If you struggle with space in your linen press, then try only keeping what you “need”. You only “need” 4 sets of sheets for the adult bed. 2 cotton / lightweight sheets and 2 flannelette sheets (unless you live in Northern Australia). When one set of sheets are in the wash, the others can be on the bed. All other sheets are not necessary and should be given away. The sheets with holes in them or that are thin or are not part of a set can be torn up as rags or given away. Having a full linen press of bedding that just won’t be used is a waste of space. Children should have 6 lots of sheet sets, just in case they get sick or have accidents, that way they will always have clean sheets to sleep on.
Same goes with quilt cover sets. You only need 2 – one for the wash and one on the bed. If you want a new one, then give one of the already existing set away. If you have a guest room, have one set of everything for that room. But no more.
Having lots of towels isn’t necessary too. 3 towels per person per week is plenty. You don’t need to change towels after every shower.
Face washers should be changed everyday because you usually wipe dirty faces with it. I use a different face washer for each child, so 7 washers per week per child is what I have. Hand towels in this house are changed every three days as well. So 3 hand towels a week is fine.
Work out what you use in a week, have one “extra” and the rest need to go.
Get yourself a garbage bag and just put the unused items in it. When this bag is full, off to the opshop you go with it, dump it in the bins, and leave knowing that someone else will get more use out of it than you do, and that you have less clutter in your home.
Go through all your CDs and get rid of the ones you don’t listen to anymore, or will never listen to again. There is no point keeping stuff that will never be used. Go through your DVD and video collection – do you have teenage kids, but you are still hanging onto Playschool vids? Chances are, they won’t be watching them again in a hurry. Throw away those videos that have been watched so much they ar so worn and are barely watchable anyway. Sort, remove and throw away.
Now hopefully you have room in your storage areas, you can begin working on the visible areas of the home.
Let’s start with furniture surfaces. They look messy with stuff piled all over them, they gather dust which isn’t healthy. Time to clean on the surface.
Really the only stuff that should be visible on top of furniture are the items you want to display, like photos, ornaments, memorabilia, awards etc.
Let’s start with a notorious dumping ground – your kitchen table. Can you eat off it, or do you eat around stuff?
Get a washing basket and dump everything from the table into the basket until the table is cleared. Get some cleaning fluid and give the table a good wipe down. If it’s wood then get some Mr Sheen and give it a good shine.
Looks good huh?
Ok now time to deal with the stuff in the basket.
Put the junk mail in the recycling bin. File away your bills. Put away everything as best as you can. Don’t dump it all on another surface – because you aren’t putting things away, you are distributing the clutter, which isn’t what you want.
Other surfaces that seem to be a magnet for clutter – desks, hall tables, breakfast bars, kitchen benches, coffee tables. The same system applies. Put all the clutter in a laundry basket and clean off the surface – then deal with the stuff in the basket.
You will find that as soon as you start clearing off surfaces – your home will look a lot cleaner and a lot bigger. Make it a point to clean off the notorious dumping grounds in your home daily to help keep your home looking neat and tidy.
And for the clutter that belong on certain surfaces, try to find ways to make it look neat. For example my hall table seemed to collect keys. It drove me crazy!! My husband wouldn’t put up a key hook system, so I put a nice glass bowl in the middle of the table, and keys were put in there. Even my guests put their keys in my bowl now!
Now we have come to the end of decluttering – you will find drawers and cupboards etc to declutter as you go along. I have just covered the basics, I am confident you will be able to declutter on your own as you need to.
It’s essential to know where your important paperwork is at all times. Make sure you have a folder or a box that hold your passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, graduation certificates etc. That way if you need them, you won’t need to stress out over finding them.
Make it a point to go through your “in-tray” every time the office is your focus room. Stay on top of your filing and communications and ditch the stuff that is not important enough to keep.
Cover and decorate clean tins with scrapbooking paper and embellishments to store pens and pencils in. Yay for upcycling! 400ml tins are better so you can see easily what pen you are looking for. If you don’t feel very creative and don’t want to use scrapbooking stuff, contact is fine. Make sure the edges aren’t sharp for everyone’s safety.
Don’t want to throw out those scrapbooking magazines? Or parenting magazines? Cut out the articles or pages you want to keep and file in an expanda-file. Categorise each pocket “Starting Solids”, “Baby Health” “Scrapbooking techniques”, “Kids Layouts” etc… So you when you go looking for it later on, you will find it easily.
Keep your warranties from electrical goods and other items in the one folder. That way when something goes kaput, you will find the warranty easily and be able to get it repaired or replaced within the warranty period.
Book shelves for the home office don’t have to be brand spanking new. Look on Freecycle or on hard waste piles for bookshelves. Clean them up, paint them, repair them and use them! The only time your home office has to look swanky is if you use it to have business meetings with clients etc.
Do you have stuff that you need to keep for future use, but have nowhere to put it? Consider converting your roof space to an attic. We did this simply by purchasing planks of wood and attaching them between the beams of our roof. Boxes of things that we don’t need at our fingertips are now on those planks. Use screws instead of nails to avoid damaging light fittings and globes underneath.
If you are planning to redecorate any time, consider buying furniture with storage included. E.g.: foot stools that double as a storage box; a coffee table with drawers under it; a wall unit with cupboards and good amount of shelving.
Do you have members of the family who shove things away any old where? That constantly ask “Where’s….??” Make it hard for them to lose things again. Labelling machines are your friends. I label the kids’ cupboards, so they know where to put certain toys – so the puzzles don’t get mixed up with Barbie accessories. The laundry cupboard is labelled so my husband knows where the batteries and shoe polish is. There is no excuse then to lose things, and for things to be put in the wrong place.
If you have a tip to share, please send it through to skipperdomesticguru.com