Have you ever tackled a major decluttering project? I know some people never have to, they just get rid of the odd thing here and there and it never builds up. I am not one of those people, and neither is my husband. In our house things tend to collect until some tipping point is reached and serious action is needed.
In the last few months that has happened a lot. We have a two bedroom house and for the last five years the second bedroom has been part office, part model railway and part guest room. Now it's a nursery. Which is much more fun than an office, but did require quite a lot of rearranging! The model railway has had to go, and will be replaced by a movable version rather than having a fixed home, the desk is now in the diningroom/library/sewing room, which has meant moving things around in there. Various bookcases and yarn storage has had to be moved as well. The upshot is that we have quite a lot of new furniture to make better use of the space!
That has meant piles of things that we didn't need anymore, everything from furniture to clothes. All perfectly usable but it was difficult to know what to do with it all. Really we just needed it to go as quickly as possible. I considered selling some things but by the time I had listed them on ebay, wrapped them, taken them all into the post office etc it didn't really seem worth the odd pound or two profit I would make. There was just too much to deal with. A charity shop seemed like a good option, except most of the shops don't have nearby parking and at 9 months pregnant I couldn't carry furniture and big boxes around to drop it all off!
Then I discovered a very useful thing. Collections! I don't know about other charities but certainly the British Heart Foundation will send round a van to collect all your clutter from your home. Fantastic plan! I went straight to the website and filled in the form to book a collection. Someone phoned that afternoon to confirm the details, we went over what I had to donate and arranged a date. Apparently they only collect in my area on a Wednesday morning, which could be rather inconvienient if you were out at work but suits me at the moment. Two weeks later I had everything piled up in the living room and was looking forward to seeing it all go.
The men who arrived were quite friendly and looked over all the furniture to make sure it was usable before they loaded it onto the van. They took everything even though some was a bit old or battered so there was no problem with that. Unfortunately it turned out that they could only take furniture and electricals, all the clothes, books and other random bits and bobs were handled by a different branch. I was quite annoyed by that since I had confirmed on the phone that I had those sorts of things and nobody had said anything then. Plus nobody seemed to be able to give me a phone number, just "you have to call the other shop" which wasn't really very helpful. Still, I found the number on the website and arranged another collection. I just had to wait another two weeks.
Those boxes have been stuck in my livingroom for four weeks now, and believe me I cant wait to see them go! But, I am also very grateful that I don't have to take them anywhere myself. If I was to try to drop them off I know they would only make it as far as the boot of the car and then hang around there for at least as long, and with a baby bump, or a tiny newborn, I would really struggle to get them out of the car and into the shop.
All in all, if you have a fairly flexible schedule so you can be around when they want to come, don't mind waiting and have a lot of things to donate then this is a great service. And all your clutter can go and do good for other people as well as being enjoyed by it's new owners.