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.

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41 comments on “I’ve got less stuff – so why can’t I find anything?”

  1. The toothbrush is the perfect example of an item that has a home. Nice list you’ve given us! One thing I’d add is putting things away even when you plan to come back to them in an hour or so. Things come up. You get a phone call and it throws off your schedule, or your child gets stuck on a homework problem and you stop to help. Our days don’t always go as planned, especially when you’re a parent!

    • Thanks, Priscilla 🙂 You’re so right about being distracted and not getting back to things, it happens all the time in our home but I’d not seen it that way. Thanks for the tip and for stopping by.

  2. Ha! You are definitely not the only person to lose keys. I lose everything and you are right, simply decluttering does not solve the organisation problem.

    I have been watching Clutterbug on YouTube for decluttering ideas. She is Canadian so not everything is UK relevant but she has some great ideas.

    I’ve started trying to get myself into a bit of a routine and it is helping. It’s early days but trying to stay on top of less is so much nicer to deal with. And doing a little every day definitely is helping me to keep on top of it all.

    That being said, I really could do with organising some spaces more.

    • Hi Steph, thanks for stopping by…it does sound like we’re on similar points in our decluttering journeys. It’s lovely of you to comment and share your tips. I’ll definitely be checking out that YouTube channel. Hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂

  3. I love this!

    The most beneficial technique for me has been “putting like with like.” This keeps us organized, for the most part. Designated areas are key. Literally! Like you said, we have a place for our keys because we have many to contend with: home key, work keys, car keys, RV keys, etc. Having ONE place for them is very helpful for us.

    Thank you for these insights. They are all useful when implemented.

    Melanie

  4. I had a ten minute meltdown this afternoon for similar reasons! Generally our house is tidy but I sometimes feel I’m in a losing battle with stuff coming in – mainly work related papers and magazines. Constant tide!

    • Oh no, that’s not good when it stresses you out so much 🙁 It can seem like a constant battle sometimes can’t it! Especially the paperwork..and all the junk mail that comes through your door. Sometimes I feel like sticking one of those grouchy “no junk mail” notices on my letterbox, I wonder if they work?!

    • Thanks, Claire. I’m so glad you found the post useful. It’s lovely of you to comment and I hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂

    • Haha, your comment made me laugh…I’m so glad you’re enjoying these posts. It’s a slow process isn’t it, but have faith – we’ll get there. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend!

  5. You know I’m 36 and am only just beginning to master this whole decluttering and tidying up malarkey! I’m a nightmare for keeping things because ‘it cost me £20 ten years ago, and putting things back ‘later’ and then not! I have no tips apart from recently I decided to only tidy my toddlers toys away when he’d gone to bed, else I found myself constantly tidying up all day!

    • Hi, Maxine! I can so relate to your comment about holding onto things…! It does get easier though, with practice. And the thing I’m finding is that I rarely regret anything that I’ve let go…I value the space so much more. Your tip about tidying up after your little one has gone to bed is a good one, thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Hehe, I could have written this! I’m chronically messy. Getting rid of excess stuff has helped a lot, but it’s not a silver bullet. One thing that I got out of reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was to store things so they are easy to put away. Having cupboards and drawers with space in them greatly aids this. Another is the 1-minute rule that I picked up from Gretchen Rubin – if you can do a job in a minute or less, do it immediately. So things like putting my shoes away, hanging my coat, taking my keys out of my pocket and putting them on the key hook. Oh, and my other tip would be, get a key hook!

  7. It definitely true. We tend to think that decluttering is the holy grail. It’s what happens next that matters. When I have been decluttering (as I did at the end of the summer), my husband asked me several times where things were and I genuinely didn’t know. I also threw a couple of things away in error lol

  8. I seriously ask my question this every day. I live in a tiny studio apartment but cannot find anything! My mother always told me “everything in its place, and a place for everything.” I think I should heed her advice and yours and I will be on my way to a more organized life 😉

    • Hi, Amina. That saying makes so much sense, doesn’t it? I think a lot of us could benefit from that 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • Aww, I’m glad you enjoyed it, Ky. Thanks so much for commenting and I hope it helps. It’s something that I’m still working on, but I love celebrating the little successes along the way 🙂

  9. I loved this post, I really needed to read it as I always feel like I have no idea where anything is. I am going to try and give everything a home and also not to chuck things on the floor/sofa when we come in which is so easy to do. x

    • Thanks for your kind comment, Sarah 🙂 It’s kind of comforting to know that we all do these things. Let’s work on it, we’ll get there x

  10. I am in the process of decluttering my house and keeping only the things I actually use and need. I have the same issues with not finding my stuff inside the house.

  11. I feel like my household is complete chaos, I honestly can never find anything! The toothbrush example is a perfect example though isn’t it?! Although I’m certain my 5 year old has lost her toothbrush before 🙈. It’s going to take some time but I definitely need to find a home for everything in my house! Thanks for sharing! I love your photos!

    • Oh my goodness, you made me giggle….my son has just left his toothbrush in the kitchen cupboard. He was too busy to go upstairs….! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences 🙂

  12. Such a good post! We do have a space for the keys and remote but I find no one except me in the house, who keeps them in their reserved places! Most times I put some extra effort to do it but do really get bored sometimes and those sometimes did make me regret for not doing it! Our spare car key was lost a while ago (trust me, it is ONLY ME who has to search for the lost things in the house regardless of whoever lost it!) and I managed to find it behind the hallway radiator while I was dusting (Yes, I was a bit lazy and dusted it after 3 months!)

    • Hi Rishi, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I just read your comment out to my little boy and he thinks looking behind the radiator for lost stuff is a good idea 🙂 Apparently, ours are really dusty, too!

  13. I like the rule one in one out, I wish I could stick to it. We’re also trying to declutter but oh boy, we have so much stuff. We’ve managed to get rid of a lot of things I couldn’t even believe we still had. Decluttering can be so comforting too.

  14. I could’ve written this post! Since working from home I am struggling so much with my home office-it LOOKS organised but I can’t find everything,and that’s because I can’t find where it’s home should be. LL

  15. LOVE your post. It’s so true: getting rid of stuff is awesome but it doesn’t actually mean things are more organized. I’ve taken on the mentality of doing a small area of the house at a time, which helps me to not feel totally overwhelmed with the organizing.

    • Thanks so much for your kind comment, Stephanie. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I love your idea of tackling a small area of the house at a time, too 🙂

  16. The toothbrush example makes perfect sense; and makes me wonder why I haven’t thought of it before! I like the tip you’ve given for kids too. My children constantly come in and drop their stuff so now I have something to try out, thank you!

    • Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment, Jess. Let’s hope it works for our kids….I have to say it’s working about half the time for me, so it’s a start!

  17. This is so true! I’ve been slowly decluttering over the past year or so, but unfortunately not everything has a home yet. Our keys always stay in the same place, which is handy. But I’m constantly losing my purse! #MMBC

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