Is there anything more infuriating than looking for something in the place it should be and finding it’s not there? It doesn’t matter if the item in question is a scarf, a book or a tupperware – searching for the it is a waste of your precious time and can frankly drive you round the twist.
Now multiply that by three, four or five and you have the scenario when everyone in the household can’t find whatever it is they need. Shin pads for football practice, the other PlayStation controller, the spare wheel for the bike – these items have been known to cause stress/rage/all out war in my house as we frantically search in the backs of drawers and under the sofa – funnily enough the spare bike wheel was in neither of those places.
But not any more. I have become one of those people who use phrases like ‘everything in its place and a place for everything’. And you know what, I’m not sorry about my decline into obsessive organiser. It has changed my life for the better and saved me hours.
To be fair I’ve always been a bit of a tidy freak, but house moves and three small children have a way of making you lose track of where things end up.
So when I renovated my current home I decided to make well thought out storage a top priority,
Here at Our Edit we both love our houses to be in order. So while we aren’t going to bore you with how to rearrange your kitchen cupboards, here are our suggestions on how to de-clutter and reorganise some key areas in your home with our favourite storage solutions.
Keeping track of all the toys
Whether it’s an actual playroom, your child’s bedroom or an area of the kitchen you have dedicated to toys, the masses of ‘stuff’ that kids accumulate has to go somewhere. The mountain grows every Christmas and birthday and there is nothing more annoying than seeing all these wonderful gifts being cast to the four winds and rendered useless – you need all the pieces of the jigsaw or board game or it’s just not that much fun to play with anymore.
Firstly keep all the original boxes if you can. If they have been lost then small plastic storage boxes the solution. A Place for Everything is a great website where you will find a huge selection of storage containers that you can decant everything from crayons to puzzle pieces into.
We love the Lego stacking boxes. They come in all different sizes and colours and are super practical but also nice to look at. Large canvas tubs are great for large unruly toys. Try My First Years for these of the Great Little Trading Company who are another go-to store for all things storage.
The life changing power of baskets
Each of my children and my husband have a shoe basket. This lives in the utility room and is home to shoes they are wearing most at that time. So in the summer it’s flip flops and Toms and in winter it’s boots and wellies. Trainers, rugby boots, school and work shoes are perennial inhabitants. When shoes come off they go in the basket straight away (after being cleaned if necessary) so there is never any confusion as to where they are.
A similar, smaller basket system operates for scarves, gloves, hats and cycling helmets.
I use these baskets mainly for outdoor clothing but you could apply it to anything. Small white ones in the bathroom cabinet for example. Baskets work well when replacing a shelf or drawer. They can be tucked away neatly and moved around into the most useful spot. Or you could even build a bench seat over them to really make a feature of your storage.
Take control of your admin
There is so much paperwork and admin we have to get through in our lives that we need to be as efficient as possible with our filing. Get some simple magazine files from the likes of Ikea or Paperchase and line them up in the kitchen, study or wherever works best. One for post as it comes in; one for things you need to action (bills that need to be paid etc); one for each child where all correspondence from school, birthday invitations, football subs forms and the like go as soon as they enter the house.
Check each one on a weekly basis to see what needs to be replied to or arranged and then either recycle once finished with (invitations etc) or move on to another filing system (bank statements scanned or filed for example).
Never again will your panic that you can’t find the return slip for the school trip – and frankly that is liberating!
Make the most of your drawers
The problem with drawers is that they tend to be quite big and a lot of what goes in them is small and therefore easily displaced. A neat pile of of knickers never seems to stay that way for long in your underwear drawer does it? The solution? Divide and conquer. Section of your drawers with some drawer dividers. These could be any small tub or box that will fit in but we love the ones from The Holding Company. Put socks in one, pants in another and so on. Do this for everyone in the house and no one will ever shout ‘I can’t find my socks!’ ever again!
Same rules apply to other areas too. Try putting all your jewellery into stacking boxes and then in a drawer so that you can easily see exactly what you have as soon as you open it. Do the same for your husbands cufflinks. These boxes from Stackers are perfect for this. And if you can see what you have you much are more likely to wear it .
In the kitchen apply the process to the ‘drawer of doom’ as we like to call it, where pencils, batteries and stamps etc all seem to get dumped. It works a treat in your desk drawer too. The joy of nearly organised stationary.
Once you can see neat little compartments you’ll be inclined to keep them that way. And woe betide anyone who messes them up!