Take a creative approach to getting organised using beautifully labelled containers. Here are 21 tips for getting sorted and staying that way.
By Gretchen Carroll and Sarah Heeringa. Photography Jessie Casson.
1. Clear out your kitchen pantry and fridge, disposing of stale food in the compost or worm bin. You might find some ingredients you’d forgotten about, sparking fresh recipe ideas.
2. Soak the labels off empty jars and reuse for kitchen storage (see left). Collect matching jars and add stylish labels using a Brother home label maker. While you’re at it, label your living herbs as well!
3. Paint the lids of any mismatched jars with colours of your choice.
4. If your pot lids take up too much cupboard space, attach metal towel rails on the inside of the pantry door. Simply slide the lids down so the knobs or handles catch and hold in place.
5. Add coat hooks or shoe racks to the laundry, garage or entrance ways to create space in bedroom wardrobes. These transition spaces are good places for bulky clothing and shoes.
6. Empty and clean your bathroom cabinets, recycling any empty containers and disposing of any expired medicines and products.
7. Look around your bathroom for unused spaces where you might add shelving, hooks or containers to tidy away toiletries and towels, if storage elsewhere is an issue.
8. Now is also a good time to make sure you have well-stocked first aid kits, one each for the home and car.
9. Collect beautiful jars (either new or recycled) to fill with delicious things. Try vanilla pods and sugar, virgin olive oil and garlic, or oil and dried chillies or strong fresh herbs such as rosemary. Add a simple tag using stiff brown card, a printed label and brown string. These make excellent homemade gifts.
10. If your household has a busy schedule, create a large calendar or blackboard where appointments and activities can be displayed. Take 10 minutes on a Sunday to look at it and plan for the week ahead.
11. Consider decluttering your diary if it feels too hectic – prioritise what is most important and don’t feel guilty about saying no to a few things.
12. As you rethink your wardrobe for the warmer months, take the opportunity to put all your clothing in a pile and sort into categories (wear now; store for another season; repair; give away; or sell). When did you last wear the item? What is the likelihood of you wearing it again? Be honest if you tend to hoard clothes!
13. If you work from home or have a hobby area, the more inviting and organised the space the more time you’ll want to spend there and the more creative you’ll be. Start by going through all your papers, tools and materials and have a clear-out. Arrange your craft materials by colour for a visually attractive result.).
14. Ensure you have enough places in your work area to put items away when not in use. Think imaginatively about containers you might repurpose. Baskets, boxes, jars or large clean baking tins can all be used as attractive storage options.
15. Cover shoe boxes and magazine files with matching papers (see right). We used a Brother MFCJ4620DW home printer to create A3 sheets. Add stick-on metal label holders (buy from craft suppliers) and print labels to pop into place.
16. Go through toy boxes with your little one to decide which items are keepers, destined for charity or younger friends. It may also remind them of the toys they have! Likewise, most teenagers appreciate help with a spring sort-out. It can also be a great time to have a catch-up.
17. Colourful plastic or wicker bins with handles make it easy for children to access toys and then put them away. Categorise small items into clear plastic boxes so everyone can see what’s inside, then stack away.
18. If you need to declutter but find it hard to get rid of things, try the 10/10/10 method. Choose a room to find 10 things to throw away, 10 items to donate, and 10 items to return to their designated place. Aim to repeat this every day in a new room.
19. As you sort and tidy, turn your attention also to ‘decluttering’ your thoughts and practising mindfulness – focusing your awareness on the present moment. Browse online for relaxation and meditation resources, or take an evening course.
20. Reward yourself with small, beautiful things, such as these lovely glass containers, labelled ‘Still’, ‘Lemon’ and ‘Soda’ for use on the table.
21. A great time to bring your thoughts to the now is when you brush your teeth. Think about every sense and movement as you carry out this twice-daily routine and be in the moment.