Winter may not be the traditional cleaning and organisation season, but being cooped up indoors tends to highlight just how much clutter we have lying around.
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“Instead of waiting for warmer weather, why not take advantage of a dreary day to get stuck into some deep decluttering? Take it room by room and you’ll have everything shipshape long before spring,” said Debbie Reabow, brand and communications manager for the Rawson Property Group.
She shares a few tips to organise and declutter a home.
- Give keys, bags and coats a home
The entryway is often the first place to get messy after a good clean.
Families inevitably leave a trail of chaos in their wake every time they come home, and it’s a rare house that avoids collecting piles of clutter near the door.
While you could opt for endless nagging to get your loved ones to clean up after themselves, a far more effective solution is to create an attractive home for those bits and pieces.
“Try adding a row of hooks for handbags and coats, and a side table with a bowl for keys and loose change. A small bench hiding a shoe rack or a few baskets can also help corral abandoned footwear, clearing up the floor space to give you a nice, tidy welcome home,” said Reabow.
- In with the new, out with the old
Delve deep enough into the fridge, freezer or pantry, and you’ll probably be horrified at the fossilized foods you find.
“If you’re not careful, it’s all too easy for older items to be buried behind fresh buys, slowly migrating further and further back until they’re all but lost in time,” she said.
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Luckily, it’s not too difficult to prevent this. You just need to adopt an “in with the new, out with the old” policy.
Reabow recommends, rather than packing new groceries in the front of the fridge, freezer or cupboard, pop them in the back and shift any older versions forward.
This ensures you always know what you have on hand, and can easily check best-before dates on your oldest items.
Anything that’s past its prime goes straight in the trash, leaving you with an organised, safe and healthy food store with no hidden surprises.
- Reclaim the garage
Of all the rooms in a house, the garage is often the worst when it comes to sheer quantities of clutter.
It’s the ideal place to hoard those cartons, broken appliances, headless dolls and dried-up paint cans, away from the prying eyes of nosy guests and judgemental in-laws.
While curbing your hoarding impulses may, admittedly, be more than a single winter day’s work, reclaiming at least some of your garage space is often easier than you might think.
Your biggest, and likely most underutilised, asset is wall space, and a few shelves and some pegboard can create worlds of neat storage options.
“Remember to keep shelves above car level to leave plenty of room for parking, and don’t be shy to go all the way to roof height, your ladder is almost certainly nearby.
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“If you do install pegboard to hang tools and smaller bits and bobs, try marking the outline of each item on the board to make it easier to keep in the right place,” said Reabow.
- Ditch the chairdrobe
Beautiful chairs, ottomans and day beds might look luxurious and elegant in master bedrooms, but they’re a little less spectacular when covered in crumpled, day-old clothes.
If you find yourself falling into the trap of the “chairdrobe”, an entire wardrobe of clothes draped over a chair, you’re probably better off removing the temptation by removing the chair.
“For less cumbersome clothing storage, try folding and stacking clothes vertically in drawers (instead of flat). That way, you can see exactly what’s what without having to dig through to the bottom of the pile. If you’re really on an organisation kick, you can even colour-code your items for a rainbow of T-shirt or underwear options, displayed in glorious technicolour,” said Reabow.
- Make room for living
Living rooms are another spot that tend to collect an assortment of random items over time, many of which may not have a logical home anywhere else.
Think remote controls, spare batteries, toys, board games, blankets and magazines, all useful in their own way, but not too pretty scattered about.
“To keep these under control, clever storage is a tidy living room’s best friend, providing the perfect way to keep necessary clutter out of sight. Great options include coffee table chests, storage ottomans and side tables with drawers. Don’t forget your plasma TV stand probably has a bit of extra room as well,” said Reabow.
For items used daily, like remote controls, a pretty tray on your coffee table can be an attractive, accessible storage spot.
Just be careful not to let that become a catch-all for other mess.
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