Our homes are overflowing with an estimated £32 billion pounds worth of unused goods and one in three of us hoard enough stuff to completely fill a bedroom! So do we really have room for all our belongings or are many of us hoarding things we simply don't need?
Studies have shown that clutter does more than just fill up our homes, it can make us stressed and less productive. Catherine Tyler, busy mum of three, is keen to live clutter free - Tonight sent in professional organiser, Rachel Papworth, to kick start the process.
In just one afternoon with some focus, encouragement and direction from our expert, Catherine completely transformed her office.
There are plenty of areas in our houses bursting at the seams. Our wardrobes never seem to have enough space, not surprising when the average women owns 22 items of clothing that sit in the wardrobe and never get worn.
Nicola Smith, a self-confessed shopaholic, wants to regain control of her wardrobe so Tonight sent personal stylist Anna Mewes to help.
People have a lot more clothes than they think they have a lot of the time. and, will reach for the same items over and over again. Generally speaking we wear about twenty percent of our wardrobe eighty percent of the time so there is a lot of clothes in there that will very rarely see the light of day.”
With some expert advice Nicola separated her clothes into those she no longer wears, those that don’t fit and those that could be re-sold.
There a lots of different ways you can cash in on clutter, via car boots sales and online. You can also donate to charity shops or give away goods via recycling sites.
One thing we don’t seem to have a problem chucking out is food. With food prices on the up – the average family is still chucking out some 700 pounds worth every year! Chef Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, has started a food revolution and opened the first waste supermarket in the UK in Leeds.
One reason thought to be key in why we throw out so much food is confusion over dates. Adam believes people should use their own judgement as to whether the food is fit to eat.
Without a doubt there’s too many expiration dates, I think we have four in this country, best before, sell by, use by and display by. People tell us all the time they’re just throwing their food away because of this date, they don’t understand what they’re supposed to do with that produce.”
Working out what we need to chuck or keep can be beneficial to our lives and wallets and keeping our families healthy is also a top priority for the year ahead. Hygiene expert, Dr Lisa Ackerley, is passionate about making people aware of how infection is spread. She’s on hand to tell us what we can do to avoid getting ill with simple good hygiene tips.
Food borne illnesses affect a million people a year and cost the UK economy 1.9 billion pounds. In extreme cases dangerous bacteria can kill. To keep germs - and potential infection at bay, regularly clean surfaces you touch, boil your cleaning cloths and always wash your hands. This advice applies to Kirsty Day and her family who bravely agreed to open the doors to their home to Dr Lisa.
Unsurprisingly the kitchen and bathroom are Dr Lisa’s main target areas. But it’s not the toilet seat we have to watch out for when it comes to germs. Lisa’s swabbing revealed Kirsty’s toilet to be one of the cleanest places in the house and in fact it’s the areas we may not ever think to clean such as the oven handle or kettle that get the highest readings. And shockingly, the highest bacteria counts were found on the kitchen cloth and bath sponge. So the items we all use to clean with tend to be the ones actually spreading the dirt around our homes!
For more information…
Dr Lisa's hygiene tips:
Food ready hands - always remember to wash and dry your hands before eating and when preparing food especially after handling raw meat, poultry and root veg. If you are on the move and want to snack, use a hand gel
Paper towels - when possible use disposable cloths or paper towel after preparing raw meat and poultry as this prevents the spread of germs round the kitchen
Warm and wet - bacteria love to grow on our damp cloths and sponges so either replace regularly or boil them to kill the bacteria
Hot wash - bacteria grow best around 30-40 degrees so if you want to kill the bugs you need to wash linens, towels and underwear at 60
Bug hot spots - remember to clean anywhere our hands come into contact such as light switches, oven doors, cupboard handles and kettles, particularly if there is illness in the house, whether it is colds, flu or norovirus
Rachel Papworth’s decluttering tips:
Be realistic with how much you can do in the time you have put aside
Take before and after photos
Be systematic. Go through each thing one by one
Allow yourself to be unsure. Don't spend more than 30 seconds deciding about any item. If you can't decide, put it to one side for now. If you still can't decide at the end of your session, keep it
Stay with it. Don't get distracted by clutter or jobs elsewhere in the house. Just work in your chosen area
Anna Mewes’ wardrobe detox tips:
When deciding whether to keep or chuck is to ask yourself these questions:
Did I feel good last time I wore this?
Will I actually wear it again?
Do I need to be a certain weight to wear this and feel good in it?