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Five ways to clear your clutter – responsibly.

October 27, 2015

Yesterday I confessed that my recipe collection had got a bit out of control.  But it wasn’t just that.  In front of our substantial floor-to-ceiling bookcases, there was a veritable mountain range of books, magazines, games and CDs mounting.  The whole situation had got out of control.  And aside from the fact that there was no longer any room to house guests in our guest room, we also have a desire to sell our house in the not to distance future and this was not a feature.  There was only one thing for it – de-cluttering.

Once you embark on the voyage of de-cluttering, it’s an all-or-nothing sort of affair.  It becomes as addictive as sugar after a while.  You find yourself trying to give away things that you actually need or love.  That’s why it’s good to do it in pairs – you can sense check the other’s decision-making and question knowingly when everything seems to be holding firm in the ‘keep’ pile.

After a few hours of analysing, sorting, questioning, re-questioning, soul-searching and debating, we had a substantial pile of books, CDs and DVDs (why keep, when you can stream nearly everything nowadays? Good point, husband, good point!) to get rid of.  Here’s what we did, or thought about doing, next:

  1. Sell online.  eBay and Gumtree are great for big ticket items that will fetch a lot of cash, but not great for books, CDs and DVDs.  I think Amazon Marketplace is also an option, but not one I’ve tried.  We went for the quick and bulky approach – but don’t expect to make a lot of cash.  This is more a case of clearing space in your house.  I used a comparison between Music Magpie and Zapper for the DVDs and CDs, opting for whichever one paid the most for each individual item.  It doesn’t take long – you just enter the barcode into your computer or scan with your smartphone.  Then I added whatever books I could to the Zapper bundle.  Music Magpie will come and collect your stuff by courier and Zapper gave us the option to drop the boxes off at a local shop.  Both were seamless and hassle-free.
  2. Car boot sales.  I’m not a fan myself, but my brother does a couple every year, so I’ve got a pile of stuff to drop off with him when I next pop in.  You might be more inclined, and if that’s the case, you’ll probably want to do this first and try the selling online as the second option.
  3. Freegle.  I’m a massive fan of Freegle.  Yes, it’s giving stuff away for free, but it gives you a great sense of satisfaction – stuff you no longer want is going to someone that really wants it.  I got rid of all my remaining books this way – I just bundled them up in to collections: Fiction, craft, cookery, art and cake decorating.  But Freegle is great for everything – I’ve passed on everything from a broken Dyson (for parts), a pile of the plastic containers you get from takeaways to old curtains and bits of kitchen equipment.  It’s easy to use and people come to you to collect the goods.  My only word of warning is not everyone turns up when you expect them to.  Just managing expectations!
  4. Facebook.  Two options here – you can join a local buying and selling site for your neighbourhood, or you can be like me and just let your Facebook friends know what you’ve got, if they want it.  Always nice to gift to friends.  Pop some good karma in the friend bank!
  5. Charity Shop.  We’re very lucky to have a Hospice bookshop near us, so that we know that we can drop off a bundle of books (as well as purchase some others) and it’ll definitely do its bit to help others.  But I do think most charity shops will take books, CDs and DVDs – all the ones I visit regularly certainly sell them.

Whichever combination of options you choose, they are all better than landfill.  And you get the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping someone – maybe even yourself! Oh, and you get some lovely tidy bookshelves/cupboards/rooms at the end of it.  Just like us.  Here’s a snap of the after result (sorry, terrible photo!)

De-cluttered shelves

How do you get rid of your clutter without resorting to the bin?


From → Five, Random stuff

One Comment
  1. Post-article note from @Ken_Wray on Twitter: ‘Another good way to offload old books is to donate to your local library’. Thanks for that great idea, Ken!

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