With the Christmas holidays fast approaching – and all the visitors and parties that come with it – this is the perfect time of year to tackle any clutter around the house, so then all you need to do is maintain it.
But we know how the impending avalanche of that piled-too-high cupboard can make it easy to put decluttering off. So we’ve rounded up a few clever ways to make the tasks feel easier.
Try the three-pile strategy
The saying may be “out with the old and in with the new”, but let’s just focus on the “out” part for now.
A great method is to create three piles, grouping your items into containers to keep, purge/donate or sell. This streamlines the process and gets the excess clutter out of the way quickly.
This strategy can be applied to any type of mess, whether it’s in the hallway, the wardrobe or the back garden.
Manage the mail
You’re not alone if it seems like every flat surface in your home has become a landing strip for mail. Keep on top of it by making sure important letters have a designated place where you can pop them as soon as they land on the doormat. This is handy as it helps you remember to answer them if needed.
As for all that junk mail? Shred or recycle it as soon as it arrives. When you receive a new magazine, discard another to keep the stack to a minimum, and set up a festive display for Christmas cards – a long piece of twine and some clothes pegs should do the trick.
Enhance the hallway
Ah, the hallway – where everyone wants to drop their things and dash off. Backpacks, lunchboxes, work bags, gym kits, keys and, of course, shoes – so many shoes!
It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to keep all their coats, bags and shoes in their rooms, so the key for this space is order. Try low shelves with cubbies where everyone can store their shoes and hang pegs for coat and bag storage, so then at least the floor is clutter-free.
Streamline the bathroom
Given the amount of family foot traffic, the bathroom’s organisation can fall apart pretty quickly. Be ruthless about expired cosmetics, medications and almost-empty bottles of shampoo – bin them as soon as they’re out of date or used up (or in the case of medications, give them to your pharmacist to dispose of correctly).
Next, stack small storage boxes under the sink or in the linen cupboard to store hairbands, bobby pins, brushes and anything else that clutters up the surfaces. Giving everyone a personal shower caddy will help to minimise mess – and it’ll settle any squabbles over whose products are whose!
Free up the family room
It’s tough to relax in the family room when it’s littered with clutter, so have a ‘clear coffee table’ policy.
Keep on top of loose homework, mail and magazines by creating a “filing system” with a folder for each person in the family. Buy some baskets for electronics such as phone chargers and the TV remote. And a small sofa-side tray works wonders for keeping coasters and spectacles out of the way but easily reachable.
Refresh the refrigerator
How does the fridge get packed so quickly? A regular clean out will help you stay on top of old leftovers and jars that are almost empty or haven’t been used in six months, which is a good rule of thumb for ditching old food, whether it’s been opened or not.
And don’t forget about the freezer. Anything hanging around in there for nine months or more should be tossed.
For added motivation, organising your fridge can actually save you money.
Crack down on your cupboards
Keep order in your kitchen cupboards by separating long-term dry goods (flour, rice, pasta) from short-term items such as cereal, oatmeal, biscuits and crackers.
Keep the most-used items at eye level and store speciality items or appliances that you only use once in a while (like that toastie maker) on the top shelf.
Once all the clutter is under control, tackle the floors and surfaces with Flash Multi-Surface Concentrated Cleaner to cut through any grease or grime, leaving surfaces sparkling and ready for the Christmas craziness.