The decision to extend your home could trigger what for some, is the most dreaded domestic project of them all: the declutter. As you prepare for the builders to arrive, you may well find yourself wondering, “do we really need these things anymore?”. And, while you’ll inevitably get rid of some things, those you decide to keep will need to be found new homes.
But don’t be put off. As these handy tips show, decluttering need not be daunting.
Paperwork, books, movies and music
Avoid being taken over by paperwork by:
Keeping it to a minimum – avoid printing documents that are available electronically
Having a good filing system – use cabinets or drawers in dry, pest-free places. Keep only what is absolutely necessary and file papers where they can be easily found.
Store photographs in acid-free albums, plastic sleeves or PVC-free bags. If you write on the back of your pictures, use a permanent marker. Try not to press too hard while writing, or you may dent or mark the picture itself.
Keep books away from direct sunlight, moisture, or heat as these can damage fragile bindings, pages, and covers. Use bookends or similarly weighty objects to protect the spines and rotate the books occasionally to avoid long-term stress on any one item.
Purpose designed racks and cabinets are the ideal solution to the perennial problem of storing DVDs and CDs. Another method is to store all your discs in CD wallets, arranged alphabetically or by genre, thus regaining the space taken up by cases.
The Big Ticket Items
If you’re putting furniture and other large household appliances into self storage, take steps to protect them. Wood, for example, can be safeguarded against moisture and damage by applying wood varnish. If you’re flat-packing anything, separate the pieces with thick cloth or old carpet keep fixings handy by bagging and taping them to the relevant item. Hard wearing sofa’s, such as those upholstered in leather and microfibre, can stand on their sides; those finished in more delicate materials should be left horizontal. Mattresses will be fine if you keep them in bags specially designed for storage – though check them regularly and change the bag once a year if you’re storing for extended periods.
Rust can be avoided by giving metal surfaces a light treatment of oil or a rust protection treatment available at DIY stores.
…and while you’re at it…
Why not reduce the number of hats, coats and scarves and other garments often left in hallways down to just the ones in daily use? Similarly, you may be able to declutter the kitchen and bathroom with a good long look at what you really use regularly and what could perhaps go to the car boot, a charity shop or into self storage.