National Declutter Week
Yes there really is such a thing as National Declutter Week and it starts today and runs until 18th March.
My first port of call is to pass things on to friends and family if they would find them useful.
If the stuff you want to declutter is in good condition and can still be used by someone else, then charity shops are a great place to take it.
Aled is growing so fast at the moment that we regularly take his too-small clothes to the local charity shops. We have also taken a travel cot and a portable highchair, and some baby toys and board books. I have also taken some of my books and dvds and clothes that I will never fit into again. I have even taken several pairs of virtually unworn shoes to charity shops after I discovered how comfortable my Hotter shoes are!
I use the gift aid scheme to boost the income that charity shops can generate from selling my unwanted stuff. For example, Oxfam e-mailed me last month to say that my donations over the last couple of years have made an additional £93 in gift aid (on top of the £367 that they would have made without gift aid). This seems pretty amazing to me.
I know I could probably have made some money by selling these items, perhaps through eBay. But I work full-time and my time outside work is precious, so I don’t want to take the time to photograph items, list them on eBay, and stick them in the post. Taking things to charity shops is extremely quick and easy, and it makes me feel good to do something that benefits a charity as well as ensuring that someone else can reuse items we no longer need.
And while I am taking stuff to donate to charity shops, I always have a look around to see if there are any items I’d like to buy (they could be potential Magpie Monday items!). Having said that, I try to buy less than I donate because I don’t want to have to declutter too often.
We also use freecycle to get rid of items that are difficult to pass on to charity shops or people we know. For example, we have handed a hostess trolley, a pond pump, a chest of drawers and some reusable nappies onto freecyclers. And as well as freecycling we also recycle – paper goes in the recycling bin as soon as we’ve finished with it, so that it doesn’t pile up.
That said, I do save some items for sentimental reasons. I have kept handwritten letters from friends and sisters, because it is lovely to look back through them. I have also kept some tiny items of clothing from when Aled was a baby – including a cardigan knitted by my mum and a vest with a dalek motif cross-stitched on it by my friend.
I’d be interested to know if you have any tips for ensuring that clutter doesn’t take over your house. Is decluttering something you do little and often or do you prefer to have a big spring clearout?