Thinking inside the box

Contrary to popular advice telling us to think outside the box, we’re currently doing the very opposite!

We’re coming to the end of ebay-able belongings and as the car boot sale season has ended we are needing to think of other ways to clear boxes of stuff. We have just five weeks before it is my ambition to reach a state of everything left in the house either being stored or coming with us.

We have several bags of outgrown childrens clothes; these will be coming with us to a group holiday with friends where there will be several smaller children to pass them on to. My own wardrobe is next on my list of things to tackle – I have a work wardrobe which I can pare right down to sufficient clothes for my last couple of months (I only work two days a week so don’t need too many ‘costume changes’) and the time has probably come to question whether I ever intend wearing business suits again and if not those can go. My wardrobe for next year will be very much jeans, t shirts, fleeces and jumpers so everything else can go in the ‘to go’ box. I’ll keep my wedding dress, a black suit for funerals to put in storage and everything else can go. A friend who is fundraising for her disabled daughter is about to do a Nearly New Clothing Sale with a cut of what you sell going to her funds and the rest to you. Love that idea for selling my clothes, getting some cash and supporting a worthy cause too :).

Ady  needs to do the same exercise but he has rather fewer clothes… 😉

We should then be left with a last few clothes to get rid of at the very end, probably a charity shop will benefit there and our very basic working wardrobe for the year.

We have already culled music, dvds, videos to the level which will be going into storage for the year, simply a matter of boxing those up just before we go, along with TV, video, DVD player, telephone and the other few electrical bits and pieces we’ll be keeping but not taking with us.

Furniture wise we don’t have a lot to begin with; a couple of sofas, a table and chairs, four beds and a few bookcases along with some dresser tops we were given by friends and love far too much to get rid of. Our bedroom has built in wardrobes, all of the rest of our furniture is very much at the end of it’s useful life anyway, kids wardrobes with missing knobs and wonky doors, chest of drawers with drawer bottoms that fall into the drawers below. These will go in the next couple of weeks either chopped up for firewood or taken to the tip.

Toys and books play a large part in the house still looking quite full. The toys have been more or less reduced to the level of stuff being kept. We have loft voids in our house where boxed up toys can be kept and by the time we go away I’d like to have a finite amount of boxes filled with toys that we know will fit there. Books have been a tricky thing to get rid of; I’ve had some listed on amazon marketplace, some on ebay, taken some to car boot sales and not really had much success in either unloading them or raising money. I’ve come up with the idea of a Book Sale Open House here next week when people can come by for a cup of tea and chat and browse the large selection of books available at flat rate prices of 50p each or 3 for £1. I’m hoping to end that day with some extra funds, fewer books and lots of cups to wash up! Anything left after that will probably be gracing the shelves of the local charity shop.

Which leaves us with a few boxes of things like bedding, kitchen stuff like crockery and cutlery, pots and pans. Probably only a box or two and worth storing as costly to start again with. We have things like breadmakers, sewing machine, microwave, slow cooker all of which are also worth keeping. We are likely going to have a room in my parents house where we can store stuff. A layer of furniture with a layer of boxes on top is what I am picturing – kind of scary how it can all be reduced to one room in one house and at the same time I also wonder whether I will really want those appliances with plugs and the kids will miss those toys made of plastic when we’ve done without them for a whole year.

Our to-do list for November is as follows:

  • Clear the garage. This is labour intensive and  boring and dirty. It contains a washing machine which we are hoping to part exchange for a new cooker, two small chest freezers which we’ll try and reduce to one and then none and either freecycle or sell just before we leave. And a whole host of other crap all of which just needs loading into the back of a car and taking to the tip! A couple of days work on dry days preferably not weekends when the tip will be busy.
  • Clear the wardrobes of clothes – the kids have been cleared into stuff they will wear until we go and stuff we’ll take with us. They can now go in boxes and the actual wardrobes can be chopped up and got rid of. Our drawers need the same process as does our wardrobe, with stuff for the Nearly New Sale labelling and pricing ready to hand over to my friend.
  • Books need to be gone – hopefully by route of the Open House Book Sale, if not freecycle / charity shop.
  • Get toys boxed up so we know how many boxes we have and they can be kept tidy and ready to store away.

4 thoughts on “Thinking inside the box”

  1. The mere thought of getting rid of all my books has me breaking out in a cold sweat, even though most of them are probably going mouldy in the garage even now (sob). Don’t you have a secondhand bookshop anywhere that will take them? Granted ours does a flat rate of 30p a book so it’s not much in the way of income 🙁

  2. There is one semi-locally which I rang once a couple of years ago when decluttering and they worked on the same basis of pence per book. So I’d have to box them, drive over there, park and lug all the boxes of books in return for enough money to cover my petrol costs!
    I like the idea of the open house book sale and am hoping it clears lots 🙂

  3. I never thought of myself as particularly materialistic, but having following this process as you do it, have been casting my eye speculatively around the house, and realising how anxious it makes me feel to think of ditching it all.

  4. Really? It’s interesting isn’t it because it’s just *stuff*. I’m finding it really liberating and in some ways almost looking forward to coming back at the end of it and appreciating anew just what a luxury most of the items around me really are.

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