We're very excited to introduce Kate Ibbotson from A Tidy Mind as our first guest blogger! We've always been big advocates of making the most of the space you have, rather than creating more space for the sake of it. But for many of us that involves decluttering and making our homes more organised. This blog has some fantastic (but ultimately achievable) tips on how we can all be a bit better at making the most of our homes.
Hi, I'm Kate, the founder of A Tidy Mind. I help people declutter and organise their homes and also teach them new habits and routines so they become more organised at home. Decluttering can be quite an emotional process so I incorporate coaching and emotional support – it’s a never just about ‘the stuff’, it’s about what’s going on in people’s heads too.
I’m excited to contribute this guest blog after connecting with Beth on Instagram! I was instantly drawn to the service Fresh Start Living offer because it struck me that it’s all about enhancing peoples ‘home experience’. Like Beth and Jon, I aim to make people feel more content with what they have, either by making their homes more functional or beautiful (or both!). We all need our home to be a relaxing retreat. In so many cases, it stresses people out instead. But I fully believe that home should be our ‘calm place’.
I tend to be called upon when clients have become very stressed by their belongings at home and are living in disorder. It may be that they have too many things and their homes have become overwhelming. Or they feel disorganised, keep losing things or lack routines. Others don’t have the right storage and aren’t maximising space. I also work with clients who want to move house or downsize but are daunted by the idea of decluttering in advance of the move.
Decluttering and organising your home can seem like a big mountain to climb but I’d like to share some simple, achievable tips which can help, whatever your situation:
Avoid telling yourself you need to sort everything out in a week – that’s generally unrealistic. If you’re overwhelmed, focus on contained spaces or specific categories and declutter in bite-sized chunks of between 15 minutes and a couple of hours. So, you might decide to do your medicine cabinet, your underwear drawer, the under-the-stairs cupboard or your shoes. Then focus on keeping your ‘mini projects’ tidy, every time you look at these spaces, you’ll feel motivated to carry on and finish everything else.
Focus on 'storage' areas
Lofts, cellars and garages are prime locations to stash something quickly to avoid dealing with it. And do you really know what’s in there? If you want to clear your clutter, focus on these areas first. Once they are clearer, you'll have more space to store things that you actually need. Or perhaps you’ll be inspired to convert them into extra living space instead!
Make a decision
Clutter is often simply the result of decision delay. So, when it comes to paperwork you might think ‘I’ll deal with that later’ only for a pile to accumulate which you then procrastinate over sorting out. If you can complete an action within 2 minutes, it’s best to decide to do it then and there e.g. you receive a hospital appointment through the post so immediately input it into your diary. Otherwise, make a clear plan for how (and when) you will deal with a task.
Have a place for everything
Assign a permanent 'resting place' to each and every possession in your home, especially for items which tend to accumulate in 'clutter hotspots'. For example, if kids’ school homework accumulates on the kitchen table, create a 'homework' box for each child. Or if your wallet or glasses float around, create a ‘home’ for them on a shelf or in a container.
Adopt the right habits
Being organised simply consists of numerous small habits. Success lies in the little things we do every day. Adopt habits such as placing your keys on a hook as soon as you arrive home. Or cleaning and tidying the kitchen whilst you’re cooking dinner. ‘Habit stacking’ works well too where you take advantage of a current habit by tagging on another – like emptying or filling the dishwasher whilst you wait for your morning coffee to brew.
Be protective of your space
The modern world full of ingenious inventions and ‘must haves’ to make your life easier. But do you really need to buy more stuff? It could be that you can paint or repurpose something you already have, rearrange your furniture or even let go of some of it and benefit from more space instead. Exercise a ‘purchase pause’ before you buy anything. Letting the idea settle and sit with you rather than acting impulsively will ensure you’re intentional about what buy and you save your money for things which really matter.
Creating a calm and ordered home is an important part of self-care and also a great place to start if you’re thinking about home improvements and renovations. Sometimes you need more of a blank canvas in order to choose new décor and furnishings. Knowing what you own and being able to find everything is more powerful than we give it credit for. And creating an aesthetically pleasing look really can be as simple as clearing the clutter.
A Tidy Mind can help during any part of your decluttering journey and an important part of the service is taking away any unwanted items and donating them to various local charities and projects. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation or call 07961 770452. You can follow us on Instagram (@atidymind) or Facebook (@atidymindHQ) too or keep an eye on the blog for inspiration. Keep in touch!