Is your home a model of streamlined efficiency? Or do you find yourself constantly moving from one area to another, misplacing items and walking into a room only to forget what you were about to do? With a few easy changes you could simplify household tasks, banish clutter and revolutionise your home life. Follow our tips to make your home more functional.
Have a place for everything
One of the hallmarks of functional living is the presence of proper, dedicated storage solutions. If there’s nowhere to put your shoes when you walk through the front door, or the mail that comes through the letterbox is simply shoved on the table on top of yesterday’s pizza leaflets, it’s inevitable that your home will quickly become cluttered and disorganised.
But if you can anticipate predictable routines and cater for them with conveniently positioned shelves, cupboards and containers, it will be easier to put things away than to clutter up the house.
Of course there will be times when objects are out of place, but incorporate that into your system; have a basket at the bottom of the stairs and another one at the top, so that anything that needs to be put back can be popped in the basket until the next time you’re going up or down.
The key to a functional home is to make your belongings work for you, rather than adapting your own routine to suit the position of furniture and appliances. If you don’t have the budget to revamp your kitchen or buy new gadgets, try a spot of reorganisation.
- In the fridge, position perishables so that those with the shortest shelf life are closest at hand.
- Start labelling all those tubs that contain leftovers, so that your next rummage in the freezer is less of a lottery.
- Move crockery so that it’s stored near the dishwasher, making life infinitely easier every time you empty it.
SPECIFY A PURPOSE FOR EACH AREA, AND STICK TO IT
Think about what you spend your time doing at home – and where you do it. Sleeping is done in the bedroom; eating is done in the kitchen or dining room, but sometimes these rooms seem to serve as a one-stop-shop for all sorts of other activities such as homework, TV watching and hobbies. By muddying the waters when it comes to the purpose of each room (or area of a room), it’s harder to maintain a functional home that runs smoothly and remains clutter-free.
Obviously, some flexibility is required, but with careful planning, you can make the most of your home and how it works. So, decide how it will work when the kids pile home from school and set up a homework station at the kitchen table.
A tray or storage box for each person, positioned near the table, could help get everything cleared quickly and easily when it’s time for dinner.
Think creatively about alternatives to your current set-up. Could you transform an under-used spare room into a study, or introduce a foldaway desk into a corner? For a more permanent and spacious solution, a garden building could give you a dedicated space for work or leisure, freeing up the rooms in your home to be used as intended.