According to Psychology Today, clutter ‘makes it more difficult to relax and switch off, bombarding our mind with excessive stimuli.’ Furthermore, a 2009 study found that women with untidy houses had a higher level of the stress-related hormone, Cortisol.
Being surrounded by piles of unnecessary possessions can feel overwhelming and can be the cause of quite a bit of stress, especially if you live in a small apartment or have to make do with small spaces. But it is amazing what a difference clearing out all that stuff that has been weighing you down can make to your mood. Here are our 6 interior hacks for smaller spaces:
Organise a landing place for your things
Are you always forgetting where you put stuff? Or are you tired of your partner or kids constantly losing the house keys? Misplacing things can be the cause of a lot of frustration, so to eliminate this unnecessary stress, you should allocate a specific ‘landing place’ for your things.
For example, by putting a small console table in your hallway with a bowl to put your keys in as soon as you get through the door, no one will have an excuse to leave them lying around somewhere where they can get lost. Some other organisational items that you can incorporate into your home are things like hooks for your coats and hats, a printer cupboard to hide away your printer, ink and paper and a shoe cupboard for all of your family’s shoes.
Store your possessions vertically
If you can’t spread your storage lengthways in your house due to the size, then build your storage up vertically. You could invest in floor to ceiling shelving with doors and a mix of open and closed storage, so you can display your favourite ornaments or your fancy wine glasses, but hide away your cleaning products, for example.
Or, if you can’t get your storage built-in, just try to go for tall shelving units or a nice neat corner display cupboard. If you do go down the route of vertical storage, just make sure you have a footstep or even a small ladder to hand, so you’re able to actually retrieve the items you need when the time comes!
Let go of things you no longer need
Be ruthless and clear your house of as many things as you feel you can let go of, all those objects that have built up in your home that no longer ‘spark joy’ for you. All your unwanted items can either be recycled, donated to charity or sold on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace to stop them from ending up in a landfill. Make sure you do this regularly.
You could even keep a charity bag in your wardrobe and whenever you spot something you don’t use or wear anymore, simply place it in the bag. For example, if you get a new dress – you could go through your dresses and donate an old one to charity. This means that when it comes to decluttering, you won’t have such a big mountain to climb.
Have multifunctional furniture
Go for multipurpose furniture that can be folded or expanded as and when you need them. For example, you could get an extending dining table, so when it’s just you and your partner, your table will the perfect size for the two of you, but when you invite the in-laws over for Sunday lunch, you can extend it for the occasion.
The same applies for when you invest in a sofa – check to see whether there is a sofa bed option which will turn the sitting room into a bedroom for guests to stay.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a ‘bits and bobs’ draw
Every household has those little things — pens, tape, elastic bands, matches and whatnot. Those things that get used a lot, but don’t really have any logical place to go. In our house, this draw is donned the “magic draw.” If there’s something you can’t find, it will probably magically appear in there.
Although it would be lovely to have a special home for each little thing that we have in our home, sometimes we just need somewhere quick to sweep up the final bits of (useful) clutter into, rather than antagonising on how to beautifully store a roll of tape and some birthday candles.
Life is for living not possessions
Fill your life with lots of different experiences and adventures, not things. We’re constantly being bombarded with advertisements that try to convince us that a happy life is all about having the latest stuff: a new car, an outdoor kitchen, an all-singing all-dancing blender.
But studies have shown over and over again that it isn’t our possessions that make us happy, it’s our experiences that we treasure most. So the next time you’re tempted to buy more stuff, ask yourself if the money would be better spent on a trip with friends or a nice night out.
And guess what? You won’t even have to find a space for these things in your cabinets!
If you have any other storage hacks, be sure to tag us in your pictures on Instagram using @madewithoak, we’d love to see them!