Plan your space

Great ideas to help you make a suc­cess of de­clut­ter­ing

House Beautiful (UK) - - Contents -

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Most of us have a room that, how­ever good our in­ten­tions, could do with de­clut­ter­ing. In some cases, it’s the whole house! That doesn’t mean get­ting rid of ev­ery­thing, though. ‘More of us are re­ly­ing on elec­tronic de­vices to store im­por­tant items such as photos and songs,’ says Vlatka Lake, from stor­age com­pany Space Sta­tion. ‘For other items that you sim­ply can’t throw away, re­mov­ing them from your im­me­di­ate sur­round­ings and find­ing stor­age so­lu­tions else­where will keep your home stream­lined.’

Mak­ing it hap­pen

Con­sider what’s holding you back from clear­ing out your home and vi­su­alise how tidy your home could be. Ask friends for ad­vice, and copy what they do.

‘When a room be­comes clut­tered, the cause is more than just phys­i­cal,’ says pro­fes­sional de­clut­terer and au­thor, Marie Kondo, in The Life-chang­ing Magic of

Tidy­ing, (£10.99, Ver­mil­ion). ‘Try con­fronting your feel­ing of anx­i­ety. The true goal should be to es­tab­lish the life­style you want most once your house is in or­der.’

The re­sults don’t have to be per­fect – ac­cept­ing ‘good enough’ as a goal will take the pres­sure off. Work in the way that suits you best. Do you pre­fer set­ting a strict dead­line, tack­ling junk all at once, or us­ing a lit­tle-and­often strat­egy, in which case, clear­ing a drawer or set­ting the kitchen timer for 10 min­utes might be more of an in­cen­tive. Prom­ise your­self and your fam­ily or helpers a trip out, a good meal or other treat once the job is done.

Get go­ing

Gather up bin bags, re­cy­cling bags and boxes and make a start. De­clut­ter­ing comes down to de­ci­sion mak­ing. Ev­ery item must be con­sid­ered and judged, more eas­ily done with a fresh mind, so limit the job to a cou­ple of hours be­fore tak­ing a break.

When sort­ing, be ruth­less: don’t stop to flick through books and mag­a­zines or rem­i­nisce over mem­o­ra­bilia. Watch out for those un­help­ful thoughts that make you hang onto stuff. ‘I might need it one day; it was ex­pen­sive; it might be im­por­tant’ are just ex­cuses for keep­ing bro­ken, out­dated, use­less or ugly items. It’s a sad fact that things do wear out, go out of date, or no longer suit the way you live.

Reuse rem­edy

That moun­tain of mess will soon be turned into a man­age­able num­ber of things ready for re­pro­cess­ing. Be­fore dis­card­ing items, con­sider whether they can be given a new lease of life. If you have a large quan­tity of goods or fur­ni­ture, you may be able to ar­range a col­lec­tion by a char­ity such as the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion ( Com­pa­nies such as Anyjunk (020 7819 9000, will pick up from you, send­ing most waste for re­cy­cling or reuse. To sell un­wanted CDs, DVDs, games, books, phones and games con­soles, try Mu­sic Mag­pie (mu­sic­mag­

‘Be wary of holding onto too much with the in­ten­tion of sell­ing it,’ says pro­fes­sional de­clut­terer

Kate Ib­bot­son of A Tidy Mind. ‘You don’t want it to still be there months or years down the line. Try post­ing your bar­gain on lo­cal Face­book sell­ing groups or Gumtree, or use apps such as Sh­pock.’

A new de­sign

If you have time, give your stream­lined home a new look. ‘To make a room feel less clut­tered, paint your ceil­ing the same colour as the walls as it blurs the bound­aries, cre­ates in­fin­ity and will feel so much big­ger,’ says Abi­gail Ah­ern, de­signer for Deben­hams.

It’s also of­ten worth in­vest­ing in more stylish stor­age, but be­fore you splash out, think about you re­ally need.

‘We’re al­ways ex­pand­ing our wardrobes or col­lect­ing more ob­jects, or even just pa­per­work,’ says Si­mon Tch­er­niak, se­nior fur­ni­ture de­signer at Neville John­son. ‘In­cor­po­rat­ing ex­tra space into your stor­age plan is es­sen­tial to al­low for growth.’

Liv­ing spa­ces

‘When plan­ning a fam­ily liv­ing room, think about all the dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties that will take place in it,’ says Clotilde Pas­salac­qua, In­te­rior De­sign Leader at Ikea. ‘Am­ple stor­age is cen­tral to a well-func­tion­ing fam­ily room so that toys and other items can be hid­den away.’

Box­ing out wall al­coves with cup­boards, adding shal­low shelves and han­dle­less doors will stream­line the ef­fect.

In open-plan spa­ces, low fur­ni­ture such as a side­board or tall open room-di­vider shelv­ing can help to ar­range a large area into dis­tinct zones. ‘Large dis­play cab­i­nets are great,’ says Claire Hornby from Barker & Stone­house. ‘Re­serve the lower lev­els for big­ger, bulkier items and keep shelves in the line of sight for decorative ob­jects and or­na­ments.’

Kitchen trans­form­ers

Once you’ve freed up cup­boards from un­used ap­pli­ances and un­wanted china and glass­ware, or­gan­ise the re­main­ing con­tents. ‘If you’re not us­ing cup­board shelves to their full height, add shelves be­tween, or use Ikea’s Vari­era in­serts in draw­ers so that you can store more prod­ucts,’ says Clotilde. ‘Store food and spices in trans­par­ent boxes and jars, so it’s easy to see what you’re run­ning low on.’ For quick fixes, con­sider a hang­ing rail by the hob for uten­sils, ex­tra hooks or shelves within cup­boards and ad­justable drawer di­viders.

Bliss­ful bed­room

A calm, un­clut­tered bed­room is the ideal place to re­lax and de-stress. Though a fit­ted wardrobe is the ul­ti­mate so­lu­tion for ef­fi­ciently stor­ing clothes, shoes and even sports equip­ment or spare bed­li­nen, some free­stand­ing wardrobes also have flex­i­ble in­te­ri­ors. ‘For ad­di­tional stor­age space, choose ex­tra tall wardrobes with pull-down hang­ing rails, leav­ing you with plenty of room for racks for shoes, ties, and belts,’ says Si­mon. Slid­ing wardrobe doors are a great space saver for small rooms, and it’s use­ful to add a shal­low stor­age box on cas­tors be­neath the bed and hooks or a rail on the back of a door.

Bath­room blitz

Of­ten the smallest room, the bath­room can still be a clear, or­gan­ised zone. ‘A com­pact van­ity unit will pro­vide plenty of stor­age space to keep the area clut­ter-free,’ says He­len Shaw from Roper Rhodes.

‘Wall-mounted op­tions free up valu­able floor space, and can be teamed with a wall-hung WC to in­stantly cre­ate the il­lu­sion of a larger space.’ Fit a wall-mounted towel rail and fix rails or hooks to take smaller items. An un­der-basin stor­age unit can sit around an ex­ist­ing pedestal to hold bot­tles and sup­plies.

Clear the hall

If it’s al­ways the place for pile ups, the hall needs wel­com­ing coat pegs at high and low lev­els, and a long, slim unit in­clud­ing shelves or bas­ket stor­age, with space on top for decorative items. A shoe rack, just 30cm deep (try Ikea), is the an­swer for out­door shoes and train­ers.

With a drawer and two shelved sec­tions, the Bethan Gray New­man side­board in oak, £899 from John Lewis, is a great stor­age op­tion

Cre­ate a sleek con­tem­po­rary look with the Royo Street unit with basin, £495, Front­line

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