The Times Bricks & Mortar

Top Tips from Romaine Lowery on decluttering and storage solutions for a house move

ALISON is selling her one-bedroom flat. It is a relatively big flat but it has limited storage space. Some prospective buyers have commented on how “busy” it looks. How could she declutter and are there some cheap but effective storage tips you could give?

Romaine Lowery, of The Clutter Clinic, says: After location, space is the most important factor for buyers; they often lack the imagination to see their belongings in your home so by presenting your property in a clean and uncluttered way, you help them mentally to move in.
Be ruthless with your possessions because messy rooms and crowded shelves will give the impression that there is not enough storage space. Get rid of junk and pack belongings not in regular use into large clear plastic boxes and store away until you move. Recycle things no longer needed to charity shops. Best of all make some quick cash by selling pieces at car boot sales or on eBay. Remove large items of furniture to create a greater feeling of space. If you do not have a garage you can look into short-term storage: it is not the expensive option that many people assume it to be. Storage is a buzzword in interior design and there are hundreds of stylish products on the market, from fabric hanging cubes for sweaters, clear shoe boxes, baskets, acrylic cosmetic containers, magazine files and chic metal boxes. The right storage can revolutionise existing pieces of furniture; use containers inside cupboards and drawers to divide the space.

Where space is a premium, invest in dual purpose pieces of furniture such as a table/magazine rack, or leather trunk/coffee table. Utilise existing space to the maximum by putting hooks inside kitchen cupboards and add open shelves in rooms to provide a focal point as well as practical storage. Scrub your home thoroughly and if necessary paint key rooms in pale neutral colours to increase the sense of light and space. Clean windows and replace heavy curtains with low cost roller blinds that will make the best use of natural light. Accessorise with cushions, throws, mirrors, rugs and contemporary lighting. Define the space in each room and give the illusion of a separate eating area and workspace with clever placement of existing furniture. Lastly look at your home critically through a buyer’s eyes and make sure that your hall sets the tone with attractive storage for shoes, coats and keys: first impressions last.