Christmas is over, the tree's gone, the decorations are back in the loft but you have a new pile of possessions that need to be stored. If that poses you a problem, you're not alone.
Britain is a nation of hoarders. We have as many major self-storage units as the rest of Europe put together and according to a recent poll, 81 per cent of people couldn't list more than five things that they have stashed in their spare room.
Spaceslide.co.uk, the wardrobe and storage specialist that carried out the survey of more than 1,000 UK homeowners in November, says over half of those questioned claim it's the room they dread clearing out most, topped only by the loft (65 per cent).
If that applies to you, instead of hiding your new things in the spare room, closing the door and hoping for the best, now's a great time to take an inventory of your storage needs and get organised.
"The first thing to do is take stock of your possessions," says Tom Kerr, manager at storage specialists The Holding Company (theholdingcompany.co.uk). "Decide what you want to keep and what you can sell or take to a charity shop. Then tackle it room by room – office, bedroom, garage. If you take it one section at a time you'll see results quite quickly and that can be really encouraging.'
Before you start tidying, survey how many things you own and order plenty of boxes and baskets. Efficient shelving will help deliver lots of extra storage. If you can't find a shelf solution to fit your space, carpenters or manufacturers such as Neville Johnson (nevillejohnson.co.uk) can create bespoke solutions in alcoves, under stairs or in odd corners. Try www.instituteofcarpenters.com to find a carpenter near you.
If you're short on room, look for redundant spaces to create storage. Dual function furniture – a bed with storage underneath it or a chest that doubles as a coffee table – creates storage space without taking up more room.
"A multi-pocket holder that hangs on the back of a door is a simple way to create more storage when space is tight," says Kerr.
"And multi-garment clothes hangers allow you to hang six shirts in the space normally taken up by one and can effectively double your wardrobe space."
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