What to do with clutter

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shelves sxc sxc.hu Shelves can go almost anywhere - in alcoves, below stairs, above doors. Put them in wherever you can and those piles of books, magazines and newspapers will melt away.

London - Bikes in the hallway, breadboard in the oven, clothes draped over chairs. Storing even the most basic belongings can be a logistical challenge in a small home.

My diminutive flat is constantly decorated with washing, like great, drippy wreaths of bunting. Bottles of wine share space with shoes and spare chairs sit about like chess pieces waiting for their next move. I am not alone.

An Ipsos MORI report published last month, entitled The Way We Live Now, puts storage space at the top of the list of domestic worries. Anyone trying to de-clutter and sell their home will sympathise. But if you can’t afford a bigger property - and with mortgage requirements being extra tricky at the moment, few can - what sensible solutions are there to the storage crisis?

* Made to measure: Having cupboards fitted to suit your space might sound like a costly outlay, but it will make a big difference. Wardrobes, kitchen cupboards and bathroom cabinets should go up to the ceiling. This will make the room seem taller.

* Don’t be shy of a shelf: They can go almost anywhere - in alcoves, below stairs, above doors. Put them in wherever you can and those piles of books, magazines and newspapers will melt away.

* Hard-working furniture: Interior designer Kit Kemp recommends adding pockets to the sides of chairs using the same fabric.

They should be just large enough to hold the daily newspaper,’ she says.

Cover it up: Plenty of us are avid recyclers, but no one wants to look at their empty wine bottles and discarded baked bean cans. Keep it in something with a lid.

Cable chaos: We’re all wired up most of the time, so having enough power sockets is essential. But keeping them out of sight is a smart move. Cable tidiers are available from a number of retailers.

Say no: When you move into a new home, parents will try to offload things they have been saving for you: old crockery, Seventies chairs, your old school photos. Be firm.

Outsource it: Storage facilities can provide a useful interim if you can’t quite part with the goods.

Bite the bullet: If you can bear to get rid of it, do so. You might even make some cash in the process. Car boot it, eBay it or give it away.

Grow up: In the garden, you can plant herbs up the wall to keep the ground space clear of pots or beds. These will cover up crumbling brickwork, too. - Daily Mail


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