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clothes rails and shelves in an organised charity shop

Top tips to clear out the clutter after lockdown

Many of us spent some time during the pandemic-inflicted lockdown to declutter our homes. Due to the restrictions though, it has been harder to find places to take our donations and recycling. So in this post, Lynda Wylie of Tidy Rooms in Surrey looks at the options, and explains how she has been managing her decluttering in these unusual times. Read on and get inspired!

Decluttering after lockdown

If you had a bit of a clear out during lockdown, you are not alone. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) recently published a report which found that two in five UK citizens (41%) had a textile clear out during lockdown. They also estimate that as many as 22 million pairs of shoes and 67 million clothing items will soon need to be disposed of.

My own street frequently resembled a jumble sale during lockdown. All kinds of delightful things appeared outside my neighbours’ homes with ‘Please Take’ signs stuck to trees and walls.

A hand drawn for sale sign pinned to a tree

Not only did I acquire a rake and a shovel, but I also shifted books and kids’ toys from my own front drive.  I loved seeing everyday things being upcycled and getting a new lease of life from passers-by.

The closure of charity shops, refuse sites, and clothing banks, led to some of our clutter spilling out onto the streets. The re-opening of these much-missed services last month brought a renewed appreciation of them and an excitement about getting rid of our backlogs.

However, charity shops have had to significantly adapt their premises and procedures in order to prevent contamination and, with a generally older volunteer base, they haven’t had their usual workforce in place to operate as before. Some remain closed or unable to process donations, while some council refuse sites have restrictions and booking procedures in place.

So, how do you clear your clutter quickly and easily after lock down? I think the answer is found in the creativity and perseverance I’ve witnessed in my street in recent months. It’s not necessarily about spreading your possessions out on the pavement, but about being open to doing things a bit differently.


Organise your charity shop drop off

  • Call the charity shop before you turn up with a boot load of stuff. Anything left outside often has to be cleared at cost by the council or charity and cannot be used or sold because of health and safety issues. To avoid the temptation to drop and go, check first whether they are accepting donations.
  • Plan your day with an early drop off. Shops are currently required to store items for 72 hours before processing them and they don’t tend to have large storage areas. Once they’ve reached capacity, they can’t take any more.
  • Identify a ‘To Go’ area in your home where you can gather your donations before calling to check when and what you can deliver. This will help you feel you are making progress and give you an idea of volume before setting off.

Investigate postal and courier donation services

There are some great organisations offering free collection services for donations. To name a few:

  • Re-fashion, an online preloved clothing store, provides postal bags to donate female clothing for free
  • Smalls for All accepts new or gently worn bras
  • For your vintage treasures, Vintage Cash Cow accepts all kinds of glorious items by free post – and you can earn some money through them too!
  • Recycling for Good Causes takes outdated technology and devices

With a little perseverance you may find a more creative way to dispose of your stuff.

a box of donated books

Reuse your carrier bags

Many online supermarkets aren’t currently recycling used carrier bags so if you’ve got a plastic stash nestled in a corner of your kitchen, here are some handy tips:

  • Put a handful into the bottom of a small bin, perhaps in your bathroom or bedrooms. Line the bin with a bag. Next time you empty the bin, simply tie up the bag and re-line the bin with one of the bags stored underneath.
  • Invest in a carrier bag holder to contain and dispense of your bags more easily.
  • Donate bags to your local charity shop who may be able to use them for customer purchases.
  • Store them in your car boot ready to reuse on shopping trips or for in-car rubbish.
  • Pop a handful into your PE, swimming and beach bags for wet or muddy kit.

Try online sites

Donating or selling online can be wonderfully satisfying. I became such a huge fan of Facebook Marketplace during lockdown that it became a bit of a family talking point:

  • I sourced three desks so each member of my family could have a suitable workspace at home
  • I bought and upcycled a wrought iron bench for impromptu lockdown conversations
  • I sold my bike and bought another to get more exercise
  • I even disposed of a single bed and replaced it with a double.

This all enabled me to declutter and organise my son’s bedroom, garage, living room and even my front garden. I surprised myself!

Neighbourhood sites such as Nextdoor, Freegle and Freecycle can be great for disposing of your things locally.

Like  me you will find your favourite routes.

However you manage to get rid of your clutter, don’t let the extra effort stall your decluttering project. The benefits of living in a clutter-free home will far outweigh any extra creativity or time required to dispose of your things.  The new-found appreciation I’ve gained during lockdown for simpler and slower living has made this time a brilliant season for me and my family to get creative and get clutter-free. How about you?

If you’ve been inspired to declutter over the past few months you can find more advice on decluttering your home here.



Recycle Logo

6 ways to avoid waste while decluttering

After several generations of accumulation and prosperous consumerism behind us, decluttering and minimalism is on the rise. With climate change and plastic reduction a normal part of our everyday thoughts, items getting added to landfills are becoming a hurdle for people looking to have less. Professional organiser Jodi Sharpe from The 25th Hour in Inverness is here with her top tips on avoiding waste while decluttering.

One of the statements I frequently hear from people who get in touch with me for help on the decluttering front is that “I can’t part with xxx, as it’s just so wasteful”. We’ve all done it; made that irrational, unnecessary purchase, left a piece of clothing with its tag still on at the back of the wardrobe or “lost” a sauce in the cupboard only to find it passed its use by date! We often hold onto things because we feel guilt that it is somehow wasteful, but leaving items to collect dust in your home is wasteful because they could be getting used by someone else. So here are my 6 ways to avoid waste while decluttering by passing on your items:


Loaning an item can save both space (from storage), time (for upkeep and maintenance) and money (initial purchase). Things like drills, a car roof box for a one-off camping trip or even a squash racket to try out a new sport are all things that can be easily passed around a group of friends. Over the last few years there has been an emergence of centres which facilitate sharing. One such venture is “The Library of Things”. As the name suggests it works like a traditional lending book library but has a much broader collection of things available. Even if you don’t live near a “borrow” shop of this ilk, you can still make an effort to find a possible solution from friends, families and neighbours. You also get the added bonus of social interaction, something often missing in our communities.


Charity Shops accept a whole host of things that can be given a new life. Some will even come to your home to pick up your donations. Most donations are expected to be in good condition so they can be resold, but many larger charities will also take stained, torn or very worn clothing and sell them on as rags for recycling. Old textiles can be turned into carpets, cleaning cloths and even insulation. If you are unsure what your chosen charity will take, then just give them a quick call.

Cloths on Display


Freecycle” & “Freegle” are just 2 good examples of online platforms that allow you to offer items that may not quite fit the criteria required for charitable operations, but are still in great usable condition. I have used these websites to easily pass on used paint, hangers, magazines and padded envelopes. Another great option are animal sanctuaries who welcome bedding like pillows and blankets to help their furry friends feel comfortable.


As well as your limited standard kerbside home recycling, there is an ever increasing range of things that can be recycled. “Terracycle” are an organisation aiming to eliminate the idea of waste by recycling the unrecyclable ! They have free programmes for crisp packets, contact lenses, pens, coffee pods and more. Not all areas are covered so pop over to https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/ to see what is available near you. Another fabulous opportunity that is often overlooked is plastic bags such as bread and veg bags and even bubble wrap, that can now be collected at most major supermarkets. Last but not least, don’t forget to look into your local recycling centre options that can take mattresses, electronics, scrap metal, batteries and much, much more.


Although this can take a little longer than donating, it can be very fruitful. Online auction sites such as ebay, car boot sales and social media “buy & sell” pages, allow access to large audiences. If you have an abundance of dvds, books or games, then organisations like “Ziffit”, “Music Magpie” or “World of Books” will buy them directly from you.



Keeping things in action longer is vital for all of us to embrace as we seek to increase the sustainability of our planet. It is often the case that repairing something is expensive, time-consuming and sometimes not possible. Fortunately, as environmental and ethical considerations are increasing, we are starting to see good solutions sprouting up. Repair cafes are mostly free to use (you have to pay for the parts you need), and are an exciting option to gain knowledge with a helping hand to repair all sorts of things. Sewing and darning are also having a resurgence to extend the life of our favourite clothes. “Visible mending” is becoming more popular, whereby the pattern created from the sewing repair is now part of the appeal. This is not dissimilar to “kintsugi” seen in Japan where, rather than disguising breaks in pottery, the cracks are enhanced with golden seams. Upcycling is also becoming increasingly more mainstream and accessible with Pinterest arguably being a leading source of inspiration.

In order to maintain a well-organised home, it is absolutely essential to have considered how you will stop the onslaught of “stuff” that keeps on sneaking in. Make sure you’ve considered how you’ll deal with junk mail, gifts and freebies – the major contributors to clutter. When you’re out shopping, stick to your list, and think about the hard work you’ve put into removing clutter from your life.
It is possible to part with “stuff” responsibly and not feel guilty about letting it go. It does take an extra bit of thinking and a shift of mindset, but it is so worth it.

Jodi Sharpe

Jodi Sharpe of the 25th Hour

Professional organisers and declutterers are experts in finding efficient ways to give your clutter new life.

You can find your nearest organisers in the  “Find an Organiser” section on the APDO website.

Photo of man looking at pile of coins on table

Clear Your Clutter For A Tidy Profit

On Saturday 11 March, Jasmine Birtles, founder of self help money site Money Magpie is running the second ever UK National Clear Your Clutter Day. She will be encouraging people all over the UK to declutter their homes – and their lives – to gain freedom, space and a useful pile of cash! In this guest blog, she shares some of her tips for making money out of the junk that households don’t need anymore.

clear your clutter day
APDO members probably know better than most just how much junk the average home has.Of course, professional organisers are not generally expected to sell their clients’ goods, but it’s worth being aware of what some items could be worth if they were sold.

Happily there are now a few more outlets that will help to sell items quicker than you might expect, so with some of the junk at least, your client can get it out of the door and make some money all in one go.

Here are a few ideas for making money from the different types of junk that clients have finally decided to throw out:

DVDs, CDs and more?

Now is the time to make money by selling these as the market for them will only decrease with time as more and more people download them or subscribe to streaming services like Netflix.

If your client has shelves full of lovely old programmes, films and concerts they could be making instant cash from them through sites like Zapper and Ziffit If they have a lot of items the company will generally arrange to collect them for free. If there are just a few books and CDs they can send them for free.

It’s quick to upload the details and you get an instant quote for everything and either a payment through PayPal or a cheque in the post in a few days time.

Vintage and antique items

Here’s where your clients could potentially make some sensible money. Even if the family heirlooms were bought on the pier at Blackpool back in the day, your client could be pleasantly surprised at how much they might get now.

Collectibles often sell well on eBay. Find out how much you might get by putting the name or description of your collectible into the search bar and then clicking on ‘sold’ on the left-hand sidebar. You will see how much similar items went for. You’re often best uploading things on a ‘Buy It Now’ basis rather than auction in order to get the best price.

For more valuable items try the local auction house. Most of them have on-site specialists who can advise on a myriad of collectibles and minor antiques and will usually provide you with free verbal valuations.

If your client thinks they have something really valuable, email or send a picture and description of it to Sotheby’s, Christies or Bonhams in London. They will come back to them with a valuation.

Sometimes, a few items aren’t worth selling on their own at an auction house but they could be sold in one lot. Ask the auctioneers if this would be an option

Get rid of old gadgets

You’d be surprised at how much you can get for some gadgets, even if they’re ‘ancient’ technology or broken. There’s a growing market for gadgets of all sorts as you can see in this article.

It can be worth getting the client to search around on eBay for how much broken versions of their old gadgets are selling for and then either uploading them individually or selling them as a job lot on the site.

Your client can make money by recycling their old mobile phones. Even battered, ancient ones can be recycled for parts. You can make up to £200 for good ones, particularly iPhones. Try the mobile phone recycling tool here on MoneyMagpie.com [http://www.moneymagpie.com/make-money/make-money-recycle-mobile-cash] to find the best deal.

Printer cartridges
A few companies will pay for old printer cartridges. Cash for Cartridges for example will pay you £4.50 per item.

Odd electronic bits
Sometimes people sell a bundle of wires, adapters, odd bits of electronics that nobody recognises which are bought by enthusiasts or engineers who need the parts. Put them in a box and upload a picture with a description of the contents to eBay.co.uk and see what you get. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Selling alternatives

eBay is a wonderful resource for people needing to de-junk, but a few other sites are worth considering too.

 Facebook Groups
The best thing about Facebook Groups where you can sell items is that they are free. They’re local so you’re generally selling to people who are not too far away and that makes them handy for large items like furniture. But people are selling anything and everything on them, so it’s worth seeing what is available in your clients’ areas.

Again, Gumtree is local and, often, free. You have to be aware of the fraudsters that lurk there – rather like Craigslist in America – but as it has been going for so long, there are still a lot of people who look there first for certain items like cars and furniture.

Let everyone know about Clear Your Clutter Day where you can see some APDO members talking about how to declutter, how to organise and how to do it all on the cheap! If you need a helping hand to motivate you through feelings of overwhelm or provide a structured plan, find a local professional organiser.