1 Mar

House proud

Anthea Turner shares her advice on de-cluttering your home and how best to store those sentimental items you can’t bear to part with.

Everything you possess should have to earn its place in your home. This may seem like a lot of hard work, but once you have tackled the clutter hot-spots in your home it will feel refreshed and revitalised…and so will you. Clutter will be a thing of the past and cleaning will be speedy and simple.

Clearing clutter needs planning. Before you start, look in every cupboard and drawer and regardless of what it contains at present, decide what you are going to keep there in the future. Then, as you are tidying, you will be able to put any misplaced items where you want them to be.

There is absolutely no point in simply tidying up the contents of a drawer or cupboard so that it still contains the same miscellaneous collection of ‘stuff, but now arranged neatly – that’s a recipe for frustration.

Only tackle as much as you can manage at one session. Do a room at a time, or half a room, a cupboard, or even a drawer. A good idea is to start with the visible clutter- the piles of magazines, shoes strewn on the floor, clothes on chairs, beds and the floor. Clear those areas and the impact is amazing. If you are clearing a cupboard, don’t take more than you can put back in an hour.

Before you start, get four plastic bin bags and label them: SELL, CHARITY SHOP, RECYCLE and BIN. If you put things you need to get rid of in the appropriate bags straight away you won’t then end up with a pile of rubbish on the floor that has to be sorted.

What about the items that you can’t bear to part with? 

We all have treasures from our past. They are probably not valuable, often not beautiful, but they are nonetheless special. They are things that evoke memories of milestones in our lives and reminders of happy occasions. A good idea is to choose your most precious items and keep them safe in a memory box. Use a large cardboard lidded box and line it with some acid-free tissue paper. Wrap any garments in the tissue to preserve them. Put smaller items in a small box inside the large box so that they don’t get lost. It’s a good idea to encourage children to do the same. It will help them to learn that we can’t keep every possession but that there are some things we will want to keep forever. If you haven’t got time to make a memory box now – put those items in a cardboard box and store at the bottom of a cupboard and promise yourself you will do something special with them as soon as you have conquered your unruly house.

What’s clutter? 

• Anything that is broken and you aren’t going to mend

• Anything you don’t like the look of

• Anything you never use or wear

• Unwanted presents

What’s not clutter?

• Anything you use regularly

• Anything you consider beautiful

• Anything you remember with love and good feelings (be careful with this category)

More of Anthea’s tips can be found in: How to be the Perfect Housewife which is available on amazon.co.uk