How to avoid this downsizing mistake

Downsizing is very different to a regular move. There are additional things to consider, the biggest being decluttering your belongings so that they fit in the smaller space.

Many people discover only after they have moved, that they can’t comfortably fit all of the stuff they brought with them into the new home. One client recently had well over a dozen boxes of stuff that would not fit in their new apartment.

There are a few impacts that this has:

  • Things cannot be unpacked into the most convenient or effective home and things get “stashed” where they fit, which means later things are hard to find
  • There are unpacked boxes often left for a long time in the living areas, getting in the way
  • Alternative storage may need to be arranged, which has a high monthly cost.
  • The new home feels cluttered and isn’t quite the “fresh start” that is anticipated

The main solution to this is planning. Plan, plan and plan some more.

Many clients remember to plan out their large furniture, and measure up their spaces to ensure that it will fit, or to buy new items if the need be.

What people often fail to do, however, is think of the “stuff”. The spare dinner sets, all the vases, their photos, craft supplies, shoes, stashes (spares of things, extras and duplicates for “just in case”), memorabilia, paperwork, travel supplies, books, tools and electrical stuff, outdoor gear and more.

We recommend you spend some time doing a full inventory of the belongings that you’re taking with you. Write down EVERYTHING, and then, thinking about the space available in the new home, allocate every single item (or at very least, each category) a home. Where your volume is higher than the space you have available, you need to cull down to size.

This planning ahead will help you be a bit more accurate in the amount of belongings you declutter and help you get the fit into the new home just right.

Conditions that can masquerade as “hoarding”

I have had quite a few clients that have been told they are “hoarders” (by experts and non-experts alike). Some diagnosed and some not diagnosed. And many clients have self-diagnosed themselves as “hoarders” also.

I have also had professionals (support coordinators, social workers etc) say “This person is a hoarder”. However, there are a LOT of conditions, neuro-diversities and behaviours that can cause (or masquerade as) hoarding and challenging domestic environments.

Autism can cause executive dysfunction that results in overwhelm and avoidance, which can end up looking like hoarding to the uninitiated.

ADHD can do the same. It can also cause impulsive buying which can then also look, on appearances, like hoarding.

Autism can result in collecting behaviours in special interests, and very strong attachment. This can be mistaken for hoarding disorder.

Depression can cause decision-making anxiety, which means that things can’t be decided-upon get left unresolved, which can result in unclean living conditions and unfinished tasks, which also can be mistaken for hoarding.Depression can also cause low motivation, which results in unfinished tasks, and sometimes self-soothing actions like buying and collecting, which can build up clutter and sometimes unclean spaces.Bi-polar can have similar effects – during mania episodes, there could be impulsive purchasing. During depressive episodes, there could be a lack of motivation, overwhelm and difficulty starting and finishing tasks.

OCD can mean that regular household tasks become gargantuan and unmanageable due to the complex rituals that need to be undertaken. Washing the dishes could take 5 hours. Who’d want to do the dishes if it took that long?

Creativity can cause a high interest in numerous activities. Couple that with ADHD and you can end up with high level of clutter and an inability to put it into order.

Childhood trauma (or any trauma really) can cause attachment issues and self-soothing activities that can cause high clutter levels. Also for some people, there was no role model to learn helpful space and stuff management behaviours.

I could go on, but my point is – hoarding behaviours and “unclean” living environments can come from many possible sources.

Be careful not to saddle someone with a label that has stigma attached to it (hopefully that will go away but for now, it’s here) when it could simply be a behaviour that has its sources in a place other than hoarding disorder.

Also, assuming it’s hoarding disorder can mean that potential treatments can be missed out on.

And if you have hoarding behaviours, go easy on yourself – you are a whole person who cannot be reduced to one behaviour. You’re awesome x

How to declutter when you can’t access charities

I was on the radio this week talking about this. Unfortunately the host decided to go off-topic and my list I had prepared didn’t get to be discussed!

Rather than waste it, I thought I’d do a blog post about it.

So, here are 10 ways to declutter and organise when the charities are closed:

  1. Create an “unwanted zone”. This temporary zone can house your unwanted items until you can get them to charity. Pick a place that’s out of the way, not blocking up any living spaces. If you have to use a living space like a toyroom or office, do some rearranging first so that there is a clear boundary between the wanted and unwanted items – you don’t want them getting mixed up. Think of them as two different coloured playdoh balls – don’t mix the colours because its really hard to undo that!

  2. Label large items with stickers and leave them in place. Applicances, jugs, vases, side tables etc. Just put a sticker on them and when everything is back to normal, do a treasure hunt in the house to find all the stickers

  3. Give things away on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. You can do this safely, cleaning items and leaving them at a safe distance for collection. Those collecting items can wear gloves and quarantine or wash the items when they get them home.

  4. Sell things on Gumtree, Marketplace or Ebay – most people on Ebay expect postage rather than pickup so you can then have contact-free disposal by mailing the items.

  5. Choose a recycler that you can mail items too. Manrags will take 10kg of your old clothing for resuse or recycling.

  6. You can engage companies that still have access to the charities. 1800 GOT JUNK can still access the charities they normally take re-usable stuff to, and here at Clear Space we also have access to charities that are closed to the public.

  7. If you have vintage clothing, and you’re in Adelaide, Dulcie’s Bus is still collecting – if you contact us I can arrange it for you. And summer clothing and shoes still being received at AussieGhana Relief at 1/518 Goodwood Road, Daw Park and 333 Marion Road, North Plympton.

  8. Focus on rubbish and recycling only for now. Skip companies are still operating, as are scrap metal recyclers and council hard rubbish collections.

  9. Donate your items to friends. I recently dropped off a few bags of kids’ clothes to a couple of friends. Make sure they need it first!

  10. Do organising projects that don’t require much decluttering. Organise your digital photos or your printed photos. Set up memory boxes, archive kids’ schoolwork, declutter paperwork (you can hire shredding bins – we recommend www.greenteam.com.au), re-organise your recipes, re-arrange the living room etc.

So if you’re looking to get some clearing and organising happening, it’s still possible!

 

COVID-19 and Clear Space

It’s a scary, strange and confusing time. With the pandemic sweeping the planet, everything has changed.

We wanted to let you know that Clear Space is still open for business, albeit it in different ways to normal of course. So much has changed for us – auction houses have closed, charities have closed, and we have to sanitize like mad, not work in groups and stay safe distances from each other.

If you need us, we’ll see if we can find a way to help that is safe and complies with the new rules and regulations surrounding social distancing, gatherings, hygiene and the like. We take safety very seriously and won’t just take on anything – it has to be safe for all involved.

There are many jobs that we can do solo without any personal contact with the client – either by working alone to clear an estate or by coaching online.

If you’re wondering if we can help you or not, just give us a call. We’ll have a chat and see what we can come up with together. There are many ways we can help and still stay safe, so just ask and we’ll work it out together.