Clutter Free Feb

30 genius decluttering hacks that will actually help keep your home tidy

The rules of decluttering are simple: get rid of any unwanted stuff, find a handy place for the items that remain, and endeavour to keep it there – how hard can it be?

1. Organise the chaos

Limit yourself to one small ‘dumping tray’ or ‘junk bowl’, where you keep odds and ends that don’t have a place. Think odd buttons, business cards and loose change. Choose something decorative so you’re more likely to keep the mess to a minimum.

2. Use tubes

Hang onto those cardboard tubes when you use up your paper towels or kitchen foil, and use them to store reusable plastic bags tidily in a drawer. You can also recycle wet-wipe canisters for this purpose.

3. Minimise your paper trail

Reduce paper clutter by taking photos of takeaway menus or flyers from local businesses. Likewise, download user manuals, credit card agreements and health insurance policies, and save them in a folder on your computer.

4. Kitchen tips 

Free up bench space by attaching a magnetic strip under overhead kitchen cabinets to hold spice jars with metallic lids. Store frying pans, baking sheets, pot lids and cutting boards on their sides, using a filing rack or organiser.

5. Invest in a Lazy Susan

Who has time to rearrange the pantry or cupboards every time they want to reach something at the back? Invest in some lazy Susans for instant access to your items in just a spin. They’re also handy in the bathroom or laundry.

6. Utilise your fridge

Limited pantry space? Most dry goods can be kept in the refrigerator, too.

7. Try hidden storage options

Invest in double-duty furniture with hidden storage options. Think ottomans where you can hide throws and cushions, coffee tables with slide-out drawers for magazines, colouring books or puzzles, bench seats with shelving underneath or tall bookshelves with inbuilt cabinets for surplus vases and candles.

8. Bar carts

If space allows, set up a dining cart or station close to your dining table, much like they do in restaurants and cafes. Cutlery, placemats, napkins, glasses and condiments can all be stored in a small cupboard or trolley on wheels to save you making multiple trips to the kitchen every time you sit down to eat. If you’re up for some DIY, follow our guide on how to create your own trolley.

9. Store on the door

Over-the-door shoe hangers can be repurposed for kids’ belongings such as soft toys, craft supplies, dolls, action figures, cars and more. Reserve the higher pockets for any items that you’d like to keep out of reach.

10. Get creative with bathroom storage

Don’t have a built-in bathroom cabinet? Repurpose a dresser or drawers to keep extra towels and products on hand, or look for other storage solutions such as a ladder, stacked crates or a kitchen trolley on wheels. For the DIY-ers, follow our guide on how to build a handy storage shelf.

11. Out of sight

Conceal office supplies such as folders, tax receipts and files inside a storage chest. Storage chests can also double as a great bench seating option.

12. Curtains

Buy a pack of shower curtain rings – they’re surprisingly useful! Loop onto a hanger or piece of dowel to store belts, scarves, ties, handbags, hair ties, baseball caps, necklaces and more!

13. Colour code

Help little people find – and more importantly, put away – their belongings by assigning each child a different colour. Then you can buy them a storage tub with a toothbrush, towel, etc in that colour, or use coloured dots or thread to ‘label’ their belongings.

14. Brick tricks

Save your soles from stray Lego with clever storage solutions. Think a toolbox with pull-out drawers, storage tubs with colour-coded labels, compartmentalised craft organisers or a play mat and storage sack in one (a drawstring turns the mat into a sack!).

15. Book nooks

Not enough space for a bookshelf? Use picture ledges as floating shelves to display beautiful books.

16. Memory lane

If you’re guilty of hanging onto a high volume of things for nostalgic reasons but don’t have the storage space – take a photo of the keepsake and display the pic in an album or a frame.

17. Ice cube trays

Ice cube trays and kids’ paint palettes/trays are the perfect size for sorting small items such as earrings, rings and buttons.

18. Corkboards

Use a corkboard or pegboard to hang earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces.

19. Magazine holders

Secure magazine holders to the inside of bathroom cabinets to store hairdryers and straighteners or under kitchen shelves for cookbooks and boards or oven mitts.

20. Shelf life

Install some shelving over your bathroom door to store everyday items for easy top-ups. Think toilet rolls, cleaning products, bars of soap and towels.

21. Racks

Store your clutches in a kitchen organiser rack. Meanwhile, a spice rack is the perfect little spot for nail polishes, lipsticks or essential oils.

22. On a ledge

Attach floating shelves to a timber bedhead to hold miscellaneous items such as reading glasses, books, a clock or framed photos.

23. Bath system

Store kids’ bath toys in wire fruit baskets suspended from your shower rod or frame.

24. Shoe shuffle

Sort your shoes into pairs and store in clear boxes stacked vertically on the floor of your wardrobe or on open shelves.

25. Use pegs

Hang your kids’ paintings rather than cluttering up the fridge. Set up a simple string-and-peg display system on an empty wall or along a window.

26. Use dividers

Tip your underwear drawer out onto the bed and discard any odd socks, worn-out bras or undies that have lost their elastic. Put everything that’s left back in the drawer, using dividers to keep items in their categories.

27. The coat-hanger trick

Try this Oprah-approved trick: hang all the clothes in your wardrobe with the hangers facing inwards. After you wear an item, hang it back up the opposite way. Every six months, do an inventory of the items that haven’t been worn and sell or donate them.

28. Limit your sheets

Cull your linen closet down to two sets of summer sheets and two of flannelette (if needed) per bed, plus two full sets of towels for each person. That’s seriously all you need – one set in use, one in the wash. Store each set of sheets in its matching pillowcase.

29. Car clutter

Keep a rubbish bag or empty box in the car for coffee cups, used tissues or gum, and empty it once a week. Likewise, a basket in the boot can come in handy for on-the-go items like hats, balls, picnic rugs, sunscreen and kids’ toys.

30. Road trip

Speaking of kids and cars, hang a canvas shoe organiser over the back of the driver’s or front passenger’s seat to store their (many) travel belongings, such as electronic devices and headphones, playing cards, colouring books and pens, dummies, snacks, sunnies, drink bottles and a few favourite toys.

Shop the look 

L to R: Bathroom caddy, $20, from Kmart. Bamboo magazine file, $10, from Kmart. Large bulldog clips, $2.90 each, from Kikki.K. Carry-all toolbox, AU$250, from Daniel Emma.

Words by: Stephanie Hope. Photography by: Bauer Syndication.

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