‘What we discovered when we finally got the clutter bug’

Jul 19, 2019
Bria was amazed at the things he discovered when decluttering around the house recently. (Photograph posed by models) Source: Getty Images

In New South Wales, Australia our local council allows us to have four free ‘scheduled kerbside pick-ups’ every year. A nice bonus for paying our annual rates! We’re allowed to put out what basically amounts to two small 6×4 box trailer loads of ‘junk’ each time.

On the surface this — for most people — is more than enough to get rid of post-Christmas, birthday or end of school junk or just the usual stuff we all seem to collect then store and ultimately forget about. But when you’ve lived and worked almost every day in the same house for the best part of 25 years, you tend to ‘store and forget’ quite a bit more than a couple of box trailer loads I can assure you!

On a recent clean out in preparation for a pick-up recently, here’s what we discovered:

  • five old laptops and two even older desktops
  • four TV and PC monitors and associated cables and powers supplies
  • Hundreds of LP vinyl records and a similar amount of CDs
  • A record player, VHS players and assorted tapes plus some other ‘old format’ video stuff
  • Probably more than a thousand actual photos and 35mm slides (remember them?)
  • Books … too many to count. Cooking, gardening, pets, house, car, novels, biographies!
  • Food. With three fridge/freezers plus a full size freezer we have quite a bit ‘on-ice’
  • Kitchen utensils. Who really needs 24 plates, similar amount of glasses, cups, knives forks etc.?
  • Not to mention five frying pans, same amount of pots – I’m sure you get the idea by now?
  • Bedding – old sheets, pillows and pillow cases plus too many towels to count!

But wait there’s more …

Clothes. How many clothes do we all really need?

Like most men I’m happy with the basics. A couple of long- and short-sleeved shirts, a t-shirt or two, a pair of shorts and maybe a couple of pairs of jeans. Thongs and a pair of runners does me!

But having such a loving caring wife who likes to see me dressed ‘nicely’ (thankyou Darling!) I somehow managed to have a bit more than that … In fact a lot more, which I should add has now gone to Vinnies.

At the risk of embarrassing my loving caring soul mate she literally had the back room as a ‘dressing room’ with three — count them, three — large double height clothes racks and several multi-shoe shoe racks full to the brim.

Oh yes — and the wedding dress. Hmm what do we do with that? (For the record I felt it best to let her decide that one!)

We gave ourselves 12 weeks before our planned ‘trip around Australia’ otherwise known as The Big Lap. At the time of writing it’s now two weeks until our deadline — basically when we start renting the house out. How have we done? Well the good news is we’re still talking!

The not so good news is we only have one free council kerbside pick-up left. And Vinnies have been very helpful suggesting we might want to try the Salvation Army or several other charities who might want some of our ‘stuff’.

Anyway, as hard as it is we are getting there. Certainly a lot harder to do than either of us ever imagined. It’s also very emotional. Store, sell or trash? So many memories.

I’ve started advising people to never live in the same place for more than 10 years or if you do, have either a yearly ‘cull’ or once every five years. You won’t regret it.

When was your last big ‘clean out’? How do you decide what to store, sell or trash?

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