The Great Declutter

Monday, 8 October 2018

Decluttering is all the rage, I'm not really into the whole minimalist lifestyle I like my creature comforts but I also like being able to find the stuff I want and need on a daily basis, or to walk into my craft room without fear of being crushed in a avalanche of supplies. I've been looking at old photos of my work room when we first moved in here and I have saying I really want to get back to a decluttered state and clean floor space like in the above picture and I am getting their slowly. Running a business can mean taking up a lot of space but with the wind down of my old business and switching creative paths, I'm hoping I can get back to the way things were, although it doesn't help that this flat lacks any decent storage space, especially with all the odd shaped rooms.

As I said before in a previous post I've been taking advantage of the slow down in business to rethink and reevaluate what I want to do etc with my life and with that I decided to have a massive clear out. Apart of the clutter problem is that I work from home, so all my supplies and inventory are also stored here for ease of access but my business is changing direction so I no longer need half the stuff I have left over. My own personal style has changed with my new vocation, my dress is more casual because of being self employed, also I don't wear a lot of expensive or nice clothes because of accidental spillage from paints and materials etc.

I have to say I've not read much on the Kondo or Swedish death cleaning methods. the Marie Kondo methos is where to you only keep things that bring you joy so I guess a good reason to throw all the bills in the bin! The SDC method is mostly aimed at the over 50s which I'm approaching but don't actually fancy it carking it at quite such a young age but with a recent death in the family of someone close to that age, this method kind of makes sense in clearing out your stuff and prepping as if you might leave tomorrow. It makes sense to leave stuff in order so others don;t have to deal with it but it also makes sense to declutter every so often so the task doesn't get so overwhelming that you ignore it until it cannot be ignored any longer like moving house. And that is my main reason.

We are renters, London is expensive, the average property price in London is currently £626,000. Flats are around the half mil mark and houses broaching one mil, well they do in the area which I live and although I've lived in London my whole life I never actually saw myself being here forever, which is why I've never worried about buying a property here but that issue has now been taken out of our hands because everything is out of our price range but I'm not lamenting over it. We know we have to move sooner or later, we just put a deadline on it. we figure we have more rental before being able to buy but I also don't want to be dragging a bunch of stuff round with us just for because we can.

We love books, records and movies. we are homebodies, we used to go to lots of gigs but I don't get the same enjoyment out of it anymore. I don;t think it's much to do with getting older, I think as circumstances changes so do you, sometimes passions fade and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Anyway I digress back to declutting. It's taken way longer than I though because in effect I've had two declutters on the go, one business, one personal but I'm nearly done and I no longer feel that when we need to pack it's going to much, much easier.

I'd start with room by room and just pull out everything you don't want, don't need, is broken or has been ignored for a significant amount of time, what I like to call the maybe one day projects, i.e. maybe one day I'll fit back into that dress or maybe one day I'll fix that item or maybe one I'll finish that project! Keep the  to be repaired/unfinished projects in a separate pile. With the rest of the stuff, split into three piles, sell/donate/recycle. Here's how I grade.

Selling - There are a number of sites that you can sell stuff depending on what you have to sell. For my vintage stuff I use eBay and Etsy. For my retro and clothes in good condition I use eBay and Depop. For DVDs books and CD's I use music magpie and Ziffit, those that don't sell on I stick in the donate pile. Selling takes time and patience and sometimes dealing with difficult people asking pointless and ridiculous questions. Remember you are under no obligation to accept low ball offers just to sell stuff, take into account the cost of time as well. My hard and fast rule is no money is better than lost money, remember to take into account postage fees and selling fees and Paypal fees. It's also worth noting that some electronics can be sold for spare parts like old lap tops/phones etc just remember to wipe them first and restore to factory settings.

Donating - Check whatever you are donating is wearable/usable, do not you a donating service as your personal rubbish removal service. Some companies like TRAID will collect stuff for you if you have a lot to donate. I donated a bunch of my old vintage clothes inventory that wasn't selling, along with some personal items. Places like the British Heart Foundation will also do furniture pick ups, things like sofas, chairs, beds need a fire safety tag attached to the back, and of course they need to be in a decent selling condition.

Recycling - where possible recycle, find out where your local recycling centre is and see what services they offer. And even though we're all guilty of this, including myself try not to chuck in the weekly rubbish collection. I don't have a car but my recycling centre is accessible by bus, yes we are those annoying people who carry three large IKEA bags of crap on the bus but working with a lots of textiles and fibres produces a lot of scrap waste. Fortunately my local centre recycles about 97% off all textiles donates what ever the condition. Non sellable fabrics and textiles get made into insulation and new fabrics. For bulkier waste, it might be worth forking out for a waste collection service. Most councils offer this service, some have better rates than others but there are plenty of independent services that will do it for you as well.

When you get to the repair/unfinished project pile divide into two, will finish/who am I kidding this project is now over ten years old time to get rid of it pile. I'm not gonna lie, I have found unfinished projects older than that! Don't hang on to something just for the sake of it. Repeat the steps as above, it's worth noting that you might be able to donate scraps and supplies to local community groups or schools that run craft groups or knitting clubs.

So that was my long winded quick guide to decluttering, maybe I should apply the same method to writing my blog posts!

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