A clutter-free life

Achieving an organised home, with Fenella from RiveraHome

This week we are doing something different.

I asked Fenella, a friend and colleague who is also the organisation wizzard behind @riverahome_, to share with us her strategies to achieve and maintain an organised family home.

Fenella is a Londoner who left the big city for a calmer, more spacious life in Colchester. With a young daughter and a toddler boy, there’s always something to organise in her home, which has made her a master at de-cluttering life.

Continue reading below, she gave us a LOT of useful tips!


Maintaining an organised home is a hefty task but it can be done, the trick is to keep on top of it, even on the days you really don’t want to do it. I have those days, with a toddler, I’m tired 99.9% of the time but if I leave it, it adds to my stress and it takes much more time to clear up.

Around the house

At the end of each day I do my best to do a quick tidy sweep: Clearing toys, putting washed dishes away, fold clothes and put away, it all makes a difference to start fresh the next day.

Every morning I start off with making my bed, and sets me off right. At night when I am finally going to my cosy bed all I have to do is fire up a delicious smelling wax melt, grab a book… I mean my phone, and scroll through my favourite hashtag – #organised or #storageideas and relax. I’m a neat freak and proud of it!

The best to start (and end) a day: a freshly-made bed

TIP: I keep a small bag aside for any unwanted items I come across as I clean and tidy my home on a normal day. I have lost count on how many times I have seen an item and thought ‘why on earth do I still have this?’ Those things go straight into the bag rather than back in the drawer, wardrobe or cupboard waiting to be discovered again.


Children’s rooms

Children’s rooms are the most fun rooms in the house and in turn usually the most difficult to keep organised.  

I have spent countless hours organising my daughter’s room. As she grows, so do her toys, books and clothes. To keep things in check, I am a huge fan of de-cluttering every so often and now that my daughter is eight, she has started to take an interest in how her room looks and functions.

Recently we started to de-clutter her room together. I make it fun, we put some music on and have some snacks ready because it’s most likely going to take a while to get through. When she was younger, I would just declutter her room on my own, but now it’s much for fun to go through it all together.

TIP: As soon as your kids get older, get them involved and make it fun!

We do the work in sections: toys, clothes, shoes, books, stationary and miscellaneous such as hairbands, jewellery and so on. It’s a process that takes time, and it might take more than 1 day to get through all.

When going through the items and deciding what to do with them we ask 3 questions:

Do you need it?

Does it make you happy?

Have you used it in the last year?

We set a goal for the de-clutter session, like filling at least three bags of things to get rid of and send to:

Charity

Rubbish/recycle

– Sell bag/giveaway to friends or family

Decluttering isn’t about getting rid of everything , for me it’s about clearing up spaces that are filled with items that no longer serve a purpose. It can be a daunting task at first, but it is fun. The end result will always be rewarding.

We keep a lot of my daughters mementos because as she puts it, they bring “good memories” to her, even a piece of a fake leaf she picked up from a show at Disneyland Paris when she was just four years old. If they have a sentimental value, you can keep them.

I tend to have 3 main de-clutter sessions for the kids’ rooms in the year:

At the end of the summer holidays – a great start for the new school year

– Before birthdays and Christmas – this way we are making space for any new gifts they receive

– Spring – the usual spring clean declutter marathon

And much smaller de-clutter sessions throughout the year

TIP: If we are travelling soon after a de-cluttering session, we make a bag of children’s clothes and toys that are new or like new to take with us if we travel to places where other children will need them.

Kids’ rooms are meant to reflect their interests, their personalities and are meant to be fun, but keeping them free from visual clutter is good too.

Every item should have a home so that they can easily find them on their own, like their latest favourite teddy, t-shirt and so on. It’s easier for them and for us too. How many times do you hear those words: “mum where is my…?” I still get asked this (mainly by my husband) but not as much as before.

TIP: When your kids reach an age where they help tidying up, having things organised and labelled makes it much easier.

Labelling is very helpful to encourage the little ones put things away

To end, a round-up of the best storage items for children’s rooms:

Life-savers. From top: Muji Underbed oak storage with wheels, Muji PP Stacking drawers, WHAM box with compartments, Fenella’s Wham box with organised hair clips, IKEA Billy extra shelves

Boxes with and without lids. If you lack storage space, stacking boxes with lids are more practical.

Underbed storage, preferably with wheels. Perfect for storing winter or summer clothes, blankets, duvets or even toys.

WHAM storage boxes for smaller items. They are very sturdy and durable. The ones with lots of compartments are great for fiddly bits such as hairbands, clips… They are great for Lego pieces too.

Divider storage box with 9 sections or more for socks.

Extra shelves for wardrobes and cupboards. I recently bought a single sheet of MDF and got 6 extra large shelves and had material left over!

Hope you have found some great ideas and that you’ll be inspired to get de-cluttering!


You can follow Fenella and see what she’s up to in her Instagram: @riverahome_

Muji underbed storage here

Muji PP storage boxes here

Ikea billy shelves here

Wham boxes here

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