ORGANISE & DECLUTTER

 

‘Tis the season to get Spring cleaning! So we’ve called on professional help to set us off on the right foot for our organising adventure. Lissanne Oliver from SORTED!, Australia’s favourite organising and decluttering blog, shares the need-to-know advice for sprucing up the busiest rooms at home.


THE BENEFITS OF A DECLUTTERED SPACE

 

An organised home equals a functional house. It promotes hassle-free living and makes it easier to find items and return them with little fuss. “You’ll save money by avoiding double-ups on purchases, your space will be aesthetically appealing, and you’ll obtain an overall feel-good empowerment!” says Oliver.


GETTING STARTED

 

You can get organised any time of the year, but the temperate weather of Spring and Autumn make it a great time to do any major organising overhaul. You have to break eggs to make an omelette, so your plan should include plenty of time to clear a mess you make during the event, too, not just the decluttering process itself. This includes: recycling items, donating to charity, etc.



A HOME FOR EVERY ITEM

 

If you have definite areas where things can be stored, a spruce of your space takes just minutes. If you ‘scoop and dump’ into the spare room, you’re simply delaying the inevitable and making more work and stress for yourself down the track.

If items don’t have a home, create one. The best locations are closest to where you use that particular piece eg: hot water bottles can go under the sink where you always fill them; shoes can go by the front door where you take them off; linen can be strored under the bed rather than in the linen press.

Junk drawers: It’s absolutely OK to have your secret junk drawer. This handy spot will eliminate the stress about finding the right home for hard-to-store pieces such as that spare part for the dishwasher, stray buttons, matches and batteries.



ORGANISING THE BATHROOM

 

90% of bathroom items are fiddly pieces that can clutter surfaces eg: bottles of nail polish, lip balms, moisturisers, hair clips, and razors. Ensure you have small drawers or drawer dividers to house these items neatly. Group in broad categories such as skin/eyes/hair/nails.

Be ruthless and ditch any unused or unwanted soaps, lotions or body scrubbers that were gifts. Don’t forget about those product samples you picked up at the shops, too – use it or lose it!

The most valuable real estate in this room is the floor, so keep it clear as much as possible. It will make the room look and feel bigger.

Remember: Never have storage areas filled to capacity. You need room to move as items come and go.


ORGANISING THE LIVING ROOM

 

Start with bigger items. Have you replaced a piece of furniture and still need to deal with the original one? Sell it, donate it, give it away. Start big and filter down to the small items for fast results. “A living space is for living, so don’t slave away trying to make it look like a sterile home. Signs of life give character and interest – a little like the creases on our faces. (Just be mindful that your home doesn’t look like Keith Richards though)” says Oliver.



ORGANISING CHILDREN’S SPACES

 

Organising is an integral life skill that underpins success. Its importance is on par with social skills and managing money. So set your little one off on the right foot by encouraging them to organise and declutter from an early age.

Kids’ spaces need clearing out at least every season. Get children involved in the act, too, as teaching them to take responsibility is key to continued organisation.

Ensure children and teens have a bin and a dirty clothes basket in their rooms, and teach them how to use them from an early age.

Remember: Monkey see, monkey do! If you’re not setting a good example yourself, it will make a tough task of convincing children to keep organised.



MAINTAINING THE DECLUTTERED HOME

 

Routines are vital to maintaining your organised hub, so ensure daily, weekly and monthly tasks are upheld.

Ideas to get you started:

– When you walk in the door, place your bag, key, phone and glasses in the same place.

– Manage and organise financial paperwork at least once a week.

– Take five minutes at the end of the day to clear and put items away. Doing this every day means you’ll wake to a relaxed space in the morning.


MOST COMMON ORGANISING MISTAKES

 

Not discarding unwanted items: These are often recyclable pieces such as: old magazines, excess shopping bags, and items for charity. These add unnecessary bulk to areas and waste precious space.

Ignoring what needs to be done: Just get on with it! Sorting things out will make you feel better. Direct your attention to areas needing the most energy such as: clutter hot spots, old and ignored storage areas, and piles of unsorted paperwork.



Lissanne Oliver is a professional organiser, qualified trainer, author, and TV presenter. For more of her organising advice, check out ‘SORTED! The ultimate guide to organising your life – once and for all.’ And start educating your children on the importance of organising with Lissanne Oliver’s fun set of comics that will teach basic skills and tips to stay on track.

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