Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Decluttering for charity

This post can be summarised with the following:

Need to declutter + Lovely items to sell + Not enough time to do it all + Desire to give part of the proceeds to charity = No idea how to proceed.

The much longer version is that we live in tight quarters at the moment with a toddler having taken over our bungalow and me working from the kitchen table. Both Mr Tapas and I have hung on to some beloved items but now we have a much more beloved daughter between the two of us and, although we will soon be moving, we really do not need to take certain items that clutter our space with us. Fresh start as they say.

A lot of what can be considered to be cluttering our home at the moment are actually lovely items of clothing that I can't get into anymore, there are a few that I want to keep for my daughter and there are a lot that until a few years ago I could still get into but I don't anymore nor do I expect I ever will again as, even if I lose the weight, gravity will probably affect my shape since I'm nearing 40 (argh it's weird to write that down).

Two dresses I can't squeeze into
Then there are a lot of accessories: hats, scarves and handbags (of course there are handbags!). some of rather good quality and most in a really good condition. In fact, some of them have never been used as they were unwanted gifts from my parents that never suited me but that I felt too guilty to give away. All of them could go to loving homes that regularly use them.

I  do find it very hard to let go of quite a few of these belongings as they are my past, my history, my memories... and I would need a day of digging them out as many have been filed away, are out of season so have been put away...; I would need to go through them all with the help of someone who I can count on to help me be ruthless. I do need new clothes myself (the kind that actually fit me) as I only have a couple of things my size that I totally like (thanks to Mr Tapas dragging me to Monsoon recently). I can't live in denial of my size anymore, I most definitely need a wardrobe overhaul and to feel better about myself, so I looked into wardrobe consultants and declutterers but they seem to cost so much money which, firstly, I can't justify and, secondly, the proceeds of my memorabilia may not cover, plus there would be no money left for charity.

I do have a dream of having a totally lovely streamlined wardrobe in the new house with only clothes that not only fit me but the wardrobe too, clothes that I will actually wear during that season. I think this may work wonders on my, lately slightly damaged, confidence. In fact I need to buy an actual  wardrobe as there is not a single one in the new house. Make that two wardrobes, another one for LittleT's room. At the moment my wardrobe is in her room in fact, which makes it a bit awkward when getting ready if she is napping.

I also don't want to just drop everything to a charity shop as I know as there is more money to be made that they may realise and I could really use some of it towards a bit of childcare to help me, even if it only covers a few days it will still be of help as we have none at the moment and my work from home is becoming quite a challenge. Plus, this is going to leave me a bit short on the clothes side (and by that I don't mean that I am going to take to wearing ultrashort skirts!!).

I have already taken bags full of lovely things to my local charity shops, I have a gift-aid card for my favourite one. I am also fully aware that there is eBay but unfortunately there are so many things that need describing carefully that eBay may become another full-time job to add to my never-ending list. My lovely friend @indycelebrant has offered a day of her time to come over and help go through it and put it all on eBay. I'm not sure she knows just how much there is and that it really is going to be one very long and tiring day, plus then there are all the items to watch and send on time, which realistically I would only be able to do on a Saturday morning.

Bad photo of two lovely handbags that I never get to use anymore
I have considered eBay trading agents and second hand shops but they both seem to take quite a bit of commission and, if the items are not sold (should I take them to the wrong shop), I will end up with them back at home in 4 weeks time anyway. Once I decide to let go of the space they occupy in my home and my heart, I don't want to see them again, unless hanging from someone who truly loves them, otherwise I'll never be able to let go of them. That commission could be the money that goes to charity you see so I feel guilty about thtat.t

Now, I tend to favour cancer charities because of my own family history but I don't want this to be a little contribution to the charity sea. This is my history that I am letting go (some of it spanning about 30 years), so I want it to mean something to both my daughter and one or more people out there.

I have no idea how much I can raise, it may only be £50 but those £25 may mean a lot to a child: it's a pair of new shoes or a brand new toy for the first time, for example. Which in turn means a lot to their parents as they see a smile on their children's faces. But I hope that, with the right selling knowledge, experience and kick in the butt for me to get rid of everything, a bit more money may be raised to help one or more people.

So, I need your help, how can I raise the most money so that I can give a big chunk to charity. Bearing in mind that I really need to do this but that I really don't have that much time in my hands. How can I get my history to make someone's day? Has anyone who has done this before have any advice? Is eBay better or are car boot sales worth it? I could drop whatever doesn't sell at the charity shop on the way back from a jumble sale... A one-stop place would be ideal. Or, should I just give up, drop it all off at one or more charity shops and get it over and done with?

Well, all but one or two as I want at least one item to become a #travelingreddress. Even if it's not red, a ballgown or even a dress. If you don't know what I'm talking about, make sure you check this feature on Forbes and follow The Bloggess on Twitter.

Even if I end up feeling guilty about keeping any of the money and decide to give all proceeds to charity, that will surely mean that when I look in the mirror in my out of shape clothes (a bit like me really), I will feel much better about myself, no?
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