Annual declutter at the ‘rents

Every summer I usually spend around a week visiting my parents. While I’m there, my mum lets me assist her with a bit of decluttering. My parents live in a large house where they have raised four children, so they have accumulated around 20 years of detritus. In addition, they are both disinclined to get rid of things, although my mum has been making strides in that direction for the last few years. Last year my mum and I cleared out the loft. This year I was surprised to find a big pile of items which had been cleared from the loft into the garage awaiting a car boot sale, but which had never moved on from there, so we took all of them to a few different local charity shops, which was an easy win:)

My mum and I spent a morning clearing out her wardrobes. She had three and would like to get rid of one. As we have now emptied it, that will be possible although now I’m home, it might wait until next year. This was the only job where I remembered to take before pictures, unfortunately they are not very clear as the wardrobes are in a narrow part of the bedroom and I couldn’t step back far to photo them.

A close-up of the mid-section of a wardrobe crammed with clothes

One of my mum’s wardrobes

Close-up of a crammed wardrobe

Close-up of a crammed wardrobe

My mum has lost some weight over the last couple of years and so she was a bit more inclined than usual to dispose of some items. We cleared out around eight bags of clothes which we took to the charity shop. We also put aside around twenty nicer items (e.g. a genuine leather coat, an evening dress with tags) which I’ll put on eBay when I get my next free listings. There was quite a range of unworn items with tags but my mum didn’t take too kindly to the suggestion that she might just buy what she needs. She thinks it’s a bargain if she buys something in the sales, even if she never wears it! We were able to sort the remaining clothes from the three wardrobes into just two. I also sorted them into trousers, dresses and tops, and colour-coded them! I can’t be the only person who does that with my own wardrobe, right? Sorry, I forgot to take an after picture but they look a lot tidier now. Bonus: I had been thinking about buying a cobalt blue top but hadn’t taken the plunge. My mum had one which didn’t fit her so she gave it to me:)

My dad has two wardrobes and we spent an hour sorting through his stuff. He provided a too-small jacket and formal suit for the eBay pile, two bags for the charity shop and a bag to be weighed in by my sister with the “rag man”. His shirts were also colour-coded, although he is colour-blind so may not reap the benefits of that…

My mum had lost some papers so the next job was to take down every book on a particular bookshelf and check the papers weren’t among them. While doing that, I persuaded her to get rid of a large box of books for the book recycling drop-off point, clearing up the bottom shelf so she can now keep her hairdressing items there. There’s no before picture, but there were books piled on top of each other and the hair stuff was dumped on the floor in front of the shelf.

A bookshelf with neatly sorted books

Finally, we sorted the garage. First, we loaded up all the items which should have gone to the charity shop last summer. This was about one bootful. There were also four bags of shoes which went to the shoe drop-off point. Next we sorted through a shelf containing household goods and put them in order so my parents know what is there. Then we sorted the cupboard containing food and drink. We put like items together and threw out around 15 packs of Nescafe cappuccino mix which expired in 2010! In the top of the cupboard, there was a bag containing some of my old stuff; my sister moved into my bedroom around nine years ago when I was away from home but hadn’t moved out. I didn’t even know it was there, so most of what was in it could also go to the charity shop: cheap old jewellery, ornaments. My mum kept my old sewing box (I had got a new one in the meantime). I found a few books in very good condition and have traded them in to Amazon today for over £20 – very unexpected as they usually offer me around £0.67 for most items! Even better, I found some old chequebooks and paying-in books along with £100 cash! It was in old £20 notes which can no longer be spent in the shops, but fortunately the bank was happy for me to pay them into my account. In the next cupboard we found an additional bag, which contained more items for the charity shop and a few things I sent back from Japan which have now gone on eBay.

Shelves with neatly-stacked food

Shelves with neatly-stacked food

I suppose the clue is in my name, I like decluttering even for free. However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to make over £120 out of it! And the local charity shops should raise a fair bit from two carfuls of donations.

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