97 – Throw out a bin bags worth of your stuff you don’t need

25Jul10

This is another suggestion from my brother who managed to come up with a mix of thoughtful and bizzare things for my list.

I feel I should confess loyal reader, my name is Jo and I am a hoarder. Over the years I’ve built up collections of soaps, novelty pens, pebbles from holidays and all sorts of random junk. Recently I’ve started getting rid of some of the more obviously pointless things (often by fobbing them off onto other people – special thanks must go to my Mum and friend Em who are too polite to tell me they don’t want the random bags of things I’ve offered them).

Over the past year my decluttering has stepped up a gear and this week I took lots of bags of things to Oxfam, my favourite charity shop. My new passion for getting rid of things comes partly from reading blogs such as Unclutterer.com but also from realising how much junk I’ve been hanging onto for years. As I’ve lived in my flat for several years now I’ve been spared the shame of coming face to face with my stuff whilst piling it into boxes (and then inevitably watching my Dad roll his eyes at just how many pairs of fairy wings and cute but empty gift boxes I’ve managed to accumulate).

For my Big Clear Out (things look far more impressive in capital letters, then they feel like a Project – I’m a fan of Projects) my rules were;

  • Will I ever use/wear/want it?
  • Seriously?!
  • If I’m certain I’ll use/wear/want it then why haven’t I done it for ages? This has involved some questionable outfit choices as I try to justify keeping some of the clothes I never seem to wear
  • How much would it cost me to buy a new one? My big weakness is ‘I might use it one day’ which, whilst thrifty and eco-friendly, means I have countless extra things lying around and gathering dust

My big pile of charity shop things adorned my hallway (replace the word ‘adorned’ with ‘cluttered up and made it look like a jumble sale’) for a year and was a good reminder that I should be looking for things to get rid of as well as a more general reminder not to pick up more junk to lovingly cherish (by stuffing into a drawer and ignoring it for years). As well as the charity shop stuff there was an awful lot of recycling (where possible) and chucking out (where not) so I’ve generated lots of nice empty space – and I plan to keep it that way!

Charity shop pile

All in all, I’ve taken one big box and five big bags of stuff to be turned into money by Oxfam and become someone else’s junk! Oxfam, like many other charity shops, have introduced a ‘Tag Your Bag’ Gift Aid scheme that means they can reclaim money from the taxman (wouldn’t we all like to do that?!) so my stuff is worth an extra 28% to them.They’ll also be writing to me at some point to let me know how much my hoard has made for them, I plan to add this total to the £250 I’m raising for charity this year.

I was tempted to include a note pointing out that the stuff is mine so will a) be worth extra anyway as I am basically a celebrity, and b) be worth more when this blog becomes a bestselling book then film. In the end I decided not to so I didn’t look like a moron (I was already quite embarrassed by some of the random stuff I was donating and didn’t want them to judge me anymore than was necessary!)

Being a hoarder for ages I didn’t think I’d find uncluttering so easy and oddly enjoyable. I’d encourage you to have a rummage through your random stuff – much better it is making money for charity than lounging around taking up space in your house right?

Jo x

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