Everyone dreams of a clean and tidy home, but this is often easier said than done, especially for those of us who have a habit of hoarding. However, with a little bit of organisation and some simple storage solutions your home could be looking ten times more orderly.
If you’ve gone to the effort of decorating your house and invested in statement pieces such as pendant lighting for kitchens, you’ll want to make sure that your home always looks its best. So, we’ve put together this guide to help you utilise the space you’ve got, using a variety of tips from decluttering experts.
Before you begin
It is much simpler to keep a house looking presentable when you have fewer belongings, although for the things that are necessary to keep, it’s important to store them in both an aesthetically pleasing and practical manner. So, before getting started with storage, it’s essential that you tackle any unneeded clutter before planning storage solutions, which our experts cannot stress enough.
“First declutter your home thoroughly so you can assess how much storage is truly required. Use our four 'C's (Chuck, Cherish, Charity or Cash) when in doubt on whether an item is really needed.”
- Jane and Sharon of The Spacemakers
“Take one room at a time and break rooms down into areas i.e. wardrobe, chest, under bed. If you only tackle one room a week the whole house will be organised and clutter-free in just a few weeks - and taking it slowly means you will do each room properly.” – Wendy Miranda, Lakeland’s Customer Ambassador
Once you have finished clearing what you no longer need, move on to relocate what you have kept in positions that are easy to access.
“Put items you use every day or very regularly at eye sight or waist level. Things you only use sporadically can be stored higher up or at the back of the cupboard.” – Ingrid of Organise Your House
One of the best ways to store these items is in boxes, and creative blogger Nostalgiecat shares a great way of injecting part of your personality into the room while doing so in this DIY storage boxes post.
"Storage should be an integral part of a room design in terms of functionality, but it should also be fun: Why not get creative and come up with a custom-made solution that will fit in with your interiors, but also be truly unique to you!" – June Olsen of Nostalgiecat
As a space where you prepare and consume food and drink, you will want this area to be as clutter-free as possible. Kitchen tables and worktops soon become surfaces where gadgets and cook books can build up, and before you know it you have barely any space to use the room for its intended purpose. Here are some ways storage can help you combat these issues.
“Stack wherever you can, for example inside your kitchen cupboards - so many storage spaces are only partially used and a few storage shelves or boxes allow you to utilize this space. You can maximise shelf space with handy shelves, which allow you to double stack, making the most of the gap above your crockery or tins.”
“Store all your baking ingredients in lidded plastic boxes and label; you can stack for storage and everything you need is at hand. For high up shelves Caddy Stack Storage caddies are brilliant - you won't need to duck when more than you were expecting comes tumbling down! A sink tidy will also help keep the area clean and tidy, and if under the sink leaves a lot to be desired, a roll out bin will have it ship shape in no time at all.” – Lakeland
As pointed out by Ingrid from Organise your House, the idea of using storage solutions in the kitchen can be applied to other rooms of the home:
“Use shelf inserts to create extra space in your kitchen cupboards, place shelving in your garage for all your garden supplies and get an ironing board storage hook to create space in the utility room/area.” – Ingrid
Bedrooms are quite often the rooms in the home which acquire the most clutter. This is because they are less frequently seen by people other than those who live in the house, providing less of an incentive to keep them neat and tidy. Mostly used as a space for sleeping and storing clothing, as well as personal belongings, bedrooms need to be kept organised in order to prevent dreaded ‘floor-drobes’.
“Regularly edit your wardrobe so you utilise the space available for items you actually wear and not items wasting precious space. We recommend using velvet hangers - slim but functional; little black dress bags with multi pockets to store a multitude of things such as jewellery, hair accessories, tights etc; multi scarf hangers; vacuum suck bags for seasonal clothes that are bulky to store; and sturdy shoe storage. Not to mention robust easy wheeling under bed storage.” – Sharon and Jane
“You only wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time, so declutter those wardrobes! Get matching hangers to optimise the hanging space. Place your shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe, so the dirt from your shoes doesn’t touch your clothes.” - Ingrid
While many people seem to be able to work in chaos, the saying goes, “a tidy house, a tidy mind”. Therefore, we suggest maintaining an organised office to maximise productivity and minimise stress. Take these tips on board to ensure you have a clean and clear working space.
“If your storage needs to be on show, make sure it's attractive and complements your home. There is no need for a home office to look out of place with dull office storage when there is so much choice on the market to file your paperwork, hold your pens etc.
If your household admin is out of hand and you have too much paperwork, simplify things. Most families can cope with 3-4 main lever arch folders to contain the majority of household filing. Keep it to family (i.e. people related with medical insurances, school forms etc.), finance (i.e. bank statements, pensions) and household/car (car and house insurances, utility bills etc.)” – Sharon and Jane
You could always store important paperwork that requires action or a response in this mail basketto help you keep on top of essential tasks, all while keeping the office looking sophisticated and chic. Similarly, Katy Orme of Apartment Apothecary suggests:
“Hang craft supplies, stationery or tools on pegboard to keep your home organised.” - Katy
“Have a filing system in place for your paperwork. This can be a filing cabinet or a row of Lever Arch Files on a shelf. File paperwork away on a regular basis and do a big clear out once a year. 80% of paperwork never gets looked at again, so start shredding and recycling.” - Ingrid
Loft, Attic, Garage, Shed
Many of the areas in our homes are deemed spaces designated entirely for storing household items. However, if not kept on top of, they can easily become unmanageable, and soon things will become impossible to find. So, keep clutter at bay in your home with these useful pointers.
“Items that are not used regularly such as ski equipment and anything seasonal should be stored in either your attic, garage or shed.” – Jo of Tapioca Tidy
“If you want to store items in your loft use plastic boxes with lids, label the boxes and don’t overload them since you have to get them up and down the loft ladder.” – Ingrid
“Many people tend to think of a loft as a place to hide things rather than store them. This is usually because access to the loft is normally a little tricky, and even dangerous, with the hatch not being large enough for any real storage solutions. This can be easily overcome by enlarging the loft hatch, adding a loft ladder and creating a storage room out of what is usually the only "untapped" space in the average home.” – DIY Doctor
As the entrance or walkway to the various rooms in your home can make or break a first impression, these areas should be kept as clutter-free as possible. There are many ways to utilise spaces that would otherwise be deemed useless, and here are some suggestions from The Spacemakers.
“We are keen on stair case or under-stairs storage that is “invisible”. The shots below show how discreet tongue and groove panelling can be used with invisible catches, instead of handles, to create hidden storage areas, maximising every inch of space. This method is very discreet and, for this particular client, it replaced piles of dangerous clutter on a narrow staircase. It works equally well in narrow hallways and walk through areas.
“Use space under stairs efficiently - look at Pinterest for inspiration and see what others have done to their under stair storage” – Sharon and Jane
Bridget and Casey of DIY Playbook are also firm believers in having ‘secret storage’ around the home, purchasing décor items that are both functional and fashionable.
“We hide remote controls and playing cards in decorative boxes on our coffee tables, we buy small ottomans because they offer additional seating and can also store blankets and pillows, and we use wicker baskets to keep our kitchen items together. We suggest looking for items that can work double duty in your home. If it’s pretty and offers some function…then that’s what you’ll want to scoop up and bring into your space to keep things organized.” – Bridget and Casey
Here are some extra tips for keeping your home as organised as you can.
“Maximise the use of all of your space, from hooks on doors to draws in stairs, as well as under the sink storage and the use of vacuum bags for storage of bedding and seasonal clothing.” – Jo
“Create an area in your home where you keep all your equipment to clean, hoover, iron, mop, and polish. This can be an under stairs cupboard, a utility room or broom cupboard. As long as it is all together so you know where to look if you need to find something.” - Ingrid
“We would like to include a further tip about clever use of alcoves for creating desk/work areas when space is tight. Often this needs to be in a main living area, but ideally, can be hidden away when not in use, thus maintaining an attractive social space which is not dominated by paperwork and files. The photos below show a clever pull out hidden desk, with attractive storage cupboards with door knobs below. The desk and paperwork can literally disappear when not in use and the room continues to look like a living room, not an office.”
“Have baskets in each room of your home for everyday bits and bobs. They will help to keep mess to a minimum and look great, too.” – Katy
Keeping it up
Now that you’ve done all the hard work, it’s time to sit back and enjoy your neat and tidy home, but you’ll want to make sure that you have some rules in place to make sure this is maintained.
“Getting organized can be a challenge, but staying organized is even more difficult. Giving everything a place to call home is key when it comes to organization. When you use something and know exactly where to put it back, you’re much more likely to keep your home not only looking neat and tidy, but also keep it functioning well.” – Bridget and Casey
“Items that are used on a regular basis should be stored in an easily accessible fashion. Educate your family to know where these items "live". A place for everything and everything in its place is critical for the smooth running of a household.” - Jo