In her bestselling guide Hinch Yourself Happy, Sophie Hinchliffe took readers through her step-by-step process of cleaning and decluttering trunks, pesky papers and the dreaded garage.
The cleaning guru began: “My understairs cupboard is one of those places that just seems to fill up with ‘stuff’.
“Honestly, I’ll open it one day and it looks pretty tidy, and then the next day it’s shocking. It’s like little elves have been in there and moved stuff around and made it messier.”
For readers who also have a “Harry Potter cupboard”, these tips are for you.
Sometimes the only solution for under the stairs is a “real blitz”, which involves pulling everything out and starting again.
Mrs Hinch said: “I’ll put things into a giant pile and then separate it out into ‘junk’ and ‘good’. The junk goes to the charity shop or bin and the good goes back in.
“But not before I’ve cleaned it out fully and given it a good going-over with [cordless stick vacuum] Sharon the Shark.”
To keep things orderly under the stairs, Mrs Hinch added key hooks, a broom holder and some baskets.
She “even hung up a few pics – it has never looked better”.
Moving on to the “junk trunk”, Mrs Hinch admitted that her ottoman used to “terrify” her whenever she looked in it.
“While it may be beautiful on the outside, inside it was a horror show.”
She shared her secret to getting it under control: “I found three baskets that sit inside it perfectly and in those baskets live 1) my wax melts collection, 2) stationary and Sellotape, and 3) leads, cables and chargers.
“Now I have it down to a T!”
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As for her garage, Mrs Hinch is “all about the storage”, and advised readers that any decor that doesn’t go in the house can be relocated to the garage rather than chucked out.
“I got a chest of drawers that I got really good use out of and I didn’t want to throw it out, so I popped it in there and [my husband] Jamie keeps his tools in one drawer and car cleaning equipment in another.”
She continued: “Your garage is an extension of your home so treat it nicely.
“I’ve even got pictures up on the wall. It doesn’t have to be a cold, unhappy place. Cheer your garage up with some nice things.”
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A top tip for cyclists: “I’ve got bike racks on the wall. They’re incredible because bikes take up a massive amount of room, so racks get them up and out of the way.”
Loose pieces of paper plague the best of us, and Mrs Hinch’s advice to curtail this problem is to simply “box it all up – it’s that simple”.
“Papers are so annoying because they generally end up all over the place and you can never find what you need when you need it. This is another top tip I picked up from my mum when I was growing up.”
All this “hassle-free” method requires is an A4 box and a plastic wallet for receipts.
“Every six months, Jamie and I will go through that box and shred anything we don’t need to keep. I love using the shredder so much, it’s the best. It cost me around £20, from eBay of course.”