Friday, February 26, 2010

3 Decluttering Articles To Read

I always find so many wonderful decluttering and organisation articles scattered around the internet, so from now on, on each Friday I will aim to post a list of three recent (or maybe not so recent) articles for you to read and inspire you to declutter. So, here is my first selection:

The Everyday Minimalist - The small space test: Have you ever examined whether you really need all your furniture? Yes, your furniture could be clutter, too! This article will make you think about what you really need, and guide you through removing what you don't. Check out the room below and consider whether all the furniture is really necessary.

MSN Money - 10 things not to buy in 2010: If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I believe that digitalisation can help you reduce clutter around your house. This list of consumer products becoming obsolete mainly covers items that you can replace with digital versions (such as DVDs and newspaper subscriptions), plus some energy-inefficient options.

homelife - Organise your jewellery: Originally published in the January 2010 issue of Notebook: magazine, this article has six ideas on beautiful ways to store your jewellery, such as using lots of delicate boxes, as above.

(images: The Everyday Minimalist, homelife)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moving House

Next week I will be moving into a new house. As it is a sharehouse, I will just be moving items into my new bedroom, leaving the rest of my furniture stored at my parent's house (or to be sold). However, it will be nice to, firstly, decorate a whole room for the first time in a long time (I lived in my last apartment for five years, and although I made gradual changes, it's different starting with an empty room) and, secondly, to be permamently settled somewhere for awhile (the last few months I've been house-sitting, travelling and temporarily staying at my parent's house). It's a lovely big bedroom with a balcony, so I will be taking some photos once I'm settled.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is Minimalism?

Becoming a minimalist is not the same as decluttering. Decluttering may just be applied to parts of your home and lifestyle, on an as-needed basis, whilst minimalism takes decluttering and simplification to a whole new level. For a good definition on minimalism, head to :mnmlist (a website that is the epitome of minimalism design-wise) and check out this short 50 word definition.

Are you a minimalist, or do you just declutter? Can you see yourself becoming a minimalist?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cutting the Clutter from Doing as well as Having

I came across the article 42 Essential Ways to Take Action Against Your Clutter at Clutter Cubed and was pleasently surprised to find that it covered ways to cut the clutter from what you do, not just what you have. So for example, number 1 is "Stop doing something that means nothing to you", whilst number 29 is "Stop whining about what you can't get." I believe that this is as important as decluttering your wardrobe or desk, and hope that this article also inspires you to cut out what is not important in your life.

Friday, February 19, 2010

How-To: Straighten Your Linen Cupboard

When I one day own a house, I hope to have a linen cupboard. All of the places so far that I've rented (mainly apartments) have, unfortunately, not had one, so I've usually just stored my sheets, pillowcases, towels and face washers in the top of my wardrobe. And more that just a linen cupboard, I want to have a beautiful looking linen cupboard. Follow these steps to straighten up your linen cupboard:

  1. Remove all the items out of it and clean the shelves.
  2. Go through everything and see if anything is threadbare and should be chucked. I don't know about you, but I like my towels to be nice and fluffy, not old and worn. I usually move old towels and sheets to the garage to use when moving stuff in the car, camping or just when working in the garage. (Alternatively, pet shelters may appreciate donations.)
  3. Start dividing everything up into sets. I generally like storing sets together, rather than towels with towels, etc, but you may prefer to do the opposite.
  4. Look at how many sets you have and check whether you really need everything. I have previously blogged about how you only really need two sets of towels for each member of your household, plus one set for guests. Consider taking any items you don't really need (including ones you've never liked) to a charity bin.
  5. Learn properly how to fold towels and sheets, especially fitted sheets. Go here for a tutorial on fitted sheets. Note that there are a few variations, but it is worth while practicing folding fitted sheets a few times until you have the technique memorised, so that they don't look messy in your linen cupboard.
  6. Finally, return everything to your linen cupboard. Consider adding some fragranced satchels to keep everything smelling beautifully, or pieces of cedar wood to deter moths.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Site Design Changes

You may have already noticed that I changed the look-and-feel of this blog today, to more closely match the visual image I want for this blog. I will continue to make some tweaks here and there, although not too many more major changes, and hope that you like the new look.

Getting Through Your Decluttering To-Do List

I recently came across a great article on reducing the size of your to-do list, Sprint Through the Small Stuff. It mentions the more obvious approaches of being wary about adding too much to your to-do list, regularly purging your to-do list of items you no longer need to do, and just simply steadily working through your to-do list so it doesn't get too big, but it mainly focuses on the wonderful approach of periodically doing a whole bunch of the smaller items on your to-do list in a set time limit (i.e. sprinting through the small stuff, timer optional!)

This article may help you get through all the decluttering plans that you have building up. (I know that getting started can often be the hardest part of decluttering.) Choose some of the simpler areas you want to declutter and declutter them first, with a time limit on how long to spend, and use this to build up your confidence to approach the bigger chores.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Advice on How Long to Keep Skincare

I previously discussed how long to keep beauty products from in How-To: Declutter Your Beauty Products. The article How Old is Your Skincare? at shesaid goes into more detail on this topic, with their main tip to ensuring your skincare range isn't past its expiry date being to stick to a regime, which will also ensure your skin is looking its best.

Tips for Storage in the Kitchen

I found a very comprehensive article on kitchen storage over at homelife. Originally appearing in the November 2008 issue of Notebook:, Top Tips for Better Kitchen Storage starts off by asking questions about what you want from kitchen storage, and includes an excellent, extensive list of storage ideas.

(image: homelife)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stop Clutter: Wrap-Up

I hope you've enjoyed my stop clutter series that has been running since the start of the year. If you've missed any of the posts, here is a full listing of all the posts in the series:

Let me know of any other areas you want me to create a series around (or if you want me to delve more into stopping clutter)!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

5 Twitter Accounts to Follow

I use Twitter regularly (@scleaver) and find it's a great way to come across new articles to read, whether they're written by the person you're following or they're just items they have come across. So if you're looking for new ideas on decluttering, follow some of the following Twitter accounts:
  • @un_clutter: Uncluttering the way to happyness: useful resources and tips about decluttering, organizing, minimalism and simple living
  • @TexasOrganizer: All about being a Houston mom and Gigi, organizing others and simplifying life
  • @metrozing: Hoardologist ☺ Professional Organizer. Disorder Specialist. I help the disorganized transform their homes from Casa de Chaos to Casa de Calm.
  • @OrganizeLife: Creator of Tips to Organize Life, the website that provides shortcuts, tips and tricks to help you feel more efficient and less overwhelmed
  • @RecoveringSlob: Inveterate slob, tortured perfectionist, food voyeur, cat-loving knitter, potato expert, once and future bassoonist. Constantly switching addictions.
I've also created a list with all of these accounts being followed to make it easy for you to view them all together (@scleaver/declutter).

Friday, February 12, 2010

How-To: Declutter Your Living Room

Your living room, along with your kitchen, is the room in the house that your visitors are most likely to see. And keeping in mind the stress of having unexpected visitors, it helps to keep this key room looking presentable and decluttered. Take a look around your living room now and work out what is creating clutter (CDs, DVDs, magazines, toys?) then consider the following ideas to spruce it up:

  • Avoid having CDs and DVDs visibly on display, unless you can display them neatly. Many entertainment units will have space to store these away, out of sight, underneath your TV and DVD.
  • If your collection is larger, consider a wall unit with a spot for your TV that takes up a whole wall, with enough room for everyone in your family to have a section.
  • Minimise the number of magazines and newspapers left lying around. Regularly clear them away, and if you want to keep copies, consider finding somewhere special to store them, such as magazine holders to go on shelves or on the floor.
  • If you don't use your TV that often, consider hiding it away behind a curtain (which could be quite neutral or a decorative touch to the room) or inside a storage unit with sliding panels. This means your living room becomes a space that is about more than just watching TV.
  • Try to have a coffee table with a second shelf. This means that you can store things on it without cluttering the top surface.
  • Another coffee table alternative is to use a large wooden chest. With plenty of storage inside, this is a great option if you have children that sometimes play in the room, meaning there's a great place to store their toys and games afterwards.
  • Some lounges these days have special under-seat storage to store bulky items such as vacuum cleaners - definitely something different to consider! (Try King Furniture.)
(image: Freedom)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's Your Clutter Personality?

Remember how you used to do quizzes in magazines when you were growing up, that were meant to show what type of guy you were into, what movie star you were most like, and so much more?? Well, this is a slightly more grown up quiz, and there's no multiple choice answers to add up, but it will help you work out what type of clutter personality you have. Organized Home have an article on What's Your Clutter Personality? Are you a Hoarder, Deferrer, Rebel or Perfectionist? Read the article to find out.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Join Febusave

I know this is off-topic, but I keep on hearing about ANZ's FebuSave promotion and wanted to share it with any fellow Australian women out there. The aim is to set a personal savings goal (perhaps related to not shopping for new unnecessary items?) for the month of February and register on the website, where you can also find tips, tools and calculators. You can also enter the competition to win a $5000 account at the end of the month (only opened to Australian residents 18 years and over, check the t&c). So, get saving!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Product Recommendation: Listography

I recently recommended the kikki.K Daily Notes Notebook, which unfortunately is only available at kikki.K stores in Australia, unless you order it over the internet and fork out the overseas p&h. However, someone recently recommended to me a similar product, albeit focusing on lists: the Listography books. Available in the USA (at a wide variety of stores, including Borders) and many other countries (try to search online first), in addition to the original guided journal there are a range of speciality editions, including Friends, Music and Love.

And then there's the part that really got me excited... On the website, there's also the ability to create your own set of lists online. Simply signup, click "create list", select a category and title for the list, and get started. There's even the ability to click "generate a list topic" for the site to suggest a list for you to create, if you're feeling stuck about what to list. Just keep in mind that the lists you create are publicly viewable, unless you create them in the private folder.

(image: Listography)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Inspiration: Home Office Insights

I found this lovely article, Down to Business, on The Age website that gives us a peek into the home office of kikki.K founder, Kristina Karlsson, along with a photo. She makes great use of a whole wall of small boxes to store items in - something I haven't seen done much and a great idea to keep in mind for your next office spruce up. There's also some other tips on setting up a home office and keeping the clutter down from experts at Howard's Storage World and Ikea.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Your Next Rainy (or Snowy) Weekend

At the moment it's been rainy a lot in Sydney, Australia, and I've been seeing the reports about the snow in the eastern USA. So, if you're sick of watching movies, reading books and mindlessly browsing the internet, put some of this inside time to use by doing some uncluttering inside. I found this great post over at Unclutterer on Three uncluttered activities you can do on a lazy Saturday, which suggests sorting through your magazines and catalogues, backing up your computer, and clearing the clutter from your laundry room. I'm especially in favour of the first one for an enjoyable but productive way to pass a lazy afternoon or evening. I also recommend sorting through your email and responding to all your unanswered emails you haven't got around to yet.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Inspiration: The Art of Display

I recently came across a link to a post on the blog Chez Larsson called The Art of Display. This is the perfect post to read if you're jealous (like most of us are) of how some people just create the most beautiful displays on shelves, and you have no idea how they do it. Benita introduces us to five key tricks: triangles, grouping, empty space repetition, and keep it simple: yes, don't display all of your nick-nacks at once!

(image: Chez Larsson)

Upcoming Clothes Swaps

Whether you've never attended a clothes swap meet before and want to give it a go or if you're a swapping devotee by now, here are some upcoming clothes swap meets being held over Australia:

Sydney: Addison Road Centre Upstairs Gallery, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville - Saturday 6th February 2010 - 5:30pm check-in for 6:30pm start

Melbourne: BMW Centre, Federation Square, Cnr Flinders St and Swanston St, Melbourne - Wednesday 10th February 2010 - 6:30pm check-in

Perth: Hotel Northbridge, 210 Lake St, Northbridge - Tuesday 23rd February 2010 - 6:30pm check-in for 7:30pm start

Go here for further information and ticket sales.

Hobart: Australian Italian Club, 77 Federal St, North Hobart - Saturday 6th February 2010 - 1pm

Go here for further information and ticket sales.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Stop Clutter: Strategies to Stop Shopping

I love this post over at The Everyday Minimalist that presents their top three strategies to stop shopping, and an example of how it stopped the author from buying something new. You may have a slightly different strategy that works best for you, but these three are a good place to start.

The 80/20 Rule

Lately, I keep on coming across this rule. Basically, it was originally created to describe the observation that 20% of people own 80% of the wealth. Lately, whilst reading The 4-Hour Workweek, it was mainly applied to the scenario of 20% of your activities taking up 80% of your time (and making you inefficient). However, naturally, it also applies to clutter. For starters, look at your wardrobe. Do you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time? Read the great post that lists a number of areas where this is relevant to clutter over at Becoming Minimalist.

How-To: Clean Out Your Laundry

Whilst your laundry is probably the home of your cleaning products, don't forget that your laundry also needs to be cleaned itself, and naturally that includes an occasional declutter. Follow these steps to declutter your laundry:

  1. Go through your cleaning products and work out whether you really use everything. Don't hang onto something just because you think that one day when you move out and need to clean your place to get the bond back, you may need to use it.
  2. When disposing of old chemicals, check the label for disposal instructions. Some councils offer special pick-up or drop-off services for chemicals that can't go into general household waste collections.
  3. Try to minimise the number of cleaning products you use: if you use a different product (or multiple products) for everything, the number of bottles will add up and take up a lot of space. Try to have products that have multiple uses. I also recommend investigating green cleaning methods, which often uses common household products (such as white vinegar and bicarb soda) for cleaning. Here's a handy factsheet.
  4. I find that storing all of my most commonly used cleaning products and cloths in a single bucket (or other container) that can be taken out when it's time for cleaning very handy.
  5. Finally, if you have items out on display, rather than in a cupboard, there's a variety of pretty containers for powder and pegs, plus enamel buckets, available today to beautify your laundry. It may be the smallest room in the house, but it doesn't have to also be the most neglected.