These are some of your worst clutter nightmares – here’s how to clear out shoes, sort the linen cupboard and get rid of those plastic containers…
1. Project One: The Shoe Purge
This should only take an hour. Gather all your shoes together so you face up to just how many pairs you have. If you drill down to absolute basics, you only really need four pairs: smart heels, smart pumps, casual lace-ups and a pair of boots. Get into the mindset that everything else is extra. Of course, you’ll keep more than that, but make sure they earn their space. Next, get sorting.
- Sort into ‘keep’, ‘mend’, and ‘out’.
- Show no mercy! Broken shoes need to be repaired or thrown out.
- Be ruthless and chuck shoes you don’t like or that are out of fashion, even if you’ve never worn them. Life’s too short to wait until they’re vintage.
- Get rid of shoes that hurt (no matter how expensive and how much you love them). You don’t wear them and you need the space more. Get some money for them, give them to a friend, or donate them to a charity.
- Don’t be tempted to keep any for ‘gardening’ or ‘decorating’. One pair of old trainers is adequate.
- Don’t duplicate. Got 10 pairs of similar black shoes and boots? Choose two or three comfortable pairs with different heel heights that you wear the most and ditch the rest.
- Use the 12-month rule: if you haven’t worn them for a whole year, why are they in your wardrobe?
- Make each shoe earn its space. Only keep ones you’d be happy to wear right now, regardless of the occasion. Even shoes that you’re saving for a wedding should be able to do a double service with jeans or a casual skirt.
- Visibility and access are key. Perspex or plastic containers that hold just one or two pairs are the most useful. The bottom of your wardrobe is also a fine home, as long as they can fit without having to be stacked.
- If you do have to stack your shoes, label each box or container so you can easily tell which pair it holds in a hurry.
2. Project Two: The Piles of Linen
For bedding, you need three sets per bed: one on the bed, one spare and one in the wash. When it comes to towels, you need two sets per person, two spares and a guest set.
- Chuck any marked, threadbare or faded linen and towels. Don’t keep sets for when the kids leave the house. You can buy new ones later for under R150, so rather bag them up for the charity shop.
- Do you have duvets and sheets that don’t fit new mattresses? Only keep a couple for dust sheets, and one old towel as a cleaning rag.
- If you have a few different-sized beds in the house, write what they are on the wash label of their linen – ‘single duvet’, ‘double fitted sheet’, etc. – with a linen marker.
- Keep linen where you use it – in drawers, or in storage boxes or bags under your bed; kids’ duvet covers in their rooms, and towels in a cupboard near the bathroom.
- Fold each duvet cover around its mattress sheet and pop them inside the matching pillowcase with the other pillowcases, to store a complete set.
- Towels can be rolled up and stacked on top of each other to save space.
3. Project Three: The Plastic-box Cupboard
The ideal storage place is a corner cupboard with a carousel-style pull-out shelf. Or, use a large plastic box that you can store in a cupboard.
- Throw out the plastic ice cream and margarine tubs that you’ve been keeping.
- Match lids to containers, ensuring that each container has one that fits properly. Throw away odd lids and boxes.
- Chuck out the stained, scratched or misshapen ones.
- Invest in click-and-lock storage boxes from Clicks, Game, Tupperware or Sistema (available at major retailers).
- Don’t store lids and containers separately. Fasten lids on containers and store on one level, if you can.
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst
As the food and decor editor of Woman&Home, Claire enjoys nothing more than eating great food in beautiful locations. In a perfect world, she would travel for a living and have a Lord of the Rings marathon every weekend.