Thinking about getting your house in order? Read on for practical tips on how to make this happen
From your bedroom to your laundry alcove, we’re going to cover every nook and cranny to liberate your house and your mind. As you’ve probably heard a few times already, proper organising and de-cluttering involve reducing the number of items that are no longer used in your life. As such, you’re the only person that can truly determine whether something is important to you or otherwise. The actions needed to move and tidy things up in your home are relatively simple and so there’s no real need to outsource these tasks. We’ll save the arguments of why a clean and de-cluttered home improves your life for another time and you can probably remember the distinction of walking into a spacious, clean and organised house. So, let’s dive into some actionable tasks that you can tick off step by step.
Organising Your Bedroom
Order matters. That’s why we’re starting with your bedroom. From experience, it’s much more effective to begin with something that can generate some instant results to spur momentum. Your bedroom is this starting point where you can find quick wins and realise that it’s actually not that tedious when broken down into small actionable steps in an issue and resolution manner. With regard to messiness in your bedroom, the most common problems relate to scattered clothing, loose paper and files (particularly if you have a work desk and live in an apartment), an unmade bed, and other idle paraphernalia thrown about in a rushed manner. Let’s address these one by one and as a precursor, if you have windows in your room, open them! Organising and some light cleaning (horrible pun intended) are much easier with some natural light and fresh air.
If you think about your bedroom in a tiered or strata manner, your clothes most likely lay at the top of your bed, floor, desk or chairs. In that sense, if we’re starting at the top then clothes are our beginning point. Now, you’re going to break this down into actionable sub-steps:
All your clothes will fall into 3 categories:
- Clothes that are already folded but you’ve just placed into a pile that’s not in your closet or an area setup for storing your clothes. Move these clothes into your closet in whichever order you have in your home. For example pants separately if your closet allows such ordering.
- Those that need to go into the wash. Simply grab these by an arm full and throw them into a wash basket or on the ground and when it’s all gathered throw them into the laundry and press buttons to start washing or if you outsource your laundry then you have them ready for pick up or delivery to a laundromat. You’re going to wash them, simpler than meerkat insurance.
- Clothes that have been scattered and are ready to be folded. Steps 1 and 2 above are easy and quick to implement. Now that you’re on a roll all that’s left regarding your clothes is the last pile. Play some music, fold these and store them in your wardrobe. That’s it! Clothes tick. Visible progress, what’s next?
Make Your Bed
Now that your minefield of tops and bottoms has been defused you can effectively make your bed. The only items that should be on your bed now are pillows and any stuffed toys. Sit them aside and pull your sheet, duvet and blanket corner by corner until even. Place your pillows and toys back on.
Loose Paper, Books and Other Items
This is arguably the hardest part and correspondingly one that will make your bedroom look cleaner and more organised than it has in a while. Again, let’s categorise and break this down into more bite-sized components. Think of your items as falling into one of the three categories: rubbish, sellable or charitable, and keep.
Rubbish: Some items are easily recognisable as rubbish. If you have used tissues and chocolate wrappers lying around, then grab a bag and throw them in for waste disposal. Have a separate pile / bag to carry to recycling.
Sellable and Charitable: This is the more exciting pile. Sellable items are those that you haven’t used in a while and won’t use on a consistent basis. Found an old polaroid camera gathering dust? This might be a collectible to someone and fetch a decent price on Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Amazon. Yes, you might think you’re saving it to take vintage photos for when you find that perfect partner but if you haven’t used in a year then it’s time to recycle it into the economy. You can do more good with the cash and find another camera when you do find that person. It might not be rubbish either or if you’re feeling humane then you can always donate something useful to charity. Stockpile these items in one place for now. We suggest somewhere visible so they don’t just sit idle and a visible reminder for when you’re done with organising. You can then return, unpack the items and take some flattering photos to sell online for some quick cash.
- Keep: From an old photo album to some scented bath bombs, these are the items you want to keep and store at home.
You now have piles of items. I want you to re-visit your ‘Keep’ pile and double check if there are any items that actually should be disposed. Don’t exaggerate a story of how you can use it, think about the last time you actually used it and if you would actually be inclined to use it consistently in the future to improve your life.
Done? Great, now take out the rubbish. Your sellable and charitable items should be sitting in a box in the middle of your living room for you to address later. Your ‘Keep’ items are sitting in a separate spot. Chances are dust has gathered beneath and around where these items were stored as well as on some of the items. This is the perfect time to grab some multi-purpose spray and a cloth to wipe these sections. It will be so much easier to wipe a shelf when there are no items clustered on top. Give it a quick spray and wipe and do the same for your items (if they’re suitable for this). Let it dry and start arranging items in their respective positions. Some affordable storage tools, mainly storage boxes and file drawers, which you can pick up at your local Kmart for about five to six dollars each will help a great deal here. We recommend neutral colours to help keep your room looking relaxed (think white, grey, beige or black).
This would have been the most time consuming task but if you followed through then your room should have taken shape and look like an amazing contrast from when you started. Your bedroom is now satisfyingly organised by you! Feel free to take a shower and a nap in your fresh room or if you’re feeling energetic onwards to your living room!
Organising Your Living Room
Despite their relative size to other rooms, living rooms are generally much easier to keep tidy. The main culprits of a mess in living rooms are spots of dust beneath furniture, misplaced cushions and an array of bits and bobs chaotically scattered. The great news is that these can each be methodically addressed to once again let your lounge room breathe.
Let’s start by lifting all small items off the ground placing them where they belong such as toys in their baskets and books on shelves or in boxes. We’re assuming your living room isn’t an episode of hoarders such that you have collections of newspapers stacked to the ceiling. If you do have a large assortment of clutter that you wouldn’t ordinarily find in a living room then you can simply follow the steps laid out for organising your bedroom above to declutter and destress your living area.
Next, we’re going to vacuum or sweep and mop the floor depending on what type of flooring is in your home. This is your chance to attend to the trouble areas. Yes, we know this is not strict organising per se but removing mounds of dust significantly projects a more organised living space. So, get under and behind your couch, move the dining chairs aside to make it much more efficient to clean under the table and move small tables to easily clean beneath. At this point, you’re a dust bunny buster!
By now your living space should be looking greatly improved. What remains to make your lounge sparkle are the main electronic units and furnishings. Grab a damp cloth and some multi-purpose cleaner and wipe off the excess dust and oil. Now’s the time to add your final organising touches. Boxes, boxes, boxes! If you have space under your coffee table, low lying storage boxes are fantastic for hiding smaller items such as magazines and books. Larger boxes are your friend for storing blankets, spare cushions and books and they can be neatly placed such that your living room no longer looks chaotic.
Organising Your Bathroom
Bathrooms are where a little bit of organisation effort goes a long way. You’ll find a handful of minor things from shampoo bottles half filled with water, empty boxes to slimy toiletries that when addressed will have your bathroom looking marvellous.
You’ve probably guessed that we’re going to follow the same process by now. Step one, grab a bag because we’re collecting all waste and throwing it away. That Pantene conditioner from a year ago with 3 pieces of unknown hair and a mould civilisation flourishing on the cap, throw it in the bag. Empty contact lenses boxes, yes, they need to go too. When going through we’re always surprised at how many expired items there are which at the time we bet we thought that it would be used more than often.
On to organising your used items. Most bathrooms have enough storage space in vanity drawers and cabinets. As you use up this space then your next best option is external plastic storage units which are easy to keep clean if products spill, aren’t easily damaged by moisture and affordable and easily replaced. Small sets of drawers and containers are perfect for storing make-up and nail polish. A laundry basket is suitable to contain bath toys as the vents in the side allow quicker drying limiting mildew.
Organising Your Kitchen
If you’re like us, then the kitchen is the heart of your house. It’s a place where culinary creations are made, therapy is distilled in bite-sized pieces and a place that connects friends and family. The three main culprits of disorganised kitchens are also the best parts of this room – appliances, utensils and food.
It’s harder to let go of more expensive and larger items. But if you’re at all serious about organising your kitchen and improving your living conditions then that ice cream maker which has gathered grease and dust has to go. If you have space then that’s Ok, otherwise, consider giving it away to family or friends or a garage sale.
Utensils are a different story, you need be prepared and have a full repertoire of kitchen accessories for your next soiree. Utensils are often jumbled up in kitchen drawers. The solution are utensil jars where you can batch key items and a primary jar for the most commonly used utensils. It’s also worthwhile investing in a quality knife block to allow safe and convenient reaching.
Appropriately store your food as follows:
- Canisters for tea, coffee, rice, flour, sugar, cereal and other dry ingredients.
- Tins for short term storage of cakes, biscuits and lollies.
- Glass jars for wet and dry ingredients such as jams, preserves and pickles.
- Leftover containers for storing and heating leftover meals.
- Condiment bottles for storing cooking oil, salad dressing, vinaigrettes, sauces and other liquids.
Additional Tips for Your Household
Beyond the standard bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens, we’ve collected an assortment of handy tips below you can apply for bespoke situations such as tidying up a home office of brightening up the kids room.
- Invest in quality clothes pegs and hangers (avoid thin metal), they will last longer and cause you less problems in the long run.
- Store your pegs in a clothespin bag and always bring it inside to protect it from the weather and prolong the life of your pegs.
- Place all your dirty socks into a mesh wash bag before putting them in your washing machine. This way you'll always be able to match them into pairs. No more lost socks!
- Storage boxes don't have to be boring. They come in a range of colours that can be used to brighten up a kid's room.
- Label boxes in kid’s rooms. This will help kids to tidy away their own messes because they will know exactly where everything goes without having to ask you.
- In drawers, keep your most used items at the top being the easiest place to reach.
- A small set of storage drawers placed on your desk is the perfect place for storing commonly used items like paperclips, stamps and staples.
- Use plain labels to tag electronic items and their respective power-points. Simply write the name of the item and fold it so it sticks to itself it around the power cord. This will help you identify which plug goes with which item if you ever need to unplug them.