Live smart: 6 top tips to streamline your house 

Lose weight, quit smoking, take up yoga or spend more time with the family: whatever New Year’s resolutions you have decided on for 2018, it’s worth thinking about your home. Here are six simple yet life-enhancing changes you can make to help your house run more smoothly this year:

New Year's resolutions
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash


  1. Clear out the kitchen cupboards and restock all your staples. Start with a proper audit of everything stashed away at the back of the shelves, including that half-opened jar of cranberry sauce/mincemeat/mayonnaise, and either use it up or discard it. Replenish items you use regularly – flour, sugar, tinned tomatoes – and decant dry goods into more convenient, screw-top storage jars or containers.
  2. Get and stay on top of the shoe/boot mountain by the back door. This could mean investing in a decent shoe rack or two, but an up-cycled wooden crate or plastic tub can work just as well, especially for younger family members. A top tip is to encourage each person to only keep two pairs of shoes downstairs at any one time – the rest should be stowed neatly away in their wardrobe…

    New Year resolutions
    Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
  3. Work out a system to help keep your house clean. Keep a simple set of cleaning items to hand in each bathroom or en suite, for example – not only does it make it easier to clean on-the-go, it should cut down on the length of time it takes to complete the weekly domestic chores (never mind reducing the boredom factor).
  4. Find a user-friendly way to stay on top of bills, letters and paperwork. One of the simplest solutions is to buy a pre-divided document wallet and label each compartment -‘gas’, ‘electricity’, ‘school’ etc – making sure you include one for ‘urgent’ too. Use it during the week to deal with your mail and then go through it with a cuppa at the weekend. And remember: opt for paperless billing wherever you can.
  5. Have a designated ‘launchpad’. This is an area in your house, preferably near the front door, where you keep coats, jackets, shoes, backpacks, purses, keys and everything else you need to find easily before you leave the house. Think of it as a transition zone between outside and inside and revisit it every evening – if tomorrow is a gym day, for example, add your kit bag to the launchpad and come 7am, you’ll be raring to go…

    New Year's resolutions
    Photo by Vadim Sherbakov on Unsplash
  6. Finally, nail that recycling. Think about those items you regularly recycle and then invest in some proper storage containers to keep it all in. Choose something that is easy to access, maybe with a flip lid, and if space is at a premium, opt for a nifty stackable system. The key to recycling is to make it easy – so place your recycling containers somewhere accessible and make sure the whole family is on board and fully debriefed on the new system.

    New Year's resolutions
    Photo by Lacey Williams on Unsplash

And remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day…so don’t rush in and try to do it all now. Pick one or two tasks that strike a particular chord with you, make those changes and see how you get on. Chances are, you’ll soon be adding your own improvements on a weekly, if not daily, basis and wondering how you ever managed before…

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