I am a girl on a mission. A girl with a plan. A girl with three big boxes.
This is definitely the easiest and quickest way to declutter I’ve tried. (Disclaimer: at the moment all my unwanted clutter is living in these boxes, I haven’t actually rid them from my home for good so it may take a little longer, but we’re half way there.)
I’ve got three huge cardboard boxes in my spare room, each with one of the above signs on. Over the last few days, I have been trying to assess some of the areas of clutter around our home and pop the things that we don’t want to keep into one of the boxes. I’ve had a busy week so haven’t spent masses of time on this, but even a few minutes each day has resulted in quite a haul.
It really works. I’ve managed to collect a whole pile of stuff. Actually having somewhere to deposit the unwanted items that have managed to creep into the corners of our house, has meant that rather than just ignoring them I’ve been able to deal with them there and then.
I’ve been trying to adopt the famous William Morris quote as a mantra when I open a drawer or cupboard, look on a shelf or under the bed.
It’s tough. I’ve tried to be strict with myself, but there are still plenty of things I’ve smuggled back that are neither useful or beautiful. Let’s say I’m a work a progress!
But now the boxes are full. What to do with them now?
The Sell it box
So what sells?
One lazy girl’s junk is another one’s treasure, or so they say. Didn’t someone once sell a half-eaten banana on eBay? Well, I’ve wasted too much time listing things on eBay to sell them for a measly 99p, so I’m being a bit cuter on what I choose to sell in the future. In this box I’ve put all brand new things (e.g. unwanted presents, unworn clothes), anything in good condition with a designer label or branded items. I’ve got some CDs and DVDs in here too. When I find them, I’m going to put any old mobile phones in here. Second-hand children’s clothes sell well as does anything “niche” or remotely collectible.
Where do I sell it?
eBay is the most well-known online auction site and the one I’ve used before, but there are others out there. It isn’t without its faults, but I don’t think there are comparable online alternatives and sometimes it is better the devil you know! If you live in a city or large town, then it may be worth checking if they have an active Gumtree group. I don’t, so don’t think that is a realistic option for me. I’m planning on selling the DVDs and CDs through Music Magpie and any old mobile phones through the MoneySavingExpert’s checking service (they help compare all the online companies and help you get the best deals). In fact the MoneySavingExpert website has got lots of tips for making the most amount of money out of your unwanted gear. If I had a massive amount of stuff to shift, I’d probably tackle a car boot sale but I haven’t got enough to warrant it at the moment. I’ve got friends who have had quite a bit of success on their local area’s “For Sale” page on Facebook, and of course there’s the good old fashioned Classified adverts in local newspapers or local shops.
The Donate it Box
What to donate?
The things that I don’t think will sell but are perfectly useable have all been put in this box. I’ve got some clothes (High Street labels rather than fancy designer stuff), books and things ranging from an old purse to some spare saucepans. I’ll also put anything from my Sell it box that doesn’t sell in here. It goes without saying that everything I donate will be in working order and freshly laundered.
Who to donate it to?
There are so many choices when it comes to who to donate things to. As long as friends and family don’t want anything, my preferred option is a local hospice that we’ve supported since my Dad died. They have a shop and warehouse from where they sell furniture and electrical goods; they collect the heavy stuff too. There is a local homeless charity that does the same thing. I don’t really like using those textile banks you find in supermarket car parks as I’m not convinced that the charities receive as much as if you dropped it off at one of their shops. I’m sure there are good ones, but after reading some newspaper articles about how much money the middlemen make, I prefer to deal direct with a charity.
There are all sorts of other places you can donate kit to – magazines to hospital waiting rooms, children’s things to women’s shelters, pets bits to animal shelters, art supplies to old folks homes. I suppose it just takes a bit of imagination if you’ve got quite a stash of one thing or another. I’ve never tried it, but Freecycle is supposed to be a great site for matching unwanted items with people who want them. All good and certainly better than something ending up in the bin, but I still prefer the idea of donating items to those who are really in need.
The Dump it Box
What to dump?
Essentially anything that doesn’t go in either the Sell it or Donate it box. Things that are junk, broken, stained. My objective is to have a lot less in this box than in the other two.
Where to dump it?
We have quite a good recycling facility locally that takes all sorts, and rag and bone men who frequently drive by offering to collect anything heavy and shiny! There is also a good website RecycleNow that lists how and where you can recycle more or less anything.
I’d love to hear from you if you have found good ways to sell, donate or (responsibly!) dump your clutter….