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New Year Clear Out

By Oliver Smith
Published in Waste Management
July 08, 2021
4 min read
New Year Clear Out

1. Is it useful?

Ok, sois that a good reason to keep it? Well, it depends. Suppose your item is as simple as spare change, and it has no further use other than in that currency. If you havent spent any of that currency yet, its worth keeping because it remains useful for you. However if you have spent some of those coins but havent replaced them…then its time to find out if the reason is because you need to spend more time making money, or if you simply dont need the change at all.This question should weed out a lot of items that have started to clutter up your life. Sometimes they might be specialised items, like the powder used in some types of photography that youve never used (yet), or an old edition of Windows that youve never installed even though you dont know why.An item that is in a state of disrepair, or has little use because you havent learned how to use it, or if it just doesnt apply to you (as in an item from another culture) can still be useful if you know a place where it might be able to serve someone else better.

2. Could you ever find another one?

Books can be a great source of comfort; the very best book in the world is a thin tent you can take with you anywhere. The feel of paper pages and the scent of aging ink impart a sense of tranquility that goes beyond pixels on a screen and exists in a space all its own. Books have been about companionship for centuries, so if youre attached to an older volume for sentimental reasons, that attachment is certainly valid.Books are interesting, because they have many dimensions of value. For example, many books, from personal and professional development to how-to’s make great reference resources. While its possible to find others to get the same information, having your own copies can be very useful. Many business and academic libraries dont have a copy of everything you might need or want.We had a bookcase in our home specifically for books I was attached to. I remember when my wife suggested we throw them away, how hurt I felt. The feelings were worth more than whatever money or space they would save. After we finished throwing out all of those books, Id say that the attachment to others was at least as strong as it was to the ones we went ahead and kept.Perhaps the issue here isnt whether you need to get rid of books, but how you feel about getting rid of them. My point is that if youre really worried about letting go of the books, take a look at your reasons for doing so. Is it really a matter that theyre taking up space? Or is it because you think you need to hang on to them as some sort of talisman?.

3. Is here the best place for it?

Another consideration is whether what you want to get rid of are things that people would otherwise value. If youre getting rid of your golf clubs, for instance, will someone else take them off your hands? Chances are if theyre in physical reasonable condition, theyll be of use to someone you know, even if its not you. Its easy enough to find out; give them away or put them up on Freecycle .Ok, so you’ve got your pairs of shoes outside your basement door. How will you know when it is a good time to give them away?1-You probably won’t be aware that have been there too long (though you might want to check with the family members) 2-If they were your oldest items, there may be holes in the soles making them less than ideal for handing out 3-. If you have more in your items, consider asking a friend or family member if theyd like it. Chances are you know someone who would find it useful. If your things are better suited to charity, you could consider donating them. Just make sure that any clothes or shoes that need cleaning before you do so, first!. Go through what you plan on keeping and ask yourself this question. Is the thing that I’m about to store or put in this skip going to make my life simpler? If not, then can it go somewhere else (and stay there)? If yes, then how simple is it for you to get to it, when you need it?.

4. Could someone else get better use out of it than you?

A perfect example of this is an unused oven. If youve got an oven that isnt in everyday use, its worth asking yourself whether someone else might get better use out of it. If you live in a block of flats then this may not even involve any travelling - simply ask a neighbour if theyd be interested in taking the oven. If you live in a suburb, then doing a bit of community-spirited house-to-house marketing might be the solution - knock on your neighbours doors and ask them if theyre interested in a bit of free oven. Youd be surprised! I know people who have done exactly this and ended up exchanging multiple items!. Listed as number 5 on our list of things to consider is the concept of if someone else could get more use out of it than you. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea of ‘but I’ve only had this a year and Im not ready to throw it away’, or that ‘it cost so much money so I should just keep it’. But whats the point in keeping something in your house just because youve had it for a long time and paid a lot for it? You know whats even more important? That item being given to someone who will use it, something they need/want, and will make good use of it.Weve all been there,  the room is awash with stuff that we really dont need and we start to wonder how it got this way. House clearances can be a great way to clear out clutter and make space for the new things you want to add to your life.  We all have a tendency to want to hold on to everything from broken wristwatches to stale crisps. But while it might seem luxurious to keep everything thats ever crossed your path, in truth its more of a curse than a blessing.


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Oliver Smith

Oliver Smith

Research and Development Manager

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