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How to make your home work harder for you.

There is no bypassing the fact that the cost of living is rising – and that it’s not looking like its going to drop any time soon. This, coupled with the ongoing effects of the pandemic, means that our homes and everything in them need to be working hard.

Once a place to eat, rest and sleep, we’ve seen our homes replace the office, pubs and restaurants over the past couple of years. And now, with less disposable income, we need to make sure our homes can cope with these updates for the foreseeable future - whilst feeling calm and comfortable.


I’ve put together some straight forward tips to make sure your house is working the way you need it to without compromising your happiness.


Make space.


My starting point is always (even if you’re just having a bad day) to declutter.


Studies have shown that clutter has a poor impact on our mental health because it makes you feel more stressed - and nobody needs more of that! I honestly find decluttering so cathartic, and it frees up additional space that can work for you.


Now, there’s only one way to do this properly. Get everything out. All of it. This is the only way that you can see everything that you have in that one cupboard, drawer or room.


Create four piles: Recycle, Donate, Sell, Keep and add every item you own to one of them.


When you’re done, go back through the keep pile and make sure you are sure. I love the Mary Kondo ethos – everything in your home must be practical or bring you joy. And, if it isn’t or doesn’t, it’s had its time.


Use local Facebook groups, eBay, Vinted etc. to sell pieces. Go to a local foodbank, clothes bank or charity shop with items that you’d like to donate. And, instead of filling up that bin of yours, take a trip to your local recycling centre and make sure you dispose of everything responsibly. Some things will ultimately have to go into landfill, but explore every avenue first before submitting it there.


Use what you’ve got.


Now, this tip is two-fold, so here goes. Number one: there is absolutely no point in throwing something out that you could re-use, especially if you are going to spend money on replacing it. Got stacks of paper to recycle? Clip it all together and use it as a notepad before buying a new one. Got a piece of furniture that isn’t working for you anymore? Change its position or what it looks like!


Fold number two: make your stuff work harder for you. Think of new ways of using the items that you are going to keep. For example, if you have beautiful serving dishes that come out twice a year, make a feature of them in your home. It will open up more storage space and save on buying more stuff that is just for display. Got a dressing table in your spare room that barely gets used? Well, that’s a desk right there! Or hobby space, children’s homework area… you get the idea.


Make good use of space.


Once you’ve decluttered, it’s the perfect time to re-define a space. I know, I know, every room has its label, but think about how you use the space day-to-day and what would make your life easier. If you’ve just given a cupboard a big old sort out, think about what really makes sense living in there before piling everything back in.

It’s also a good time to think about how your furniture position is working for you. If you don’t have enough space around your furniture, it can feel like the room is closing in on you. Opening up the floor can make a room feel much bigger and give you more room to breathe.


Storage.


No matter who you are, how much stuff you have or how you live your life, we all need storage. There are so so many options that you don’t have to settle for the ‘cheapest’ most practical looking piece you find. You’re surrounded by it, so make sure you utilise what you have first.


When was the last time you emptied your kitchen cupboards? Could they be used more efficiently? Probably. Or the space under your stairs (you’re forgiven if there is a toilet under there, like ours is!). How about drawers in your desk or bedside table? The bottom of your wardrobe? Behind doors? Compile a list of all the storage spaces you currently have and make sure you are utilising them the best way for you – which doesn’t have to be the way you are expected to!


Then, and only when you need more, find the right storage solution for you. Fine, Ikea might have the almighty Kallax unit – but does it fit your space, look good with your interior, make you feel at peace and, most importantly, stand the test of time? If the answer is yes to all of those then you’ve found the piece for you! If not, keep looking.


Check out local selling sites like Facebook, eBay, Gumtree and use the charity shops around you. You could find the perfect storage solution that you wouldn’t otherwise consider, and these can be tailored to your home. Bookcases, sideboards, benches, ottomans and coffee tables can all provide additional storage depending on where you need it.


Equally, if you know you’re going to be in your home for years to come and would like to make an investment in storage, then bespoke cabinets could be the way forward.


Think about all of your options before heading out and buying the first piece you’ve come up with to ensure that you’re putting your hard-earned cash where it really needs to be.


If your home or furniture isn’t feeling quite right for what you need it for, then send us an email hello@upcyclestudio.co.uk. We can provide a bespoke service which includes furniture or storage advice, mood boards for your furniture or room, room layout plans and even styling advice if you need it.