Our content manager Christina Collison talks about how she and her husband have filled up their house and why 2022 is the year to declutter…

When I first agreed to live with my better half (now my husband), we talked about getting a two-bedroom flat. Then we talked some more and decided to try and shoot for a house. We ended up getting a three-bedroom end-of-terrace house with a basement and a big garden. In essence, we went from the idea of a small, confined space to a decent-sized house. Yet somehow, within a matter of months, we’d managed to completely fill every single room.

We both have hobbies and interests. I’m a fitness nut, so the dining room is dominated by a big cross-trainer. Despite it being there for four years, we both manage to regularly stub our toes on the bottom of it when entering the room. It’s larger than life, but fortunately, I can honestly say I use it most days. There are also a few dumbbells in the dining room, plus the cat’s scratching post and toys. There’s no way we’d ever be able to host a dinner party in there unless our guests wanted their food on their laps while getting up close and personal with the cat’s litter tray.

Basement space

Moving on to the basement, we know we’re very fortunate to have it, as not many three-bedroom properties can offer an extra room. But you guessed it, we’ve filled it.

My husband is a professional singer who uses the basement as a home studio, while I use it as an office. He’s also into photography and gadgets, and there are more guitars in the house than I care to mention.

The rest of the rooms in the house are pretty cramped. Every cupboard is packed full of clothes, yet I still never have anything to wear. I sold my motorbike two years ago and can’t quite bring myself to get rid of my biking gear.

How did we get like this? When I lived alone in a one-bed flat 30 years ago, I considered myself a minimalist. I’m ruthless when it comes to throwing things away, but my Dave is a hoarder and would rather hang on to every piece of clutter ‘in case we might need it one day’. Yet when I lived alone in that compact flat as a young first-time homeowner, I shoved things in cupboards and drawers, convincing myself that I didn’t have much stuff. On the surface, it looked like I was pretty tidy, but in reality, I was and still am a messy person.

More space means more clutter

I’ve concluded that no property will ever be big enough for some people, including us. Give people more space and they’re likely to fill it with furniture they don’t need or convert a spare room into a home office, gym, or music studio. There’s always a need to have a themed room for a hobby or side hustle.

But the start of a new year has given me the impetus to try and declutter. I’ve been seeking advice on how to do it well. The website Becoming Minimalist suggests starting slowly. Just five minutes per day can help you get into the habit of ditching stuff apparently. It also suggests taking the “12-12-12 Challenge”. This entails choosing 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate to a charity shop and 12 items to put away. That sounds a bit more time-consuming, but I’m going to have to do something about all this clutter.

It’s true that when you declutter and you have more space it’s easier to find things, which saves you time and stress. It might even be cheaper on the wallet too. I’ve bought items online knowing I have them somewhere in the house but just can’t find them! When my patience runs out, they get replaced, and then of course the missing item has the audacity to turn up!

Less clutter in the house definitely appeals to me. I won’t go as far as saying it’s my New Year’s resolution, but I’m certainly going to try and throw away some random stuff we don’t need. Even if it means doing it sneakily when him indoors isn’t around!

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