Home Front: Making a clean sweep

Black bin bags at the ready. This weekend is the time to tackle all household festive leftovers

This weekend heralds the busiest time in the clutter-clearing calendar, when homeowners who didn't get their act together to do a pre-Christmas clear-out reach peak stuff, says Brian Redmond, director at M50 Skip Hire.

"This weekend they are filling skips, usually a 6-cubic-yard-size one, €275 for three days' hire, with stuff from Christmases past, kids' old bicycles and plastic toys to make way for the 2018 gifts that Santa delivered." This weekend is when his customers get what he calls Clean Sweep Syndrome.

Packaging from gifts, missed bin collections because you stayed in bed instead, and Christmas trees that still haven't made it to recycling, are enough to give people the final push that's needed to tidy up. "During this period, website traffic at Mr Binman spikes by 10 per cent," says Joe Cleary, sales and marketing director at the firm.

Marie Kondo's influence is apparent too. Since the January 1st airing of Tidying Up, her new Netflix show, Olive Donovan of The Organised Store in Dundrum Town Centre has seen sales in clear lidded storage boxes soar. Kondo advocates them because you can see what's in them at a glance and they keep dust mites out. Sales of drawer organisers, the horizontal shallow kind that you can put jewellery, ties or underwear into and spring-loaded vertical options that work better for bulkier garments have similarly increased.

Arabella Paige of Clear Move, a new company offering a house clearance service, along with prepping homes for sale, has some good eco steers for those who don't want to dump their no-longer loved goods, those who would prefer to find it a new home.

She suggests donating blankets and sheets to Dogs Trust where they are used for bedding, and contacting charities, like NCBI, Ireland's sight loss agency, that come and collect bigger items of furniture, a service that is available in Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow and Wexford. Anything else can either be sold or given away for free on sites like Adverts or DoneDeal, suggests Paige.

Unwanted gifts, such as unopened cosmetics, stationery, bric-a-brac, and men and women's clothes still sporting their labels, could go to Oxfam's 50 shops on the island of Ireland, says Alice Dawson-Lyons, head of communications at Oxfam.

And when you can finally see the floor in every room in your house again, will the deep clean deliver the kind of spiritual-enlightening joy that Kondo talks about? You won’t know unless you try but if you do and think you can then bask in a sense of satisfaction and continue living as norm, then think again. The next diary date for neat freaks is February 15th, the first day of spring clean season, which lasts until mid-March, says Cleary.

m50skiphire.ie; mrbinman.com; organisedstore.ie; oxfamireland.org; clearmove.ie; ncbi.ie; dogstrust.ie


Celebrate the new year with a new set of bedlinen at a very good price. White & Green, an Irish company that specialises in high quality, Fair Trade organic cotton bedlinen, is offering a January deal on its signature branded cotton sheet sets and waffle bedspreads. Its Five Star Bedroom Transformation deal includes a duvet set with pillow cases, any size; two extra pillow cases; a waffle bedspread in white or grey; two candles and free shipping, for a total of €279, a 46 per cent discount on the normal price of €513.


Online retailer Buy It Direct is offering discounts on a wide range of furniture through the month of January. The company, which was established in 1999 with a single shop in Huddersfield, has grown to become one of the biggest online operators in the UK and Ireland, offering a vast range of household items from contemporary and classic furniture to white goods and home computers.

We like the clean lines of its sculptural child’s bed, which just needs a blanket or two draped over it to transform it into a secret den, a tent or a stage for impromptu performances. It costs about €283.

Meanwhile, for grown-ups Flanagan Kerrins is offering some good deals on mattresses with free delivery and free disposal of an old mattress as an extra incentive. Deals include a Kingkoil/Kaymed 5’ Nectus Kool foam mattress reduced from €1,395 to €695 with luxurious 100 per cent cotton and microfibre Kingkoil king size duvets reduced from €125 to €69.



A timber cabin in arctic Norway is just one of the many architect-designed holiday homes listed in the latest edition of Holiday Architecture 2019 and all available to rent this year. Published by Urlaubs Architektur, a website that lists holiday homes and hotels across Europe, Holiday Architecture explores more than 30 vacation properties including one Irish entry, the uber cool Breac House retreat in Donegal.

Several of the homes are in remote locations like this cabin on stilts located on a small island in the Arctic archipelago of Fleinvær, where guests are invited to swap their busy lives for a period of “silence, inspiration, and absolute, honest encounters with nature”. It’s one of 10 holiday cabins in the same style which all feature simple interiors with luxury touches.