Sorting your clutter should be an annual event. It gives you the chance to take a long hard look at all of the things that you own and decide which things you need and which things you don’t. It can be cathartic and like in the Julia Donaldson story ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’, you suddenly feel like you have so much more room again. Not only does it give you the chance to get rid of things, but you might even find some hidden treasures that you had forgotten all about in the process.
The rules should be kept nice and simple. Ask the question; when was the last time this was used? If it was a long time ago, pull it out and make a decision about what to do with it. Consider why you are keeping something that doesn’t get used? Will you ever use it again? Do you really have the space to keep everything?
Considering your storage options is the place to start on your journey to less clutter. What storage do you have in place already and can you make it work better for you? Think about the shelving options, can you use wall space to add in more shelves. Can you make better use of shelving that you already have by adding storage containers or baskets?
What about spaces that are currently unused, could you add in baskets, boxes or drawers to help ease the problem? Often, a bit of a reshuffle and better organisation can be all that needed. If you are relying on the loft, garage or shed to store unwanted stuff, is that the best option?
If better organisation has helped but you are still overloaded, you need to start getting rid of things. If you are a natural hoarder, this can be difficult but unless you have room to move into a bigger house or an extension, clearing out the clutter is necessary and sometimes your unwanted things can be very valuable to other people.
Check with friends and family to see if any of the things that you are getting rid of would be of any use to them. Local charity shops are always desperate for anything from clothes, toys, books and household objects. If you are giving to a charity shop, bear in mind that they have to be able to sell the thing you are donating. If you have furniture that needs a new home, have a look and see if there is a charity group in the area who recycle larger items such as furniture, such groups usually collect items that are in good condition to pass on to people who are in need.
You could turn your clutter into cash by using auction sites to sell your unwanted items. Shop around to see which sites charge selling fees as this can vary from site to site. Most areas have a local Facebook selling page where you can advertise things for sale at a fixed price, this is free and people will come and pick up which avoids postage costs.
Doctor and dentist surgeries, playgroups, toddler groups and places where children play are sometimes willing to accept toys and books that are clean and in good condition, so it is always worth asking. Freecycle is another option as you might have something that someone else desperately needs and could make good use of and recycling is far better than simply throwing something away.
Most places have a local paper with advert space for all sorts of things in the back and often the option to place ads online too. These ads are usually free for items under £100 and you would be surprised how many people still scour these ads for bargains. Another bonus of this is that the buyer will usually come and pick up from you, which makes getting rid of bigger items a lot easier.
Your final option? The bin. Anything else left in the pile is obviously rubbish, so if you can’t give it away or sell it and you are definitely never going to use it again, throw it away. This is the point when you have to be ruthless and remember how much space you are creating by doing this job.
All that is left is to enjoy feeling good about helping others with your kind donations, maybe treat yourself to something with any extra money that you have made and above all enjoy the extra space that your clear out has created.