Clearing Homes in Regional South Australia

In 2023, Clear Space has cleared homes in Mt Gambier, Maitland, Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend, because there is no provider of home clearance services in any regional South Australian location.

The process is still the same in that we initially sort everything in to the following priorities – sell, donate, recycle then dispose.

Because there are no auction houses in regional towns, items are loaded on to a truck and brought back to Adelaide for selling and returning the proceeds to the client.

For donating items, there are still the mainstream op-shops, but they often can be limited in the volume and types of items they’ll accept. But I have found there is a real community and giving focus in these towns and exist many other options.

In Murray Bridge, I have engaged twice with volunteers Beck and Trev from the Brinkley Reuse Centre, where “everything old is new again”.

At this re-purposing and re-homing oasis, items otherwise destined for landfill are diverted and given a new lease on life, creating benefits for the environment and the community.

This load included wardrobes, bookshelves, electrical items, garden equipment and a lot of general bric-a-brac.

Great work and thank you Beck and Trev.

Donating items – It’s Not What It Used To Be

In this second post about the process to sort and distribute unwanted items from a home, the focus is on donations.

At Clear Space, “give it away, rather than throw it away” is our philosophy.  This undoubtedly is what our clients request as well.

Donating items can make a significant difference to the lives of others.  However, the process is not what it used to be.

Not so long ago, the main stream charities were a one-stop destination for all your unwanted items – they were far more willing to accept all sorts of items, often without checking their condition, as well as large volumes.  But not anymore.

Covid, I believe, was one of the catalysts to this change.  In not being able to travel or go out, a lot of people had, arguably, more money, and as a result they upgraded, bought new and replaced a lot of their household items. Small and large electrical appliances, clothes, shoes, handbags, linen, tools, camping gear, games, toys, sporting equipment………

But this meant needing to offload the unwanted items and the charities became overloaded with too much and unsuitable items and accordingly, changed their rules.

What’s happening as a result isn’t good.  Often, I would drive past a charity store after closing time, especially at night, and there would be piles of items literally dumped on their door step.  And it’s raining!

Donating items, to the better-known charities, from a deceased estate is far more involved and complex than when you have just a few items from your own home.  Several factors can make it complicated.

The sheer volume is the first factor.  Just this week, I filled a hire truck full of all sorts of items from a modest, 3 bedroom home.  That ended up at many different locations.  Unless you do the same, you’ll need to load the car up several times and make many trips to your local charity.  But beware, that one store will become wary and likely say you can’t continue to bring your items in.

Some charities offer free home collections but need to be booked up to 4 weeks in advance.  And remember, they still have the right to reject your items on arrival and, because it’s run by volunteers, there’s always a chance the pick up may be rescheduled at short notice. 

Others offer a free, delivery service through Australia Post.  You pack the items, download a delivery label and drop off to Australia Post.  But it’s tracked so staying anonymous isn’t possible.

The other challenge is finding the right charity who will accept your donations.

It’s not just a matter of getting a box and scooping everything in to it.  It involves sorting and organising the items to ensure they are suitable. This process is time-consuming, especially when dealing with large quantities.   And remember, you’ll likely have an attachment to the items which makes the job emotionally overwhelming.

Sorting through items, checking for damage and suitability requires dedication and effort.  Without this, your donations are likely to be rejected only for you to be left with them.

If you plan well, sort appropriately, do your research, be ethical and are prepared to put in the time, it will be a fulfilling outcome for all involved.

If you don’t, the risk is you’ll go to a lot of effort for no one’s benefit – you or the charity. 

Facebook and GumTree are options to give away your items, but these also have limitations.  You’ll be forever responding to people who ask, “is it available” for any sort of ad that says “free”, but never follow through.  Others are opportunistic and get your location for unethical or criminal purposes.

Alternatively, you could leave it all up to Clear Space. Having been clearing homes for over 10 years, we have the systems, processes and knowledge and a large network of options to donate items, irrespective of the type or volume. Be it to the well-known charities or others that have little public awareness or might be overseas.

Look out for my next post, where I’ll provide advice on how to deal with those awkward, unusual and dangerous items such as furniture, medicines, paint, oils & chemicals, tools & hardware, undonatable clothes & linen, medical products & aids, food, medicines and cleaning products.

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.

 

A modest life is a life to be proud of

Everyone has different ideas of what a modest life entails, but for me it’s not being dragged into the whole consumerism, materialistic way of life to a point that it has you living outside your means or being extravagant.

It means you don’t go into debt for a big-screen TV or a luxury car, you don’t spend thousands of dollars on cosmetic surgery and shoes each year. You don’t buy designer clothes, or borrow money for extravagant holidays.

It means you live within your means, disregarding what this does to the way people see you.

So many people complain about not having enough money, yet they drink excessive amounts of alcohol, have Foxtel and a big-screen TV and drive a brand new car that they have borrowed money for, and spend a fortune on takeaway and junk food.  They sell their house and upgrade to a bigger home with a bigger mortgage so they can fit all their stuff in that they found one sale somewhere sometime but never use. They put their immediate comfort and their ‘facade’ in front of long-term benefits such as being debt-free.

People have forgotten what a real need is. They have forgotten that in the 1960s a family of five quite happily fit into a house with 3 bedrooms and one living area. They forget that a car that is over 10 years old can still drive them from A to B.  They forget that they live a quite privileged life compared to many and that they are so much luckier than they think they are.

They still look around them and want what everyone else has whether or not they can afford it, need it, or have room for it.

I get really frustrated when I hear how “tough” people are doing it, when I know very well many of these people are in debt because they lived beyond their means.  They did it because they couldn’t tell the difference between a need and a want. They didn’t ‘save for a rainy day’ and instead told themselves “I deserve this”.

People who lead modest lives are happier than those that don’t. They are more financially stable. They are self-sufficient and live within their means. They are leaders, not followers. They accept their life as it is and don’t strive for excess. They give freely of themselves. They aren’t overly concerned with what others think of them, and are therefore more uninhibited and self-assured.

How does one live a modest life?

  • Don’t buy things just because everyone else has one, unless you can afford to buy 3 of them without debt (and then still only buy 1!)
  • Recognise that at the end of your life, you will not be remembered for your designer shoes
  • Understand that you are still a valuable person without all the ‘stuff’
  • Learn to be content with what you have, and enjoy what you have instead of wanting more all the time
  • Don’t go into debt for anything other than the necessities (food and shelter, essentially – and that doesn’t count luxury resorts!)
  • Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s, and be proud of not buying into the hype
  • Remember to look long-term and not just for the short-term ‘hit’ that buying something new gives you

There is nothing to be ashamed of in living a modest life, but so very much to be proud of.


On a personal note:

I am not infallible nor am I a monk – sometimes I don’t live a modest life, despite generally trying to. When I bought myself an iPad (I tried to tell myself I ‘needed’ it for work but to be honest, I mostly play and read on it), I was being more extravagant than I normally would, even though I could afford it and did pay cash, because I didn’t really need it.  Sometimes I yearn for a bigger wardrobe, more shoes or a guest room in my house(or a bigger house), or a flash new sofa because I’m tired of the old one. And I was very keen to upgrade our car earlier this year – to the point of nagging!

But  most of all, I live within my means and without extravagance, as does the rest of my family. We’re not overly frugal but we’re not careless either.

Our family is debt-free (and we worked hard to get that way – it wasn’t handed to us on a platter) and we save as much as we can, whilst still enjoying our life.  Our home is not large or fancy, but it’s nice and we all fit just fine and we resist the urge to spend our savings on upgrading. When we last bought a new car (we had had our other one for almost 12 years) we spent around 10% of what we could actually afford to spend in cash and it was still a nice, shiny new (less than one year old) car and I still love it to pieces. The rest of the money is earning interest for us while the small investment is driving me around!

5 steps to a more organised child

Some kids are born organised, many are not. Here are some tips to help your child learn how to be a bit more organised. It will help both of you!

  1. Start as young as you can. Starting at around the age of three will set your child up for a much more organised life, even if their personality doesn’t particularly support it. You’ll be doing them a big favour in the long run. Even if you’ve missed that age, however, it’s never too late to start!
  2. Set up routines. Have morning routines, after school routines and evening routines. Ensure they have a visual reminder (a checklist or chart) to remind them what their tasks are.
  3. Be consistent. The best way to develop new habits is to do them at the same time, every day, and preferably in the same order. You’ll need to put in some hard yards with constant reminders initially, but eventually they’ll be doing their routines without reminders. It’s worth the work involved.
  4. Don’t do it for them. If you’re finding you’re reminding them, doing things for them when they forget, or re-doing their jobs – you’re enabling disorganisation. They can’t learn new habits unless they actually undertake the tasks. Let them learn the consequences of forgetting their lunch, or not putting their dirty clothes in the hamper. Let them also learn the satisfaction of doing the job themselves, without it being corrected.
  5. Set up their space to support them. Ensure they don’t have too many belongings for their space, and make sure all their possessions have a home. It will make it a lot easier for them to maintain an organised space that way.