Property of the Month and Lucy Alexander’s top tips for your home this New Year

PUBLISHED: 16:09 22 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:21 22 January 2014

Toller House. Credit: Jon Gooding

Toller House. Credit: Jon Gooding

Copyright 2009 Jon Gooding

February to June is the optimum time to sell a house. Now is the time to de-clutter so your home looks its best when it goes on the market

Property of the month - Toller House, Toller Porcorum

Toller House is an elegant six bedroom Regency property that comes with a separate four bedroom cottage situated with its gated grounds. Located in the heart of the village and set amongst the Dorset Wildlife’s Kingcombe Centre this former vicarage is surrounded by protected wildflower meadows and is in an Area of Outstanding Naturual Beauty.

Inside the property has well proportioned rooms with lofty ceilings and large sash windows which let the light flood in. The kitchen/breakfast room, with polished flagstone floor, features a large four oven AGA at one end and raised fireplace at the other; with room for dining table, sofas and chairs this spacious area makes a great family room in the heart of the house. A snug room, just off the kitchen, offers an area for a TV or play room. Also on the ground floor is a study and drawing/formal dining room with fireplaces at both ends.

The entrance hall provides access to the cellar and cloakroom, and an elegant staircase leads up to the first and second floors. The first floor accommodates the en-suite master bedroom and two further double bedrooms. The top floor comprises three further bedrooms and family bathroom. There are gardens front and back with driveway and ample parking.

Stable Cottage: This four bedroom cottage in the grounds of Toller House offers separate ancillary accommodation and features a cosy sitting room with working fire, kitchen/dining room and family bathroom. It has separate access via its own drive.

Guide Price: £800,000

Agent: Bartle Pye, Dorchester 01305 230477 (

Lucy Alexander’s top tips

Every January when I take down the Christmas tree my attention turns to tidying my home and I become determined to start the New Year as I mean to go on. Perhaps you have made a similar resolution to keep your house spic and span, or decided that 2014 is the year to sell? Whichever it is, now is certainly a good time to de-clutter your home. Also, if you are thinking of making a move this year, property tends to sells best from February through to June*, so any home improvements you make now will boost your chances of selling this spring.

Set time aside

Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t expect to de-clutter your home in such a short amount of time either. The key to creating a clearer space is to set aside some dedicated tidying time and tackle each room individually. If you flit between rooms, the net result is likely to be even great chaos than when you started. Begin with the smallest room first and see how long it takes - this is will give a good indication of how much time bigger rooms will need.

Store and record

Our homes are full of things which are specific to a season or event so we don’t need to access them on a daily basis. Ski wear, spare bedding and even our summer and winter clothes can all be packed away in dust proof vacuum pack bags and stored out of sight. A property having sufficient storage is a key consideration for potential buyers so if everything has a place the lasting impression will be that your home has plenty of space.

Labelling your boxes and bags will also make it much simpler to find something when you do need it again. Or, make a list of your items and where they are stored. In fact, why not do this online. Interestingly, many insurers now require homeowners to have a comprehensive list of their contents and some online inventory tools, such as the one found at, can make this task quick and easy.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Depending on your personality, you may find throwing things out very therapeutic or it could be traumatic! If your tendency is to hoard then perhaps think about up-cycling items to create something on-trend - there are some great ideas at For anything that you do decide to discard, remember that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, so use recycling organisations such as or local charity shops to re-distribute your belongings. If you feel something has real value it’s worth putting it up for sale on eBay or, if you don’t mind paying a commission, an even easier option is using websites such as; or

Unfortunately things are likely to get messier before they get tidier but the good news is that in the end your home will be a more enjoyable place to live and will be far more attractive to potential buyers.

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