As much as I try to avoid pigeonholing, over the years I’ve noticed that there do seem to be ‘categories’ of cluttered people and they all need my help in very different ways. So I’m excited to share this guest blog with you from Vintage Cash Cow, a company who help you declutter by swapping your vintage treasures for cash.
At Vintage Cash Cow we talk to declutterers every day. In fact we’ve spoken to over 50,000 declutterers and we’ve realised a bit of a pattern. Nearly everyone who uses Vintage Cash Cow undertakes a specific kind of declutter project…
We’ve identified 7 different types of declutter project, and shared our top tips for each type. Which one are you? Read on to find out…
The ‘I need some space declutterer’
If you are this type of declutterer you’ll likely have clutter hot spots around your home. Sometimes, it might not even be your clutter.
You’re most likely to have a junk drawer, a table for ‘dumping’ things that you’ll sort out later, mantelpieces groaning with nick-nacks or if you’re anything like me an entire bookcase that’s taken on a life of its own.
You don’t really like clutter, but you can live with it, there are just better things to do with your time than declutter – plus, your mess is organised – you totally know where everything is!
Tips for the ‘I need some space declutterer’
1. Start in your clutter hot spots – clear out an area that usually looks cluttered and instead create a corner of joy, when you see it clear you’ll feel a sense of achievement early on in your efforts that
will keep you going.
2. Out of site isn’t out of mind – clear out cupboards and drawers giving yourself more space to put away things that are cluttering your surfaces.
3. Don’t save things to sort out later – give everything a home and put it away after you’ve used it; this will help you to stop putting off decluttering and to deal with clutter at the source.
The ‘I’ve retired declutter’
When you retire, it feels almost like a fresh start. Many new retirees spend a little time decluttering their lives before carrying on with their dreams of travelling, paying more attention to their gardens, or just enjoying more free time.
If you are this type of declutterer, you’ll be itching to start a huge declutter project. You’ll be looking forward to keeping the things you love and getting rid of the things that are just taking up space. It’s almost an unburdening of the years gone by.
The extra cash you can get from selling your clutter is a great incentive to start this type of project. Many of our retired customers put the money they make towards holidays, treating their children and grandchildren, or on meals out.
Tips for the ‘I’ve retired declutterer’
1. Start by clearing out your, work clothes, books and paperwork. Most can be sold, recycled or donated to a charity shop. You’ll be surprised how much space you save, and how much you’ll
enjoy getting rid of your old work stuff.
2. Don’t try to do it all at once – the I’ve retired declutter tends to be a big project. Just do one room at a time or one corner at a time – this will stop you getting overwhelmed and giving up.
3. Add regular decluttering to your new routine. A big project is great, but keeping on top of it after will make you feel amazing in all sorts of ways.
The ‘downsizing declutterer’
If you’re this type of declutterer you’ll know all about it. You’ll be moving into a smaller space, but the larger home you’re moving out of has more stuff than you can accommodate. There’ll be a deadline looming over you and there’s no choice but to declutter before you move. This is often one of the most difficult types of declutter project. You’re driven by a necessity to get rid of stuff, rather than a desire, that can make it difficult to part with the more sentimental items.
Tips for the ‘downsizing declutterer’
1. Give yourself plenty of time to declutter before you move, it can take weeks to go through a whole house full of stuff, the more time you have to sort it all out, the more likely you are to only take
things you really need with you.
2. If you’re struggling to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, ask yourself this question: “Would I pay to move this item?” Remember, if you have a lot of stuff you’ll need a big moving van, so with everything you keep, you’re paying to transport it from one home to the other – If you wouldn’t pay to move that item, then it shouldn’t be packed.
3. Plan your new space before you move, it’s easy to move too much stuff with you when you don’t have a good idea of how much space you’ll have in your new home.
The ‘I was going to sell these declutterer’
If you’re this type of declutterer you’ll have one (or more) piles of stuff around your home that you plan to sell. You want to keep the items together…because that’s your selling pile. It’s easier than putting all the stuff away only to pull it out later.
The problem is that selling isn’t always straightforward. If you’re selling on eBay or Facebook, you’ll want to take multiple photos of your items and you’ll need to think of pricing and descriptions. A lot of the time it’s easy to put off, because you just don’t have the time.
Eventually you’ll get fed up of the piles that don’t get sold and you’ll do something extreme like throwing them away, donating them, or maybe you’ll just put them away until the next time.
Tips for the ‘I was going to sell these declutterer’
1. Consider selling items in bulk, yes! It is possible! At Vintage Cash Cow we encourage selling in bulk, it’s all about having a fast, free and easy way to sell a lot of stuff at once. Send a box of vintage items to us for one instant payment, or try sending DVDs, books and old mobile phones to Ziffit. Do your research and you’ll find there are easier ways to finally exchange your ‘to sell’ pile for cash.
2. If you’re holding on to some very small items that aren’t worth very much, consider donating them instead of selling. If they aren’t worth much, then it might not be worth the effort of selling them.
3. If you’re planning to sell the items one by one, give each of them a deadline and establish a penalty for missing it. If you’ve listed the item for sale by the deadline, then you’re making good progress, if you’ve missed the deadline, the item gets donated, recycled or put away.
The ‘I looked through your brochure and realised I had this stuff declutterer’
I think this is my favourite kind of declutterer and possibly our most common one. It usually starts when you see our advert on Facebook and you click on it to find out what we’re all about. You arrive at our website, see all the items we buy and you start to remember that you have these things around your home. Either they’re hidden away, gathering dust and forgotten about, or you thought they were worthless. When you see we’re willing to buy this stuff, you happily fill up a box with items you didn’t know were valuable or didn’t know you could sell. You send it to Vintage Cash Cow and we pay you for it. I love this one, because it reminds me that we’re doing a great job at giving our customers an incentive to declutter, which is what we’re all about.
Tips for the ‘I looked through your brochure and realised I had this stuff declutterer’
1. Use our free decluttering guide to fill your box up, there’s a lot of great pictures in there and a lot of further information on our website.
2. Make sure you pack your items well, they will be going in the post, so you need to make sure you don’t pack anything fragile and that you use newspaper or bubble wrap to protect the items and
fill up the empty spaces in the box.
3. If you’ve done some decluttering as a result of using Vintage Cash Cow, don’t stop there! Continue to sort your stuff out to enjoy the benefits of a calmer home and a happier mind.
The ‘I inherited this stuff declutterer’
You have a lot of things, but most of them aren’t yours. You’ll have inherited some items from a friend or family member. Sometimes they’ll just be taking up a cupboard or the attic, but in extreme cases, you may find yourself renting a storage unit.
If you’re storing these items, the thought of throwing them away or donating them or even selling them might make you feel guilty – after all, they aren’t your things, someone held on to these items because they were once seen as precious. The problem is that different people value different things.
It’s OK to sort out stuff you’ve inherited. It’s OK to throw some of it away, donate it or sell it. The items gave your relative joy when they were alive. If you sell or donate them, someone else will cherish them again. Isn’t that better than them gathering dust?
Tips for the ‘I inherited this stuff declutterer’
1. Prepare. This type of declutter takes will power. You’ll be tempted to put it off or to keep things just out of guilt. Before you declutter spend a little time thinking about the person the items used
to belong to. Think about what made them precious to you and hold that in your mind as you clear out the items. Start by throwing away anything that doesn’t directly remind you of that person and
you’ll find it gets easier as you go through.
2. Really think about each item and whether it makes you happy. If you have fond memories of an item, you’ll display it in your house and use it, then it’s worth keeping, otherwise, you need to part
3. If selling the inherited items feels a little taboo to you, consider using the money you make to remember the person the items belonged to. Plant a tree with a plaque, donate a park bench,
hold a party in their memory, or simply have a drink on them one afternoon.
The ‘I don’t want my children to have to sort out my stuff declutterer’
I often feel like this is a bit of a sticky wicket. No one likes to talk about their own mortality, but the fact of the matter is that this figures way more than you’d think among the most popular reasons for decluttering.
When our parents pass away, it often falls to the children to sort out the estate. For many this is a tough time, sorting out someone else’s possessions when you’ve just lost them is a very emotional and difficult journey to go through.
Once you’ve been through something like that, it’s not unusual to vow that your children will never have to do that for you. Enter the ‘I don’t want my children to have to sort my stuff out declutterer’. If you’re this kind of declutterer you’ll have wild plans to declutter your entire house, including the attic! But mostly, you feel like you’re helping your children out, and that’s what gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction and achievement as you go through all your stuff.
Tips for the ‘I don’t want my children to have to sort out my stuff declutterer’
1. Unless you’re keen on becoming a minimalist, don’t go too far. Keep things that you love, and get rid of things you really don’t need or don’t want your children to have to deal with.
2. Some things are hard to get rid of, things like family photos, greeting cards, old letters and pictures your children painted when they were small. Consider taking photos of these items to
create a digital photo album of the items, you can get rid of the physical memento’s but still keep the sentiment and the reminder.
3. Stay motivated. This type of project takes time to get through. It’s tempting to give up early on. Read blogs like this one for some great tips and advice or enlist the help of a professional declutterer and organiser. Take before and after photos so you can easily see your progress, sell the things you’re getting rid of to earn a little money along the way.
Whichever declutter project you’re undertaking, help is at hand. Keep checking back with A Tidy Mind – as a professional declutterer, I’m always sharing top tips to keep you motivated. For a fast, free and easy way to sell your decluttering spoils in bulk, check out Vintage Cash Cow. You’ll be clutter free before you know it!
Thanks for this blog post goes to Kat – an over-excitable writer for the Vintage Cash Cow blog, woe betide anyone who steals her favourite thinking pen.