30 genius decluttering hacks that will actually help keep your home tidy
The rules of decluttering are simple: get rid of any unwanted stuff, find a handy place for the items that remain, and endeavour to keep it there – how hard can it be?
1. Organise the chaos
Limit yourself to one small ‘dumping tray’ or ‘junk bowl’, where you keep odds and ends that don’t have a place. Think odd buttons, business cards and loose change. Choose something decorative so you’re more likely to keep the mess to a minimum.
2. Use tubes
Hang onto those cardboard tubes when you use up your paper towels or kitchen foil, and use them to store reusable plastic bags tidily in a drawer. You can also recycle wet-wipe canisters for this purpose.
3. Minimise your paper trail
Reduce paper clutter by taking photos of takeaway menus or flyers from local businesses. Likewise, download user manuals, credit card agreements and health insurance policies, and save them in a folder on your computer.
4. Kitchen tips
Free up bench space by attaching a magnetic strip under overhead kitchen cabinets to hold spice jars with metallic lids. Store frying pans, baking sheets, pot lids and cutting boards on their sides, using a filing rack or organiser.
5. Invest in a Lazy Susan
Who has time to rearrange the pantry or cupboards every time they want to reach something at the back? Invest in some lazy Susans for instant access to your items in just a spin. They’re also handy in the bathroom or laundry.
6. Utilise your fridge
Limited pantry space? Most dry goods can be kept in the refrigerator, too.
7. Try hidden storage options
Invest in double-duty furniture with hidden storage options. Think ottomans where you can hide throws and cushions, coffee tables with slide-out drawers for magazines, colouring books or puzzles, bench seats with shelving underneath or tall bookshelves with inbuilt cabinets for surplus vases and candles.
8. Bar carts
If space allows, set up a dining cart or station close to your dining table, much like they do in restaurants and cafes. Cutlery, placemats, napkins, glasses and condiments can all be stored in a small cupboard or trolley on wheels to save you making multiple trips to the kitchen every time you sit down to eat.
9. Store on the door
Over-the-door shoe hangers can be repurposed for kids’ belongings such as soft toys, craft supplies, dolls, action figures, cars and more. Reserve the higher pockets for any items that you’d like to keep out of reach.
10. Get creative with bathroom storage
Don’t have a built-in bathroom cabinet? Repurpose a dresser or drawers to keep extra towels and products on hand, or look for other storage solutions such as a ladder, stacked crates or a kitchen trolley on wheels.
11. Out of sight
Conceal office supplies such as folders, tax receipts and files inside a storage chest. Storage chests can also double as a great bench seating option.
Buy a pack of shower curtain rings – they’re surprisingly useful! Loop onto a hanger or piece of dowel to store belts, scarves, ties, handbags, hair ties, baseball caps, necklaces and more!
13. Colour code
Help little people find – and more importantly, put away – their belongings by assigning each child a different colour. Then you can buy them a storage tub with a toothbrush, towel, etc in that colour, or use coloured dots or thread to ‘label’ their belongings.
14. Brick tricks
Save your soles from stray Lego with clever storage solutions. Think a toolbox with pull-out drawers, storage tubs with colour-coded labels, compartmentalised craft organisers or a play mat and storage sack in one (a drawstring turns the mat into a sack!).
15. Book nooks
Not enough space for a bookshelf? Use picture ledges as floating shelves to display beautiful books.
16. Memory lane
If you’re guilty of hanging onto a high volume of things for nostalgic reasons but don’t have the storage space – take a photo of the keepsake and display the pic in an album or a frame.
17. Ice cube trays
Ice cube trays and kids’ paint palettes/trays are the perfect size for sorting small items such as earrings, rings and buttons.
Use a corkboard or pegboard to hang earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces.
19. Magazine holders
Secure magazine holders to the inside of bathroom cabinets to store hairdryers and straighteners or under kitchen shelves for cookbooks and boards or oven mitts.
20. Shelf life
Install some shelving over your bathroom door to store everyday items for easy top-ups. Think toilet rolls, cleaning products, bars of soap and towels.
Store your clutches in a kitchen organiser rack. Meanwhile, a spice rack is the perfect little spot for nail polishes, lipsticks or essential oils.
22. On a ledge
Attach floating shelves to a timber bedhead to hold miscellaneous items such as reading glasses, books, a clock or framed photos.
23. Bath system
Store kids’ bath toys in wire fruit baskets suspended from your shower rod or frame.
24. Shoe shuffle
Sort your shoes into pairs and store in clear boxes stacked vertically on the floor of your wardrobe or on open shelves.
25. Use pegs
Hang your kids’ paintings rather than cluttering up the fridge. Set up a simple string-and-peg display system on an empty wall or along a window.
26. Use dividers
Tip your underwear drawer out onto the bed and discard any odd socks, worn-out bras or undies that have lost their elastic. Put everything that’s left back in the drawer, using dividers to keep items in their categories.
27. The coat-hanger trick
Try this Oprah-approved trick: hang all the clothes in your wardrobe with the hangers facing inwards. After you wear an item, hang it back up the opposite way. Every six months, do an inventory of the items that haven’t been worn and sell or donate them.
28. Limit your sheets
Cull your linen closet down to two sets of summer sheets and two of flannelette (if needed) per bed, plus two full sets of towels for each person. That’s seriously all you need – one set in use, one in the wash. Store each set of sheets in its matching pillowcase.
29. Car clutter
Keep a rubbish bag or empty box in the car for coffee cups, used tissues or gum, and empty it once a week. Likewise, a basket in the boot can come in handy for on-the-go items like hats, balls, picnic rugs, sunscreen and kids’ toys.
30. Road trip
Speaking of kids and cars, hang a canvas shoe organiser over the back of the driver’s or front passenger’s seat to store their (many) travel belongings, such as electronic devices and headphones, playing cards, colouring books and pens, dummies, snacks, sunnies, drink bottles and a few favourite toys.
These 10 interior trends are what you’ll be seeing everywhere in 2019
What will 2019 have in store? We’ve examined various interior forecasts and identified some top trends all interior enthusiasts can expect to see this year.
1. The new fiddle-leaf fig
The fiddle-leaf fig has dominated interiors for as long as indoor plants have been trendy, and rightly so, it’s got great structure, is easy-care and looks good in any setting. But another plant has stepped up to rival the fashionable fig’s top status; the bird-of-paradise (more commonly known as the banana plant).
Much like the fiddle-leaf fig, this plant has over-sized leaves and is relatively easy-care but what sets it apart is its blue and orange flower, which adds a dot of colour to a room.
2. Sustainable, handmade pieces
This trend has been in development for a couple of years now, and whilst 2018 gave it a good kick start, 2019 will really see it take off. Expect to see colours inspired by Mother Nature used alongside vintage and re-purposed pieces. Fast-fashion homeware takes a bow and leaves the stage to make way for unique, handmade pieces.
3. Purple, not pink
Millennial pink has reigned for a good few years but now it’s time for a new pastel hue to share the Insta-worthy, Pinterest-grabbing crown. Purple, or more accurately, a grey-lilac (a softer, more usable shade than Pantone’s 2018 colour of the year Ultra Violet) will be 2019’s ‘it’ hue.
And with this mauve-takeover, a move toward orange-based pinks (such as peach, apricot and coral) will begin to pick up.
4. Spaces without technology
Nowadays, our lives are saturated with technology, so, interior trends are responding and taking the opportunity to be the medium where we can be free from the screen. In 2019 you can expect to see a greater focus on hiding specific technologies, such as the TV, and incorporating them into a room using clever design, whether it’s a product like the Samsung Frame TV, or through cabinetry.
5. Home tech
But, we can never truly be without technology and as we go about trying to create tech-free zones in the house, other zones yield to the latest home-tech devices. Which, incidentally are still less obtrusive than their predecessors and are designed to blend in with the surrounding decor.
Voice-activated assistants such as Alexa and Google Home will become household regulars, their sleek designs sitting idly on kitchen and living room shelves. Portable speakers, too, have been given a face-lift, joining the ranks of other tech devices designed to stylishly sit next to art, objects and coffee table books without looking like a tech eye-sore.
6. Tonal looks
Forget the complimentary and contrasting colour schemes, tonal looks will be prevalent in 2019. What is a tonal look? That’s a great question. A tonal colour scheme is comprised of a set of hues that all originate from the same colour family, be it reds and pinks, a range of blues or a delightful mix of purple, mauve and grey.
A tonal colour scheme is relaxing and calming, it’s also a great way to incorporate bold, saturated colours into your home because they’re less intense when incorporated into a tonal look.
From curved archways to rounded furniture to swirly artwork, 2019 will bring the popular 60s curve back in vogue. Dulux colour specialist Davina Harper describes this as a response to the overarching trend she witnessed during Milan Design Week; wellness. Curves, she says, add softness to a room and help it to feel more inviting and relaxing.
8. Windows as walls
Framed with black steel, window walls or room dividers don’t only give a room a chic, minimal, industrial look but also add some architectural flair and allow light to flood in. Not just limited to dining or living rooms, steel-framed glass walls can also make great additions to bathrooms or bedrooms.
If you’re worried about privacy, installing curtains are an easy fix (they’re also a nice style addition with the softness of the material a welcome contrast against the hard steel and glass.)
It’s a little contradictory, (how can an anti-trend be a trend?), but Dulux colour specialist Davina Harper explains “anti-trend” is more about breaking the rules and creating your own.
The anti-trend trend encourages experimentation and energy in which colour plays a big role. Harper says she saw this trend embodied during Milan design week, where she saw unusual colour combinations, mixing patterns and unique feature walls.
The thing to remember with this trend is “anything goes.”
10. Dried flowers
If your mind instantly goes to the dust-ridden dried bouquets sitting in your grandmother’s house, you’d be forgiven for uttering a quiet “no” at hearing dried flowers are becoming popular again. But never fear, these aren’t the dust-ridden variety. Dried bouquets such as the kind Markantonia create are more sculptural than fussy.
Toi-toi rise to the top of the dried-flower trend, its tall, eye-catching shape making it a great addition to any room and its colour and look fitting in well with many styles.
Words by: Bea Taylor
Creative De-cluttering and Storage Ideas
Whether you’re looking to make a dent in your spring cleaning or getting your house ready for sale, decluttering and cleaning your home can be a big job. It’s also likely you’ll come across a lot of junk, unused clothes and other things that you’ve forgotten about.
1. Three box exercise
Do you find yourself with too many clothes, drawers overflowing or your closet bursting?
Grab three boxes and label them keep, donate and trash and go through your all your clothes and pop them into one of the boxes. If you’re hesitant to donate and throw away something ask yourself if you’ve worn it in the last six months – if not it’s likely you don’t need it.
This is also a great method to use on other parts of your house – think garage, cupboards and laundry. If you’re preparing to sell your home tackling these areas will give you a good idea of how much you need to move into your new home, and could save you money on the move if you can get rid of the non-essentials.
2. Don’t get too attached
When you’re decluttering it’s important to think objectively about things – do you need this or use it often? If it’s something that you keep because you might use it one day think about whether it’s really necessary or not. If you’re moving home all these little things can add up into a lot of clutter that you’ll have to take with you.
3. Hire a skip bin
Once you’ve decluttered, hire a skip bin. This may sound simple but once you’ve paid for the space you’ll be surprised how many things you’ll find to get rid of. It can also be a lot easier to throw things away with the bin right in front of you rather than just having a pile sitting in the garage that you’ll get rid of one day.
Creative storage spaces
1. Floating shelves
These are great in numerous spaces around the house. They can double as a table or desk or a place to put your toaster depending on the size. Regardless of what they’re being used for on top, there will always be storage space underneath.
Ottomans are stylish and can be a great way to add some hidden storage in your home. Look for ones with hollow insides, that you can store DVDs, books or spare cables you might need for your TV.
3. Wall hung storage
Whether it’s the spices in your kitchen, pots and pans, or toys in your child’s room, wall hung storage is an effective use of wall space. It doesn’t protrude too much but takes the away the clutter and can be an interesting focal point when done right.
4. Pull out pantry
Have a space but it’s too narrow to be used for anything useful? Hire a handyman and install a pull out pantry to allow you to use all the space right to the back – you’ll be surprised how much more room you’ll gain.
5. Remove your doors
How many times are you restricted from putting a piece of furniture where you want it because it gets in the way of a door opening? Remove the door and in its place, put a sliding door or a simple curtain to section it off. In some instances you’ll find it can look nice without any door as it can open the space up more.
How to keep your Christmas tree alive and looking good all December
If properly cared for, a tree will keep reasonably fresh and definitely remain green for a month – great news for Christmas-fanatics who put their trees up on the 1st of December. However, things can turn pear-shaped quickly, these tips will ensure it doesn’t. So here are our top tips for how to keep your Christmas tree alive to ensure it looks just as good on Christmas day than it did when you first put it up.
Pick the right tree:
Ideally, you want to buy your tree from a farm that chops it down in front of you, that way you can ensure it’s the freshest it can be. If you’re buying from a vendor that sells pre-cut trees, make sure you’re purchasing one that has been stored in the shade and given plenty of water. Inspect the tree before you make your decision to ensure there are no brown or dead branches or needles.
Re-trim the trunk:
The most common mistake people make when buying a fresh Christmas tree is leaving it out of water for more than half an hour, or allowing the water in the stand/bucket to run completely dry. When the base is not in water, sap leeches out forming a resin-like seal at the base of the tree. Once this happens, the tree can’t drink the water it needs because the base is no longer porous. The good news is that if this happens there is a fix: saw a thin sliver off the base of the tree so that the bottom is porous again and able to drink water. Trees drink the most water in the first few days after being cut so that is the time to pay extra attention that they don’t run dry.
Give it a good stand:
Store your tree in anything that supports the tree well and that holds plenty of water – at least four litres of water. Never put the tree in sand or soil. Large tree stands with a wide footprint and adjustable levers are a good option for people with small children and/or pets. Some people go for a bucket with bricks but it’s a lot of hassle so most usually come back for a stand.
Pick a shady spot:
A shady spot, out of direct sunlight, is the best place for your Christmas tree to live as sunlight will cause it to wilt ahead of its time. Christmas trees are divas; they hate sitting in a warm room that has no circulation because their needles will go limp. But, they also hate air conditioning. Making sure there is some fresh air circulating through the room is the best way to keep them happy.