make sure that everything has a clear home to return to.
Imagine coming home with your winter wear on. Rather than throwing your gloves on the side, your boots by the door and coat where ever it lands, you hang them all together. This way when it is time to go out again everything is to hand. This same practice can be applied to just about anything. How about all of your baking stuff together in one cupboard or box. Or all of your craft supplies?
Store all of your clothes and accessories together where you get dressed and undressed. Store your towels in the bathroom where you wash. You get the idea…
Just moving where you store stuff so that things that go together are all close together and to where you use them saves time and makes life that bit easier.
How about doing your cleaning supplies right now?
- Go around your home and collect every product, pair of rubber gloves, brush, wipe, cloth and don’t forget the bathroom.
- There is no need for separate cleaning supplies for every room. Get rid of duplicates, stuff you ‘stocked up’ on 2 years ago but haven’t used once, bought but didn’t like, or anything that has started to look gross.
- Store your new kit in a freshly cleaned out bucket. This doubles the function for a bulky item that is rarely used but useful to have, and makes it easy for you to carry it from room to room when cleaning.
- Store the bucket in a cupboard or under the sink where it is easily accessible every time you need to clean.
3. Only Buy the Food You Need
It is really really tempting to stock up for the apocalypse, or so it would seem. Every few months I would go through my cupboards and get rid of stuff that was out of date, that I bought and discovered I didn’t like, or that I knew I was never going to use. Sound familiar? There is no need to keep excessive supplies of food. In the case of a flood or something you would have to leave your home anyway and be unlikely to take this food with you so it serves no function.
I try to live week-to-week in terms of food and store a maximum of a few weeks worth of long lasting dried products such as pasta, rice or flour. The result is that I eat fresher food, save money (and waste) and have good sense of the kinds of food the my husband and I like/ don’t like. To avoid over-buying, I write the quantity that I need for a recipe on my shopping list and only buy that amount. Why pay for 15 carrots, store them until they go mouldy and then dispose of them when I could have just bought the single loose one I needed and saved myself £2 and unnecessary food waste guilt and cleaning hassle? It’s a no-brainer!
Opening your fridge or cupboard to see the weeks food neatly laid out and fresh will make your home seem far more organised. If you have things that you don’t like but are in date and unopened then give them to a foodbank where someone else may be glad of them.
4. Tidy Up Your Digital Life
I have had many computers over the years and while I can let go of most things, information was difficult for me. I kept the hard-drives from my old laptops in caddys but never looked at them. I had old college projects I could barely remember on disk. I felt overwhelmed with information, but equally had no idea what old photos I had stored away or even how to go about looking for them.
I started by gathering everything (including old social media profiles) together and moving them to one place. I use google drive for ease and since I have a Chromebook but any storage so long as it is big enough will do.
I made a few basic folders and sub-folders, such as:
- Course Work
- 1 School
- 2 College
- 3 University
I sorted my photos by year and depending on how many I had I subdivided them into logical folders inside e.g. school photos, France holiday etc. This means that the main folder is ordered chronologically but there are not so many folders that it becomes laborious to browse them. You will need some subdivision or else if you have a lot of photos then the folder can take a while to load which is frustrating. I have found any more then two sub-folders feels too much like hard work so I try to leave it at that. During this process I deleted any duplicates, unnecessary similar photos or blurry pictures. This means that all of my photos were worth looking at.
For chronological content such as course work I put a number before the subfolder. This means that even when sorted alphabetically they stay in the correct order. Rather than storing the paper manuals which come with electronics I download the digital version and bin the paper copy. It is actually more useful as they are searchable using CTRL + f. I also scan as much paperwork as I can and bin the original. Obviously there are exceptions where you need the paper copy but binning what you can gets rid of a significant amount of clutter.
This system might seem elaborate but keeping the file hierarchy small (only 2 or 3 levels) makes it simpler, and in general I spend very little time looking for things as I know where they are.
5. Recycle Packaging into DIY Storage Containers
It is tempting to rush out and buy cheap storage equipment to make your home feel organised. There is no need and all you are buying is more clutter. Instead look around your home and use what you already have. This way you don’t spend any money, avoid a shopping trip, and if your storage needs change you can simply recycle what you no longer use knowing that you got a bit of extra use out of it.
You will need: toilet roll holders, plastic bottles, glass jars, newspaper, empty packaging boxes etc.
- Keep cables in a shoebox filled with toilet rolls. Make sure that you put the unique end facing upwards so that you can easily find the cable. These fit nicely into electronic drawers.
- Make drawer dividers from old cardboard boxes. This tutorial is for a stationery drawer, though I also use shoe boxes to subdivide my underwear drawer.
- Fold your clothes Marie Kondo style into drawers. Everything stands upright and visible so it is much easier to find things with nothing lost at the bottom of a pile.
- Weave baskets from newspaper. This is a really fun craft project and they look like something from an interior store.
- Wash glass jars and store new stuff inside. Why not paint the lids make them look fancy?
I hope that some of these tips are useful to you and that you enjoyed reading this post.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any awesome DIYs that you use to keep your home organised and don’t forget to subscribe.