Posted by Wayne in Tips

8 Days of Spring Cleaning - A Guide to Cutting the Clutter

Spring is officially in full swing, and the increasing temperatures and greater levels of sunshine (in theory) signal one thing in particular – a new beginning. For many people, spring is a time for renewal, and the vast majority of individuals will use the season to take up a new hobby, enjoy a new experience or simply take steps to improve their lifestyles. Spring is also the time where many focus on creating a better living environment, with spring cleaning a hot topic at this time of year. As a service that specialises in recycling clothes, spring is one of our busiest periods and as the British Heart Foundation (BHF) revealed in their Spring Clear Out campaign last year, the wardrobe habits of the great British public in particular are far from ideal.

BHF’s Spring Clear Out survey reported that 22% of Brits may have felt happy when they purchased their latest clobber, but later (or in some cases, in the moments after purchase) felt guilty about the amount of money they spent. Research also found that 15% of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed lied about what they’d spent on clothes to loved ones. An overwhelming 66% of those surveyed even hung onto items that no longer fitted and had at least one item that had never seen the light of day. Half of those surveyed by the British Heart Foundation dreaded having a clear out, whilst one quarter admitted to clearing out their closets less than once a year. Clutter around the home can create visual stress, with the stuff we see lying about proven to make people feel rundown, tired and frustrated. Which explains why 94% of Brits said they feel good after clearing out. Helping people create and maintain clean and clear living spaces is what we love to do at Genie Recycling, in fact the comfort that we all get from feeling confident about our homes is what inspired us to create this essential guide to cutting the clutter.

Of course, your wardrobe isn’t the only area where that hard to clear clutter so easily accumulates. Clutter finds its way into many areas of our home, especially after shopping sprees and annual events like Christmas and birthdays. In fact, modern life alone is enough to cause clutter in the average family home to reach the point of overflowing. Read on to discover how you can conquer the clutter throughout your home in just 8 DAYS!

DAY 1 – Plan ahead for success

Just like with saving money, tackling the clutter that may have been years in the making takes a lot of preparation. Planning makes perfect when attempting to clear those household items that you’ve been hanging onto for way too long, and as you can imagine there are a number of tried and tested methods recommended by expert ‘declutterers’. The top down method is the most celebrated decluttering tactic and involves the clearing of clutter from the highest places (for example, the top of bookshelves) and working your way down from there. Top down is the ultimate spring cleaning technique as you can not only tackle the clutter that’s accumulated over the years but clean up the dust and dirt that so commonly accompanies it more efficiently.

There are also a variety of ways that you can make the decluttering process easier. Enlisting the help of family and friends is advised, whilst cleaning in 15 minute increments, rather than for hours at a time, has been found to be more effective. Going for short and sweet decluttering sessions also makes the risk of burnout lower. Loading up with the supplies you need to declutter is another recommendation. Cardboard boxes are essential, you should have at least four to store things that you want to keep, give away, donate and bin.

DAY 2 – Start with the easy stuff

Some things are easier to get rid of than others, and we’re not just talking about the sentimental items here. Starting in the spaces that are easier to declutter, such as your wardrobe, is a great way to begin your decluttering journey confidently. Clothes are the most hoarded items for the majority of people but they are relatively easy to cut ties with. Clothes that don’t fit or haven’t been worn for a while are great candidates for our service.

We specialise in recycling clothes so customers can not only cut the clutter but make extra money from it. There are of course many places where you can sell your old clothes for cash but we offer the best price for those looking to recycle clothes as well as find a quick, hassle-free service. We buy a variety of clothing and footwear types, including underwear, babywear, sports shoes, teenwear and accessories, making the process of getting rid of the items that you have outgrown or not used in a while easy. Get started today by requesting a free collection pack.

DAY 3 – Donate to charity

There are lots of items that you can put to one side to donate to your local charity. Like the clothing and shoes that you intend to send to us, boxing and clearly labelling them is an essential part of continuing your decluttering journey. There are many items that we cannot accept here at Genie Recycling, but charities will be happy to receive such donations so you can declutter whilst giving to a good cause. Giving to charity in order to give items a second life helps the environment too, particularly when items cannot be fully recycled.

Most charity shops sell a wide range of items, however it is important to be clear on what they can and can’t accept. Specialist items such as electrical goods or furniture may not be able to be resold. Bedding, cushions, curtains, towels, rugs, pyjamas, fancy dress and homemade knitwear can be sold second hand at most charity shops. Books and toys are also items that charity shops accept.  When considering items for donation, ask yourself “would somebody else buy this?”. If the answer is “no”, then it may be better to bin it or look at other recycling options. If it’s a “maybe”, why not jump to our next tip…

DAY 4 – Have a yard sale

Those that have a weekend spare may want to host a yard sale or attend a car boot sale to turn a profit on items. There may be many items that you earmark during your decluttering project that may be unsuitable for recycling through a service like us or cannot be accepted by your local charity shop, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the road for these goods.

As the saying goes “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, and enticing the bargain hunters in your neighbourhood with a good old fashioned yard or garage sale is a great way to get rid of items that have been gathering dust for years. Hosting a garage sale is simple, but to get the customers in you have to do more than just set up shop on your doorstep. Advertising your garage or yard sale around the neighbourhood or even placing an advertisement in your local newspaper is an excellent step to maximising reach. Displaying items properly and having a clear pricing strategy is also recommended for swift, easy and profitable transactions.

Don’t have the time or space to host your own yard sale? Car boot sales are hosted throughout the UK so use today to attend one. Car Boot Junction and Your Booty are well-resourced directories for finding car boot sales in your area. Just make sure you arrive early!

DAY 5 – Recycle, recycle, recycle

So you’ve recycled your unwanted clothes courtesy of our great service, but what about the items you can’t sell? You don’t have to put everything in the trash, there are in fact a variety of household items that you can recycle. Recycle Now’s What To Do With directory is an excellent resource for finding out what you can recycle and where. As well as the easy to recycle items, this directory details where you recycle aerosols, corporate workwear, electrical items, food waste and medicines with ease.

Use Day 5 to concentrate on the rooms where the highest volume of recyclables can be found. The average bathroom is full of recyclables for instance. According to Recycle Now, if everyone in the UK recycled one bathroom cleaner bottle, enough energy could be saved to vacuum around 82,460 homes. So just think how much energy would be saved if you recycled all those shampoo and conditioner bottles, shower and bubble bath bottles, toothpaste and soap boxes, toilet roll tubes, bleach and bathroom cleaner bottles, deodorants, and moisturiser bottles. Kitchens are another area of the home that’s generally awash with recyclables, whilst recyclable newspapers and magazines can quickly become clutter, meaning there’s lots to do today!

DAY 6 - Visit your local tip

There are many things that can’t be recycled, resold or reused, leaving the bin as the only option. For those that have bags (and bags) of rubbish to dispose of, waiting for your weekly waste collection may not be a viable option. Tackle the big clear out head on with a visit to your local waste recycling centre. With spring cleaning season in full swing however, visiting your local tip during quieter periods is recommended for quick and easy disposal. Weekdays of course tend to be less busy than weekends, with early morning (8am to 10am) and late afternoon (3pm to 5pm) the best times to visit most local tips.

Whilst waste recycling centres accept a wide range of household waste and recyclables free of charge, those looking to dispose of non-household waste will have to pay a small charge. The non-household waste label is rather deceiving, after all isn’t all waste from the home classed as household waste? Surplus bricks from household renovations and soil from garden maintenance are just two of the items classed as non-household waste and people will have to pay a charge to dispose of them at waste recycling centres.

Looking to dispose of large or bulky items? Many councils provide collection alongside their weekly waste rounds. To find out more about your council’s waste and recycling services, enter your postcode here.

DAY 7 – Find a space for ‘maybe’ items

There may be a number of items that you’ve come across in the past six days of decluttering that you are unsure about whether to keep or get rid of. Your maybe box may have a lot more in it than you anticipated but by setting it to one side, either in your wardrobe, basement or loft, for a set period of time you can easily determine whether to keep it. If you haven’t used the items in your maybe box for this set period, getting rid of it is the best option. Items of sentimental value are of course great to keep, but make sure, like the other items you’re keeping hold of, sentimental objects have their own place.

Still struggling to say “goodbye” to the items you should in theory be getting rid of? Why not repurpose them!

DAY 8 – Continue to keep clutter to a minimum

So you’ve just completed the ultimate spring declutter, but how can you keep things clean and clear for years to come? Let your recent spring cleaning session alter your habits to keep clutter to a minimum. Managing future clutter is the key; use your eighth and final day to make a plan for keeping organised. Identify problem areas, perhaps where the clutter you just cleared originated from and alter your thought-process to ensure these habits (and the associated clutter) don’t resurface.

Many exercise a ‘one in, one out’ system to keep clutter to a minimum, which means if you buy an item you have to get rid of an item already in your home. Adopting this system in particular is an excellent route to keeping clutter within your home at a manageable and stable level.

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