Autumn is the perfect time to declutter your home. By doing so, we can organise our homes for relaxing and cosying up inside during the colder months. It is also a great way to prepare for the run up to Christmas. During this busy time, you will then be able to easily find items which saves undue stress. It also saves you time and money as you won’t buy duplicates! Here are some top tips for getting organised at home and decluttering this Autumn.
Getting organised at home: Start with the easiest items!
When it comes to getting organised at home, you probably know which items you find the hardest to declutter. For some people, it is sentimental items such as their children’s artwork. For others it will be clothes, books or paperwork. Whichever is the hardest for you to let go of, train your decluttering muscles by starting with the easiest items first. Practice makes perfect so by the time you reach the hardest items, you will find it a lot easier. Giving yourself some easy wins means you feel motivated to continue!
Resist buying storage until the end
Many make the mistake of buying “storage solutions” before they start decluttering and getting organised at home. Whilst you declutter, boxes and containers will be emptied which you can re-purpose. If you find yourself saying “I have no space”, decluttering will open your eyes to how much space you actually have and may not be using effectively. Declutter first and save yourself time and money by buying only the storage you need afterwards. The key to buying storage is to decide exactly what you will store in a particular area and then take accurate measurements of the space.
What do you use and love
For every item, check that you use and love it. Make sure that you don’t have another item that would serve the same purpose equally well. Have bin bags, recycling bags and boxes or bags for charity at hand when decluttering. Pick up each item and decide whether to put it in the following labelled bags:
- Donate to charity
- Action – re-gift / mend / return
- Throw away
This makes getting rid of things at the end of your decluttering session much easier. It also helps to focus your mind on the decisions you need to make.
With crisp mornings and temperatures dropping, it is time to rotate your summer wardrobe for autumn and winter clothing, accessories and footwear. This is an ideal time to donate, gift or recycle clothing that does not fit, you no longer wear or is beyond repair. Focus on keeping only the items and essential pieces in your wardrobe that you truly love. Less is more. Hang or fold clothes and don’t squeeze too much in to ensure that everything is visible and accessible.
Organise your linen cupboard
Bring everything out of your linen cupboard and lay it out on your bed in categories. Divide bed linen up into sets for each bed (checking sizes). Decide if there are excess linens which can be donated to a charity shop or textile recycling bank. Or you could save some to cut up for use as cleaning rags instead of using wipes (much more environmentally friendly!)
Vacuum pack bags are brilliant when it comes to saving space and organising items. Duvets, seasonal clothes and outgrown children’s clothes can be shrunk down in size and stored. You can then store these bags above your wardrobe, in or under your bed or in an attic. These bags maximise storage space and protect clothes from moths and damp. Label bags so when you come to find items you can see at a glance which bags contains them.
Inspire yourself to spend time in the kitchen baking and making warm meals by decluttering and organising your kitchen cupboards. From cleaning supplies under the sink to spices and utensils, this is a satisfying room to tackle!
Go through all your foodstuffs and check use-by dates. Be honest with yourself as to whether you will really ever cook with that ingredient you bought on a whim. Items which have not expired can be donated via the Olio app or your local food bank. Most supermarkets have a food bank collection point by their tills. Anything that is near to expiry, bring closer to the front of your cupboards so you can use it before it expires.
By clearing space in your cupboards, you should be able to clear space on your counters. Put small appliances away if they are not used regularly. Use shelf dividers to create more storage on shelves. Take the opportunity to reorganise the cupboards so appliances and crockery you use more frequently are towards the front.
Pack up items for donation using bubble wrap or old newspaper to protect crockery and glassware. Most charity shops accept these plus small electrical items in working order.
Declutter your bathroom cabinets by throwing away anything that has expired. Drop off old prescriptions to your nearest pharmacy so that they can dispose of them safely. Never dispose of medications down the toilet as they can pollute waterways.
Toiletries and make-up often have expiry dates (indicated by a small logo on the back of the product stating, for example, “6M” means it expires 6 months after opening). If there is no expiry date, check whether the product still has a normal consistency and smell. If not, it is time to let go. Store similar items together in containers so that items are organised. If you have makeup or toiletries that you will not use but are unopened, you can donate them to your nearest drop-off point for The Hygiene Bank.
Go through your books and only keep those you love and cherish. Make some space on your shelves for new additions by donating books or giving to others who will enjoy them. You could even make a little free library to share books within your community. If you have a lot of unread books, create a lower shelf dedicated to those books. You can then easily find your next read when the evenings draw in.
Gardens, attics and garages
Whilst there are still glimmers of sunshine, pack away items in the garden to keep them in good condition for next year. Declutter and organise your shed to make space for storing items. Consider using hooks on walls to store items, such as garden tools, to maximise floor space.
Autumn is the perfect time to declutter attics because they are not stifling hot. They may also be where your Christmas decorations are stored so it is another great incentive to organise and clear this area. Plastic storage boxes with labels are a good option in attics to organise your belongings to protect contents from potential leaks.
Are you getting organised at home this Autumn? Which of the above is on your to do list? Do share a comment below.
Lizzie Grant is the Founder & Professional Organiser of Simplify Stuff. She loves decluttering and organising and passionately believes that the less clutter you have, the better you feel. Connect with her on Instagram at @simplify_stuff