Life Interiors

Thursday 25 April 2019

Forget spring clean, it's autumn clear out: Jo Linehan's tips on how to reorganise your living spaces

Forget the spring clean. September's back-to-school mood is the perfect motivation to reorganise your living spaces, writes Jo Linehan

Storage doesn’t have to be utilitarian — add a useful touch of glitz with this Gatsby gold ladder, €127 at
Rattan basket, €28: Hardwearing woven baskets in all sizes add texture;
Sammanhang ‘cake stand’, €19.99: Use it to stash your jewels (or cupcakes) and display on your windowsill;
Velvet hangers, 5 for €10: Non-slip velvet covered hangers make for easy hanging;
Ferm Living tins, set of 3 in Rose, €34: Storage doesn’t have to be utilitarian, neat and stackable;
Storage mirror, €17: Put every piece of furniture to work - a dressing table mirror that doubles as storage;
Arlo RHF storage chaise sofa bed, €1,505: This clever sofa-cum-storage unit will have you sitting pretty;

Isn't it remarkable how September and its back-to-school feeling still affects us, even when we're all grown-up? As we pack away the flip-flops and BBQ tongs for another year, along comes the urge to reorganise our living spaces so we're ready to bed down for winter.

The first step should be to think about clearing summer's essentials away. There's good news for those of us who have tried, but failed, to live up to the less-is-more approach (thank you, Marie Kondo). There's a mood shift going on - now having lots of 'stuff' is no longer a sin, but something that can be embraced with a little help from the right kinds of storage.

This trend is feeding through to the high street. At Ikea, for example, the Sammanhang collection is all about embracing and displaying your belongings with pride rather than hiding them away. Design duo Lisa Widen and Anna Wallin have created a cheeky cake stand as part of the collection - a piece just big enough for the most common collectables, and just small enough to fit on your windowsill or table.

"You can, of course, pile up lots of sweets and treats, but also other items, like jewellery and beauty products. In the hallway, it's a good spot for your mail, keys and coins."

Why stop there? Autumn is the season to sort out your wardrobe. According to stylist and fashion expert Sinead Keary ( the secret to an easy-to-access wardrobe is a deep cleanse. Discard, she advises, 20pc of your existing pieces, those items you hold onto for sentimental reasons, even though they are out of date, or don't fit properly.

Then focus on the finer details. "Uniform hangers are key," says Sinead, "and velvet hangers are my top choice. They save so much space in terms of hanging and prevent your clothes from slipping off them. Penneys has a great selection in stock throughout the year."

As for clumsier items and accessories, she suggests: "I always suggest clients lie jewellery flat in a drawer as this helps it to stay untangled and makes it easier to see everything. Use drawer dividers to organise your jewellery into sections. Try wrapping and tying your belts around a hanger - usually, you can fit around six belts per hanger and then you can hang it next to the denim section in your wardrobe."

One of the biggest issues for those short on space is trying to find somewhere to store seasonal items of clothing, whether that's bulky ski gear, or summer's shift dresses.

Sinead suggests thinking long-term, saying: "I prefer to box up or hang any summer items that I don't plan on wearing for the winter rather than flat packing my clothing. Flat packing is fine for holidays but, long-term, I feel it's important to let your clothing breathe and I worry that flat packing will damage and change the quality of your garments."

Once your wardrobe is sorted, consider investing in some low-cost storage solutions, such as the season's favourite - woven baskets in all shapes and sizes.

Re-thinking your spaces this season requires little more than the time and energy to sort things out, for good. Maximalism may be back, but as Lisa Widen and Anna Wallin say: "Everything gets a little nicer when it has its own designated space."

Sunday Independent

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