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Get rid of clutter

25 Jan 2008
Our homes are more than bricks and cement; they are a sanctuary that nurtures every aspect of our physical and emotional being. However, it is possible that an untidy, cluttered home can negatively affect all areas of your life. There is nothing nicer than starting a new year with a clean slate. This is the perfect time to rid your home of the clutter and organise suitable storage.

Storage is particularly important in kitchens, bedrooms and children's play rooms. No home can ever have enough storage space but it can be wasted space if not used correctly. Clutter has an amazing way of reproducing itself – Keep some items on display and store the rest. Getting rid of clutter will not only help keep things tidy but you will know where to find it.

Get on the right track first by getting rid of your clutter
• Get the whole family involved in the de-cluttering process.
• Start with one room at a time to avoid taking on too much.
• The easiest way to declutter is to divide everything into piles: used daily, seldom used and never used. Be ruthless – throw away the items that you never use or donate to a charity.
• Pack away winter clothes, this is especially important in children's cupboards as they grow from season to season. By sorting through their clothes, you know exactly what they will need for the next season.
• Sentimental items are real dust collectors. Try keeping them to a minimum.

Find a place for everything
• Personalise the kid's toy boxes to encourage them to keep things tidy.
• Boxes and baskets are useful for all types of storage and can be great in a bedroom.
• You may find an unused item in one room would be perfect in another. Move things around to find the perfect place.
• Store items of the same type together. This helps to eliminate the need to buy more. Straight away, you can see what you have.
• Displaying a collection you love on open shelving is fine but do not let it get overcrowded and keep it dusted.

Once you have everything in order, stay in control. Set aside a time each day to sort out post, put away clothes and keep on top of the contents in your fridge. You should sort your fridge once a week checking for out of date food as well as the pantry cupboard. By putting routines in place, things will not get out of hand again. Assign each family member a task and insist they put all their own stuff away as soon as they get home.

Be creative with storage
• Make awkward spaces work for you – corner shelves work well in a bathroom.
• Roll bath towels in a basket for easy reach in a bathroom.
• Boxes are no longer boring brown cardboard boxes but come in all types of styles and textures. The trick is to coordinate them with you colour scheme.
• In the kitchen, maximise space by hanging pots, pans and other utensils from an old-fashioned airier.
• Look for clever storage units that will keep clutter out of sight.
• Floor to ceiling bookshelves are useful but can also add some architectural detail to a living space.

If you are really stuck in the middle of chaotic clutter and need help call the professionals. There are companies that specialise in helping people get organised. One such company is Get Organised –

Get organised offers cupboard sorting tips
1. Prepare 2 boxes, one marked GIVE AWAY, and the other SELL for sorting as you go along. Also, have a rubbish bag or large dirt bin handy for the things to be thrown away.
2. If you are finding it hard to part with items you no longer have a use for; remember that life is constantly changing. When something comes into your life, enjoy it; use it well and when it is time to let it go know that someone else can now value it.
3. As a guideline, things that you haven't worn for a full season should move on. If you still cannot get rid of it – move it into a 'holding' corner of the cupboard or into a sealed labelled box in the garage or store. With your next cupboard sort it might be easier to let it go.
4. If it does not fit you now – it probably never will. If you are waiting for the fashion to come back – the colour would probably have dated. Go on … be brave - ask yourself what's the worst that can happen.
5. Most charity organisations gladly welcome any unwanted clothing. Give them a call to arrange a time and date for them to collect or place the items directly in your boot for you to drop off the next time you go out.
6. If you need more shelf space – install a shelf midway between two existing shelves that measures half the depth. This will allow you maximum usage of the shelf space.
7. Unused hangers take space – store these in a container on the cupboard floor or with the ironing.
8. Clear your cupboards regularly – this way you will only need to set a half-hour aside for maintenance. While any time is a good time to declutter, the beginning of the season always works well.
9. Set yourself a reward for when you have finished – write it down and stick it to the inside of your cupboard door. If you start slacking read it for motivation. Make the reward something really worthwhile … well done - you definitely deserve it! - By Debbie Askham

For more information contact 084 507 6891 or email or visit

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