Declutter your home this New Year

Declutter your home this New Year

The start of the New Year is the perfect time to declutter. You’ve probably accumulated lots of new stuff over the Christmas period, so clear out the cupboards and assess what you really need.

Here are our top tips for reducing clutter in your home:

1) Start small and set a time limit

Sometimes a task can seem overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to start small. For example, rather than thinking: I must clear the kitchen, just start with a single drawer. Another great tip is to set a time limit. Instead of telling yourself: I have to clear out my wardrobe, simply resolve to spend one hour pulling out things you don’t wear. If you haven’t finished in an hour, go back to it another day. Breaking down large challenges into smaller tasks with time limits means it feels more manageable and so makes it far more likely that you’ll get the job done.

2) Give away one item a day

Simply taking one thing each day to the charity shop can transform your clutter over a period of time. Working on a similar principle, give yourself the challenge of finding 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home. This can be a fun and exciting way to organise 36 things fast in your home.

3) Display the stuff you love

Go through your cupboards and ask yourself: Do I use it? Do I love it? If the answer is no to both, then get rid of it! If you love it but don’t use it, why not display it? Why leave it in a cupboard gathering dust when you could look at it every day? Kitchens and living areas are great places to display favourite pieces of china, glass wear, books and other decorative items.

Shimu has some great cabinets and shelving which are perfect for displaying your favourite ornaments. This circular display shelf is an iconic piece of Chinese design and can be used as two separate semi-circular units or as a single large shelf. It’s great for books and ornaments, and also doubles as an unusual and beautiful room divider.

Chinese furniture

4) Invest in gorgeous storage

If you’ve apply the rules in the tip above you’ll be left with things that you use on a regular basis but aren’t suitable for display. Don’t make the mistake of rushing to Ikea and buying plastic boxes in garish colours, or cheap shelving that you need a degree in engineering to assemble and which falls apart after a year. Instead, invest in storage to last a lifetime which is both practical to use and gorgeous to look at.

Shimu has a great range of clever storage, from Oriental sideboards which can house a TV and music system, to apothecary’s cabinets with drawers cunningly designed to be the exact size for CDs or DVDs. Below is a stunning piece from the China Seasons collection. This unusual sideboard is a combination of cabinet and chest, with two doors and five small drawers offering versatile storage space in a living room, bedroom or as a dining room sideboard.

Chinese Painted Sideboard

5) Manage with less

Do you really need everything in your wardrobe? Could you live with less and wear the stuff you love a bit more? For example, Courtney Carver invented Project 333 to challenge people to wear only 33 articles of clothing for 3 months.

A similar idea is to identify the things you don’t wear by hanging all your clothes with the hangers in the wrong direction. When you wear an item, return it to the wardrobe with the hanger facing the right direction. After 3 months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard.

6) Be creative with antiques for storage!

It’s not just cupboards and shelves which can be used for storage. Get creative and use blanket boxes, trunks and suitcases. Antiques are great for this kind of unusual storage, so either browse your local flea market or take a look at our selection of Oriental antiques, both in stock and held in China to be shipped on order.

As well as cabinets and sideboards, how about an antique food carrying box, a cream lacquer rice carrying container, a painted birthday box or the stunning Tiger chests pictured below. They date from around 1850 and come from the border of Tibet and Qinghai in the far west of China. The fierce looking tigers on the front are meant to ward off evil spirits and intruders.

Chinese Tiger Chests

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