Need help with decluttering pre-Christmas? Then step this way

Many people talk about a spring clean, but I think Autumn is the perfect time to have a declutter. Think about it, you want the house to look spick and span before you start to think about Christmas, the tree, the decorations and all the other trimmings, especially as you may be entertaining more visitors than usual (and I’m not just talking about the one with the red suit.) Plus, with the expectation of new clothes, or all those toys to put away, you may well need to think about either having a huge sort out to make some extra space in your home.

Before you get on to the sorting, you first of all need to get rid of as much rubbish as you can. You may find you have a lot more stuff that needs removing so you might need to find a dumpster rental company near you to take it away, or, at the very least hire a skip.

If you are having a bit of a dilemma about where to put all that stuff, I have a few solutions that may just help you to sort and tidy.

1. Donate to a Charity

Anyone who read my #Charityshopchallenge post knows that I am a big fan of Charity shops, both for buying from, and for donating. With Salvation Army running their charity shop challenge, and many other notable causes asking for donations in the run up to Christmas, this is a great way to clear out some of the clutter, and do a good deed too.


2. Small storage solutions

If your space is really at a premium, then you may need to look at making use of areas that can be better organised. Under bed storage is great for toys, and by organising them neatly, it may even create more space. Plastic tubs can also be stacked neatly for Lego, building bricks and Playmobil toys. The Plastic Box Shop has lots of these smaller storage solutions for you to match to your needs.


3. Built in solutions

If you have a little more space, then Ikea may be your best port of call. Under stairs storage ideas, and built in wardrobes with different sorts of integrated storage are great if you have both space, and a little extra budget to play with. I love that you can add trays for jewellery, and cage drawers that are perfect for knitwear, to your wardrobes and units.  Argos also has some good ideas for under stairs storage units, including the one pictured below.



4. Add a mezzanine.

This is a solution we have been looking into, as it works really well in Victorian houses with high ceilings. A mezzanine adds an extra layer of flooring within a room, whether it be a bedroom, attic or even a split layer living room. This is often a solution used in industrial spaces, with Warehouse Storage Solutions providing some great examples, but this is a fabulous architectural idea that can be pretty much applied to any space, and can look totally amazing too.


How will you be decluttering and freeing up that precious space this year?


Charity Shop Shopping Haul

Sometimes a shopping haul can be a trip to a shopping centre or a department store. Sometimes in can be a night of filing an online shopping bag full of items, in many cases not actually reaching the checkout. And sometimes it can mean a trip to a local town with a good selection of charity shops, where you find lots of bargains that range from designer, to good quality High Street, and a bit of vintage thrown in for good measure, and you end up spending less than £25.

This is one of those occasions. A morning away from the computer, making the most of a touch of Indian Summer sun, taking a trip around the decent charity shops of Cannock.

Here are the things I picked up.

Ralph Lauren  Top

This boho, slightly country style top by Ralph Lauren is made to be worn with a pair of skinny jeans and a thick Arran knit cardi. Add some brown or tan ankle boots and this is just a bargain for less than £4.

Wouldn’t wear it with this skirt (obs) but a good fit.

Barbara Hulanicki Top

Barbara Hulanicki or Biba fame did a couple of collections under her own name with George at Asda. This is not the sort of thing I usually pick up in charity shops as it is a low cost item to start with, but mass produced items are often tomorrows sought after labels as they tend to be less looked after, and more often are thrown away. Plus I love the fact it has tiny shoulder pads in to give it a slight 1940s shape, and for £3.50…

Jacques Vert Dress

I think this is just gorgeous, a sort of cross between a 1950s style and something more va va voom. It is a little on the tight side across the bust, so I would avoid wearing it if I was going for a food blow out, but it will be perfect for the theatre, and I actually love it teamed with gold shoes.

Gok Wan top

I’m guessing I wouldn’t have got this top if I hadn’t been wearing this nude skirt, but I loved how well it matched up. Plus it was the cheapest item of the day, costing a grand total of £1.49.

Collection Dress

I think this is a Debenhams label, and this is a clear indicator of why you should always try things on. This dress looks nothing on the hanger, but I loved the cut and fit once I tried it on. It was £4.99 and I think I will wear it loads.

And a bit of M&S St Michael Vintage

I love a bit of 1960s vintage, and St Michael is always a label I look out for, as Marks and Spencer has always been a sign of quality. This dress/pinafore should have a belt, but that is easy to replace, and I love the neckline and the colour. A 1960s piece for £3 is such a great find.

Have you picked up any charity shop bargains lately?

*This post is dedicated to Hazel Wilkins-Brookes, a lovely lady who loved fashion and loved a bargain.

Charity Shop Haul – My Recent Bargains

I love clothes and I love shopping. That’s no secret. But if I was to spend all my time shopping on the High Street or online, I would quite frankly need to remortgage my home.  Which is why so much of my shopping time is spent visiting charity shops in market towns, the sort of places where you can pick up great bargains and unusual pieces when you are on a strict budget.

I love charity shops, the idea that you can find something that has been preloved and give it a new lease of life. Charity shops serve a great cause in raising money that is much needed, and also work well in recycling clothes that could otherwise go to landfill, hence helping the environment too. They can also be the cheapest option when searching for vintage clothing, definitely cheaper than dedicated vintage shops or ebay.

Charity shops can also be hiding designer bargains too. Recently I have found pieces from Louboutin, Vivienne Westwood, Dries Van Noten and Calvin Klein – all for under £25.

Here are some of my most recent charity shop finds, along with a few more tips on what to look for if you are charity shop shopping.

Look for classic shapes and prints

Animal prints, stripes and polka dots or plain, block colours, all these are perennials that never really go out of fashion and are worth picking up. In a similar way, a shift style dress is always a winner, with 1960s shift shapes like the striped M&Co dress below being a great option for dressing up or down.

F&F Dress £4.49 from BHF

M&Co Dress £4.50 Katherine’s House Hospice Shop

Kaleidoscope dress £5.99 Acorns Hospice Shop

Look for Vintage

Vintage is so much cheaper if you can pick it up in a charity shop, and there are some brilliant finds out there. 1970s and 1980s labels are the easiest to find, but you may pick up something earlier, like the 1960s yellow dress that I snapped up for £6.99.

1980s dress £4.99 BHF

1970s print skirt £3 and Hobbs shell top £3.99 Katherine House

Tea Dress 1970s £3 Salvation Army Shop

1960s dress £6.99 Giles Hospice shop

1960s suit £4 Save the Children

1980s jacket Giles Hospice shop

1960s dress £4 Fresh Fields

Look for Designer and Quality Labels

Charity shops are not just about ‘old clothes’ and High Street Labels, you can also find premium High Street labels and Designer labels – you just need to look!

Hobbs Dress £2.50 Severn Hospice


Louboutins Pigalle £25 Age Concern

Dries Van Noten dress £8.99 Giles Hospice


Have you found any good bargains in charity shops lately?

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