We have been doing a lot of decluttering lately. I’ve been going through everything in the house, every cupboard, drawer, box, nook and cranny clearing out stuff and generally getting things in order and making room for our new addition.
We have been living in this house for nearly 3 years now. Some of our cupboards are packed the same way as when I first shoved things in them after we moved. Some cupboards desperately needed cleaning. The cupboard under the bathroom sink was full of gecko poo and I chucked out a lot of old out of date stuff from my pre-natural only days.
I love decluttering. It’s cathartic and invigorating. I read once that a cluttered house is a cluttered mind and by decluttering your possessions, you are also clearing away the cobwebs in your mind. That’s how I feel. Less burdened by stuff.
Some people rent storage units for their extra stuff. Our local storage centre has an ad up starting at $80 per month for a storage unit. That’s nearly $1,000 a year to store stuff you probably won’t ever look at again.
To make more room, there are a few steps that we took to deal with our ‘stuff’.
1. Sell it
We sold an old telly through our local paper for $100. This should be just about enough to buy a cot – second hand from the local paper.
I also have stuff on eBay, but I am finding that I’m having better success selling through the local rag than on eBay (and it’s free whereas eBay and PayPal aren’t.)
Selling unwanted items is a great way to get rid of things that you don’t need or want anymore, while making a few extra bob on the side. If you have a lot of stuff, you could consider having a garage sale.
The surprise benefit of selling your stuff is that you meet new people. I met a lovely person last week when we sold her something and she told me all the good places to get second hand baby clothes.
2. Donate it
Whatever wasn’t worth selling, we are giving away. I’ve finally decided to part with about 100 cooking magazines that I collected in my spendthrift days but no longer read. I did harvest a few recipes from them that I thought I might like, but someone else will get some use out of the mags, which is better than them sitting in a cupboard. As well as mags, we cleared out clothes and books and stationary and kitchenware, whatever we didn’t want but was in good condition.
3. Bin it
The rest of the stuff we didn’t want that didn’t meet donate standard got either recycled or trashed.
Old clothes, towels, sheets etc got recycled into rags. I kept some old towels to cut up into baby wipes and I’m repurposing some sheets no longer in sets as cot sheets by cutting them up and rehemming them. We also recycled and old PC tower and whatever else could be.
The rest went.
4. Get creative with storage solutions
With everything that we kept, it all got a rethink. Where is the best place to store things? As a lot of our stuff was just placed willy nilly when we moved in, I’ve been thinking about more logical places to store things. I also thought about how I use things. If I found myself going from one end of the house to another collecting items for a project, then I stored these things together.
We stored some things up in the roof particularly empty boxes for the next time that we move. Hopefully rats don’t nest in these. Other things like winter clothes we stored in suitcases under the bed.
5. Stack and Pack
I have found so much more space in the cupboards just by organising things better. For example, sheet sets that we don’t use but keep in case of visitors, got folded and stored in a pillow slip to keep the set together and prevent sheets from slipping out of the cupboard when things get pulled out.
In order to keep things organised and tidy in the future, I’ve tried to make the items we use frequently accessible and as easy to put away as possible, otherwise things get jumbled back into cupboards higgledy-piggledy. The items that we don’t use often are packed in quite tightly.
We have a lot of stuff like school memorabilia, college year books, photo albums and letters etc that we don’t want to get rid of, but they don’t need to be accessible either. I’ve packed all of this kind of stuff into boxes and stuck a piece of paper on the box with the list of contents, and stacked the boxes away label facing outward, so if we want something in the future, we will be able to find it easily.
All in all, not only have we freed up more space, we’ve made things easier to get to, easier to put away and easier to use. Now I just have to stay organised. Oh, and I’ve got more room for new stuff 😉 – just kidding.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.