Abigail Ahern’s de-cluttering tips

It’s official. We’re a country of collectors.’s new research has revealed that 73% of us have a junk drawer in our home, while 35% of us swap the drawer for a cupboard.

The news came as no surprise to our very own interior design ambassador Abigail Ahern, who co-presented Channel 4’s ‘Get Your House in Order’. While we don’t all sleep in a cramped corner on the living room floor like some of the series’ participants, we’re all guilty of saving things that we don’t need. Clutter’s spilling out everywhere and overtaking our homes!


Image source: Little Blue Deer

To help us regain control over our properties, Abigail Ahern shares her tips:

Start small

Tackling a nook or corner is far more realistic than starting with the garage. The smaller the space, the quicker you can see results, so you’re kept motivated for longer. Once you start, you won’t want to stop so it’s easier to move onto larger spaces.

Cluttered wall

Image source: Maison de Ballard

Ask for help

A problem shared is a problem halved. Having somebody to help you will make the task seem manageable. We all form emotional attachments to objects which are hard to break. Your friend or partner could help you see that the teddy bear from an ex partner really isn’t worth holding onto and that you don’t need to keep your child’s homemade Christmas decoration, when there are another 3 homemade gifts that aren’t broken…

Declutter your home

Image source: First Home

Use boxes

To simplify the throwing out process, mark 3 different boxes with the following labels – trash, give away and store. There are bound to be items – whether they’re clothing or books – that you’re never going to use again but remember that one person’s junk could be another person’s prized possession.

Keep it clean

The tidier your home, the less likely you are to fall into old habits and start collecting items that you won’t use. One more ornament in a cluttered home is hard to notice but the same one will stand out like a sore thumb in a pristine property.  Find a cleaner near you to help with the job.

Pen clutter

De-clutter regularly

We only tend to have a good look through our belongings when we move house. By taking stock and having a clear-out every 6 months to a year, you can stop your cluttering in its tracks, before it spirals!

Shopping is our national pastime, so it’s very easy to keep bringing new items into the home, without taking any away. We buy to suit all moods – when we’re happy, we go shopping, when we’re sad, we buy ourselves something to help cheer us up. There’s nothing wrong with buying within your means but it’s time to get rid of the old to accommodate the new.

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Abigail Ahern

Interior designer and author Abigail Ahern has been hailed as ‘style spotter extraordinaire’, by The Times. Her style is as unique as it is affordable and is characterised by glamour, wit and show-stopping colours.

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  1. Agree with Peter, eBay is a good idea.
    Also should mention that charity shops are a good place to take stuff you don’t need anymore. If it’s something electronic or not appropriate for a charity shop, try Freecycle or Freegle, someone will come and collect it. I love decluttering!

  2. Just got rid of three trailer loads, twelve boxes and fifteen bin bags of stuff. Feeling rather pleased with myself but know I’ll be awake in the wee small hours regretting it!
    – I just know I’m going to need half that stuff in the future! Be strong. The feeling of space is a good one.

  3. wonderful advice i would love for you to help me as a lot of your comments relate to me it’s as if you personally targeted me in your comments

  4. I find it difficult to de-clutter but I can do it because I am detremined. The problem is my husband who does not want to throw even MY stuff away because of memories. He collects other people’s rubbish inside and outside the house and it is a nighmare getting rid of it because some of it is HEAVY. He is 70 and I am 68 years old. I really want to get our house in order.!!!

    1. As an antidote, just try thinking would you rather clear it out yourself or leave it for someone else to do when you’ve gone??? who would be far more ruthless probably!

  5. I HAVE kept my fathers bed, for sentimental reasons, but now think it should go It is a single, rise and recline, with a massage and wave massage. What should I do with it please?

    1. Put it on your local gumtree site as a freebie, but state that you will need it to be collected. Then, it can go to somenone who needs it.

    1. The idea Clive, is to deal with each of the boxes..not just look at them…1 goes in the bin, 2 to a needy friend/charity shop, 3 is put away…see?

  6. I take care of clothes, but sooner or later cuffs and collars get a bit thin and even frayed yet I hate waste and wonder what to do. So I store them. What do you do with old clothes which really are not up to charity shop standards?

    1. Marks and Spencers will take old clothes – they call it shwopping. Charity shops nearly all, will take stuff and get money for it from fabric recyclers – tell them your fabrics are not being offered for sale but for recycling.

  7. Have you thought about giving them to a local sewing group, as the old clothes would be very useful for quilting.

  8. H&M will take up to 2 carrier bags at a time of old clothes or in fact anything fabric and you’ll get a £5 H&M voucher in return.

  9. “There’s nothing wrong with buying within your means but it’s time to get rid of the old to accommodate the new.” This represents everything that is wrong with modern society. Instead of buying more and throwing stuff away lets all think about the damage this does to the environment and start reusing, repairing and recycling.

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