Declutter your home ... and your life

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WITH the start of a New Year it is time to sort out the positive changes you want to make in your life for the next 12 months.

Now is the time to start thinking about being more healthy and perhaps having a whole new look and outlook on life for 2012.

Whether you are a shopping addict, an habitual hoarder or a clutter queen, January is all about cutting back on excess.

And if you can’t bear to give up on the chocolate and red wine, chucking out redundant outfits and cosmetics is the next best thing to curbing the junk.

Whether you’re deluged with new stylish treats from Santa Claus or you’ve gone mad in the Christmas sales, now is the ideal time of year to go out with the old and in with the new.

“Decluttering is not all about throwing away your memories. It is all about getting rid of real junk – the stuff that is neither useful nor beautiful,” explains Cassie Tillett, professional declutterer and co-founder of www.apdo-uk.co.uk .

“If it is useful or beautiful, getting rid of the other stuff gives you a chance to find it, use it and appreciate it.

“One of the positive sides to decluttering is that the more we search for objects to throw away, the more we rediscover delights we haven’t seen for years.”

No need to go into a minimalism panic for the new year. Detoxing your style should make life chic and simple for 2012 and beyond.

Forget the clichéd ‘new you’ claptrap and turn your attentions to ‘new year, new wardrobe’ instead.

There are 2.4 billion pieces of clothing lying unworn for an entire 12 months (some brand new) cluttering the nation’s wardrobes, according to UK Government statistics.

In fact, the average UK woman spends almost £13,000 on clothes she’ll never wear in a lifetime.

Guilty as charged? Go on a clothes hanger raid and filter out the fashions you wouldn’t be seen dead in.

“It’s important to detox your wardrobe twice a year,” advises wardrobe expert Julia Dee (www.totalwardrobecare.co.uk).

“We all buy so many clothes and quite often forget what we already have. The best way to save money is to rediscover what you already have.

“The majority of us suffer from limited space and there is nothing more frustrating and overwhelming than opening crammed wardrobes. It’s always impossible to find anything and can be quite stressful.

“How much better it is to start the year with an organised and systemised closet?”

For the indecisive and sentimental among us, throwing out old clothing we’re attached to can tug on the heart strings.

Dee recommends setting aside a few hours – or ideally a whole day – for your wardrobe cull, so be bold and get your wardrobe detox started with Dee’s top tips:

l Turnout: Be ruthless; when was the last time you wore it? Swap with friends or sell on eBay and remember two new things in = two old things out.

l Organise: Sort pieces into three sections – the good, the bad and the ugly. The ‘good’ section are items that stay, the ‘bad’ either need mending or altering and the ‘ugly’ are destined for either charity shops or listings on eBay.

l Repairs: If any buttons have fallen off, zips broken, hems fallen, or clothes have become too big or small, take them to be altered and repaired.

l Spring clean: Prepare your wardrobe and drawers for the new season’s clothing. Take everything out, wash, dust and vacuum.

l Feet first: Shoes and boots always need a good clear-out and will often need polishing, cleaning and taking to the cobblers. They should always be stored with either boot or shoe trees.

Start the New Year fresh-faced by decluttering your make-up bag and sifting through your bathroom cabinet. Eye-catching products may look pretty on display but don’t forget they have a limited shelf life.

Almost half of women are unhappy with the products they use to combat their beauty demands, according to a recent Tesco Your Beauty survey, meaning piles of redundant lotions and potions.

“Don’t be tempted to buy every new fragrance or beauty potion that’s out there,” warns Ingrid Jansen, founder of Organise Your House (www.organise-your-house.co.uk).

“You’ll end up with shelves full of perfumes and make-up, and clutter, without ever using them.

“Mascara has the shortest shelf life of all make-up

so change after six months. Other make-up will last between one and two years, with eyeshadows lasting up to 36 months. Perfume can go off so expect a shelf life of about between 18-24 months. If it smells bad throw it away.”

The easiest way to downsize your cosmetics stash is embracing multi-use products with two or even three times the benefit in one tube.

Not only will you have to room to manoeuvre in your make-up bag but you’ll also save valuable minutes in the mornings.

LEFT: Decide which clothes to keep. Photo: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos