Declutter your space for 2019 by organising and getting rid of what you don’t need or no longer want. Sounds like work, but you’ll love the results. Here’s how to get started.

How well do you know your home? Do a little exercise. Look at each area in the house and ask yourself: How much time does my family spend here? Doing what? This will help you figure out what to keep and what is simply in the way. 

Decide to whom you’ll donate reusable items. Find out where your nearest recycling centre is by searching on municipal sites or Don’t rush out and buy a stack of containers. Get old boxes and mark them – keep, throw away, give away, repair, sell. Have some durable garbage and zip-lock bags ready as well.

Starting small is the best way to make a new habit stick. Don’t try to do it all in one weekend. You’re bound to end up exhausted and nursing a stiff back.

Decluttering is not about making pretty – that comes later. It’s about organising space and making it work for you.

You’ll often see the advice to declutter room by room, but there is another way. It’s from Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo, author of best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and founder of KonMari Media, Inc. (She also has a new show on Netflix this month).

In her country, a house of 92 square metres is considered large, so she’s a master at managing small spaces. Her method is tidying by category, not location, in this order: clothes, books, papers, komono (Japanese for “small things”) and finally sentimental items since they’re hardest to let go.

In a small home, Marie believes, it’s important to store things in the same category together. Don't scatter them in different places around the house. Take full advantage of the storage you have by storing everything vertically. Use discrete spaces well – fresh linen in one closed container under the bed would be handy. Just don’t shove in too much under there since it would make vacuuming hard.

Hooks and rails can be put up inside cupboards or wherever you have dead space – they’re handy for storing coats, scarves, bags and anything else you need to hang up.

When you’re left with only what you need and really want, take another look around. Do you have space that can be used more wisely? Example: A decent kitchen counter with bar stools can also be your eating area

When last did you see three people sitting in a row on a three-seater couch? More likely in a doctor’s waiting room than in your lounge. A more compact sofa might do. TV stands hog space, so consider wall-mounting your screen. Floating bookshelves obviously have a smaller footprint than standing ones. Just don't overload them. If you seldom cook at home, choose a smaller fridge and save on electricity as well.

Make a drop zone for daily things – keys, wallet, purse, bills that need to be paid. It could be a stylish bowl or basket near the front door.

When you’re done, it’s time to set rules to keep your new system going. Make organising part of your daily routine by assigning tasks to set days of the week so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Try “one in, one out”, suggested by minimalist author Francine Jay. Once you’ve found the perfect spot for all your stuff, don’t upset the balance with new things. Instead, get rid of one thing for every new item you bring home. That will teach you to think practically about buying things and the space they’ll take up.

A final word from Marie Kondo. “Keep only things that speak to the heart and discard items that no longer spark joy. It's not just about looking for things to toss but being thoughtful about it and cherishing what you keep.”

The legendary American colour coding company has been picking a shade of the year for almost two decades. Their experts study emerging trends around the world and their choice is used widely in media, design, fashion and more.

For 2019 they decided on Living Coral (PANTONE 16-1546on their swatches). They say it “welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity, symbolising our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits”. Living Coral is updated and fresh, not orange, not peach, but the shade of a vibrant sunset.

Here’s how to use it in your freshly uncluttered home. Pantone suggests shag rugs, cosy blankets, and lush upholsteries for a warm, comforting and nurturing feeling.

Living Coral is also rated as an accent tint by renowned New York interior designer Cathy Hobbs. She says you should try painting an accent wall with it, especially in rooms that don't get much light. Its warm undertones will liven up any space. Combine this wall with foundation colours such as charcoal grey, white, taupe and even brown.
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