Ask yourself…do I have too many?

HOUSE & HOME

Has lockdown made you want to declutter and reorganise around the house? If the intention was there but in reality there just hasn’t been time to do it, don’t worry you’re not alone in that. Thankfully Tracy Ross from Blissfully Organised is on hand to help us cull the clutter. Tracy is passionate about helping people to organise their homes and today she’s giving us her top tips to declutter some of our most common household items.

Do I have too many…mugs?

How’s your mug cupboard looking? Perfectly organised or overflowing with unused mugs? When reviewing your mug collection there are a few useful questions to ask yourself:

  • How much space do you have in your kitchen to store mugs?
  • How many mugs do you own? Collect all your mugs from the kitchen cupboards and other places in your home (bedrooms, home office, garage etc.)
  • How many mugs does your household use each day? Separate your favourites that you use daily from the bigger group.
  • Which mugs do you love but never use?  People can be very emotionally attached to their favourite mugs. Ask yourself if you still need to keep them?
    – Have they been gifted by someone special?
    – Do they require special washing conditions i.e. cannot be added to the dishwasher?
    – Are they the wrong size?
    – Do they remind you of a special time in your life?

When you’ve decided which mugs you can let go of, what can you do with the mugs you no longer need?

  • Donate/recycle – mugs that are still in good condition can go to an appreciative new home.
  • Be creative – find another use for those mugs that you do not use but want to keep i.e. desk tidy, planting herbs, use as a candle holder, reinvent by breaking and making into a mosaic etc.
  • For your very special mug that you don’t use but can’t let go of, add it to your memory box.

Finally, when organising the mugs you’ve decided to keep, it’s best to store them in a kitchen cupboard with your favourites and those that you use daily at the front.

Do I have too many…storage containers?

Is your Tupperware drawer or cupboard in chaos?  Most kitchens need some kind of ‘Tupperware Taming’ (as well as other small storage and reusable bottles).

  • Audit: collect all Tupperware, small kitchen storage boxes and reusable bottles from kitchen cupboards/drawers and other rooms in your home so you can see how much you have.
  • Sort: separate by type, for example leftover food storage, school lunches/cooking containers, water bottles etc. Match up boxes/bottles with lids. Any boxes without lids can be reused to store items elsewhere in your home.
  • Decide what you no longer need. Discard any items that are in poor condition. Set aside any items that you don’t use but could be recycled or could be rehomed with someone else.
  • Organise: once you’ve decided what storage boxes/bottles to keep, they need to be stored effectively. Stackable sets are fantastic as they take up less space. Reusable bottles can be stored in a basket. Lids can also be kept in a separate basket. Keep items that you use daily at the front of your cupboard.

Do I have too many…tea towels?

Staying in the kitchen and focusing on another area which is often chaotic but can easily be organised…your tea towels.

  • Audit: collect all your tea towels into one place so you can see what you have. How are they stored? Ask yourself which ones you actually use? How many do you really need?
  • Reuse and recycle: remove any old tea towels and use them as cleaning cloths.  Any in good condition which you don’t need can be given away.
  • Organise: folding tea towels and storing in an open box reduces the storage space needed and ensures that you use all the tea towels that you have. Simply add clean tea towels at one end of the box and pick out fresh ones from the other side.
  • Many families purchase school tea towels with self portraits of their children. Decide if you will use them (you can always take a photo as a reminder of the tea towel in a good condition) or you can add to a memory box.

Do I have too many…towels and bed linens?

Next up let’s talk towels and linens. How many bathrooms/WC’s do you have in your home? How many towels do you really need in each space and for guest use? Make a note of all the bed sizes in your home and any additional guest bedding that you need. Once you’re clear on what’s needed then you can audit, purge and organise.

  • Audit: Collect all towels and bed linen together to start sorting. Sort towels and linens by size and usage.
  • Purge and recycle: Decide which towels and linens you no longer need so they can be recycled or rehomed.
  • Organise: For those you are keeping you need to decide where you will store them. Group by size. You can use a Sharpie to label linens by size (K,D,S) or use labels for easy identification. When storing items you can roll, stack vertically or fold horizontally. Consider how you will organise linens by set e.g. the duvet cover inside the matching pillow case.

Do I have too many…coats and shoes?

Finally, it’s time to tackle coats and shoes. Every household will have a different place to store shoes and coats. You may have a hallway closet or hooks for essential coats and somewhere for daily use shoes. You may also store out of season coats or more formal items elsewhere in your home. If you don’t have any designated areas to store coats and shoes, it’s useful to think about your storage space for these items.

  • Day to day coats and shoes: take out all shoes and coats so you can see what you have.
    • Coats: remove any out of season coats or coats that do not belong in this day to day use space and store elsewhere in your home (you may need to dry clean or wash before storing). Purge any items that you no longer wear or are in poor condition.
    • Shoes: remove any shoes that no longer fit or are in poor condition (if you have children you will need to decide if you store away for younger children or donate). Return shoes that do not belong in this space back to the correct storage area.
  • All other shoes and coats. Now move to other areas in your home where you store shoes and coats. Take out all shoes and coats so you can audit what you have.
    • Shoes: group items together i.e. sandals, heels, flat shoes, trainers. Purge any items that you no longer wear or are in poor condition. Review if you have too many of the same items.
    • Coats: group items together i.e. work jackets, casual jackets, evening jackets, sports jackets etc. Review each group for items in poor condition or that you no longer wear.
  • Any coats or shoes in good condition can be rehomed, given to charity shops or offered on re-use sites. If you have branded shoes or coats in a very good condition you could sell these.

Thank you to Tracy for these top tips to help simplify our homes. You’ll find lots more over on the Blissfully Organised Facebook page and Instagram. Tracy is a Professional Organiser, with over 10 years experience. She is also a member of The Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO). Tracy’s Blissfully Organised services are available as virtual organising sessions or in-home sessions across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and North London. (In-home sessions involve a COVID-19 risk assessment and all necessary PPE equipment). Please visit the Blissfully Organised website for more information and advice.

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