As spring approaches, it’s time to make our homes more presentable and to shake off the winter cobwebs
Inspiration can help, too! Take a look through these beautiful spaces and the organisational lessons they subtly portray, then stop procrastinating, pick a room – any room – and give it an hour. See how you get on.
Every shelf, cabinet, wardrobe and even container needs to get its own organising job to do. If you’re not specific with what every bit of space –storage or otherwise – does for you, then family members are more likely to dump whatever they like wherever they like.For instance, if you have shelves that are half full of books, then you get the scenario where random bits and pieces, such as empty sunglasses cases, batteries, papers and so on, are thrown there for no other reason than the fact there was available space. This is how clutter builds up.However, if you fill those shelves with the books and DVDs you want, then they have a clear job to do and the books and DVDs get a clear home. It dissuades anyone from leaving other items on the shelves.
Optimum organisation comes from keeping flat surfaces clear. And your largest flat surface? Your floor. Clearing clutter from the floor, or even from a section of it, will give you such relief. Until it’s gone, you probably won’t realise the impact it’s been having on you subconsciously.Too much furniture can be a real obstacle to the organisation of a room. Sometimes, removing just one piece can be all it takes to create breathing space, and to give you the physical room to manoeuvre. This, of course, will also make it easier to get organised.Rugs, tiles and wood flooring can be used to your organisational advantage, since they create a subtle divide between spaces; this can help to keep the functions of a room separated and, by extension, organised. It’s particularly useful in open-plan areas. You can see how the idea works in this space, where the kitchen-diner and living area are marked out by their different floor surfaces.Check out these life-enhancing resolutions for your most organised year yet
As already mentioned, having open-plan spaces sectioned into defined areas will make it much easier to use the room, since this creates barriers for clutter. If you’re living in a smaller home and have multiple functions in one room – say an office in the guest room or toys stored in the living room – then zoning becomes essential for an ordered home.By placing a window divider on the worktop in this kitchen, the owners have cleverly separated out an area for small appliances and food storage. This zoning approach gives the space an organised pantry feel.
You can also zone within smaller areas. Zone bookshelves, for example, by having business books at the top, cookery books in the middle and kids’ books down low.Kitchen cabinets can be zoned, too, with pantry essentials near the fridge, pots and pans beside the cooker and large serving dishes or tableware that isn’t used very often slightly further out of reach in upper sections.
A simple visual trick that will create a sense of order, balance and organisation is to arrange items in pairs. Certainly, this beautiful room illustrates how effective this rule can be. The sofa has two pairs of matching cushions, and is evenly balanced with two matching tables and two matching lamps either side.
Sometimes, having everything arranged in twos can be a little stilted – it really depends on the room and available accessories. If you find this is the case, the designer’s favourite rule of three offers an alternative approach to symmetry.However, to maintain a sense of balance and order, try linking your trio of objects, furniture, lighting or artworks by theme, colour or shape.In this space, the main furniture (the sofa and two armchairs) are a trio, as are the cushions, and a number of the accessories on the shelves behind.Mixing trios of objects with others in pairs, or other even configurations, will still give you a sense of order in a way that lots of disparate, lone objects with no visual connection probably won’t.
When organising your home, you want to get the maximum amount of use out of the space you have. If you feel you don’t have enough room for storage, take another look around. Alcoves, snug corners and those spaces under the stairs, beneath beds or behind doors can each appear too small to be used effectively. Yet, with some creative thinking and strategic measuring, you may be surprised at what will work well in a tight spot.Home admin, in the form of bills, forms to fill in, official letters, cards, reminders and so on, is something that can easily spread itself about a home, cluttering up surfaces as you leave things lying about to remind you to deal with them. If you work from home, the potential for this sort of mess increases significantly. So a designated space will really help your space to feel more ordered.Here, a small office has been created out of a series of tall shelving units. These are a great use of an entire wall within a room. There’s plenty of storage space for all office essentials, yet they can be closed up at the end of the day to leave sleek cabinets that would finish off any room.Even a well-placed (and attractive) ‘clutter box’, into which you can chuck stuff you need to file or disperse, can be a good temporary measure. Make it accessible and, ideally, lidded. Stair baskets can serve a similar purpose and work wonders for messy hall consoles or kitchen tables.
These places run the risk of becoming untidy quicker than other spots, though, so you need to stay on top of them. Frequent decluttering and making sure you’re only hanging onto what you really need will help keep these small places tidier for longer.
Clever planning can help you squeeze the most from a space. The key is to tuck shelving into every possible corner, so you can keep even a small room functioning smoothly. Work shelves or cupboards up the walls – right to the ceiling if you can – and consider shelving over or around doors, too.In this compact bedroom, an area has been created that incorporates the bed but also a surprising amount of built-in shelving, making excellent use of a small alcove. A desk with shelving above it adds to the functionality.The owners have chosen a desk in the same colour as the walls, meaning it almost melts out of sight rather than overpowering the space. Think carefully about colour when planning your storage: unless you want it to be a positive feature, this sort of blending can be your friend.
If we look at this photo, the corner nook of a chair and chest of drawers could easily become a clutter hotspot. The chair would be a magnet for clothes thrown off at the end of the day and the chest has multiple drawers, which could become muddled.However, a shrewdly placed cushion on the chair acts as a deterrent for clothes clutter. The cushion makes a feature out of the chair, flagging it as simply a place to sit and take off shoes.Meanwhile, each drawer in that chest needs to be given a job. There’s a multitude of sub-categories for folded bedroom clothes storage – from underwear and pyjamas to T-shirts and winter accessories. In a bedroom, you may also need storage for technology, toiletries, jewellery and more. If each category were assigned a drawer, you’d fill the chest up – but in a very organised way!11 ways to avoid a ‘floordrobe’
From a practical point of view, colour-coding acts as a visual cue in our environment and helps us to stay organised. We recognise colours quickly, so if we associate an item with a colour cue, then it’s simpler to deal with it and it saves time. Colour blocks help us to use our things more efficiently.From an aesthetic point of view, it just looks amazing, too. It brings a space from standard to stunning with just a little rearranging. This wardrobe is not only zoned between hanging and folded clothes, it’s also colour-coded, making it quicker and easier to get ready in the morning.Colour coding in an office setting can also be useful, particularly if you work from home, since getting work- and home-related paperwork mixed up can make us feel muddled or stressed. Colour-coded folders or box files can help to clearly differentiate one category from the other.If you’d like to get going on some organisation in your home, colour coding a bookshelf is a great place to start. You’ll get a result quick that will look beautiful as well as beautifully ordered.