Well, that's it - Christmas festivities are once again over and we've already begun a bright, shiny new year. Hopefully you followed some of our tips last month for creating home decor pieces so your home isn't looking too bare after the baubles and tinsel came down?
Actually, while no one likes that stark look that Twelfth Night brings, a more common problem can be the exact opposite - too much clutter and piles of items with no place to call their own. Even if you're not a hoarder, this time of year can result in messy-looking rooms ... and if you are, you may be fearing you're about to disappear underneath it all!
Don't worry though - we're here to help with some top tips on making your home look neat again after the Christmas excess.
Why you really should de-clutter
Although you may not realise it, piles of possessions lying about the house can cause your stress and irritation levels to rise, plus the spaces won't appear as welcoming as they should if you can't see them for old magazines and mail.
Having a rid-out every so often helps us to regain a sense of control and calm, rather than having your wellbeing eaten away at. And of course, if you don't de-clutter, you'll have no room for new things like your Christmas presents that are still patiently sitting in their gift bags.
Don't attempt it all at once
However, it's not a good idea to make a complete blitz part of your resolutions for January because the chances are that the task will feel too daunting - and then you might want to stop.
Instead, set out a schedule for which rooms you want to tackle and in what order, then plan to make headway every couple of days (or even each week if you're really reluctant). Also, set a time limit for each session, even if it's just half an hour. This is enough time to make a dent in it, but won't be too off-putting to face like an entire afternoon would.
Be strict with yourself
Once you've started tidying, don't shuffle things around aimlessly; set up purposeful piles and decide on a destination for them. For instance, you could decide one is 'keep', the next is 'bin/recycle' and the final one is 'charity shop/sell'.
Make sure you actually get them to their final places too - if something is for keeping but needs moving, take it straight there, while things you intend to sell should be listed as soon as possible.
Time to get ruthless
It can be really tricky to get rid of possessions you've had for years, especially if they have happy memories associated with them, but this isn't the best way towards a de-cluttered home. When you come across something you struggle to decide on, try putting it in a box and then stashing it in the attic for a month.
At the end of the month, you can take the items out of the box. If you haven't missed them and even forgot they were there, it's time to part company.
Set up a memory box
A common problem with the possessions you rescue from the box in the tip above is that while you might love them, they possibly haven't got a home or a firm use - like concert ticket stubs or brochures for trips you've been on, for example.
If things like this are regularly cluttering up your kitchen table, try buying or making a nice storage box that you can use like a time capsule for happy memories, but that can be put away neatly in a cupboard too.
Keep on top of things
After you've done all this, you don't want to slip back into bad habits again, so keep on top of clutter by getting super-organised. Set up an in-tray for your post and file it away within a week, and take magazines to the recycling bin regularly - you can always cut out articles you think might be useful in future for a clippings folder.
This will ensure you haven't got such a big task by the time spring cleaning comes around.
And finally ... relax in your new space
Everyone is prone to thinking their home will be perfect in a mythical future when all jobs are done and there's time to spruce up the decor - but now you've got rid of your clutter, you can take steps to turn your dream into a reality.
Try adding a fresh new lick of white paint to the living room and placing some scatter cushions in your favourite chair. You could even invest in some of our crisp white candles for your table - how about Citrus & Lavender for added relaxation?
Once everything is tidy and your possessions all have places, you should have a much clearer mind - and you can take advantage of that by putting your feet up for a while.