There are some simple ways to organize your home which take only take 30 minutes - less if you're speedy. And these little jobs add up to make a big difference to the overall feel of your home.
Because the trouble with getting your house in order is knowing where to start, and the feeling that you're going to need to set aside a whole weekend to get it right.
And so we spoke to Corrie Jackson, one half of the home organization professional duo Maison Haven, based out of Connecticut in New York. She suggested starting small, tackling little areas bit and bit and gradually chipping away at the whole. It's the same principle as our brilliant technique for how to organize your home in 30 days, except these suggestions don't have to be done by the end of the month.
But first, take a deep breath. 'The one thing we always say is that it'll look uglier before it looks beautiful,' Corrie says. 'Even with these 30 minute jobs you have to get everything down and everything out - there is no way to edit unless you can see it all.'
That aside, these little jobs are promised to make a big difference, turning your home into a well-ordered haven.
7 ways to start organizing your home that only take 30 minutes
1. Focus on the entryway
'When we do a consultation, the entryway - and by default, entryway storage - is key,' Corrie says. 'It really sets the tone for how you feel about the house because it's the first thing you see when you get back.'
She promises that 30 minutes is enough time to get it back on track, to rod it of stray coats, shoes and mail.
'The first thing to do is think about what you're holding when you walk in,' Corrie says. 'Bags, keys, mail....everything you're bringing in needs a home. We love discreet white file boxes used as functional console table decor, labelled as "to do,", "doing" and "done." If you have these to hand you instantly have a place to put new mail.'
2. Enforce the 60 second rule
Way less than 30 minutes, this idea will only take you one minute, Corrie assures us, but does need you to be a little strict with yourself.
'If you're holding stuff when you come in, and the kids are demanding food and you've got things to do, you won't spend 10 minutes putting everything away. However, if you follow the 60 second rule - and I do this religiously - it truly changes everything.'
She explains that it's about putting everything away properly for one minute - the keys in their bowl, the mail in its files, the coats on their coat hooks - and that short term pain is a long term gain. 'Admittedly, that one minute can be annoying when the kids are yelling for stuff, but in the long run, it puts you in the right frame of mind and makes your life 1000 times easier if you know where everything is.'
We particularly like this artfully handmade bowl by Anton Studio on Amazon as an ideal vessel in which your keys always live. It's beautiful, and looks like part of the decor, yet wide enough to be functional, too.
3. Work on your kitchen cupboards
Whether you have a mega-sized pantry or regular modern kitchen cabinets, there are some simple tricks to pull these into order, too.
'Try and get rid of packaging,' Corrie says. 'We like to get rid of plastic and make everything super visible. Pasta, rice and cereal can go into acrylic or glass jar storage which makes it easier to see how much you have of everything which is then better for when you go shopping.'
Her pro tip, though, is not to hide the cooking instructions. 'We fix them to the back of the jars,' she says, so that the information is never lost.
Our editor bought these glass jars with gold lids from Amazon, and has interspersed them with collected ornaments and objet on his kitchen shelves. 'I think they look really chic,' Pip Rich says. 'The trick is to try and fill them to with your ingredients to differing heights.'
4. Walk through a room with fresh eyes
Simply by dint of living in a space you become immune to the clutter and the mess. Corrie says that any project, from bedroom storage to a playroom, first needs fresh eyes.
'Take 30 minutes to hit the reset button,' Corrie says. 'Think about the layout, about what you do in that room, about where you need things to be. Are the coffee cups at the opposite end of the kitchen to the coffee maker? If you were starting from scratch would your accent chair still sit in that corner? Would the reading light be in that spot?'
She suggests starting to plan a new system for how you actually use the space. 'Put the most reached for items in prime real estate cupboards - in other words, not too high and not too low,' Corrie says. This initial planning stage need only take half an hour but will pay dividends in the long run.
5. Create grab and go drawers or boxes
Realistically, in a busy family, not everyone will be sitting down to eat breakfast. But to stop the mad rushing around each morning, which ultimately results in the kitchen being left a mess, grab-and-go drawers could be the answer.
'Think about how you actually live,' Corrie says. 'A drawer with snacks in it, or breakfast bars, or drinks cartons or all of the above makes life so much easier for people to have to hand on their way out the door.'
6. Edit your bathroom products
'We've yet to go to any home which doesn't have stuff lurking in the back of the bathroom,' Corrie says. 'In 30 minutes, you should be able to forcibly edit the products you have. A big purge is always in order.'
Corrie points out that skincare and makeup has use by dates, which is a good place to start. 'And what i like to do,' Corrie says, 'is put the stuff I use every day on the counter, and keep four baskets under the sink. One for skin, one for hair, one for body and one for makeup. It's a loose system, but if you have lids they can look cute and keep things in order.'
Amazon sells these slightly boho and stylish storage baskets with lids.
'I love a draw insert,' Corrie says. 'It'll help you keep things in order.'
This drawer insert is made specifically for bathrooms.
7. Hang your clothes in the same direction
Corrie has a clever trick for getting on top of closet organization which is a long game, but takes almost no time at all.
Firstly, neatly hang all your clothing in the same direction, perhaps doing a minor edit as you go. 'Stick to the 3Fs rule,' Corrie says. 'Does each item fit, flatter and function (in other words, works in three separate outfits)? No one wants a closet full of one hit wonders!'
Corrie then says that every time you wear something out of this edit for the first time, hang it back up the opposite direction when it's clean and you're putting it away again. 'Anything left facing the original direction after six months hasn't been worn and needs to go,' she says.
Corrie Jackson is a former fashion journalist at Harpers Bazaar, and later Glamour magazine. In 2018 she set up professional home organizing brand Maison Haven with her friend Jennifer Bakker. She believes that by focusing on the lining of your home – its cupboards and closets, shelves and storage – you lay the groundwork that allows your overlooked spaces to shine.
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The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.
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