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Every January when I take down my Christmas decorations and take them back up to my attic, I’m seized with an impulse to get organised, really organised! When you work full time (and live with two crazy cats) clutter has a tendency to accumulate throughout the year, and once you add in Christmas gifts, your house can start to feel claustrophobic. Having moved four times in the last seven years since meeting my boyfriend, I’m keenly aware of the dangers of having too much stuff, especially when it comes time to move. Plus, less stuff = more happiness!  I’ve become more aware of the effect of disorganisation at home on me – as the work week goes on, the house gets messier and I have less energy to do anything about it, but the clutter also has a negative effect on my mood.

If you’d like to do something to get your home more organised in 2013, read on!

Step 1 – Identify problem areas –

These are the places where clutter naturally accumulates. For us, it’s the kitchen counter where keys and miscellaneous items get dumped, the dining room table, where packages and mail get dumped, my dressing table, and the lounge coffee table. Clutter attracts clutter, so as the week goes on, more and more things get left in the dump zones.

Step 2 – Tackle disaster zones –

These are the cupboards you dread opening or maybe even the rooms you dread going in! For us, that’s the under sink cupboard (even though the handyman assured us that he’d never seen a tidy one), the under stairs cupboard and the attic room. If it seems like too much to get through in one go, its because it is! Add a cupboard or two to your cleaning to do list every weekend and you’ll get it all done, slowly but surely.

Step 3 – A place for everything –

After tackling your problematic and disastermatic areas (I know its not a word but it could be if we all try to make it happen!), some patterns will probably begin to emerge around the kind of items that are making messes in your house. Decide where these items will go and make sure it’s an obvious, easily accessible place for things that you use frequently. If winter scarves, gloves and hats don’t have a home, they will always end up dumped somewhere.

Step 3 –Recycle –

Set yourself the task of taking stock of your possessions and weeding out the things that you don’t quite love and that therefore don’t deserve a place in your home. We’ve all got bits and bobs knocking around that we don’t need. Donate them to someone else who can put them to good use instead.

Step 4 – Restore order daily –

Fifteen minutes a day spent putting things in order in these problem areas should do it. Did you know that its proven that clearing up makes you feel more energised?

Step 5 – Maintain your organised house!

Now your house is looking awesome, here are a few tips for keeping it that way!

Reduce/reuse/recycle – I have pretty much entirely stopped buying books. I know that as habits go, its not up there with being addicted to crack, but nevertheless – why spend time and space on things you can borrow for free, from friends or a library. We visit our lovely local library at least once a week and return with 10-15 books to devour. Unless it’s your favourite book in the world, or an item that you’re 100% sure you will use frequently, just borrow it!

Tackle mess daily – Why not download a free weekly job chart to help you remember to tackle little jobs every day

Tackle bigger projects weekly/monthly – It can be easy for niggling tasks like clearing out your attic to get pushed to the bottom of the list when it comes time to do your weekly chores – that’s why I really love this weekly/monthly to do list format to help you remember the bigger projects

Good luck! Let me know in the comments what organising and cleaning shortcuts or tips have worked for you.

x Kerry