Family life is great fun. It’s also a bit messy, let’s face it. However, with a bit of imagination and patience, you can create a smart, contemporary home that you, your family members, and your visitors will enjoy. When you decide to declutter, it’s tempting to run around your house or apartment doing a little bit here and there.
However, a piecemeal approach is likely to mean that you miss areas and overlook items throughout your home. Instead, consider each room or zone (such as the hall, staircase, and landing), and aim to work only on this area until you have finished. Try these five tips to make a start:
1. Make your bathrooms shine
If you have a number of bathrooms, you can tackle all of these together. It’s easier to organize bathrooms if you have, for example, medicine cupboards mounted on a wall and units or storage baskets for soaps, shampoos, and other toiletries. Regular checks on skincare products, makeup, and medications will help you to keep on top of items and get rid of those that are out of date or scattered in different places. If you have space, a smart towel ladder will keep your linen organized and neat.
2. Give your bedrooms a break
Bedroom storage exists so that you and your family can put away clothing, shoes, books, and tech gadgets and settle down to sleep in a cozy, clean, and clutter-free room. Unfortunately, children quickly develop the knack of “hanging things up” on the floor, on bedside tables, or a handy chair. Also, bedrooms seem to be a magnet for stuff that you don’t have a designated space for, and pretty soon you’ll find yourself aimlessly moving things around every now and then. Make a point of teaching your kids to fold clothes and put them in a drawer or to hang dresses, jackets, etc., in their wardrobe. Get everyone to store underwear and nightwear in the top drawer of their bureau and everything else beneath this. It’s also useful if you encourage them to take a trip to the laundry hamper at the end of every day – washday will be so much easier. Dedicated toy storage is a must in a child’s bedroom.
3. Light up your living room
Your living area gets perhaps the most use of any room in your home, though the kitchen comes a close second. Generally, living room storage is fairly minimal, which means that it can quickly look cluttered and untidy. A regular declutter will be a big help, and there are some practical things that you can do to make it look clean and clear. For example, to make the most of natural daylight, install shutters at your windows rather than drapes. They will always look smart and stylish, plus you can control the amount of light easily and improve privacy. If clutter is still an issue, even with regular tidying, consider creating a storage bench under one or more windows. These can be finished in attractive upholstery and are great for doing a quick round-up of toys, magazines, and general paraphernalia at the end of a day.
4. Clear up your kitchen
Even with the amount of storage built into contemporary homes, the kitchen still manages to suffer from haphazard arrangements and accumulating general bits and pieces. Perhaps this is because often it’s multifunctional, being a space for food preparation, sometimes also eating, doing homework, and chatting with friends over a coffee. When you tackle your kitchen cabinets and drawers, think about which implements you have to have at hand when you are cooking and which appliances you only use occasionally. The ones that you use least often can be stowed away, leaving adequate space for frequently used ones. If you struggle to keep your countertops clear, take a creative approach – there are lots of attractive and useful storage items that can be successfully displayed on a countertop, such as glass jars for pasta, rice, or cereals, freeing up additional cupboard space for other foodstuffs.
5. Circulation areas
Finally, the spaces in your home that everyone uses to move around from room to room need to be kept clutter free, if only for safety reasons. Entrances, exits, hallways, and access routes to upper floors can nevertheless be used to store outerwear, boots, umbrellas, and sports gear, providing that you have installed wall hooks, a hall stand, a sideboard, or shoe cabinets. There are plenty of slimline versions available to help you make the most of your space.