How to Declutter your Living Space

You often see pictures of homes in lifestyle magazines with pristine living spaces. Kitchen's spotless with all the dishes put away neatly. Living rooms free of tatty newspapers and cushions regimentally lined up on the sofa. Bedrooms with immaculately made bed sheets and not one item of clothing carelessly thrown on the floor. You might believe this to be more fantasy than reality, with these featured homeowners manically cleaning every room before the photographers get there, because nobody really lives like that, right? Well, it might actually be easier than you think.

Now, we're not saying that it's possible to maintain a perfect home interior, fit for a lifestyle magazine, 100% of the time, but we can get fairly close to this with just a few minor changes in our routine and storage allocation. We'll look at a few tips you can use easily and quickly, without having to rethink the entire layout of your furniture.

Where do you spend most of your time?

When you're at home, where do you usually find yourself? For most people it might be on the sofa in front of the T.V after a long day at work. You might be working late from home and need a study area or office to get things done or the kitchen might be where you gravitate, because after all, it's the heart of the home.

In each of these rooms and spaces, we will have our own micro routines. Behaviours that become almost autonomous, happening subconsciously. These could be actions like using the remote to surf the channels, having a cup of tea while reading emails or kicking our shoes off in the hallway as soon as we're through the door. Without realising it, we're leaving our mark on the house. Do you put the remotes back next to the T.V? Do you wash up your mug of tea after leaving your desk? Are your shows flung around randomly near the front door? All these little things start to add up and before we know it, we've created a whole pile of clutter in one evening.

A lot of this is habitual, so to combat it we usually need to create a new opposing habit. Rather than turning off the T.V and leaving the remotes where you were sitting, place them back to a designated area next to the T.V. This could be the coffee table or a side table next to the sofa, but as long as you start doing this, you're freeing up space already. Create a system for storing shoes. Perhaps keep a box for each family member to put the shoes they wear daily in which will free up floor space as soon as you walk in.

You'll soon realise that you have certain spots in the house where you will do something which creates mess. Identifying these spots and coming up with a solution to tidy up which can become a new habit will be the first step in maintaining a clutter free house.

What about storage space?

The same rule can apply when we have lots of clutter which we use on a daily basis. The best way to deal with this is to identify where most of our actions are spent in each room and designing a storage system within arms reach of this spots. This could be simple things like placing a box or shelf near the bath so we can easily reach the soap and put it back after use. By extension, you could make a feature of the storage and consider what it would look like, for example, rather than using a plain plastic box for items, would a wicker box look better? If the items you want to store are high end and luxurious, make a feature of them and show them off.

Ultimately, you should try to make your storage ideas a feature where possible or if you simply cannot hide the boxes out of view. Try to avoid the most basic storage solutions, such as large plastic or cardboard boxes and consider the design of your room, from the colour of the walls to the style of the furniture and pick something which would compliment this. Soon enough, the task of storage might even become an enjoyable task and you may find that it becomes part of your routine to uphold the tidiness of the room. Start off small and treat each room individually, rather than as one big issue for the whole house.

Bathroom Storage Idea

An example of using space to store items whilst also turning them into a feature

Tidying and cleaning aren't the same thing

You would be surprised how different a room can look after not only tidying, but also cleaning. Vacuuming and carpet cleaning are two musts when maintaining your living spaces and can make a huge difference to not only how it looks, but also feels. We advise to vacuum all floors at least once a week with more frequent cleaning in high traffic areas such as near doors or around commonly used furniture like sofas or dining tables. Staying on top of the vacuuming will make a huge difference to the rooms environment and you'll even feel the difference when this becomes routine.

Lighting is the cherry on the cake

Ceiling lights can often be harsh and overpowering, highlighting areas of the room which we're not too proud of. High wattage lights will be brighter and more revealing, so it might be best to opt for a lower wattage bulb to give an overall softer glow. However, sometimes it's best to use ceiling lights very rarely as they don't accentuate any particular part of the room well. This is where lamps can come in handy when trying to make your room look more inviting, especially in a room with white or pale walls. This is where you can treat each wall as a blank canvas, placing table lamps or stands to draw focus to that area. Even when you have a tidy, uncluttered room, lighting can still have a huge effect.