Erin Boyce might have more than 12,000 followers on Instagram, but don't expect her photos to be of the Kmart "hack", perfect pantry variety.

The Melbourne mum has been working as a professional organiser for the past four years and says she's noticed a growing anxiety in her clients over the perfectly styled organised homes and kitchen hacks that dominate social media.

Instead, Erin thinks there are some very achievable ways to declutter your home which she's shared with, starting with the pantry trend you absolutely should not try.

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"Mainly what you're seeing on Instagram it's there for a reason, it's curated for a picture, for likes, or for a sponsor if it's a sponsored post," she said.

"No one lives that perfectly and if they do then in my opinion – and it can cause a bit of upset, but in my opinion — if you are chasing that holy grail of perfection then you're fulfilling a void and something else is missing in your life."

Erin said that while Instagram and Facebook groups have been a great place to discover new organising hacks she was concerned it was becoming a "bit of a competition".

"At the end of the day if you've got a box and it's labelled then it works for your house and that's all it needs to work for," she said.

"I think people are becoming obsessed with achieving this perfect picture which they think is this perfect result but they're achieving it for others to then congratulate, and it's not going to actually work for them."

Many of the perfect organising solutions that went viral on social media also promoted the belief you needed to spend big on storage and buy lots of them, Erin said.

But the professional organiser said many cheap brands were just as good and too many containers could mean people end up doing just a type of "organised hoarding".

"I don't shop at Howard's Storage World for my clients – they don't want it, it's too expensive," Erin said.


"They have some great products, don't get me wrong, but there's also some products that you can get from Kmart or Ikea – even from $2 dollar shops.

"People are attempting to spend $40 on a little container to put pens in – go get five takeaway containers for $2 and put them in that. It doesn't need to look perfect; it just needs to work."

Achievable ways to stay organised

Golden pantry rule

While there was no need to make sure your pantry was pastel-coloured and Instagram friendly, Erin said it was important to follow one rule when it came to the kitchen area.

"I'm very, very passionate about decanting your food into storage containers, whether it be glass or plastic, I don't really care what it is," she said.

"I don't even care if it matches as long as its decanted."

There's one pantry hack we need to get rid of, says a professional organiser. Photo / Instagram
There's one pantry hack we need to get rid of, says a professional organiser. Photo / Instagram

She strongly advised against trying one trend that had become popular on social media, and that was using crates or baskets to group foods.

"I see this and it drives me nuts, and I work with a lot of people who have attempted to do their pantry and they've just got baskets everywhere – one for pasta, one for flour. And if they get pantry moths or pests they're gone, all their food is gone," Erin said.

"The only way to store a pantry so it's functional, pest-free and also retains the quality of the food is to decant into airtight containers, because you maximise the size and the height and the depth of the space, you maximise the life of a product because it's not getting air and going stale and you minimise the risk of pests."

Spend your money wisely

You should be prepared to spend on investment pieces that are going to be out all the time, rather than boxes that are going to be kept in a cupboard.

"I do believe in spending money on things that are going to be out, so if it's furniture, storage, you get what you pay for in that sense," Erin said.

"But what's going inside a cupboard you shouldn't be spending thousands on it."

How to keep bathrooms tidy

Many of us find our bathroom basins can look crowded and messy with toothbrushes but Erin says there's a cheap and cheerful solution to the chaos.

"In my bathroom in my drawer I have a cutlery divider. It was like $2.50 from Kmart and it holds my toothbrushes in it; it just divides them," she said.

Simple tricks like using cutlery dividers can make life a lot easier. Photo / Instagram
Simple tricks like using cutlery dividers can make life a lot easier. Photo / Instagram

"So simple – gets them off the bench, gets them away, gives them a bit of space and costs me nothing."

Keep it simple for kids

When it came to organising children's toys it was important to make sure the containers were functional and were actually usable – something sadly that wasn't always the case.

"People spend an absolute fortune on tubs and stuff like that for kids' storage and then watch their kids step on it and break it, or stick their stickers all over it, or colour it and lose it – you have a heart attack," Erin said.

She recommended parents try storage by a brand called Ezy Storage which was stackable and most importantly, clear.

"Kids can see through them, they know where their toys are," Erin said. "Most kids who you're sorting toy rooms for can't read so it's really great to have a black box that says cars but they don't know what that means."