How to declutter your home (and make some extra money!)

With more of us than ever still working from home, how can we declutter and organise to make home a true sanctuary? And is there a chance to put some extra pennies in our pockets?

Let’s face it, almost all of us have more stuff than we need. This was never more evident than during lockdown when we looked around and suddenly realised that our homes were full – too full, in fact. Hands up if you did a big clear-out during all those months spent at home? Us too. 

The issue was that there was simply nowhere for all of our carefully organised belongings to go. Charity shops were either closed or overwhelmed, and many of us still have bin bags sitting in our hallways in search of a good home. So much for that clutter-free existence. Better in our hallways than in landfill though which, according to new research from the British Heart Foundation, is where 30% of people have sent items that could have been reused or donated instead. 

How to Get Started with Decluttering

We spoke with Victoria Nicholson, a Professional Organiser who is a certified KonMari™consultant, to get some tips to declutter and organise our homes.

So here’s the thing, I really, really care about the environment and climate change and often feel bad because I’m not doing enough but according to Howard Zinn ‘we don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people , can transform the world.’ In other words, everyone doing a little bit is better than one person doing it all. People often ask me how decluttering can go hand in hand with sustainable living given that it’s all about ‘tossing things out’. The answer is that decluttering can actually give you HUGE sustainability points if it’s done the right way.

First, you need to realise that decluttering isn’t an instant fix. I could easily walk into a client’s home, dispose of unwanted items and leave it looking pretty but I can guarantee that 3 months down the line the clutter levels will be pretty much back where they started. It’s easy to get into the cycle of buying things, clearing out then buying more things to replace those things. Here are some steps you can take to ‘break the cycle’.

Look at WHY you have accumulated a lot of things in the first place. What kind of shopper are you? How can you avoid the same pitfalls in future? TIP – if you want a clue, go to your Amazon account and look at your past buys.

Now look at why you’ve kept things, some common reasons might be:

‘It cost me a lot of my hard earned money’ – the money’s already been spent. Keeping it won’t get you your money back.

‘It was a gift’ – the gift was the joy you got at the time you received it.

‘It’s useful’ – my Dad was always picking up ‘useful pieces of wood’ – they may have been useful to someone but definitely not to him as he didn’t have a workshop.

‘I’ll use it some day’ – ‘some day’ often means never.

‘It has sentimental value’ – this is a tough one, but better to keep fewer sentimental items that REALLY MEAN SOMETHING and display them where you can see them than have a whole load of stuff buried under the bed.

‘I’m keeping it for my children’ – it was a tough lesson when I realised my son didn’t want my collection of ID magazines from the 80’s.

Decluttering is a teaching tool – it teaches us to value and look after the items we choose to keep and not make the same purchasing mistakes.

‘There is no such thing as AWAY. When you throw something away it must go somewhere’

Annie Leonard. 

The aim here is to keep your clutter out of landfill. This means re-homing them. It’s good to get things off the premises as soon as you can so make sure you think about where it’s all going to go. 

Once you’ve decluttered take the time to reflect on your past buying habits and really think responsibly before making future purchases:

– Do you need to buy the item?

– Can you use something you already have?

– Can you borrow it? If you know you will only need items for a limited time this makes good sense. For example, baby and children’s items can be rented from Y’earn.

Organisation is key when choosing which items to give away and which to keep.

We’re also an eco-conscious bunch and we don’t want to send things to landfill, so if you do have items to clear out, here is our guide to the best websites where you can sell your things. Extra pocket money? We don’t mind if we do!

Declutter Your Wardrobe

Once you’ve done your sorting, there are numerous sites where you can send your beloved wardrobe staples on to a happy new home. 

Depop

Depop has been branded the Instagram for selling clothes – but don’t let that put you off! It’s easy to take photos of the clothes you are selling and listing them is absolutely free. Once you sell the item, Depop takes a 10% commission. It’s a great way to reach a lot of buyers, and it will leave you a little richer.

Videdressing and Hardly Ever Worn It

If the clothes that you’re selling are more of the designer variety, head to sites like Videdressing and Hardly Ever Worn It (HEWI) for an easy selling experience and just a small commission. Just make sure you don’t start shopping while you’re there…

Vinted

Loved by shoppers around the world, Vinted is like eBay – but just for clothes. Again, selling is easy. Just take a photo and wait for the buyers to arrive. Our favourite part? There are absolutely no selling fees. What you make, you keep. 

Clothes Swap

Think of different groups that you you could organise a clothes swap with – friends, neighbours, post-natal group. 

Organise that furniture, and the knick-knacks too

Second Time Around

Based in London with furniture to sell? Give Second Time Around a call. They are experts in their field, with two shops in the nation’s capital. The folks at Second Time Around will give a fair price for your precious furniture. 

Thrifted

If you have some more upmarket pieces of furniture to sell, look no further than Thrifted. Their mission is to take the hassle out of selling furniture online and they will look after everything, from payments to transport. They even have an option to donate a portion of your profits to charity. 

Organise Your Games, Books and Electronics

MusicMagpie

Almost everyone has a drawer full of old phones needing a new home. Enter MusicMagpie. The site is extremely easy to use and features same-day payment when you make a sale. It’s not just for phones either. You can also sell tech, books, CDs (remember them?), DVDs, games and even Lego. It’s well worth a visit. For the super-geeks among us, CeX might also be a good choice for selling phones, games and electronics. 

Ziffit

Ziffit do great work selling books, games, DVDs and CDs. We love their handy app and easy four-step process to a sale. They even have a free courier service if your package is heavy. What’s not to love? 

Cash Converters

Cash Converters is pawnbroking with an upgrade. It is completely flexible and it is a great place to sell your unwanted tech, books and even jewellery. Rather than being a fully online operation, they are instead a local store, where you can stroll in to show your goods and get them valued. It’s a good choice if you prefer a face-to-face interaction.  

One person’s junk is another person’s treasure

There are a host of websites where you can sell pretty much anything so, once you’ve done a thorough declutter, visit these sites and get selling:

  • Shpock: A one-stop shop. Like eBay, without the auction element. 
  • Preloved: We know at least three people who have found their wedding dresses on Preloved. It’s great. 
  • WeBuy4Cash: One for the Londoners. The clue is in the name: these folks will buy anything for cash. 
  • FreeCycle: This isn’t a place to make money as everything is given away for free! But we love the idea behind this site. Community at its finest.

Children’s Items: The Lowdown

Most parents will be reading this blog because they are interested in sustainable parenting. It’s true that this begins at home. There are a few places that you can go to make some extra money from the items your child no longer needs. 

Clutter can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed, but decluttering can be an enjoyable and satisfying process!

Market of Mums

This is a brilliant app which allows mums (and dads too, we’re sure) to sell items they no longer need, from prams to toys to clothes. At the moment, it’s only available on the Apple Store but we hope they will expand to Android soon. 

Mum2Mum Market

As seen on Dragon’s Den no less, Mum2Mum Market is a site where you can find local markets in order to sell your preloved clothes for babies and children. This is a great chance to channel your inner entrepreneur and make some extra cash. 

Become an Earner with Y’earn

We need to give ourselves a shout-out on this list, because our site offers parents the chance to earn some extra cash by renting out the items their baby or child no longer needs. From furniture to car seats to prams, Y’earn is a great spot to earn! You can even get your items back after the rental period to sell on – if you so desire. 

We can’t wait to hear about your decluttering journey. Please do share your stories in the comments below. 

For further sustainability at home tips, check out our guide on the best low waste personal care products and article on sustainable self-care for parents.

Victoria is a Professional Organiser based in Putney and for those that are familiar with Marie Kondo, a certified KonMari™ consultant.  Working with clients one to one she helps them not only to organise their space but teaches strategies so they can keep it that way. Visit www.mywardrobezen.co.uk for more information.

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Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people and small businesses in your community or make some cash if you have items you don't need right now. We plant 🌲 and adopt 🐝, plus give to children’s charities.

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