When a Canberra couple—experienced in the art of designing, building and selling homes—purchased a heritage…
I had grand plans for my shutdown weekends.
I would sail through lockdown with sparkling clean surfaces, neatly organised cupboards and wardrobes cleansed of things I no longer wore. Marie Kondo who?
The reality, however, was a little different.
If you, like me, had grand plans for shutdown but, you, like me, spent the last three months watching Tiger King, buying more indoor plants, working in sweatpants and spending your weekends doing…not much at all, don’t fret—we’re in a global pandemic after all. Who cares if your cupboards are crammed with half-eaten packets of rice crackers (…just me?).
In all seriousness, the expectation of uber-productivity during a global pandemic was…a bit much. But if you’re feeling cabin fever-y and want to change your environment—or maybe you do truly seek a more Marie Kondo’d lifestyle—relax. We’ve called in the experts.
Professional organiser Aline Lorieri from The Sort Society says that decluttering and organising is as easy as five simple steps.
First, walk around your home and make a list of the rooms, or spaces within them, that need organising.
Be specific, don’t just write ‘bedroom’ if your closet alone would take an entire day. Here’s an example:
- Coffee station
- Bar area
- Linen closet
- Chest of drawers
- Bedside tables
- Desk area
- Reading nook
And so on.
Once you’ve made the list, arrange the items in order of priority for you and your family. What would be the most impactful change in your household once done? This will help you to choose which spaces to start organising first.
Next, based on the time you have on your hands and your current routine, make a plan of attack.
I would advise you to dedicate a maximum of three hours per day to your organising mission. This is the time limit that I suggest to clients that they work on their own.
Not to say that you can’t do more, but you risk overwhelming yourself and abandoning the project unfinished—not what you want!
Categorise and purge
Once you have decided what you are going to work on and when, it’s time to categorise and purge.
Start by emptying the space or room of all items (ALL of them) and while you do that, make sure to put things into groups or families (e.g. all cords together, all socks together, all pencils together).
This will help you see the number of items you have in each category so that you can decide if anything can be donated, recycled or tossed. Do you really need six pairs of scissors?
Once you have sorted through all of the items in the space or room, it’s time to think about how to best store them.
Here—and only here—is when you find out if you need to purchase any extra storage. Here are some tips on finding the best storage for your items:
- Items that are used more often need to be the easiest to access.
- Drawer dividers are your best friends.
- A nice coat hanger can truly transform your closet; when possible opt for one type of coat hanger for the whole closet.
- Decant the open packages in your pantry into containers or jars. No need to be fancy here—function comes before aesthetics.
- Kids toys to be stored at a height that they can access, not only so they can reach out to them when they want to play, but also so they can help put them away when they are done. Make sure to get them to help from early age. It takes patience, practice and consistency. Don’t give up here!
Enjoy your space
Now you can truly enjoy a fully organised home in the midst of these external events. This is what your home should be—a place you seek refuge from the outside world, a place of calm that helps you reset and recharge. Love your home and it will love you right back!
Finally, keep it up!
Consistency is everything. Eventually, it will become a habit, second nature. Until then, persist! Put things back where they belong each time after use, and don’t let everything pile up.