Kirstie Allsopp reveals 4 tips for a less cluttered home on a budget

On a recent episode of Love It Or List It, the property guru had some great tips for curbing clutter chaos without extending.

Kirstie Allsopp has an uncanny knack for envisaging what a space could be. The latest proof? A recent episode of Love It Or List It, when she helped a Cheshire family free their home from clutter – without extending or knocking down walls.

The open-plan kitchen was piled with laundry and the lone family space was brimming with gaming and photography equipment. Meanwhile, a wardrobe in one of the children’s rooms housed clothes from all four family members.

Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp presenting Love It Or List ItCredit: Channel 4
Kirstie Allsopp was on a mission to improve a Cheshire family’s storage, so that they would ‘love’, not ‘list’ their home

Kirstie’s solution? Skip the costly renovations and instead hold a decluttering clinic, then get the carpenters in. The house she said, was mainly in need of: “a bit of imagination, some decent carpentry and a lick of paint.” Here’s what Kirstie prescribed…


1. Turn your box room into a walk-in wardrobe

If you don’t have a box room, look to other spaces

Credit: Shutterstock / mariakray

With the couple’s daughter happy to use the hardtoaccess 15sqm loft space as her bedroom, this freed up her old box room to be converted into a dedicated dressing room.  

The couple trimmed down their clothing and invested in flat pack furniture to neatly store their clothes in the converted box room. A dressing table that was previously stored in the main bedroom was moved to the newly designed walk-in wardrobe. 

“If you’ve got a spare bedroom”, stressed Kirstie, “turning it into a giant cupboard can really release the pressure on other parts of the house.” 

Don’t have a box room to convert into dedicated storage? You can move your dressing table (or another piece of furniture that needs to be re-positioned) to a landing. Airing cupboard sitting empty? Convert it to squeeze out every inch of storage in your home.

2. Scale down your furniture

Do you really need a king-size bed?

Back In Action bedCredit: Back In Action

Downsizing your bed is an unusual tip for decluttering but Kirstie expertly guided the couple to swap their super king size bed for a double to make their sleeping space more spacious and airy – and to help make way for a desperately needed bigger wardrobe. 

There are some other furniture tricks to make a small bedroom look bigger. Try mirrors on the back or front of wardrobe doors and consider an ottoman bed with extra storage.

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3. Commission a carpenter to build furniture

Save money with paintable MDF

Credit: Shutterstock / FotoHelin

Custom carpentry might sound like an extravagance – especially when a house is potentially going on the market. But Kirstie really impressed by showing how thinking outside the flat-pack box can make a huge impact on your financial bottom line.

Instead of spending big on an extension, the couple brought in carpenters to squeeze every inch of storage potential out of overloaded rooms. their bespoke storage additions includes a custom coat cupboard in the hall and media room storage.

“Carpenters have kept costs down by using MDF which can be painted to work with the colour scheme of the room,” said Kirstie.

And the highlight of the show? Watching the homeowner’s jaw drop when Kirstie explained that the valuers had been round and that the new storage had added £10,000 to the value of the house. “What sells, said Kirstie, “is something that looks sharp – and this house does.

The joy of getting a carpenter to create bespoke furniture is that you make the most of space. For the £530 invested on ceiling height storage on either side of their chimney breast, and a lick of paint, the couple were able to radically declutter their hardworking sitting room. 

One key aesthetic note that was hit spot on was painting both the ceiling height storage and walls the same deep shade of blue. This visual unity might not add inches to the actual storage space but creates a visual unity that adds to the ‘decluttered’ feel of any room. 

4. Have a good declutter

Buy or borrow an open rail to help you edit

Credit: Shutterstock / Olena Serzhanova

Now you have all this fantastic new storage, don’t make the mistake with cramming it full. Kirstie opened her ‘decluttering clinic’ to suggest a sensible way to sort through clothes.  

She brought in an 80 cm open rail, which Sarah could fill three times (as much as would reasonably fit into the new walk-in wardrobe). The rest of the clothing (and clutter), loved or not, had to go.  

“The key here is to be ruthless,” said Kirstie. “If you love something but never actually use it, let it go. Everything that isn’t suitable for the charity shops can go to fabric recycling, so nothing is wasted.” 

Saga Exceptional homes writer, Sarah Harley, understands the clothes storage conundrum: “I’ll quite often think I’ll wear something for years, but when I look again, it’s surprising how much you can change your mind in a short space of time.” She suggests being ruthless about storage. “Before you switch winter woolies for summer tops, for example, check again that what you’ve packed away is really what you’ll wear next season, otherwise, get rid of it.”


Does better storage really add value?

We asked an estate agent

We spoke to Robert Green, director of the Chelsea Green branch of John D Wood estate agents, for his take on the value good storage can add to a home.

He said: “Storage is an essential part of everyone’s day-to-day life. The amount we need depends on the purpose of a home, and the type of occupier. Luxury spaces like his-and-hers dressing rooms are particularly special to some. Whilst those who love reading may well find quality book shelving more important to them. Holiday homes require much less storage, whilst a family home can never have too much built in storage as scooters, pushchairs, golf clubs, toys and suitcases all compete for space.

“Building bespoke storage into a property generally allows many more of the more awkward spaces in a home to be of value. It requires careful thought, and can be expensive, but it certainly improves the saleability and will increase what a buyer is prepared to pay for a property. Cupboards and drawers are often touch points and can reinforce a feeling of quality when premium materials and fittings are used. This further helps secure the best possible price for a home.”

Want to see more of this and other upcoming Love It Or List It projects? You can watch the episode in full on Channel 4 – sign up is free. 


Written by Joy Archer she/her