When people are embarking on a declutter, trust me, the bottom of the list is always their understairs cupboard or their loft. Why? Because it’s the place that is filled with all that random stuff that just doesn’t have a home anywhere else in the house and there is LOTS of it. Hoovers, mop buckets, swimming bags, bags for life, wellies, tools – you name it, you fling it into the abyss that is the understairs cupboard and it never comes up for air. Old kettles, memorabilia, suitcases, summer clothes, books, pushchairs, hand me down clothes, all get pushed up through the loft hatch and gather around the top of that loft ladder waiting to be loved.
So, lofts and understairs cupboards have two things in common, the stuff stored there is random and both spaces are seriously awkward – tricky to access with lots of low beams and sloping walls, dusty, damp and dark – a storage nightmare! So, it’s time to be inventive!
First things first- time to declutter. Lofts are so straightforward because for the most part they hold lots of delayed decisions. You have decided you don’t want them in your house anymore and have just put them in the loft until you can decide what to do with them. So, procrastinate no more, be ruthless – ask yourself do you really need it, love it or use it? If not, do yourself a favour and donate it to charity. The less stuff you have up there, the easier it is to create a really useful extension to your home for those seasonal and sentimental items.
Large, clear, robust plastic boxes are the best storage solutions for lofts – they keep your stuff dry, safe and contained and are easy to label. Don’t underestimate the lack of light – use thick black marker pens on your labels so you can see at a glance where everything is. Zoning is critical too, store like with like and create zones for seasonal decorations, memorabilia, household items etc. And remember rule number one of an organised home – make sure everything is accessible and your system is logical for the whole family.
Time to go back to the dreaded understairs cupboard. Once you start taking stuff out of there, it is like a tardis. That small awkward space can hold so much stuff so, once again, it’s time to be ruthless. The goal is to have an accessible space where you can easily access things you need on a regular basis that aren’t quite pretty enough for your hallway or kitchen. To be able to walk into your understairs cupboard is a must.
It’s sensible to invest in stackable storage that follows the slope of the ceiling so you can maximise the amount of space you have. And once again, use labels so everyone in your family knows what should go where.