A cluttered home is a cluttered mind. With a ‘New Year, new start’ mentality, break your ‘decluttering mission’ into bite-sized chunks and focus on one project at a time – whether it’s your garden shed or your sock drawer. The kitchen is always a good place to start; go through your kitchen cabinets and be ruthless, organise your Tupperware, establish an efficient recycling centre, and soon you’ll find those things that were getting on your nerves are now in the past. It’s also much easier to keep on top of once you have everything in order. Donna Smallin offers some useful advice on decluttering, including how to handle filing and junk mail, and her tips are geared towards starting small and working up.
Redecorate the kitchen
The kitchen is increasingly viewed as the ‘hub of the home’, where everyone gathers to cook, eat and chat – so why not give it the attention it deserves in 2015? Inject your own personality into your kitchen with anything from a statement feature, such as a painted shelving unit, to an old iron rake attached to the wall and used as a wine glass holder (yes, really!). Depending on your style, it’s always a good idea to refer to a book as a guide. Like the shabby-chic vibe? Kitchenalia is full of advice on how to kit out your kitchen in a unique way by using flea markets and antique fairs for sourcing. Prefer something more stylised and designer-looking? My Cool Kitchen is full of inspiration, based on colour schemes and textures that “make you feel happy”.
Re-design your garden
Start your garden project now and ensure your outdoor space is looking tip-top for those barbecues you’ll be having in April (fingers crossed!). Whether you’re making the most of your urban rooftop, cottage garden or patio area, there are plenty of projects to undertake. Always dreamt of tending to your own vegetable patch? Make that a reality in 2015! The New Vegetable & Herb Expert has got some interesting tips on growing the more unusual varieties – from white beetroots to round cucumbers. If you’re thinking of a complete re-design, make sure you have a clear image in mind before starting and follow a step-by-step guideline. The Garden Design Bible is a good reference.
Revamp tired furniture
Once you get an eye for picking up inexpensive furniture and revamping it, there’ll be no stopping you! A cheap but ornate mirror from the local market can be transformed for next to nothing; simply paint the frame in a shade to suit your colour scheme, and then coat the glass with chalkboard paint. Similarly, furniture such as coffee tables, chairs and trunks can be sanded down, painted and given a whole new lease of life. For a real rustic-chic look, sand it down again after you’ve painted it. Upcycling is the new buzzword in the home improvement world, and Annie Sloan is a master when it comes to knowing about style and colour fusions, as well as paint techniques.
Was the last time you embarked on a woodwork project at school? Even if you’ve never picked up a power tool, don’t panic. There are plenty of projects out there to suit all levels, giving you the knowledge you need to create one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or garden. From rustic wooden clocks to bookcases, the options are endless. There’s advice on intricate carving, different woods and tools in Woodwork: A Step-by-Step Photographic Guide, but for projects using pallet wood, the 35 creative upcycling ideas in Karah Bunde’s latest book are well worth a try.
Do you have any up-coming projects you plan on tackling in the New Year? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.