It’s a fact: A mess can have a major effect on your mood. If you have a partner (or really, maybe it’s you) whose clothing piles higher to heaven by the day or who never puts a single piece of paper away, it can be a constant source of conflict and foul feelings. Clutter can have even worse effects on your psyche: A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that clutter “has a strong negative impact” on how you feel about home, life satisfaction, and overall well-being.
“A chaotic home can lead to a cluttered and stressed out mind,” says Abbey Stark, IKEA Interior Design Leader. “When things do not have a place, it takes more time to do everything,” she says. That is precisely why streamlining your stuff helps make you feel less fried. “Organization throughout your home can create a sense of calm and peace of mind,” Stark says. “It allows you to spend more time on you and less time looking for things. ”
Here, Stark shares five tips for managing that motherload like a taskmaster.
Create a warm welcome
The entryway to your home sets the tone for the rest of the experience. If you step into a mess, it can immediately bring you down. “IKEA has great cabinets that can be attached to the wall. Or use a simple shelving unit to provide a tidy space to put away shoes, ”she says. Provide hooks for coats, handbags, and keys, and dedicate a bin for mail and packages. Stark’s other go-to move: “Create a cubby for each member of the family so they can store everything in one place.”
Calm the closet chaos
If there’s any area that, when organized, creates an instant sense of Zen, it’s the closet. And it does not take much to keep your clothing, shoes, and bags perfectly in place. “Simple solutions can make a big difference,” Stark says. “Look for storage options that work for your needs, such as a customized and flexible wardrobe system. Or add a chest of drawers to keep things tidily tucked away. ”
Bulk up on bins
The more bins and baskets, the better, according to Stark. They’re particularly handy in maintaining the chaos of high-traffic, multi-use areas like the living room. “Provide baskets for extra blankets, kid and pet toys, and pillows — even remote controls so you never lose them,” says Stark. IKEA has iterations of everything from plastic and wicker to fabric and wood to jive with your vibe.
Separate work from play
With our new WFH normal, business tech takes up space in otherwise communal areas — raise your hand if you haven’t seen your dining table since March 2020. And that makes it all-too-easy for that office angst (and stuff) to encroach into your personal life.
Creating separation between work life and home life is key, even if they’re happening in the same square footage. “Have a place to stow away work items in the evening when you’re finished to help separate your professional and personal life,” Stark says. “This will help your overall wellbeing.” She suggests a desk with built-in cable management or adding a cable trunk (a basket you attach under your table top to organize cords) to create order and a calming work environment.
Take a minimalist mindset
The first rule when it comes to clearing kitchen clutter? “Less is more,” says Stark. Do you really need seven wooden spoons and three methods for making coffee? Counters often become a repository for overflow items that do not fit in the cabinets, so start with the source and eliminate excess so everything from cutlery to cookie sheets has a home inside your drawers and cabinets. Use drawer dividers to keep everything in its place, and follow the “do not put it down, put it away” rule to keep counters clear of visual clutter.
For more ideas to clear the clutter, check out IKEA’s organization solutions.
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