Decluttering and Organising with Kilter Home

{Before we begin – this decluttering and organising session was gifted to me by Kilter Home. I wasn’t under any obligation to share this, but I was so blown away by just how much impact this had on how I feel in my home, I knew I absolutely had to share it!}

Does it spark joy?”

Ah, the question on everybody’s lips right now. Lots of us feel the urge to Spring clean, declutter and organise our lives at the start of a new year, and with the arrival of Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix, Instagram has been filled with stories of thanking objects and touching them to see if it sparks joy, bin bags of things to go to charity and proud photos of neatly folded t shirts arranged from dark to light.

I bought Marie Kondo’s book two years ago and applied her methodology to our old house (which actually went on the market two years ago today! And sold within 24 hours – due to the decluttering I reckon). Michael and I were a bit hoarder-ish and not very good at clearing or throwing things out… and we were trying to sell an absolutely tiny 2 up 2 down crammed with stuff. I managed to get it looking pristine with clear surfaces and beautifully organised cupboards, and I honestly think this contributed to it selling within less than 24 hours of being on the market!

We have both tried to continue to keep things organised, which has worked in some ways. We are both great at not keeping things we will never use or look at again, and we both have regular clearouts of our clothes; but one thing we hadn’t done properly was our kitchen or downstairs storage.

When Lois from Kilter Home got in touch over Christmas to ask if I would be interested in collaborating, my first thought was hmm, I don’t know if we have enough clutter for her to work with? But a quick look on her {beautifully designed} website taught me that we were completely on the same page about what a home should be, and the importance of organisation on mental wellbeing – and I knew we’d have work to do.

I met Lois a couple of weeks ago and we clicked instantly. She only lives around the corner from me and has just launched her business in January 2019, and was looking to spread the word about her organisation coaching service. She was so lovely and complimentary about our house; I was apologising for the awful red carpet in the hall we are saving to replace and various other bits and bobs, but she said our house was really lovely and tidy. Having lived with clutter for years, that was music to my ears! I had realised that the under stairs cupboard and kitchen cupboards really needed sorting, as they stressed me out whenever I opened them. We chatted for ages about how decluttering is more than just chucking out a few old dresses and cables, and how if opening a cupboard makes you feel stressed you are less inclined to want to put things away nicely, and also will end up buying much more than you need because you can’t see what you already have. We spoke about how connected to your mental health the cleanliness of your home is.

I read this article a while back about how interlinked mental health and our ability to take care of our surroundings is, and it really clicked with me. When your mental health is bad, doing the dishes can be an insurmountable task… and then the messier the kitchen gets, the worse you feel and the bigger the task becomes. The author of this article describes how doing the dishes became the single biggest act of self care she could do for herself, and how washing something right after she has used it became a little gift to herself knowing that she was well enough to do it, and cared enough about her home to keep it clean. That really stuck with me, as I think it’s true of everything in our homes – from the tiniest act of doing the dishes to keeping everywhere clean, tidy and not stressful to look at.

One of the other objectives of Kilter Home is to look at your consumption habits, and believe it or not the organisation and clutter of your home is directly related to this. If you can’t see what you’ve got, you’ll end up buying loads of things you don’t need – bad for your wallet as well as the planet, especially if it’s plastic. After a declutter you are so much more aware of what you have, and when everything has a place you feel a lot more accountable for making sure you stay on top of it and don’t go out and immediately buy more crap!

Lois and I decided that we would focus the declutter on the kitchen and under stairs cupboard. I had been saying to Michael that the under stairs cupboard is a stupid space; it’s a weird shape and not much fits in properly, and I was even moaning that we needed to get those fancy pull out cupboard things fitted into it. One thing I learned from doing this is that actually, our houses are probably just fine the way they are; a space that appears dysfunctional most probably could work fine with some organisation! Lois can also help you to create a capsule wardrobe and help you to shop your own shelves without needing to buy lots, which I was really interested in, but I decided that this area of the house was causing me actual stress and needed to be the priority!

OK, I’m almost ashamed to show you these… but here are my Before pictures of inside our cupboards!

And, the worst one by far… the under stairs cupboard of doom!

Gahhhhh!

The first thing Lois did was set up some huge boxes and labelled them with Sell, Bin, Recycle and Relocate, so that as we sorted we could toss things into each box and know what to do with it.

I popped on some tunes, made us a brew and we got stuck in! The first we did was pull EVERYTHING out of the under stairs cupboard. The major thing that struck me was just how many jute bags, tote bags and plastic bags we had – and they were taking up around half of the cupboard! I definitely have been struck with guilt over plastic and have been trying to reduce our use of single use plastic, and felt like I couldn’t throw away all the plastic carrier bags and reusable totes I’d amassed over years gone by. Lois assured me that as long as they were taken to a proper recycling place, my conscience could rest easy! She advised keeping maybe 5 of the bigger jute bags and around 10 smaller plastic carrier bags and getting rid of the rest.

It’s not the prettiest of spaces, but now that it’s decluttered I plan to give it a little lick of paint and a spruce up in the summer!
Decluttering always looks worse before it gets better!

The first thing that blew my mind was Lois folding up the plastic bags and putting them in tupperware – I can’t do the maths on this but I’m pretty confident she reduced the space they were taking up by approx 426%! She said to only ever keep 10 bags, and if I come home with a new one to recycle one. Folding them up really small and putting them in a box not only keeps them small and out of the way, but also makes you think consciously about whether you really need another plastic bag. She folded all the jute bags and arranged them in one of the baskets I had bought; they start out quite stiff and inflexible, but the more you use them and fold them the softer they get.

In terms of the baskets and boxes we used to store things, this is where it all gets really clever. You don’t need to go out and spend masses of money on fancy storage solutions! Lois advises re-using boxes from around the house. Shoe boxes are great, as are boxes that gifts or products come in. I luckily have a husband with a big Adidas trainer obsession, so between his Adidas shoeboxes and my Boden ones we had a fair few. I did buy a couple of baskets too, which were only super cheap from B&M; you can get similar cheap storage in places like pound shops or Home Bargains. We even used boxes from things we’d found in cupboards like lightbulbs, and lots of my herbal tea boxes (which are super pretty too!).

Lois had me go through everything in the cupboard and decide whether it needed to go in the bin, be put somewhere else in the house or be recycled. I was amazed at how much I thought I needed to keep but in reality, really didn’t! We have lived in our house for around 18 months and the previous owners kindly left us two shelves full of lightbulbs… it was only upon really looking at them I realised we didn’t even have any of the light fittings they were for anymore! Lois bagged up the bulbs and their boxes, separating the bulbs from the cardboard, and said she would recycle them. One of the best things about doing this process with Lois is that, for a small extra charge, she will take everything you get rid of to the tip or recycling centre for you! What a babe!

We moved on to the kitchen cupboards. When we moved in, our kitchen was unpacked by our family as we directed the movers with furniture, and we haven’t really re-done it since. It just didn’t flow and wasn’t working for us at all. We pulled everything out, and I was completely shocked to see that I had about eighteen bags of rice with tiny bits left in – I’d been buying rice all the time thinking we’d run out, when I just couldn’t see what we had!

The key to great organisation is compartmentalising everything using boxes or lids, because that way things don’t roll around in the drawer or cupboard and get themselves all messy and mixed up. Not only did we drastically change the location of most of my stuff, but everything was put back in its own little compartment. I find it really tricky doing this kind of thing on my own, as I just can’t visualise how it would work better… whereas Lois was amazing at putting things in places that just flowed brilliantly.

I didn’t get before pictures of every single cupboard, because we ended up doing cupboards I previously thought were fine; but once in the flow I realised everything could be improved!

Another of my favourite tips was keeping potatoes in canvas tote bags, as it helps to keep them fresher for longer. It also reduces the visual pollution you’re faced with when you open your cupboards – you know how there’s just loads of text, colours and plastic? The tote bags and organisation of things made my cupboards look at lot more calming and neutral.

We spoke about the whole Marie Kondo thing, and how people are really up for decluttering but probably think they don’t need to use a service like Kilter because they can follow the method from her show. Whilst there’s probably some truth in that, I honestly can say hand on heart I would never have achieved amazing results like we did without Lois. I think having someone else there to be objective and to ask “how would you store this?” or “do you think I need this?” was invaluable. She can literally see round corners! She has brilliant ideas for creating flow, calmness and harmony in your house, and even the way she folds and stacks things and takes everything out of its outer packaging was all brand new to me. She showed me how to stack tupperware boxes and keep the lids in a gift bag – I mean, how genius is that? She even organised my precious tea cupboard by taking the tops off all of the tea boxes and decanting them all into just a few boxes, so now I can see the full range of beautiful herbal teas I have and I’ve found myself drinking a much wider variety of them this week.

I couldn’t be happier with the results! Michael came home and was suitably wowed by it all. He does most of the cooking in our house, and said he has found it loads easier this week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can find Kilter Home on Instagram and also you can see details of all the packages Lois offers on her website here. The packages aren’t just limited to what they list either; you may find that you want to mix and match elements of each, and Lois will create a totally flexible package that is bespoke to you. She will also bring lots of examples of storage boxes and solutions that you can buy from her on the day, so you don’t even have to go out trawling the shops – how awesome is that! Lois is based in Liverpool and works anywhere a 40 mile radius from here… but if you’re not local, don’t panic – she will be offering Skype based sessions for people outside of this! She gives lots of tips out on her Instagram and will be launching some web-based guides for you soon!

And the best bit? Lois is very kindly offering a 10% discount on her services to readers of my blog! Just quote PINAFORES10 when you speak to her to activate.

All of my gift wrapping supplies that used to take up massive bags, all neatly folded and compartmentalised into one basket. And Bonnie now has her own box for all of her little bits and bobs!
Slightly blurry photos here as I was losing the light, but this is everything back in the cupboard of doom – look how much space there is left!

I’d 100% recommend doing this if you’ve ever opened a drawer and thought “ugh”, or the contents of a cupboard have fallen on your head… or if you’ve thought “we need to extend our house” – chances are you don’t need to move house or to build a fancy extension, your space just needs to work a little bit harder for you!

This post was in collaboration with Kilter Home, but as always I would only reccommend something I’ve found to be absolutely brilliant!

One thought on “Decluttering and Organising with Kilter Home

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s