I don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems like it’s a constant battle to stop piles of clutter growing around the house, especially when you’ve got young children and there are trails of toys everywhere. I find that clutter can make me feel overwhelmed in my own home. After struggling with this for a long time, I came up with the following hacks to make life a little bit easier.
- Use plants to decorate an area and prevent it from becoming a dumping ground for clutter. I’ve found that plants work better for this than ornaments or picture frames and the space is respected more. You also have the bonus of luscious greenery in your home and all the benefits plants can bring, including clean air and connecting you to nature.
- Regularly declutter, the less stuff you have the more space you will have and the fewer things you own the easier it is to keep things tidy and clean. Have a rule that if you buy something, something else has to go. The space in your house is finite, how do you want to utilise it? If you are a regular shopper, this step is key to prevent your house from being overrun with stuff. If you have children, involve them in this process for their belongings. You might find that they want to keep everything to start with but persevere, the more we give them the option of what to keep and give away the more they learn what they really love and treasure and what they don’t want anymore. Listen to what they don’t want to keep, sometimes it is us as their parents who want to keep some of their toys because it was a present or because it brings back memories for us.
- Only buy things for your house that you truly love or need, every time you look at the objects in your house it should bring you joy or be useful. When you feel the need to buy something, ask yourself do I need it? Do I love it? Take a photo or screenshot and wait at least 24 hours before you buy it. Quite often in those 24 hours, I change my mind and I realise that it is not an item that I want or need but clever advertising that is making me want to buy it.
- Have a place for things to go, ‘a place for everything and everything in its place,’ as the saying goes. Make sure everyone knows where things go so everyone in the household can contribute to tidying up and it becomes a shared responsibility. Make your expectations clear that everyone needs to do their bit when it comes to putting things away, from toys to magazines to tools. Try to put things away as you go about your day to keep on top of it, rather than leaving it to all pile-up. This is not always possible every day, so putting aside a little time to reset your space at the end of the day can be useful. Have an organised system for where things go, plan a logical place for everything. Place things next to where they are needed, especially day to day objects. For example, cooking oils go next to the cooker, clean towels go next to the bathroom, clean sheets go under the bed, etc. The easier it is to tidy up, the easier it is to keep on top of.
- Add labels to your storage systems to make it really clear where everything belongs and things can then be easily put away. Labels can be fancy or labels can be simple, you can have anything from cut out vinyl stickers in different fonts and sizes, to handwritten chalkboard labels to label maker strips to printed laminated labels, choose a style and price option to suit you and your house. Whichever style you choose, the function remains the same, it’s a useful reminder to everyone of where everything goes at the end of the day.
- If you have children, regularly rotate their toys so everything isn’t all out at once. Have some toys available to them but store the rest of the toys elsewhere, such as a bedroom, utility room or even a garage. Change the toys around every few weeks. Changing and having fewer toys out in one go makes the toys more interesting, adds novelty to the items and allows your children to be more creative with what they have. Fewer toys out at one time also help us achieve our aim of less tidying up.
- Finally put away seasonal items such as winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves. We don’t need them to take up room on the coat rack in the middle of the summer. If you’re short on space they could go in a vacuum bag and be stored in the loft or under a bed. Bring them back out in the autumn and put away your summer items.
What hacks have you come up with to keep on top of the clutter in your house? Have you tried any of the above? What works well for you?