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How To Make Use of Time and Space

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One person’s clutter is another person’s treasure but from time to time we all need to have a good clear out and improve the general appearance of the home. Involve the whole family in a yearly de-clutter and get rid of all their unwanted possessions – bric-a-brac, clothes, old make up, CD and DVDs, books, magazines can all be donated to a local charity shop rather than binned.
First look at the entrance hallway. A tidy hall makes the whole house feel ordered. Install a coat rack or one coat peg for each member of the family, on the understanding that only one coat person will be hanging there. No more belongings thrown over the banister, or on the stairs. Install a shelf or narrow hall table (preferably with a drawer) for mobiles, car keys, etc., for when everyone comes home – to be collected again when they go out.
Keep bedrooms clear of clothes and shoes by providing sufficient storage space where everything can be shut away out of sight. Turn that small box room into a walk-in closet with shelves and hanging rails for maximum convenience.
Have a yearly clear-out from attic to cellar. Throw away everything that you don’t want or no longer need – and this includes old souvenirs, sports equipment, furniture, ornaments, pictures, etc. The exercise will act as a reminder of where you have put things and check that the mice haven’t been busy.
You don’t have to use containers for what they were originally intended. It’s amazing what can be found in junk and charity shops that can provide excellent storage facilities.
Books always create a problem and the only way to store them is on floor to ceiling shelving. Include them in your yearly sort out and discard the heaps of unwanted paperbacks you’ve collected.
For storing stuff in the attic, use clear storage boxes so you don’t need to open every one to find out what’s in there. Plastic boxes with lids are cleaner than cardboard, vermin proof and will protect the contents if there’s a leak in the roof. Even though they only come out once a year, keep the Christmas decorations within easy reach.
Adopt the same principles in the garage and garden shed. Use the walls to arrange all tools and gardening equipment so it’s within easy reach. And if there’s anything you don’t use, or have outgrown – get rid of it!
Store things where you would expect them to be. Mugs, tea, coffee, etc., need to be within easy reach of the kettle; envelopes, sellotape and stapler should be in the desk; the dog’s lead on a hook by the door. No more frantic rummaging in cupboards and draws.
Being tidy doesn’t mean putting everything away in cupboards and boxes. We all need to have special possessions and collectables on show, so maximise the effect by installing glass-fronted doors to some of your kitchen wall cupboards. Light reflected in the glass can also make the room seem brighter. Use shelving to display decorative items.
Those huge colourful plastic chests aren’t always the answer for children’s toys. If you are going to use them, make sure you have a different colour for each child’s possessions. A good solution for toy storage is a low, open-fronted shelving unit that children can stand in front of and reach toys for themselves.
No doubt there are items we will regret parting with but we need to be honest with ourselves – how many glass jugs do we use, even if they did belong to a favourite aunt, grandmother or parent. And what about that designer outfit that cost a fortune but no longer fits? If your first de-clutter produces a whole heap of things to throw out, enlist the family’s help and run a car-boot stall – and make some money from our old junk. Anything you don’t sell can go to a local charity shop.


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