To declutter or not to declutter?

This is the question we all have to ask ourselves when faced with clutter. It can be a hard one to answer. It can make us feel uncomfortable, stressed and anxious. To help my clients make a decision, l ask them three questions. 1. Do you need it? 2. Is it useful? 3. Do you love it? If their answer is no… it’s time for it to go!

Well, you are probably thinking… what has an old barn door got to do with it? (see pic below) Well, this was my last clutter conundrum. Here’s my story…

Original Doors

Once upon a time, we bought a lovely home (that needed lots of work). The first job we tackled was to revamp the old ‘barn-like’ shed in the backyard. Super cool but about to fall down! We decided to open it up, replace some of the old rotting wood and make it into an open outdoor living space.

First thing that came down was the old barn doors. I had to decide whether to keep them or ditch them. So, like l do with my clients, l asked myself… Do l love them? Are they useful? Do l need them?

Well, l definitely didn’t need them. I loved them (they are seriously cool) but if they were not being used, they had to go. So l searched ‘barn doors’ on google and found some cool ideas. I needed an outdoor table and l came across some pics of barn doors that had been transformed into trestle tables. So the answer was yes! They are useful. So, with the help of my Dad, l transformed them into practical outdoor tables.

Single DoorSanding DoorDoor Closeup

Lucky for me, my Dad is very handy. He helped me work out the steps we needed to take. All we needed to do was sand them back and drill in some trestle legs. Purchased some separate trestle legs from Bunnings (that place has everything!) and got to work!

Trestle Complete

Volia! An outdoor trestle! We successfully transformed clutter into something useful! So when you are next faced with clutter, just ask yourself these three questions: Do l love it? Is it useful? Do l need it? And be honest with yourself. If you’re not… you will soon be surrounded by stuff you don’t need!

Happy organising!
Tanya, Declutterhome

Getting eco-organised!

I was lucky enough to have my friend and fellow Professional Organiser, Tanya Lewis, from EcoOrganiser®, over to help me eco-organise my home. What does eco-organising your home involve? Good question! Decluttering, reorganising and creating new ways of doing things, that will help reduce your carbon foot print. First thing Tanya helped me create was a compost bin. My goal was to cut the amount of rubbish we were creating as a household. Here’s what we did…

Compost binCompost list

Tanya suggested a simple system… find a little bin with a lid, sit it on your kitchen bench and fill up daily with any food scraps, etc. She suggested sticking up a list next to the bin, listing items l can and cannot add. It’s amazing what you can compost… even toilet rolls!

Big compost bin

Next l needed a large compost bin. Lucky for me the previous owners left theirs behind for us to use :) Now, to find a spot for the bin. Tanya recommended two things here. 1. Place it in a sunny spot so it gets some sun. This helps with the composting process. 2. Put it near the house, so you don’t have to go too far to empty it each day. And within reach of a tap… you need to keep the compost moist with some water.


And that was that! Job done! Now all we have to do is add any scraps to the bin! My little one, Jessie, loves watermelon! She loves putting the scraps into compost afterwards!

Vegie Patch

Here’s a pic of our compost bin next to the veggie patch. Can’t wait to add the compost to our garden! Thanks to Tanya for her help and inspiration! 

Helpful links:
EcoOrganiser®, Tanya Lewis - For helpful eco-friendly tips and inspiration!
Clean up Australia - Facts, links and info on composting
Gardening Australia, ABC - How to compost
Compost Week - About composting

Compost Bins:
Kitchen compost caddy Bunnings Warehouse
Compost bin 400L Masters

Could you make your home a little more eco-friendly? Let me know your ideas!

Happy organising!
Tanya, Declutterhome

5 ideas to help you declutter


Smart guy Albert… it’s a great quote that you can apply to any area of your life that’s not working for you. Is clutter one area that has got to change? What steps can you take towards changing this situation?

This quote reminds me of my weight loss journey. If l repeat old habits the result will stay the same. If l want to change, l need to change my actions. That simple. Want to change your situation? Here are 5 ideas for you…

Get inspired

Create a vision board with some quotes or images that will keep you focused as well as motivate you to take action.

Keep a diary

Schedule in time daily to decluttering, like you would an appointment, work or exercise. It can build up quickly if you don’t!


Spend 5-10 minutes daily putting items away. I like to do this before dinner. That way you will wake up to some order rather than chaos.

Create Inbox

Create an inbox where you can put all your jobs to do. Schedule in time weekly to getting it sorted.

Label it

Label shelves, storage boxes, food containers, etc! That way there’s a spot for everything. And there will be no excuses when items are put away in the wrong spot!

Let me know how you go!

Happy organising!
Tanya, Declutterhome

How to organise your storage containers

The storage container drawer… trying to keep it organised can seem like an endless mission! Containers are so handy but how to keep them to order? Where is the best place to store them? What to keep and how many? Here are your questions answered plus a how to guide to getting them in order!



Step 1: Clear your kitchen bench top ready to sort your storage containers.

Step 2: Remove all the items from the drawer and put onto your bench top… sorting ‘like’ items together as you go. For example, water bottles together, same size containers+lids together, etc.

Step 3: Clean surfaces of the drawer/shelf where you intend to store them.

Step 4: Put damaged items to one side or items you no longer use.

Step 5: Put aside any lids/containers with missing bottoms or tops. Store these elsewhere for a week or so, as you may find the pair elsewhere, e.g. in the dish washer!

Step 6: If you have a spare container or two you no longer use… use these to keep items organised. For example, l used one to store the water bottles in and one to keep smaller items in order (see below).

Step 7: Put all the items back in the drawer, keeping ‘like’ items together. Stack up containers that are the same size, keeping the lids in the top one (see example below). Store frequently used items at the front for easy access. If there are items you only use once in a blue moon, store these elsewhere.

Handy tip:
I prefer to buy the same brand of storage containers, so they slot into each other easily. Different types can add to the chaos!



Where is the best place to store them?
I personally like storing them in a big drawer. You can access and see what you have quickly and easily.

What to keep and how many?
This one is up to you, depending on what you use them for and how often. I personally like to have a stash of containers ready to go when needed. I use mine to store biscuits in for example, as well as left overs in the fridge and freezer.

What brand do l use?
I like the Decor Tellfresh Range. They are inexpensive, stack into each other easily and they go the distance!

Happy organising!

Photographs: by Tanya Lea, Declutterhome

Healthy eating organised!

The best thing about being organised is that you have more time for the important stuff. One of the most important things to me, is to be fit and healthy for me and my family. As well as being a positive role model for my baby girl, Jessica. So that means healthy eating. Here’s how l get organised…

Dinner organised - 1

Meal Plan:
Each Saturday l spend about 15 minutes on meal planning for the week, e.g. Monday night: chicken stir fry with couscous. From there l write up my shopping list.

We then head out to our local fresh fruit & veg shop and butcher and we buy up! Lots of fresh produce for the week ahead.

Dinner organised - 2

Food Prep:
I spend around an hour on Sunday afternoon chopping up all the veggies, ready for the week ahead. I don’t wash them as they go soggy. I just wash them when needed. 

Dinner organised - 3

Next, l separate out the different veggies and store in air tight containers in the fridge. It makes dinner so easy. Each morning l simply defrost the meat, fish etc. Then that night l grab whatever veggies l need and wash.

I also chop up celery and carrot sticks for ‘snacks on the run’ or for pre dinner ‘hommus dip and carrot sticks’. Little Jessie loves these too!

Get cooking!
If you have time why not cook up a meal too! I would usually bake some healthy muffins for snacks during the week. What’s your favourite go to meal?

Have you got any menu planning or food prep tips you would like to share? You may also enjoy this previous blog on meal planning.

Happy organising!

Photographs: by Tanya Lea, Declutterhome

How to make a positive change

Hello! Just a quick preamble… as you may have read on my Facebook l’m back blogging after 21 months on maternity leave. I’m looking forward to being creative again and sharing my ideas and thoughts with you!

First up, l wanted to share a personal story. One which will hopefully motivate you to declutter and stay organised long-term. Here goes…


Why a picture of me in my exercise gear?! Well, to me decluttering and staying organised is like exercising and staying fit and healthy… it takes consistent daily effort! It’s something most of us put to the bottom of our to-do-list. A task we know is important but one we don’t want to do… it’s too hard, l’m too tired etc etc. I think you would agree that the majority of us would prefer to eat a chocolate bar rather than go to the gym! But we know where that short term thinking gets us… overweight and unhappy. Yep, that’s me! Don’t get me wrong… love my life and all that… but dislike being overweight, tired and with lots of clothes l cannot fit into!

So after many years of thinking, being overweight and helping clients get organised, l have created some helpful steps to making positive change… hope you find them helpful too!


1. VISION: Think about what your goal is and create a strong vision of what you want the outcome to be. That vision may take the form of a vision board. With lots of pictures and words describing your goal. Hang it up somewhere and look at it daily.

2. SMALL STEPS: Everyone does things differently but l like to take small steps. Small amounts of time daily dedicated to the task. Forget that ‘perfectionist’ way of thinking. Thinking ‘l want this to all be perfect now’, will just make you overwhelmed. Be realistic. One step at a time.

3. SCHEDULE: Schedule the time you need to get the task done. I recommend starting with something you find easy. For example, take 10 minutes, after kids go to bed to declutter and sort your sock drawer.

4. SUPPORT: Get the support you need to make it happen. For example, a friend to help you… a Professional Organiser if you need it… a family member to babysit the kids while you declutter. Whatever it takes.

5. FOCUS: There may be times when you become overwhelmed… ‘it’s too hard’ ‘l can’t do this’. Simply keep focussed and remind yourself of your goal. Knowing where you want to end up, makes all the difference. Create that motivation for yourself.

6. MANTRA: Create a positive mantra and repeat over and over when your mind comes up with excuses. Or simple ignore them and try and keep focussed.

7. BE KIND: Be kind to yourself. Like getting fit, decluttering takes time and can be an emotional journey. It can feel like an Everest of clutter sometimes… but just think, ‘one thing at a time and l will get there’.

I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with you! Let me know how you go!

Happy organising!

Photographs: by Declutterhome


Store review > West Elm, Melbourne

When l visited New York City l fell in love with homewares store, West Elm. They are a part of the Pottery Barn/Pottery Barn Kids/Williams-Sonoma group and they have some gorgeous storage! So you can imagine how excited l was to hear it was opening in Chapel St, Melbourne! Here are some pics l took instore of my favourite storage pieces.

The service is very good at West Elm. Friendly and helpful staff who know their stuff! I love the storage pieces for the kitchen. Definitely pieces to have on show rather than tucked away in the cupboard.

1. Labelled Kitchen Storage Canisters, $24-49 2. White Enamel Canisters, $24-39 3. Wire Mesh Storage – Laundry Caddy, $34

They definitely know how to make me happy… with an instore cafe! Offering you sample snacks as you sit and relax. You will also find water filters on each counter if you are thirsty while you browse!

1. Cotton Laundry Bag – Cafe Stripe, On Sale – $$29.95 

1. Patchwork Dresser, $1799 2. Range of Baskets 3. Rustic Storage Coffee Table, $649-999

Here are some more products l love. Images via West Elm Australia Website.

1. Bamboo Laundry Hamper, Double, $69 2. Woven Felt Baskets, $34-69 3. Lacquer Office, $29-49 4. Lacquer Jewellery Box, $89 5. Wire Mesh Storage, $34-69 6. Lacquer Bath Hamper, $114 7. Izola Soap Dishes, $18.95 8. Brendan Ravenhill Dustbon, Small, $154

P.S. This blog is not a recommendation to go shopping and clutter your house with more stuff you don’t need! I always recommend decluttering first to work out exactly what storage you need.

P.P.S. Not all products may be available instore… may just be online. Check first!

Tanya Lea
Declutterhome, Professional Organiser

Image Source: Photographs by Tanya, Declutterhome. Bottom product shots via West Elm Australia website.

How to organise deep cupboards?


“How do you organise cupboards that have deep shelves and are also high between each shelf vertically? How do you best use the space?” – Gabby

Great question Gabby! I have seen this problem a lot when helping clients. You will be pleased to know this is an easy fix… without going to the expense of a cupboard redesign! Here are some ideas to get you thinking…


Make the most of a deep cupboard by purchasing storage that either pulls/slides out or is deep with handles for easy access. Another option is to store ‘double-ups’ of product or items you don’t use regularly at the back and store everyday items at the front. Again store items in storage containers with handles for easy access. Don’t forget to label the storage so you know what’s inside! Product links below…

1. Pantry Baskets, Lifespace Store & Organise
2. Linus Binz with Divider, Howards Storage World
3. Chrome 2 Tier Organiser, Howards Storage World 
4. Rubbermaid Slide N’ Stack Basket, Lifespace Store & Organise
5. Whitmor Slide Out Cabinet Organiser, Lifespace Store & Organiser
6. Sterilite Ultra Storage Basket, Bunnings Warehouse


The Storage Shop


There are a few ways of dealing with this problem and the outcome will depend on your current setup. If you have moveable melamine shelves with stud supports you could simply add in a few more shelves. Stores like Bunnings Warehouse sell sheets of melamine which they can cut to size for you (at a few dollars a cut). They also sell a variety of bracket/stud supports.

Option 2 would be to purchase some additional shelf organisers. There are quite a few options out there that would work. I also like stacking plastic storage containers and storing everyday items in the top container for easy access. Here are some ideas to get you thinking. Product links below…

1. Expanding shelf organiser, Howards Storage World
2. Shelf with grip base, Howards Storage World
3. Pantry Stacking Basket, Lifespace Store & Organise
4. Undershelf Basket Chrome, Lifespace & Organise
5. Whitmor Slide Out Shelf with Basket, Lifespace & Organise
6. Variera Shelf, Ikea

Hope these ideas help Gabby! Let me know how you go!

Tanya Lea
Declutterhome, Professional Organiser

Image Source: Images via above websites.

Guest blog at

Check out my latest guest blog at hardtofind – My 5 top clutter-busting tips! You’ll also find some gorgeous organising product ideas to help get your home sorted. Simply click on this link to view…

Do you follow Declutterhome on Facebook? If not, you would have missed my news! I’ve recently had a baby girl, so l have been busy and total sleep deprived! I hope to get back to blogging regularly in a couple of months. Until then, happy organising and don’t forget to sign up to Declutterhome on Facebook, for some extra tips! Click here to get started…

FREE Declutterhome August Checklist

How have you been going with your checklists so far? Do you feel like you are ticking some boxes? Use these cold Winter weekends to get some jobs done and dusted! This month l have scheduled in some bigger declutter jobs for the weekends. Sort out some of these cluttered areas during August and start September with a Spring in your step!

How to download your Declutterhome August Checklist…
Simply click on the link below to save and print your own checklist. Stick it on your fridge as a reminder! Declutterhome Checklist August 2013

Having trouble downloading the August Declutterhome Checklist? Email me and l can email it to you directly:

How many jobs can you tick off this month? Let me know how you go!
Happy organising,

Tanya Lea
Declutterhome, Professional Organiser

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