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A waste of space

Wednesday 28th August 2013

Britons collectively spend around £246 million annually renting external storage space, yet research shows that UK homeowners do not use up to 30% of their existing space effectively.

Britons who are squeezed for space are shelling out £246 million a year on self-storage units and companies, a new study by IKEA reveals.

A sixth of all UK householders are spending on average £35 a year each on extra storage facilities, according to the home furnishings retailer.

Men typically spend £43 each, whereas women pay out £27 a year trying to find a place for all their furniture and belongings. Londoners were found to be by far the biggest storage spenders coughing up £49 a year to stow their stuff. Residents in the south west spent the least, at £24 per person.

The UK has the smallest homes in Western Europe with an average living space of just 85 square metres. The nation’s lack of square metres is compounded by poor spatial skills with almost half the population (46%) claiming they have trouble visualising the space and room they do have available.

Despite spending on extra storage, people readily admit they aren’t using the space they do have at home effectively enough. Britons polled by IKEA say they regularly do not use 30% of their homes.

The areas most likely to go unused in a typical British home are in the loft (38%), under the stairs (13%), in the eaves (10%), in the hallways (9%) and on the landings (9%).

Howard Carter, Sales Business Leader, IKEA UK and Ireland said: “Soaring land prices and growing families means that it’s becoming a tight squeeze for many people at home.

“That said, sometimes people can be a bit too quick to rush out and hire additional storage. Families could be wasting millions each year simply because they don’t have great spatial awareness skills and don’t always know how to make the most of the space that they have.”

Naomi Cleaver, Interior Designer & Television Presenter, commented: “When it comes to maximising the space in which we live, as a nation we seem to lack a proper understanding of size and how best to use it. By thinking carefully about the room, combined with some smart furniture choices and off the floor storage options, people can quickly utilise areas of ‘dead space’, rather than spending their hard earned cash on needless outside storage.”

Top 10 Tips for Keeping Order at Home, according to Houseology.ie

1. Establish your bottom line, the level of disorder you can live with. There may be a different bottom line for the core family, for visitors and for special occasions. Do not be seduced by picture-perfect magazine images…these interiors have been painstakingly styled and de-cluttered just for the occasion.

2. Put some thought into your default furniture arrangements. The harmony this generates is tangible. Plus everything will have a known “home” to return to when it’s out of place.

3. Take time to evaluate and address your storage needs periodically. This may need to happen several times a year in a family home. Again, everything will have a known place to return to.

4. Every few months, spend some time putting open shelves in order. This applies especially to bookshelves which can look really awful when messy.

5. Each time you leave your living spaces – when going to bed at night or going out during the day – remind yourself that what you leave is what you will return to. So take a few minutes to address those simple things that would drive you mad on your return – push those chairs into the table, put the laundry away, straighten those blinds.

6. Encourage participation from children from the start to encourage good habits. As they grow, strike a balance between nagging and doing what’s necessary yourself to keep your own sanity. Remember your bottom line.

7. Establish a cleaning routine and stick to it. I waver between doing it all on one day and spreading it out over the week. In reality, all in one day is great as your home is done, dusted and restored to order every seven days.

8. Relieve the grind of this routine by using natural cleaning products. Housework becomes aromatherapy and the house smells great.

9. We live in an electronic age but paperwork still seems to pile up. Arrange 2 A4 folders or boxes, one marked “pending” and the other “filing”. Those piles of paper will be eliminated and you will know where to find things when needed.

10. And always…tidy as you go. Your Mother was right.

              

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