Clutter creeps up on us one item at a time, especially if you get into the habit of dropping something on the first surface you come to ‘just for now’.
Organisation is key to taming unruly possessions, and when you have spaces earmarked for certain items, it’s much easier to put them away because you don’t have to think about it. Here are a few ideas:
Create Multi-function Zones
Open plan living, smaller rooms or having a home that’s just big enough with no spare rooms, all create their own problems for storage. Many of us don’t have the luxury of designating certain rooms for certain activities, such as craft or hobby rooms or even a dining room you use solely for dining. Rooms are multifunction anyway, so why not embrace it and make various activities easier to get on with?
- Arts and crafts in the kitchen – young children like doing activities in the company of others. If that means drawing, painting or colouring in the kitchen, a trolley on castors (like hairdressers use) is the ideal place to keep pencils, crayons, books and spare paper. You can wheel it where it’s needed, and gathering up when kids have finished creating masterpieces is quick and simple.
- Office spaces for older kids or business owners – sometimes it nice to curl up with the laptop on your knee, and other times you need the formality of a desk. If there’s no room for a desk, consider a small workstation that will tuck into a corner. Some shelves above or to the side will help ground the area for its particular use, and provide somewhere for reference books or stationery materials.
- Prevent one zone straying into another with a simple room divider created by a bookcase turned perpendicular to the wall. It offers a little privacy too.
Pack Up What You Don’t Use
Consumerism is rife, and there’s no point pretending otherwise. We all have far more possessions than we actually use, but getting rid of some is incredibly hard. Instead of putting yourself through the wrenching option of trying to decide what to keep and what to throw away, choose to pack some up and put them in storage.
Storage might be a few boxes of treasured photo albums, vinyl records (although these are fast making a comeback) or even treasured baby clothes and toys, which you keep in your loft or basement. You may, however, decide you could make much more room if you also treat furnishings like smaller possessions. Examples include the spare bed that is only slept in when relatives stay over Christmas, or a dining table that spends most of its life folded down in a corner.
Larger collections of packed items, or little-used furniture you need occasionally, are better put into self storage for the times you’re not using them. Short contracts and lots of different room sizes make it an ideal solution for anyone who wants to live big in a small house. Some people adopt a seasonal rotation system with their self storage, stowing away winter things during summer and vice versa.
Find Underused Areas and Maximise Them
Underused areas include the many square yards of wall space we all have. We’re pretty good at using the space below eye level, but higher up tends to go to waste.
Shelves, whether individual or in hanging units, provide acres of storage without taking up floor space, plus they’re fashionable and come in lots of different styles. Use them all over the house to:
- Display collectibles.
- Keep recipe books or utensils handy in the kitchen.
- Create play corners in children’s rooms.
- Organise cubby holes like those sometimes found under the stairs.
If kitchen cabinets are so full you can’t find what you’re looking for, invest in wire shelving units that help lift some items so you can access them more easily.
Taking control of the little things makes for a tidier bigger picture, and just making one or two small changes is often all it takes to turn chaos into order.