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Staff Prabatani, founder of Storemates.co.uk - the ethical storage sharing site, shares his tips on how to prepare your home for a swap. Let's face it, whether big or bijou, most homes on Love Home Swap are enviably gorgeous, but the ones that really...

Staff Prabatani, founder of Storemates.co.uk - the ethical storage sharing site, shares his tips on how to prepare your home for a swap.

Let's face it, whether big or bijou, most homes on Love Home Swap are enviably gorgeous, but the ones that really stand out have one thing in common - they are completely clutter free. They look homely, spacious, and serene without seeming soulless. After taking the plunge and signing up to this great site, I asked myself; "How do I transform my very 'lived in' family home to one of fabulous five star desirability."

1. Take a before and after photo

If you take a few pictures of your humble abode as it is right now from the angles you are likely to use on your profile listing you'll soon start to see your home through the eyes of your viewer. Be warned this can be a scary experience, especially if you have children. All those curious and misplaced objects will pop up on your camera screen like screaming sore thumbs. That's clutter.

2. Declutter one room at a time

Once you decide to declutter, tackle one room at a time and don't flit around from one room to another as you will soon turn your whole house upside down and the task will feel impossible. It will take focus and some determination!

3. Three piles to happiness.

Apparently over a year you do not use, wear or look at over 30% of your households items. This should be telling you something. Create 3 piles:

Stuff you will definitely keep. Indispensable items you can't live without! Things to get rid of: If you have not used these items for a year than you probably never will so 'get rid' as they are taking up valuable space in your home. Offer things for free on Freecycle (www.uk.freecycle.org or www.ilovefreegle.org) or donate items in good condition to your local charity shop maybe make some money selling the best of your unwanted goods on eBay! Maybe items: Pack away in a box with a label and date on them and store them away somewhere. If after 6 months you have not thought about them then get rid! 4. Put things in their place

A big clutter feeder is items that find themselves in the wrong places in your home because they have been temporarily 'put there'. The rule here is be logical and store like-for-like items together.

5. Consider Storage

Finally once you have sifted through everything and decided what you will keep, you will uncover a large number of belongings that you need but only have a seasonal use for (e.g Christmas decorations). If you don't want to spend the cripplingly expensive costs of self-storage, you can use the cheaper, greener community alternative to self storage, Storemates.co.uk.

The concept of Storemates is simple, you can store your stuff away with people locally who have extra space in their home. The site is free to use and more than 50% cheaper than commercial sites, Storemates provides a contract and puts in place safeguards to protect both parties and their belongings. It also has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly as only existing space is used, and you can meet new neighbours too! If you decide to go for a home swap, temporarily storing away many of the unwanted household items cluttering up the living space for your guests is a convenient solution. For more information about decluttering or Storing visit www.storemates.co.uk You can view Shaff's decluttered home on Love Home Swap here: https://www.lovehomeswap.com/home-exchange/united-kingdom/london-charming-victorian-period-house

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