Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Spring declutter

The clutter is getting the better of me. Spring has sprung and wouldn't it be lovely if there was a bit more space in our home?
Of course, it's hard to declutter with two kids and two adults who have a serious case of the hoards.

Mrs Cartside: books, CDs, craft materials, gardening stuff, random items that may come in handy one day, files
Mr Cartside: books, CDs, magazines, games and games consoles, files
The kids: toys, books, clothes, baby equipment.

Both adults led rather independent lives for rather long so when we moved together, we both brought a lot of stuff in, and two full sets of kitchen utensils etc.
We did declutter at that point by having a stall at Blochairn car boot sale, which was fun but tiring and didn't make any money to speak of.

So right now I'm trying to declutter but I'm not pretending it's going well. We had to empty the loft to get loft insulation so all the stuff we'd forgotten about was brought down. A few things were thrown away; a few things passed on. Most stuff went back up.

The plan of action is to sell valuable items through Gumtree and ebay. It never ceases to surprise me what does sell and what doesn't. I have a perfect SLR camera, much loved, and can't get it to shift. It's heartbreaking because I do love it, I took so many memorable photos with it, it travelled around the world and back and now it's worthless? Surely not. However my TENS machine went for more than I expected in just a few days.

Of course ebay is a hassle for items of small value. I did consider selling some baby outfits (the ones I loved) but after some ebay market research it's clear that baby clothes have no resale value. at all. Too much of it kicking about methinks. I'd be happy to pass on for free just that all my friends seem to be done procreating (bar one and there's only a 50% chance it'll be a girl, while I can't bear to hold on to so much stuff any longer) and I'm the last woman standing, stuck with cupboards full of pink.

So it's going to the charity shop. Not every charity shop will take everything, I know though that the Unity Centre Shop is keen for baby clothes so that'll be the one. Freecycle would be an option too, but knowing how little asylum seekers have to live on, I just know that the shop is the best option as  it's going to people who truly need the clothes, and that it won't cost them a penny.

As to baby equipment, I can't wait to get rid of the first batch and create some more space. I have a preference for Gumtree as opposed to ebay because it's more local and less complicated what with fees and posting, but it's also true that at least with ebay you know where you are after 10 days and don't have to sit indefinitely on your stuff.

It's tough though because I'm rather broody and giving things away seems so darn final. This baby of ours is just the cutest wee thing ever, and seeing big sister jump up and down to make her laugh hysterically is just so wonderful that, dare I admit it, I'd love to do it all over again. Mustn't go there. I'm too old for that. We're lucky to have two amazing girls and wanting more would be greedy and tempting fate. I disgress.

Most of our space is taken up by books anyway. And there's the real dilemma: Neither of us can part with books. I do both bookmooch and readitswapit, but see my list in relation to the total number of books owned and it becomes clear that I'm a hanger on to books (and the books I have listed on both sites never find any takers while the books I'm looking for never come up). Why? Every now and again I go through my bookcase and I know I won't read most of the books ever again. Yet there are endless reasons to keep each book:
This is the set of books I wrote my PhD on and they took me years to source.
This is a book I loved and I can't part.
These are the books I've yet to read.
This book looks nice.
These books are about stuff that I once was extremely interested in. I'm pretty sure I won't read them again but they remind me of that time.
This book cost me an arm and a leg. This book was bought in my favourite second hand bookstore.
These books may come in handy in case I lose my job and start teaching again.
These books are Irish easy readers and I may want to brush up my Irish again.
These books are travel guides to countries I've been to and those I had planned to go to but never did.

I'm sure there are more reasons. We even have duplicates, and still neither of us can part with their relevant copy.

The only books though that I think I may be able to part with are the ones that I haven't read yet - after reading. Thing is, I'm not too good reading at the moment. If I imposed an internet ban on myself I might stand a chance.

So there you have it. Blogging leads to unread book accumulation and stalemate in the decluttering department.

Do you declutter? Any tips you can share to help me out?



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