I don't know about you, but I thought that a more minimalist lifestyle was the answer to all of my problems. My clutter/untidiness/mess problems, I mean. I thought that gradually, as the clutter left my home, it would magically become a calmer, warmer, nicer place to spend time in. That when I didn't have to spend so much time tidying, then I could get out more....and explore the beautiful part of the world that I live in. I guess I forgot something...having less doesn't automatically (at least in my home) lead to a more organised environment. This week I spent a good ten minutes looking for my purse (only to find it had fallen out of my bag in the car), my daughter lost her coat (again in the car) and my son lost his iPad (in his room).
So, this has led me to consider how as well as decluttering, I need to start thinking about organising my stuff. And these are some of the strategies I'm trying to put in place to make my home a more organized place.
Find everything a home - this sounds ridiculously simple doesn't it. Yet, it's something that I haven't been taking full advantage of.
The example that I was given, was that of your toothbrush. It's not something that ever gets lost, because it's always in the same place and it's always where we need it to be. I suppose the same could apply to lots of things in our homes - knives and forks are in the cutlery drawer, medicines are in the cabinet and the detergent is next to the washing machine.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could apply that principle to many other areas of our life? To actually start using that key rack each and every time we come home (I'm sure I'm not the only one that loses keys?); to have a designated place to keep your laptop, your handbag, your remote control even. I'm hoping that finding a "home" for even the smallest of items, and putting it back after using it, will help keep things more organised.
What if things aren't getting put back where they belong? Then I tend to look at the problem in reverse. If, for example, the kids are coming home and dropping their coats on the floor and their backpacks on the sofa....ask yourself why. Have they got somewhere to keep their stuff or are they being lazy? In my case, we have coat hooks that I decluttered - but I failed to organise them. I didn't remove the things we use infrequently to make place for the stuff we use everyday. So whilst we need and use every item on the coat hooks - some stuff (the summer scarves, the swimming bag and the hockey bag) can be moved somewhere more logical. That way I can leave some coat hooks empty for when the kids come home or we have visitors.
What if the storage isn't easy to get to? If you have a storage unit but it's behind a large sofa or other equipment, then realistically it's not going to get used. Similarly if you have items that you do use regularly stored in pretty boxes, then that might not work either. Experiment a little and think about how you can modify that problem. Don't be afraid to start over if it's not working out.
Keep "like with like" - have one place for pens, one for tape, one for batteries or chargers etc. Avoid just storing loose items randomly (though maybe we all have that junk drawer)?
Start routines to save time. Think about it- have you ever worked somewhere where cleaning up, or putting things away was part of your job? On those occasions when I've helped out in places with daily routines, it's never failed to amaze me how much you could get done once you started - and how having a routine led not only to saving time (you didn't need to think about what needed to be done next - you just did it) but it also led to a more organised environment. What routines could you implement to make your life easier? I'm thinking that if every morning before I leave the house I wipe down the worktop or make the beds or sort through the post then it's going to become a habit which will save me time in the long run. Often we spend more time thinking than doing...and once we get the momentum going, and see our small successes, then that should keep propelling us forwards.
So you need to buy some new stuff? Try to adopt the principle of one in, one out. Place the new item where it's needed, in its new home, straight away - don't just leave your shopping bags lying on the floor or stuff them to the back of your wardrobe. (Another thing for me to work on).
So....these are the things I'm working on right now, alongside the decluttering of course. I'd love to hear if you have any tips you can share or if these are ideas that you use already. Please comment below, I love hearing your stories and advice.
If you're interested in bringing less stuff into your home, full stop, then you might be interested in my earlier article: Why I fell out of love with shopping.