Six things I learned from my ‘quick declutter’

A regular, quick declutter is the perfect way to keep on top of the clutter that can build up and make it difficult to find the things you need and feel relaxed in your home. 

The process of taking a proper look around; acknowledging the things you love and us, and passing on the things you don’t, relieves your home of the weight of clutter.

I’m always learning about decluttering

I snatched a day during the Christmas holidays and roped my family into a ‘quick declutter’ to freshen-up the house. I’ve been doing this professionally for a while, but every day is a school day (as they say). I learned a thing or two and thought you’d like to learn from my own experience!

What did we do?

I planned in some family decluttering time for one of the days during the holidays and convinced my husband and daughter to join me. I put aside 1 hour to do a quick dash around to pick up things from surfaces, shelves, etc that we thought hadn’t been used/enjoyed in a while. Not only did we focused on our own things but also others family members too. (I try to regularly declutter so didn’t think we would find much)!

We put everything on the lounge rug and agreed to review it together to ensure that we were all happy to donate the items we’d gathered.

What was the result of our declutter?

We were really quite thorough and took twice as long to gather up items as we expected. However we found lots to review. I was surprised that we more than filled the lounge rug! 

After a short review, it didn’t take long to fill bags and pop it all the car ready to drop off at a charity shop the following day. And a family movie night was a great reward for everyone involved!

What did we learn about decluttering?

  1. Timeframe – We didn’t think it would take long to gather a few bits from about the house but in the end we went deeper. Our hunt included looking inside cupboards, under beds etc. Because we were on holiday, we were able to dedicate a little more time than initially planned. Use a timer or focus on one room to restrict your declutter activity, if you don’t have much time, are worried that you will get carried away or make a mess
  2. Fresh pair of eyes  family members could spot items that they’d not seen the others use/enjoy for a while. This brought a new perspective which was really helpful. If you don’t have someone else available to help, imagine you are a visitor and ask when were items last use
  3. Teamwork  our daughter was easily distracted when she went to look in rooms alone. Consider working as a team in the same room to help keep each focused on the task
  4. Focus on what is enjoyed and used, release what is not. My daughter hadn’t used some things for a while but decided she still loved them. These provided a useful contrast to other items that she no longer needed. It can help you focus on what is important, and also what is not, and can therefore be released, when you take things out to really look at them
  5. Engage everyone in what to do and why we are doing it. You can’t force others get involved, but you can engage them in the benefits they’ll enjoy; space to play or do activities; to store and find things they need; calm relaxing environment. Plan ahead, discuss the benefits, the plan of action and plan something nice as a reward for everyone
  6. It was well worth it! – It was worth dedicating some time and energy. We took the time to check-in with ourselves regarding what was important; decluttered lots of items we no longer needed; supported a local charity shop and improved out home! Don’t put it off!

Are you ready for a quick declutter? Go on, give it a try!

If you’d like any help with decluttering and organising your home, I’m here for you.

An Organiser’s guide to surviving the school holidays

Does the thought of the school holidays fill you with dread?

Do you remember when you couldn't wait to finish school and have the summer ahead of you?
Hanging out with friends, long summer days and doing whatever you fancied. No teachers telling you what to do and only a little homework to do, which you left until the week before you went back. Oh the freedom!
Then we grew up and had children. Now we have all these responsibilities!
Summer holidays means juggling all the usual, plus extra childcare, trips and family activities! It can feel impossible to get it right and satisfy everyone.
So let's just keep it simple! Here are a few ideas for a calmer summer.

1) Don't stress too much about your home

I think I'm supposed to suggest that the school holidays are the best time to have a really good sort out, but frankly, who wants to be doing that when you'd rather be spending time with family, friends, or outside (hopefully enjoying nice weather), when you're not at work!

If you have time and can get your children involved, the holidays are a good opportunity to engage your children in some decluttering and organising because you all have the time and may be open to using some of it exploring old possessions and having a fun tidy. The good weather, fresh air and outside play may motivate them to free their inside space of old toys, books, games and stuff cluttering up their room.

Older children may also appreciate the opportunity to prepare a calm, orderly environment to support them when back to their studies.

My previous blogs give you ideas on how to approach Organising with your children and on Organising children's things.

If this isn't for you, that's ok. Don't worry about it. The family are likely to be outside quite a lot during the summer so you will all be less encumbered by your stuff.

Maintain as best you can during this time.

Recycle unnecessary paperwork as it comes in and donate any unused items as you spot them. Tidy out kitchen drawers and cupboards or sort wardrobes in preparation for new school uniform and autumn clothes.
You can recover after the holidays are over and you get back to normal routines. Perhaps you can get someone to take family out so that you can have a good sort out then. September is often a good time to reclaim control of your home and use the inspiration have gained from outings or hotel stays, to motivate you to make changes at home, in preparation for the autumn and Christmas.

2) Plan where you can

Getting organised in advance will take a little of time before hand but will be well worth the investment.
I've talked before about planning your week and creating meal plans before. It can really help you feel better prepared, have everything you need and have a smoother week. A shared wall planner (or electronic calendar) also helps everyone understand what's happening.
I'd advocate doing the same for the holidays - you don't have to stick to the plan but if you list the places you'd all like to visit, or things to do, this enables you to make time for these (don't forget chill out time too!). Make the most of any discounts and to prepare outfits (hello washing mountains!) and meal plans so that you don't need to think about meals and food shopping on the fly.

3) Get away

If you are planning on going away, whether abroad or in the UK, you can make life easy for yourself by using checklists to help manage your packing.

There is nothing worse than getting to your destination to find you only brought 17 sets of left contact lense (yes we've done that!).

Checklists may seem a bit over-kill but are a must have to save so much time and stress. It makes shopping and packing easy and you have the time and head space to get prepared!

I have friends who have honed their checklists, making packing a quick and easy task. They keep their lists packed away with the suitcases ready for future trips.

We do the same for camping gear making it so much easier to just throw everything in the car and escape for the weekend without worrying we've left things behind.

If self-catering or camping in the UK, meal planning before you go is so helpful. You can arrange a grocery delivery or visit a local supermarket and have everything for the week. Not only does it help you budget, ensure that you have meals that everyone will eat, but it's is a great way to make the most of picnics opportunities. It also takes the hassle out of dinner preparation and you can pack any extra bits you need to prepare a meal (such as special pan, ingredient or recipe).

Top 5 packing tips:

  1. Pack bags by person or categories so it's easy to find things when you arrive (e.g. chargers, medication, games, clothes beach items)
  2. Use smaller bags inside your suitcase or bag to manage groups of items (e.g. chargers, shoes, toiletries & bottles)
  3. Fold items that go together to make up outfits together so that you can easily bottoms and matching tops
  4. Pack smaller items into hollow items (e.g. socks into bras, pants into shoes)
  5. Nominate a responsible person who carries the bag with all essentials for the trip - tickets, money, keys, cards, important documents, chewing gum/sweets, hand gel, tissues, etc

My Packing Essentials checklists are perfect for making packing easy-peasy whilst ensuring that you don't forget those essentials.

I've created three tailored for different trips; camping, travel abroad and in the UK.

Seven ideas to create that holiday feeling at home

As I ponder our recent holiday, I wonder whether you can have this feeling all the time.

Is it possible to take the pressure off and rid yourself of distractions all the time? I think it may be. Here are my 7 ideas to help you create that holiday feeling at home.

holiday feeling at home

I’m very lucky, last week I
took the opportunity to write this blog post in a little cafe with a fabulous seaside view! I reflected on our week and the fun we’d had but also felt a tiny pang of dread as a I realised that we’d soon have to return home. Here’s what I had to say…

Holidays are a fabulous opportunity to put aside valuable time with the family and make space to relax.

Clutter free

It’s been wonderful to have a little break away, to be able to kick back and relax together, but you know that feeling when you have to go home to normality. They’ll be no food in, a mountain of washing and plenty of jobs to do around the house and garden. And that’s before even thinking about the busy week ahead at work and at home.

It sounds strange but I’ll miss our holiday accommodation. We stayed in a gorgeous house, decorated simply and we only took the clothes and toiletries that we needed. It was cosy but calm. I love holiday accommodation because there is no clutter, no paperwork, no jobs that needed doing, and no toys and stuff to clutter up the space or make you feel disorganised or distracted.

Space to be…

Time away creates the time and space to relax. To play games as a family, spend leisurely mealtimes, read and enjoy ourselves without pressure. I’d planned all of our meals so apart from cooking and cleaning up afterwards, there was no pressure to tidy and no clutter to distract us. I had time to do the things that I valued with my favourite people.

As I sit drinking my lemonade, I wonder: what can you do to create this ‘holiday’ feeling at home? To remove the clutter, the excess and the pressure to free up time and head space?

Here are some of my seven ideas to create that holiday feeling at home!

  1. Designate weekends as holiday time – do as much of the washing and cleaning activities as possible before Saturday morning. Schedule washing loads (Tuesday is dark load, Wednesday towel load, etc) and cleaning tasks for evenings during the week
  2. Do food shopping during the week or arrange for a delivery on a Friday night (the cheapest time of the week for many delivery services)
  3. Have staples delivered regularly so you don’t need to think about buying them (here are a few companies that I love – other suppliers are available!)
    • Milk and More – a milk delivery is better for the environment and takes the headache out of ensuring a regular supply of milk (includes non-dairy too)
    • SMOL will deliver washing and dishwasher tablets and other household products through your letterbox according to your usage levels
    • Amazon deliver liquid soap refills, fabric conditioner and other household products
    • Who Gives a Crap -deliver recycled and bamboo toilet roll, tissues and kitchen roll in bulk
    • Abel and Cole – get fresh fruit and veg delivered weekly so you don’t have to think about it. You know what you’re going to receive so can meal plan each week
  4. Focus on making your living areas (kitchen, lounge, dinning room) into your holiday home. Think like you were on holiday what would be the minimum furniture, equipment and possessions you’d need? Anything you identify as not needed for your holiday home can be sold, donated or recycled
  5. Make it a rule that the dining room table is left clear after meals so that you always have space to play games, draw, bake or do crafts
  6. Create storage for items that are needed for work or school in the hallway. This is the ideal spot to store bags, coats and shoes that you will need the following day
  7. Switch off phones, tablets and TV for an agreed period of time. Technology is a huge distraction, emails, social media, news app, etc, they are all designed to keep you interested. Physically removing your tech gives you the opportunity to unplug and focus on your family or just sit and be.

If you feel your home needs a declutter read my Six steps to your post-summer declutter

Try this a at home

If you like what you’ve read and try some of these out at home, do let me know how you get on! If you want to revamp your hall storage, I’ve collated my favourite storage products to save you time. Click here…

And don’t forget, I’m here for you if you want help with reviewing or organising your things, your diary or your routine.

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional Organiser

If you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

I provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life.

I specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see my services or get in touch.

Storage Ideas for Children’s Things

School holidays are the perfect time to organise children’s things. You can engage your children in sharing the toys, books and clothes that they’ve out grown and learning important organising skills for themselves.

You can read more about decluttering with children in my previous blog. Here I share ideas for organising clothes and common toys:

Children’s Clothes

Store clothes that you want your child to access easily to get themselves ready, in drawers at their height. It’s a faff the first time, but if you fold everything into small chunks (Marie Kondo style so that they stand up in the drawer) and use small boxes or dividers to separate the vests, tops, leggings etc. It’s really easy to see everything and choose outfits quickly. It’s also easy to maintain.

Hang coats, dresses, things that crease easily in a wardrobe, putting items you rather they didn’t get hold off to the edge, out of the way.

Given that children grow so quickly, I find it’s unusual to have more than a few seasons worth of clothes out at one time, so I tend to hang things in sections – q) starting to grow out of, 2) fits, 3) need to grow into. Use high shelves to stash a clear plastic box of hand-me-downs and clothes you’ve bought in sales ready for them to grow into.


Lego and other construction toys can be tough to store because there’s so much of it and it gets everywhere. If you’ve looked at storage ideas before you’ll have seen there are lots of ideas from Lego tables, walls, drawers and so on. I think your approach to storage works best when tailored to the way your child likes to play with it. Your main aim is to make it as easy as possible to put away for everyone.

If your child likes to build the individual kits then store in individual bags or boxes of a suitable size and include the instructions too.

If your child likes to create new things from their kits, and you don’t see value in having different coloured sections, a large crate works very well. Everything can be swept into it at the end of a session and new things created next time. We keep the instructions in a magazine file but a clear pocket book is a good alternative.

Here is a great example of a Toy Storage Bag and Kids Play Mat which can make tidying easier. A large blanket is a great alternative.

(Just so you know I’m an Amazon Associate. The price you pay does not change but I receive commission if you shop via these links)


Create a cosy book corner or library area where all books live. Store books on little shelves, in book cases or boxes depending on the volume, size and age of your child. Add cushions, a comfy chair or bean bag and maybe a canopy to make it feel like a safe and special nook for quiet time. It’ll give them the freedom to choose their own stories, read independently and be a great place for your child to sit quietly and relax. Also, it’ll be easy to keep the house tidy – all books are returned to this place.

Crafts things

I love to use clear plastic crates with lids for craft items so that the contents can be easily identified. Large ones work for papers and coloured card. Smaller containers are good for beads, feathers, goggly eyes and the like.

If you have a cupboard to pop these boxes away that close to the table or messy area that works well.

If you have a cupboard to pop these boxes away that close to the table or messy area that works well.

Whatever you choose…

Whatever storage methods you choose, containers, whether clear plastic crates with lids or colourful boxes make sure to choose the shapes and sizes to suit your space. Aim to keep similar items together, creating zones for different toys close to suitable space to play and label as much as you can. Perhaps have a baby nursery in the bedroom and leave craft materials for a downstairs space, where you can supervise their use.

If you can engage your child in creating the labels and use colourful images this will be more meaningful for them and will help them remember where to tidy things back to.

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional Organiser

If you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

I provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. I specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see my services or get in touch.

The Perfect Time to Organise Children’s Things

The school holidays are the perfect time to organise children's things and review your children’s toys and clothes.

As you all take a breath after the chaos of the term-time routine, you will start to spot the things that your children no longer need, have grown out of and fallen out of love with.

The holidays provide a great opportunity to remove those old toys, unloved items, out-grown books and clothes. Whilst you could whisk some things away while your children are at nursery or school (and I have done this myself occasionally), it’s good to involve them, engaging them in the task, methods and reasons why it’s good to pass things and important to help them create healthy habits that will stay with them into adulthood.

You will help your growing child to make room for new hobbies, new toys (as birthdays come along) and  new interests and it’s a great activity to keep everyone entertained on a rainy day.

A good organising session will also mean you’ll all go into the new term feeling lighter, clearer and better prepared.

Organising our possessions is a valuable life skill we can teach our children - Laura Williams

It can feel daunting but involving your children in the activity gives them:

  • A joint activity to do with you
  • The ability to find what they want to play with easily
  • A sense of responsibility for their own things
  • Skills that will stay with them as they grow
  • Some appreciation of the toys they have
  • Ability to share their things with other less fortunate children

Baby dolls

In the same way you want to be engaged, enjoy activities and understand why you need to do them, so do your children.

How you engage them twill depend on their age and their personality, so here are 10 ideas to try:

  1. Explain what you are going to do together and why
  2. Make it fun with a game, playing music or having a race
  3. Create a competition with a prize for the most well organised room
  4. Talk about children less for fortunate than themselves and get them to imagine what it might be like
  5. Get them to make a list of their most favourite toys so that you can ‘protect’ these
  6. Show them that they will be able to find the things they want to play with more easily
  7. Explain that you’ll be able to store toys close to where they want to play with them so it’ll be easier to play
  8. Ask them to look around a messy room and ask them how it feels, get them to imagine what it would be like if there was clear space to play on the floor, do crafts or dance about 
  9. Show them videos, pictures from websites or leaflets from charities that support children, explain that these children don’t have any toys and will love to receive one of theirs that they no longer need
  10. Explain that there is not lots of room in the house so it’s important than when we no longer need something we give it to someone else to enjoy. Give examples of things you’ve managed in this way

Before you embark on your organising session make sure that you are ready for a declutter first:

  • Get boxes ready for charity donations, recycling and rubbish
  • Choose a room or area (such as area of room, a cupboard) depending on the time available
  • Think about how you are going to remove the items you’ve sorted out from your home before someone find them and changes their mind

Once you’ve decluttered and know what you want to keep, organise items by category, storing them where they’wll be used.

See part 2, coming soon, for storage ideas for children’s clothes and toys.

About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional Organiser


If you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

I provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. I specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see my services or get in touch.