Home Is What You Make It! - easy decluttering & organising projects for the weeks ahead
If all we're going to see over the next fews weeks is the inside of our four walls (and if we're lucky, our gardens), lets's make our living (and working) space, as calm, well organised and as much of a pleasure to be in as we possibly can.
Staying in means that most of us have a bit of extra time on our hands and there's no better chance to give our homes a bit of care and attention.
It's also great for providing a sense of purpose. It feels so good to finally tackle all the projects we've been meaning to do for some time, but just never got around to.
Break it down into manageable chunks, you're more likely to complete it, if you split it into mini projects. Even if you are now caring for 24/7 (and teacher to) young kids, there are some projects here that you could do with them and even build in some learning along the way.
Create a calm and relaxing sanctuary - no matter how well you get on as a family, if you're going to be cooped up together for weeks on end, you need to be able to escape to calm, relaxing spaces within your house.
You're lying in bed in the morning, what do you see when you first open your eyes?
Is it a beautiful clear, calm space with just a few favourite possessions on display and plants, or is it a cluttered mess of piled up clothes and other items, crowded onto every available surface?
It doesn't take much to change this if it's the latter and it can make a world of difference to your emotional wellbeing. It can make you feel calmer and more in control, if you can start each day with a blank canvass.
If you have kids, make sure that there is at least one "adult space" in your house. By this, I mean a space that is free from kids toys and other paraphernalia. This could be a sitting room, or it could be your bedroom. If your living space is particularly small and this is difficult to achieve, make sure that in these areas, toys are cleared into baskets or boxes when your kids go to bed. At the very least, you'll be reclaiming the space as your own in the evenings.
Declutter & Organise you kitchen - or even just your food cupboards and fridge.
What's been hanging around for months? If you have ingredients that you're not sure what to do with, now's a great time to Google a recipe for the ingredients you want to use up. Organised food cupboards and an organised fridge make it easier to meal plan. Meal planning makes it easier to put together a shopping list, so that when you do get to the supermarket, you know exactly what you're looking for and can get in and out again as quickly as possible.
For more information, see my previous blog How Cluttered is Your Kitchen?
You can download my meal planner and guide here.
What's In Your Wardrobe? - now is the perfect time to go through your wardrobe, as you'll have plenty of time to try on outfits and decide what still works and what doesn't. Don't forget an item worth keeping should work with at least three outfits...
If you have young kids, do the same with them, kids love dressing up! Make a game of it, talk about colours and patterns with younger kids, introduce some foreign vocabulary learning with older ones, then teach them how to fold (see video below) and put things away neatly in drawers. It's never too early to start forming these good tidying habits!
Audit your make up and toiletries - go through your bathroom, cupboards, shelves and drawers, what could you use up? Now is the perfect time to use up all the products you have lying around, don't forget shower gel can be used up perfectly well as hand wash, shampoo as body wash...
Tackle albums and boxes of old photos - this is really one of those things that people struggle to find time for normally and it's a great project for the whole family to be involved in. It could even be used as a basis for a history lesson!
Consider scanning favourite photos, as digital format will be the best way to preserve their quality long term. Photo books are a lovely way to group photos together and again tend to last longer than albums, my favourite company for this is Blurb, as you have the option to add plenty of text.
If you have any very old or damaged photos, companies such as Henley Scan are able to do amazing restoration work.
Keep the kids busy - ask them to declutter and organise their own rooms (or or at least help to tidy their own rooms). Depending on their age, set them a project or re designing their own bedroom, planning it on paper first. Ask them to allocate a space to clothes, books toys, school books, art and craft.
If they're older and want to move their furniture around, will it fit? Get them to measure the furniture and the space.
Use the opportunity to identify toys and books your kids have grown out of. If they're reluctant to part with things, put everything that they're not sure about into a box, basket, or drawer string bag. Everything they take out of this during the next few weeks can go back into their room, if anything is still in the bag or box at the end of this time...you have your answer!
Jo Hall is a Berkshire based Declutterer & Organiser
For help with decluttering & organising your home Less Is More
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