Decluttering in 3 simple steps

We all have them, those spaces where you end up piling up boxes and stuff to sort later or store. Ours is under the stairs, for others it might be the garage, up in the attic, in that hall cupboard or even in a spare room. You try and close the door quickly as to not notice how messy and cluttered it is looking. Our space was getting worse, not helped by the kids rummaging through it, as you can see.  I got to the point where I had enough, so decided it was time to attack this. 

how to sort your cluttered storage space -Tidying with Tania

I did find that I put the job off for a while as it just seemed so overwhelming...it was such a mess and I just didn't know what to with all the stuff. What I did know is that I wanted the clutter gone and I wanted a really nice space to look at as well as a functional storage area and most importantly it had to be a no spend project. I decided to eat this elephant one bit at a time, planning, sorting and decorating.

  1. Planning

My starting point was planning out the space, for me this is the motivational part. I decided what I wanted it to look like, well within limits anyway. We have not renovated this part of the house as yet therefore it did not make any sense to do too much or spend any money on this space at this time. However like I say "you should always be beautiful with what you have"

The room is under the entrance landing and the stairway. I had a black netting type curtain which I used to hang in front the entrance to the space so to block the view of the clutter. However this meant that it was actually fairly dark downstairs and not very welcoming.  My goal was to open it up and bring the light back in. I also wanted to highlight the cool smokey window at the back which brings in heaps of morning sun.

The space still had to be essentially a place for storage however only for things we actually use, i.e seasonal and occasional items like luggage and picnic hampers. I did not want it to be filled back up with clutter again. 

The last step in the planning was to work out a timeframe. I gave myself two weekends to complete this job as I knew it would be big. Rushing a job is not a good idea for and I wanted to take my time and do it properly.  So I locked in the next two Saturdays. Lucky for me the first one rained all day so it was a perfect for a big inside job.

2. Sorting 

This was really scary, I mean look at all that stuff! What will be the best way to tackle this? When I had previously sorted out clutter I also ended up with piles for rubbish and recycling. So I decided to sort into rubbish, recycling, donations and selling. There was a one last category and that was "misplace" . Basically an item that actually lives somewhere else in the house.

What I found really important was while I was doing the sorting was to apply a one touch rule. An example is an item of rubbish, touch it and put it on the rubbish bag and when the bag is full place it out for collection. The same applied with recycling. In regards to the donation I put the items straight into the back of the car so I then had to take them.

I could not believe how much I actually removed. Almost all of the clutter went, mostly going to recycle and donation. The stuff that I have collected....boy oh boy! In the end the only items that I am keeping is our luggage, sleeping bags and picnic hampers. I put all these onto the shelves which meant that the rest of the area was actually free of clutter. Boy did it feel good.

3. Decorating

This was the fun part, well some of it. I gave the room a really good clean out and repainted the block walls. Paint left over from previous jobs came in handy here as did the left over carpet from the recent new carpet we had laid in the entertainment room. I just cut it down to fit and used double sided tape to hold it in place. 

Although the shelving was really efficient for the storage of the luggage it still looked untidy. To solve this I simply put up a curtain in front of the shelves, perfect !. To limit the potential for new clutter to establish itself again, I did two things;

  • set up two bins (old wash clothing bins) for storage

  • placed plants in the room as decor

The use of the storage bins means that when we place something in them it has to then be sorted into rubbish, recycle, donate or sell.

There was also method in my madness as to the where I placed the bins and this is solely due to the two fluffy hunters that we have. Yes our cats! they love to bring all their live and dead offerings to us through this space, note the cat flap. Therefore this area has been a corpse collection station at times, much to our horror. Also the dirty little beggars leave dirt marks on the wall when jumping up and down through the cat flap.

Now that I have done a Tidying with Tania on this space there is no way I was letting the cats mess it up again. Therefore to stop the bringing in of offerings, the cat flap is now only one way, out only, so at least they will not wake us up in the night for a pee. To stop the jumping up marks, I purposely placed the bins in front of the walls. This forces them to jump up and over the plant, on the right of the picture, and walk along the window ledge. I actually watched them to ensure that this worked and yep it did. 

The house plants are a simple decor idea to establish the space as part of the house and not a storage room to be shut off. 

Storage room

I am really pleased with how it turned out. It is such a nice space now and is open and connected to the rest of the house. Best of all it brings me joy!

What is your cluttered space? Need help with how to tackle the space?

Let me know, as a problem shared is a problem solved.

Have a great week

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How I did my Christmas decor on a budget

What would December be without a blog about Christmas decorations. It is a fun time of year, albeit busy and a time for us decorators to let loose on the house, making it as festive as we can. I could go crazy on Christmas decorations, however thankfully my wallet does not allow it at present....but I still want to be surrounded by nice decorations. So the challenge for me this year was to do my christmas decorating on a budget. I needed to get to a bit creative! See how I got on!

Say hi to an old family favourite, given to us by my beautiful Auntie Odette, he still holds pride of place with the Christmas stockings.

Colour Theme

To help keep some focus to my decorations this year...(my eyes do wander to bright shiny things) I chose a colour theme, something that suits the colour and tones of my home decor and incorporates my existing Christmas decorations. So gold and silver it is, I just needed to get a bit more silver to balance out the gold of which I have a lot.

There are so many beautiful colour themes, just go on Pinterest or on Instagram and you will get inspired left right and centre!

Bargain Hunting 

New lights for the Christmas Tree this year would be great, however I decided to wait for the New Year sales to pick up some good ones. So I just added some silver garland from the $2 Shop that helped to balance out the gold on the tree. 

In one of my Hospice Shop trips I managed to find a bag of silver decorations which I picked up for 50c.  I took the silver baubles and just put them into a glass vase. I placed them on a shelf that gets the afternoon sun, so when it shines through they look like lights!  Boom... free lights!

My favourite cheap xmas decoration find was three "wreaths", again from the $2 Shop. They had big, rather ugly red bows, on them and nothing else so they did look cheap. I simply took the bows off and used them to surround my table centre pieces, and I think they look awesome!

Yes that is supposed to be mistletoe! It was a whole bouquet which I just broke up and placed around some plain candles, simple and very inexpensive christmas decorations.

How cute are the reindeer, these and the new pine garland were the only items I splurged on. Well maybe not splurged. The reindeer were on special, 50% off, at Farmers. so I got both for $20, fyi, they still have great specials on all the Christmas decorations.

The new garland ($30) got to surround the stereo stand as that is our "fire place" where we hang the Santa sacks. As it was plain, I just used a jute ribbon that I had brought from Spotlight and placed some bows that were in the 50c Hospice Shop bag. I also managed to get some little LED lights at Kmart for $12 which I placed in the garland. Just a hint, if you like Jute, don't buy the Christmas themed ribbons, just got the craft section and get the plain/patterned jute. They are a lot cheaper and you get much better length.  I got both rolls of ribbons for $7 each.

Another use of the $2 Shop silver garland was to wrap around the stair banister, to add a bit of texture and colour I used a different jute ribbon, black and gold.

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This is not all my decoration, however it is the best examples on how to do Christmas decorating on a budget.  The great thing is that you can just keep adding to your collection each year.  And do make sure that you take advantage of the Christmas sales in the New Year. 

I hope I have inspired you with some cheap Xmas decoration ideas. 

Happy Decorating and don't forget to share your great decoration tips.