Published: 08:00, 26 January 2018
Hannah Young, Houzz contributor
If you’re fighting a losing battle to stay organised at home, it could just be a case of adjusting how you do things.
Take a look at these common pitfalls that might be hindering your journey to becoming more organised, and check out the advice to help you achieve a streamlined, clutter-free and smooth-running home.
Mistake 1: Procrastinating
If only daily household jobs disappeared when you ignored them… Alas, they don’t. Instead, they build up until they can only be tackled by a mammoth cleaning and tidying session.
The solution: Little and often is the tidying mantra. Make things easier by breaking down everyday chores, then put them in your diary and make sure you complete them. Doing a five minute task every day is much easier than waiting until it gets too large to tackle. For example, if you spend just five minutes tidying up before you go to bed each evening, you’ll be ahead of the game before you even wake up.
Mistake 2: Buying too much storage
It can seem easier to pop to the shops and buy some new boxes for the extra clutter that’s appeared than to make decisions about what stays and what goes. However, the trick to being more organised is to have less stuff to sort out in the first place.
The solution: Make sure you declutter first and be realistic about what you have space to keep. Define your storage areas, so everything has a specific place to live. When the overflow starts to creep in again and the space limit has been breached, then you know it’s time for another declutter.
Consider having bespoke storage designed so it fits perfectly with your requirements. Also think about adding labels to boxes or shelves to help others in your house stick to the system.
Discover smart storage solutions on Houzz
Mistake 3: Stacking items
If you try to pile numerous items on top of each other, you might find it tricky to remove things without the stack toppling over.
The solution: Store as much as possible vertically. Just as it’s far better to store books side by side on a bookshelf than in a pile, this rule can be applied to many things around the home. Baking trays and chopping boards in the kitchen are much easier to retrieve and return if they’re stored this way. It can also be a cunning way to make the most of a narrow recess in the kitchen, or try slotting a divider into a standard cupboard, as these homeowners have done.
Similarly, don’t stack T-shirts and other clothes – store them vertically, running front to back, within a drawer, so when you’re looking for an item, you can see all the ‘spines’ of the folded garments and make your selection without disturbing the others.
Mistake 4: Keeping unwanted gifts
When we’re given a present by a loved one, we often feel obliged to keep it even if it’s not something we need. Before you know it, your cupboards become full with items you’ve no intention of ever using.
The solution: Appreciate the thought behind the gift, but don’t feel guilty about passing an unwanted item on to someone else. Either donate it to a charity shop, or give it to someone you know will appreciate it more. When you’re giving gifts to others, consider choosing consumables, or making a lunch date to spend time together.
Mistake 5: Avoiding paperwork
Let’s face it, admin, paperwork and filing are not everyone’s idea of fun. However, it’s essential to deal with these tasks in order to make sure your bills are paid, to know when contracts end and to not forget important appointments or miss crucial notifications.
The solution: Organise your admin by designing an inbox or pigeonhole system for your post, and set up a quick and easy filing system – for example, a cabinet with hanging files is perfect for storing the paperwork you need to keep.
Consider using a paperless system by getting alerts via email rather than the post. Also, scan or take photos of letters to keep and file them electronically, using tags to enable the documents to be searchable so you can find what you need quickly.
Check out these clever ways to store paperwork and declutter your home office
Mistake 6: Thinking you don’t have time
It can certainly be time-consuming to sort through clothes to donate, or make time to tidy up or do the cleaning. It can sometimes seem as if you simply don’t have a moment.
The solution: Think about how a little effort will contribute positively to your daily wellbeing. You’ll have more time for other activities if you can spend less looking for things, cleaning and tidying. You’ll also gain control and clarity, knowing that you’ve chosen what to keep and can locate anything you need in just a couple of minutes.
In addition, you’ll save money, because you won’t need to purchase replacements for things you can’t find or throw something away that’s become broken through inappropriate storage. By making a small initial investment, you’ll soon begin to see the benefits of creating a more orderly home.
Mistake 7: Aiming for perfection
Looking at images of beautiful, organised interiors can make your home seem a million miles away from the ‘dream’. However, no two homes are the same, so don’t give up.
The solution: Implement tips you come across that suit your lifestyle – remember we’re all different and what one person finds essential you may not. Experiment with different ways of doing things until you find something that’s helpful for you.
Don’t try to implement all your ideas at once – instead, commit to trialling something for one month, such as a new diary, a different cleaning schedule, or a fresh laundry routine. Whatever it is, do that one thing well and see if it brings the improvements you hoped for. And remember: ‘good enough’ is good enough.
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