We’ve all spent a lot more time at home this year and it’s made many of us realise that we own a lot of unnecessary ‘stuff’ that serves only one purpose: to add clutter. Perhaps you have a wardrobe overflowing with clothes, too much food in the cupboards (looking at you, lockdown pasta stockpile!), unfinished hobbies in the lounge, or old toys in the playroom that your pre-teen has grown out of; these are all common factors that can easily add clutter to your home environment and they can feel like overwhelming issues to deal with. Help is on hand with Shelina Jokhiya, Managing Director of Dubai-based DeCluttr ME, here to give you professional organisational advice.
After all these months spent inside, thanks to the summer heat and pandemic, now is a great time to start the tidying process to help you remove the clutter cloud from above your head, even more so if working from home has become part of your normal routine. Here are my favourite top tips to help you simplify your home in terms of possessions:
Start With One Room
Kitchens tend to be the easiest room to start with and they can be fun to organise as you notice just how old some of the canned tins of food are at the back of a cupboard — I have seen items with expiry dates of 30 years ago!
Don’t Take Everything Out
Never take everything out of your cupboards, drawers, boxes etcetera, in the room you’re focusing on. If you do that, you will soon become overwhelmed and run out of space in the room, leaving it looking (and feeling) too chaotic to organise.
Do A Mini-Declutter
This is my favourite piece of advice. Spend 10 to 15 minutes a day focusing on one cupboard, a shelf or a particular area in a room. Go through the items in this one area and see if you can throw, recycle, sell, donate, or keep any of them. Clean the cupboard, shelf or zone, and put the items you are keeping back in place. If you do this little decluttering exercise every day you will tidy and organise methodically and soon free up a lot of space.
Once you have decluttered the problem areas you want to tidy, spend 30 minutes organising items into categories. Don’t have too many categories as the aim of the exercise is to make the system as simple as possible for yourself and everyone living at home.
Put Items Away Logically
Put the items you are keeping away into logical areas. For example, in the bedroom, your underwear should be in drawers that you can access easily; spices and cooking ingredients should be near the cooker and not at the other end of the kitchen.
Label The Areas
If you have a label machine, use it to label the boxes, tins and jars etcetera where you are storing items — but please don’t buy one if you are only going to label one or two things — remember, we are trying to avoid clutter! You can also buy labels from a stationary shop and write on them, or order labels online. By labelling, you and your household will soon learn where items are stored in a particular room, and it will make items that are not often used, like a sewing kit, easy to find.
Build The Habit
According to behavioural studies, it takes over 20 days to build a habit, so build up the habit of being organised by returning items to their designated areas every time after using them. It only takes a few seconds to put things away in their proper place, yet will have a long-lasting effect. Once you have built the habit, it will become second nature to put your items in the correct place.
Following Shelina’s advice will soon make your home look more spacious and tidy, and therefore feel like a much more relaxing place to be in! Discover more insightful decluttering tips from DeCluttrME, find out how to dispose of your junk sustainably in the UAE, and be inspired by the custom-made library wall in this Dubai home tour to keep books tidy yet creatively displayed.