SHREDDERS

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Editor’s Letter -

ELIM­I­NATE PA­PER­WORK

Every home should have a pa­per shred­der to dis­pose safely of un­wanted pa­per­work. We rec­om­mend the Fel­lowes Pow­er­shred 63Cb Cross Cut Shred­der (88/100, £123.99, Amazon). It can ef­fort­lessly shred up to 10 sheets of A4, credit cards, small pa­per clips and sta­ples at a time. It fea­tures Safe­sense tech­nol­ogy, which stops the cut­ters if a hand touches the open­ing, and there’s a handy in­di­ca­tor that il­lu­mi­nates if you try to shred too many sheets.

FOR­GOT­TEN FAM­ILY HEIRLOOM?

Want to get rid of an un­usual item? Find a spe­cial­ist shop that will ac­cept it via the Find A Char­ity Shop data­base of 8,600 shops on char­i­tyre­tail.org.uk.

GO WITH THE FLOW!

Ac­cess doc­u­ments on the go by us­ing Google Docs – a free word-pro­cess­ing app. You can cre­ate, ac­cess and edit doc­u­ments wher­ever you have web ac­cess, as well as share them with oth­ers. All you need is a Gmail ac­count to get started.

HAPPY MEM­O­RIES

Use your printer to scan photos and save as dig­i­tal files. Rather than take up space on your hard drive, store them in a se­cure area on­line. We rate Google Photos (photos.google.com) as it’s easy to store photos taken on your smart­phone here, too – us­ing the free app from the App Store or Google Play Store – so all your pic­tures are to­gether.

ICE MELT

A freezer choked with ice cuts down on space and uses more elec­tric­ity. Un­plug at the mains, then stand bowls of hot wa­ter on tea tow­els in­side the freezer to speed up the de­frost­ing process. But don’t be tempted to use any­thing sharp to scrape at the ice: you run the risk of dam­ag­ing the cool­ing el­e­ments. Al­ter­na­tively, try An­tibac­te­rial Fridge & Freezer De-icer Spray (£3.79, Lake­land).

JUNK IT!

One woman’s trash is an­other’s treasure, so why not do­nate your un­wanted items to a good home? It’s easy to do on­line through web­sites such as freecy­cle.org, preloved. co.uk and ilove­free­gle.org.

KITCHEN CLEAR-OUT

Sort the con­tents of every cup­board into four piles: things used reg­u­larly, things to bin, things to fix, things in the wrong place. Put away any­thing in the last cat­e­gory, then dis­pose of any­thing in the bin pile. Next, tackle the fix­ing jobs you’ve been putting off. If any­thing is not fix­able, then bin it. Use plas­tic con­tain­ers to or­gan­ise the rest of the con­tents. Write the con­tents of each on the side that will face out from the cup­board, so you can find things eas­ily.

LIFE LISTS

If your to-do list looks more like a child’s squig­gle than or­gan­ised in­struc­tions, there’s a so­lu­tion: go dig­i­tal. Sign up to Trello (trello.com), where you can cre­ate as many dif­fer­ent lists as your busy life needs, and di­vide tasks into To-do, Do­ing and Done. You can even share your boards with oth­ers, so your kids can see that ‘un­load the dish­washer’ is still to be done!

MO­BILES FOR MONEY

Old phone lurk­ing in a drawer? If it’s in rea­son­able con­di­tion, with the orig­i­nal bat­tery, and not more than a cou­ple of years old, sell it on­line. Use com­par­i­son sites sell­my­mo­bile.com and phones4­cash.co.uk to check for the best price. It re­ally pays to shop around as the price you’ll be quoted can vary a lot. We were of­fered from £195 up to £249 for an iphone 7 32GB, via quick­mo­bile­fix.com. GHI TIP: Don’t for­get to wipe your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion and im­ages be­fore you sell. Visit good­house­keep­ing.co.uk/ how-to-get-a-smart­phone-or­tablet-ready-to-sell.

NOTE TO SELF

Don’t drown un­der Post-it notes. Use Ever­note to store ev­ery­thing in one place. Down­load free from the app store to your de­vice and cre­ate an ac­count. You can make sep­a­rate note­books for home, work, fam­ily, travel, and even set re­minders. And because Ever­note stores things in the dig­i­tal cloud, you can re­trieve notes wher­ever you have in­ter­net ac­cess.

ONE-YEAR RULE

Whether it’s clothes, books, mem­o­ra­bilia or crock­ery, any­thing that you are keep­ing ‘just in case’, think about the last time it was used. More than 12 months? Get rid!

PAPERLESS PEACE

Re­ceipts, house­hold bills, bank state­ments and even MOT cer­tifi­cates and tax discs are now of­ten dig­i­tal, so this is the mo­ment to bring ev­ery­thing on­line. Some com­pa­nies of­fer a yearly dis­count if you opt to re­ceive bills via email, while many banks of­fer re­wards for set­ting up Di­rect Debits and go­ing with­out pa­per state­ments. There is re­ally no need to keep re­ceipts un­less you want to re­turn some­thing or claim back ex­penses. If in doubt, take a pic­ture on your phone and save it that way. And set up a sep­a­rate email ac­count for when shops of­fer to email re­ceipts to you, to keep them all in one place.

QUEEN OF DECLUTTERING

We asked GH homes edi­tor Carolyn Bai­ley for her six-step plan… 1. Store like with like so you can find things eas­ily. 2. Don’t du­pli­cate or re-buy un­nec­es­sar­ily – check what you’ve got be­fore you shop. 3. Make use of walls for stor­age – use the full height of your room as well as the width. 4. Com­plete each de­clut­ter task be­fore you move on to the next. 5. Im­pose a strict noth­ing-on

the-floor pol­icy.

6. De-junk draw­ers reg­u­larly.

RE­CY­CLE, RE­CY­CLE, RE­CY­CLE!

We like the in­no­va­tive Joseph Joseph 60 Litre Totem Re­cy­cling bin (£199.99, Ar­gos), which lets you sep­a­rate your waste and re­cy­cling. There’s a 36-litre waste com­part­ment and a 24-litre mul­ti­pur­pose drawer. The in­ner bucket is great for col­lect­ing food waste.

STORE SUM­MER CLOTHES

1. Al­ways store clothes in plas­tic boxes. Wood, card­board and pa­per can dam­age fab­rics. Re­mem­ber that nat­u­ral fi­bres, such as silk and linen, need to be able to breathe. 2. Al­ways wash and dry clothes thor­oughly be­fore stor­ing. Place cedar balls, moth-re­pel­lent crys­tals or laven­der sa­chets in between the lay­ers. 3. Never iron or starch any­thing you’re stor­ing for longer than a few weeks. Both can weaken the fi­bres and make them prone to tear­ing along the creases. 4. Keep your boxes or cases off the floor in a cool place, away from damp, sun­light or heat.

TAX­MAN TAC­TICS

If you’re fill­ing in a tax re­turn, you need to keep the records for at least five years. Stor­ing them dig­i­tally un­til then is the eas­i­est way to lighten your fil­ing cabi­net: try the apps Ex­pen­sify or Shoe­boxed, which track and au­to­mate re­ceipts and ex­penses. Need pro­fes­sional help? Find an Ac­coun­tant at The In­sti­tute of Char­tered ac­coun­tants (icaew.com).

USER­FRIENDLY UTIL­I­TIES

Check your phone’s app store to see if your util­ity, phone and broad­band providers have apps that en­able you to see your us­age in real time – and so man­age your bills bet­ter.

GHI TIP: Make sure you keep pa­per state­ments for one util­ity provider so you have proof of your cur­rent ad­dress when needed. This can be a util­ity, tele­coms or wa­ter bill, or council tax state­ment. If you live with some­one, it’s good to make sure at least one of these bills is in your name.

VIP (VERY IM­POR­TANT PA­PER­WORK)

Some doc­u­ments are cur­rently is­sued only in pa­per form, such as mar­riage, birth or death cer­tifi­cates, wills, house deeds and adop­tion records. Los­ing any of these is a ma­jor has­sle and can be costly to re­place. Keep the pa­per copies in a locked and fire­proof box, such as a Master Lock A4 Fire Proof Wa­ter­proof Chest (£59.99, Ar­gos). Your car’s log­book (V5C) is a pa­per doc­u­ment that you must pass on to the new owner when you sell your car. If the orig­i­nal is lost, stolen, dam­aged or de­stroyed, you need to or­der an­other one at a cost of £25.

WARDROBE BLITZ

GH fash­ion edi­tor Jo Atkin­son shares her tidy-up tips: ‘Empty the en­tire con­tents and give the in­te­rior a good clean. As­sign ev­ery­thing to ei­ther the keep, sell or do­nate pile. Get rid of any­thing that’s faded, mis­shapen or be­yond re­pair, as you’ll never wear it. I hang my clothes in a cat­e­gory and colour or­der. From left to right, this is the or­der that works for me: evening dresses and party wear; jack­ets and blaz­ers; tops; blouses; trousers; skirts; out­er­wear. I stack my shoe boxes in the bot­tom of the wardrobe and try to keep the se­lec­tion to what I’m wear­ing that sea­son. Sep­a­rat­ing sum­mer and win­ter cloth­ing will give you a lot more wardrobe space.’

XBOX

If old games con­soles and their para­pher­na­lia are clut­ter­ing up your house, once dis­carded in favour of shiny new ones, get rid of them. Ebay is the way to make the most money – so-called re­cy­cling ser­vices don’t nec­es­sar­ily of­fer the best deal. How much you will get de­pends upon the age of the con­sole, con­di­tion and mem­ory size (if it has any).

YOU!

The GH beauty team ad­vises: ‘In­vest­ing in clear beauty bags (Marks & Spencer is good for these) or a set of Muji acrylic stor­age boxes means you’ll be able to see where prod­ucts are quickly and eas­ily. Sep­a­rat­ing them into dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories (face, eyes, lips etc.) makes it eas­ier to find items, too.’

ZERO TOL­ER­ANCE

You’ve spent time and ef­fort get­ting su­per-or­gan­ised, so don’t let the fam­ily slip back into bad habits. A few house rules aren’t a bad thing, so make sure ev­ery­one has set tasks to do each week.

◆ For more great ad­vice, visit good­house­keep­ing. co.uk/in­sti­tute

Shred it once you’ve read it

Some­one will love that bag

Pack up your kitchen clut­ter

Wardrobe wis­dom: or­gan­ise clothes by type and colour

See-through bags are clear win­ners

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