You know what they say – tidy house, tidy mind! Sort out your clutter and boost your wellbeing in the process with our guide to getting more organised
Among the chores featured on your to-do list, tidying up probably falls pretty low – lingering somewhere between filling in a tax form and finally booking that dentist appointment. But, as monotonous as tidying can be, it has great benefits for your wellbeing. A study by household cleaning experts Kärcher (kaercher.com) found that 55 percent of Brits turn to cleaning to combat stress and help them calm down, with one in 10 claiming that having a tidy home instantly makes them feel more relaxed. Grab your duster – it’s time to spruce up!
1. Break it down into chunks
The phrase 'Rome wasn't built in a day'comes to mind here. Sorting through your home can take time, so it's important to tackle it in sections. “Suddenly deciding on a whim to pull everything out of your cupboards when you don’t have enough time to put it all back again will be stressful,” says professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn (youneedavicky.com). “People underestimate how long the process can take and often end up overwhelmed and stressed, cramming things back just to make it all go away! Instead, choose a bite-sized chunk to start on, such as a section of your wardrobe or a kitchen cupboard, that you can handle in an hour or so. This is more realistic and manageable, unless you have suddenly been blessed with a mass of spare time!”
2. Plan first, buy later
“Don’t go out and buy baskets and boxes because it’s what you’ve seen on Pinterest,” says Vicky. “You'll end up wondering what you can use these beautiful objects for, and that isn't the right way to do it! Instead, declutter first, place things back within the space you have, and then work out what exactly it is that you need. Try not to fall for any plastic gimmicks either – they often hinder what you're actually trying to achieve. Stick to the simple ways of organising your belongings – neatly, efficiently, in the correct location and with very little else involved in the equation. Go back to basics with anything you're trying to do, to make your life more efficient and organised.”
3. Don't confuse moving with tidying
“It can be easy to mistake rearranging all of your belongings and moving their position within your home for the solution to tidying up. In order to be truly organised, you need to cull. You're responsible for every item in your home – that includes where it lives, how much space it takes up and its usage. I personally love the thought of less responsibility, especially with life being so crazy. Shed your stuff and you'll have less to think about and manage,” recommends Vicky.
4. Be ruthless with your possessions
It's tempting to hang onto items you no longer use, for sentimental value, even if they're broken or falling apart. However, this can easily lead to keeping more things than necessary. “Think: Do I love it? Is it useful?” advises decluttering specialist Louise Floodgate (messymoolifestyle.com). “Don’t worry that someone bought it for you – you gave thanks for it, you had it in your life but it’s time for it to go. Send it to charity and give someone else the joy of owning it. Everything in your home needs a home, so, when you've sorted things, put the remaining items in a logical place such as putting like with like. Remember that each room needs a purpose, and an organised space will reset your sense of control and inner calm.”
5. Keep it up
Don't let your hard work go to waste – commit to keeping your home tidy. “When the clutter has been cleared, work with your family to tidy as you go. Put magazines and newspapers in the recycling bin, for example,” says Louise. “Make the bed each morning, open the curtains, and wash up at the end of a meal. Plump the cushions up in the evening and go to bed happy.” These small habits will soon become a routine that contributes daily to keeping your home in order.
6. Be inspired by Feng Shui
Feng shui is all about creating a balanced qi (chi) energy flow in your home. If energy can move smoothly and harmoniously around all rooms and spaces, your emotional and physical energy will benefit, and you’ll experience a greater sense of ease and creative flow! “An uninterrupted flow of energy around all doorways, and particularly the main entrances to your home where you invite fresh energy into your life, is critical in feng shui,” explains decluttering expert and wellness coach Alexandra Lees (wuweiwisdom.com). “So, clearing any clutter or untidiness in hallways or behind doors should be a priority. Any hidden areas of mess will also impact your energy flow and that of your home. Tidy any loft areas, garden sheds and garages, and forgotten areas under beds and staircases.”
7. Create a refuge
“Your house doesn't need to look like a show home but it should be functional, feel peaceful and be filled with things that make you smile,” says professional organiser and life coach Kate Ibbotson (atidymind.co.uk). “A tidy home isn't simply nice to have – it's a necessity for coping with modern life. Your environment has a huge impact on your mood and wellbeing. You deserve a refuge, a place where you can relax and re-energise, and it's always possible to make a few changes at home to create a stronger sense of calm.” She suggests adopting a visual approach to tidying. “If you can't easily lay your hands on an item it might as well not exist, so be clever with storage and ensure you can see what you own at a glance. Use drawer dividers to keep things tidy and consider under the shelf storage and turntables in cupboards to ensure you're utilising every inch of available space. Use your walls wherever possible to save floor space, too. And if you use boxes to contain items, don't assume you'll remember what's in them – label them, so you'll know at a glance.”