Gifting & Recycling

I have a small house by Australian standards. At 118 square metres it’s less than half the nation’s average. It was built in the mid 1950’s as a family home – 3 bedrooms upstairs serviced by a bathroom, and downstairs, a separate kitchen, dining, lounge-room and laundry. The only concession to modernity was a servery opening between kitchen and dining.

I’ve homed a rag-tag bunch of children, partners, dogs (theirs and mine), chickens, a second cousin and friends of my children. And over the past few years we’ve managed to fill the house with ‘stuff’. As we grew, two tiny houses were added to the back garden.

In August, I was over frigid winters and living with young adults and declared I was selling. A deadline was set for all to move out. My dog remained with me.

Agents came through and politely remarked ‘you have a lot of stuff’ and advised de-cluttering was important. Online advice from home stylist echoed these sentiments.

Be aware, that if you are planning on de-cluttering or downsizing it may be OVERWHELMING. If it’s a big task, it should be tackled in stages over time. Write a list of the locations and things that need a thorough overhaul and tick them off as you go. If you feel disillusioned along the way reviewing the list and noting the ticks should give you a sense of progress.

This morning, I tackled the back shed which housed multiple crusted old paint cans. Paint can last 10 years so it’s a good idea to mark the name of the colour on the outside of the tin and a swatch of it and the room it was used for. Left over paint is great for those touch up jobs.

Tins with a little bit of dried paint in the bottom can be placed in your recycling bin whilst tins under 20 Litres containing wet paint can be dropped at either the Mugga Lane or Mitchell Resource Management Centre. The ACT Government has a comprehensive list of what can be done with household waste/recyclables.

Left behind by an ex-housemate who left more than 3 years ago was a mirror, its frame embossed with mosaics. Continuing on the morning’s decluttering, I posted it on my local gifting site ‘Buy Nothing Lyneham/O’Connor . Within an hour I had seven people requesting to be considered for the item.  Hopefully, it will be rehomed in the next few days. No money will be exchanged, it will stay out of landfill, won’t clutter my house, and goodwill is generated.

If you’d rather generate income from your unwanted household items, you can advertise for free on Gumtree. I’ve sold furniture and a drafting board on this on-line marketplace and recently bought a used king sized double bed for $50.

So far in the de-cluttering process, the living room has come up trumps and it’s now a peaceful space to spend time in.

The hardest things to know what to do with, are possessions that belonged to my dad. Not letting them go is partly sentimental but they represent a time when things were made to last. I still have Dad’s slide rule, a metal tyre pressure gauge (that I recall him keeping in his shirt pocket) and a watch.

In the decluttering process you might unveil a useful and aesthetically pleasing treasure that you will keep. Amongst a cupboard bursting with men’s shoes, motorbike helmets, seeds, clothes bagged for charity I found a pair of Birkenstocks that fit. Score!

Edwina Robinson