De-Clutter...the word didn't exist until Ann Maurice, Channel 5's House Doctor, stormed our shores seven years ago. But she's right. Clutter doesn't just use up valuable space, it clutters up our minds, slows us down and makes us miserable. I'm not suggesting every room should be spotless, with nothing on show. But the items being displayed should have some use or purpose or look beautiful, not just be an accumulation of objects that haven't been found a home.

Clutter is something the British do to perfection. We're a nation of hoarders and can't bear to be parted with anything (just in case...) But, inevitably, there comes a time when 'space' and 'storage' become crucial issues.

Clutter must be tackled logically. Work on one area at a time, drawer-by-drawer, room by room, and make sure you're fully prepared. You'll need boxes, bin bags, labels, pens and cleaning items. If you feel you need 'moral support', ask a family member or a friend to help.

Make three piles: 'still of use' - you need the item, or you still look at it and love it; 'no longer in use but still useful to someone else' - could be sold given to a loved one, friend or charity, and 'rubbish' - of no use and should be thrown away. Clean as you go, there's no use emptying and re-filling a dirty cupboard.

If you end up with a large 'still of use' pile you may have to divide it again into items you really need and those that could be put into storage.

Long-term stores have been growing in popularity for the last few years and are a great halfway house between 'keeping' and 'letting go' of items. If you pack away the things you no longer use, but can't quite bring yourself to get rid of, putting them into long term store helps you to mentally 'let go'. After a year, if you haven't really missed or needed any of the items, you should consider letting go permanently by selling or giving away the items.

Tidying is linked to de-cluttering. There's always a need for everyday storage - your daily wardrobe, coats, shoes and umbrellas, linen cupboards, storage for household appliances, games and sports equipment. Unused areas can often be re-worked to accommodate these storage needs. How about the area under the stair? If it's open at the moment, give it a set of doors and shelves and it could be the perfect coat cupboard and vacuum store. What about that wide bit on the landing? Why not build an extra wardrobe to house the overflow from your bedroom?

Once you begin the process of de-cluttering, you'll find you have time to rediscover the space in your home and make the best use of it.

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