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Protected: Clutter Checklist Day 3 – Clothes

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Protected: Day 1 Clutter Checklist – Drawers

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Clutter Death 5 – Places to get rid of clutter

Easy ways to get rid of clutter:

Freecycle – http://uk.freecycle.org

A worldwide network of people who give things away to people who collect them. Great for big things (like Pianos!) and for boxes of random crap for other people to take to a car boot sale. You need to find your local Freecycle group and join it, then you just post what you want to get rid of.

Freegle http://www.ilovefreegle.org/

There are 1,462,341 Freegle members in 383 reuse groups all over the UK. It works the same way as Freecycle but in some areas is more active, which is important when you are getting rid of stuff.

GumTree – www.gumtree.com

Has a free to collector section and is free to list.

Recycling – www.recyclenow.com

The Recycle Now website has a handy way of finding out what you can recycle in your recycling box and what your local tip will take.

Scrap Metal Collectors

If you Google ‘scrap metal collector in (wherever you are) there will be a whole bunch of people who will collect your stuff for nothing, then make money on it by weighing it in.

If you prefer to keep the money yourself, but have the hassle of taking it to be weighed in Google ‘sell scrap metal’ and your location.

Leave it somewhere with ‘free to good home’ note attached

This works for me nearly every time. I just leave things on the wall at the front of my garden. I don’t live in a very nice part of town but things so far have not been trashed, just taken.

books

Local Councils Bulky Item Collection

This is usually free if you are on the right sort of benefits, or there is a small charge. They will generally collect anything that 2 men can pick up.

Charity Bags

This is easy as you just leave the full bag outside your house but be aware that the majority of the money made by selling these clothes will not go to a charity. The clothes you donate are sorted into sellable and recycling and then sold on to other companies to make money out of. The collectors pay so much to the partner charity per ton collected.

www.charitybags.org.uk says “Taking your unwanted clothes etc to a charity shop raises around 50 times more  money for charity compared with giving your clothes to a typical house-to-house ‘charity’ collector !”

Medium Hassle Involved

Charity Shops

This involves you taking the stuff to the shop, though if you have a local one it might be worth asking if they can collect. You might want to avoid some of these if you are not happy about testing on animals  – there is a list of charities that do use animal testing here: www.peta.org.uk

Also, some of the bigger charity shops have a reputation for spending more money on shops and management than on the charity. Oxfam is famous for this and the RSPCA are said to destroy half the animals they rescue. This article in the Independent says “On average, 73p of every pounds 1 you spend is soaked up in the expenses of running the shops” Personally I try to give my stuff to smaller local animal shelter charity shops or to places like Emmaus who help, home and retrain homeless people. My local one takes clothes and books as well as furniture.

Amazon

You can sell your old books on Amazon for free, the listings stay up as long as you like but you do pay a commission when they sell. This is pretty painless because all you have to do is type in the bar code but then it’s a hassle packaging and posting them out. The best thing I think is to check the prices of your books on Amazon first then just sell the ones that are going for the most, ones that sell for 50p you might as well just give away. The only problem with this is that you will have a box of books waiting to be sold and this could take some time.

More Hassle and Stress

Ebay

Easier now that you can list items by phone but this is still a lot of time for (in my experience) very little return and then the worry of getting bad feedback. Watch out for free listing weekends though.

Etsy and Folksy

Etsy has a more American audience than Folksy. On Etsy you can sell vintage clothes, fabric and furniture, on Folksy just fabric unless they have changed the rules recently. It’s 20c per item to list on Etsy, 16p to list on Folksy (prices subject to change so please check them). The item stays up for a few months and great pictures are really essential here.

Car Boot Sale

If you can really stand the thought of a thousand people pawing their way through your stuff and judging it, car boot sales are perfect for you. Personally I’d rather eat my own flesh. One good idea I heard was of friends selling each others stuff, though of course there is a very real danger of buying more stuff than you came in with.

Vintage Fairs

Really popular at the moment, stalls range from £10 to hundreds and kitchenalia seems to sell better than clothes.

I’m sure this list could grow so if you have any other ideas please leave a comment below.

 

Clutter Death 4 – One in one out

This is such a tiny easy way to limit the clutter coming into your house.

If something new comes into your house, get rid of something else.

I have been operating a book in book out principle for some time and it works really well. I keep books that are hard to find or good resource books but the rest, the ones you find in a charity shop for a quid, they get given back to a charity shop, left on the wall outside my house or put in the box of stuff to get rid of.

books

There are no rules, you don’t have to get rid of a dress because you bought a new dress, but when you do hang your lovely new find up, check it’s neighbours and see if they still deserve to be there. If all the other dresses are just fantastic, then leave them and check out your shoes, or books, or a drawer in the kitchen. Drawers in the kitchen are wonderful breeding grounds for clutter.

Quick checklist of reasons to get rid of something:

  • Does it make me feel bad?
  • Does it have bad memories?
  • Is it 2 sizes away from fitting me?
  • Is it broken and a hassle to fix?
  • Is it just plain ugly and therefore deserves to die?
  • Have I used it in the past 3 years?

Happy decluttering, feel free to clutter up the comments section on here and tell me how you get on.

 

Clutter Death 3 – Guilty reasons we keep things

Until I was 13 we moved every 3 years. My granny would buy a house, put up bamboo wallpaper, get bored with it then we’d be off again. I moved to London when I was 20, went traveling for a couple of years, Bristol to college, back to Plymouth and back to Bristol where I’ve been living in this house for 13 years now, the longest I have ever been anywhere.

It was amazing after all that moving around to get all my stuff in one place at last and it didn’t take me long to realise I had too much of it. In my 30’s I was unpacking boxes from a move in my teens! All of it was useless crap. I spent about a month purging the house, emptying rooms in my 2 bed house, finding the space to take in a lodger, then a boyfriend, then a baby. Now it’s just me and the 10 year old here and our small house is rammed but controllable.

Fighting clutter is a constant battle for me. Here are some of the things I say to myself when I see something in my home I don’t need or like much.

  1. It has memories
  2. It cost a fortune
  3. I’ll finish it when I have the time
  4. Thingy gave it to me

I know that life is easier when I can find things in my home but I feel bad when I try to get rid of them.

A lot of the reasons I want to keep things are based on guilt. Something reminds me of something I should have done like a thank you letter I should have written for a gift I didn’t want. Someone gave it to me, or even worse, someone made it themselves and then gave it to me. My son’s drawings are really hard to part with and the only way I can do it is to be ruthless and halve what comes back from school at the end of term.

I can also feel guilty about how much money I spent on the thing, or the fact that I haven’t finished it.

Now, I did go to a few terrible catholic schools as a child so I do have a sense of guilt so drummed into me I feel sure I have done something wrong every time I see a nun. But I think even if you were not schooled by some maniac telling you that your very birth made you guilty of original sin and that you need to feel bad for the rest of your life (the basis of Catholicism as far as I remember it), most people feel guilty about something at some time.

Guilt trip number 1 – ‘It has memories’

This one is pretty easy to deal with; if they are bad memories ditch it, if they are good memories keep it.

Number 2 – ‘It cost a fortune

And you are a fool for buying it, I know. This is fine if you can get some of that money back by selling it, if not then it’s better to accept the financial loss than to have it hanging over you reminding you that you made a bad choice and that you are a terrible person.

3 -‘I’ll finish it when I have time’

Bollocks, just get rid of it, give it to a charity shop so someone else can enjoy starting it as much as you did from where you left off. If you haven’t finished it now you probably never will.

I know someone who had huge plans for the months she would be bed ridden after an operation. She was going to organise all her photos into albums, sort out her computer, finish off knitting her jumper….. None of that got done because other things took over and bedridden though she was, she was still too busy. Be tough on these things to be kinder to yourself, I see it as a weight lifting when I just admit that something will never get finished and I let it go.

4 – ‘Thingy gave it to me’

This one is more difficult, If someone close to you gave you a horrible bit of clutter, if they sought it out, spent money on it, lovingly wrapped it and gifted it to you it’s hard to get rid of that thing. If someone made something for you it’s a whole lot harder.

Ask yourself if they would really mind if you did get rid of it?

Ask yourself if you are making what actually could have been a last minute impulse buy into a bigger thing than it is.

Let me illustrate this problem.

box

My son made this box for me when he was 3. It is technically rubbish but the thing that makes me keep it are the words that the nursery worker said when she gave it to me; ‘He worked very hard on this’.

He has probably forgotten it’s existence, he probably has no memory of making it and he didn’t have a good time at that nursery on the whole because he was very bullied. However, I keep it because he worked very hard on it and it is now impossible to throw out.

It’s saving grace is that is is useful. It is the place where I store candles and tealights. If it was not useful it would have gone, my bottom line is that if it is not useful, it goes. And it gives me warm feelings when I think of my son at nursery actually enjoying himself and making something for me. It was intended for me from the start.

If someone made you something and you are not sure if you want to keep it weigh up the feelings associated with it. Does it make you feel better or worse, good or bad, guilty or innocent?

Don’t let guilt keep your house full of things you don’t like or need. Life is so much nicer without the things in our homes making us feel bad.

Happy decluttering.

 

 

 

 

Clutter Death 2 – One thing a day for 7 days or 5 things in 5 minutes

This is another quick way to rid your home of things you don’t need.

Just for one week, once a day, look round where you live and get rid of something.

Here are some ideas for how:

  • Use the Box Method
  • Put things outside your home or somewhere close with a note saying they are free.
  • Stick them on Freecycle
  • Leave them in a cafe (works well with books)
  • Throw them in the bin
  • Put them in the recycling
books

These lasted about 30 seconds outside my house

If you are daunted by where to start, start now. I’m guessing you are reading this on your computer or a phone. Look around you, there is bound to be one thing that you don’t want any more. Just one thing.

Whilst you are sat on the loo look around and find something you don’t want any more. Opening the kitchen drawer for a fork? What else is in there that you don’t want? Finding a pair of knickers in the morning? While you are there throw out the pair that have stretched out of all recognition.

A week isn’t a long time but if you need something shorter and smarter try ditching 5 things in 5 minutes. This works best with a bin bag or carrier bag, just face the wardrobe/cupboard/drawer/shelf/box and pick out 5 things you don’t want, need or like. Then (and here is the important bit) get rid of it immediately.

Happy decluttering, let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

 

 

 

 

 

Clutter Death 1 – Things that have bad memories and the cardboard boxes

So you have decided you have too much crap and now it’s time to get rid of it. This is a really easy way to get rid of things once and for all. I call it the Box Method and it is foolproof.

hallYou will need 2 empty cardboard boxes. Not too big, not too small.

Put the cardboard boxes in the way; somewhere that you pass all the time as you go around your home. At the foot of the stairs is good or in a hallway.
As you walk around your home get into the habit of judging your belongings. Firstly get rid of everything that makes you feel bad at all. Ditch the nagging bitch dress that reminds you of a terrible date, or when someone accused you of being pregnant when you were not.

When you spot a suspicious looking belonging ask yourself these questions –

  • Does it remind me of a bad time?
  • Does it make me feel sad?
  • Does it make me feel guilty?
  • Does it nag me to do something I am probably never ever going to get round to doing?

Then, if you get any ‘yes’ answers pick the thing up and put it in a box. One box for stuff to giveaway, the other for selling at a later date. I’ll write about places to sell stuff in a different post so for now just park it somewhere out of the way when it’s full.

When the giveaway box is full, as soon as possible put an ad on Freecycle  where someone will come and get it from you (get them to take the whole box not pick through it) or take it to a charity shop. As soon as possible!

As you start judging your stuff you might also see things you decide you don’t want or don’t need. These can go in the boxes too, there are no rules that it just has to be stuff with bad memories.

If the idea of boxes that are constantly there makes you anxious, and you think the boxes would become the things with the bad association then just tuck them away somewhere – and do some Stealth Decluttering. As long as it is easy and quick to get to the boxes it doesn’t matter where they are. And if you have no room for boxes, or have small children that love emptying them try carrier bags – on coat hooks works well.

Here’s to happy homes filled (not to the max) with things that make us feel good.