How to make a start on decluttering

Empty every cupboard/surface into three piles: stuff you use all the time, things you want to keep but haven’t used for over a year, and stuff you’ve not used in two years and can live without. For the second two categories, be ruthless and chuck anything broken, and from what’s left consider either running a car boot sale or giving to a charity shop.

Now go through the remainder once again. Then sort into groups – ie jewellery, travel, sports, thus creating a permanent home for each group (line drawers and shelves with pretty paper).

Make a diary note to re-edit in six months. And in future: edit as you go – one new purchase in, one old thing out! That way, you’ll stay in control of your possessions instead of them being in control of you.

My golden rule for keeping the place tidy and clutter free is never to go upstairs or downstairs empty-handed. And leave items at the bottom of the stairs to take up next time (though somehow male family members can be blissfully blind to this!).