Five ways to declutter before you move

Selling up or moving on is the perfect time to sort out your possessions and recycle unwanted items. First impressions count, so walking through a hallway with coats piled on the banister and wellies by the front door is not a good look. 

Decluttering also offers a chance to donate to charity and recycle material. Last year, a study found that Britons throw away, on average, 3.1kg of textiles each a year and that 1.7kg of fashion waste per person ends up as landfill.

Below are a few tips to get you started on your recycling journey.

  • Organise your wardrobe

Over the past year, you probably have been WFH in your T-shirt and trackie bottoms. Perhaps you’ve put on a few pounds or more since the start of the pandemic, and some of your clothes are too tight. Rather than saying you’ll be back in the office or will slim down, why not sell or give away ill-fitting or ill-suited clothes? 

Make a plan on how to hang the clothes you’ve decided to keep. If you’ve ever watched The Home Edit on Netflix, professional organisers Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are big fans of colour-coding items – from books and stationery to clothes – in the colours of the rainbow. It works particularly well in kids’ rooms as a system that children can easily remember – but is equally attractive in every wardrobe. Alternatively, you can hang clothes from longest to shortest, or according to type – evening wear, day wear, working outfits, and casual. 

  • Maximise drawer space

Tidying expert Marie Kondo is a fan of folding T-shirts and placing them vertically in a drawer – much like a filing system. That way, they take up less space and you can easily slide your chosen item out without having to search for it at the bottom of the pile. 

Also buy drawer dividers so you can store your socks neatly away – you’ll find them at Ikea, John Lewis and Lakeland.

Free up space in your wardrobe by stowing away seasonal clothes in underbed storage bags. Lakeland sells a good range with clear sides in case you forget what you’ve stored.

  • Store accessories neatly

Invest in shoe storage for your hall and bedroom. There are so many attractive ways to hide shoes that it’s a shame to leave them lying about. Ikea has a good selection of shoe racks, cabinets and benches, plus a coat rack with shoe storage bench for the hallway.

And instead of leaving handbags and belts in a heap at the bottom of your wardrobe, take a leaf out of The Home Edit’s books and display them in your wardrobe on S-shaped hooks. There is a good selection by iDesign on Amazon.

  • Sort out kitchen storage

The kitchen is one area where it is hard to conceal mess – but you can easily sort it by investing in a few glass jars and plastic storage boxes. 

If worktops are cluttered and you’re not using the food processor or smoothie maker every day, free up space by moving them into your kitchen cupboards. 

Cereals, grains and pasta will look much neater decanted into glass jars or plastic containers. Buy some printer-ready, self-adhesive labels (available from Ryman) and you can neatly label your containers, which will make you appear super-organised.

If you’re not too handy with a drill, look out for self-adhesive hooks – Ikea and Lakeland have a good selection. Lakeland also sells handy ‘stick and stay’ caddies, which are perfect for spice jars. 

  • Donate or sell unwanted items

Moving home is expensive, so you could sell designer clothes you’ve fallen out of love with on eBay. Better still, donate unwanted items to charity. The British Heart Foundation, for example, offers free collection of clothing, books and jewellery, while charity shops will be reopening soon.

You could donate old mobile phones to be re-used or to raise money for charity. Three Connected, for example, recycles phones and gives them to vulnerable people through a network of charities, while Tesco Mobile Reconnects sells old phones to raise money for the Crisis charity. 

With Fonebank, you can trade in your old phone and donate part or all of the money to WaterAid, Oxfam or the National Trust. You can trade in old mobile phones on sites such as Music Magpie or Mazuma Mobile.

You can also donate books to the National Literacy Trust or at book banks. Alternatively, you can sell old books and electronic games at Zapper or Music Magpie.

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