Decluttering your home and mind

It has certainly felt like a long winter – but many of us are starting to feel Spring in the air, and maybe a little more energy as a result. One good way to kickstart the season is via the traditional Spring clean.

Declutter your home and mind - A-Plan Insurance

There may be some added benefits too – you will have more space, less to tidy up, and you can even earn a little money by selling your unwanted possessions – or at least feel good about giving them to charity.

And, not only could there be a positive impact on the cost of your home contents insurance once you have less items to insure, but you will have a clearer idea of what you do have in the process.

Many also find that a good home declutter also declutters our minds. The psychological impact is an important part of the process, after all, the term ‘getting your house in order’ doesn’t always refer to your ‘home’.

Where do you start?

  • Write down a list of clutter hot spots you want to tackle and decide which is the worst.
  • Tackle one room at a time!
  • Create separate piles for recycling, charity donations, online selling and of course rubbish.
  • It’s worth keeping a separate box for bills, accounts (if you’re self-employed), bank statements and school information – you can file these correctly afterwards.
  • Recycle any clothes you or your family have outgrown, or just don’t wear anymore. This frees up your wardrobe space, resulting in a satisfying rediscovery of what you do like!
  • Get the children involved – they may like to donate some of their old toys or DVDs to charity or a local hospital and take them with you when you drop their items off.

Top Tip: If you’re looking for some inspiration to tackle your kitchen, Stacey Solomon has some useful hacks here, take a look! We love the Lazy Susan for tins (and crisps wardrobe)!

Be ruthless!

If you don’t like throwing things out, a good compromise may be to store labelled boxes in the loft, in vacuum storage bags under the bed, or a storage cupboard. But ensure you date the box or bag, writing on it what the contents are. You can revisit the box every ‘spring clean’ to consider whether you are likely to use or need the items you’ve stored and if not. One good rule of thumb is to decide that, if haven’t used the items in one year, you will recycle or sell them (accounts excluded, of course).

If items are broken, set yourself a deadline to get them fixed, if you don’t meet it, take them to your local recycling centre or pass them on to somebody else who can repair them.

Recycle or donate

Never has there been a better market for reusing items, which is far more environmentally friendly and less wasteful. There are many ways to do this in 2022:

Charity shops

Whether you are passionate about pets or prefer to support a cancer or heart research, local charity shops rely on your donations to raise funds. Bag up your clothes, shoes, toys and accessories and take them on down to the charity shop during opening hours.

Top Tip: Pack similar items in each bag or box and label it – this means that if your chosen charity shop can’t accept books, DVDs, shoes or any other particular items, you can simply hand over the items you know they do accept. You can then donate the items to another charity shop that is accepting them, or recycle them.

Sell online 

Providing the items you want to dispose of are in a reasonable condition, there’s no reason why you can’t sell them. Online auction sites like eBay and Vinted are great for a range of goods from clothing to electronics, to large furniture that requires collection, plus ‘collectable’ type items. You can make a fair bit of money on premium brand or vintage items, depending on their condition.

With the ongoing interest in upcycling, Freecycle, Gumtree and local Facebook groups are also a good bet for getting rid of your unwanted items.

Top Tip: The key to good feedback is to ensure you list any faults or damage to the item so the buyer knows exactly what to expect, many are happy to make repairs as long as they know that upfront.

Car boot sales

These are a great way to get the family involved; not only will it incentivise them to have a good clear out, but it will help them earn a few pounds for their clear out efforts. Check online for up-coming boot sales, Netmums can be a useful source.

Top Tip: It is worth labelling your goods with prices before you go as you can save time on people asking you for prices (and be consistent) – buying post labels and cutting them into several pieces is an efficient way of doing this. Don’t forget to take a bag of change!

Protect your paperwork – and privacy

Get rid of any paperwork or bills that are more than 7 years old – except the obvious items such as birth, death and marriage certificates, pension plan documents, documents for live insurance policies, wills, house deeds and car registration documents. If you are worried about getting rid of anything permanently, another option is to take a digital photograph or scan the document and upload it to a safe place, such as a USB stick or for greater security, Google Drive.

For the bills and documents you no longer need, purchase a small shredder to ensure the documents cannot be reused as identity by fraudsters.

Once you’ve got rid of unwanted paperwork, opt for online statements wherever possible in the future as this saves both money, the environment, and security hassle. Although they will remain in your online banking should you need to access them in the future, if you do prefer to save them to your Google Drive, if you are looking to apply for a mortgage or similar, you can do this easily.

Top Tip: If you need a helping hand to get your home and life in order, try something like ‘The Little Book of Lists’ by Mrs Hinch, or ‘Tap to Tidy’ by Stacey Solomon.

Now that you’ve had a good clear out, you’ll have a better idea of what you do have and what you no longer have. So, the final step is to review the contents included in your home insurance policy (a good thing to do on a regular basis anyway) and make sure that your cover is up to date. If you think that changes could be made, simply call your local A-Plan branch who will be more than happy to help.