This is the time of year when you might be thinking of either moving house or extending your home. In both scenarios, it’s useful to take a step back and review the things that you have in your home.
Like my daughter who’s just gone back to university… over the summer she went through her belongings and got rid of anything that wasn’t precious to her anymore. Of course she kept some things that have meaning and sentimental attachment, but her life has moved on to the next phase and she’s in a good position to let go emotionally and physically of the stuff that she no longer values.
Being able to let go shows a healthy state of mind. It allows you to evaluate and identify what is treasured in your life and what is making you unhappy or draining your energy.
For some of you I know that the thought of clearing out and de-cluttering is an endless task that can feel overwhelming.
Usually this is because it feels like a mammoth task that’s a huge effort and time consuming. Maybe you don’t know where to start because it’s overwhelming or you feel as if you’re getting nowhere because the kids are creating a mess after you tidy up.
If your home is organised to suit your clutter personality, your age and your lifestyle then it will be quick for you to tidy up and keep on top of things. It’s organised to suit you and your family…
1) ORGANISED TO SUIT YOUR AGE
Whatever your age, it’s important to recognise that we develop and mature. As we mature, our storage needs change because we’ve changed our likes and dislikes. That’s why you need to let go of the past and move forwards…
- a baby needs drawer storage for nappies and rompers with floor space for large floor toys
- a toddler needs floor space for train sets and dancing, with storage boxes for dolls or Lego
- a teenager needs a desk for homework and shelves for school books, with a bean bag for chilling
- an adult needs a thinking space to relax and unwind, with a creative space for hobbies or floor space to exercise
Before you even think about the storage that you need, take a moment to make a list of the activities that you do in the room. this list will give you an idea of the types of things that you’ll have in the room which will influence the most suitable storage solution for you.
As you’re making your list, you’ll be able to evaluate what items are still precious to you and what items are no longer useful in your home.
2) ORGANISED TO SUIT YOUR LIFESTYLE
Our homes usually become messy because we have such a busy lifestyle. Only this morning I was talking to my friend who was feeling frustrated, saying that she hasn’t got time to keep on top of the house because she’s out so much with work.
So, what could she do? How can she make her life easier?
Every home should be designed and organised to suit your lifestyle. It should suit you and make your life easier.
Like my friend, I also have a busy week but I took an hour at the weekend to prepare big bakes of food that I can freeze and then cook during the week. This not only saves me heaps of time on the busy days, it also reduces any guilt because I know that I’m eating healthily, which in turn gives me the energy to cope with the busy weeks.
When I designed my kitchen I was conscious to include a full size fridge and freezer because I like to cook and bake. It’s on the busy weeks that I’m most thankful for this additional storage. I can open a drawer and pick out a nutritional meal for the evening. Yum, yum.
When thinking about the design of your kitchen in particular, it’s important to focus on your lifestyle and how you like to cook. If you like to bake then you’ll need a larder cupboard, if you like to entertain friends then I recommend a drinks fridge, and if you have a large extended family like me then make sure you plan for a double oven.
Every room should be organised to suit your lifestyle… I have a rocking chair in my office where I can take time out to think, an open plan kitchen that’s amazing for entertaining, and a calming lounge where I can relax and unwind.
As we mature, our lifestyle changes and our home should move forwards with us.
3) ORGANISED TO SUIT YOUR CLUTTER PERSONALITY
As well as organising your home to suit your age and your lifestyle, it should also suit your clutter personality. Your clutter personality identifies why you keep things and once you know this then you can organise your home to suit your personality.
If your home is organised to suit your personality then it will be easier for you to tidy up and keep on top of things.
For example: if you’re the type of person who likes bills and receipts organised by the provider (gas, electric, bank) then it would feel uncomfortable for you to keep your paperwork tidy if you had just one big box for the year. You wouldn’t feel in control and it would take you longer to find the right paperwork.
Likewise: if you’re the type of person who is very busy and you haven’t got the time for micro organisation then the box system is more appropriate for you. To make things easier and a little more organised, you could have a box per year with monthly pockets of information in each box.
Your individual traits and clutter personality will make it effortless to tidy up because it doesn’t feel like a bind or a chore. Here are the most common clutter personalities…
- “JUST IN CASE” CLUTTER PERSONALITY
This is the type of person who collects things ‘just in case’ they might need it in the future.
You usually have lots of boxes to put things in but they’re usually not organised so it’s difficult for you to find what you need quickly. You don’t want to get rid of anything because you might need it in the future, so you keep bringing things into your home but are reluctant to let stuff go.
If you’re this type of person then I recommend that you have a storage solution that’s organised with labels.
For example: you might have a box for elastic bands and another for paperclips. You can have a clear box so that you can see what’s inside each box. Otherwise attach a label or photo of the item to the front of the container. It’s important to have a container that’s in proportion to the item that it holds.
Most importantly, when the box gets full then you don’t need to collect any more of them because you can see that you have enough.
Being organised will save you time because it’s super quick to find things. It will also save you money because you’re not buying something that you already have but couldn’t find. It will also make you feel prepared because you know exactly where everything is.
- “TREASURED MEMORIES” CLUTTER PERSONALITY
This is when you collect items and you don’t want to let them go because they have precious memories attached to them. You know that it’s not practical for you to keep them anymore as they’re not adding value to your life but you have sentimental attachments that you’re finding difficult to break.
Maybe you have a traditional rocking chair from your grandmother that doesn’t fit into your modern home so it’s parked in the garage. Perhaps you have a collection of teapots that have been given to you over the years but you’re downsizing and no longer have room for them in your new home.
A collection or an item becomes a burden when it doesn’t fit into your home… when a piece of furniture is too large for your room, when your collection swamps your shelves, when an item is a totally different style or colour so it doesn’t match your décor, or even when something is still in a box in the loft and hasn’t been opened for years.
It’s unhealthy to have items in your home that don’t bring you joy every day. For example: granny’s rocking chair stuck in the garage has sentimental attachment but you’re not using it. Instead you could take a photo of the rocking chair and then sell it, using the money to buy something that suits your home, your lifestyle and reminds you of granny… maybe a beautiful picture that will fit into your home.
A healthy home has space for the items that you want to keep… from the practical potato peeler to the aesthetic art and from the vintage furniture to the modern vase. There’s a place for everything and everything has its place.
Now that doesn’t mean you have a bulging loft or garage stocked with things that you’ll never look at, use or enjoy. Just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean that it’s out of mind.
When I was speaking to a lady who was complaining about a garage full of her daughter’s old toys, even though her daughter had moved out years ago, I recommended that she protect her boundaries and ask her daughter to collect the things. She said that she couldn’t do that because she knew her daughter would get rid of the toys and she wanted to keep them!
The key in this situation is to have a ‘treasure’ box for the most precious items and go through this once a year to make sure you still hold precious all of the items within it. I do this for my children… they have a plastic box that has their first baby shoes, certificates and awards, as well as drawings from their childhood. As the box becomes full they check through the things and continually assess what they still want and what will go. Now that they’re older, they naturally keep reviewing what’s important in their lives.
Being organised keeps your most treasured possessions safe and enables you to look through them whenever you want. It creates a healthy mind and home because you’ve reduced the amount of clutter in your life which enables you to move forwards feeling happy and secure.
- “CASH AWARE” CLUTTER PERSONALITY
This is the type of person who is unable to let things go because they feel that the item not only has a sentimental value but it also has a financial value.
For example: I was helping an elderly couple organise their home because they were thinking of downsizing. The gentleman had a collection of woodworking tools in the garage that he had used to make beautiful wooden pieces for their garden. Although he was no longer able to use the tools he didn’t want to get rid of them because of the sentimental attachment and financial value.
To help move these tools on, I found a carpenter who bought the tools. Not only was my gentleman rewarded with some financial gain but, most importantly, he could see that they would go to someone else who would create loving pieces with his woodworking tools.
In this scenario, you’ll be able to let go of things if you find someone who will love the items just as much as you did. Of course there is a financial gain from selling the items but it’s more the thought of the love and care passing on to another home that’s key to letting go. Instead of letting go of the past you’re ensuring your treasured item has a future.
- “TREASURE HUNTER” CLUTTER PERSONALITY
This is the type of person who loves to rummage and find a bargain. Maybe you like visiting vintage shops, car boot sales, charity shops or even antique fairs.
Sometimes you feel as if the items has good luck because it was such a good find. You find it difficult to let things go because they’re like golden treasure. You keep on looking for new things because you love the feeling of the unknown and the joy when you find something amazing.
If you’re a seasoned treasure hunter then this can be a difficult habit to break. If I said to go shopping with less money or no money then I know that’s no realistic.
The key is to have an area in your home that’s dedicated to your treasures so that they’re displayed with love and you can remember the feeling of delight when you look at them. If one thing comes in however then something has to leave – one in and one out!
Another way of talking this type of personality, which can easily become an obsession, is to focus on the larger picture. For example: choose a holiday and instead of putting your hand in your pocket, save for the dream.
This is a difficult personality to overcome and your home can quickly become overwhelmed with stuff. I would recommend looking at deep emotional concerns with a professional as this type of personality is usually linked with a life trauma.
- “SHOP SHINY NEW” CLUTTER PERSONALITY
This is the type of person who likes everything new so you’re continually buying things. You feel that buying new things makes you feel rich and excited. You like to have the latest and most modern things.
Old things don’t excite you.
There are two sides to this personality. Either buy more affordable items that you can easily give away because they didn’t cost you much, or opt for handmade and better quality items that are designed especially for you. A handmade item that’s personal to you will make you feel special because it’s valuable and unique.
Sometimes you might have a combination of clutter personalities depending on the items that you keep.
If you organise a room to allow the items into your home then they are given space and have value. Once all of your space is taken up with things then this becomes unhealthy so it’s a continuous task to keep mindful of what you have and why it’s important to you at this moment in time.
Being mindful and conscious of the things in your home will keep you home looking amazing and feeling healthy.
HEALTHY BODY * HEALTHY MIND * HEALTHY HOME
If you’d like more space in your home and feel as if you’re disorganised or drowning in stuff then just get in touch and we can have a chat to discover the best way forwards to your healthy home.
(M: 07841 519802)
House Doctor consultant