Good organisation is invisible, muddles stares you in the face. Here’s our all-time top tips for getting organised and keeping up morale (while you’re doing it).
Don’t try to do everything at once
Organizing the right way takes time and can be an investment. However, the benefits far outweigh the financial and time commitment necessary.
There is no “Band-Aid” fix
Be wary of hacks and quick fixes. Organizing is very much like dieting or working out. There are stacks of great tips and tricks that can help us along, but there’s no magic solution to get rid of clutter. Just like dieting and exercise, when we approach organising as a shift in our lifestyle, that is when we can most successfully learn how to keep house.
Organising can be stylish
In the last decade, organisation has become linked with interior design, and storage tools are better-looking than ever. Think of keeping house as a part of decorating your home, and look for products that coordinate with your style.
When in doubt, keep it neutral
Using neutral bases for larger organisational items helps maintain a classic, simple look.
Wall-mounted storage is one or our fave ways to keep things organised without taking up desk, table or bench space.
Don’t Buy Anything…Yet
Stop buying products before you know what you’ll need Buying storage products does not equal being organised. When you get that plastic tub home, it isn’t going to tell you what to do.
Do a big edit
Bin everything you own and throw away everything that compromises your taste. Breaking up is hard to do. Be strong. Wrap your head around the task of throwing away your past. And don’t create a limbo land of storage boxes. They only encourage you to keep stuff that deserves to be thrown away. Find nifty solutions, but don’t let any corner of your house become a repository for detritus.
You don’t have to hide everything away
If you store everyday things – like china and glassware – on open shelves, you’ll use them. If you don’t, chuck them out.
Don’t attempt to organise without clearing out the space first
You need to deconstruct to reconstruct.
Too many people think they can reorganise their entire house in a single day. Don’t make a day of it. It’s too exhausting and you will get frustrated. Concentrate on one thing – and task – at a time.
People often fail to see what is good and what is bad in their homes. Blame sentimentality of sheer force of habit. Ask friends with taste and no agenda over to pick out what you should discard or display. They might say that vase you’ve never known what to do with is an Art Nouveau beauty or that your lamp is an 1980s shocker that has to go. Don’t take it personally.
What to Chuck Out
Get rid of anything you wouldn’t pay to move. Old towels. Expensive art you don’t love. ‘Only when’ clothing. Unused cosmetics. Novelty napkin rings. Old paperback books. Old electronics. Dead gym equipment. Movies you don’t watch. Shoes you don’t wear. Expired food you don’t eat. DIY projects that will never happen. Cheap toys. Leaky lilos. Old paint tins. Marshall all your old calamine lotions, anti-fungal creams, superglue tubes dead batteries, out-of-date warranties, and souvenir spoons into the bin. The Pantry Decant packets into containers: it looks good, avoids mess and keeps the moths out. Buy some big, attractive, matching glass jars with air-tight lids in which to store staples.
Store items where used
Being organised doesn’t mean storing everything out of sight. Based on frequency of use. Keep the sticky tape close to the scissors and wrapping paper. Store knives near chopping boards. Group similar items together. Put items you use once a year – such as sleeping bags and tents – in the storeroom or garage.
The Living Room
Assess your knick-knacks. Why are these on display? Do you like them? Are there things in your cupboard you like better, things that say more about you and less about the person who gave them to you? Make executive decisions. Is that bowl something you’ve always secretly detested? Let it find true love with someone else.
Move On To Your Bookshelves
If there’s a volume that you last put down, unfinished, a year ago, it won’t have improved with age: the self-help book that never helped you, ancient textbooks and the four shelves of children’s books with no heirloom value all deserve to be set free. Old books (particularly cheap ones) smell. Chuck out all fusty old magazines. Put them in a recycling bin, and start afresh with a new collection. Books are a great way to decorate a room and fill your mind, but they have to be good-looking. We do judge a book by its cover.
Everyone’s house is full of gifts that missed their mark; the scarf that goes with nothing, the lamp you hate, the book you’ll never read, and the perfume that makes you sneeze. Go around the house with a heavy duty garbage bag and collect the lot. You will not believe the difference it will make.
Don’t leave unframed art leaning on walls for years. And don’t strand small pictures on acres of wall: group them with other small works. Group paintings around theme, content, size. Put similar objects together: all your glass together on a sideboard, and all your hats on a wall. Massed together even mundane things achieve drama.
Keep Surfaces Clear
Be on constant patrol to keep benchtops and tables from deteriorating into a chaos of bills, quotes, parking fines, school notes, reports, invitations, catalogues and mail.
Don’t view organization as a chore
Done right, it’s productive, creative and a passport to a better life.
Keep it Clean and Maintain everything
If you can’t embrace cleaning, employ someone who will. Even if you have to scrape the bottom of the piggy bank, get a cleaner to come as often as you can. Life is too short to attend to it all by yourself, but you must keep your standards up. Your silver needs to be polished, your mirrors gleaming, your floors waxed, your sinks sparkling and your linen pressed. There is no excuse for disorder. In between your cleaner’s visits, whip around for fifteen minutes every day to put things straight. It’s such a great way to live. Get on top of that mess, and get on top of life