While there are some contemporary decluttering tips that will help you achieve a tidy home, the best solution may be rooted in the past – in 1906 Italy, to be exact. Enter – the Pareto Principle – an economic theory that stemmed from the work of Italian Vilfredo Pareto, who wrote about the ‘80/20 connection’ while at the University of Lausanne.  The original teaching may seem like a world away from the kitchen or closet organization ideas you crave now, but that is not the case. Here’s how this theory translates into the home – and how it may change your tidying habits for the better.

The 80/20 rule – how to use it in your home

You can incorporate the 80/20 rule in your home by filling in the time between a ‘big clean’ by tidying 20 percent of your things more regularly. This keeps your home looking tidy on the surface and makes it feel less daunting when it comes to deep cleaning the other 80 percent of your home. With this in mind, the small jobs (such as making your bed and keeping on top of washing up) are hugely impactful.  Interiors Therapy (opens in new tab) expert Suzanne Roynon says there’s a lot to be said for using the 80/20 rule when it comes to keeping a home organized, clean and tidy. ‘While a deep clean is incredibly good for the heart and soul of a home, having the option to do a whistlestop 20 percent version (so everything shines at surface level when guests are arriving or just to get you through the week) is better than doing nothing,’ Suzanne says. ‘You can accomplish a great deal visually with the best vacuum cleaner, some anti-bac wipes, and multi-purpose cleaner. Having sparkling taps, mirrors and clean kitchen surfaces can disguise sneaky pockets of dust elsewhere.’ Plus, as the expert explains, the 80/20 rule is reflected in homes in many different ways beyond organizing a living room, kitchen, or bedroom. ‘It’s well established that most people only wear 20 percent of the clothes in their wardrobe 80 percent of the time, and in reality, that extends to other possessions too,’ Suzanne says. And this can be interpreted in regard to cleaning tips, too.  ‘When we look at a home from an Interiors Therapy perspective, we start by identifying anything which is surplus, unused or unloved,’ the expert adds. ’ ‘Again, we find 20 percent of belongings actively in use whilst the rest languish in drawers, cupboards, and garages, maybe coming out once every couple of years, if at all. People who had been convinced they need to move house to gain storage space suddenly realize they have plenty of room to spare in the home they already own.’  

Best places to buy organizers