Detox your home for the New Year

Annie Deakin finds space for new Christmas toys and increases home storage for 2012.


‘In 2012 instead of making a New Years resolution and breaking it, try and keep to three important rules to keep clutter to a minimum in your home. Sort, organize and put away!’ says storage expert Suzanne Baker from The Holding Company. She shares her ten tips for making nooks and crannies work harder as storage areas.

1. Overrun by toys? - Christmas is a time for new toys. Encourage children to give their old toys to charity shops and organize their new ones. The first rule for efficient children’s storage is this: Make it easier to put the toy away than to get it out. Use floor level containers and open plastic baskets to hold toys. Pictures of dolls, soft toys or blocks will help remind a child where these items belong.

2. Bin old lotions and potions – Start the New Year as you mean to go on; only keep hold of things you need or want. A hoarder’s bathroom is a magpie’s nest of perfume bottles, sample packets, and throwaway cosmetics. Using outdated products can be harmful to your heath – and the tidiness of your bathroom. To eliminate the pile-up, throw out all perfume products that have not been used in three years. 

3. Hide seasonal clothes - January is the time to declutter and a good storage system is essential for hiding away seasonal clothes that all too often fill our bedrooms. Vacuum storage bags are fabulous for this purpose; the air is removed by using the nozzle on a vacuum cleaner and within seconds you have a small vacuum-sealed packet. Keep this out of sight under the bed or in a loft. 

4. Keep winter outside - The Hallway is the passage between home and the outer world. It brings the outside in - along with wellington boots, umbrellas and overcoats. Plan storage for outerwear and rainwear near the front door; pegs and hooks hold rain gear, jackets and summer hats. Roomy pockets that can hang on walls can store scarves and gloves. A clutter free, organised hallway makes life easier on all fronts and creates a beautiful entrance to your family's home.      

5. Save time in the morning - It is always important to use the bottom of wardrobes, and underbed systems that make the most of wasted space. Save up to 10% of hanging space in your closet with clever multiple shirt/trouser or skirt hangers. The daily rummage in the sock and tie drawer is a common nuisance that can be solved by adding a box with compartments.

6. Transparent shoe storage - No more opening shoe boxes to find what you have hidden at the bottom of your cupboards; A shoe cubby storage system with easily visible contents keeps shoes perfectly in place.

7.  Stash away festive decorations - Boost storage with specialised organizers; this is especially useful when putting Christmas decorations away from one year to the next. Keep the tinsel from the baubles and those fairy lights in tact.

8. Unwanted Christmas presents – Did you receive a bread maker for Christmas? Or similar bulky gadget you can’t see yourself using? Give some other family member the consumer thrill of possessing the genuine new gadget that you know you will never use.

9. Cook’s secret - Maximise your kitchen cupboard space with an expanding shelf organizer that expands width-ways so that you can use every inch of valuable space.

10. New year, new work ethic – Make 2012 a productive year for work in your home office. To prevent unnecessary clutter- and wasted time - limit the amount of items on your desk and utilise the often wasted space behind the door or on the wall above the desk.

Annie Deakin is interiors writer for sofa and interior design website