January always presents the perfect opportunity for a refresh, a cleanse, a declutter, and a much-needed tidy up following the often chaotic Christmas festivities. It encourages a productive start to the new year and does wonders for hampering those January blues.
Tidying then, and having a good old declutter is not only productive but is wonderfully cathartic too. It helps us to understand what we have, what we need and what we thought we needed. The normal cleaning routine tends to fall by the wayside over the festive season, so starting afresh helps to set us up for the spring months ahead.
Giving the house a refresh unwittingly gives ourselves one too.
We forget how satisfying a tidy and sort through can really be. The simple act of clearing out a drawer in the kitchen somehow manages to clear a small space in our minds too. Perhaps because it’s one less thing to worry about. It reminds us that we needn’t just shove things into it and shut the door – willfully hoping we’ll forget about the cluttered chaos or that it’ll simply disappear.
So, whether it’s just one area of your home, the dreaded cupboard under the stairs, your overflowing wardrobe, or the spare bedroom, having a good declutter, clean and rearranging into some semblance of organisation (should) ensure it stays that way. But, even if it doesn’t, it will make you realise that such organisation is entirely possible.
The Kitchen Cupboards
This can always seem like such a mammoth task. Taking everything out of your kitchen cupboards, clearing the shelves and removing all the flours and baking goods from the larder. You’ll be surprised at just how many out-of-date spices you’ve had hidden away. This process is most certainly a cathartic – and practical – one though. It enables you to see what you’ve got – no, you don’t need another box of icing sugar, and yes, that jar of mincemeat you bought in 2012 is probably now out of date – so that you’re not simply rebuying the same essentials every week at the supermarket.
A key trick to an organised kitchen then, aside from having frequent clear-outs, is storage – and plenty of it. If everything has a home and it’s within easy reach, you’re more likely to use it and not forget about it. Our larders – both narrow and wide – provide an abundance of storage space. With individual wooden drawers for storing veg and space inside the doors for holding bottles and oils, you really can organise it to accommodate your own storage requirements. What’s more, it makes such a difference being able to see everything too, rather than having to carefully store and pack everything away at the back of the cupboard, hoping you won’t be needing it again any time soon.
If you’re fond of decanting all your dried store goods into jars and labelling them, our larders provide the perfect homes for these too. Whilst this may seem a timely or unnecessary process, it can make your kitchen look much tidier and ordered – and it always seems easier to prepare and cook dinner when a kitchen is organised, doesn’t it?
Small storage solutions can prove invaluable when it comes to organisation too. Shelving is ideal for displaying favourite mugs or a collection of espresso cups, while a wine rack keeps your favourite tipples in easy reach without cluttering up cupboard space. What’s more, utilising the walls and making the most of innovative shelving is perfect if you’re a little short on floor space. Our Raw Oak Towel Ladder gives a home to tea towels and linens, while our Marble Shelves offer a pretty pew for cookbooks or coffee essentials as Rose shows us below.
As a new season approaches, we feel the temptation to clear out our wardrobes. An untidy wardrobe not only looks messy, but it can influence what you’re wearing too. You’ll no doubt find yourself wearing the same things and avoiding other pieces because they are too much trouble to get out – or even find. Similarly to the kitchen cupboards in that when they’re tidy and organised it encourages you to cook more, an organised wardrobe will make getting dressed all the more enjoyable too.
Having regular clear-outs will also mean you’re less likely to buy new pieces forgetting you already have something similar and falling into the sartorial trap of buying something new for an event, not wearing it, and pushing it to the back of the wardrobe with the tags still attached – a reminder of the haste in which it was bought.
So, if you’re embarking on a big wardrobe clear-out, set aside a morning or an afternoon. Pull everything out onto your bed – a daunting task, but necessary – you can divide into categories if it’s easier (jackets, dresses, jeans) and tackle one at a time. Go through each item and divide into three piles – to keep, to store and to donate. Unless the quality is really poor, always try to take unwanted clothes to charity shops, clothing banks or offer to friends and family. If you have one or two sentimental or especially seasonal items, you can store these in vacuum packs or baskets, and pop them back in your wardrobe until they’re needed. With the items you’re keeping, try hanging them by colour, style or even in pre-made outfits for dressing ease.
Another good hack in deciding how much of your wardrobe you really do wear is to turn all of the hangers around in your wardrobe. When you wear an item, simply hang it back in the right way. This way, you’ll soon see which are your most-worn pieces.
Whether you share a wardrobe with a partner or make do with a clothing rail at the end of your bed, having a designated space can really make the world of difference. With a range of double, triple or quad wardrobes that can help to ensure everything is kept in one easy-to-reach spot, our newly designed Combi Wardrobes are ideal for curating a daily or workwear wardrobe – and they’re perfect for loft bedrooms with sloping ceilings too.
Whether you’re an occasional reader or a self-confessed bibliophile, bookshelves can be used for so much more than just books. For holding house plants, propping up photographs and displaying a few of your favourite things, they can become wonderfully personal spaces.
So, whether you prefer a messy, more cluttered style or one more organised and ordered, start by taking everything off and consider what it is you want to put back on. Is this a dedicated bookcase for cookery books or your crime thriller collection? Perhaps it’s for bedtime stories, or a simple spot to store and keep other favoured possessions. People always love to have a nosy at other people’s bookshelves, so give them an interesting or inspiring selection to peruse. We love how Emily has styled our quaint Burford Small Bookcase below.
Think about how you want to display your books. Do you like the rainbow-effect of colour-coding? Perhaps you favour a more organised arrangement by author or genre, or (controversially so, perhaps) prefer the spines to be facing inwards. There’s no reason you can’t intersperse your favourite reads with plants, pots and photos too, like we’ve done below.
Now, here at Cotswold Co, we’re all for a contented and lived-in home. One that has personality and tells a story of those who live there. Having a declutter then, needn’t mean it becomes a soulless or clinical space, but rather one that is organised and easy to navigate. Start with one cupboard or a drawer, and donate unwanted items to others. Set a rule to only have useful items or – in the words of Marie Kondo – those that bring you joy on display too, and you might just be surprised at how much clutter you were keeping.