Organising expert Vicky Silverthorn gives us some realistic resets (not resolutions) to help welcome in the calm after the chaos
As the New Year sets in and we attempt to avoid falling into any ‘new year, new me’ nonsense, we’re looking for some more, let’s say, realistic goals to take on in 2023. First up? Sorting out the post-Christmas mess and organising the spaces around us. And, because we’re certainly not experts in the art of feng shui, we’ve asked pro-organiser and author of Start with Your Sock Drawer, Vicky Silverthorn, to give us some easy resets (not resolutions) to set us on the right path.
Vicky believes that decluttering and organising your home is a great way to ease into the New Year, without setting the bar too high. “It can start with the smallest task, even if that means taking on one drawer at a time, once you’ve completed it, you’ll get a huge sense of accomplishment and happiness.” She says that setting unrealistic goals is a sure way to face failure further down the line and instead prefers a slow and steady approach to cleaning and sorting. With thirteen years experience under her belt, we’re up for following that advice…
Tip 1. Start small
Decluttering your entire house can be a daunting task, so my practical advice would be to tackle one small area at a time: a corner of the loft, the cupboard under the stairs, maybe a basket full of unused wires that looks particularly unruly. Only start once you have everything prepped, get your tools ready – rubbish bags, recycling and a box for charity or resale.
Allocate a block of time and work on the space slowly – you won’t win any prizes for breaking a sweat. The methodology is to pull out the contents of an area, divide it into simple sections without too much initial thought and then sort. Rehouse anything that is in the wrong area of the home and then, and only then, decide if you need any additional storage to help. Once you’ve started in this way you can spend the rest of the year chipping away at your home. By 2024 you’ll be completely on top of things – fingers crossed!
Tip 2. Cleanse your slumber space
Just like the princess couldn't bear to sleep on top of a pea, I believe we should never sleep on top of clutter. If you’re someone who tucks things away under your bed, make this your first task for 2023. Even if it means reuniting with a pair of socks you’ve not seen since before the pandemic or an ex-boyfriend's smelly T-shirt, pull everything out from under and start categorising. What should be under there and what shouldn’t?
If needed, buy underbed drawers or storage boxes so items can be stored efficiently. You might not notice it at first but making small improvements like this can bring a real sense of calm to the space. Sleep is the time where your mind switches off and tunes out, so treat your slumber space like it is sacred, and sweet dreams!
Tip 3. Refresh your wardrobe
It’s a well known fact that the majority of us only reach for a small percentage of the clothes in our wardrobes daily. So, instead of becoming overwhelmed by a giant pile of coats (I can relate!), or rows upon rows of vest tops, it is best to organise this space and make it work for you.
The best way to do this is by circulating seasonally. Try removing your holiday clothes and winter warmers first, categorising them, and, depending on which month of the year it is, storing them accordingly. You can eventually apply this rule to your fancier occasionwear too. Storing seasonal styles in harder to reach places is an easy way to make your wardrobe feel current.
Pro tip: When it comes to wardrobe sorting, follow a ‘one last chance’ rule. Allocate a section of your wardrobe to the pieces that have been hanging (literally) in the balance for far too long. If they sit there for longer than a month without seeing the light of day, consider them gone!
Tip 4. Take pen to paper
When it’s hard to turn your racing mind off at work, it can be good to organise your thoughts, as well as your environment. Writing a to-do list, no matter how long, is a great start. Keep a note pad beside your bed and get the thoughts out of your mind and on to paper.
You can split these into larger tasks you want to complete by 2024 or smaller monthly or even weekly areas to conquer. Writing these things down, whether it’s ‘re-tiling the patio’ or ‘cleaning the bottom of the cutlery drawer’ will focus your attention on refining the spaces you spend most of your time in.
Tip 5. Get resourceful
This may seem like an obvious one, but getting to grips with it can often be the key to making the most of your storage spaces. Cupboards, wardrobes, drawers and baskets can hide a multitude of sins; by this, I mean collections of toiletries, makeup that is decades old, snacks you never get round to eating, etc. We love to use these spaces to collect things we rarely reach for. So, if you’re someone who avoids the giant pile of miniatures building up in your bathroom, or have very overpopulated freezer drawers, this next one's for you.
Try using all of your products until they run out. This can be a fun one to try after Christmas time when you’re fully stocked. Instead of re-purchasing because of a random two-for-one offer in the supermarket, use what you have before and reassess afterwards. It’s a small change in mindset but you’ll start to enjoy the feeling of actually finishing a bottle of something before starting a new one. Plus, you’ll have far more room on the shelves!
To read more of Vicky’s tips and tricks, check out her Instagram page.