I bumped into the lovely Sarah Reynolds from Organised Chaos at the Ideal Home Show at Halloween and I was in awe of how simple she made being organised sound. I vaguely remember feeling pulled together once upon a time. But since having kids, I feel like I’ve been chasing my tail and everything around me is one big mess. As you probably know, I live in a rented house at the moment as our forever home is being constructed. I’ve kind of used the fact that this isn’t ‘our’ home as an excuse for it being all over the place, promising myself that someday, things will be tidy. Someday, things will have their own place, someday the toys will be in order and my wardrobe won’t be in a heap. Well, the roof is going to be put on our new home soon so the time for me to be organised and tidy is creeping up fast. Will I be actually able to pull it off, now that I’ve got no more excuses? I decided to pick Sarah’s brains and find out if she had any tips for me ahead of the big move. I also figure that I’m probably (hopefully!) not the only disorganised person out there, so hopefully these tips will be of some use to you guys as well. I’m going back to my journalism roots here, so here’s my interview with Sarah – who has made a career out of being organised – below. And thanks to Sarah for giving us 3 copies of her brand new book Organised to give away on our Facebook page. I’ve ordered my own copy and I can’t wait to get stuck into it. You can buy it here.
Q: What tips would you give to anyone preparing to move to a new house?
A) Instead of doing everything close to moving date, what can you pack up now? Can you designate a room or section in each room for the move? Add boxes and bubble wrap here and gradually start adding items. People are usually so overwhelmed with the thought of this that they can’t see that there is quite a lot that could be done ahead of time. For example, ornaments, photos and frames can be easily packed easy on. It doesn’t have to all be done in one go.
Have a bare essentials box. You can live out of this for the last few days before the move so that you get almost everything else boxed up and organised.
If you have boxes that have a few pieces from different rooms, place a sheet of paper – a table of contents essentially – inside the box with a list of what’s inside. So when you open the box, you don’t have to go rummaging around. You can quickly scan the list and know exactly what’s inside.
Q: How to handle a hoarder – do you have any advice for dealing with someone sentimental who wants to hold on to EVERYTHING?
(My husband has so much stuff and is very protective of what I’d consider to be junk. I was really curious to find out how to deal with this!)
A) Unfortunately, there’s very little you can do to help a hoarder. Their items are very precious to them for various reasons. These items give comfort and if you remove them, you can blindside the individual and cause a lot of stress and upset. Generally, I recommend with hoarding that they speak to a counsellor. After a few sessions of therapy and while they have this outside support, they may begin to clear the space by themselves. Only when they begin to start decluttering themselves can you begin to help.
(I’m not quite sure this is what I wanted to hear!!)
Q: What are your top tips for creating an organised wardrobe?
A) There’s enough stress in life – using your wardrobe shouldn’t be one of them! Always make sure you are organising your wardrobe in a tidy room. Otherwise you pull out all your clothes onto an existing mess and make the whole project look worse than it is.
I like to fold skirts and jeans like they do in the shops, but I prefer to hang as much as I can. If you have a double rail, clothes hanging over the bottom rail can look messy and cluttered so watch what you are hanging on the upper rail. If you have a lot of long clothes, can you remove the bottom rail and just use the upper rail? It’ll look much neater. Use slimline hangers to get more clothes onto the rail. If you struggle to declutter clothes, slimline hangers are your new friend. If you have clothes in more than one wardrobe, zone each wardrobe. For example, one wardrobe for workwear, one wardrobe for coats, the other for casual clothes. This is much better than having a mix of different clothes in multiple areas.
Finally, make sure to use the upper shelves of a wardrobe as well. This is vital storage space. Luggage, handbags, memorabilia boxes and extra linen all work well in these harder to reach areas. Try to avoid using space where you have to stretch for clothes you wear daily. Instead, put items used less often up there. If you are stuck for space and clothes need to be stored there, choose clothes such as jeans that are strong and less likely to topple over when you grab at them.
Q: What are the must-have products you’d recommend?
A) My top three products would be:
1: VARIERA range from Ikea – they are so versatile and fit in every space I’ve ever needed them to fit in. Perfect for kitchens and utilities.
2. I love slimline hangers. They are a must if you have a small wardrobe or just love clothes. You will get twice as much space on your rail with these and the uniformity will look fabulous in the wardrobe.
3. I adore acrylic drawer dividers in an office. They hold all your tiny stationery together and can make the drawer organised and colourful.
I’m definitely going to use Sarah’s book as a template to set myself up for having an organised home in the new house. Wish me luck!