Andrew and I are the proud owners of a 2 bedroom house in the northern suburbs of Wellington. As well as a couple bedrooms and a sizeable living / dining area we also had a bunch of cupboards, hidey-holes, an attic, a shed and a garage, all of which seem to be overflowing with stuff! We have to declutter!
A couple years back our house was broken into, and one of the positives of that fairly negative experience was it had opened our eyes to how good life can be with less stuff. We didn’t need multiple devices, laptops, cameras and more, but man, I did not realise how much stuff we still had hanging around……
So, operation minimalise has been my main focus since New Years and will continue until all our stuff is out of the house. Every week I rummage around the house, and create 4 piles;
- Pack pile – the stuff we want to keep in storage,
- Sell pile – the stuff that we no longer need and can be sold,
- Donate pile – the stuff that is too hard to sell,
- Rubbish pile – the stuff that is past its best and not worth donating.
Packing has been slow, since we still have a few more weeks in the house and lot of the stuff we want to keep is stuff we’re using. I imagine the hardest thing is going to be our wadrobes, as we still have a fair few BBQs, parties, weddings and a whole lot of work stuff left which we will need to sort out before we go.
On the other hand, the sell pile has grown and shrunk and grown again. I had my first experience selling on facebook, after 18 months of selling exclusively on Trade Me (that’s kinda New Zealands version of eBay…..) and it was great. Ive even been hustling my facebook friends to buy stuff off us – its a little embarrassing but it works! We made almost $300 in just a couple days, getting rid of all manner of things to a real cross section of people. Since the initial flurry of activity things have slowed down a bit – maybe because everyone is back at work, and school and the reality of the Christmas credit card spend has come home via the bill. Either way, the stuff that hasn’t sold is moving piles to the donations pile.
Donating is important and we are lucky to have a couple of op shops in our local community. We’ve made an effort to only give them useful stuff and not just make them a dumping ground for stuff we cant throw away. We always ensure the item we donate are clean and tidy. At the moment we have a box of ‘things’ a box of food and a whole bag of clothes all of which are due to be dropped off at various places, and this is just the first lot! I can only hope once we reduce the piles we will gain our floor space back and I will stop worrying about how the rest of our stuff will fit in to one tiny storage unit.
Suddenly living out of a 70L backpack is seeming awfully hard!
10 tips based on my own experience
So, here is my 10 tip run-down on what I learnt….
On the ‘stuff’ front:
- If you have more than one of something, do you need it? We ended up with 3 wine decanters! Pick the one (or at a stretch two) item(s) to keep and get rid of the others. Be ruthless!
- If you cant remember the last time you used it, wore it or even saw it, it can probably go!
- If it isn’t functional, beautiful or of value, get rid of it!
- It it’s beyond its best before date, get rid of it (Im looking at you pantry items and out of date sunscreen).
- If its broken, get it out of your life. Right now.
On the selling front:
- Take great photos – I use layout to display multiple images at once
- Write great, searchable, titles and descriptions – be clear, punctuate well, use full words.
- Make the price really clear – Sometimes I even overlay the price on to my photos, so there is no confusion
- Make your terms on what you will/will not do really clear – I dont want to be driving for 30 minute to drop off your $5 item!
- Be friendly but assertive – people will ask if you’ll take $10 for something you’re trying to sell for $50. You’re allowed to say no, just be nice about it.
What tips work for you, when you’re decluttering your house?