8 Simple Steps to De-Clutter Your Life

…and even make a bit of cash from it.

If someone had told us a few years ago that one of the most talked-about shows of 2019 was something called Tidying Up, a reality show *literally* about tidying up we wouldn’t have believed you. But it’s true, and the art of de-cluttering is something of a trend RN.

If you planned on tackling your wardrobe/storeroom/that one drawer in your kitchen where you just put random stuff like old batteries and chopsticks in as part of your ‘new year, new me’ mission but haven’t done it yet, don’t worry; it’s not too late. Claire Cobbledick, GM-Director of Gumtree South Africa, aka the unofficial home of where your clutter is sent to die (and by ‘die’ we mean become someone else’s clutter), offers her advice on how to de-clutter your life in 8 easy steps:

1 Don’t shift the clutter

It’s very tempting to just pack things into boxes and put them somewhere you can’t see it. ‘Moving stuff into an attic or a garage is not de-cluttering, it’s simply building a bigger problem for later,’ says Claire. ‘Resolve to get rid of items and not to just tidy them away out of sight.’

2 Asses your stuff on strong criteria

Claire recommends asking the question ‘Do I need this or will I need it sometime soon?’ and chucking anything that doesn’t fit that criteria. Be strict and don’t let yourself make excuses, like ‘But one of my kids might want this one day’. Your kids are going to be able to print clothing and eat holograms; they don’t want your old hand-me-downs.

3 Be generous

This is your opportunity to be the philanthropist you lied about being on your CV! Give away as much as you can afford to. ‘Transporting bulky items like furniture can be a logistical and cost problem for some potentially grateful recipients but it’s possible to source cheap delivery services by searching on Gumtree with a filter for your area. If you’re clearing out books, most urban areas have a charity bookstore which will gratefully take your old volumes.’ says Claire.

4 Sell your stuff

Your trash is another person’s treasure. There is a market for almost anything and it’s really easy to sell second hand goods online. Claire recommends that you use the Price Checker feature on Gumtree to make sure you’re selling at a competitive price. ‘If time is of the essence, then go low and say ‘first to collect it gets it’. If you’re prepared to take a little longer, then go a little higher. Always post a clear picture of the item and comprehensively describe it.’

5 Don’t underestimate your old tech

That old cellphone you keep in a drawer just in case you break your current phone could be sold for the price of a new, extra protective phone cover (and a bag of rice) instead.  ‘Old cellphones represent a particularly lucrative category, as does used sports equipment and vinyl LP’s.’ says Claire. So before you donate those barely-used tap shoes your parents bought you while you were going through that phase, post an ad for them online.

6 Aim to sell in the beginning of the year

Furniture and household goods sell best early on in the year because many people are moving into their new rentals then. Claire says ‘Refrigerators are the third most searched for item on Gumtree, so you should be able to quickly shift your old one or that spare drinks fridge.’

7 Save yourself the stress

Doing a big clean is stressful. Sometimes you just need to pay someone else to do things for you and write it off as a downpayment on your mental health. If you value your time more than your money then use a company like Moving On who will clear out everything you need gone in one go for a commission.

8 Don’t go shopping

Now that you’ve cleared all this space it might be tempting to fill it with nice, shiny new things. ‘Don’t immediately replace old unwanted stuff with a new load of future clutter,’ says Claire. ‘Only buy items in 2019 that you really need or that will bring you genuine pleasure.’

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