Studies have shown that clutter can affect a person’s anxiety levels, sleep, and ability to focus. It can also make people less productive, triggering coping and avoidance strategies such as snacking on junk food, watching more TV or spending greater time out of the home to get away from the mess.
Therefore, reducing the amount of clutter and unnecessary stuff in our homes is important for both our physical and mental wellbeing.
If, at the start of this New Year, one of your goals is to have a less clutter and be more organised, then read on as Sarah Owen from The Flamingo Organising Co shares her top tips for decluttering your home.
1. Have a “home” for everything
Creating a home for important things such as birth certificates, insurance documents, etc, means you always know where they are. Having a home for everything else is equally as important; so that items can be returned when finished with and can be found easily the next time they are needed. If something doesn’t have a “home”, question whether you actually need it or do you need to make space for it by removing something else? Labelling storage boxes and files help to identify things more easily when needed.
2. Adopt a “one in/one out” policy
If we are to maintain a manageable number of items in our home, we ideally need to be removing items at the same rate (or greater) than they come into our house! For example, if you buy a new pair of jeans, aim to remove a pair that are worn out, don’t really fit or you don’t love as much anymore. If you have children, making time to regularly move on clothes and toys that have been outgrown is really important to prevent being overwhelmed. A good time to do this is around birthdays, Christmas or at the change of the season for clothes.
3. Do a seasonal swap of clothing / shoes
If you are tight on space, doing a seasonal swap is especially important to stay in control of items. If you have limited space in your hallway, storing summer shoes & jackets somewhere else in winter makes optimal use of the space you do have. This is the same if you have limited space in your wardrobe. By only having the current season’s clothes available means there is less to choose from and thus easier to get dressed in the morning.
4. Meal plan & regularly use up what you already have
With food being so expensive these days, planning ahead and only buying what you need according to your meal plan saves money and helps you stay organised. It also prevents that “what shall we eat tonight?” stress if you plan ahead. Checking what you already have in the cupboard/fridge before you go shopping is a good habit to adopt so that you don’t overbuy.
Aim to have one meal from the items already in your cupboard & freezer say once a month to ensure food is used up before it goes out of date.
5. Do simple jobs “there and then”
If a job can be done in less than 2 minutes, do it there and then. For example, replying to an invite or changing a lightbulb. If you leave it and “add it to the list” it may become a bigger job in your mind than it needs to be, and perhaps not even happen. Procrastination is the enemy of progress!
6. Establish routines and habits for all of the household
Routines such as putting your keys in the same place each time you come home /charging your mobile in the same place ensures you know where to find the item when you next need it. Encouraging children to put coats, shoes and bags in the same designated place every time they return home helps to prevents chaos and an untidy house. Tidying away toys, dishes, clothes, paperwork each evening ensures a calm and organised start to the next day. This is not always easy at first, but talking as a family about expectations and what everyone is responsible for is a good starting point.
7. Focus on one area or task if you are feeling overwhelmed
If there are lots of areas of your home that are feeling cluttered, then focus on one drawer/cupboard in one room to start with. Take before and after photos and celebrate each area that you sorted. If you see the whole house as one project, it can feel overwhelming so break it down to one area of one room, and then move onto the next area or room. If you want to introduce a few new habits or routines, focus on one to start with such as everyone putting their keys or shoes in their designated homes. Once this routine is established, focus on adopting another routine consistently.
Decluttering Your Home is a Practice!
Decluttering and organising is a practice and not a project! If you want to achieve an organised home, you can’t just do it once and hope for the best; it requires small amounts of effort every day/week to stay in control!
If you need help to kickstart your decluttering or require support to get a more organised home, do get in touch with Sarah via her website www.flamingoorganising.com or via Instagram @flamingoorganising.
Sarah has been a Professional Organiser for nearly 7 years and is passionate about supporting her clients to achieve organised homes that they truly love. She is also passionate about finding sustainable solutions for unwanted items.
You can find Sarah on our Shop Local Directory here.