Saturday, 31 May 2014

More decluttering and Gift Aid

I had a very successful morning last Thursday. Normally I am at my Patchwork Group meeting but had to give it a miss as my husband needed the car.

So I decided to use the unexpected time to complete the clearing out and decluttering of my wardrobes in our bedroom.  DH handed down all the things in the top cupboards before he left so I didn't have to struggle going up and down the set of steps to reach things down.  The bedroom floor was covered with a random mess of handbags, scarves, cloth bags, all sorts of precious memories such as the lacy hand knitted shawl I made for our son and the lacy hand knitted shawl my grandmother made for one of my nieces.  Even some vases!

So I had a thorough sort out. I was quite ruthless and my the end of the morning I had a large bag of rubbish for the bin and two carrier bags of things to take to the Charity Shop. Over the years I have found that a good rule to follow with decluttering is to immediately take bags of clutter to the Charity Shop.  That way there is no chance that you will have second thoughts and the decluttered items get out back into your cupboard. So, next day off they went to the local Hospice shop.

In the UK we have an excellent idea called Gift Aid. If you are a tax payer you can make arrangements with charities so they can claim an extra 20% on your items that they sell.  So if the Charity Shop sells £100 of your unwanted decluttered belongings they earn an extra £20 making a grand total of £120 for the good cause.  I have Gift Aid arrangements with three Charity Shops in my town. As I declutter I visit each one in turn, donating those particular things and giving the shop permission to use our Gift Aid arrangement.  I have no idea how much money the shops earn from my unwanted goods but the Hospice shop emails me a note ( I think every quarter) and tells me how much extra cash they have earned from my Gift Aid. I didn't think I had taken so many items into the shop in the past three months but last week I received an email which said they had gained an extra £13 from my donations.  This was a real surprise to me....... £130 for that good cause from a few no longer needed things!  I tried to think back. What had I taken into the shop? About 7 T-shirts which no longer suit me, a couple of paperbacks and perhaps a couple of pairs of shoes? It's so good to know that your decluttering means money for very well worthwhile causes. A great incentive for me to carry on gradually going through all my cupboards and drawers and getting rid of things I NO LONGER NEED!

I read a post on a decluttering website last week where the author stated that it is OK to give away/ pass on/ throw out things that you have been given but actually don't want or need.  This is actually quite a hard thing to do, especially if, like me, you were brought up in post war Britain where nothing was thrown away, everything was used and recycled.  However, since my recent campaign of having a major decluttering I have given several unwanted presents away.  I rarely use scented candles but had acquired a collection of fancy wrapped boxes of them. So I passed them on as Raffle prizes.  Out of my house but hopefully now being used and enjoyed by someone who likes to light scented candles in their house! And on Thursday I finally threw away a pot plant that has languished on my bay window for several years!  How crazy is that?  I never liked the plant, it was always straggly and looked messy but because it had been given to me I felt honor bound to keep it. I cannot even remember who gave it to me! But, hot on the heels of my major wardrobe decluttering success I took the bull by the horns and threw the dreary straggly plant into our green recycling bin.  Now it will be made into compost so nicer and better loved plants can be grown.

So, my Decluttering Tips are:

1.  Take small steps: one drawer or one section of a cupboard at a time. That way you will complete
     the task and feel successful.
2.  Give yourself permission to pass on unwanted gifts.
3.  Take the decluttered items to the Charity Shop straight away (or throw into the bin!) before you
      have time for second thoughts.
4.   Make sure you deal with mail the day it arrives: junk mail in the recycling bin, bills paid
      immediately, statements etc filed today. Otherwise you will end up with a heap of unsorted
      paperwork like me! That's another of my tasks!

Have a great Decluttering Sunday!

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