Kitchen Staging – Clutter Clearing Series

I can’t deny that I’m not a happy hoarder, but I’m also a neat freak, which is a rare combination as usually never the twain shall meet! After years of strategy I feel I’ve managed create systems for merging my ever expanding collection of stylist props and flea market finds, with looking streamlined and minimal.

The key is to keep items easily accessible and ordered whilst stored.  Cardboard boxes collecting dust in the loft just won’t do.  If you want to store your treasures invest in clear plastic containers of appropriate size and label before storing, or even better make an inventory,  this way you can see immediately what’s inside without having to tear open dozens of boxes.  A professional label maker is one of the most useful organising products i’ve ever come across, they cost around £18.00 on Amazon and are well worth the investment.

Clutter clearing is a big challenge and takes a lot of time and energy, which is why a lot of people avoid it!  But once organised life is just so much easier, you will love your cupboards and feel so much more relaxed at home.  When putting a house up for sale or rent a visual sense of clarity in the interior is essential, other peoples clutter is very off putting to potential buyers. In this series I’ll be giving you room by room tips on how to organise, stage and just to enjoy the bliss to tidiness.

First port of call is the kitchen, as this area tends to be one of heavy traffic and activity.  Worktops and shelves get stacked with jars and cooking paraphernalia, which is certainly going to clash with the fashion for open shelving in kitchen design, making the need to be stylish in your storage even more important!

Here are some of my top tips for kitchen tidying:

Store herbs, spices and pasta or rice in attractive jars on open shelves.  Ikea and Tiger do some fanatic ones starting from around £2.50 (the ones in the images below are from Ikea) keep to one size and style to maintain a balanced look.

Cookies and fruit also look great in large glass pots or bowls.  When staging a kitchen I group single fruits together for striking effect.  Go for brightly coloured fruits which last a good while, like limes or shiny red apples.

Buy oils in attractive jars and display beside your cooker. Functional and stylish.

Make sure the inside of the cupboards are tidy and clean.  Buy cheaper pots to decant and stack up cooking products, like nuts and flour, again Ikea do some very inexpensive plastic stacking pots – just don’t for get to label! If you don’t have the time or inclination for this then make sure that at the very least the inside of the cupboard is super clean and that food items are grouped attractively, such as all your cereals together and tins stacked.  Stay on top of your use by dates by having a monthly cupboard check through.

For loose items that are hard to categorise try putting these into plastic baskets inside the cupboard, label up so you know what’s inside.  This stops smaller items cluttering up the cupboard or falling out when you open the door.

Give the kitchen a really deep clean before putting your home on the market, a professional oven cleaning service will make sure that all those off-putting smells and grease stains are whisked away.  Also give the sink and drain a thorough unblock to get rid of any nasty smells, use either caustic soda or a specialised product like Mr Muscle Drain Foamer.  This also goes for the fridge, add a fridge deodorizer to keep food smells at bay, and don’t buy really ripe cheeses or garlicy products  if you think that viewers will be coming over.  In a small London kitchen just one waft from opening a fridge door can over power the room.

Generally clear worktops of unnecssary clutter, but don’t be overly harsh and put absolutely everything out of sight, as this can look unwelcoming and cold.  A few choice cook books and nicely curated utensils bring a room to life and give a stylish ‘lived in look’. A retro Dualit toaster or funky coffee machine adds to a kitchen design, but if you have a rather burnt looking toaster and scaly kettle either invest in new ones or hide in the cupboard.

Lastly make sure the draining board is always cleared.  Try rinsing and stacking your used plates/cups straight in the dishwasher or wash and put away immediately after use.  I tend not to add draining baskets to kitchen worktops as they are just asking to get stacked up with drying dishes.  Try putting your one away under the sink straight after washing up, this discourages the creation of messy drying plate stacks.

After taking these steps your kitchen should be looking showroom ready.  This featured property quickly received an offer after I had staged their kitchen.

Happy spring cleaning!

For more inspiring design and home staging tips see my blog www.clairebloom.com/blog  or contact me at claire@clairebloom.com if you would like advice on staging your property.

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