When you love your home, all the best intentions are there to keep it in a beautiful state at all times. We get inspired by trends, and tempted by accessories and trinkets that all promise to give our home a magazine-worthy look, but the slight hurdle that most of us face is managing to keep it clutter-free.
In our busy modern lives finding time to declutter is hard and so, inevitably, piles of junk build up. It might be that someone’s left shoes where they shouldn’t have, post on the table, or dishes in the sink. Tackling these common offending spots in the home regularly is key to keeping on top of your stuff, and it needn’t be overwhelming.
Expert organizers have tips and tricks on how to start decluttering which work for even the most time-strapped among us. They reveal three priority spaces that you should declutter daily for a more organized home that looks put-together. You only need a few minutes, and if all three are a stretch, just pick one. These spaces are instrumental to how we feel in our home and how we set ourselves up for the day. Here’s what they are, and why they matter.
1. Your entryway
The entryway of your home is the first thing you see when you walk in, and the last thing when you walk out. It’s understandable why clutter and mess here would set you up on the wrong foot for the day mentally.
‘We believe the one space that should always be clutter-free is your entryway,’ says home expert Cathy Dean. ‘This is the most difficult as this high-traffic space is a breeding ground for shoes, bags, bikes etc. But it is the most important, as it is the first thing you see when you come home, and you should feel calm and relaxed when you enter your sanctuary.'
Expert home organizer Shira Gill agrees. ‘A home's entry tends to be a magnet for clutter so a quick daily tidy can help keep things looking neat,' she says. 'Hang coats and bags, tidy shoes, put seasonal accessories in bins or baskets, and relocate items like kids art, work papers, and mail for review.' This can become a 10-minute ‘closing shift’ routine at the end of each day so that when you walk out of the door in the morning, you do so through a space that makes you feel good.
If you find it difficult to tidy your entryway in only a few minutes, it’s worth taking a moment to look at your space and assess whether it’s set in such a way that makes it easy to keep tidy. ‘We work with clients in granular detail to make this easy - if they carry their bag on their left shoulder, we build in a storage cupboard on the left so the bag can go straight in,’ explains Cathy. 'If they need to store a bike, we create a space for it to be hidden away.' Mindfully walk through your entryway, be conscious of what you need from it, and set it up with the design solutions you need so that once that’s done, keeping it tidy will become a breeze.
2. Your nightstand
Although only a small piece of bedroom furniture that you might not give a lot of thought to, the nightstand is of high importance because it’s the first thing you see in the morning. ‘This is typically the first thing you wake up and see - who wants to see a pile of literal garbage?’ says Shira. The good thing is that the surface on your nightstand won’t ever be too big, so you will only need a matter of minutes to declutter it.
‘Spruce your space quickly by returning dirty dishes like coffee mugs or smoothie cups to the kitchen, recycling old newspapers or magazines, and relocating any household items that have lost their way like kids' stuff or personal items),’ advises Shira. Aim to keep your nightstand clear except for a couple of items you need and want, such as a beautiful lamp, a book, a scented candle, or a small vase with one stem. It will make a world of difference when you wake up and set you off on the right foot.
3. Your workspace
Whether you work from home or not, chances are you spend a lot of time at a desk. It’s common for things to pile up in a space we spend so much time in but try not to allow it. ‘It's hard to focus in a cluttered work environment so take a few minutes each day to tidy your work surface,’ advises Shira. ‘Stack papers in a single pile for review, return books and reference materials, and put office supplies back in drawers.' This will make it easier for you to get started the next day in a clear space with a clear mind.
Even if you don’t have a designated home office, you can still tidy your worksurface, wherever that is, in one sweep. ‘I work at my dining room table and don’t have a home office,’ Shira tells me. ‘I personally have a work-from-home bin that's portable. It’s just a single bin that stores my laptop, headphones, and a pad, and it makes it so easy because it’s portable, I can work outside, I can bring it to a cafe, or I can bring it to a client’s home.' At the end of the day when you’re all done, just put all your items in the bin and hide them under your desk or table. Tidy up completed!
Keep your hallway tidy with the help of a few jute baskets for your small items like scarves and gloves.
Choose a nightstand with drawers to make it easy to store things and keep the top surface tidy.
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Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.
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