Jasmine Birtles, founder of www.MoneyMagpie.com is encouraging people all over the UK to de-clutter their homes and lives and gain freedom, peace and a useful pile of cash in the process. Here she gives her ten top tips to de-clutter for a richer life.
Do it with a friend. If you have cupboards and drawers overflowing with junk and piles of stuff in the living room that are so old they're creating their own eco-system, it can be hard to take the plunge and sort them out. Having a practical and organized friend there with you will at least give you the courage to start and once you've sorted one area it's easier to go on to the next and then the next.
Aim for joy! Marie Condo, author of the best-selling 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,' writes that you should only keep items that 'spark joy', whether they be clothes or cutlery, books or bath salts. It's a good concept, as once you've finished you will only be surrounded by items that give you joy. She also recommends going through your possessions in types. So rather than taking a drawer or cupboard at a time she suggests doing all your books, perhaps, followed by your clothes, then your CDs and so on.
Use the 4-box rule. As you go, set out four boxes (or bags) on the floor which are designated "Sell", "Mend", "Charity" and "Bin". The "Charity" and "Bin" sections will be easy to dispose of and then you just have to work on the "Sell" and "Mend" boxes. TV presenter Anthea Turner says you should be ruthless when you sort and only allow items to stay if they are useful, beautiful or seriously sentimental. "It's no good just tidying up a drawer or cupboard and keeping all the same stuff," she says. "Each item has to earn its place there."
Make some money. Sell things on new sites that don't have the high charges you get with selling on eBay. For example, Ziffit.com takes second hand books, CDs, DVDs and games, in a quick and easy way for almost instant cash. You just scan the barcode of your items (or input the ISBN number on the books) into the website or app and they give you an immediate quote. You can expect to make roughly £4 per item.
Even broken items might be worth something. Get up to £200 for your old mobile just by putting the make and model into our comparison tool here http://www.moneymagpie.com/comparisons/recycle-your-mobile.
With clothes, try ASOS Marketplace as they don't charge listing fees, they just charge a flat 10% commission on any sales you make. The site is particularly good for vintage clothes.
Give, give, give. Clearing clutter is a great time to do your bit for charity and give away as much as possible. The local charity shops will welcome clothes, books, shoes and bric-a-brac but if you're getting rid of furniture contact the wonderful Furniture Reuse Centre [http://www.frn.org.uk/]. Tools for bicycle repairs, blacksmiths, carpenters, engineers etc are all welcomed by Tools for Self Reliance (www.tfsr.org) and medical items can be given to www.Mercyships.org.uk. Even old towels are needed by the Salvation Army.
Mend and use up. Last year, we spent an average of £89.38 replacing mendable items, footing a collective bill of over £4.6bn, according to glue makers Sugru. Youtube is full of videos showing people how to mend everything from socks to sockets, so put a box next to the sofa full of items needing mending and do them one by one as you watch TV of an evening.
Upcycle. If you're a creative sort, set aside boxes, jars and other storage items to paint or cover in paper and use to display around the house or to put presents in for birthdays. Put new, colourful buttons on old but loved cardigans to give them a new lease of life and use ribbons to jazz-up a plain dress. You can get a lot of inspiration on Pinterest boards and Youtube videos for upcycling all sorts of possessions.
De-clutter your finances. When was the last time you looked at your bank account? It's possible that it is cluttered with standing orders and direct debits for things you don't use anymore like a gym membership. Check that and weed out the money-wasting junk. Then spend an hour getting cheaper versions of your gas, electricity, car insurance and other boring essentials. You should be able to save at least £1,000 over the year by switching your main bills. Get the cheaper options on these comparison pages [http://www.moneymagpie.com/comparisons]
De-clutter your mind. De-cluttering is not just about physical items. What's going on in your home generally reflects what's happening in your thoughts, so use this as a time to get rid of some of the mental junk that holds us back with invisible threads.
Try going without any social media for a whole week and see how you manage. If you find yourself happier and calmer without it then take yourself off all but the most essential platforms like LinkedIn. Or simply go through the people you follow and do as Marie Condo says and get rid of any that don't "give you joy".
Importantly, cut down the hours you spend in front of the TV too. According to Thomas Corley, author of "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals", 67 per cent of rich people only watch TV for one hour or less per day. Also only six per cent of the wealthy watch reality shows while 78 per cent of the poor do. Instead, spend more time with friends and go out to do things like taking an evening class or going to concerts. In other words, live!
Stay clever with clutter. Now that you have de-cluttered, you have probably already resolved to cut down the number of things you buy. Make sure that from now on you question all purchases asking yourself "do I really need this? Will it give me joy long-term?" Usually the answer will be 'no' so cut out the middle-man: take joy in not purchasing and you will continue the freedom of a de-cluttered life.