Agony Aunt Aneliese talks cleaning and decluttering for the New Year

Happy New Year everyone, and what a year it’s shaping up to be! So far I’ve been inundated with questions about cleaning and decluttering for the New Year to ensure that 2014 gets off to the best possible start. I reply personally to all of your questions, but here are just a few of my faves:

Q: Santa was a little bit too kind this year and now the kids’ rooms are overflowing with toys and games that we can’t find a home for. Help! – Leanne from Hammersmith

photo pin declutter clutter toys xmas gifts santa presents

A: Oh that Santa, he seems to get worse every year! However, the gifts he spoils us with do force us to take a good hard look at what we have and what we actually need or are using. When the new toys come in, get your kids to go through their old toys and pick out some items to donate to charity. They’ll be so caught up with their new belongings that they won’t mind getting rid of the toys that have lost their allure. I like to make a game of it by offering a reward to the child that fills the most garbage bags. While you’re at it, get them to try on all of their old clothes and add clothes that they’ve outgrown (usually quite a few ensembles depending on their age) to the old toys or give them to your friends’ younger kids. Good luck!

Q: One of our New Year’s resolutions is to get the house ready to sell so that we can move on to bigger and better things. What, in our opinion, should we focus on in terms of cleaning and minor home improvements? – Rhonda from Southwark

A: Great question Rhonda, and a fab resolution to have. There are lots of little and big things you can do before you put your house on the market to increase its marketability and value. On a smaller scale, clean the house from head to toe and make sure it’s as free of dirt, mould and ‘living signs’ as possible. Give every room a fresh coat of paint, upgrade your appliances (especially in the kitchen) and replace or steam clean the carpet. Remove as much of ‘you’ as possible and keep your colour and decor scheme simple because potential homeowners like to try and imagine themselves living somewhere and making it their own. On a larger scale, consider increasing the size of your home with a loft conversion or home extension. These can be costly but add so much value to your home and almost always pay you back and then some. Plus, once you’ve added more space, you might decide that you don’t need to suffer the expense and hassle of moving after all. Either way, it’s win-win situation.

Q: I’m curious, how often do you declutter or do a big clean out and redecorate? I’m sick of my house looking the same, year after year, but I don’t want to fork out a lot of money to give it countless makeovers whenever my tastes change. – Jo from Chiswick

A: Because I’m passionate about design and I’m constantly stumbling cross new trends, I like to keep my home looking as fresh and as current as possible. Every New Year after Santa’s been, I sort through all of my old things and donate what I don’t need to charity to make way for a select few new items. I always opt for timeless furniture pieces instead of really quirky ones that will go out of fashion quickly – this means that when I set about redecorating I only have to update accessories like pillows, rugs and artworks, which means a lot less strain on my wallet. If you’ve got some really good items that you want to replace because they’ve gone out of style, you could even try your luck on sites like Gumtree and feel even less guilty about spending extra money on your home.

Until next time!

Aneliese x

Photo credit: ggmossgirl via photopin cc


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