Why wait until spring for a clear-out? Decluttering with some clever storage solutions could bring calm and harmony into your home, says Gabrielle Fagan
It’s not unusual at this time of year to feel as though your possessions are winning the space war and you’re being squeezed out.
But of all the aspirational (if unrealistic) goals we set ourselves, decluttering and getting your house organised is, arguably, the most achievable.
“Nothing acts more like a tonic for the hung-over soul than a jolly good tidy,” says Barbara Genda, founder and principal designer at Barbara Genda Bespoke Furniture.
“Ample research suggests that clutter and mess causes us untold stress. Stuffed cupboards, dishevelled drawers, haphazardly strewn and displaced possessions without a designated ‘living’ space all culminates into a loud, unrelenting visual ‘noise’ that can make us feel boxed-in, overwhelmed and even anxious.”
Luckily, there are a multitude of solutions for organising mess – particularly if you’re a natural hoarder – from stackable boxes to sophisticated storage systems.
“Pack all of that mess away and immediately you’ll discern the positive effects. You’ll have a calmer environment in which you can relax, be productive and at the very least, think straight,” she says.
So on your marks, get set, store!
“Under the stairs is the definitive dumping ground for assorted, unused odds and ends,” says Genda. “Often, you can’t seem to open the door without a golf bag spilling heavy clubs onto your feet, or a sea of shoes tumbling out.”
TOP TIP: As a short-term solution, put hooks inside the cupboard door for hanging up bags and get transparent boxes for larger items, so they stay dust free and you can view contents without having to rummage.
“Books can look beautiful when displayed properly so avoid stacking them two deep, or leaving them in piles everywhere,” says Marianne Shillingford, creative director and head of the design service at Dulux.
“You can work on the principle that if you haven’t looked at individual titles in a couple of years, you’re probably unlikely to read them again, and some could be consigned to a charity shop.
“Order books so you can find them easily – alphabetically, by genre or those you’ve recently read. Look for different ways to display them; shelves over and around doorways look particularly effective.”
TOP TIP: Paint an old bookcase, or look on eBay, Freecycle or local charity shops for second hand ones and do a make over. Fashionable, low mid-century sideboards work well too.
Dulux Made By Me paint collection is designed specifically for furniture and small projects and there are online tutorials at www.dulux.co.uk
PLAY FOR SPACE
“The ‘sock monster’ is a myth. Instead, it should be renamed the ‘DVD and CD monster’,” says Genda. “These seem to replicate themselves, spill out of drawers and crowd shelves. Think about multimedia systems that include handy storage – perfect for concealing or displaying your library of DVDs.”
TOP TIP: Ensure you bring lots of white and neutral colours into your cabinetry and furniture, to enhance the illusion of space.
DESIGN FOR DRESSERS
“A bed is the functional heart of a bedroom and also harbours the most overlooked source of hidden storage,” says Simon Glanville at Store. “A tucked-away under-the-bed storage system keeps a lot of clutter neatly out of sight.
“Of course, wardrobe space is vital. Try to edit clothing by using the reverse hanger technique. Turn all hangers the wrong way round and then when you wear something and put it back replace the hanger the right way, which at the end of a few months will give you a guide to the pieces you wear regularly and others which could be stored or given away.”
TOP TIP: Paint shoe boxes, use PlastiKote Twist & Spray Colour spray paint, £8.79 for 400ml can, available from DIY and craft stores, and label with photos of contents.
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