Throughout, school college/university and work we are taught that being organised is of key importance. But how important is it to be organised and where should you begin? Domestico thought we would share with you some of our expert knowledge that we have learnt through experience in the cleaning sector. As a cleaning company we are approached regularly by individuals asking us to help them organise certain areas of their homes. From wardrobes, to children’s play rooms, we have battled through the clutter and helped our customers get on top. But when organising what is the key steps to take and how do you distinguish between something that’s worth keeping and something that should be binned? We thought we would share with you some simple steps we have helped our customers take in the recent years.
Depending on the amount of storage space you have and the amount of clothing you own depends on how easy organising your wardrobe can be. First of all, take everything out so it is empty. Next you need to establish what season the clothes are for. If you’re fortunate to have enough space to store both you need to separate winter clothing from summer clothing. If you do not have enough space, depending on the season you need to store the out of season clothing in laundry bags and store in the loft or out of the way until needed.
Out with the old
We have a tendency to be hoarders and keep ill fitting and old clothing “in case we might wear it again” or “We may loose enough weight to fit in this one day”. However, research shows, if you haven’t worn something for a year or more, the chances are you won’t ever wear it again. So, stop beating around the bush, get rid of it, put everything you haven’t worn for over a year, or that you no longer like/want and give it to charity. Always ensure that anything you do give a way to charity is in a suitable state, and is clean and to a standard that can still be worn. If its badly stained or damaged put it in the bin. There’s nothing wrong with having a “thin-spirational” dress but minimise the amount you have. If you do loose weight, make that a reason to go shopping and fill your wardrobe with new, smaller clothing.
Separate what you have
The best way to get organised is to make piles of clothing and then put away each pile at a time. For example, put all of your jeans together, all dresses together, all jumpers together and work clothes. Once you have created these piles you need to check out the space you have and work out how to store. In general things such as shirts, dresses, suit trousers, jackets and thick jumpers should be hung. So ensure you store together, hang up each item on separate hangers together and separate with clothes dividers. Items such as jeans, t-shirts, leggings, pyjamas and gym wear can be folded, try and fold how the shops fold their clothes, ensuring that each item is roughly the same size so you can create nice neat piles. Then storing each of the same items together, neatly pile in the drawers. When hanging items, use co-ordinating hangers for a fresh and clean look; cheap stores such as Primark and pound stores sell hangers in packs of 8.
Hand me downs
When you have children, especially children of the same sex, hand me downs can save you money and there’s nothing wrong with this. However, ensure you only keep what is necessary, if it was something cheap you’re probably better off throwing out and replacing when necessary rather than storing somewhere until it fits the next child in a few years. Fashion changes frequently as well, so what might be in fashion now, may not be by the time it fits the next child.
As you have done with the clothing, separate shoes into the season they should be worn in. Flip flops, sandals and open toed shoes should all be stored with your summer clothes. Clean them up by using a damp cloth and the correct shoe polish for the material and box up. If you don’t have the original boxes anymore, you can purchase easy to build shoe boxes from home wear stores, pound shops or online at places such as AmazonUK. You can then put these shoes either in your summer wardrobe or in the loft with your summer clothing. Boots, high heeled shoes, trainers, and pumps, should all be cleaned and then depending on the amount of use you make of them should be stored accordingly. The shoes you wear most often should be stored at the front, whereas the shoes you wear least should be put at the back. This makes the shoes you do wear often easier to find and saves you having to pull out every shoe box from your wardrobe to find the pair you’re looking for. Another great tip for organising your shoes is to make a polaroid picture of each shoe and then stick the picture onto the box. This is especially useful when you purchase easy build shoe boxes, as they all look identical and unless you remember which shoes are in which box, which is highly unlikely, you can search by looking at the photograph made of each shoe.
Why do I need to do this?
You may think that this is all a bit too much of an effort, and that you’re quite happy to live with your organised chaos however, we can all relate to getting up in the morning and thinking “Where are my black jeans? I am sure I hung them in this cupboard? Ughhh I am going to be late for work! Where are they?” Avoid these morning dramas by getting your wardrobe and your children’s wardrobe organised. You will be grateful the next time your son or daughter says “mum where is…” and before the sentence is finished you can point them to the right direction.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a spare room that you can dedicate to your childrens playroom than there are many ways to keep this as a great storage room for toys aswell as keeping it looking tidy and clean. Just like with anything you have to start somewhere and the main ingredient needed for keeping an organised playroom is storage boxes. If you have more than one child, why not buy boxes with different coloured lids to establish whose toys are who.
The room will need to be cleaned firstly. Always start from the top and work your way down. All high dusting and high shelves should be cleaned first. With skirting boards and the floor cleaned last.
Just like you done with the clothing, separate toys into piles. Lego, dolls, doll clothes, dressing up equipment, arts and craft and so on. Using your storage boxes put each of items in the piles, into the specific box. You can also label these boxes with sticky labels to establish what’s inside. Anything that is broken or no longer played with should be removed. Its taking up space for something else. Why not either give to a friend with a child who may use it? Or donate to a local nursery? That way it saves you throwing it in the bin.
Now depending on the size of the room and the number of children you have you can split the room in half. Dedicate half of the room to one child and half to the other. If you want to be really creative, you can decorate the room according to the child’s likes, Eg a dinosaur wallpaper on one side for your son and a princess wallpaper on one side for your daughter.
Pile the boxes of toys towards the back of the room allowing space in the centre to play. The storage boxes should not be piled up from floor to ceiling but should be at reach for children to go and choose what they want to play with. The toys most frequently used should be towards the front, with the things used the least at the back. This helps to keep the room organised. Use things such as bean bags as furniture for them to sit on whilst playing and decorate the floor with ABC foam puzzle pieces. This also helps to protect your flooring from scratches whilst they play or paint and ink stains. Decorate the walls huge sheets of paper so they can drawer on the walls. Make the room fun but elaborate the fact that you want it to stay clean and organised.
Maintaining the organisation is key. Organising the room with your children allows them to know where things belong. Making them put things back in the correct boxes and clearing up after themselves can be rewarded by purchasing them a new toy. Lastly, have regular clear outs. When it comes to Christmas’ and Birthdays and new presents are brought, clear out any unwanted or unused toys to replace with the new ones. Keeping everything will just turn the room into a cluttered mess, so make sure you regularly check what your storing and check whether or not its used.
The kitchen cupboards can easily be neglected, but its recommended that every 6 months to a year, you have a sort out. Domestico are going to share with you some tips that our cleaning ladies recommend from recent spring cleans and organisational cleans.
Begin with throwing away all out of date food
Go through your kitchen cupboards and discard anything past its use by date and anything that is close to its date that you don’t think you will use. Then using a damp cloth wipe over all tins and other packaging so they are free from dust or any other sticky residue of food. Put all pasta’s, rice, flours, sugars and any other opened packaged food into air tight, glass or plastic containers. This makes it easier to store and reduces the risk of it making a mess in your soon to be clean and organised cupboard.
Putting things together
We all have certain plates, utensils, glasses and cutlery that we use on a regular basis and some that we use for when we have guests. Put together the things you use on a daily basis together and then put together the things you only use for special occasions or for when guests come to visit. Everyday plates and glasses should be stored in the lower, easier to reach cupboards, whereas things that are only used for guests should be put in higher cupboards out of reach.
Utensil and cutlery drawers
Dedicate one drawer to cutlery and use a cutlery divider that you have pre cleaned. Put all forks together, all knives together, desert spoons together and tea spoons together, all neatly piled the same way. The same for your utensils, dedicate one drawer to them, clean it out first and then lay out all of the main utensils you would use for your day to day cooking in this drawer.
Pots, pans and lids
Pile up your pans, in size order from biggest at the bottom to the smallest on top. Do the same for the pots. In regards to the lids, stack them neatly at the side so they are accessible as and when you need them. At this point any extremely old pots and pans which have been badly stained should be thrown out and replaced.
Get storage boxes for things such as cereal, crisps and other dry food
Storage boxes can be purchased for storing food in the kitchen without it loitering the area making it look cluttered. Why not buy set of four fabric storage baskets? These can be purchased a home wear stores at a reasonable price. One can be used for crisps and other packaged snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated; one can be used for cereal and breakfast bars; one can be used for extra drinks that don’t need to be refrigerated just yet and one can be used for storing cooking appliances you don’t want to have cluttering your kitchen work tops such as: toastie makers, smoothie makers, electric whisks etc.
Once you have organised all of your kitchen equipment, simply wipe out your cupboards with hot water and a splash of washing up liquid and then neatly pack away your cupboards. For a final finishing touch to your kitchen purchase a nice clean table cloth, a new fruit bowl filled with fruit and a scented candle for the ultimate finish to your newly organised kitchen.
Organising your home office
Most people would say the last thing they have time to organise in their home is their office space! But if you was aware of how much time that disorganisation costs you, you would think again!
Look around you, if you don’t use it, throw it. If its paperwork you don’t need anymore shred it! If its broken, get rid of it or send it to be repaired. Start here. This is the same for office furniture, plants both artificial and real and just general supplies such as pens, note pads etc.
Gather it up and distribute it
People that work from home can often get into the bad habit of having “everything but the kitchen sink” in their workspace. Look around at what you have stored there and distribute back to where it really belongs. This is generally half the problem!
Establish certain areas and put things accordingly around it
Your desk is your main work station, your computer is here and it’s the main place you sit to do work. But what else do you need to do that work? Pens, paper stationary that sort of stuff? Get a pen jar, put pens you use in here, a few black and blue ink pens, a few coloured pens to draw attention to certain things when writing or making notes and a few highlighters for when you’re reading or researching through big texts. Next is the paper and spare equipment, which should be in the drawers next to your desk. And finally you need resources, your folders with the specific information about the job you do. This should be behind your desk, clearly labelled so you can quickly get the specific file you need out without having to search endless piles of paper for it.
Put things you use frequently close to you
Things you use regularly should be at reach distance to you on your desk. Anything else, or extra’s of this should be stored away until needed.
Eliminate paper pushing
Now we can save, scan, duplicate and do pretty much everything on a computer, which has eliminated the need to file. If you don’t need to have it in paper form, don’t. Use software such as “Evernote” to scan documents to so that you don’t need to have thousands of folders full of paper.
If you need magazines for research purpose, put them in a magazine box or binder and store underneath your desk for when you need them. Once you have finished, shred or recycle to avoid excess clutter in your workspace.
Clean your desk weekly
Once a week, take everything off your desk, clean it fully and put back the things you need. Everything else should be stored accordingly in your filing cabinets. Have one cabinet for each thing e.g.: paper, stationary, cables, file dividers, etc.
Once a week, spend the time to file all the paperwork you have managed to gather up. Put it away in the correct place or shred if necessary. This will avoid you having huge mountains of paperwork lumbered at the side of the desk.
A clean and tidy work space is a happy work space. You will get double the amount of work done if you are in an organised environment with all your essentials at arms reach. Clutter and mess causes distraction, which in theory means you get less work done and spend more time searching for things you can easily find if you spend the time to organise your work space properly.