We all become attached to the possessions we accumulate over the years, but they may not be good for us – or our properties. Studies have linked clutter to stress and reduced productivity. Decluttering breathes new life into a house and is the first stage of styling a property, which increases the prospect of a good sale. Whether you're planning to stay put or sell, consider these expert tips for improving your home.
Tables in the hall, dressing room and living room are magnets for clutter. Keep small items – keys, cufflinks and everyday jewellery – organised by placing them in an ornamental bowl or elegant metal tray. Anything that is no longer required, such as old invitations, should be thrown away, while out-of-season accessories like scarves and gloves should be stored out of sight.
Start a filing system
Paperwork can frequently overwhelm even the most organised household. Purchase an attractive letter rack to keep mail in one place. Throw junk mail out immediately, and return incorrectly addressed post to the sender. Receipts needed for future tax returns should be kept in well-ordered files; discuss an appropriate method with your accountant, in particular paper-free systems. Buy an address book and copy across addresses and phone numbers from old business cards.
Clean out your closet
Streamline your wardrobe with this simple strategy. Firstly, turn all of your hangers to face one direction. Whenever you wear a piece, hang it the other way round when you return it to your wardrobe. After a month, consider which garments you haven't worn and why. If it's simply not the season, or you haven't had the occasion to wear them, keep them. If it's because you no longer have a use for them, donate them to your nearest charity shop. A similar technique can be applied for shoes and handbags.
Set a limit for surface space
Only statement objects should be on display. Set limits for each surface: none should feature more than five items, though exact specifications will depend on the piece of furniture's size and function. For example, coffee tables should always have a place for guests to put down a glass or magazine while on a mantelpiece you may wish to showcase a decorative vase or family portrait.
Stick to four boxes
Use four boxes whenever you set out to tidy an area. Label them 'keep', 'donate', 'throw out' and 'find a new home'. Once you've categorised every item and placed them in one of these boxes, you can fully appreciate the space you have. You may even decide to move a few things in the 'keep' box over to the 'donate' one.
Once your home is decluttered it's time to relax and enjoy the space – or prepare to stage it for selling. If you're looking to sell your newly pristine property, speak to Engel & Völkers. Experts luxury real estate, we are represented in 37 countries across four continents. Our local consultants know exactly how to find the right buyer for your property. For more information, contact us online or visit us in person.