The children are back at school, the holiday guests have departed and all thoughts are turning once again to our homes – restoring a sense of order and normality to life as we head into spring.
Decluttering is always a daunting task at any time of the year, but January is the perfect time to reorder and refresh, getting rid of clutter and adding clever storage to house all the things you love and need.
But what to lose, and how to lose it…? Here are our top tips for clearing up and clearing out this spring, plus six of the best storage solutions for every room in your home.
If a whole room feels a bit overwhelming, start with a small area, like the kitchen drawers or the bathroom cabinet – manageable spaces that are easy to declutter.
If it doesn’t work, throw it out. If it’s out of date, throw it out. If it’s a cable you haven’t used for 12 months or more, throw it out. And you don’t need 28 ballpoint pens.
Setting aside a whole day, or weekend, doesn’t always work. Give yourself a specific time limit for each task. Not only does it focus the mind, it means you have a firm stopping point and will be able to celebrate each small win as you complete each mission.
If you don’t know where to start, try the 20-minute rule – do the thing you're dreading for 20 minutes, and give yourself permission to stop if it’s too much. But nine times out of 10, you’ll find you have the mindset to continue.
Everyone has things they keep ‘just in case’, from a shed full of odd-sized nuts and bolts to a home office full of old paperwork. You'll think it'll come in handy: chances are, it won't.
If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes for two years, and you can't find a valid reason to keep it (evening wear, for example) then take it to the charity shop or sell to make sure everything in your wardrobe or chest or drawers is a piece you love. Check the regulations attached to your household or business paperwork, and get rid of documents you’re not longer required to keep, similarly with old text or professional reference books.
Take old magazines to the recycling centre, or the local doctor's surgery. Responsibly dispose of out-of-date medicine, expired cosmetics, dead batteries, old paint tins and DVDs and CDs. Check kitchen cupboards for Tupperware without lids, ruthlessly test pens and felt tips and bin supplies from old hobbies you no longer engage in.
Organisational expert Marie Kondo had a point – if it doesn’t spark joy, ditch it. William Morris said much the same thing – if it's not useful or beautiful, get rid. Loving everything in your home leads to a much more harmonious existence, eliminates stress, makes cleaning much easier and brings pleasure in everyday living. So take the unwanted gifts to the charity shop, get rid of the old towels you’ve kept for the dog, or the horse, and have never used, and let the things you love shine.
Once you’ve decluttered, everything should have a home. Banish coats, outdoor shoes and boots and dog leads to one area of the hallway or boot room. Dedicate an ottoman or lidded storage bench to the storage of shoes or gloves (make sure there are two of each before you pack them away) and hats.
Keep only the books you love and cherish in a bookcase – and take the rest to your local hospital, hospice or charity shop. Introduce a statement sideboard or glazed display cabinet or dresser in the dining room, for spare glasses, table mats and extra crockery.
Keep linens neat and laundered in a linen chest, and if space allows, invest in a housekeeper’s cupboard for all of your cleaning and laundry materials and gadgets. Shop for a free-standing larder or pantry, to clear up your kitchen sides and windowsills.
Still top of the storage pops for 2024 is the Chawton freestanding system of cabinetry. Totally flexible, adaptable for any room in any home, contemporary or period, it's designed to grow with you and your family for years to come. From sideboards to glazed cabinets, wine racks to bookshelves and everything in between, build yours for your busiest rooms from the playroom to the study, bathroom to drawing room.
If you're looking for some inspiration, our Neptune design specialist Victoria Twinberrow is always here to help and advise on dimensions and the myriad paint finishes available for this genius cabinetry. Call her on 01886 884665 to book an initial consultation – it's free.
If we could love anything more than the gorgeous Rhubarb paint colour, it's the hidden storage of the Chichester housekeepers' cupboard and its matching cabinetry that has our heart. From gorgeous woven baskets for laundry tablets and bin bags to adjustable shelves for cleaning products and dedicated hanging space for brooms, dustpans and feather dusters, it's both beautiful and useful – just as William Morris would have wanted.
It's as lovely in a utility room as it is in a boot room, the Chichester system is perfectly customisable to suit your lifestyle, the room it's in, the space you have available and your colour scheme. Call us on 01886 884665 to discuss design options.
Country homes come with their own challenges – mud, dogs, horses, wellies, boots, coats for every weather and every occasion, waterproofs, wooly hats, sun hats, umbrellas... The list of outdoor paraphernalia goes on and on and on.
The Dorset tall coat rack and boot room bench is as elegant in a hallway as it is practical in a boot room. With an ash-topped bench for sitting to pull on your wellies, to useful chrome hooks for coats and dog leads and a top shelf for hats and picnic blankets, it comes in a calming, chalky white paint finish which will fit with almost any colour scheme.
There's a matching Dorset console table, with a storage drawer, and Dorset shoe storage bench, pictured below, in the same chalky white paint finish. The Edinburgh boot room bench, below left, is made from solid oak, traditionally crafted with elegant turned legs and an optional Somerton wicker basket for a charmingly rustic, country house look.
Perfectly at home in contemporary or traditional interiors, the Malvern storage footstool is a stroke of genius. Designed for tired feet, it doubles up as a handy spot to plonk a tray of drinks or late-night snacks, and there's enough room inside it for throws, magazines and the remote. It comes in a host of upholstery fabrics, including some family-friendly Aquaclean options, so if the wine or the chocolate gets spilled or smeared, it'll just wipe off with water and a cloth.
So much more than practical storage, the Eloise ottoman is an elegant piece of furniture in its own right. From a window seat to a beautiful bed-end, a place to perch extra guests to a hideaway for your craft supplies in the workroom, choose beautiful, natural linens, velvets and tweeds in a host of shades and subtle patterns designed to complement your existing scheme.
Click here for dimensions and the upholstery fabrics available.
Scandinavian style, cutting-edge design – what's not to love about the unashamedly minimalist Larvik sideboard. Perfectly balanced with cupboards and a display shelf, it's practical in a dining room, smart in a sitting room and great in a modern hallway.
There's a beautiful Larvik boat-shaped dining table to match – pictured below – it's a proper head-turner when it's paired with these leather Fjord dining chairs. Darker scheme? Try the Detroit oak cabinet. Three doors, two of oak and one with a metal finish, create a genrously-proportioned piece of practical storage that's also a piece of art, plus there's a matching dining table and dining chairs and benches in the collection.
Discover the Holloways collection of dining furniture, consoles, cabinets and sideboards here.
Looking to refresh one or more rooms in your home this year? The choices of fabrics, finishes, furniture and wall treatments can be overwhelming, and mistakes are time-consuming and costly.
For 30 years, our interior design team has been helping our customers create homes they love, right across the UK. From the refresh of an existing scheme to a whole house makeover, they love a challenge. With Edward Bulmer and Neptune paint, lighting, flooring and exceptional furniture, plus fabrics from the world's leading design houses, from Sanderson to Colefax & Fowler, Jane Churchill to Romo, Clarke & Clarke to GP&J Baker, they'll take time to understand your style and your lifestyle, and put together a mood board for you to discuss.
Visit our showrooms or browse our website for inspiration, then call us on 01886 884665 to book your initial design consultation. The Holloways Interior Design Service is free.
Learn more here.