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Home organisation tips from a pro!

Life’s messy, sure, but that doesn’t mean our home has to be. Keen to declutter, we caught up with professional home organiser Deryn Gant in her (tidy) Cambridgeshire home to discover her secret to keeping things clear.

Kitchen in chaos? Kids’ bedrooms look like a bomb site? Lounge looking a bit lacklustre? We hear you, which is why the idea of someone coming into our house to give it a spruce up and clear the clutter sounds like heaven right now. Before half-term hits, we’re keen to get Deryn from Neat Bird’s advice and really, really try to clean up our act (tip: you’re going to need a pinboard). 

How did you come up with the idea for Neat Bird? 

I’ve always been one of those (weird) people who enjoys organising stuff and creating systems – I had to be super organised during my business career dealing with lots of teams around the world. 

When I thought about a change of career a few years ago after becoming a mother, it was my passion for neatness and a desire to help others that brought about Neat Bird, my home organisation company. I trained to become a professional organiser (PO) with the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) in 2019. I love what I do, especially meeting new clients and researching and implementing bespoke organisational solutions to help them fall in love with their homes again.

Who uses your services and why? 

It varies, sometimes it’s people who feel overwhelmed with clutter in their homes and don’t know where to start, some clients like their wardrobe organised once per season/annually, and some people are looking for a beautiful pantry complete with labels and glass jars. Often, our clients are just very busy people who know what they want their home to look like, but don’t have the time to make it happen. So many people are struggling with their mental health now and I think people are beginning to realise the positive effects of decluttering and reorganising their home. Clients often say they feel ‘lighter’ following a decluttering.

What’s the hardest room in a house to organise? 

Great question and it’s different for everyone. Any areas that involve children are fairly difficult to keep organised, for obvious reasons. Keeping things quite simple and easy to follow is the key when encouraging little ones to learn organisational skills.

Can you give us some useful hints and tips on how to make our home less cluttered? 

First and foremost, give everything a home and make sure everyone in the household knows where things are kept. I believe this is the single most important tip for keeping a clutter free home. My son even has a drawer for magazine toys (plastic tat as I call it!), because it’s those items that lie around the house making it untidy.

Tackle those key areas that seem to gather the most clutter. It might be the hallway when the kids get home from school, or the kitchen side, as it is in our home. Think about why that area gets cluttered and devise a strategy to solve it. I bought a pin board for party invites and vouchers and a letter holder for important documents to be filed or school letters to action, and a glass jar for the random pens that find their way to that area. Anything else there needs to go!

The second thing would simply be to buy less, think about every purchase and is it really needed.

If you have a lot of clutter and feel overwhelmed, you are definitely not alone. Many people feel this way and my advice is to start small. Pick a room a month, start with the easiest one, such as a bedroom, sort out your sock drawer, then move on to bedside table and build from there. You’ll soon be feeling so good about it all, you’ll want to transform your wardrobe space!

What are your thoughts on up-cycling? 

It’s a fabulous way of repurposing old household items, saves money and is kinder for the environment – what’s not to love?! I recently upcycled a bathroom shelving unit with some green spray paint and some seagrass baskets I moved from a decluttered wardrobe. It looks great and cost £11! Some clients are keen to declutter but don’t have a huge budget, so reusing other items around the house such as baskets and tubs is a good way to store items without having to spend a fortune on new containers.

What’s been your hardest job so far? 

A very narrow cupboard under the stairs has been one of the trickiest jobs so far as there were a lot of items to store, and a very narrow space. We solved it by a huge declutter, some clever shelving, lots of hooks, and an ironing board holder!

Is your home super tidy? 

Haha – the question everyone always asks. I have two boys, a one-year-old and four-year-old, so my house is super tidy for approximately one-hour a day, when one child is asleep and the other is out at school! Other than that, we have some great systems in our house, car, garage etc to keep clutter to a minimum, but there are usually some toy cars or puzzles strewn across the floor – it’s normal!

If you could give us one piece of advice for a clearer, happier home, what would it be? 

Other than to hire a Professional Organiser? Give everything a home to contain it, and start small. You won’t regret it.  Tidy home, tidy mind, as the saying goes. So many clients report feeling ‘lighter’ once they have decluttered their home, it really does give you more time to enjoy your life and feel relaxed.

What about kids – how early should we start them on the tidying trip?!

I think from when they start walking, you can introduce a tidying up game, they usually quite enjoy putting things in baskets from around one-year. They often enjoy taking them back out again though! I try to find easy ways for my boys to start tidying, for example, they both put their shoes in a basket when they come in the house, but they don’t have to be neatly placed, just popped in there.

All my older son’s toys have a labelled home, and my younger son has one toybox – they both understand where their items should go, and the importance of looking after your things. I once saw something online where a dad played the Mission Impossible theme tune to encourage his kids to tidy up before the song ends, we do the same now and our boys seem to enjoy it.

You’ve inspired me – what room should I start with first?

The one that would bring you the greatest happiness to see it transformed. If you love fashion, do your wardrobe, if you love cooking, do the kitchen, if you love gardening, start with the shed. You’ll feel lighter, I promise. Happy organising!

Find more ideas here

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