Clutter cleanse! 10 tips to master the mess
Feel like you're swimming against a constant tide of stuff? The battle to stop clutter piling up is real. We chat to Gloucestershire declutter expert Ruby Monro - known as The Organiser -for her pro-tips on mastering the mess in our homes.
As we ease out of lockdown no.393 there’s never been a better time to set free our inner Spring clean queens. That tide of mess we’ve been wallowing in for what seems like for-EVER needs to go.
Whether it’s the bedroom, playroom, WFH office or let’s be frank, the entire house, that needs a mess-MOT fortunately there are simple ways to stop clutter in its tracks.
Marie Kondo please stand aside, Ruby Monro your home with these easy-to-follow tips. Plus, scroll down for her three brilliant hero products and a 50% discount off a declutter session.
Hi Ruby, tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a professional organiser specialising in decluttering and home staging. My journey to becoming a decluttering expert started when I worked on cruise ships as an art dealer. I would go on a cruise for up to six months and had to limit my life into one suitcase (can you imagine that!). It gave me the power to understand the benefits of decluttering, and the instant calm it can give you.
When I came back to England, I started to organise my new home and grew a passion for organising and interior design. Friends started to ask me to sort their homes, anything from sorting a wardrobe to helping with bereavement.
Ruby’s 10 Terrific Declutter Tips
1. Organise Room by Room
Don’t dip in and out of rooms you will never finish! Start with pulling as much out as possible in one small space, declutter items one by one and then organise them back into place in an order that works for you.
2. Always donate or re-sell
Delete the mindset of “money down the drain” from your brain – remove this psychological barrier and the sorting will be far easier and quicker. Tell yourself those items served their purpose, let someone else enjoy them through charity or get some money back through Vinted or Ebay if they were really valuable. It can even become a fun hobby for some.
3. Keep ornaments to a minimum
Let your special ornaments be seen and not hidden, less is more. Keep mantelpieces to a maximum of three items and your photographs carefully placed around the house instead of a ton all in one place. And if something comes in – the rule is something goes out! The space will be clearer, simpler, more manageable and it will give you real appreciation for those special memories.
4. If it’s a maybe, it is usually a no
Don’t get trapped in the “maybe I will wear it again one day” or “when I lose weight it will be put to use” mindset. ‘Goal clothes’ as I call them can be great but you don’t want too many. With clothes especially, only keep the ones you really love and feel great in, ask yourself these two questions as you hold them, otherwise let them go. And, if you lack space and have lots of lovely handbags use the ‘bag in bag’ method. Hide smaller ones inside the others. This way you create more space and still keep them in one category.
5. Use storage dividers when possible
Storage box dividers are inexpensive and incredibly useful for organisation maintenance. Pick your categories, make them clear and make a diligent habit of putting them back in place. You can use them for clothes, kitchens and bathrooms.
6. WFH Office hacks
Wires always look messy, keep hidden where possible. A tip I use is to tape underneath a desk for example so they stay out of sight and not a trip hazard. Also, keep paper to a minimum, most things these days you can store online but paper can mount up. File important documents in categories in one large file with dividers. Buy a designated box for your unattended paperwork and letters, this way the post doesn’t get scattered around and the letters you read will either be filed away, thrown away or put in the box.
7. Bathroom Products
OK, we’re all guilty of stockpiling beauty products. But get rid of the ones you don’t use which are just collecting dust – if you haven’t used it for more than three months recycle it. And keep the other products in storage boxes with lids or cabinet cupboards. Too many products on show will always look messy and the colours will never match your bathroom interior.
8. Kitchen Appliances
Have a kitchen appliance cleanse. Do not keep the juicer you use three times a year in full view on the counter! Have your everyday appliances easy to get to and in clear categories but anything else away. Drawer dividers can also be helpful for appliances and food. For example, if you have kids give them a healthy snack drawer which is in easy reach for them.
9. Organised Fridge Tips
Use tupperware glass or plastic boxes to meal prep for the week or pre cut your veggies. This way there is no wastage on food and it cuts your cooking time by half. Keep your fridge contents in categories, never mix. If you want to be super prepared you can label them too either for the days to eat, or what the meal is. I found a lot of my clients using this technique were able to achieve weight loss or healthy lifestyle goals.
10. Make-up Tricks
Use small jars or containers to separate and sort your lipsticks and glosses, they are easier to see and don’t have to be mixed with everything else in a bag for you to never find. Keep your brushes together in a compact set (Charlotte Tilbury does a beautiful Hollywood set I love, see below) or if you want to save your pennies pop them in old glasses cases and away in drawers!
Ruby’s three hero products …
1 . Drawer Organiser Dividers (I have bought plenty from Amazon; they come in a set of 6 of different sizes). These are so handy and they will always look neater in your wardrobe or chest of drawers as well as always knowing where your things are!
2. Spice and food jars from Maison and White. They are a clean and simple design with lids, and come with empty black labels for you to fill out. I find labels already printed can be counterproductive, there is usually one that you don’t use and it’s awkward to fill it with something else!
3. Flip Down Shoe Storage (Wayfair do some great designs on the basics range which are inexpensive) or if you are looking for something bigger and more luxurious I love the large shoe cupboard from The Cotswold Co in Chester Charcoal (see below). I personally like my shoes to not be on show and always be in a practical order, so these are great ways to keep them out of sight and make your home look beautiful all at the same time.
Why book The Organiser for a declutter? Over to you Ruby …
“I help anyone who is in need of any sort of organisation! There is no job too small. For example, from that one room in your home which is a no-go zone or a wardrobe that needs to be organised to a whole house overhaul. Other jobs that I do are helping those who are going through a change in their lives, this could be bereavement and you’re unsure of how to deal with that persons items, or new parents struggling to keep order in their nursery. A lot of my jobs revolve around moving house from packing to organising a new home from scratch. I also do home staging – when you want to sell or rent your home so I will stage it to give you maximum opportunity to gain attention on the market.
A lot of people will organise by themselves, but then find that within a few days everything seems to be messed up again. This is because you haven’t planned a thought out system which is personally made for maintenance purposes.”
Ruby waves her magic decluttering wand all over Gloucestershire, Bristol and The Cotswolds. Clients are never charged more than £45 per hour (one room on average might take 4 hours) with discounts for three or more rooms, head to www.theorganiseruk.com or @theorganiser1 on Insta and drop her a line.
**** Want a helping hand? Just use the code MUDDY50 when you book for a lovely 50% discount off a declutter (there’s no excuse now!) ***