What you’re doing wrong with your home organisation

It takes more than just a bunch of baskets.
Butler's pantry with organised open shelving on the right hand side.

Marie Kondo may have changed lives all over the world, but if your home is still not sparking joy and you’re struggling to get your home in order, take a leaf out of the well-organised book of a professional to get to the heart of what really works.

A professional organiser and declutter expert, Jo Carmichael has, with her company All Sorted Out helped countless people get their lives well, all sorted out. Not just in a passing fad-clean-out-your-wardrobe-and-sock-drawer kind of way either. Jo has literally helped people move on with their lives.

From downsizing from family and forever homes to styling homes without the clutter and belongings of family to prepare it for sale, Jo knows how difficult it is to let go of belongings – many of which have been with people for a good part of their lives.

Window seat in a modern country farmhouse in Brisbane.
Keeping your home neat and tidy if you follow 5 simple principles, says professional home organiser, Jo Carmichael. (Photographer: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

“While home can be a busy place we also want to relax there. We’re most relaxed when there is no visual clutter.”

Jo Carmichael, All Sorted Out, Professional Organiser & Declutter Expert

“Saying goodbye to a Grandfather clock is not easy for many,” says Jo, who has seen visible relief in her clients’ faces when she ‘gives them permission’ to let things go. Often the process is empowering and allows others to make better use of objects, giving them life anew.

The experience is an intensely personal one and many people need help to make decisions around downsizing, storage and the next steps to maintain the calm created once clutter is removed.

“It’s not just about putting stuff into baskets,” says Jo, who advocates “purposeful shopping” and a planned approach when looking to buy storage systems. “Baskets serve a dual purpose – they should be pretty to look at but first assess what size they need to be.”

“If you’re asking yourself what you can buy to get ready for a home organisation makeover, buy nothing,” says Jo. “Wait until I get there and we’ll sort it out together!”

Jo’s process of organisation revolves around 5 key rules.

1. Store like with like

Grouping items is key to keeping things organised and under control. “Keeping like with like means it’s easier to put things away & find them, because all t shirts are together, not mixed up with jeans or socks.”

2. Everything has a place 

An age-old saying but a constructive rule to apply when organising your home. Take stock of things storage is required for and go about creating designated areas that best suit things – both in terms of size and shape.

Melbourne sustainable bushland home hallway
Slimline shoe storage keeps this hallway clutter free. (Credit: Photographer: Marnie Hawson)

3. Allow your storage to set limits

If your storage space is full, but you have more to add to overflowing, consider whether you need more storage – but it’s more likely you need less stuff!

4. Don’t put it down, put it away

This is our favourite rule! Jo’s idea is to stem the collection of clutter on a daily basis by putting things back into their place every time after use.

small laundry layout rattan folding doors
Always put items back where they belong when you’re finished with them. (Credit: Photography: Ess Creative)

5. Labels

“Labels are like street signs,” says Jo. “Imagine driving around without them!” Labelling everything means a neat and satisfying system, finding things quickly and no excuses for where things should go.

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