The New Year clear out is a regular fixture in homes across the country as we look for a fresh start and more manageable space.
That's all very well but the first step in the war against clutter is to organise some storage solutions.
Unless you are taking a ruthless approach, chances are that you will want to keep at least 80 per cent of what you already have and why shouldn't you? As a die-hard hoarder, I can testify that the stuff you have shoved in the back of the cupboard and jammed into the spare kitchen drawer invariably comes in handy.
So don't feel guilty about wanting to keep it. Instead, take a strategic approach to re-homing it. First, take a look at dead space around the house and work out if you can use it for storage.
Hallways are a good example and there are some excellent slimline cabinets and cupboards at Ikea, which fit perfectly into narrow spaces. Many are designed for shoes, though you'll probably find that they won't take boots and wellies. Lakeland has just brought out a new modular unit that solves that problem.
Walls are another neglected area crying out to be used. Wall units and book shelves are ideal, as are sliding wardrobes designed for bedrooms (Sliderobes have some good options). Even better still is bespoke, built-in furniture.
This costs more, but a good joiner will design something that caters for your needs.
Shelves, hooks and over door hangers are great for bedrooms and are perfect for holding everything from belts and jewellery to clothes that are usually kept in a heap on the floor. A shelf with a mirror also makes a great dressing table if you are limited on space. Don't forget multi-functional furniture such as a shelf that includes coat hooks or a coffee table with shelves or drawers. Boxes and baskets – find inexpensive ones at Store Twenty One, Argos and Ikea – are good hold-alls.
For more ideas then look to the old. Retro sideboards offer fantastic storage and you can find them on eBay for about 60, ditto chests of drawers.
Dressers with a multitude of shelves, cupboards and drawers are practical and attractive and you don't have to confine them to the kitchen.
With all the above there is an option to paint them in contemporary colours.
Coat stands are excellent in bedrooms and look great festooned with everything from dressing gowns and cardis to bags and beads, Dressmakers' dummies on stands fulfil a similar function.
That other old favourite – the bedding box is another winner. Use it for last season's clothes or bedding. You can paint it and re-cover the cushioned top, which doubles as a seat.
Whatever you do, it should be a good investment, not least when you come to sell your home.
If a buyer can see there is plenty of room for his or her belongings it will make your property more saleable.
Find It: Ikea, Argos, Wilkinsons and Store Twenty One for low-budget storage solutions. The Cotswold Company www.costwoldco.com and Next www.next.co.uk for multi-functional furniture. Lakeland for storage ideas wwww.lakeland.co.uk. Room to Grow, Ilkley, www.roomtogrow.co.uk and Vertbaudet www.vertbaudet.co.uk for children's rooms.