ASK THE EXPERT - Clearing the clutter
We want to move house, but the prospect of tackling all the stuff we’ve managed to accumulate over the years is distinctly off-putting! Is this normal?
Very! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the prospect of having to deal with all the accumulated lumber in the loft and elsewhere wasn’t one of the main reasons why so many people change their minds about moving and decided to stay put instead!
What you’re talking about here, of course, is what is now known as “de-cluttering”, and in recent years, a whole new industry has grown up around it. You can attend de-cluttering workshops, and there are even de-cluttering consultants who - for a fee - will come into your home and give you one-to-one advice on the subject.
Needless to say, however, de-cluttering is really just a matter of common sense. A basic rule of thumb is: if you haven’t used something for, say, three years, then you almost certainly never will – so be ruthless, and get rid of it!
The bad news about de-cluttering is that there is no quick fix - you just have to put in the work! This can be difficult to start with – but you’ll be amazed how much easier it becomes after a while. You’ll also quickly discover how good it makes you feel, and you’ll wonder why you ever hung on to so much stuff in the first place.
But de-cluttering also has very practical benefits. Not only does getting rid of a lot of unwanted stuff help make your own move easier, but the sense of space that you create in the process will further increase the buyer appeal of your home. One word of warning, though. Don’t be tempted to simply put things out of sight. That is just shifting the problem, not solving it. A prospective buyer is not going to be very impressed by your beautifully uncluttered kitchen - if he or she is suddenly bombarded by an avalanche of spare saucepan lids and empty jam jars when they open a cupboard!
So, my advice to you is simple: don’t be put off moving by all the clutter you’ve accumulated over the years. Locate your nearest charity shops, hire a skip – and get started!