So you’ve set aside a Saturday to dust the top of your bookcase and vacuum underneath your bed. You wipe down every surface and step back to admire your work. But for many of us, clean does not always equal organised.
While both cleaning and organising are essential for maintaining a happy, comfortable living space, the latter can take that extra bit of brain power. The key to successful organisation is striking a balance between careful planning and spontaneous creativity, which together will help us find a rightful place for everything.
To help you on your way, we’ve pulled together our very best organisation tips to maximise every inch of your home, ensuring you’re keeping on top of just about every room – today and every day.
Before you begin, evaluate what you have
For each area of your home that seems to encourage clutter, take a look at what you’re storing in that space (clothing, paperwork, books, kitchen tools, bathroom products, craft supplies, and so on) and discard or donate the items you no longer need. Take it room by room, and be ruthless. If you need help with how to start your decluttering process, take a look at our step-by-step checklist.
Once this is complete, you’ll be better able to assess what kind of storage you actually need. The more you do this, the easier it will be to maintain, so make sure to pencil regular times in your schedule.
For an organised living room, focus on comfort
A living room should do what it says on the tin and make room for you to live – not to fuss over mess or meander around clutter, but to really exist and be present.
To make this comfort a reality, look out for multi-functional furniture to keep the clutter at bay. Bookshelves, for example, are great for storage as well as giving books a great display. Invest in baskets that fit within the shelving to tidy away anything you don’t want on full display but still want to keep within easy reach.
A coffee table with drawers or shelves is another great way to keep things like remote controls, magazines, games or toys stored away safely. Consider adding a tray with candles, flowers, and interesting coffee table books for a classically chic look.
Blanket boxes are a great addition to a living space, too – they can hide away extra throws and cushions when they aren’t in use, rather than letting them pile up in a heap.
For an organised kitchen, tune into creativity
The kitchen is the heart of creativity in the home. Unleash your culinary skills by stripping the space back and creating your own blank canvas, ready for you to cook up a storm or plate up your favourite takeaway if you fancy a night off!
Maximise your workspace by making sure that every item is in its designated place. Keep the things you use most within easy reach so that those you don’t use on an everyday basis can be stored in higher cabinets or shelving.
Dressers and sideboards are a great option for organising your kitchen, combining closed storage with shelves or a top where you can keep cookbooks and attractive tableware on show. If you’re thinking of updating your cabinetry, consider open shelving for walls instead of upper fix cabinets as a way to display pieces you use all the time. Hooks and rails are a great way to keep utensils, mugs, pots and pans within easy reach, too.
Inside your cabinets, use baskets or smaller open-top boxes to corral similar items together like packets, and to store things like sauces and condiments. Look out for space-saving solutions like spice racks or plate racks and consider decanting dry goods into glass storage jars for an organised look that is also practical – this way, you’ll know at a glance when it’s time to restock. You could even invest in a label maker and take your organisation to the next level.
For an organised bathroom, embrace relaxation
The ultimate space for self-care is, of course, the bathroom. It’s impossible to relax in a room cluttered with empty shampoo bottles or soap bars in gift sets from years ago. Once you’ve emptied these things from your bathroom, you can start to utilise the space and, in turn, maximise your pamper time.
Move all the bottles and toiletries you do use out of your way and into a vanity unit with drawers or cabinets. To avoid overloading the drawers with a disorganised mess, install drawer dividers to stash things into categories.
For towels, hang hooks on walls or on the back of the bathroom door, or make space for floating shelves to provide extra storage without encroaching on floor space. For smaller items like cotton pads, take a leaf out of the kitchen’s book and make use of labelled jars and tubs to keep them stored away somewhere safe and, most importantly, dry.
For an organised bedroom, prioritise rest
Organisation is essential for maintaining the bedroom’s status as the cosiest place in your home so you’ll definitely want to create a relaxing environment for your end-of-day unwind.
For most of us, clothing and accessories take up the most space, so if you haven’t worn it in the last year to 18 months then it’s probably best to donate it to charity. If it no longer fits or doesn’t suit you but you’re not sure whether to let it go, pack it away for six months with the date marked on top. If you don’t reach for it after the time has passed, it’s likely never going to be worn.
For the things you keep, invest in large furnishings that can keep them stored properly. It goes without saying that clothes that need hanging belong in a wardrobe. Slide a few large baskets on top to store out of season pieces or to stash extra bedding out of the way.
Your remaining items find their place in a chest of drawers, where drawer dividers can be used for things like socks or underwear to keep clutter at bay. Keep an eye out for narrower pieces like a tallboy, which are great space-savers without compromising on storage. Make use of the surface on top of the chest for a make-shift dressing table with a jewellery stand, perfect for hanging your necklaces and bracelets and preventing tangles.
For an organised home office, maximise productivity
It’s easy to become swamped with miscellaneous paperwork, receipts, contracts, and invoices, and being overwhelmed doesn’t make for the best working mind. The most productive home office relies on space and storage, as well as other creative elements to encourage inspiration.
Start by searching for furniture that incorporates built-in storage, helping you to maximise your space. A desk with drawers will allow you to clear your workspace more easily, hiding away anything you don’t require on a daily basis. Position facing the door (apparently great for productivity) and next to a bookcase to ensure all your documents are within reach of your work station, whether you store them in binders, boxes, or files.
This is also useful for storing miscellaneous things like power leads and chargers, which you can put away in small boxes and stack on top of each other. If you have the extra room, you could even consider putting in a sofa bed and transforming your office into a multi-purpose space.
While all this organisation may seem like a monumental job at first, we promise it will pay off. Not only will you be encouraged to maintain the organisation and therefore reduce the clutter in your home in the long term, but you’ll be starting the new year off with a clean and fresh space, both in your home and in your mind.