Room to grow

Monica Leed, CEO and owner of Simply Spaced, offers space-saving solutions that empower you to live your best life with less clutter at home.

What does your home say about you and your family? What would it tell me if I stepped through the front door? Would it be warm and inviting, but, perhaps, a little cluttered? How do you want it to be? There is no right answer, of course; no right way to live. There’s only what’s right for you and your brood.

Think about how you want your home to feel when you first enter it; how you want to feel in and about your sanctuary. When we stop and really think about the amount of time we spend in our homes, we soon see the significance of how it makes us feel. Our homes have the potential to propel us to realise our wildest dreams and to live our most rewarding life. And how we set up our space either supports, or thwarts, our flow.

After deciding to get rid of the inessential, extraneous things in my life, I began what organisers deem ‘decluttering’ my home and life. And, like magic, I unearthed an entirely new perspective: less is more. This approach to life spoke to me far more than the number of shoes in my closet. I then transferred my passion for efficient space design and the power of organising into a company that helps real people curate their own spaces to reflect their real lives. After all, every family deserves to live in a home that inspires creativity, calm, and purpose.

Keep in mind that being organised is a journey, not a destination. You may never have all your stuff together – and what fun would that be anyway? The goal is only to slow down, prioritise, and declutter your life. When you become intentional about how you live, when you can find things and appreciate them, when you feel excited and not overwhelmed, that’s when you know you are home.


An organised kitchen sets the tone for a harmonious home and can inspire the preparation of healthy, stress-free meals. A streamlined kitchen can foster efficiency while optimising the function of your mind and body.


The kitchen is a notorious magnet for clutter, grime and confusion, but if you can keep your kitchen under control, you’ll feel in control. To take back the reins on the kitchen and curb the chaos, here are some common clutter culprits with easy solutions:


The kitchen is the high-traffic zone of the home. From kids’ art corners to entire ‘office’ workspaces, a kitchen can easily become the landing spot for more than just meals. Keep your family’s needs in mind while decluttering and organising this area. Solution: Move out anything that doesn’t align with your family’s goals for this space. It can be food that no longer serves you or broken dishes.


‘A place for everything, and everything in its place.’ Nowhere is this adage more important than in the kitchen. Without adequate space, proper storage, and identifiable zones, the kitchen becomes a free-for-all. Solution: Label zones that work and embrace the power of labels to maintain your working systems.


From meal prep to cooking, and eating to cleanup, the kitchen is a mess magnet. Adopt a clean-as-you-go mentality for the kitchen and beyond. Don’t let clutter build up to the point of feeling overwhelmed. Solution: Keep a bowl on the counter during food prep to toss all your excess, trash, or compostable items into.


One reason why our kitchens can get out of control is due to a lack of maintenance. From regular cleanouts to cabinet overhauls, adopt healthy habits to keep clutter at bay. Solution: Schedule a fortnightly or monthly cleanout and get the whole family to join in.


The bathroom is unequivocally the one space in the house where you can always unwind, but it can be no fun stepping over piles of towels and toys to get there. Whether or not your bathroom is a spa-like dreamland, it certainly has the potential to be. Reclaim this space as a sanctuary for serenity, calm, and quiet and embrace the stillness as your own little corner of the world.


If you ever feel like the harmony is lost in the rest of your house, try organising your bathroom to make the sanctuary you always dreamed of. With a little self-love and intention, you can transform this space to make it your own. Here are four common clutter culprits and tips to get started:


The problem with most bathrooms is a case of over-buying and underusing. Product piles are quick to build up, and a lack of storage makes it hard to find your belongings. You often end up buying more than you need and rebuying things you already own. Solution: Maximise storage space under the sink with pull-outs, shelf risers, and bins. If you don’t see it, you won’t use it.


Even the most fastidious organisers who are adept at editing out unwanted or unused items tend to overlook this. In truth, towels should be replaced every two years. Most people rarely replace them and have more than they need. Solution: Replace your towels with one cohesive and new matching collection; then cut up your old towels into rags to replace single-use paper towels for cleaning.


Counters collect all our beauty and self-care products, and we tend to leave everything out in plain view due to improper storage and deep cabinets that are hard to access. Before we know it, we’re faced with a mound of clutter. Solution: Contain, contain, contain. Place countertop items on a tray or try to corral them in jars to keep the surface clean. Use baskets or cabinet organisers to group like with like.


Most bathrooms don’t have enough storage, so it’s imperative to get creative. Solution: Think inside the box on this one. Use the insides of cabinet doors to store everything from blow dryers to cleaning supplies in mountable or over-the-door baskets. Hang over-the-toilet shelving or freestanding baskets to increase your storage real estate.


You’re likely familiar with the clutter that accumulates in communal spaces like the living room or foyer. A landing spot for life, they are warm and fun, but they can quickly get out of control. With intention and some techniques, you and your family can take back control.


Always on the frontlines, the living room and foyer are right up there with the kitchen as high-traffic zones. From shoes and keys to backpacks and takeaway cartons, these living spaces are where the family congregates and the stuff of everyday living lands. Setting up systems to control the chaos will help get the family on board for shared living. Here are the top clutter culprits plus some tips so that you can thrive in these spaces, get creative, and live the life you want:


The minutiae of life – mail, pens, receipts – serve a purpose, but never seem to have a home. This landing zone may be your entryway, the coffee or dining table, or lounge. No matter what setup you’re working with, an organised landing spot can be a game changer for a busy household. Solution: Set up a command centre for all the things that come in and out on a regular basis: keys, backpacks, shoes, hats, the dog leash, etc. These stations are a great example of breaking the rule of grouping like with like because, in this case, it’s better to store certain items right where they’re used.


Living spaces are where you gather. They are the hub and entry point for entertaining. They also become a dumping ground for everything that has no home. Solution: Keep a selection of toys accessible if this space doubles as a play area. Labelled baskets and bins stored in a tower make cleanup quicker.


We all know what I’m talking about when I say ‘travelling campsite’. There’s one in the bedroom, and one in the living room. It’s comprised of books and bags, cords and iPads, clothes and everything in between. The travelling campsite is a common hang-up in many living spaces. Solution: Keep a catch-all basket in the foyer so you can collect items from around the space and easily make one trip around the house to put things away. Throw one in the hall to quickly gather up stray toys. Get family buy-in and hold them accountable to the task.

This is an edited extract from Simply Spaced by Monica Leed published by Rock Point Gift and Stationery.

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