National Organising Week (NOW) is approaching and is run by the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (www.APDO.co.uk). From 1-7 November Britain’s organising experts want to motivate you to clear the clutter and help get the most out of your space, time, and belongings!
We’ve asked CPO ® Certified Professional Organizer, Katherine Blackler of SortMySpace Ltd and Past President of APDO for her top tips on getting more organised this month;
“Like with like”
Gather all your similar items in one place, including shoes, CDs, books, food items, jewellery, paperwork and loose batteries. You’ll be able to see exactly how many duplicates you have, what’s no longer serving a purpose for your household and what could be thrown away or gifted onwards. Once you’ve decluttered, keep similar items together to make it easier to always find them in defined ‘zones’. Katherine believes in practicality over perfection “Even if it’s not immaculately organised within that space, it’ll save you time if it’s just the one drawer or one cupboard you need to dig around in!”
A place for everything
The goal is for everything to have a dedicated place to ‘live’ so, even if you and your household members aren’t naturally tidy, a short burst of sorting and re-homing will return your space to one you can think straight in.
Create an area as close to the front door as possible for anything with what Katherine calls an ‘exit strategy’ e.g. items to be returned, posted, donated etc. “Scan the pile each time you leave the house to see if anything’s on your route that day to move it onwards and stay on top of things”.
Don’t get overwhelmed trying to tackle the entire house at once. Choose a room and focus on just one area at a time (e.g. the floor, countertop, cupboard, drawer). If you ultimately need to deal with the whole house, Katherine suggests starting with your bedroom: “It’s the first thing you wake up to and that can influence your energy levels for the rest of the day”. Alternatively, focus on the bathroom because out-of-date medicines and congealed toiletries are an easy target for letting go of. The bathroom usually contains fewer sentimental items too that can be emotional stumbling blocks to making progress. “Have a “sentimentals box” to put trickier decisions into until you’ve warmed up your decluttering muscles” she advises.
Consider what items you use regularly and their location. Countertops, surfaces and any shelving or cupboard space you can access without overstretching or bending down to access items is your home’s ‘prime property’. Dedicate this valuable space to storing items your household use on a regular basis. Areas that are harder to reach (kitchen wall cabinets etc) can benefit from having items rallied up into containers. Then it’s just one box to manoeuvre to the countertop and pick a jar or packet from. In turn, it’s just one container to return to its rightful place rather than 12 jars now strewn across the countertop so it becomes easier to maintain clear surfaces!
Sort first, shop later (if at all!)
Katherine cautions against buying ANY storage or organising solutions until you’ve reviewed and decluttered first to know what volume of each category of items you’re likely to need to house – and where. “If you buy beautiful containers in advance you’re more likely to keep unnecessary items in them to justify their purchase”.
Most households have plenty of suitable containers kicking about so rally up any delivery boxes, shoe boxes or ice cream containers etc to help with the initial sort-out to gather like-with-like.