De-Clutter Your Life
How to declutter - One of the main reasons why people find decluttering so disheartening, is the sense of being overwhelmed. However there are so many benefits to de-cluttering your life and letting go of old stuff. You will not only make space and get rid of stale energy and emotions as well as make you some cash.
Before you start ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I really need it?
- Why am I keeping it?
- Does it fit me?
- Am I just keeping it for sentimental reasons?
Make sure you have the following:
- Plenty of bin liners and plastic bags
- Good quality boxes that won't fall apart and can be easily stacked. Available from www.helpineedboxes.co.uk
- Parcel tape
- A paper shredder
- Newspaper/packing paper for packing up items or bubble wrap
Don't put it off.
Take the task in hand; and start today. Set a time limit however small and stick to this. Ideally try to declutter over the weekend, this way you can make a mess by pulling out all cupboards and having a really good clear out.
Use the four box method.
A popular method for decluttering is to apply the four box method, (well 3 boxes and a bin liner) which forces you to make a decision. Take three boxes and label them: Keep and Use, Give Away or Sell, Keep and Store. Use the bin liner to throw any broken or damaged items. Go around your house and place each clutter item into the appropriate box.
Most people find it hard to throw out sentimental items but you can't be attached to every little memory. Pack very personal keepsakes in a special box so that you can easily have them to hand rather than all round the house.
If you haven't used it for a year then get rid of it. Do you really need 3 sets of dinner plates? Box it up it and sell or give to charity. With clothes if it doesn't fit, then throw it out. There are 2.4 billion pieces of clothing lying unworn for an entire 12 months (some brand new) cluttering the nation's wardrobes, according to UK Government statistics.
Getting rid of years and years of paperwork is probably one of the most satisfying parts of decluttering. File all appropriate paperwork which is less than four years old and get rid of any old bills, policies papers which are no longer active and out of date. Do not however just bin them always shred. Information like this can be used fraudulently; even if paper work is torn up it can be easily pieced back together.
Decluttering is a way of life, adopt a new habits of saying 'one in, one out' every time you buy something new.
Where do you put it all?
At the end of your session take the give away or sell box straight to the charity shop or round to a friends or families house, this way you will not forget the box and end up with more clutter. Take your throw away items straight away to the bins to prevent any second thoughts.
Consider self storage.
Hiring a self storage unit may be cheaper than you think and can free up extra space in your house. Get a storage quote from helpineedstorage.com to see what opinions are available.
Your local council website will give you a list all the companies that recycle. www.recyclenow.com is a really good site.
Most councils will take away your larger household items such as cookers, fridges or furniture. This is normally a free collection service for bulk items, a household can call on this service twice a year, with up to five items per collection. This however will vary from council to council so please check with your local borough for terms and conditions.
For more information on recycling when moving home
People keep unwanted items for a number of reasons, for example sentimental value, because they feel one day they may need them, or because one day they feel that they may be of value.
- Sentimental value, be ruthless and ask yourself do you really want it? If the answer is yes be selective. Make a box up which you can even decorate at a later stage of cherished items. Items like baby clothes, do you really need all them all? If your child has grow out of them, remember you can either sell these at a car boot sale or give them to charity who will make good use of them.
- Now is the time to sort out your photographs, put them into album or boxes but remember to keep the negatives incase you need them at a later date. Don't keep photographs that are not worth putting into an album.
- Scanning photographs on your computer is a good way of gaining access to photographs that can be put in the loft or storage.
Charity shops will take any bric-a brac or unwanted furniture please however do not give any damaged or broken items as they can only sell on items in good condition.
You can turn your unwanted items into cash at a car boot sale, ebay, saleroom or local newspaper.
Car boots are a great way of making some money from your unwanted items. Check your local newspaper for when they are on in your area. Be prepared to bargain, people expect to negotiate price and don't price your goods too high. Take loads of change with you as people pay with notes and don't forget to take loads of carrier bags with you. If you book at a carboot don't forget to ask if they cancel if the weather is bad on the day.
Sell your unwanted items online. Some useful website are:
www.revivalbooks.co.uk A great place to turn your unwanted books into cash.
www.ebay.co.uk The UK's largest shopping/auction site.
Freecycle Network&trademark; is made up of 5,020 groups with 8,869,306 members around the world. It's a grass roots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them's good people). It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. www.freecycle.org
Any unwanted furniture or small items, might bring you in some extra cash. Be warned there are certain regulations governing what can and cannot be sold from a sale room, and you should check that none of your goods fall into any of these categories.
Use your local newspaper to advertise your items or place an advert in Loot - www.loot.com or Exchange and Mart www.exchangeandmart.co.uk
The worst areas to declutter are:
You probably bought your property with the excitement that you had a garage and that you could fit your car in. However like millions of homes the garage has become a storage unit instead. Decluttering this before you move home is essential not only to get rid of unwanted items but sort through items that you may need for your house in DIY skills. Ideally do this before you put your house on that market not only to get organised but also to show the potential buyers that if you wanted you could get a car in.
Start by pulling everything out of the garage ideally on a dry and sunny day. Get rid of the rubbish, half empty bottles and tubs, tubes of silicone sealer and old tins of paint. Paint does go off if exposed to extreme temperature. It also faints over time so chances are you won't get the same colour to match if you do use it and run out.
Part-mentalise everything into sections i.e. keep, sell, give away or throw away. If you are a real collector of things start by bundle up items and place in strong boxes ideally modular in size so that they can be stacked easily. When it comes to tools be ruthless, do you really need triple of everything? Pack and excess items and give you local charity shops.
Most buyers are happy to see a garage full of boxes as know that you have probably started to pack but don't show them a garage full of broken toys, old appliances, tools all over the place as most people find it hard to visualize empty spaces.
Hard to get to and hide a multitude of forgotten items. Start by getting small boxes that will easy fit through loft spaces. Start by doing one box at a time which can either be brought down and sorted and then stacked in a corner or placed in storage. Don't leave the loft to the last minute and just take all the boxes already up there, as not only will you pay extra if using a removal company, but also chances are you will put them back in the loft at your new property never to see the light of day again.
- First thing to do it is buy a paper shredder, this can just be a cheap one but it is important to shred all personal paper work i.e. old bills, receipts, personal items. Information like this can be used fraudulently; even if paper work is torn up it can be easily pieced back together.
- Filing is a boring process but a necessity, divide all your paperwork into sections i.e. receipts, bills, bank, insurance, mortgage, general, car, policies and work. Remember to keep old bills as you may need these in a couple of year's time.
- Impersonal paperwork or junk mail can be recycled either by collection or by using a paper recycling bin.
- Remember if you do use a paper shredder keep the shreds for packing, this makes an ideal and cheap way of protecting items when packaging. Same applies to old newspapers which is great for packaging.
- There are 2.4 billion pieces of clothing lying unworn for an entire 12 months (some brand new) cluttering the nation's wardrobes, according to UK Government statistics.
- In fact, the average UK woman spends almost £13,000 on clothes she'll never wear in a lifetime.
Sounds familiar? It's very hard to declutter clothes. Our wardrobe space has got bigger and bigger over years as clothes become cheaper. One of the top reasons why people hold onto clothes is not to do with the value of the items but the fact that just one day they may fit into them again. Start by taking small sections out of the wardrobe and trying them on. This will help you definitely decide whether to keep it or if there is no change that you will ever fit into it again! Sort items into keep, bin, give to charity or friends or if vintage or good quality sell on eBay.
If you haven't already got a seasonal rotational system now is the perfect time to start. Separate items that are either winter or summer and then ones that are not in season box up.
Any items to get rid of immediately place in a bin liner so there is no going back. Any items to keep place back into the wardrobe or if moving soon directly into a cardboard wardrobe unit. These save hours packing and unpacking and time spent ironing.
Move to the next section of the wardrobe and then drawers and any under-bed storage. Always remember the 80/20 principle, only 20 percent of your clothes are worn for 80 percent of the time.