How does your home envionment feel?
Your home should be your safe place, a place where you can retreat and relax, a place where you feel comfortable. Your home’s atmosphere depends on family dynamics, décor, space, and organisation. When all these things are balanced you can create a harmonious home.
Look around your home. Is it spacious, organised, tidy?
When we store too many unnecessary things, we create clutter. It’s hard to clean with too many things piled up and stuffed into cupboards and draws and the clutter begins to increase your stress level. You try to make space and end up just shifting things around so that they end up being in the way again elsewhere.
When you need something and look everywhere and can’t find it you begin to feel frustrated. You know its somewhere but everywhere you look, it’s not there and you spend too much time looking and a 5-minute job turns into half an hour as you desperately search.
Clutter collects dust and dirt. If left piled up for a while it is a great breeding ground for mould and becomes a health hazard. Making sure your home is organised and tidy is more comfortable and relaxing for your mind. By clearing the clutter, your home becomes more fresh, spacious, and organised which in turn leads to a more relaxed and calm you, plus you’ll know where everything is.
The best way to organise things and make it easier to clean and be in control of your environment is to declutter. Go through and sort every cupboard, every draw, every shelf in every room but thinking about all the work can make it feel like an enormous task. The best way is to tackle clutter is by clearing one room at a time.
If your environment is cluttered and messy, your children and others will treat your home the same way, leaving things lying around and never tidying up. Getting in control and on top of disorder will teach and encourage everyone to take responsibility for keeping things tidy too.
Get focused and have a plan
So, you want to create tranquillity in your home, make things easier to find and have the space to work or do your hobby without feeling closed in and frustrated.
Where do you start? Choose a room you want to tackle first. Maybe you need to clear a spare room to make a place to work? Maybe your bedroom is messy with bulging draws and a wardrobe you can’t close properly. Once you have decided where to start separate your things into 3 piles, one to keep, one to throw and one to donate or sell. You could use boxes or bin bags for separating items.
Try to be firm with yourself, focus on the job, don’t get distracted by your phone or something you find, you can easily waste of hour of you declutter time checking your social media or looking through a photo album you come across and haven’t looked at for a while.
Setting a time limit might help. ‘I’m going to clear my wardrobe of things I no longer wear. I will work through the clothes, shoes and accessories for an hour before I stop’.
It can sometimes be hard to part with things you’ve had a long time, or you may be someone who keeps things just in case. Look at each item to decide if it is valuable to you. have you used it / worn it in the last 12 / 18 months? Does it fit? Does it need repairing? Is it useful? Then decide which pile it should go in. Keep, Throw, donate or sell.
Items to declutter: books, CDs, DVDs, games, clothes, shoes, ornaments, furniture, electrics, magazines, utensils, make-up, toiletries.
Your style and tastes will probably have changed over time and things like cushions and ornaments may be something you want to renew and update. You may have clothes that you keep because you think you’ll slim down into them – if that works set your goal and wear it again, as long as its not another 2 years of holding onto it. If you’ve not been able to wear it for the last 12 months, put it in the donate or sell pile. You can always treat yourself to something new when you do reach your target.
Tips to make decluttering easier
- Plan where to start. Focus and keep a check on timing – resist distractions.
- Ask – Have used it in the last 12 months? Is it sentimental, valuable to me?
- Go room by room, one at a time – go through cupboards, drawers, under the sink/stairs, wardrobes, under the beds, bookshelves, boxes.
- Listen to music as you work – choose something upbeat and enjoy the clearing process.
- Get the family involved – have children go through their books, toys, and clothes. Help them with decision making, have someone who can help you with decision making.
Items to clear:
- Paperwork – old bills, payslips, invoices, receipts.
- Clothes – does it fit, is the style still right for you, when was it last worn?
- Old, worn towels, bedding,
- Half used body creams, old tanning lotion, half used paint, broken toys
- Unwanted gifts
- Old, outdated, broken electricals
Donate or sell items
- Sell unwanted items in good condition on eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree.
- Donate to unwanted items to charity shops / local community causes.
- Repurpose – Cut old style jeans to make shorts, repaint old furniture. Make a new piece of jewellery using old pieces.
Once you have cleared a room of unnecessary clutter it will be easier to start organising everything. Use boxes or baskets to keep things tidy. By using boxes for groups of items everything will have its place and you will be able to find things more easily, reducing the time and frustration of having to look in several places. This will also reduce the need to spend unnecessarily and buying multiples of the same thing. Boxes can be labelled and put onto shelves, at the bottom of your wardrobe or under your bed.
- Use boxes for – shoe cleaning items, small tools, stationery, cleaning products, makeup, jewellery, toys.
- Clean the room as you organise or do a full room clean before you start to organise, which ever works best for you.
- Think about the functionality of the space you are organising. What things do you use often and need to get quickly? What things aren’t used as often?
- Rearrange furniture, does the room look / function better a different way? Changing things around can improve the feeling of the room.
- Use pin boards for important reminders, photos, job rotas.
- File important documents together. Clear counter tops put away things that aren’t used often. This provides more space to work.
- Use door hangers, hooks, caddies
Once things have been organised, keep on top of it. Establish household rules to keep everything in order. You could introduce a rota for jobs to do around the house. Give each household member a job, this will teach children responsibility for running a house. It may help to hire a cleaner.
Weekly jobs for children could include washing or putting away dishes, setting or clearing the table at meal times, putting their own dirty laundry in the laundry basket, putting away their own clothes, feeding pets and cleaning pet cages, keeping their own space tidy, emptying the bins. Have a regular family clear up and declutter day.
Décor reflects your personality. Choose colours and accessories to create a homely atmosphere. Make choices as a family. If you have children involve them in discussing ideas for making things look comfortable and aesthetically pleasing to you all. Involving children teaches them to make decisions and consider other opinions and needs.
- Colours, textures, style.
- Minimalist or traditional, loud and bright, or muted and calming.
- What mood is suited to the function of each room?
- Detailed finishing off – what accessories will you add? Homemade, pictures, lighting, cushions etc
Make your home your safe place, have a calm, relaxing area you can retreat to. Keep it clean, fresh, and tidy. Create memories by doing things together as a family and teach your children life skills at the same time. Consider functionality, space for entertaining, relaxing, family time, work and hobbies.
Your home environment influences your wellbeing and can have an effect on your behaviour and emotions. You can create your perfect place at no cost by simply getting rid of the excess and organising the things you need.
Marie Kondo is a well known specialist in home organising. For tips see Marie Kondo