If you find yourself running out of space at home and you can’t find your stuff because of – well, all of your stuff! – it could be time for a bit of a clear-out!
Children’s Hospice South West is looking forward to being able to reopen its charity shops next week, but in the meantime it is urging people thinking about having a pre-Christmas or lockdown de-clutter to donate any unwanted goods.
After reopening following the summer lockdown, the charity’s 35 South West shops proved extremely popular as people found the confidence to venture back onto the High Street. But the increased demand has led to a call for more stock donations.
The charity is asking people to bag up any donations of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories, particularly winter clothes. It also needs children’s toys, games and homewares, and any donations can be dropped off at the shops when they reopen on December 2.
It can sometimes be tricky parting with the things we no longer need, but a good declutter has huge benefits for our mental wellbeing and the environment, as well as the hundreds of families that CHSW supports across the South West.
Professional organiser and self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Stuff’ Jasmine Sleigh of East Devon-based Change Your Space, has helped hundreds of people sort their stuff since she set up the service in 2013. She spends her days helping people to take control of their homes, arranging logistics for house moves, and downsizing projects.
Jasmine says: “We have about two million individual redundant items residing in our homes with an estimated reuse value of £32 billion. When we have a clear out, we not only create much more space and order in our own home to enjoy the things we want to keep, but charities benefit enormously from quality donations of what we do not want in our homes anymore.
It’s a win-win.
The current lockdown offers a great opportunity to make room before Christmas and to take care of ourselves by ensuring our homes are a sanctuary and ensuring a circular economy of reuse in the community.
“Studies show that about 30% of us have enough clutter to fill an entire room, and 2020 has allowed us to examine at length if our homes meet our changing requirements,” added Jasmine, who has already facilitated the donation nearly a thousand pounds’ worth of quality items to CHSW’s Exmouth store since it opened in July this year.
Celebrate your unused items by donating them to Children’s Hospice South West and not only let them live again but have the warm glow of knowing you are directly supporting an important charity.
If you would like to donate any unwanted items to a CHSW charity shop, please place your donations in sealed bags and call the shop beforehand to let staff know you will be dropping off a donation. Please do not leave donations outside shops. Address and contact details of all CHSW charity shops can be found here.
Jasmine’s Top Decluttering Tips!
1. Be grateful. Set out as if you are going to simply review your belongings. Say to yourself I am going to examine the contents of this cupboard or wardrobe, give it a clean round, see what I have and put it back in. You will inevitably find items you forgot you had that are either joyous to use, or excellent to donate. But this ‘trick’ is to avoid feeling pressured to clear out, and more about being in a grateful state of mind when you see all the amazing belongings you have. It is then a lot easier to spot the items you do not use and readily donate.
2. Consider the real you. What do I really use? What do I really wear now? We all buy items for a lifestyle we imagined but does not marry with how we really spend our days. In the kitchen it may be that expensive juicer you bought; in the wardrobe it may be that dress you splashed out on but have not worn. You are not alone with on average 45% of our clothing hanging in our wardrobes unworn year on year. Even if you did pay good money for the item, or feel guilty as you meant to read that book/create amazing art/lose that weight/host amazing dinner parties etc, the best course of feeling better about yourself is to make room for the things you do actually do enjoy day to day. Be practical and forgive yourself. We all have been there.
3. Honour the past. Create keepsake boxes for special items that remind you of special time in your life, or those of your loved ones. They should be deliberately chosen. Once you have a special solid box for keepsakes, it makes it easier to prioritise what goes in those boxes and for other sentimental items such as gifts to potentially be given a new home and donated. I have seen a huge weight come off the shoulders of my clients when they realise that they have some special memories to keep, but that other gifted items are OK to donate and give a new life elsewhere.
4. Keep going. Acknowledge that sorting and sifting is an ongoing part of us being good stewards of our homes and belongings. We would not consider leaving our garden to just find its own way. We trim the lawn, and prune plants and trees to make them stronger, and keep them well. The same is the case for our homes. Tackle that cupboard today and then know you will come back to the next cupboard another day. It is not a one-off task. You can start light touch, so ask yourself what is easy to make decisions on, and then return perhaps to do a more significant sift another time.
5. Deal with it. Once you have conducted your sort, ensure you have time to put what you want to keep away, feeling proud of the space and order. But then deal with the unwanted items. Put in a bag to donate immediately and arrange to take that day or soon. Do not let it reside by your door for too long. If we are in lockdown, either store until the stores open, or contact your local professional organiser who may be storing items for charity and can add those items. Ensure you have checked times for donations, as some stores have specific donation days.