How to declutter your living space

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.
PA Photo/Handout.PA Photo/Handout.
PA Photo/Handout.

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.

Under-stairs sort-out

“Under the stairs is the definitive dumping ground for assorted, unused odds and ends,” says Genda.

Top tip: 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.

Free-up living space

“Decluttering isn’t about throwing everything away,” says Simon Glanville, managing director of Store.

Top tip: Always de-clutter before buying new storage, otherwise you won’t know the right solution for your needs. Explore under-utilised spaces, like landings, and consider boarding a loft for seasonal items.

Book lovers

“Books can look beautiful when displayed properly so avoid stacking them two deep, or leaving them in piles everywhere,” says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux.

Top tip: Paint an old bookcase, or look on eBay, Freecycle or charity shops for second hand ones and do a make over. Fashionable, low mid-century sideboards work well too.

Uncork a solution

Those who take their wine seriously realise the need to store bottles correctly, while even if you have half a dozen bottles kept aside they can take up room.

Top tip: Don’t overlook inventive ways of showing off a collection, like putting a rack in an empty fireplace, or using a wall hung bottle display.