To declutter is nearly always a “good idea” but it is surprisingly difficult to do.
However, for me – I had no choice! I was downsizing from my 4-bedroom house with its large garden to a one-bed apartment, with a shared garden. I sort of thought about it for a while, I cogitated and then looked at the calendar – the day of the move was getting closer, though I still had plenty of time – or so I half-thought. Choosing a good removal company wasn’t very difficult.
That day I visited the attic – and wished I hadn’t. Still, there was nothing for it – the attic had to be cleared and the stuff had to be moved – but – where to put it all? A major declutter task!
I went and cogitated a bit more.
I decided that one room of the house would be my store! That is where I would put everything ready for the move. So, I hired a skip and a friendly neighbour helped me break up the vast wardrobe and chuck the pieces out through the window. Never one to waste anything it kept me in firewood for several weeks that winter. Having cleared a space and thrown the contents of the wardrobe onto my bed, so I couldn’t go to sleep until I had sorted it. But I now had some space for boxing items to take with me. Items to throw out went downstairs.
It wasn’t easy going to bed that night. But I thought our local Oxfam might welcome the armloads of clothes – most of them hardly worn. I put them into bags and took them downstairs – next time I visited town I would take them with me.
In fact, I am fairly sure heard the assistant at Oxfam groan when she saw me coming for the umpteenth time… After all, she would have to sort it and hopefully sell it. Someone told me that they never throw material way, so no matter how decrepit the article was – it would be put to good use in the charity shops.
The next thing I did was to order a skip. It duly arrived and promptly blocked a neighbour’s driveway. I rang again and got them to relocate it 10 yards further up the road. My house is in a courtyard, so trips to the skip needed planning! And the wheelbarrow was out of action.
Skip in place I couldn’t really ignore the attic any longer – or could I? It was a nice bright day – must take advantage of the good weather and “do” the garden. I was amazed at how many rakes I had somehow acquired, but the wheelbarrow wouldn’t roll, and the shed seemed full of spiders. What a shame to disturb them. By the time the shed and greenhouse were empty the skip was full – and still no attic!
I had a small party to try to dump some stuff on my friends. Quite amazing what they all seemed happy to take away with them. The rooms were just starting to look a bit bleak. Perhaps we could have an attic clearing party?
The day dawned when I felt fit and ready. I would clear the attic in one fell swoop. So, I got the ladder and climbed up. Indeed, I had a plan! Not for me climbing up and down the rather rickety ladder – that’s for the skip, too. So, I emptied a couple of boxes of soft material and old clothes onto the landing floor and then proceed to throw everything out onto them; at least they landed on a soft cushion. Soon the landing was full – and I do mean full. I just managed to climb down over a heap of books, but there was no way I could reach the bedroom. I slept on the settee that night!
Waking up wasn’t quite exhilarating as there seemed an awful lot to do – and only half the contents of the attic were down. Still, some loud music and a few boxes from the supermarket made the task of clearing the landing quite fun – really.
In fact, quite soon I had cleared the attic, apart from a set of skis which I hesitated to harpoon down.
Paper, paper everywhere and nothing that I need. We use wheelie bins for paper – and I filled mine and my neighbour’s several times over – as soon as the men emptied them another pile went in. Everything from old school reports – better get rid of them – don’t want the children to see, to Christmas cards from people I have forgotten I ever knew. All went well, and I am so pleased I do not have to sort that our ever again. Four years later I still do have paperwork to sort, but far less than before.
I filled the second skip, and the house was looking clearer than it ever had – in fact, a little bit empty. Age concern took various pieces of furniture off my hands – and of course, there was eBay.
I put boxes of books – about 30 per box in my study and by dint of careful labelling managed to sell about half of them and send them to the right people. That still left a few hundred for Oxfam – and friends. I like my books and selling them was a wrench, but at least they paid for the skip hire. The books were the hardest part of my efforts to declutter.
I still had quite a lot of stuff, but my removal company in Kingston had storage facilities which I used. This gave me a chance to let the builders finish my new apartment while I stayed with family. So, on the day, two vehicles arrived – one for the storage and one for me.
And the most delightful part is that I saved money by having fewer things to pack and remove and store – and I haven’t missed anything (much).