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Almost every house I visit has a similar problem – lack of storage.   However, before looking at options on creating good storage, I think we should look at CLUTTER. Most of us are guilty of it; too many personal possessions, clothes, books and ornaments.  It can be hard to say goodbye to items but moving them out of sight to the back of a cupboard or into the attic is not useful. I visit houses where college student bedrooms are still piled high with childhood toys! I don’t mind the favourite teddy, Star Wars toy or special item but boxes of toys scream time to declutter and move on! By all means, save those precious paintings or drawings by children as you would do with photographs but, again, less is more.

Make a disposal plan

Explore options to sell, recycle or donate items. Selling online or at car boot sales can be very rewarding.  Donate clean good condition clothes, shoes, ornaments, CD’s, books, toys, belts, jewellery to local charity shops. The proceeds from these shops in turn help others in the community so it is a win, win.

Replace and discard

De-cluttering will only be successful if you make a pact to discard the old when purchasing new.

This particularly rings true for the linen cupboard.  Discard old (usually faded) duvet covers, sheets and towels. Towels and bedding become old and tired looking no matter how good the laundry pattern. Replace bedlinen for each bed from time to time as this is a great way to freshen the look in your bedroom.

Start small

Start with the smallest room.  Sort through belongings and cast aside sentimentality, don’t feel guilty about moving things on. Place a rubbish bag and recycling bag at your side and start to sort.

When the clearance is done give a spring clean to the room and paint if necessary. 

One step at the time

Having mastered the first room you are now ready to be unleashed through-out the house.

Tackle cupboards and all surfaces.  Many kitchens have cupboards full of the latest gadgets that never see the light of day – pass them on and let someone else benefit.

A word of caution, some belongings can be precious to other family members, especially children, so do engage them in the process but remain firm. My mantra is be ruthless as clearing that clutter is very liberating and a clear living space  makes for easy cleaning.  

Organising storage

Small bedrooms can make it difficult to store necessary items so think of using all available space. Divan bed bases with lift storage are ideal for storing out of season clothing, shoes and spare bedding. Use vacuum bags to shrink volume thus increasing storage. 

Floor space under a bedframe can be utilised by buying plastic storage boxes with lids.  These are ideal for storing shoes, scarves or handbags with the added bonus of keeping them dust free and easy to see. They are also easy to remove for vacuum cleaning.

This full length mirror doubles as storage for jewellery and a wall hanging version would be a simple DIY project to fit into any room. Dismiss the guilt of having eaten the box of Ferrero Rocher as you can now adapt the box to an ideal earring holder!

Pretty neat sized storage units can be used in many locations in the home. 

Making the most of wall space in small rooms.  Traditionally bedside lockers would be placed at each side of the bed but here cube storage units can increase the storage capacity of this space while still  allowing for a bedside lamps.  Various baskets, drawers boxes can be used in these cubes to make them look attractive and useful for small items.

Bookcases can be multipurpose to accommodate books, glass and collectibles while creating an interesting focal point. Bookcases can be custom made, purchased in units or a simple DIY project and can be open or have glass doors to protect the contents.

Coffee tables can be multifunctional, as the example below illustrates.  It features storage inside with a lift section for tray or laptop use. There are many version of these tables on the market.

Quirky storage ideas for home and garden:

An old wooden ladder can be adapted or make one to create a very attractive area.

Many of the items above (or similar items) can be found in Bandon Co-op stores in Bandon and Kinsale.



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