An organised home is easy on the eye as well as the mind. Science links the process of decluttering to lower stress levels. Lesser stuff means fewer things to pick up and lesser energy spent doing so. An environment free of visual distractions also helps you process information better and stay efficient. While organising can be cathartic for some, it’s overwhelming for others. We chatted with professional space manager Rohini Rajgopalan of Mumbai-based Organise With Ease for tips to get started, stay motivated and make home organisation a way of life.
01. Start Somewhere, Start Small
Instead of attempting to organise the entire house in one go, Rohini recommends looking at it as a series of smaller, achievable projects – the drawer, a sideboard, the toy box, etc. “This will take 15 to 30 minutes but you feel like you've accomplished something on your To Do list. When you see the difference [that] it makes to the space, you're motivated to do something more,” she says.
02. Declutter Before You Organise
Yes, we all have those not-so-secret clutter traps in our home and they are a good place to start the home organisation process. Common examples include bathroom shelves, corner surfaces and rarely accessed cabinets.
“One thing that bothers most of us is our wardrobe. Shopping has become far more accessible and affordable [via online platforms]. When the wardrobe is overfilled, you feel like you don't have anything to wear. It’s a space you access every day; a space which builds or crushes your morale every morning,” says Rohini.
Instead of stressing over what to junk, start with what should stay – all the things you absolutely cannot live without. Rohini looks at it as building a ‘love pile’. When deciding on what to give away, she asks clients two key questions: If you had to pay full price for this again, would you still buy it? If it goes missing, would you notice? As a rule of thumb, if an item hasn’t been used in a long time and still has its price tag on, it has to go.
03. Find Every Thing a Home
From keys to monthly essentials, assign a spot for everything. This simplifies the day-to-day organisation and cleaning; you know exactly where something goes without putting much thought into it. Rohini swears by products that help compartmentalise things via categories. Examples include cubby storage bins, storage tubs/crates, jars and baskets, trinket trays.
From international design labels like Muji, IKEA and Miniso to homegrown brands like Home Centre by Lifestyle, Westside and even your neighbourhood homeware store, there’s no dearth of products in the market.
“A lot of people tend to shop for organisers because they look good. It works the other way around; it really is about the requirement of the space,” says Rohini. She encourages repurposing shoe boxes, delivery cartons, gifting boxes from the previous festive season.
04. Get that Closure
I’m going to donate these bags of old clothes but first I’m going to drive around with them in my trunk for four months.
We have all read, shared and are guilty of this one. Once you’ve identified what you don’t need, organise things into Donate, Recycle and Trash boxes. For the first, Rohini suggests paying it forward locally; house help, neighbourhood hospitals/orphanages, etc. For the second, a host of corporates in India run upcycling/recycling programmes. For instance, the e-care initiative by Croma helps dispose of electronic waste responsibly; Shoppers Stop’s recent Recycle for Her Cycle campaign called for old cotton clothes that are being upcycled by NGO Goonj into reusable sanitary napkins as well as household products for underprivileged families in rural areas.
05. Commit to a Decluttering Practice
For Rohini, organisation is now a way of life; a system that simplifies living and makes it easy for the entire family to function. “If you manage to spend 10 minutes, as a daily ritual, putting things back in their spot, you will never have clutter,” she concludes.