The Insider: Clever tidy-ups


One can procrastinate over tidying for many reasons – a favourite, as it tends to defer the effort indefinitely, is to conclude that there's no point until I buy that magic laundry rack/under-sink thingy/swishy wall-hanging clutter-holding gadget. But with these bargain DIY versions, there's no excuse…

Get your coat hanger

Spotted on the DIY section of the Norwegian style blog, a simple bedtime reading tidy (and page-marker): just hang a wire coat hanger from the headboard (or a wall nail). Great for small spaces. Rubbish for Kindles.

Block watching

Recycled Home (Laurence King, £14.95) is a brilliant new book by Rebecca Proctor. Love her tip for turning old wooden printing blocks (the sort with letters on them) into toothbrush holders: just drill a cavity in the top. Lie toothpaste, separately, across a wider block. Repro blocks can be had for £3.50 from

Tin side out

Dorothee Becker's 1960s-designed Uten.silo – a multi-compartment wall-hung storage object – is a classic, and costs £200. Make a free one by glueing tin cans on to a sheet of metal. See Meg Spaeth's blog for instructions:

Good for the sole

Shoe mountain by the front door? Stash footwear inside chopped-up PVC pipe, glued together honeycomb-like. Get a DIY-y pal over if you need help fixing them to the wall.

Wire extinguisher

Tidy cables on home desks by attaching a row of bulldog clips to the back edge, silver bits outwards – to loop cable ends through. Images and more links to illustrate all these are on my blog. Just search for "DIY tidy ideas".

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at