Skip to main content

The art of the micro-tidy

A self-help guide to overcoming organisational anxiety.

At IKEA, our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and for many of us, a tidy and organised home is the secret to a happy home.

There’s arguably nothing more satisfying than surveying the end result of a reorganisation project – the perfect pantry, a logical bathroom and a chronologically organised toy area.

However, while 67% of us are super excited about embarking on a declutter, a third of us are nervous, 58% of us don’t know where to start and 42% simply don’t have the time.

As the experts in Life at Home, we understand that the best solutions are often the most simple. And so, to combat the nervousness many might feel about embarking on a declutter, IKEA Australia has developed the art of the micro-tidy.

The micro-tidy is a bite-sized, time sensitive approach to reorganising some of the most disorganised areas of your home. An approach that reduces stress, in addition to the time and focus needed to get to the moment of an Instagram worthy picture reveal.

As you embark on this self-help journey through the art of the micro-tidy, we’ll help you develop short, efficient approaches to tackling the clutter!

A thorough declutter may ultimately bring about feelings of peace and satisfaction, but many of us can’t lock away the hours needed to do it properly.

Each task should take between 5 – 15 minutes and can be carried out over a series of days, or in the same day if you’re on a roll.


Micro-tidy solutions for the pantry.

The pantry is one the most used areas in the home and has the potential to act as a vortex for all it contains.

The mico-tidy works well for the pantry as it encourages us to find solutions for specific items, tackling just one step at a time.

Each stage below will take between 5 – 15 minutes and can be carried out across multiple days, making your pantry makeover, much more manageable.

5 - 10 minutes

Start by making a plan.

Write down the items you have and how you’d like to group them together i.e.spices, grains/pasta, canned food, sauces etc. On your plan, match the items with a storage container and determine how you want to store certain groups.

15 minutes

Focus on one shelf at a time and throw away any items that have expired.

I organise by frequency. I normally put the frequently used items at the front of a shelf or in the clear container so I can see what I need quickly.

Mira Kim WebsterIKEA Customer Support

10 minutes per shelf

Transfer your selected pantry items, one category at a time, into the storage solutions identified in the plan. Clear and transparent containers allow for easy access and prolong the shelf life of products.

Key tip: Remember to record expiry dates!

15 minutes

Organise the pantry with frequently used items in easy to reach, or eye level shelves.

Bulk dry goods in large storage containers to be stored lower and accessed with a scoop when needed.

Rarely used items should be stored at the top.

Your pantry solutions tool kit

Make a plan

Group your pantry items, for example start with seperating the following:

  1. Spices
  2. Dry ingredients
  3. Cans
  4. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  5. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  6. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

IKEA tip: Before you embark on your pantry declutter, it’s worth asking yourself, "What are the biggest frustrations you have with your current storage solutions?", and then building your plan to address your frustrations.


IKEA tip: Transparent containers and lids make it easy to see the food inside, how much is left, and let's you know when it’s time to re-fill. This reduces the risk of doubling up on items and minimises waste.


IKEA Australia have created a three part podcast series to help you declutter and learn Swedish at the same time!

In each episode, simply follow the step by step micro-tidy guides that covers tips on how to organise your bathroom, pantry and children’s toys.

Along the way you’ll pick up Swedish words and phrases that relate to tidying. Join the fun and tune into the new release podcasts.


Micro-tidy solutions for children’s toys.

Our children’s worlds are wonderfully varied and non-sensical – that is what helps them to learn, play and stay engaged. However, organising our children’s toys can be the most overwhelming task to tackle. Especially as the solutions need to work for both you and your little people. The following stages are open to your creativity and can allow for a bit of fun in the process too.

5 minutes

Develop your plan. Look at how you can group your children’s toys together and what your ‘tidy’ categories are, for instance cars, dolls, dinosaurs, music. There’s no right or wrong way to organise and the categories should work for all members of the family.

10 – 15 minutes

Find your solutions. What sized containers do you need to store your new categories of toys? Do you need a big box for the bulkier items, or baskets for some of the more miscellaneous toys? See-through boxes are good for toys the children use every day, whereas closed boxes work better for toys you want to keep out of reach or work great in the living room so toys are not always on show.

Match your storage to your categories.

I prefer organising by function first and then frequency, as this will help anyone to look for the right product easily. I also love to colour coordinate if given option!

Toshi SenCommunications and Interior Design

5 minutes per category

Starting with one category at a time, group your toys together into your storage solution. As soon as you have combined your toys into their identified solution, label it so that everyone understands the system. You can use labels or pictures of toys so it’s clear!

5 minutes per category

After each category sort, identify a place for them to call home. You may want to create a play area of highly used toys in the living room, but some solutions will also work well in the bedroom and will ensure your living areas aren’t totally overtaken with toys! Look up high on the wall or underneath the bed for places to store the items you want to keep out of reach such as arts and craft supplies.


Children’s toys solutions toolkit

Make a plan

Group your items, for example start with seperating the following:

  1. Plush toys
  2. Cars
  3. Books
  4. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  5. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  6. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

IKEA tip: Before you start your plan, assess your living spaces and determine what activities takeplace in each of the rooms. Not just for your children, but the rest of the family as well.This will help you decide what goes where and what should remain visible and what youwould like to hide away.

The art of the micro-tidy: Children's Toys

    IKEA tip: Consider moveable storage, or storage on wheels. This allows you to move the toys to where you need them, but also move them away and out of sight when you don’t.


    IKEA Australia have created a three part podcast series to help you declutter and learn Swedish at the same time!

    In each episode, simply follow the step by step micro-tidy guides that covers tips on how to organise your bathroom, pantry and children’s toys.

    Along the way you’ll pick up Swedish words and phrases that relate to tidying. Join the fun and tune into the new release podcasts.


    Micro-tidy solutions for the bathroom.

    The bathroom is a place for privacy or a space for rejuvenation. As one of the most frequently used rooms in our home, the place where we start and finish our day, it can also be the room in the house where nothing within it has a home. Organisation is vital in any bathroom to help maintain the tranquility, but also to keep the bathroom clean and items easy to find.

    10 – 15 minutes

    Take time to replenish and determine what you really need in your bathroom. Throw out items that have expired or that you no longer have any use for. This is a fantastic opportunity to get rid of that moldy old loofah you’ve been clinging onto for years and gives you an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with everything you have in the space.

    10 minutes

    Planning time! What lives together and what can you group? I.e. skincare, hair products, makeup, bath and shampoo etc. Create your categories and identify the best storage solution. Does it need to be waterproof, closed or open, transparent or bulky?

    VARIERA boxes are my most used product. It can be used everywhere in the house, pantry, wardrobe, bathroom, storage, office. Very popular and multifunctional.

    Marta MarcuIKEA for Business

    10 minutes per category

    Pick a group and start grouping the items together in its own storage container. Tackle make-up in one go, and then electricals in another. Consider what needs to be in easy reach for daily use!

    5 minutes

    For any double up items, save a tub for backfill extras and keep this at the back of the vanity or in another space – key is to remember to check this, before buying more!


    Your bathroom solutions toolkit

    Make a plan

    Group your items, for example start with seperating the following:

    1. Toiletries
    2. Make-up
    3. Towels
    4. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    5. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    6. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    IKEA tip: Before you make your plan, think about what the hardest items will be to store in your bathroom. It could be your electricals, or perhaps your cleaning products. Look at the problem areas and work backwards when building your solutions.

    The art of the micro-tidy: Bathroom

      IKEA tip: Your bathroom may not have all the storage you need for how you need to use it and what you need to store. Free standing pieces, such as trolleys, can be combined withother storage systems to create more bathroom storage. Suction hooks with hanging storage attached can also keep small items together without damaging tiles.


      IKEA Australia have created a three part podcast series to help you declutter and learn Swedish at the same time!

      In each episode, simply follow the step by step micro-tidy guides that covers tips on how to organise your bathroom, pantry and children’s toys.

      Along the way you’ll pick up Swedish words and phrases that relate to tidying. Join the fun and tune into the new release podcasts.