Bettina Brent (@bettina_brent on Instagram) is an organizational genius with an eye for design. In between running the administrative side of her family’s building company and her weekend work as a color consultant for a large new home builder, she loves finding time to work with clients to help them make the best interior design and styling decisions possible.
With a lot of us still spending a ton of time in our homes, we thought we'd chat with Bettina about her top organizational tips for any space — and the playlist she cranks when she’s hard at work decluttering.
Bettina keeps her Tivoli Audio Model One Digital on hand to listen to her favorite podcasts and 1980s playlists as she designs and organizes.
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|Model One Digital Gen. 2|
Tell us about yourself.
I live in Melbourne with my extension-renovation-builder husband, three children (ages 16, 11 and 9), our fur babies, and a big plant gang.
I am an enthusiastic thrifter, buyer, and seller of all things mid-century. Apart from the environmental reasons, I love being surrounded by pieces that have a story. I can also justify changing up my home regularly for the product styling I love to do in between my other jobs.
I also have a passion for all things low-toxicity. As the gatekeeper to my home, I’ve been trying to create a healthier environment for my family by minimizing the chemicals I bring into our home. 2020 sure kicked that up a notch!
You have an eye for organization. What are your top tips for decluttering and getting organized?
With Melbourne being in lockdown for most of this year and last, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how best to organize and declutter living spaces. Here are my biggest tips.
- I’ve found with organizing that the first step is the most daunting. Take it one step at a time and choose the area that you use the most to begin with — that will make the most difference in your day-to-day!
- Swapping out all my cleaning and laundry products for two or three chemical-free products that could work for everything has made a huge difference when it comes to organizing my kitchen and laundry cupboards.
- I usually start by pulling absolutely everything out onto the floor or bench so I can see what’s there. That gives you room to thoroughly dust, vacuum, and wipe down the shelves. Once everything is clean, the sorting starts!
- When sorting through a wardrobe or cupboard, I make three piles: things to keep, things to give away, and things to throw out. And I have to say, I’m ruthless here. If it hasn’t been used or worn in the last few years — it’s out.
- I’ve always reused my big coffee and pickle jars to store things in my pantry, but found that there were still lots of opened packets and random boxes stashed at the back. I recently decided to start again and sort out my pantry and spice drawer in the kitchen. I worked out what size glass containers I needed to order, then I went through and threw out all the out of date and opened packets. It was amazing how much space was freed up in when the contents were condensed and culled.
- I highly recommend choosing glass containers and labels to make everything look uniform. It also makes it easy to see what’s in them, and how much is left so you know when you'll have to add it to the shopping list.
- I love a storage box for all the untidy bits and pieces — paper work, kids crafts, games, present cards and ribbons, for example.
- When items have been organized once, it’s much easier to keep it all sorted as everything has a place. Do the work up-front to find all your miscellaneous pieces homes and it will pay off long-term.
- For items like throws or kids toys that are being used on repeat, consider storing them in baskets. Baskets are easy to access, and can help make storage for items like these look decorative.
- Try to do a quick tidy up every morning or night. Once the clutter starts to accumulate, it’s a snowball effect!
And last but not least — what do you listen to while you declutter?
I usually listen to podcasts because it's the only time I know I will have to 'read' information. But when I listen to music, it's always 80's!
So, inspired by Bettina, here’s a classic 80s playlist for you to play on your nearest Tivoli Audio speaker as you get organizing: