Jump Start January 2017: Week 4: Day 4

Jump Start January 2017 Week 4 Day 4 declutter

It’s time for some more decluttering, and today’s activity is to add some structure to keep those messes at bay. When we talk about getting rid of clutter, we tend to focus on sorting through it and getting rid of it, but there’s also a bit of a knack to preventing it coming back.

The two main things to remember are to go with the natural flow of usage (which is why you might keep your boots in the hall, or the tea bags next to the kettle) and to put structures into place that can help to keep things organised (shoe rack, good looking tea caddy on the counter top, and so on).

For example, you might have just tidied up a pile of letters on the dining room table, and vowed to open your post as soon as it arrives then file it immediately on the day. A few weeks later a new pile of letters is building up because you only really have time to file it at the weekends, and the mess attracts more mess. Why not go with the flow, and add some structure to keep it manageable instead?

Solutions to the messy mail could include adding a letter rack to your hallway wall or a kitchen shelf, or getting a good looking in-tray or letter tray for your dining room table. It depends on where you tend to drop your post after you’ve picked it up.

Look around your home and think about where the clutter builds up. How could you make it more practical, and perhaps more attractive, by adding some organisation and storage?

Here are a few ideas:

  • A key tray, box or magnetic holder so you don’t lose their keys
  • A box on the coffee table if you have multiple remote controls
  • Pen pots or trays so you can always find pen in a hurry
  • Good looking boxes for keepsakes you can’t bear to part with, but don’t want on display right now
  • Garment bags or boxes for out-of-season clothes storage
  • Shoe storage on castors to fit under the bed, or in the hall so you don’t keep tripping over them
  • Coat hooks or coat rack in a hallway or under the stairs
  • Canisters and airtight boxes or shelf maximisers for in the kitchen
  • Hanging baskets, pan racks or trolleys in kitchens
  • A clothes airer that hangs from the ceiling or folds flat and hangs on the back of a door
  • Drawer organisers for kitchen, office or dressing table
  • Brackets to hang bikes or kids’ toys from the walls, freeing up floor space
  • Toy chests or bright hanging nets for children’s rooms
  • General bookshelves, baskets and boxes for anywhere in the home

If you can’t get hold of items to add structure today, you might be able to improvise with a few temporary cardboard boxes and other items for the moment. ¬†For example, I’ve kept old emptied boxes from cotton buds and now use them to store things like hairgrips, push pins and makeup around the house. I’ve also washed out old food tins and currently use them to keep pens and brushes together.

Give it a try, it definitely makes a difference!

Where does the mess build up in your home? How could you use structure to stop it coming back?


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  1. Plastic fruit or vegetable trays make useful trays for makeup and bits and pieces. I found some small plastic laundry bags at 99p each to store my summer clothes. Thank you for all your ideas and motivation. Harriet

  2. Hi Harriet – that’s a great idea, and you can get anything from punnets to stacking plywood trays. Thanks for reading and commenting, much appreciated! Penny x

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