Organising your Laundry and Cleaning Items

Most homes have limited space for a washing machine and dryer. Depending on space some people keep their washing machine in the kitchen or bathroom and others have a laundry room in their cellar or a scullery next to the kitchen. Wouldn’t we all like to have a pretty laundry/utility room where everything is neatly positioned in one space? Check out the different ways of creating a laundry space, below.

Laundry Space

  • If you have a scullery space next to your kitchen invest in shelving or cupboards to store your laundry items.
  • Place containers on shelves.
  • If you only have limited space, store your washing supplies in a box with lid and keep it close to the washing machine.
  • There isn’t a big difference between washing powders and pods. I find pods to be more convenient and space-saving as they contain both detergent and softener.
  • Pegs for the washing line can be stored in a beautiful hanging peg-bag or glass container.
  • Store the drying rack next to your washing machine.
  • Invest in a steam ironing station to simplify your ironing chores. See below.
  • Choose a laundry basket with lid for a tidy appearance in the bathroom. Guests don’t have to see your dirty laundry.
Project by Miranda from Live Free Creative
Available at Amazon

It’s advisable to clean your washing machine once a year. The limescale deposit and laundry detergents can build up in the tub, pump and hoses. This can make your machines less efficient and cause damage over time. Run a wash cycle with clear vinegar once a year for your washing machine.

Cleaning supplies

Includes cleaning solutions, vacuum cleaner, floor mops and brushes.

  • Essential cleaning supplies for each household:
    • all-purpose cleaner
    • ammonia cleaner for stubborn stains on white surfaces
    • oven cleaner
    • window cleaner
    • lime removing spray for shower doors and marks on vases
    • stainless steel cleaner
    • baking soda
    • white vinegar
    • dishwashing soap
    • old toothbrushes and sponges for scrubbing
    • microfiber cloths and gloves
    • dust collector brush for skirtings, window sills and shelves
  • Discard all solutions, which have expired and haven’t been used in the last 2 years.
  • Keep your dishwashing soap, brushes and dishwasher pods under the sink together with the garbage bags and old shopping bags. If you have enough space keep all your cleaning solutions under the sink.
    • Each group of items should be stored in a separate basket, i.e. all dishwashing items in one basket.
    • Use a wire or plastic basket and store items upright.
    • Fold shopping bags in rectangular shapes and store them upright in a small container to save space. Try to keep bags to a minimum.
  • Store large cleaning supplies in the utility cupboard or utility box with storage space. See picture below.
  • Always wear gloves when washing dishes or other household items to protect your hands.
  • Tip: Use old T-Shirts for cleaning rags and store them in an old shopping bag together with your microfiber cloths.

“Happiness is the smell of fresh, clean linen.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Decorating your Kitchen

Now we are getting to the fun part of organising your kitchen … styling and decorating. There are many different themes for kitchens from modern, farmhouse and industrial, to retro and vintage. Once you have determined the style and colour scheme of your kitchen, you can choose the right accessories to go with it.

Lighting 

The kitchen is such a hub of activity from preparing and eating meals, to reading books and enjoying your morning coffee. It’s important to have good functional lighting for cutting and cooking. Recessed downlights or pendant lights are ideal for kitchens. For a softer atmosphere over your dining table choose a lamp that provides a warm, yellowish light. Install a dimmer switch to dim the light over your table for cosy dinners.

Furniture

The seating area in the kitchen plays a central part in the home. That’s where family and friends get together over a nice home cooked meal. Depending on the size and shape of your kitchen, you can choose between a round or rectangular table. Ensure that you have comfortable chairs or seat cushions to sit on. Bar stools are great if you have a counter table in your kitchen. A very useful piece of furniture is the kitchen trolley, which offers additional counter space and storage for smaller kitchen spaces.

Available at Ikea

Large Appliances

I have already mentioned the fridge and freezer in my previous post. Besides the oven and stove, a dishwasher and microwave are important helpers and great time savers. 

To clean your appliances use soapy water. Run a wash cycle with clear vinegar once a year for your dishwasher and washing machine to avoid the build up of limescale and other residues. For cleaning the oven door pour 3 tablespoons of baking soda into an empty spray bottle, then fill it with water and mix the solution until all of the baking soda has dissolved. Spray the solution onto the door and leave overnight.

Kitchen Accessories

Tea towels, plates and placemats are a great way of adding colour in your kitchen. For a bold statement hang a large colourful painting on the wall or paint the one wall in a different colour. Shelves are useful for displaying cooking books, plants and decorative ornaments.

Invest in a classic white dinner set and compliment it with beautiful napkins and placemats. Add unique, colourful plates and bowls to increase the joy factor. Your table should always be tidy and inviting to sit at. Create a beautiful table display with flowers and candles. Placing a few leaves in a large vase will create a wow factor and lasts for weeks. Big house plants are great for filling empty corners and create a fresh touch. 

For a more playful and casual look place notes or photos on the side of your fridge with colourful magnets. Add a blackboard for writing daily notes or shopping lists.

” Kitchens were made to bring families and friends together .”

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Kitchen Organising – Storing Food Items (Part 3)

Now that you had time to organise all your Dinnerware (Part 1) and Cooking Tools (Part 2), we can move on to storing food items. I usually start with dry food first and then follow with fresh and frozen foods.

Dry foodPantry cupboard

  • Remove all food items from your cupboard or pantry and discard any expired foods. Two months over is fine for most dry food.
  • Clean out your storage space with soapy water before packing anything back.
  • Items that you use often should be easy to reach.
  • Group food by category, e.g. cereals, sweets, tinned food, etc.
  • Use spare boxes and containers to store the food groups inside your cupboard or drawer, especially for groups that consist of lots of smaller and different shaped packaging like sweets. 
  • Stack tinned food on top of each other and keep all bottle items upright.
  • Store onions and potatoes inside a basket. Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place.
  • Although glass containers filled with food look nice, I prefer to keep foods in their original packaging, so I can see the product description and expiry date.
    • Close packaging with a wooden peg. You can paint these to increase the happiness factor.
    • When storing food in glass jars make a note of the expiry date on the label.
  • Spices and condiments:
    • Store spices near the stove and keep items that you use often in the front.
    • Place different smaller packets inside a glass jar to save space.
    • Keep oils and vinegar close to your spices
    • Store sauces and certain condiments in the fridge after opening. Some products like tomato sauces can last for many weeks, but others such as Thai sauces need to be consumed within 1 or 2 weeks.
  • Beverages:
    • Store coffee and tea items near the coffee machine or stove.
    • Keep hard liquor at room temperature, either on a trolley or in the liquor cabinet.

Fresh foodFridge

  • Remove everything from the fridge and discard anything that has expired by a day, especially meat and seafood.
  • Clean out your fridge with soapy water before packing anything back.
  • Group foods by category.
  • Make use of plastic containers to store groups of smaller items such as cheeses, deli meats and fruits, which will make your fridge more organised.
  • I prefer to store fruits in the fridge as they last longer, especially in warm weather. Fruits also tend to attract fruit flies, which can transfer to your plants.
  • The correct way to store food in your fridge is:
    • Door shelves and top-shelf: condiments
    • Middle door shelf: opened beverages
    • Top shelf: food that doesn’t need cooking, e.g. deli meats and cheeses
    • Middle and lower shelves: dairy, food leftovers and wine bottles
    • Bottom shelf: raw meat and fish
    • Bottom drawer: vegetables, fruit and herbs
  • The fridge door is the warmest part; therefore milk should be stored on the middle shelves, especially if you don’t consume an opened bottle within 2 days.

Frozen foodFreezer

  • Remove everything from the freezer and discard items that have been in the freezer for too long.
  • The guideline for storing frozen food is:
    • 1 year: whole chicken
    • 9 months: chicken pieces and steak
    • 6 months: chops, chicken fillet and bacon
    • 3 months: fish, minced meat, meat cubes and sausages
    • 2 months: food leftovers and soups
    • 1 month: bread
  • Defrost and clean out your freezer with soapy water before packing everything back.
  • Group foods by category.
  • Place flat packaging on top of each other.
  • All food leftovers should be labelled before you freeze them.
  • Tip: Keep kitchen food scraps in a bag and place in the freezer until you discard it.

” You are what you eat.”

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Kitchen Organising – Storing Cooking Tools (Part 2)

Previously I focused on general kitchen organising and Storing Dinnerware (Part 1). This week I will discuss tidying up and organising all the cooking tools.

If you want a kitchen in which you can enjoy cooking, the focus should be on ease of cleaning after preparing a meal. Don’t try to aim for simplicity in the kitchen. It’s more important that you know where everything is stored.

Just a short recap on the kitchen storage guidelines:

  • Store items based on material category, e.g. metal, plastic, wood and glass.
  • Keep like items together by size, shape and function.
  • Items that you use often should be easy to reach.
  • Store items you use less often in the back or on the top shelf.
  • Utilise smaller boxes to store small items.

Cooking utensils

Includes knives, wooden spoons, spatulas, graters, peelers, etc.

  • Group like items together such as knives, spoons and cuttings boards.
  • Ideally, keep two same pieces of all your frequently used utensils.
  • Store them in a drawer organiser, near the stove.
  • Avoid hanging utensils above the stove where oil and dust can cover them.
  • Ensure that all knives are sharp and functional.
  • Stack cutting boards according to size.

Cooking vessels

Includes pots, oven cookware, mixing bowls, colanders, etc.

  • Keep your pots and pans inside a cupboard to avoid dust and grease.
  • Put same type category together, e.g. plastic, ceramic and metal items.
  • Stack same shape and size together or place smaller items in bigger ones.
  • Place cooking vessels near the stove.

Cooking appliance

Includes food scales, blenders, food processors, breadmakers, etc.

  • Remove all items that you haven’t used in the last 2 years to make more space for other items. Some appliances might have been in trend in the past and now are no longer being used.
  • Try to avoid buying too many kitchen gadgets. They might be difficult too clean and take up space.
  • Those appliances that you use often should be easily reachable.
  • Store bigger items that you use less often in the back or on the top shelf.

Storage containers

Includes all plastic and glass containers.

  • Remove old and stained items.
  • Make sure that each container has a lid.
  • Store them by category and size.
  • If you have more then you need then reduce the number so it all fits neatly in your cupboard space.

Baking items

Includes rolling pins, baking pans, tins, baking accessories, etc.

  • If you enjoy baking as a hobby, you will probably have accumulated a lot of baking accessories.
  • Remove items that are damaged or old.
  • Keep all baking items together inside a box in your cupboard. Not only will you have a good overview of what you have, but also it will make prepping for baking easier.

Kitchen consumables

Includes aluminium foil, cling wrap and storage bags.

  • Save them in a long box inside your cupboard.
  • Use dividers to arrange everything neatly.

“Preparation is the key to a good chef.“

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Kitchen Organising – Storing Dinnerware (Part 1)

Kitchen Storage Overview

It’s important to know how to arrange your kitchen space and where to store all your things. Storing everything in its place will make cooking and eating more enjoyable.

  • First, start tidying up your dinnerware and glasses, then cooking items and appliances. Finish with food items.
  • Store items based on material category, e.g. ceramic, glass, metal, plastic and fabric.
  • Keep like items together by shape and size, e.g. stack same size bowls together.
  • Items that you use often should be easy to reach.
  • Place frequently used items either on the bottom cupboard shelf above your countertop or in the top drawer.
  • Leave the cupboard space at the top or in the back for cooking appliances and things that you don’t use often.
  • Display as little as possible on your kitchen countertop, except for the coffee machine, kettle and drying rack. If you have a large countertop then it’s fine to keep a group of ornamental items, away from water and oil.

Dinnerware

Includes plates (side plates and dinner plates), bowls (for soup and cereal), serving ware and platters. 

  • Collect and go through all your dinnerware.
  • Remove all chipped dishes and old pieces, that you don’t like anymore or haven’t used it in the last 2 years.
  • A white dinner set is a classic choice and it’s easy to add items from other dinner sets.
  • Group each dinner set together, especially if they differ in colour or pattern. Starting with plates at the bottom, then bowls and smaller items at the top.
  • Place dinnerware, which you use for special occasions, in the back of your cupboard.
  • It’s advisable to remove all dinnerware from boxes. People use things they can see, more often than hidden items.
  • Make use of the beautiful dishes instead of keeping them packed away.
  • Separate glass from ceramic salad bowls and platters.
  • Stack all plates and bowls together.
  • Group all plastic tableware for children and outdoor picnic things together. 
  • Keep a limited number of disposable items, such as paper plates and cups together. Place them upright inside a box.
  • Store your dinnerware in a cupboard close to the kitchen table or dishwasher.

Drinkware

Includes glasses, cups, mugs, teapots and pitchers.

  • Remove all glasses with permanent water marks or any chipped mugs.
  • Group like items together by function, e.g. separate wine glasses from champagne and drinking glasses.
  • Glasses you use less often, should be placed upside-down to keep the inside dust-free.
  • Put cups and mugs inside each other.
  • Group the teapot, milk jug and sugar pot together. 
  • Store glasses near the kitchen table and mugs near the coffee machine. 

Cutlery

Includes cutlery for eating and serving, as well as chopsticks.

  • Store cutlery in a cutlery tray where knives, forks and spoons are separated from each other.
  • Store the cutlery in the top drawer, near the kitchen table or dishwasher.

Napery

Includes tablecloths, table runners, placemats, napkins, coasters and tea towels.

  • Group by function and colour.
  • Fold table cloths and napkins in rectangular shapes and stack them upright in a box.
  • Fabric placemats and table runners can be rolled up.
  • Place napkin rings in a small box.
  • Store all paper napkins in a box and stack them upright.
  • Keep napery items near your dinnerware.

Sideboards are ideal for storing special occasion dinner sets, expensive silverware, napery and other necessities for entertaining. This piece of furniture can be one of the most practical storage items in the house.

“Eating and cooking is fun with good organising.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Organising your Linen and Towels

The linen closet is often a neglected space and can easily look messy with too many items stacked on top of each other. Items that belong in the linen closet include – bed sheets, pillowcases, towels, floor mats and blankets.

If you also store other items in the linen cupboard, like a medicine chest or toiletries, then store these neatly in boxes. Keep everything in its place to eliminate clutter.

Follow these easy steps to keep a tidy linen closet:

  • Some houses have a spare closet in the corridor where linen and towels can be stored. You can also use a spare cupboard in the guest room or create space in your bedroom cupboard if space is limited.
  • Go through all your linen and towels and check that each item is still in good condition.
  • Remove anything with holes or stains and everything that you don’t like or haven’t used in the last 2 years.
  • Old towels can be cut in smaller pieces for cleaning and old blankets can be used for pet baskets.
  • Remove all linen from their packaging, as these can trap moisture and cause mould.
  • Sort and organise your items by category, e.g. group all bedsheets together.
  • You might need sub-categories if you have kids.
  • Use boxes or baskets for storing different categories. Ikea has a great variety of storage baskets.
  • Fold linen in rectangular shapes and stack them upright in a basket, so its easier to identify.
  • Do the same with the cushion covers and place them in a smaller basket.
  • Keep items that you use regularly in the front.
  • Roll up towels and stack them upright too. This makes it easier to remove towels from the group, especially when there are different colours.
  • Use a smaller basket for storing face cloths.
  • Store your towels and face cloths in the bathroom cupboard if you have one.
  • Keep items, which you use less often at the top or back of your closet, e.g. beach towels.
  • Bulky items like pillows and duvet inners which are for guests or get rotated seasonally can be stored at the top of your cupboard or in large transparent boxes, up in the attic.
  • Place scented sachets or soaps on each shelf to keep your linen closet fresh. You can make your own sachets with dried lavender.

” There should be a place for everything and everything in its place. – Isabella Beeton”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Tidying up your Medicine Cabinet

Every household should have an organised medicine chest with essential first aid items, pain relievers, stomach meds, cough medicine and allergy pills.

Although most people store their medicines in the bathroom cabinet, it’s actually the wrong place for it. Pills and capsules can go bad when exposed to moisture and heat. Always store medicines in a cool, dry place.

Follow these easy steps when organising your medicine

  • Collect all your medication and health products. 
  • If you have pain relievers in your handbag or travel bag also check these. 
  • Discard all expired items.
  • Make a list of all the medicines and vitamins you need to stock up on.
  • Keep medicines in its original packaging with the expiry date on.
  • Sort items into groups, e.g. kids’ medicine, bandages/plasters and stomach meds. 
  • There are many different ways of storing your medicine: 
    • medicine chests with shelves of trays
    • organising systems with pull out drawers
    • transparent storage boxes with lids, which you can stack on top of each other
Sterilite Organiser available at Amazon
ZUJI Medicine Organiser available at Amazon
Godmorgon box set available at Ikea
  • Store large categories or product groups in separate boxes, drawers or trays.
  • Stack medicine items behind or next to each other and make sure that the product labels face upwards or to the front.
  • Label each box or drawer so that the contents can easily be identified.
  • Store your medicine chest or boxes at the top of your cupboard or linen closet.
  • Keep medication safe and out of children’s reach.
  • Store your daily medication and health products in a separate basket. Place them in the kitchen, away from direct sunlight.
  • Medicine, which you have to take before bedtime or upon waking up, should be kept in your bedside drawer. 
  • Some people find it helpful to use a weekly pill organiser.
Pill organiser available at Amazon

” A Joyful Heart is Good Medicine – Picture Quotes.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Tidying up your Bathroom

A bathroom needs to be functional and clean. It is a space where we like to relax and feel comfortable. Tidying up your bathroom won’t take long. Depending on the size, it usually takes 2 to 3 hours.

Follow these easy steps when organising your bathroom:

Decluttering

  • First collect and sort out all communal items, e.g. toothpaste, soaps, foam bath, etc. and thereafter all personal items like beauty and hair products.
  • Discard all expired and old items, as they can cause skin reactions. Cosmetics and toiletries usually expire after one year. There is a symbol on most products, which shows the lifetime of a product after it has been opened.
  • Try to use up all your cosmetics before you purchase new ones.
  • To get rid of excess bottles, e.g. you can decant two half bottles of lotions into one.
  • After the discarding process, wipe all the storage spaces clean.

Storage

  • Store your items in baskets or boxes, which makes it easier to manage and remove products from the cupboard.
  • Organise items into groups, e.g. communal items, bath products, toilet paper etc.
  • Store each group in a separate box.
  • Have a basket for each family member.
  • Old ceramic or glass containers or round plastic lids make great storage holders for smaller items like earbuds and cotton wool.
  • Store all bottle items upright.
  • Use a shower basket to store hair and body items.
  • Store bath items on a bath tray or a tray next to the bath.
  • Keep cleansing items like sponge and brush together in a basket.
  • Store extra toilet paper in a basket inside your cupboard or a box with lid near the toilet. Guest’s don’t have to see your toilet paper or feminine products.

Storage spaces

  • A bathroom mirror cabinet above your basin is ideal for storing cosmetics and communal items such as sunblock and mouth fresheners.
    •  Don’t store medicines in the bathroom cabinet, because they should be kept away from moisture.
  • No bathroom is complete without a storage cabinet under the basin, which can be used for storing toiletries, toilet paper and cleaning products. Use same sized baskets and keep each category in a separate basket.
  • If you have enough space in your bathroom you can use a tall narrow storage cupboard for storing towels and baskets for each family member.
  • Shelves are also great for storing baskets and displaying plants.
Available from Ikea

Decorating Tips

  • Decorate with plants to create a fresh and homely appearance. You can place plants on window sills or hang them from the ceiling. Visit Pinterest for great ideas.
  • If you don’t like plants then put a leave in a vase.
  • No bathroom should be without a mirror. You even get ones with overhead lighting, which are useful for applying makeup.
  • Ensure that there are enough hooks or towel rails for hanging up towels.
  • Select soft rugs for the floor and keep a foot towel by the shower/bath to avoid rugs from getting wet.
  • Place a group of candles by the bath for a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Always keep a wastebasket near the toilet for discarding used tissues or feminine hygiene items.
  • Keep a small face cloth near the basin so that you can keep the area dry and taps shiny after use.
  • Have a plastic container for the kids’ bath toys.
  • You can create beautiful finishing touches like using a ladder to put towels over or placing a side table next to the bath, if you have enough space.

“Wash your troubles away.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Organising your Kids’ Room

Kids’ rooms are naturally messy, but you can teach them to keep their bedroom organised with smart storage solutions. When organising and decorating kids’ rooms, allow for sufficient space to play and invest in enough storage containers for all their toys.

Storage Solutions

  • Beds with drawers are great for storing large toys, board games, puzzles and other toys that are not being played with often.
  • Fabric hanging storage organisers for beds are ideal for storing favourite toys and night-time reading books. These are available from Ikea.
  • Use large baskets for storing kids’ toys. Also, get one for the living room. This will help to keep the rooms tidier.
  • For older kids, you can label the different containers, e.g. Lego, wooden toys, animals, cars, etc. You can also place pictures of the different items on baskets for younger kids.
  • Keep a small plastic storage basket in the bathroom for their bath toys.
  • Use a bookshelf for kids’ books and the bottom space for storing baskets.
  • Wall hanging storage units with cubes for storage containers provides extra space at the bottom for playing.

Kids Wardrobe

  • A chest of drawers is ideal for storing folded kid’s clothes.
  • Go through all the clothing and only keep items that fit and are in a good condition.
  • Separate the winter and summer clothes.
  • Group by category, e.g. all pants, shirts and dresses together, so you can access and style outfits more easily.
  • Always fold tops, pants and underwear in rectangular shapes. With smaller items, reduce the number of folds.
  • Stack folded items in drawers or in flat boxes to contain them better.
  • Hang dresses, jackets and coats on kids’ hangers.
  • Depending on age, store kids’ shoes on the bottom cupboard space or in drawers.
  • Store accessories such as sunglasses and caps in flat boxes.
Available at Ikea

Decor

  • Add a large pinboard for their paintings and birthday cards.
  • Create a beautiful play corner with a tent, rug and fun elements.
  • A night lamp for reading and for fighting the dark is essential.
  • Have a table and chair available for art and homework.
  • Other key accessories are wall art, curtains and cushions.
  • Check out Pinterest for creative and fun ideas for kids’ rooms.

“This is where the fun stuff happens.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Why Some People can’t let go of Worthless Things?

Some people have no problem with throwing things away, which are old or worthless. Others find it hard to separate from things and tend to accumulate piles of clutter over time.

Collector vs. Hoarder

Collectors collect items that are aesthetic and are selective when they are looking for something specific. They find it a joyful experience to create displays, showcasing their items in an organised or creative way. They have a sense of pride in their possessions. 

Hoarders often enjoy compulsive bargain buying or the acquisition of free items. They get attached to things and believe that each item is valuable and useful. Most often they hoard items like ornaments, sale items, old clothes, containers, magazines and newspapers. Their homes are filled with unattractive clutter, often at the expense of their liveable space.

Reasons why some people can’t let go of stuff are:

  • they have sentimental attachments to most things 
  • they believe everything has a “hidden” value
  • they believe that things might be useful in future 
  • they think old and worn clothing still looks fine
  • they want to fix old or broken items

Everyone has some attachment to the things they own. Possessions represent who we believe we are now, and who we want to be in the future. Our materialistic society influences us to buy things so that we can be “happier”. We can easily accumulate a mass of things we don’t really need. Eventually, it turns into clutter, which starts effecting our living space negatively. Physical clutter can be a sign of mental clutter, which keeps people from feeling productive and happy. Having to decide what to keep and to get rid off can leave us feeling emotionally paralysed. Things end up controlling us rather than benefiting our lives.

Hoarding sets in when things keep accumulating and when people are unable to throw anything away. An extremely cluttered home makes it more difficult to move around and carry out normal functions like not being able to sit down at the dinner table because there is no space. They find it difficult to organise their possessions and get upset when someone tries to remove anything. This can cause conflict with other family members who feel frustrated by the lack of space and are ashamed to invite others over. 

There are different degrees of accumulating possessions. It often starts with a cupboard or room full of clutter. Over time the entire house can be full of clutter, affecting the functionality of the rooms. It may also lead to serious financial problems. In extreme hoarding cases, people end up living in unhealthy or dangerous conditions and are isolating themselves from the world. Especially when they live alone. 

Hoarding is actually a disorder and is often linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression or dementia in older people. A traumatic event or serious loss may lead to a worsening of hoarding behaviour. It is also linked to fear of losing security and memories when we throw things out. 

How to treat an accumulation or hoarding problem:

  • Acknowledge that there is a problem that is becoming unbearable for you and your family. 
  • Be willing and motivated to treat the destructive behaviour by reading up on it.  
  • Don’t feel ashamed to seek help from a professional coach. There are many people with this problem and it’s easier to have support than trying to overcome it on your own. 
  • Understand that there is no benefit in keeping items that have no value. Only acquire anything new when it has a clear function in the present-day, not the future.
  • Go through the Organised Spaces Checklist, which will help you to determine if an item has value or not.
  • Start getting rid of clutter, ideally with the help of a clutter removing coach. Take small steps and each day, try to do a bit of decluttering, in order to form a new habit. Focus on the important functional areas first, e.g. kitchen, dining area and lounge.
  • Go to shops and restaurants without buying or picking up new items.
  • Understand that relapses can occur, but stay willing to beat this destructive behaviour
  • Developing a plan to prevent future clutter. Have someone you can be accountable to and who can support you through the difficult moments.

Some might read this article and think of someone who might have an accumulation problem. Don’t try to push them to “clean out” their home. Families or cleaning agencies may spend a lot of time and money only to find that the problem recurs, often within a few months. Not only will you cause them extreme distress, but also cause them to become further attached to their possessions and they will refuse any help in future.

When dealing with a person who has a serious problem with accumulating things, subtly try to share how you or others are benefiting from an organised living space. Help them to recognize how hoarding is interfering with their life. When the person is willing to talk about it, sympathise and encourage them to start the process. Offer your help and be patient if they don’t want to let go of something worthless. It will be a slow process, as they have to rewire their approach to possessions.

“Clutter is anything that doesn’t belong in a space – whether it belongs elsewhere in your home, or it doesn’t belong in your home any longer.”

Follow my 52 Week Organise your Life Programme

Source: International OCD Foundation