How to detox your home

How to detox your home

How to detox your home

New year, new you is the January mantra. But should it also apply to the home? While you can’t put your sitting room on a juice diet, or blast your kitchen in the gym every day, what you can try is a good pre-spring clean.

On, a platform for home renovation and design, editor Victoria
Harrison set a January decluttering challenge for members. “It touched a nerve with the community,” she says. “Paperwork, books and catalogues were shamed as some of the worst offenders when it came to dust-gathering clutter, as were those bits and pieces that we all keep “just in case.”

Despite our collective tendency to be clutterbugs, we are forever after clever storage solutions. The most popular image on Houzz UK is a “clever fold-out storage solution for a corner kitchen cupboard,” Victoria says. This is followed by three images of pantry cupboards with satisfying rows of neatly labelled dry goods, herbs and spices.

Getting to this state of tidy Zen is easier said than done. Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo is an expert in the activity that so many of us find challenging. Her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying has sold over three million copies, thanks to her cunning KonMari Method, one that she promises will “banish clutter forever”. She starts by discarding, and then organising the space “thoroughly, completely, in one go.” The promise is that if you follow her advice, you will never be cluttered again.

Smart usage
While the KonMari Method is currently en vogue, if you’re struggling, all is not lost. Interior designer Anna Auzins stresses that we woefully underuse our wall space, yet, it is essential. “The hot tip is to make your walls work. You can use little pieces of wall that are otherwise useless to create space.”

Anna did this recently for a client, building a small cabinet over a radiator on a spot of wall that was without a use. This was the same depth as the radiator cover, about 15 cm. She gave the cabinet a second use by adding a pin board to the door.

Going around the house looking for little bit of useful wall space should be easy enough. If you have a rogue radiator, install a cover to act as a shelf. “It gives you that extra bit of surface,” Anna says. In the hallway, small spots of wall can be well-utilised. “Not everyone has a coat cupboard. Hang your coats on hangers from hooks to make them lie flat against the wall. That way you can get more on,” she adds.

Anna also sees the tidying of a bedroom as another opportunity to use wall space. “Don’t shy away from it,” she says. “You can hang handbags on a neat little set of hooks, and always have a hook on the back of the door.”

Research by Houzz UK found that over half of renovating homeowners are including built-in wardrobes in their bedroom upgrade as a way of using space as efficiently as possible. And if you can’t afford to build a whole new cupboard, storage baskets are a quick fix, and a tidier’s best friend. Anna advocates picking up some baskets for shoes, rather than relying on designated shoe racks, which “actually take up a lot of space.” What is essential is that you can clean around your tidying. Even your ironing board hung on the wall makes it look uncluttered, and then you can get to the skirting boards to clean.”

If you’re in the market for some extra shelving, Diana Greenhalgh, of interior design service My Bespoke Room, points to the new trend for shallow shelving. These half-width shelves are ideal for perching pictures on as an easy way of redecorating your home in an instant. “People often think that they need a lot of space for thick shelves, but you can use shallow shelves to create galley walls,” she says. “They’re good to create a feature, and also to help store things in tight spots and awkward corners.”

Diana also suggests making the most of your stairs — not just underneath, but within the steps themselves. “The stairs can turn into a drawer under the steps,” she says. “They’re ideal for storing shoes.”

Marie follows the same idea, writing that there’s no need for special storage gadgets. “You can find storage items you never imagined existed at any store.” She favours clear plastic drawers, rattan baskets, and a set of cardboard drawers. Low-tech is the new high-tech, Anna says. “A simple shoe box will organise a drawer, and if you’re
putting things above a wardrobe, you just need a good box to cover with wallpaper.”

So, storage madness well managed and one more new year’s resolution ticked off that list.