Ask The Experts: How to Start Organising Your Home

  • Dec 29, 2018

Singapore-based professional organisers Kris Tan from The Declutter Professionals and Nathalie Ricaud from Get Organised & Beyond share with us their tips on how to get started organising your home.

What’s your top organising tip?

Nathalie: Sort your items in categories (e.g. clothes can be sorted by type, occasion, etc. toys can be sorted by building blocks, card games, etc.) It’s only when you look at a category as a whole that you can appreciate how much you own in this category and decide how much you should keep and which ones are your favourites. Kris: Keep to a maximum of two to three hours per decluttering or organising session. This helps keep you sane and isn’t too hard physically. It also allows you to be motivated for the next round.

How should we start?

Nathalie: Always start by purging. Keep only what you need, use and love, and fits into your storage space. The rest is clutter. Kris: First step is usually to discard. Sort your items to the left and right. Left being to keep. Right being to discard. If you don’t know what to start with, start by discarding old clothes. You can never go wrong with purging these because most people tend to have a lot of them.

The easiest place to start decluttering is your closet. Create a 'yes' and 'no' pile before further sub-dividing the 'no' pile into throw, donate and sell.

Design: Chapter 3

Which room to start with?

Nathalie: It depends on the individual. There are some considerations you can think about before deciding. You may want to start with categories of items you are not too attached to, otherwise you'll get quickly stuck and will stop the decluttering process. Or it could be a room that bothers you the most. If you entertain at home, it could also be the living room or the kitchen. Keep in mind that if your family is not on board with your project of getting organised, make sure to start with your own spaces and avoid dealing with their belongings. It might create conflict which will stop you in your own organising and decluttering process. Kris: It depends on which room you’re more motivated to start with. It could be the living room, because it’s the place you spend the most time in. Or it could be your wardrobe, for example, if you have a lot of clothes.

If you often host guests, you might want to start decluttering and organising your kitchen or living room first, which are the "faces" of your home.

Design: The Scientist

Is the living room where you spend the most time at home? Start your decluttering process there.

Design: Schemacraft Interiors

What's the next step?

Nathalie: Assign a specific home to each of your belongings. It's the only way to remember where things are, and where to put them away. Keep items belonging to the same category together. Make use of containers and label them. Fine tune afterwards; it’s not possible to find the optimum location for your belongings right away. Make necessary adjustments until you find a solution that suits you.

Display only your favourite photos and mementoes, but don't put out everything!

Design: Story of Us

After sorting your things into categories, find a proper home in your space for them. Always return items to where they belong after use.

Design: DB Studio

A general organising tip for each room in the home?


Nathalie: Streamline your kitchen utensils, pots and pans etc., and keep only those you really use. Get rid of fancy gadgets; there's a lot you can do with a simple chopping board and a knife.
Kris: Keep away items from the countertop to make wiping down a breeze.


Nathalie: Only keep items you use daily on the vanity counter. Everything else should be stored in cabinets and drawers.
Kris: Store away pails and brushes. Use wall storage units instead of placing shampoo holders on the floor. Declutter the floor area.


Nathalie: Store clothes at eye level, otherwise you will forget about them. For clothes, you don't frequently wear like winter wear, store them under the bed if possible in clear containers so you can free up space in the closet.
Kris: Always make your bed and store away clean laundry back to the wardrobe. Have proper laundry baskets.

Living Room / Dining Room

Nathalie: Keep only your favourite decorations and photographs. It's impossible to appreciate them when there're too many of them. Hang photographs on the wall instead of taking space on shelves and tables.
Kris: Remote controls should be placed in holders. Keep the dining table clear of magazines, newspaper or documents of other kinds.

Kids' Room

Kris: Invest in colourful baskets that can be easily moved around so that kids are motivated to return their own toys after playing with them.

Home Office

Nathalie: File, don't ever pile paper. Piles of paper attract more papers, and it's very difficult to find a document inside a pile when you need it.

To prevent clutter in the cooking space, don't keep too many fancy kitchen gadgets, says Nathalie. You can do a lot with simple tools.

Design: A.W.A Design Office

How to maintain the order?

Nathalie: Maintenance is easy if you set up systems that fit your needs, preferences and habits, and those of your family. Return items to where they belonged and encourage other members in your family to return things to their dedicated home. If you didn’t have time to return things to their dedicated areas on the spot, set aside time at the end of each day to do a quick tidying up. You shouldn’t need more than 10 minutes to do so. Finally, learn to make decisions on the spot. Don’t put things back in cabinets if you know you won’t be using them again or you don’t love them anymore.

Place bathroom amenities on a wall storage like a ledge rather than on the floor.

Design: Fineline Design

Keep kitchen counters clutter free.

See more organising tips for your home: 

>> Top 6 Tips for an Efficient and Effective HDB Service Yard

>> How and Where to Keep Everything in the Kitchen

>> 10 HDB Bathrooms where Storage Reigns Supreme

>> How to Sneak in MORE Storage in Every Room

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