Why declutter and simplify your country home?

Take time to smell the roses. Declutter and simplify.

Do you have room to breathe? Country living doesn’t stop many of us from being busy, busy, busy and stressed, stressed, stressed.* We don’t smell the roses, let alone take time for friends and family or go for walks across the fields, on the beach or in the mountains.

If you declutter and simplify your home, would it really help and make your life easier?


In a word, yes.

And it might do a few other things too.

[* It’s the same for town and city living, of course.]

Declutter and simplify and you’ll have more time

Having time is one of the greatest luxuries today. It’s become a precious commodity and it flies, whether you’re having fun or not.

When you’ve simplified your house a little or a lot, you’ll have time for other things. You’ll be able to spend time on things you want to do, without being in a perpetual rush. You might even have time for a big rush that you won’t forget at Rib Ride or Zip World!

You’ll be able to just get to the beach or out for a walk without forgetting something – dog lead, keys, phone.

And the day-to-day routine of (select and add as appropriate) animals, garden, school, shopping, work and perhaps hospital visits will be simply easier. Easier sounds good to me.

You’ll feel much better

Like many people who’ve decluttered and simplified their home, you’ll feel so much better. This is what they say.

I feel more in control of my own life now.

I feel calmer. I’m not so stressed.

The house is cleaner because there isn’t so much stuff.

I’ve saved money because I don’t buy duplicates any more. I know where everything is. And I’ve found money too!

I enjoy what I’ve got because I can actually see it clearly now.

Declutter and simplify and you’ll have more space and more choice

When you’ve decluttered, there’s going to be less mess and more space. How wonderful to be able to find what you want!

And, strangely, having fewer things seems to offer more choice. That’s more choice in what you do with your time, your money, your life!

If things aren’t going right for you, don’t add things. Instead of adding things, you could try taking things away. People say that this helps them to focus on what’s really important.

Three bone-handled forks on blue background. Declutter and simplify

You’re convinced? What next?

It is worthwhile to take the time to declutter and simplify your home. Or, indeed, anywhere you live.

Make a start now.

Read more about decluttering here.

Pick up 10 top tips here.

Start to reduce what you need to curate, maintain, repair and replace in your home.

Get in touch with Uncluttered Wales if you’d like a helping hand. We work in North Wales and further afield too. Just ask.

How do you store your sports and fitness kit?

Given half a chance, sports and fitness kit will sprawl about all over the place. This post is about deciding where and how to store all that stuff, much of which will be wet or need washing when it comes back into the house. And much of which may be an awkward shape or large size (skis, helmets, climbing ropes, wetsuits, rackets, bats, balls and so on and so forth).

There are some questions to think about and some suggestions for storage. What you decide upon will depend on your needs and your situation, of course.

Questions to think about

Can your current system for storing sports and fitness kit be improved by a few tweaks or even rethinking things entirely?

For me, the key is finding a space (for washing, drying, storing) and using it as much as you can. Getting things put away as soon as possible makes a big difference. I do know it can be much easier said than done, though, especially in a small house.

Have you got somewhere to wash and dry things? Is it possible to set somewhere aside – a garage, a shed, a conservatory, a lean-to? A corner of the kitchen? Just by the front door?

Are some things always being used so they are never put away? Swimming or running kit, perhaps, or foul weather gear? Where do they live?

When will you need this bit of kit again? Are you putting it away just for a few days or for the season? Does it need mending or other maintenance? Should it be kept away from any damp?

Do you have any space up above?

I do like using this kind of space.

mountain biking sports and fitness kit and equipment

  • Put a bike on a pulley and hoist it up and away in a high hallway.
  • Suspend a sea kayak and a surf boat from the apex of the garage like Beeswax Fabric Wraps and bushcraft and expedition leader Ynys Twca do. Use a sling to do this with skis and other long things.
  • Install poles across the apex of the garage to take long items, or planks to  make a platform.
  • The loft or the attic – that’s where I keep my XC skis.

skis sports and fitness kit and equipment


If you’ve got enough wall (perhaps in the garage, basement or shed) there are a number of options open to you.

Dedicated shelves for running shoes. Sports and fitness kit
Doodly Dog’s running shoes have their own dedicated shelves
  • Dedicated shelves, like animator Doodly Dog uses for his running shoes.
  • Cubby hole type storage.
  • Hooks – good for wetsuits and for all those different helmets.
  • A pegboard – great for seeing what you’ve got at a glance.
  • And underneath, range kettlebells and dumbbells along the wall in weight order. Keep them out of the way, so you don’t stub your toes.

Sports and fitness kit inside

Putting kit into boxes or other containers will keep it under control. Label the containers so you don’t even have to think about where things are.

  • Fold your tops and store them vertically in a container – like a filing system. Padded cycling tights, for example, can be difficult to store but this keeps them in order.
  • Corral your bike gear in a box.
  • Have a bin in the hallway with cricket pads and bats, squash and tennis rackets, hockey sticks and all the rest in it. I’ve seen these bins in hallways and in downstairs loos and in garden rooms. Yes, you sometimes have to move past them very carefully but the kit is under control and is accessible.
  • Repurpose furniture. A wardrobe can be a very successful home for climbing gear. Take the doors off old cupboards for open access shelves.
  • Big see-through plastic containers are great for clothing that’s not being used this season or even this year. Remember to make sure that the clothing is clean before you store it, and label the container.
  • Those big see-through plastic containers are also great for assorted fitness equipment – and will sometimes slide under the bed.

rock climbing sports and fitness kit and equipment

Perhaps you can store sports and fitness kit and equipment outside

Here are four suggestions.

  • The car boot. That’s marketing expert ie instinct’s solution for gymn kit so it’s ready for her to use at the drop of a hat.
  • In the van. This can be especially good if you spend some time making racking to fit inside so you can store things neatly in boxes on shelves, like Outdoor Active does. He’s in education and exploration and needs to keep on top of all the kit.
  • Leaning against the house, if it’s going to be safe and secure.
  • In an open-fronted barn – lots of scope here.

Keep like with like

It’s a great idea to keep similar things together but you’ve got to decide what’s possible in your home and what makes sense for you. However good an idea it might be, you might not be able to keep everything to do with one sport together.

Do you keep trainers with other footwear? I do but I know not everyone does.

Do you keep all your fitness tops with your other tops? And your sports shorts and trousers with other trousers?

What about swimming things, if they’re not always being used?

Rationalise and declutter your sports and fitness kit

Are there things you no longer use and that someone else could benefit from? Make space by passing them on via charity shops, organisations or sales.

Llanberis Mountain Rescue, for example, have an outdoor kit car boot sale every six months. The pitch fee goes to them and the proceeds of sales goes to the stall holder. You’ll meet some interesting people and old friends, and perhaps make new friends.

And relax

You’ve been out on the hill. Or the beach or the water or the back roads. In the gymn or the studio. And now you’re home. Where do you put your kit?

Thanks very much to everyone who’s shared their brilliant kit and caboodle solutions over the years.


5 reasons it’s worth paying a professional organiser

Five reasons it’s worth paying a professional organiser and declutterer?

But I should be able to do it myself!

Well, maybe, but so often things at home and at work seem to conspire to get in the way.

It can be worth paying a professional organiser and declutterer like Uncluttered Wales to work with you. Together, you’ll get your job done – making a bit of space, downsizing, organising or whatever!

So here are five reasons a professional organiser in your life is well worthwhile.

You’ll be supported as you make a start and have company as we work together

Reason 1 – Getting started is often the hardest step to take and it’s very common to get stuck before you begin. A professional organiser will help you get the ball rolling.

Stuff! We understand how easily it can build up. And we understand how overwhelming it can be to sort through it.

We’ll talk about what you want to achieve and how to do it. Then we’ll make a start.

Worth paying a professional organiser to get the ball rolling?
Getting the ball rolling

Reason 2 – You’ll have friendly and non-judgmental company and support as we work together.

It’s completely confidential.

We know that decluttering and organising can be hard emotional work. There may be difficult decisions to take. That’s why we’ll make sure that you’re comfortable with what we’re suggesting.

You’ll make good progress

Reason 3 – Distractions are tempting but a professional organiser will keep the work focussed and on track. So we’ll make good progress in our session.  Another pair of hands helps too.

Paying a professional organiser is an investment

Reason 4 – A member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers, like Uncluttered Wales, is verified, insured and registered for data protection. APDO members are professional and follow industry standards.

Reason 5 – Look on a professional organiser’s assistance as an investment in your life.

Whatever your aim, within a very short space of time you’ll have moved much closer to where you want to be.

It's worth paying a professional organiser
Working together

It’s worth thinking about

You’ll start with a plan. You’ll make good progress and reach your goal (or move a long way towards it). And it will be a friendly and supportive process.

A professional organiser is certainly worth thinking about.

Why autumn decluttering and organising feels good

autumn decluttering

Oh, yes, we’re into autumn now. The mornings are cooler – and the nights too! Soon the clocks will be going back. A spot of autumn decluttering and organising is well worth doing to get yourself straight for whatever comes along next. That’s because:

  • we’ll be spending more time indoors now and we need space
  • the weather will be much more changeable and
  • you’re going to need more clothes to hand – coats, hats, scarves, brollies and the rest
  • it’s going to be darker
  • the busy festive time is coming up later in the year and you’ll need the room.

Let’s be organised and prepared so we can enjoy the autumn and handle what it throws at us. This feels good.

Autumn weather can be lovely, so get out and enjoy it when you can! This feels good too.

Autumn decluttering – put things away

It’s really worthwhile putting away your summer and holiday things before you get your autumn and winter stuff out. Put these things away and you’ll have more space.

What am I talking about here? Well, clothes, for starters.

Although I wore a sleeveless top last week I’m pretty certain that I won’t be wearing it again this year. Give the summer and holiday clothes a wash and put them away – except that now is a good opportunity for a mini declutter. Those clothes that didn’t work this year are unlikely to work next year. Recycle or rehome them.

Clean your garden furniture and get it under cover so it doesn’t deteriorate, doesn’t look a mess and is ready to go when the warmer weather returns. Bonus points for cleaning the barbecue.

Clear up the outside toys. Once again, a bit of decluttering doesn’t go amiss here. If your children have outgrown toys you could pass them on. You’ll have that warm feeling from helping someone else. If some toys don’t work any more or are dangerous, then it’s time for them to go. Feel good for thinking about safety.

autumn decluttering outside

Get autumn and winter things out

Get out your winter clothes and check them over. Remember your hats, gloves and scarves, your brollies and your boots.

Find your torch and check the batteries  (unless it’s a wind-up one, of course).

Break out the blankets for those draughty corners that almost every house seems to have. Mmm, cosy.

Autumn decluttering – tidy up inside and outside

Tidy up and you’ll have more mental space. Definitely.

It’s so much easier when there’s a place for everything. If you find something without its own place, try to give it a home. You know, somewhere sensible.

A little autumn tidying up in the garden will make an immediate difference, and it will really lift your spirits in bad weather.

Look ahead a little and make some preparations

Look ahead to the festive season and prepare a little. A bit of decluttering and preparation now means you won’t feel so swamped and overwhelmed, come December.

Look even further ahead to the spring. It is coming! Everyone loves spring-flowering bulbs so plant yours now.

autumn decluttering


How to organise kids’ clothes and toys

You probably don’t have much time to read this so here are the basics about decluttering and organising kids’ clothes and toys.

  1. Involve the children from the very beginning.
  2. Give everything a home.
  3. Label that home if necessary.
  4. Reset (aka tidy up) every evening.

Now read on.

Give those piles of clothes a home

Drawers are a good place for clothes. Different ones for tops, bottoms, underwear, socks. You could label the drawers if that helps. Children like sorting so get them involved them.

Folded clothes take up less space. Take two or three deep breaths – not strictly necessary but it focuses your attention. Shake out each piece and fold it. It doesn’t have to be very very neat.

Outgrown clothes – put them in their new home, whether you’re keeping them for the next child, or passing them on to a friend, or giving them to charity.  It’s the same routine. Shake out clean clothes, fold and put them in their new home. It could be:

• A big transparent box in the loft, labelled with something that makes sense to you. Trousers and tops 4-5 yrs. Wet weather + skiing 8-10 yrs. Something like that.
• A black bag for passing on to a friend or charity. Label it! You don’t want it going out with the rubbish.

Talk to your kids from the beginning about passing clothes on to other people. Perhaps clothes are already passed on them. ‘Passing clothes on’ is so much nicer than ‘getting rid of them’! You’ll all have a warm feeling knowing that your clothes are going to a good home and someone else (your cousin, a friend, a child you’ve never met) will enjoy wearing them. And it’s the same with toys.

Organising kids' clothes and toys and shoes
Line up shoes in pairs

Categorise and curate toys and books

Broad categories help a lot so you don’t waste time micro-sorting when you’re tidying up. Books, puzzles, building blocks, cuddly toys – that kind of thing.

Get your children (however small) involved in deciding categories that fit in with how they play. They’ll feel a sense of ownership and that will pay off further down the line.

Involve children in categorising kids' clothes and toys

Some kids have so many toys they become overwhelmed. And so does the room or the house. Talk to them about putting some toys away for a while and bringing others out. Rotate them.

Just like clothes, chat about passing outgrown toys on to other children who might like to play with them. Like I said, you all get a warm feeling.

Give toys and books an easy place to call home

Kids get older and their interests change so think about storage that will still work in a few years. And you might like to label where things go.

Bookshelves are brilliant for books (obviously) but are also good for toys, clothes and other things.

Open-topped boxes work well as it’s easy to fling things in when you’re tidying up. They’re not hard to find or you could make your own like this repurposed box below.

Have a routine to tidy up kids' clothes and toys
Janka’s toys

Cube storage looks neat.

Wall-hung storage keeps things off the floor.

Dual-purpose furniture, such as beds with drawers, saves space.

Routine is your friend with kids’ clothes and toys

Have a routine where you and your child tidy up regularly at the end of every day. A five minute burst is quite doable for kids and you can get a lot done in that time.

Animals and dinosaurs - kids' clothes and toys
Have you ever trodden on a plastic dinosaur in bare feet?

Get a good thing going

A good system will go a long way towards keeping things going through the summer holidays and beyond.

Get a good thing going and you’ll all be singing round the house.

Be organised and get out of the door in good time

If you often race to get out of the door in time, then this post is for you. Be organised and try to make sure there is a place for everything. Tidy up after yourself when you come in. Plan ahead and get ready for leaving.

Read on for more detail.

Is this your scenario?

Tearing about the house with your heart thumping, followed by a rushed scramble for the door is not a good start to any journey. Halfway down the path, halfway down the road, you’re asking yourself ‘Have I got my [insert name of something essential]?’ ‘Did I pick up the [insert name of something else essential or perhaps even not essential at all]?’

There’s adrenaline all over the place, it seems, accidents happen and then you’re suddenly exhausted.

A smooth exit is altogether a better look, and it’s one to pull off again and again. Much better for your state of mind and your state of health too, come to that.

Let’s work out how to be organised and do it.

A place for everything …

You probably know this proverb:

A place for everything and everything in its place.

This has the potential to be a game-changer, even though it’s been around since at least the early 17th century. A place for everything and everything in its place gives you a strong foundation for smooth departures from the house.

You need a good place for these important items.

  1. Keys. Some people have a bowl by the front door, a key rack or a key press.
  2. Coats. A cupboard, the back of a door, a rail – whatever you’ve got, make sure you use it.
  3. Bags. Put them on a shelf, a cupboard or a special bit of floor.
  4. Hats, gloves, scarves. Here are 12 ways to store them!
  5. Packed lunch or snack things. You could use baskets or other containers, probably in the kitchen.
  6. Your phone!

To get out of the house smoothly, it helps to get into the house smoothly

Even if all hell is breaking loose when you return to the house, take a few moments then (or slightly later when things have calmed down) to do the following.

Be organised with your paperwork
Pile of mail. Thanks to Charles Williams (CC BY 2.0).
  1. Sort the post and recycle the junk mail.
  2. Put the paperwork wherever you deal with paperwork.
  3. Hang up your outdoor clothes.
  4. Put your shoes out of the way.
  5. Put the keys in their special place so you can find them. And the sunglasses too.
  6. Put the shopping away.
  7. Put your phone on to charge if the battery tends to run down quickly.
  8. Be organised and have a system to process things (swimming stuff, for example) when they come back into the house.

Be organised and plan ahead

If you know you’re leaving the house tonight or tomorrow, run through what you’re going to need and get things ready in advance.

  1. Do you need work or other special clothes? Choose them and lay them out or hang them separately. (I keep my decluttering clothes together, my gymn clothes together and so on. Having school uniforms together also helps a lot!)
  2. Iron your clothes if you need to and clean your shoes.
  3. Do you need to take a packed lunch, a water bottle or a portable cup for takeaway coffee? Get them ready.
  4. Your ordinary bag, your briefcase, your gymn or swimming things, your library books? Anything else you need?
  5. Have you got change for the bus or parking or a locker or a school trip? Don’t be caught out: not everything can be done with a card or a smartphone.
  6. Lay the breakfast table the night before. It simplifies decision-making and cuts down on movement around the kitchen.
Be organised like Maya setting the breakfast table
Maya helping to set the breakfast table. (Thanks to Amish Patel. CC BY-ND 2.0)

There you have it

How to be organised and get out of the door in good order. Even if there’s a last minute change of plan like I had this morning, laying these foundations will help you take off as smoothly as possible. Good luck!


All about decluttering and organising paperwork

Paperwork is the single most annoying thing in most people’s homes. In this post I’m going to tell you how to be a paper warrior and to keep it simple. We’ll cover stopping paper and paperwork getting into the house, keeping it all in one place and taking immediate action, and dealing with it once a week. We’ll also look at filing, and emergency action when it’s all got out of hand.

Pile of mail. Thanks to Charles Williams (CC BY 2.0).

Paper and paperwork? It’s a force of nature. It’s often unrequested, and it gets dropped and forgotten. It ends up in piles and heaps all over the house and attracts more clutter as it goes. We’re talking about forms to sign, magazines, junk mail, bills, catalogues, newsletters, newspapers, letters, postcards, lottery tickets, raffle tickets … And all the rest.

Yes, paperwork when it’s out of control is annoying. And piles of paper are the thing we notice most often in other homes – long before dusty corners or unwashed mugs and plates.

What’s more, paper and paperwork when it’s out of control is very unrestful. That’s because it’s unfinished business. How can anyone relax with unfinished business about? They can’t.

What a long way from the paperless paradise we heard about a few years ago. Time to be a paper warrior!

Be a paper warrior and be strategic

Take control. This is the only way to prevent paperwork becoming paper clutter.

1. Stop as much paper and paperwork as possible from getting into the house.

2. Put all the paperwork that does make it inside in one place. Deal with as much as you can immediately. Put the rest in your in tray.

3. Set a regular time to deal with your in tray.

4. Have a simple filing system and use it.

1. How to stop paperwork getting into the house

Prevent junk mail

You can stop quite a bit of junk mail from getting through your letterbox by registering with these four organisations:

  • Mail Preference Service – a service funded by the direct mail industry to remove consumers’ names and home addresses in the UK from lists used by the industry.
  • Fundraising Preference Service – a service that lets you stop charities from contacting you.
  • Direct Marketing Association’s ‘Your Choice’ – a scheme to stop door-to-door delivery of unaddressed mail.
  • Royal Mail Door-to-Door – opt-out form. (Be aware that registering to opt out means that you will not receive leaflets from central and local government and other public bodies. This includes unaddressed voting and election material, and information about local recycling and so on.)

Review and reconsider

Review your subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. If you don’t read them then it’s time to stop them coming through the letterbox. You could consider a digital subscription.

Reconsider any magazines you buy in shops and from newsstands. Are they one-off or regular purchases? Once again, do you read them?

Manage your ‘paper and paperwork’ online

This is a good idea but, of course, it can generate more email. (Keeping that under control is a story for another day!)

Online, you can, for example:

  • manage your bank and other financial accounts
  • pay your council tax through a direct debit
  • manage your utility meter readings and bills
  • read magazines and newspapers
  • keep a ‘look book’ for design projects on Pinterest.

2. Keep all paperwork in one place and, if you can, deal with it immediately

All paperwork in one place

This will stop it from going walkabout in the house. Choose a place and use it. It doesn’t matter what you call it – ‘command centre’, ‘landing pad’, ‘my desk’ – put all your paperwork here and do that consistently.

The bridge, the nerve centre of a tugboat

Deal immediately with as much paper and paperwork as you can

This takes away paperwork’s power to clog up your head with unfinished business.

  • Recycle immediately – junk mail flyers, unwanted catalogues, takeaway menus, other adverts, free directories, spare envelopes etc etc etc.
  • Shred immediately – charity request letters and other junk mail with your name and address on.
  • Open letters (I use an old vegetable knife to do this quickly and easily). Recycle or shred the envelopes and anything else you can.
  • Do what you can straightaway. Then it’s done and out of the way and out of your head! Sign school permission slips and reply to invitations, send money to school or other places. Note any important dates. Once again, recycle or shred anything you can.
  • Put the rest in your in tray. This will probably be paperwork to think about, file, scan and so on. (By the way, you don’t have to use a tray. I like using one because it keeps things straight and I know I’m going to go through it at the end of the week. For some people it means that things get buried. Choose what makes sense to you.)
You can use whatever comes to hand as an in tray. Some people use this kind of paper tray. Some people use a cardboard box.

3. Set a regular time to deal with your in tray

Every successful paper warrior I’ve met sets a regular time to deal with their paperwork. It’s usually once a week and it becomes a habit. They focus on their in tray and whisk through it, quickly and effectively.

Work through your in tray.

  • Sort through it. I put similar things together so I’m dealing with them all at the same time and I don’t have to change gear.
  • Read paperwork.
  • Pay bills.
  • Reconcile accounts.
  • Write letters and cards.
  • Take action on anything else that requires your attention.
  • Recycle or shred what you can.
  • File what’s completed.

Some paperwork will need more information before you can deal with it. Other papers you may be undecided about. Put those back into the in tray for next time.

4. Your filing system

  • Know what paperwork you need to keep and for how long.
  • Have a filing system. Keep it simple.
  • Only file what you need.
Neat and tidy files make it easy to find paperwork again but you probably don’t need to keep as much paperwork as this …

What you need to keep

There are some papers to keep because they are essential and other papers to keep because they may make life much easier for you in the future.

Papers that are essential – for example, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, examination certificates.

Other papers to keep (and this depends on you and your circumstances) – for example, school reports, current passports, business documents, some financial documents.

Filing system

The main thing here is to make it easy for yourself, so choose a system that will be easy to use! You want to be able to file paperwork quickly and without fuss – and to find things again quickly and without fuss. Depending on your circumstances, you could choose a filing cabinet, a concertina file, a banker’s box (these are the right size for files or folders) or other boxes.

Thanks to Hiro (in the banker’s box) and Mitch Barrie for this image. CC BY-SA 2.0

Set up simple main categories that make sense to you, and label each folder or file accordingly. You could have one for each person in the house, each animal in the house, bank and other financial institutions, health, and business, for example. And each main category can be divided into sub-categories, if necessary.

5. Emergency action

This is for when your house is awash with a sea of paper. Or perhaps it’s the house of someone who is ill or has recently died. Emergency action is required.

Walk through each room and collect all the paper and paperwork. Put it into a bag or box.

Find a space where you can sort it. Sort all the paper and paperwork into three piles:

  • Anything you need to keep. You can get to this later.
  • To shred. That’s unwanted paperwork with names, addresses or financial details.
  • Recycling. That’s everything else.

Good luck with decluttering and organising, Paper Warriors!

It’s time to declutter cables and chargers

Sometimes a theme emerges from Uncluttered’s professional organising and decluttering work. Recently, it’s been cables and chargers. There have been bags, boxes and drawers of tangled cables in every home and office I’ve visited. And that’s not to mention all the loose ones lolling in corners and trailing from any surface you care to mention. And the earbuds and headphones, of course.

Cables and chargers and more laid out on a table
Photo credit: Juhan Sonin (CC BY 2.0)

Different cables and their connectors

Technology continues to race ahead, leaving some devices high and dry and others deeply unfashionable. We’re talking about phones, tablets, laptops, other computers, printers, radios, televisions, videos,  cameras, fitness trackers, e-readers, games consoles, bike lights …

They’ve all got cables, connectors and possibly chargers. There are the networking cables like coaxial, ethernet, HDMI, and the USB cables and all their different connectors. Somewhere you’ve probably got cables and chargers you don’t use but that you’re keeping, just in case. It’s time to sort them out.

How to declutter and recycle cables

First of all, make sure that all the working devices in the house have the necessary cables. Check with everyone else. Remember that not all new devices come with cables or a plug so some cables have to do double duty or even more.

Next, discard cables and chargers that don’t work. And discard broken headphones while you’re about it.

Then, discard cables that don’t connect to any working device. And discard non-working devices while you’re about it.

Finally, reduce the number of similar cables if you can, but make sure that there are still enough for all the personal devices in the household. This should help to avoid tension and squabbles about recharging.

Have a look at these suggestions of what to keep and what to get rid of. It might encourage you.

Now recycle the discarded cables and devices at your local recycling centre. This video shows how waste electronics are recycled.

Organise the remaining cables and chargers

Labelled cables and chargers
Photo credit: Judit Klein (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Label each cable with a sticky label or masking tape.

Then wind or fold the cables loosely. You could secure them with elastic bands, wire, ribbon, string or velcro cable ties.

A further step, if you want to be very neat, is to put each one (or each type) into freezer bags, old toilet or kitchen roll tubes, or old sunglasses cases. You could also consider a cable organiser or electronics accessories case.

A cable organiser with cables and chargers
Photo credit: Tim Walker (CC BY 2.0)

Where to store the cables and chargers

Where do you store your labelled and neatly rolled cables and connectors? It boils down to:

  • with the device
  • near the place you charge the device
  • in a central location.

It could be a basket, a drawer, slung over a kitchen roll holder or in a box with a lid. At the end of the day, somewhere that makes sense to you is the best place.

What do professional organisers say about Marie Kondo?

After a demanding day, do you return to a peaceful sanctuary or to a cluttered house? For many people, enough is enough. Suddenly, decluttering and organising is everywhere you look. Yes, decluttering in North Wales is a thing! Part of this is due to Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidying expert with a signature fringe, whose Netflix series Tidying up with Marie Kondo is sparking joy, jokes and discussions across the world.

New Year's Eve fireworks 2006 spark joy like Marie Kondo
Photo credit: Max Klingensmith (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Marie wrote the New York Times best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (also in manga) and Spark Joy. It’s the Netflix series, though, scheduled to ride the New Year wave of resolutions, that’s generating so many column inches and minutes of coverage.

How simple are Marie’s ideas and the KonMari method? And what do professional organisers say?

First of all, time

Decluttering and organising take time so that you’re not overwhelmed and things can settle. Marie Kondo’s approach is to do it ‘all at once’, by which she means in no more than six months. Experienced professional organisers usually work with clients once a week for as long as it takes, which could be much longer.

Imagine your ideal lifestyle

This is one of Marie’s rules and it’s got a lot going for it. KonMari is not about minimalism (although you’ll find yourself with many fewer things, if you follow it). It’s more about learning who you are and what you like.

Imagining a fully blown ideal lifestyle is a tall order for those of us who just want something like clear floorspace in the bedroom but it’s worth playing with. Even just an outline will encourage you to move forward.

Sparking joy and other emotions

None of us need negative things in our lives and Marie Kondo has a very positive approach. Her emphasis is on what to keep and that’s why she tells you to hold an item in your hand and ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Other organisers might ask whether you need something, want it or use it.

Joy is one of the emotions that decluttering can produce but be prepared for others. Decluttering can release complicated feelings.

Follow the right order

KonMari lays down a ‘right’ order of things to work on: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous) and, finally, sentimental items. This is to build up our ability to distinguish what sparks joy. It certainly makes sense to work on things such as letters, postcards and photos last. You’ll have built up stamina from all your other decluttering.

Letters and photos sent during Second World War. Marie Kondo
Photo credit: Cynthia Closkey (CC BY 2.0)

The order sounds nice and simple but scratch the surface and you will find many more categories underneath. The ‘komono’ category, for example, is huge, running from garage to loft, from toys to kitchen.

Rather than imposing an order, most professional organisers take their lead from their clients. Some are ready to tackle the ‘worst’ area in their home. Others have to build up slowly.

Marie Kondo says to let go with gratitude

The KonMari method advocates thanking items you are discarding for their service to you. This reflects Japanese culture’s respect for inanimate objects but it may be a step too far for you. Even so, for many people it raises questions about consumerism and how we live our lives.

Piling all the clothes on the bed? Really?

The huge pile is where many professional organisers part ways with Marie Kondo. She gathers everything in a category (clothes, say, or tools) so you can see exactly how much you have. This makes great television but it’s usually not a good fit with real life. For many of us it’s far too overwhelming. What’s more, it takes time to go through everything and we need to be able to use that bed tonight!

Some professional organisers declutter by category like Marie Kondo but others work room by room. Whichever approach they take, they always try to make a task achievable by breaking it down into smaller chunks. You can focus and it keeps the motivation going! A smaller chunk might be a category like jeans or hammers, for example. Or it could be just one shelf.


Marie gives each of her possessions a designated ‘living space’. Most of us know about this already: a place for everything and everything in its place. Here we all agree.

Marie Kondo and folding

Marie is big on folding clothes and storing them vertically in drawers. You save space, see everything at a glance and nothing is squashed at the bottom of a pile.

Many people see folding as a game changer. And others feel they have better things to do with their time. It really depends on the kind of person you are and the kind of home, storage and amount of time you have. Your choice.


Tidying up with Marie Kondo is an entertaining television show and it’s certainly captured people’s attention. People are talking about how clutter makes your already busy life even more pressurised and complicated. And how it affects family, relationships and work.

Things can be different, though! If you declutter and organise, you can transform your home and make space. Home can become a sanctuary, a safe space to regroup and revitalise yourself.

You don’t have to do it all at once – do what you can, even if it’s very small.

You don’t have to do it on your own – get in touch for support and guidance if you think it would help.


12 ways to store hats, gloves and scarves

Baby, it’s cold outside! So if you’re going out, get togged up in hats, gloves and scarves. But can you find them?

gloves and scarves
Jean-Marc Merlin by David Merrett (CC BY 2.0)


Here are a dozen possible places for your hats, gloves and scarves to live – with pros and cons. Decide on a place, set it up so it works for you and use it! Then you’ll be able to find your hats, gloves and scarves easily.

For North Wales readers: get organised! You’ll be able to go out to enjoy our great outdoors even sooner, whatever the weather.

1. All together now

Put the scarf down the arm of the coat. Or roll the scarf and put it with the gloves in the hat. You could roll woollen gloves together like socks. These ideas are good for when you’re on the move or if you’re wearing the same hat, gloves and scarf every day.

2. A hatstand

This is great for hats and scarves but not so good for gloves unless it has a shelf. A bag hanging from the stand would work. Remember a hatstand is most efficient if it’s not overloaded.

3. A hook

Yes, but it has the same problems as a hatstand (see above). Once again, you could use a bag.

4. A shelf

I do like this one because hats, gloves and scarves can dry out and get warm. A generous shelf above a coat rail is the best system I’ve ever seen. It was in Sweden and they understand about cold there.

Knitted mittens with furry wristbands. gloves and scarves

5. A drawer

On the plus side, things are together and don’t splurge everywhere. (I do recommend dividing the drawer with a box or two to keep gloves and scarves separate.) On the minus side, wet things have to dry out first.

6. In a cupboard

Same as the drawer. If you use it, organise it!

7. On a chair

I understand why but if you live with anyone else this is the short path to mislaying at least one glove. Or even losing it.

8. In a basket

Yes, it’s a good idea for hats, gloves and scarves although rummaging may be necessary. And it’s good to be streamlined when you’re trying to get out of the door. A basket for each person works nicely.

Woman laughing and wearing grey knitted bobble hat, gloves and scarves

9. Over door shoe tidy

This is a good idea if you’ve got the right door.

10. On the table

OK as a short-term measure but it’s not sustainable.

11. In the kitchen

This doesn’t really work for me.

12. On the floor

My first thought was: No! Don’t do it!

My second thought was: This is where I put my soaking hat, gloves and scarves by the radiator to dry out, and it’s the best place in the house for that.

Conclusion: as a place to put them it’s OK, but only temporarily.

I’m off out now

Now, where did I put my gloves? (Just joking.)

Woman jumping on moorland in hat and big scarf. gloves and scarves