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The art of decluttering part 3: Living spaces

Are you joining us on our four-week cleaning and decluttering challenge? This week, it's living spaces.

By Helen Bowman

While so many of us are safe at home, there has never been a better time to address the clutter. Whether you’re a serial hoarder or the ultimate minimalist, there’s always a ‘Monica cupboard’ somewhere in everyone’s house isn’t there?

Each week we’re breaking down the average home into bite-sized chunks and we encourage you to get brutal with your hoarding. Get rid of items and products that you don’t use on a regular basis. Clear out drawers and thin out cupboards. Your family and your home will feel better for it.

Let’s go.

This week we’ll concentrate on the living areas. The areas where everyone comes together to sit, watch TV, eat snacks and relax.

Declutter

Storage boxes – they might look clean and tidy from the outside but it’s too tempting to hide clutter away in a box to get it out of the way. Open the boxes and find out what’s inside and what you can get rid of.

DVD collection – in a world of on-demand, we’re maybe not watching as many DVDs as we used to. Donate any that you’re not likely to watch ever again or remove them from their cases and store them in CD/DVD wallet to save space.

Music collection – as with your DVD collection, consider donating those you’ll never listen to again and storing the rest in a wallet or sealed box. Then sign up to Spotify!

TV Stand – do you have gadgets and tech boxes that you no longer use? Get rid of them and avoid having to dust them every week.

Behind the sofa – that dreaded area in most houses that collects dust, old toys, a cushion and some spiders. Pull out the furniture and fettle whatever you find there. Chances are, if it’s been there a while, you won’t miss it when it’s gone.

Dining table – does anyone else’s dining table become a dumping ground? Clear the surface and find homes for everything that lived there.

Dresser/Sideboard – Take stock of everything that lives in or on your sideboard or dresser. While these are massively helpful pieces of furniture when it comes to storage, they’re also magnets for clutter.

Toy storage – with small bodies in the house, it’s easy to start a collection of toys, plastic furniture and some of the tiniest bits of modelling equipment known to man. Take the opportunity to have a clear out. Make sure all your toys are age-appropriate – pass on old toys and games that your children don’t play with anymore.

Deep Clean

Surfaces 

Start at the door and work around clockwise. Clear all your surfaces, dusting off any ornaments or objects as you go. Damp dusting is ideal if there’s a lot of dust, otherwise, a quick going-over with a decent duster will do the trick. Follow up with a spray of polish and a quick buff up with a dry microfibre cloth.

We recommend:

Minky M Cloth hi-tech duster for damp dusting or the Pledge Fluffy Duster to collect small amounts of dust.

Mr Sheen multi-surface polish leaves behind a smooth, dust-free surface and a smell that will remind you of your childhood.

Sofas and chairs 

Remove all cushions (if possible) and give the whole thing a good hoover to get rid of crumbs and hairs. A lint roller or hair collector is ideal for fabric sofas, while leather wipes are great for leather sofas. Remove and wash cushion covers and throws before reassembling.

We recommend:

Fur Magic Hair Remover Lint Brush is perfect for both pet and human hair and helps remove dust and fluff from fabric sofas.

For leather sofas, try Duzzit Leather Cleaning Wipes to give your sofas a lift.

Finish off with a liberal spray of Febreze on all fabrics to leave them smelling fresh.

TV cabinets – remove or lift all DVD players, TIVO boxes and gadgets and get the duster into all the nooks and crannies. If possible, pull the cabinet away from the wall, straighten out any tangled cables, hoover underneath them and give them a good clean.

For the TV itself, it’s important not to use any products on the screen to avoid blemishes. Use a slightly damp microfibre cloth to wipe the screen over before dusting the rest of the unit.

We recommend:

Pledge Fluffy Duster for removing dust from the whole area – it’s slimline and has an extendable head for getting to hard-to-reach areas.

Shelving units 

Remove all ornaments and objects before dusting and polishing the whole area.

We recommend:

Minky M Cloth hi-tech duster for damp dusting or the Pledge Fluffy Duster to collect small amounts of dust.

Toy storage 

Empty out the contents of your toy storage and get in there with the hoover, duster or damp cloth to remove stains and marks. Dry off with a microfibre cloth before replacing the decluttered toys.

We recommend:

The Pink Stuff Cream Cleaner for stubborn marks and stains – apply with a damp cloth and wipe clean

Rugs/carpets/flooring 

Always underfoot, the flooring areas of our living rooms get so much use and can become grubby without us realising it. Regular hoovering will help keep them clean, but spot cleaning might be necessary to get rid of small marks on carpets and rugs.

If you have deep pile rugs, hoovering the top surface alone can leave dust and dirt trapped in the pile. Lift the rug regularly and give it a good shake. Hoover the floor beneath the rug before placing it face down. Hoover the underside of the rug, lift it again and hoover the floor – it’s amazing what comes out during this step. Replace the rug the right way up and give it one last hoover – it should look fluffed up and fresh again.

Hoover or sweep hard flooring before mopping with a disinfectant.

We recommend:

Dr Beckmann’s Carpet Stain Remover for spot cleaning your rugs and carpets.

1001 Carpet Fresh leaves your carpets and rugs smelling gorgeous after a good hoovering.

For hard floors, the Flash Powermop is great for cleaning and disinfecting.

Next week we’ll finish off our series with the high traffic areas of your home.

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